Friday, April 28, 2017

Virtual Tour & #Giveaway for The Yellow Hoods Series by Adam Dreece

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Tour, presented by Silver Dagger Book Tours, for The Yellow Hoods Series by Adam Dreece.  Please leave a comment or question for Adam to let him know you stopped by.  You may enter his tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck! 

Along Came a Wolf
The Yellow Hoods #1
by Adam Dreece
Genre: YA, Steampunk, Fantasy

"...intriguing contraptions, appealing characters, snide villains, humor, and an exciting story." — Kirkus Reviews

"Dreece has crafted a tale with elements to delight the child in all of us, and intrigue the most creative adult mind." — Author J.K.Norry

Gripping adventure, brilliant inventions, and splash of humor.

Steampunk meets Fairy tale.

Tee, Elly, and Richy peaceful little world is shattered when they become entangled in a plot to steal the world's first steam engine plans from master inventor, Nikolas Klaus. Will Klaus' ties to the secret society known as the Tub (lead by a butcher, baker, and candlestick maker) be their undoing? Or will they live on to become legends?

The series grows in intensity as it goes and uses humor along the way. It has strong female characters, no graphic violence, no sexual content, and is loved by kids aged 9-15 and adults (written for both audiences). Loved by fans of Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and Ranger's Apprentice.

Awards and Accolades:

- Book 1 - Finalist for IAN's Book of the Year 2015 in Young Adult
- Book 1 - Honorable Mention by Reader's Favorite for their 2016 award for grades 4-6
Book 1 - Calgary Herald best-sellers '14, '15
Amazon #1 Best Seller in Steampunk, Fairy Tale

Amazon * Kobo * B&N * Apple * Google Play * Smashwords

BreadCrumb Trail
The Yellow Hoods #2

"A powerhouse of young adult fiction" -

In an act of desperation, Maxwell Watt entrusts his son to smuggle the completed steam engine to Nikolas Klaus, a master inventor in another kingdom. When the nefarious secret society, the Fare, learns the game-changing invention’s plans are en route, they accelerate their own scheme to neutralize to reclaim control over the kingdoms.

Meanwhile, after a decade of relative tranquility in Mineau, local children have started to go missing—again. Captain Archambault suspects the return of the disturbing and depraved Ginger Lady. With the help of Tee, Elly, and Richy—the Yellow Hoods—the search is on to find the missing children before it is too late.

What is the secret that ties one of the Yellow Hoods to the Ginger Lady?
Who are the Red Hoods?

All the King's Men
The Yellow Hoods #3

"Truly masterful storytelling" -

More than a hundred years ago, a king declared that all geniuses, scientists and inventors were abominations, save for those willing to become his Conventioneers. His edict spread like wildfire through the kingdoms, and drove the hunted into the arms of the secret societies, the Tub and the Fare.

Decades later, having taken control of the remains of the crushed Fare, a young Marcus Pieman follows up on rumors of a homeless, teenage Abominator in his city. When the scared Nikolas Klaus looked up at Marcus for the first time, a tremendous bond was forged.

A betrayal leads Tee to a showdown with her greatest foe. Who breaks and who lays bleeding in the middle of nowhere?

And Mounira learns the truth about the once great inventor, Christophe Creangle.

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Beauties of the Beast
The Yellow Hoods #4

The Lady in Red’s revenge against the Piemans is nearly complete, and soon there will be no one to stop her. She’s ready for anything, except for the return of her long dead son. But is it really him?

Tee watches as the airships rain down fiery destruction. She adjusts the rocket-pack’s leather straps and glances over her shoulder. Her friends might never forgive her, but she can’t stand idly by any longer. In a blink, she’s thrown into the air. Then, the unthinkable happens—the rocket-pack comes off.

Who’s the new Yellow Hood? Who dies? And are the Piemans really down for the count?

Beauties of the Beast continues the thrilling ride from All the King’s-Men and will have you punching the air with joy and biting your nails in angst.

Amazon * Kobo * B&N * Apple * Google Play * Smashwords

The Day the Sky Fell
Yellow Hoods #5

The gripping adventure continues in this international best-selling Steampunk meets Fairy tale series!

As the shepherd watched the aerial bombardment of his village, he had no idea it would lead him to tip the scales in the war between Marcus Pieman and the Lady in Red.

