Hey again 🙂 I’m so excited to be part of this anthology. The Beneath The Cape—The Superhero Anthology was created to benefit The Wounded Warrior Project. Awesome, right! Anyone out there wanting an ARC to help spread the word, sign up here ——> Beneath The Cape—The Superhero Anthology <—— Below is the blurb for mine and Lynn Vroman’s story:
Angela McPherson & Lynn Vroman
For two hundred years, Adrian vowed to seek revenge against the Gypsy woman who bound his spirit for eternity.
The one man Mia wants only exists in dreams.
Until he doesn’t.
The curse may be broken, but not without a price.
One love must end for another to begin.
A GYPSY LOVE EXCERPT
We roamed free, our spirits unencumbered by greed.
But freedom always came with a price.
Place after place held the same individuals. They were stationary, planting their fields or building their shops, destroying in the guise of improving. Townspeople never lived, too consumed with finding happiness in arbitrary things.
The Romani knew true nirvana, for it lived in our hearts, not our coffers. When the time came for my camp to move on to another town, not once had I wanted to stay and succumb to the prison that bound so many.
Our happiness was also our curse. We latched onto love until it melded with our soul, in this life and the after. I would watch with sorrow those of my clan who found their person, the other half of their heart. No, I did not crave gold or jewelry, as townspeople did. I desired to be complete—a desire that consumed me. But I was not one of the lucky few to find love within the Romani. My heart did not travel with us.
My love existed beyond our tiny caravan, and I had to trust that a gem lived in the decay most considered civilized society. I had begged Mama, and even Papa, to allow me to venture. But denial fell from their lips every time. My father would never allow his only child to marry a gorger: You marry Romani, or you do not marry.
This time, when our wagons stopped to stake our makeshift homes into the earth, my heart leapt with excitement. Papa’s warnings about outsiders always rang with paranoia. But if my love were a gorger, I would not hesitate to act.
Maybe I would find the rest of my heart in the city by the sea.
“Your time will come, Miryah.” Mama’s words had become a mantra, words of hope. She did not believe as Papa, her soul romantic like mine.
“You always say the same thing.” I slid a trunk from the wagon, and excitement shot currents under my skin. Maybe her prediction would finally turn to reality.
“These people will bring new challenges,” she said with a hint of weariness. Her dark eyes searched the smoky black night, as if able to see through the barest hints of daylight.
“Perhaps, but we will stay,” Papa said, leader of our clan. No one challenged him—except for me. “Make a place for the others, Miryah. They will arrive in a fortnight.”
“Yes, sir.” I glanced at the full moon while I pulled more supplies from our old wagons. Wind blew strands of hair in my face, but it did not hinder my vision. A ring of light traced the moon’s edge. The perfect time of night for enchantment. For spells. For change. I squeezed the medallion hanging from my neck as a chant escaped my lips: Love is divine, so as is mine. Wise of head, send my love to my bed. This medallion holds powers that bind, and the desire of the mind. His face will see mine, and love will bind.
Warmth rushed over my skin.
This time, my heart would find me.
The next morning, in the brightest hour, Mama and I walked near the harbor amongst the townspeople, the dreaded gorgers Papa warned me against. Staring eyes and hushed words were common during supply runs. Men leered at our low-cut gowns and women scowled, waving at their bosom with delicate fans as if the very sight of us caused illness.
Civilized. No, these people were animals trapped in a fetid corral.
If unwashed bodies and toothless smiles were the criteria for acceptance, I would proudly remain an outlier.
“You’ll do well to ignore them,” Mama whispered, always knowing where my thoughts were. She pinched the inside of my arm to sell her point.
“Ouch.” I rubbed the sting. “Mama, please.”
“A reminder.” She laughed, heading straight for the fishmongers lining the docks.
“My wares are not for sale to you,” said a man with dull eyes. The day’s catch stained his apron and saturated his skin.
Mama raised her chin. “We can pay as well as everyone else.”
“I care not for your money, Gypsy.” His dirty paw snatched a fish from her hand. “Your kind’s not welcome.”
