Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Nile Priestess + Giveaway

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The Nile Priestess

The Nile Priestess by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

Word Count: 61,298
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 237

Genres:

HISTORICAL
MYSTERY
PARANORMAL
ROMANCE
VAMPIRES

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Book Description

Amid the shifting sands of Egypt, is an ancient evil stronger than even the most timeless bonds?
In the heat of 1920’s Cairo, Raf and Cecily are looking forward to making their honeymoon one to remember. Instead, they find themselves caught between a British nobleman on a mission to loot Egypt’s ancient tombs and a mysterious local woman who will do whatever it takes to protect the land she loves.

When a foreboding pyramid rises from the sands and the scent of decay fills the air, Raf and Cecily find themselves caught in a terrifying race against time to vanquish a murderous mummy and put right the wrongs of the past. But is evil stronger than even the most timeless bonds?

Excerpt

Cecily leaned over the ship’s railing, shielding her eyes from the hot Mediterranean sun with her hand. They’d travelled across Europe to get here, and now they were almost at their destination, a place Cecily had only ever dreamed of before.

“And tomorrow we’ll see Egypt, just there on the horizon!” she excitedly said to Raf, her husband.

If only I could wish and wish and it’d appear there right away.

“And tomorrow night, we’ll be snuggled in bed in the Rosetta of the Nile, counting the stars above Cairo.” Raf beamed. He put his arm around Cecily’s waist and said, “It’s the perfect honeymoon, Sissy.”

“It feels like a dream, Raf, like it’s not quite real!” Cecily pictured pyramids and deserts, a world away from their home in Yorkshire or the places in Europe they had journeyed through. “We’ll go everywhere by camel, of course, and eat nothing but dates.”

“Just like we do in Yorkshire,” he told her with a grin. Then he pecked a kiss to Cecily’s cheek and asked, “Happy, Mrs de Chastelaine?”

“Oh, so happy I might go pop!” Cecily said excitedly. Then with affection, she added, “But then, I have been ever since I first met you, Raf.”

Not so long ago Cecily would never have dreamed that she’d be married to a man—or dhampir, really—like Raf de Chastelaine, let alone be honeymooning in Egypt, but here she was. Her life had taken an unexpected turn and as she stood here beneath the sun, the botanical scent of Raf’s homemade sun lotion mingling with the heat and sea salt, she’d never been happier.

A breeze rippled the brim of her sunhat, and Cecily turned to see another passenger lean against the railings a few feet away. Miss Mansour was a very glamorous Egyptian lady, who they’d sat with at the captain’s table the night before, along with Miss Mansour’s party of archaeologists. Cecily had been over the moon to sit at such an important table on her first long sea journey, and with a party who were travelling to Egypt to uncover its wonders, too.

But Miss Mansour seemed preoccupied and hadn’t noticed them. Instead, she stared off towards the horizon.

Cecily’s sixth sense, her ability to pick up on others’ emotions, began to twitch.

She’s homesick, Cecily thought, although she realised that was obvious.

“Raf,” Cecily whispered, “let’s say good afternoon.”

Raf glanced towards the woman, then gave a nod. “Yeah, let’s say how do,” he decided.

Cecily moved along the salt-covered railing. “Good afternoon, Miss Mansour!” She smiled. “You must be very glad to be so close to home again.”

Miss Mansour removed her sunglasses and smiled back, but there was something sad in her expression. “Oh, of course, if one has a happy home, then one is glad to return. I am thinking of all the work I must do when we arrive. Lord Bath has such great plans for his dig. I think we might uncover many wonderful things.”

“It must be terribly exciting!” Cecily said. “All those treasures that haven’t seen the light of day for years and years and years, and you brush away the sand, and there in your hand there’s a little golden Anubis!”

“Lord Carnarvon hasn’t put him off?” Raf asked. “If you believe the papers, pyramid-diving is a bad business. I don’t know… I feel like perhaps English lords should leave Egyptian treasures in Egypt.”

A flicker of amusement crossed Miss Mansour’s face. She maybe didn’t hear that sentiment often enough. But Raf’s Romanian accent no doubt told her that he had no patience with the meddling of the English. “It is strange to me to think of my ancestors lying in museums across the world. I cannot think it was what they expected when they died—that one day their remains would travel the world, to be stared at.”

“I heard that Lord Bath reckons he’s found a tomb that nobody believed existed at all,” Raf replied. “But legends sometimes turn out to be true, don’t they?”