Meanwhile, the Yellow Hoods, along with the meager remains of the Tub, race to rescue Nikolas Klaus before it's too late. Who will betray them, and who will be murdered?

The Day the Sky Fell picks up where Beauties of the Beast left off, and brings an epic finale to the series. But is this truly the end of the Yellow Hoods? Find out!

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From The Day the Sky Fell, The Yellow Hoods Series, Book 5

Chapter 1 – Liddel Problem

The shepherd stretched out his arms and yawned at the cloudy, late summer sky.

“Time to go home,” he said to his sheep that were milling about on the grassy mountain plateau.

He pulled his grandfather’s old crook out of the ground and cleaned off the bottom with his hand, just as he had for his father. The hooked staff and the trade that came with it had been passed down for centuries from one Liddel to the next. It was for good reason that they were trusted with all the sheep of the village.

“Go,” he urged a sheep that stared at him blankly. “Can you not see the smoke rising from the chimneys? It means our day is done.” He pointed, but the sheep seemed unconvinced. “This is not one of my stories. Can you not feel it in your belly? Surely you’re full, and I can have my dinner.”

After a look of contemplation, the sheep nodded, turned, and started trotting away.

“Listen to Chikahn, my friends. It is time for us to get home, eat, and rest. We will be back tomorrow.” He used his crook to get the stragglers moving and gradually they all headed down the mountain.

Arriving at the valley floor, he corralled the sheep and counted them quickly. He checked the eyes of two of them, and the hooves of another. The Liddel family was known for their meticulous care of animals in their charge, and their passionate storytelling around the dinner table.

As Chikahn was about to get the sheep moving again, he noticed something in the sky approaching the village in the distance. Putting his free hand over his eyes to block the late afternoon sun, he wrinkled his face at the sight. “Is that an air balloon? I haven’t seen one in years.”

He smiled and patted one of the sheep. “Can you believe that? An air balloon. This is a sign of something. Maybe we will have good fortune on this day! Wait… It looks like two… Two air balloons? Unbelievable. They are strangely close together, though. Something is connecting them like they have one huge basket or… it almost looks like a ship’s body connecting them. This doesn’t look like the one used by the Official Cartographer of Teuton. Maybe it is new?”

Clapping his hands, stirring the sheep to get moving. He glanced up at the sky periodically as they approached the village. “What an odd air balloon ship.”
Bat-like wings came out of the sides of the airship, catching the wind and propelling the ship quickly forward.

“What further strangeness is this? Unbelievable. What a story it will make for dinner: a wind ship. I wonder where it’s…” His heart skipped a beat. “It’s heading for our village.”

Chikahn nudged the sheep anxiously with his crook and swallowed hard as his heart sped up. His eyes fixed on the airship. “There is something evil about. I can feel it. We must go. Go my friends! Go! Go! Go!”

As the airship pulled in its wings and slowed over the village, Chikahn abandoned his position behind the sheep and rushed to the front. His ears filled with the sound of his blood pounding.

“Leave!” he yelled, waving furiously. “Go away!”

Glancing back at the sheep, he threw his crook and bolted down the dirt path.

“The sky! Everyone, look at the sky!”

Tripping on a small hole, he slid on his hands and knees. Brushing off his bloody, dusty hands, he watched as fiery streaks fell from the airship onto the unsuspecting village. The pastoral silence shattered as explosions filled the air.

Chikahn fell backwards, his hands over his ears. “What are you doing? Who are you? Leave my village alone!” He scrambled back to his feet and ran for all he was worth.

As he came upon the white post in the road telling him the village was only a half-mile away, the world fell silent. He slowed to a walk and then dropped to his knees. There wasn’t a building left standing. Everything was on fire that hadn’t been destroyed, and he couldn’t hear the cry of a single child. His blood ran cold.

The airship put out its wings again. The wind passed no judgement on it and gave it a strong push.

“No!” he yelled, standing. “You do not get to float away!” He turned about, his hands outstretched. “Where is the justice in this? My village did harm to no one! Who will right this? Who?” He lost his words as he noticed a strange cloud floating the wrong way. Squinting at it, he shook his head. “Am I dreaming?”

The cloud then lowered in the sky and accelerated towards the escaping airship.

The air filled with the sounds of a hundred windmills.