“Their coin will buy pints just as quickly, Gus.” A man with a baritone voice dropped his fishhook and came to stand by the smelly man. Guts and gore smeared his apron, too, yet repulsion did not color my stomach when I looked at him.
On the contrary, once my eyes found his, I knew. The thumping against my chest picked up as it had the night before. His lips curved into a smile that made my heart ache. Strong shoulders, a sharp jawline, and raven hair would haunt my dreams every night from that moment on. But his eyes drew me in, undoing me. Those eyes, flecked with green and gold, did not leer at me with lust.
No, in his eyes, I found…me.
Gus threw up his hands and backed away. “Their thievery is on your head.” He stomped away, muttering, “Bleeding heart bastard.”
The man ignored him. “I apologize for his ignorance.” He bowed before Mama. “Adrian Mathews at your service, madam.”
My inner voice rejoiced. I was his, even before he spoke a word to me.
Mama blushed with a relieved smile. “I am Gitana, and this is my daughter, Miryah.”
“It is a pleasure.” Adrian gestured to his wares. “Whatever you’d like, I will wrap.”
Mama chose the largest fish on the table. “How much for this one?”
“For you and your lovely daughter, a gift.” Adrian’s smile shined like a star, even under the grime and dirt of his profession.
Taken aback, Mama shook her head. “I will only accept your generous offering if you join us for dinner.” Adrian opened his mouth, but Mama held up her hand. “I insist. Miryah will cook. You will enjoy.”
He laughed, the sound sweeter than a taste of fruit. “It would be my honor. Thank you.”
Adrian’s company did not cease with one dinner. Even Papa grew to enjoy his company. And for the first time with an outsider, he extended Adrian’s welcome for as long as we were camped. Every evening Adrian would join us to eat by the fire and listen to music. His presence was my heaven. But one morning, he became my world.
“I know you’re awake, Miryah. I’ve a blanket and a basket full of fresh strawberries and bread. Come, I want to take you somewhere.”
“No, I’m not ready to face the day,” I lied, hoping he’d charm me.
Adrian did not disappoint. “My day will not start until your face appears.” His sigh echoed through the canvas and whispered in my ear. “I’ve missed your smile, your enchanting eyes. Please, woman, do not make me beg.”
I giggled. “You saw me just last evening.” I brushed my hair, my gown already laced.
“Hours are centuries when I’m without you.”
My heart exploded as the brush landed on the ground in my haste to leave my tent. When I faced him, my skin flamed, the need to touch him causing my fingers to tremble. “Do you always know what to say, Adrian?”
His eyes traveled the length of my body as passion flickered in his stare. “No, but I always know what I want.”
My breath hitched. “Care to reveal what that is?”
“Yes, but not here.” He snatched my hand, taking us from camp to a remote spot near the riverbank.
Flowers swayed with the cool breeze. The sun had not reached its peak in the sky, and I shivered, gooseflesh covering my skin.
“Are you cold?”
I nodded. Adrian pulled me close, wrapping his strong arms around my shoulders. I leaned into his warmth and looked up, meeting those ever-changing hazel eyes. My medallion heated around my neck as his mouth descended on mine. The delicate kiss ignited a fire in my abdomen the moment his tongue separated my lips, and I moaned.
“You taste better than I imagined.”
“What else have you imagined?”
He cupped my face. “When I sleep, your face fills my dreams. And when I wake, you’re my first thought.”
The medallion flared with heat again. A sign. “I’ve waited so long. Traveled far to find you.”
And I had waited long enough.
I pulled away from his arms only to fan the blanket he’d brought on the grass.
A smile tugged at Adrian’s lips when I faced him again. My pulse galloped with each step he took toward me. The sound from nearby animals faded as he pressed his lips to mine.
When the last of my clothes fell to the ground, the gallops turned into a sprint.
“Beautiful,” he whispered.
The rest of the day was spent kissing, making love…talking about our future. I hoped we had a future, but our lives traveled in different worlds. As much as Papa accepted him, Adrian was still an outsider. My chest ached at the thought of leaving him.
Adrian placed a kiss against my bare shoulder. “Your silence troubles me.”
“I am afraid you are a dream.”