And Raf would know all about that, wouldn’t he? Not many advertisements for family businesses that spanned the generations read, ‘Ghosts need laying? Rates negotiable on application.’ Raf didn’t work alone anymore though—Cecily was part of the family business, too.

But what fates had Raf’s ancestors faced? His father might be human, but his late mother certainly hadn’t been. After all, it wasn’t many newlyweds who spent Christmas at a castle perched atop a precipice on the edge of the Carpathian Mountains. Cecily would never have guessed that vampires could be such generous and attentive hosts.

“The tomb of Menkare II,” Miss Mansour replied, with a note of distaste. “He is sure that he has discovered it, even though the sands covered it from human sight longer ago than you can imagine. A pharaoh who has almost been entirely forgotten, but the legend of his missing tomb has persisted down the centuries. And now Lord Bath thinks he’s found it.”

Cecily shivered with delight at the thought. “Do you think we might come along to the dig and have a look? We won’t touch anything. We’ll be on our best behaviour. Won’t we, Raf?”

“I don’t want to touch anything that’s been inside a forgotten tomb.” Raf chuckled. “I’ve got an allergy to curses. I’d love to have a nose at the site, though…history’s a bit of a hobby of mine. Along with gardening. And tinkering. I love tinkering.”

Miss Mansour chuckled. Then she looked Raf and Cecily slowly up and down, as if she was assessing them. Cecily did her best to smile under her scrutiny. It felt as if Miss Mansour wasn’t just looking at them, but into them. Although Cecily told herself she couldn’t be. Then Miss Mansour nodded.

“Yes, why don’t you come along? I believe I can trust you.” Miss Mansour pointed to the jumble of necklaces and amulets around Raf’s neck. “You’re wearing a scarab, I see. And the Eye of Horus.”

Raf nodded. “It’s not my first time in Egypt,” he admitted, almost bashfully. “And I like to pack on the protection. Whether it’s from the sun, or…whatever else is floating about.”

“You are very sensible to do so,” Miss Mansour said. “Lord Bath scoffs at such ideas, of course. And I am told sometimes that I am too superstitious, but you never can be too careful. Especially not when you’re robbing graves, even ancient ones.” She paused for a moment, before adding, almost to herself, “Especially ancient ones.”

“We’re very careful about such things,” Cecily said, knowing she couldn’t go into detail with someone they’d not long met. “We always treat the dead with respect.”

“They’re people too,” Raf pointed out, straight-faced. “Just like us.”

“Oh, they are…” Miss Mansour glanced away for a moment, towards the southern horizon. Cecily sensed her homesickness again, a feeling of loss and loneliness. Then Miss Mansour turned back to face them. “You see, I knew I could trust you. There are not many people on this earth who share that sentiment, Mr de Chastelaine.”

Raf smiled gently and admitted, “It’s just something life’s taught us.” And he glanced towards Cecily, his eyes filled with love.

“Miss Mansour!” It was Lord Bath’s braying voice, and it was coming closer from inside the ship. “I say, Miss Mansour, where are you hiding?”

Miss Mansour sighed. “I apologise. I must speak to Lord Bath.” She raised her voice and replied, “I am out here on the deck, Lord Bath, taking the sea air.”

“Dreaming of the old homeland, eh!” Lord Bath stepped out onto the deck. He put his hands on his hips and drew in a deep breath of sea air. “Good Lord, it’s hotter than ever today!”

He was dressed in a linen suit, as most of the European men on the ship were. But Lord Bath’s looked particularly expensive, cut to fit just right. His square jaw jutted out as he took the air, as though he was the master of all he surveyed. And the truth was, men like him were.

Not women like Cecily or Miss Mansour, not men like Raf. But wealthy English aristocrats in Jermyn Street linen suits ruled the world.

“This is not hot!” Miss Mansour chuckled. “You have the sea breeze here. But out in the desert, it doesn’t matter how hot it gets, you hope the wind won’t start up or a sandstorm might follow. But I will be glad to see my home again, yes. Are you not pleased to see yours when you return to England?”

“One has several, and one is always happy to see them. But the tomb of Menkare II is my life’s work. I’ll happily take a long-lost legendary treasure horde over even the nicest family pile in Bath.” Bath guffawed. He lifted his Panama hat to Raf and Cecily. “Good afternoon, Mr and Mrs de Chastelaine. Egypt awaits, what!”