“Are you… the god of the sky?” he asked.

The strange cloud maneuvered behind the airship and then two claps of thunder erupted from it. The airship’s balloons and parts of its body blew apart. As pieces tumbled towards the ground, the mysterious cloud sailed up and away, the sound of a hundred windmills going with it.

Chikahn’s hands wouldn’t stop shaking. “What… what miracle of justice have I just seen? An airship destroyed by a cloud…” He glanced at his village and then at the sky again. “Thank you! I shall never forget.”

With a deep breath, he forced himself to look at the smoking remains of his village. “I will seek not vengeance, for as my grandfather said, it only consumes a man. No, instead I will tell the world of this miracle.”

He stared up at the sky, turning about. “Do you hear me?” I shall tell all of this day: the day that a piece of the sky fell to vanquish evil. You have the promise of Chikahn Liddel.”

Adam Dreece kicked off his indie author career with his best-selling steampunk meets fairy tale series, The Yellow Hoods, which struck a chord with kids 9-15 and adults. After four books in the series, the former software architect put out two more young adult books, the post-apocalyptic fantasy book The Wizard Killer – Season One, and then his science fiction novel, The Man of Cloud 9. The first two novels in The Yellow Hoods series, as well as The Wizard Killer, have been finalists for Book of the Year awards from the Independent Author’s Network.

When he’s not working on his next book, Adam can be found giving talks at schools, libraries, associations, as well as comic-con type events like CalgaryExpo and FanExpoCanada on subjects from how to get one’s ideas out and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, to how to give a successful book signing.

Along the way, Adam has faced many challenges, including working around his Dyslexia (reading and writing disorder), and needing to be ruthless with his time and energy in face of his severe asthma and chronic abdominal scar pain. He’s become an inspiration to some, and a symbol of tenacious hard work to others.

He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his wife and children. He is an active online mentor at, and is a busy public speaker, panelist, and author in Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

Virtual Tour for Covert Kisses by Jane Godman

Author: Jane Godman
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 288
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Coincidence? The beauty who washes up on Mayor Cameron Delaney's private beach eerily resembles his dead girlfriend, Carla. But Laurie Carter, Carla's lookalike cousin, is actually an undercover detective. She's on the job, investigating Cameron's connection to a human-trafficking ring. Laurie knows she must keep her cover—but she's struggling to deceive the man she finds irresistible…

When Cameron discovers why Laurie is in town, he's furious to realize he's being framed—and stunned at his sudden feelings for the lovely agent. But as they uncover the traffickers, a savage serial killer targets Laurie. Can Cameron save the life of the woman he's come to care for…and unmask the threat haunting his family and Stillwater?


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Excerpt

Take his breath away.

That was her one and only aim for this first encounter, and Laurie Carter had three things working in her favor as she kept the target in her sights.
First, there was the understated designer swimsuit that molded itself to her curves, while also cleverly drawing attention to the length of her legs.

Then there was the fact that she was wading ashore onto his private lakeside property. As he sprang to his feet from the rock where he had been sitting gazing out across the water, no doubt he was about to point that fact out to her. Laurie did a rapid check, reconciling this man’s physical attributes with the photographs she had carefully memorized. Dark, wavy hair, swept back from a broad brow and worn slightly long so that it curled onto his neck. Deep-set eyes above high, Slavic cheekbones. A hawk-like nose and lips that were contrastingly full. She had the right man. There was no mistaking him. Tall and powerfully built, he moved toward her with the grace of an athlete, a frown line pulling his dark eyebrows together.

Judging the distance between them to perfection, Laurie waited until he was close enough. As she fell into a pretend faint, she saw shock and something more register in the hazel depths of Cameron Delaney’s eyes. Advantage number three was always going to be the one that clinched it. As his reflexes kicked in and he scooped her up into his arms, Laurie let her head flop back, allowing him a clear view of her face.

His exhalation was an audible hiss. Mission accomplished. The fact that she was trespassing on his land had been the thing that made him notice her. The swimsuit had drawn his attention to her curves and kept him looking. Neither of those things had succeeded in driving the breath from his lungs. That had been achieved for one reason only…because she was the mirror image of his dead girlfriend.

About the Author

Jane Godman writes paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne and SMP Swerve, thrillers for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and steamy historical romance for Samhain Publishing.  Jane also writes erotic romance as Amanda Stewart.