Adrian smiled. “If I am a dream, I am only yours.”
Mine. He made me a vow.
A Young Adult Time Travel Novel
Into The West
Published by Untold Press
Tina Harker is a typical teenager. She loves hanging with her friends at the mall, buying shoes, and getting manicures. Most of all, she loves horses. Her life is everything she wants until her father drags their family to Arizona. Now she’s living in a virtual ghost town in the middle of the desert, millions of miles from the nearest shopping center.
The one small highlight in the dreadful situation is the local ranch. They have a horse Tina can ride anytime she wants. Trying to make the best of her situation, Tina goes on her first cattle drive and gets a lot more adventure than she expected.
Bandits, cattle thieves, and a really cute cowboy are only the beginning as she finds out the ranch she is coming to love is in grave danger. Can Tina find the strength to travel back in time and save the ranch when her very life is on the line? It’s no simple trip to the mall, but with a little help from her cowboy, she might just save the day.
“Never a good plan to go killing creatures that hang out around magic portals.” —Into The West, J.A. Campbell
“Nothing is going to happen,” she said when they parted. Rowe winked at her. “I know. Good excuse to kiss you.” “You don’t need an excuse.” —Into The West, J.A. Campbell
Julie has been many things over the last few years, from college student, to bookstore clerk and an over the road trucker. She’s worked as a 911 dispatcher and in computer tech support, but through it all she’s been a writer and when she’s not out riding horses, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer. She lives in Colorado with her three cats, her vampire-hunting dog Kira, her new horse and Traveler-in training, Triska, and her Irish Sailor.She is the author of many Vampire and Ghost-Hunting Dog stories and the young adult fantasy series Tales of the Travelers. She’s a member of the Horror Writers Association and the Dog Writers of America Association and the editor for Steampunk Trails fiction magazine.
Links to follow J.A. Campbell
Other Books to Enjoy by J.A. Campbell
(Tales of the Travelers Book 1)
(Tales of the Travelers Book 2)
Senior Year Bites
(The Clanless Book 1)
Happily Ever Afterlife
So, how is it?
Tina stared at her phone, amazed she had cell service, then back out the window of her parents’ car.
OMG. Just…OMG. I can’t believe they’re doing this to me, she texted back.
When Jessica didn’t reply, Tina sighed. It’s like being on Mars. All red and brown and flat. No trees. Some mountains, I guess. Alien. Horrible. She sent that text and waited.
Her phone beeped, searching for signal, then found reception again.
Hugs. I’ll come visit soon. I miss you. Gotta go. TTYL.
Tina put her phone away and stared out the window. She saw nothing out there. No stores, no restaurants, no school, no people. Just empty desert–horrible.
“Honey, we’re almost there,” her mom said, sounding excited.
“Almost where?” she muttered, crossing her arms and glaring at her feet.
Her dad glanced over his shoulder with a big grin on his face. “Almost home, sweetheart.”
“Almost to hell,” she said, even more quietly so her parents wouldn’t hear. Even the radio broadcast more static than music as reception faded in and out.
Tina went back to staring out the window since it was marginally more interesting than her feet. She supposed she would have to get used to the view. Like it or not, she couldn’t escape this hellhole until she went to college. The next two years would drag before she could return to lush green trees that dotted the concrete sea of New Jersey.
Her dad slowed and turned off the highway onto a dirt road. The car bumped, waking her little sister, Betsy.
“Are we there yet?” Her sister stretched and glanced out the window. She paused mid-stretch and Tina could see the surprise on her face. “Wow!”
Tina shook her head. Of course Betsy would be excited.
“This is so cool!” She bounced in her seat. Or maybe that was the potholes in the road. Did they ever fix things out here?
Tina ground her teeth. All she could see in the distance were more of the weird, red mountain things and a dirt road stretching to nowhere. “Where is this place we’re supposed to be going?”
“Home, sweetie,” her mom said in a sugary sweet tone.
“Sure, if we were Martians.”
“Tina Harker,” her dad said. “Do not talk that way to your mother.”