“Oh, it does!” Cecily replied. “You must be so excited about the dig. I know I am, and I’m not even digging anything. But then I’ve never been to Egypt before, and you’re all experts on it. Miss Mansour especially.”

Miss Mansour smiled wistfully. “Egypt and her myths and legends have been my life’s work.”

But it wouldn’t be Miss Mansour’s name connected with the find. Rather, the name of a man born in a country far away, in a land without a single desert to its name.

“I must confess this was a last throw of the dice,” Bath admitted. “Seven failed digs over the years. But our Miss Mansour isn’t only a dashed pretty face. She’s got a very clever little brain in that head of hers!”

Little brain? Cecily had once been married to a man who spoke like that about women. She bristled on Miss Mansour’s behalf.

“How kind of you to say so,” Miss Mansour replied, acknowledging his backhanded compliment with a nod. “I have worked very hard—studied very hard—to acquire the knowledge I now have of my country’s ancient past.”

“And we’re all terribly grateful,” Bath assured her. “Miss Mansour was able to interpret the last clues to the location of the tomb. When the treasures of Menkare II are exhibited in London, I’m sure this young lady’s beauty will dazzle almost as much as the pharaoh’s gold.”

Young lady’s beauty?

Cecily bristled anew. She could sense that Miss Mansour didn’t appreciate the way Lord Bath spoke about her either, but she didn’t say anything.

“And everyone will want to talk to her to find out how she worked out the last clues,” Cecily said.

Miss Mansour gave Cecily a smile, as if telling her that she appreciated her support. “I would be more than happy to.”

Lord Bath met that with a bark of uproarious laughter. He clapped his hands together and exclaimed, “Quite so, Mrs de Chastelaine, quite so!” He wiped his eyes on a pristine white handkerchief. “And when one dines at the Ritz, one lauds the waitress for the chef’s splendid work, eh?”

“But without Miss Mansour, you wouldn’t have found the tomb,” Raf pointed out, frowning. “Isn’t that right?”

“And without my money to hire her, Miss Mansour wouldn’t have been part of the party at all.” Lord Bath’s smile had become rather tight. Cecily could tell that he didn’t take kindly to such ideas. “And she certainly wouldn’t have had access to the tablets and very rare papyri that held the secrets of Menkare II’s tomb. Believe me when I say that such treasures are highly prized and priced accordingly. Far beyond the reach of the Miss Mansours of the world.”

Miss Mansour raised an eyebrow before putting her sunglasses back on. A chill breeze rose from the sea. “That is because the tablets and papyri I needed to study are held in a private collection in England.”

“Guilty as charged.” Bath chuckled. “And I may yet have one surprise left up my sleeve, madam. A little showmanship, if you will.”

“Is that so?” Miss Mansour sounded like someone who was not easily surprised. She tapped her fingers against the ship’s railing, her rings clanging on the metal. “I shall look forward to it.”

“Well, you’ll excuse me. I must dress for dinner.” Bath gave a polite nod of farewell. “Miss Mansour, might I escort you to your state—cabin?”

No stateroom for the hired help then, no matter how valuable their knowledge.

“No, thank you, Lord Bath. I believe I can just about remember the way there. Good evening.” And with that, Miss Mansour inclined her head, then turned and glided away along the deck.

Cecily glanced at Lord Bath, wondering if he had taken offence. But how else could Miss Mansour have reacted without any further dents to her dignity?

“She’s homesick,” Cecily told Lord Bath by way of explanation.

“Ah, England’s green and pleasant land. We all miss her, of course,” Bath replied, apparently untroubled by her departure. And somehow unaware that perhaps Miss Mansour, his Egyptian associate, might not consider England home, no matter how green or pleasant.

“Egypt,” Raf said bluntly.

“Yes, she misses Egypt,” Cecily prompted Lord Bath. “I think maybe she’s glad not to be in England.”

“Well, I certainly won’t be asking her to come back to England if she prefers to remain in Egypt,” the Earl of Bath replied with a magnanimous smile. “I shan’t be requiring her expertise once the tomb is open. Miss Mansour can go wherever she might wish.”

Raf frowned and asked, “You won’t give her the credit for her work, then?” He added innocently, “I thought you said you couldn’t have done it without her.”

“She’s terribly clever,” Cecily added. “Just think of the number of languages she understands, modern and ancient ones. And she knows a terribly vast amount of things about the ancient world as well!”

“And dashed pretty too,” the Earl of Bath replied. “Well, I shall take my leave. Good afternoon to you both!”