Thursday, April 27, 2017

Excerpt Tour & #Giveaway for Regenerate by Sarita Leone

Welcome to my stop on the Except Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for Regenerate by Sarita Leone.  Please leave a comment or question for Sarita to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter her tour wide giveaway, where one (1) randomly chosen commenter will be awarded a $25 Amazon/BN GC, by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may follow all of the stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above.  The more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.  Good Luck!  I will be posting a review of this book later this week. 

Guest Post by Sarita Leone
Regenerate Book Tour

REGENERATE is a story of redemption, rebirth, and the restoration of order from chaos. It’s a paranormal romantic thriller but these are themes that are relevant to even those of us who don’t list “superhero” as our day job.

The Octopus is a top-secret government intelligence agency whose operatives keep the globe and its inhabitants safe from all sorts of evil.

When the world’s economy is threatened, the two best agents on the planet are called in. Benjamin Sinclair is one-of-a kind, a regenerated commando—that is, science has restored his life after a sniper’s bullet killed him. He’s indestructible and immortal, yet his regenerated heart longs for the only woman who’s ever claimed it. Nicole Anima is brilliant, beautiful, and badass—and she’s psychic so every mind on the planet is open to her. That is both a blessing and a curse, and she fights the madness that hearing humanity’s secrets brings her way.

Anima and Sinclair have a past. She hasn’t forgiven him for his betrayal so when they’re assigned to work together it puts them both in precarious positions. They jump from planes, track down assassins, and kill zombies. That’s right, a zombie army is being manufactured to bring about global madness and the only two beings on the planet capable of putting a stop to it are this amazing pair.

While this is an action-packed adventure—with plenty of sparks flying between the two agents—it is, as I said earlier, a story full of undertones.

Regeneration is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I’ve been personally affected by the medical miracles stem cell usage can bring. While they don’t save everyone who prays for a cure, they do save some. I hope that eventually they save more patients—but until that time, I will write Sinclair, the man who lives through the miracle of stem cells and now saves humanity.

Nicole’s a strong, smart woman but she isn’t infallible. She is human, so she can be killed but she undertakes the most dangerous missions on the planet in order to keep the world safe for everyone. Her psychic gift doesn’t spare her from heartbreak, something that is clear from the very first page of this book. Still, she doesn’t shy away from doing what she is called to do. And while this pair jumps from planes, crashes into continents, and kills those who would kill them, she wages an internal war over her feelings for Ben. Forgiveness doesn’t come easily, especially when the offense is so devastating.

We’ve all suffered in one way or another, and the characters in REGENERATE are tested—just like the rest of us!

The second book in this series releases in December 2017. Nicole and Ben are once again saving the world from evil, doing battle where regular military tactics will not suffice, and dealing with the unique issues that face the most advanced team of agents on the planet.

One world—and a mission to save it. Again.    

Thank you for allowing me to chat about my latest release, REGENERATE! It’s been fun! 

By Sarita Leone

Publisher:  Sarita Leone
Release Date: November 24, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Length: 316 Pages
ISBN: 978-0998388977

Buy Links:  Kindle | Amazon Print B&N Print

About the book:

The Octopus isn't an urban myth—and its agents are anything but ordinary. The intelligence bureau is so well-hidden most doubt its existence. A handful know its location. And fewer walk the halls in the subterranean compound.

Benjamin Sinclair didn't ask to be a scientific miracle but every mission has its risks and one perfectly-placed bullet ended his life—for a brief moment in time.

Nicole Anima battles demons every day. Life as a paranormal resources operative gives her tortured mind a rest—and keeps her from contemplating her own death.

When Anima and Sinclair partner on a globe-trotting race to eliminate the threat about to cripple humanity, all hell breaks loose. Leaping from planes, crashing into continents, dealing with voodoo priestesses, and running through jungles with zombies hot on their trail doesn't leave much time for romance, but this duo somehow manages to sizzle.

Two agents. Telepathic mind paired with regenerated commando. One world—and a mission to save it.


Rating high on the awkward factor—facing someone you’ve just had earth-shaking, huge-tidal-wave-climax sex with and feeling as if it may have been the best—and worst—choice of your life.

Nicole could have hit herself in the head, payback for her brain not doing its job when she needed it most. She’d thought with her heart, not her wits and now she was going to have to deal with that.