Tina sank down in her seat and crossed her arms again. This totally sucks, she thought to herself. She tried not to hit her head on the top of the sedan as they jolted down what was supposed to be a road.
“Hey, look, a house!” Betsy bounced again in her seat. This time Tina knew it wasn’t just the bad road. “And, Tina, a horse. Maybe they’ll let you ride it.”
Tina sighed and tried to ignore her little sister. Her parents had obviously sold the ten-year-old on the adventure, but Tina had left more behind than Betsy. Not wanting to see any horses right now, she didn’t even try to look. She missed Frankie, the thoroughbred she had leased for over a year. It wasn’t fair that she had to leave him behind. Tina had planned on buying him, but with the move, there was no way. Her parents had told her there were plenty of horses in Arizona and she’d find one there. They didn’t understand. She didn’t want just any horse. She wanted her horse.
Tears welled in her eyes, and she took a couple of deep breaths, trying not to cry.
A few minutes later, they passed another house on Tina’s side of the car and she couldn’t help but stare. A fence surrounded a large, dusty yard. The front porch seemed welcoming, except that one side sagged dangerously and the chipped tan paint peeled badly.
She wondered if anyone actually lived there. She didn’t see anyone, but saw a swing set in the yard and a rusty pickup parked in the backyard. It reminded her of a bad T.V. show.
Ages later, they passed a couple more houses in better repair than the last. Finally her dad pulled off the bumpy non-road onto another bumpy non-road. They continued for another small eternity before Tina saw a cluster of buildings that looked like stores. Her dad turned down something like a main street and stopped in front of one of the small stores.
“Welcome to Golton, kids.”
Tina looked around her, horrified. “I thought you said we were moving to a town.”
Her dad smiled at her and opened the car door. “It’s a ghost town.”
Tina stared while he got out and stretched. The hot blast of dry air made sweat bead on her forehead, and then quickly dry. She felt like her skin would crack. Her dad shut the door, but with the car off, it would heat up fast. She didn’t want to get out, but she couldn’t stay in. Betsy had already jumped out and, as usual, bounced around her dad.
The heat made her wish she were wearing a halter-top, but the intense sun made her glad that her shirt covered her shoulders. The tan she had from riding her horse wasn’t enough to protect her.
She wondered if her dad joked about this being Golton. Forget about ghosts. There was nothing here to haunt.
“Come on, honey, let’s go see the store.”
Tina sighed. Maybe it would be air-conditioned.
Her dad talked quietly with the man behind the counter. The store had a little of everything, but not much of any one thing, and no variety. If you wanted toothpaste, you got Crest. If you wanted apples, you got red. Tina folded her arms across her chest and tried to pretend she was in a bad horror movie and she’d eventually be rescued and taken back to civilization, but not before the movie-monster got her sister.
Speaking of horror movies…Tina picked up a book called Missing in Arizona. The intro page said something about Golton being an area with a large number of disappearances.
“Tina, come here for a minute,” her dad called.
She hastily put down the book, hoping it was a joke, and joined her dad. Betsy shook the clerk’s hand.
“Tina, this is Mike. He owns this store,” her dad said.
The man behind the counter had the brownest skin she’d ever seen with short, jet black hair and an easy grin. He looked about her dad’s age, forty or so.
“Hi,” Tina said, smiling, and trying not to stare. She offered her hand and managed not to ask Mike if he was a real Indian.
Betsy had the benefit of being ten. “Tina, guess what? He’s a real Indian. A Nav…” She hesitated and looked up at Mike.
He smiled down at the little girl. “Navajo.”
“Betsy, they are Native Americans,” Tina’s mom said, sounding horrified.
Mike smiled at Betsy and winked. “Navajo,” he repeated.
“It’s nice to meet you,” Tina said, glad to meet another human in this desolate waste.
“It’s nice to meet you, too, Tina. Welcome to Golton. If there is anything you need and we don’t have it here, I can probably order it for you.” He smiled again. He had an accent, but Tina didn’t know if it was because he was a Native American or an Arizonian.
“Thanks,” Tina said. “Hey, that book back there said a lot of people go missing here. What’s up with that?”