“We must go and dress for dinner. Good afternoon,” Cecily responded, the words sticking in her throat. The earl gave another nod and retreated back towards the ship.

“Cheerio,” Raf called, but Cecily knew that his bonhomie was an effort. He didn’t like Lord Bath any more than she did. If the nobleman realised, of course, he didn’t care. Instead he disappeared into the ship, whistling a cheery tune as he went.

Cecily waited until he had gone, then she whispered to Raf, “What a dreadful man, robbing Miss Mansour of her discovery. I really don’t like him at all, Raf. But then, maybe I’ve known one too many men like him in my life.”

Raf nodded. He put his arm around Cecily’s shoulders and whispered, “Not my sort of bloke either. Do you want to head in and get ready to eat?” Raf kissed her cheek. “Do I have to wear shoes to dinner?”

“Oh, yes, let’s go back to the cabin.” Cecily chuckled. “Shoes? Well, if you don’t wear shoes, we might not be invited to the captain’s table tonight. But if the delightful Lord Bath’s sitting there again, maybe that’s a good thing.”

“I’ll put shoes on,” Raf assured her. Then he added with a wink, “But I’ll slip them off when I’m sitting down,”

Raf really didn’t like shoes. He was happiest barefoot, wandering through the garden at home. Cecily smiled at him. “I’d expect nothing less, darling! Right, let’s get ready for dinner.”

Arm in arm, they strolled along the deck towards their cabin.

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About the Authors

Eleanor Harkstead

Eleanor Harkstead likes to dash about in nineteenth-century costume, in bonnet or cravat as the mood takes her. She can occasionally be found wandering old graveyards. Eleanor is very fond of chocolate, wine, tweed waistcoats and nice pens. Her large collection of vintage hats would rival Hedda Hopper’s.

Originally from the south-east of England, Eleanor now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat who resembles a Viking.

You can follow Eleanor on Facebook and Twitter

Catherine Curzon

Catherine Curzon is a royal historian who writes on all matters of 18th century. Her work has been featured on many platforms and Catherine has also spoken at various venues including the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Dr Johnson’s House.

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

You can follow Catherine on Facebook and Twitter and take a look at her Website.

Giveaway

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Illusions in Paint + Giveaway

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Illusions in Paint by Ann M. Miller

Word Count: 65,807
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 248

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
FANTASY
ROMANCE
YOUNG ADULT
YOUNGER READERS

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Book Description

 

When art and illusion collide, no one is safe.

Eight months ago, Julia Parsons learned to control her strongest emotions—the ones that created doorways into paintings. With her Vista magic now in check, she has stopped looking for the descendant of the witch rumoured to have the power to remove her abilities. But when her magic goes haywire and paintings begin calling to her, she can barely resist opening portals into any works of art she encounters.

Then Julia runs into Luke Mercer, who offers to help her find the descendant, a teen named Marisa. When Julia’s boyfriend Nick joins the search, they locate the girl—in an art gallery, of all places. Before Julia can ask Marisa to remove her magic, the call of so many paintings overwhelms her, and she opens multiple portals at once. Marisa is sucked into one, and Julia and the boys are forced to enter works of art to get her back.

As Julia’s connection to the art intensifies, so does the danger lurking in the deep corners of the paintings they move through. In order to save Marisa and her friends, Julia will have to separate reality from illusion…and fully embrace the magic that runs through her veins, once and for all.

Publisher’s Note: This book is best read as the sequel to Captured in Paint.

Excerpt

The smudge of purple on my skin was my first clue that I’d done the unthinkable. The acrylic paint set on the table was my second.

I stood in the kitchen doorway, looking from the lavender-coloured smear on my thumb to the paint set that was sitting open next to the napkin holder. I had first noticed the spot on my skin a minute earlier in the bathroom, when I’d held my hands underneath the tap to wash them. The Beatles song I’d been humming had died in my throat, and I’d stumbled down the stairs, willing it to be a hallucination. But when I’d caught sight of the paint set, its case glinting in a pool of early morning sun, I’s known the truth. I’d done the one thing I swore I’d never do again—I’d painted.

My limbs were frozen, my only movement a twitching of the thumb marked with the telltale speck of paint. The paint set had been stowed away in the basement. I hadn’t touched it in eight months—hadn’t so much as looked at a paintbrush. So how did—?