Who was she trying to fool? Her heart had nothing to do with it.

No, that wasn’t true, either. She’d kicked common sense to the curb and let her heart rule. Now she felt a victim of an emotional ping pong match.

Heart? Mind? Did it matter?

They had rekindled something that never should have happened in the first place.

Only now, she wasn’t sure about that, either. Hard to shake off the feelings she had for him. Her emotions didn’t care what he was—but her mind? A different story. Now, both heart and mind were more tangled than ever.   

Crashing onto South America after nearly being eaten by a zombie in a cemetery had left her psychologically vulnerable. Grabbing Sinclair—and his to-die-for body and better-than-any-fantasy penis—had been marvelous but the truth was, she had never been this confused in her life. About anything.  

Damn it, but she was screwed.

In more ways than one.

If only…


If only she hadn’t enjoyed it so much.

Staring at herself in the miniscule bathroom mirror wasn’t helping. Her skin glowed, the result of a mind-shattering orgasm. She had a flush that seemed so tell-tale she was embarrassed to have anyone see her. And her eyes, they were the worst. The glimmer in a satiated woman’s eyes was unmistakable. 

AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Sarita Leone is an award-winning author who has written romance in many forms including Regency, paranormal, and contemporary. She loves happily-ever-afters in any setting!

When she’s not writing, Ms. Leone spends her time hiking, learning languages, and traveling. She loves adventure and can pack a suitcase, grab her passport, and hit the road in less time than it takes to peel an apple!

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Spotlight for The Mourning Ring by Sarah Parke

The Mourning Ring by Sarah Parke
Publication Date: October 10, 2016
CreateSpace eBook &
Paperback; 350 Pages
Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fantasy


Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Bronte lives to tell stories. She longs to improve her fortunes through her writing. Charlotte’s father expects her to leave behind her childish fantasies in order to set an example for her three younger siblings. But the Bronte children hold a secret in their veins—a smidgen of fairy blood that can bring their words to life.

When Charlotte discovers that the characters from their childish stories exist in an alternate world called Glass Town, she jumps at the opportunity to be the heroine of her own tale. The city of Angria teeters on the brink of civil war and Charlotte and her siblings must use their magic and their wits to save its people from a tyrant with magic abilities.

But entering the fictional world means forfeiting control of their own creations. If they fail, the characters they have come to know and love will be destroyed. Charlotte is determined to save the city and characters she loves, but when the line between creator and character becomes blurred, will she choose her fantasy or her family?

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

Sarah Parke writes fantasy and historical fiction (sometimes at the same time) for young adult readers and those young at heart. She has a MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast MFA program. Her work has been published internationally, most recently in the July 2015 issue of The Writer magazine. For more information, please visit Sarah Parke's website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 19
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, April 20
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Review, Excerpt & Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, April 21
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Review & Excerpt at Adventures Thru Wonderland

Saturday, April 22
Interview at T’s Stuff
Review at A Book Drunkard

Sunday, April 23
Review, Excerpt, & Interview at Quitterstrip

Monday, April 24
Review & Excerpt at Rainy Day Reviews

Tuesday, April 25
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, April 26
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at Queen of All She Reads

Please check back later this week for my review of this book.

Book Tour & #Giveaway for Dr. Vampyre by S.N. McKibben

Welcome to my stop on the Book Tour, presented by Silver Dagger Book Tours, for Dr. Vampyre by S.N. McKibben.  Please leave a comment or question for S.N. to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck! 

Dr. Vampyre
by S.N. McKibben
Genre: Paranormal Romance

When a college professor is blackmailed by a student …
… he has to walk the fine line of being true to his principles and not letting his bloody secret out.

Dr. John Tennison, professor and physician, wakes up every morning and counts his spoons—a measure of how many tasks he feels he can accomplish during his day. One spoon to walk down the stairs, one spoon to teach a class, one spoon to deal with tardy students. Lupus limits him, but he still gives lectures and works at a hospital. He also makes time for friends, and once a week visits Sanguine Loon’s to sate—or subvert—his one strange desire. His nemesis, the one thing besides lupus that keeps him from leading a normal life, is the blood at the bottom of a little paper Dixie cup.