He shrugged. “Conspiracy theories mostly. Seems like people go hiking in the desert and get lost and die. Stay close to civilization until you know your way around and you’ll be fine.”
“Thanks!” Tina was glad to know that the book wasn’t serious.
“It’s good to see you again, Mike. I just wanted to introduce the girls and my wife,” Tina’s dad said.
“Oh, those government boys were by the house with your things yesterday. I stopped in, didn’t seem like they were making too much of a mess, so I left them to it. My wife locked up after them. I’ll call her and have her meet you there with the other set of keys,” Mike said.
“Thanks.” Her dad placed the money for Betsy’s candy bar on the counter, and reached across to shake Mike’s hand.
They spoke for a few more minutes, but Tina tuned her parents and Mike out and glanced at some of the knickknacks in the store.
Finally, her parents and Betsy headed for the door. Tina followed them outside.
“See, it’s not so bad here,” her dad said, opening the car door. “Lots of nice people.”
Tina wondered where the other people were, but she didn’t feel like getting into another argument. At least not right then.
The car had baked in the sun and it hadn’t completely cooled down by the time her dad stopped again in front of a house. It was a two-story house with wooden siding and a large front porch. It looked like it may have been painted sometime in the past decade. As an added bonus, the porch only sagged slightly in the middle.
“There’s a fence,” Betsy said, bouncing again. “Can we get a dog, since we have a yard and a fence?”
Tina rolled her eyes. Their townhouse back in Jersey wasn’t big enough for a dog, or at least that’s what her parents kept saying.
“We’ll talk about it once we get settled,” her dad said.
“Cool.” Betsy nodded, as if they had already decided they would get a dog.
Tina wondered if she could talk her parents into a horse if Betsy got a dog. She doubted it. Especially since the horse she wanted lived in New Jersey. Frankie probably wouldn’t like it here anyway. Tina didn’t.
The hot, dry air blasted her as she stepped out of the car. The paint was probably white at one point, but it looked kind of yellowish now, though it hadn’t started to peel yet. It reminded Tina of a farmhouse out of an old movie.
Her mom had a funny expression on her face, kind of like the first time she’d tasted Betsy’s cooking and had to pretend she liked it. She stared at the house.
Tina’s dad put his arm around her and gave her a hug. “Just needs a little fixing up.”
“Well, let’s go explore,” her mom said after another few moments of silence. She sounded as cheery as before, but Tina wasn’t quite convinced. Betsy, on the other hand, seemed excited.
“Look, we’re in a real house, with space and stuff. Can we get a swing set?” She bounced up the front porch and tried the doorknob. “It’s locked.”
“I have the key,” her dad said, following Betsy.
Tina placed her foot gingerly on the steps up to the front door. They also sagged in the middle, but at least held her weight.
“Tina, I bet it’s haunted,” Betsy said once they were inside. “Look at this old picture. Think she’s still here?”
Betsy pointed to a portrait of a woman on the wall. She wore a bonnet like in an old movie and a dress with flowers on it. Tina wasn’t sure, but she thought the woman might have been a Native American.
Her dad laughed. “Mike assured me the house wasn’t haunted. This house has been in his family for a long time.”
“I thought Indians lived in teepees,” Betsy said.
“Some of them used to, honey. Most of them live in houses these days,” Tina’s mom said.
Tina turned away from the picture. A lighter spot on the yellowed wallpaper next to it had probably held another picture. She noticed stairs to the second floor that started right by the front door. The bare wood floor looked polished, probably by years of footsteps. The kitchen was straight back from the front door, and there was another room opened off to her left. Their new house didn’t seem terribly large, but it was bigger than their townhome in Jersey.
Huffing, Tina glanced around. “Is there electricity?”
Both her mom and dad gave her the don’t-be-ridiculous look.
“Hey, a fireplace,” Betsy shouted from the living room. “Can we have a fire, Mom?”
“When it is cooler, dear.”
Tina sighed and followed the sound of her sister’s voice into the living room. Their stylish leather couch and loveseat were completely out of place across from the stone fireplace. Boxes were stacked everywhere and spilled into the kitchen. She wandered toward the kitchen.