My heart accelerated as I spotted the corner of white paper peeking out from under a placemat. My paralysis broken, I reached up to the hollow of my throat. The heart-shaped pendant still rested there, effectively dampening my strongest emotions. Thank God. If there was a painting under the placemat, I wouldn’t be in any danger of bringing it to life. And I didn’t mean figuratively. Without the charmed necklace, my Vista power was released—a power that not only opened doorways into works of art but pulled people inside, trapping them.

Yeah, it sucks to be me.

Taking a deep breath, I pushed off the doorframe and shuffled to the table. I ran my hand over the tubes of acrylic paint nestled in one side of the case. Every tube was accounted for, although the lavender lay crooked in its slot. As I straightened it, my fingertips pulsed with the memory of blending colours with my brush, dabbing and sweeping in an imitation of my favourite painter, Bob Ross. God, I’d missed that feeling. Eight months was a long time to go without creating, but it wasn’t worth the risk.

I snatched my hand back from the tube, focusing on the other side of the case, which housed my paintbrushes. My filbert was missing. I quickly scanned the table, but there was no sign of it. I’d look for it later. Right now, I needed to gauge the full extent of what I’d done.

With my hand shaking just a tad, I peeled back the placemat to reveal the entire piece of paper. My heart slowed to normal speed. No picture there, but a streak of paint shimmered on the bottom right-hand corner of the page. It was a streak that was an exact match to the colour on my thumb, which meant that sometime during the night I’d—

My ears pricked up at the sound of Aunt Karen’s SUV pulling into the driveway. Crap. Instinctively, I crumpled the page into a ball and pitched it into the garbage under the sink. Then I snapped the paint set closed and hightailed it down to the basement. I slid the case back onto the dusty shelf where it belonged and bounded back up the stairs just as my aunt’s footsteps sounded in the front hall. I took big, gulping breaths of air and turned to greet her when she entered the kitchen.

“Hi, sweetheart,” she said, dropping her bag onto a chair. She brushed back the wisps of auburn hair that had escaped from her bun and massaged the back of her neck. Her face was imprinted with lines of exhaustion, and her cheeks had almost zero colour. I knew she enjoyed her work as a general surgeon, but the overnight shifts took a lot out of her.

“Hey, Aunt Karen. How was your night?”

“Oh, you know, the usual. Back-to-back surgeries and…” She trailed off with a frown. “Why are you out of breath?”

I scrambled for an excuse. “Oh, I was dancing to my Beatles playlist.” I did a stupid little twirl.

My aunt glanced around. “I don’t see your phone.”

I groaned inwardly. Even when she was practically dead on her feet, she was perceptive. She knew I always listened to my music on my iPhone with my earbuds in. “I was doing it upstairs. Just came down.” I pretended to pick some lint off my pajama top so I wouldn’t have to make eye contact.

She didn’t need to know what had happened—not that anything had happened. I’d discovered a smudge of paint on my thumb and one on a piece of paper. It wasn’t like I’d created another world that could be opened up, not like my mural. But to make sure I didn’t, I’d burn my paint set or haul it to a dumpster or something—anything to get it away from here, which was why there was no point in freaking out my aunt. I’d take care of this—whatever this was—the first chance I got.

Aunt Karen crossed to me and tipped my chin up so I had no choice but to look at her straight on. She fixed her green eyes on mine. They were tired but sharp. “Talk to me, Julia.”

“About what?” I quickly tucked my thumb under my fingers to hide the evidence. “My crappy cooking skills? Because we can get something out for breakfast today.”

“You know that’s not what I mean.” Her gaze softened. “You’re worried, aren’t you? That’s why you’re wearing this again.” She touched her fingertip to the pendant hanging around my neck.

I nodded and briefly shut my eyes, all too happy to let her think my emotional management was my major issue right now. “Yeah. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t slide this week.”

She gathered me in a hug. “It is a big week. I can’t believe you’re graduating and going out into the big world.” She tightened her arms around me. She smelled like chamomile and the strong soap she used for surgical scrubs. “I’m going to miss you.”

I rolled my eyes. “I’m not going very far.” After discovering I was a Vista witch, my plans to study at the Art Institute of Chicago had changed. I’d been accepted to the University of Western Ontario, where I planned to do a Bachelor of Arts degree while I figured out what I wanted to major in. The campus was only a few hours away from St. Peter’s. The best part was that my boyfriend, Nick, and my best friend, Roxy, were going to UWO, too.

Aunt Karen let me go with a smile. “I’m proud of you, you know? For keeping your grades up, even after everything you’ve been through, and for controlling your magic… I know it’s been no small feat.”

It had been my decision not to wear the necklace that stifled my strongest emotions, the ones that opened paintings, before I could get control of them. I’d wanted to live my life without dulling my feelings, so I’d worked at tempering them using the techniques Mom had taught me when she had been alive. While I’d gotten pretty good at checking the emotions that threatened to overwhelm me, I’d strapped on my charmed armour—aka the necklace—at the beginning of the week, just to be on the safe side with so much going on. It had gotten me through final exams and my eighteenth birthday the day before. Now I trusted it to get me through the big party tonight and the graduation ceremony tomorrow.

Of course, the necklace hadn’t stopped me from hauling out my acrylics and smearing paint on paper.

I shook off the thought and tucked my hands in my pockets. “I’m not taking any chances these next couple of days, Aunt Karen. I’ll Krazy Glue this sucker to my neck if I have to.”

She smiled again. “I don’t think you’ll have to go that far. Just check the clasp every so often.”

She didn’t have to tell me twice. Last fall I’d lost the necklace when the clasp had broken, and the chain had fallen off. Then Luke Mercer had found it and kept it from me for his own warped reasons.

Not for the first time, I wondered where he’d gone after getting access to his trust fund. I mean, it wasn’t as if I cared. I wasn’t looking for payback or closure, even though I hadn’t completely forgiven him for the part he’d played in Mom’s death. Still, I couldn’t help being curious about where he’d ended up.

“So,” I said, “how about that breakfast?”

“Oh honey, I’m exhausted. I’m going to go right to bed.” She pulled a couple of bills from her wallet. “Here. You go treat yourself to something.”

I took the money and grinned. “Don’t mind if I do. Thanks, Aunt Karen. Can I take the car?”

She slung her bag over her shoulder. “Be my guest. I’ll be out of commission for at least a few hours. But I’ll need the car tonight for my next shift.”

“No worries. Nick’s picking me up for the bonfire.”

“One last hurrah before the big ceremony, huh?”

I laughed. “Something like that.”

While she disappeared into her bedroom, I took a quick shower. Once I was dressed, I lingered outside her bedroom door, listening for the sound of her snoring, something I could always count on. As soon as it came, loud as a chainsaw, I hurried back down to the basement, grabbed the paint set and flew out to the SUV.

I glanced up and down the street as I slid the case in the trunk, feeling like I was on a clandestine mission. And I was, in a way. I didn’t want anyone to know what I was doing and why. I could imagine how the conversation would go if I told the truth. Oh, you know. Just going to dump my acrylics because apparently I can now paint while I’m asleep. Either that, or something drove me to paint last night, and the incident was wiped from my memory.

Yeah, that didn’t sound crazy at all.

Ten minutes later I pulled into the mall parking lot, not stopping until I reached the far corner, where a Salvation Army donation bin sat. I got out of the car, looked around to make sure no one was nearby and grabbed the handle of the case. Instead of tossing it right in, though, I hesitated—kind of like I had when I’d touched the paints right before discovering the smear on the sheet of paper. A heaviness settled in my stomach, and I swallowed hard.

I’d known this would be tough, but now that I was on the verge of giving away my most prized possession, it all seemed so…final. Once I did it, there was no going back. There’d be no painting for me, ever again, because there was no way I’d ever buy new acrylics. It would be the last nail in the coffin of my relationship with paint.

I curled my fingers around the pendant and squeezed. Without its power, I would have burst into tears by now, but it was keeping my emotions from overflowing. It was the reason I found the strength to pick up the case and hoist it into the bin. As the door of the box clanged shut, my heart gave a little jump, then stilled.

This was the way it had to be. No paints and brushes meant no risk of making art, which meant no risk of magic.

But just in case, I wasn’t going to take my necklace off, not even for a second.

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About the Author

Ann M. Miller

Ann Miller writes young adult novels about first loves, family secrets, and magic. She grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, where the local bookmobile fed her diet of Nancy Drew mysteries, Sweet Valley High books, and Stephen King horror. After graduating from the University of King’s College, she moved to Newfoundland, an island that makes up for its unforgiving climate with beautiful coastlines and majestic icebergs.

When she’s not reading or writing, Ann can be found spending time with her husband and son, or binge watching Netflix while curled up with the two four-legged members of her family.

Captured in Paint is her first novel, and she has several more in the works. Take a look at Ann’s website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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