While Tennison’s blood-drinking habit is a secret, it’s well known that he’s the campus asshole and has no tolerance for students who show up late. When he kicks Vogue model Ylati Badashi out of his lecture hall for wandering in ten minutes late, she’s having none of it. She pouts, she seduces, she blackmails, and puts Tennison at odds with his butler, and finally she tells him the truth about why she needs to be in his class.

Tennison is a man of principles, and though he swears he won’t change his mind, he starts to react unexpectedly to Ylati even as he hates her for making him suspicious of his trusted butler. Tennison has to find out where Mitch goes on his nights off and must deal with a budding attraction to a woman he occasionally hates, all while learning new secrets about himself. It’s going to take a lot of spoons.
Scroll up and help the doctor count his spoons!

Today, I woke up with nineteen spoons instead of twenty-two. Not literal spoons—figurative. I don’t go to bed placing utensils on my face or twirl the family silver from my extremities. Such behavior would insult my Mensa-acceptable 133 IQ.

The spoon theory is a fellow sufferer’s explanation of what it’s like to live with lupus. Spoons represent how much energy I have before I begin to deteriorate, and I am grateful to each and every one of them. Every spoon I wake up with means I can do that many tasks. Tasks like walking down the stairs, teaching my class, seeing patients. The type of things others take for granted.

When my students in the blood cell biology class at the University of Southern California inquire about my condition, I describe lupus as a life-sucking force in which you have to constantly balance your time and energy against the downhill spiral of lethargy and pain. My explanation usually stops anyone from asking more questions. As if not talking about my condition will make the disease go away.

The pain used to anger me. Succumbing to a body that jails my actions is a study in humiliation. Worse is knowing lupus affects more women than it does men. Some call it a woman’s disease. Being a man, you might think that is what bothers me. What bothers me is I don’t like to see women in pain. Knowing what they are going through helps me as a doctor, but as a man, it doesn’t help my psyche.

You see why I strive for a logical life. Emotion takes so much energy that it’s better not to feel. In fact, suppressing any emotion is key to my success. It doesn’t stop the pain lupus gives me. Nothing stops the pain except one unnatural addiction, and that only for a brief moment. So with my shield of apathy and my sword of cynicism, I venture forth into the morning to heal and teach as a doctor and professor.

You’d think I would slow down or take it easy today knowing that I’ve already begun without my usual amount of spoons, but today is the first day of a new semester and I won’t be late. Never, in my nine years of teaching, have I ever been late. Besides, I can’t let those beemer brats wreak havoc in my lecture hall, now can I?

The one indulgence that would solve my lethargy problems flits through my brain. I resolve to shove that thought out. Anything not normal, right now, is not in the plan.


I stroll into my lecture hall at exactly nine fifty a.m. and the whispers stop. Old and new faces attentively follow my shuffle as I round my desk to the dry erase board at the front of the room. I pick up a marker that could make any fifth grader swear off glue and write Dr. Tennison - Blood cell biology.

Thankfully, the counselors and older co-eds let it be known that I am “a real dick” and have an aversion to those who are not on time. So, I rolled my eyes when at ten minutes after ten, she of the model-thin body, sporting six-inch stilettos, tight jeans, and a frou-frou blouse, walked in.

“Ms. Tardy, don‘t bother.”

She gave me the oh-gosh-I’m-really-sorry face. “Are there any more seats?”

“Not for you. Please, don’t waste our time. I don’t take add-ons.” I reached under my desk for the medical book I would use to assist in today’s lecture.

“But, I registered for the class.” Ms. Tardy pouted.

“I don’t care. You’re late. No more room. Get out.” The slam of the thousand-page medical dictionary I tossed on my desk should have been enough articulation in my statement for her to leave.

“I got here as soon as I could!” Her whine climbed the scale into annoyance territory.

“Which is not good enough. You’re done.” I pointed at the door. “Get out.”

“Oh come on. What could I have missed in five minutes?”

“The point . . .” I flashed my Rolex from under my sleeve and checked the time. “. . . And it’s been twelve minutes.”

“That’s not fair!”

“What would not be fair is to make a pulmonary patient, lying open on the table, wait twelve life-or-death minutes for a replacement valve. I’m here to teach. One of those lessons I wish to instill is an appreciation for the value of time.”

Ms. Tardy stood there in her tight jeans and pursed lips with a hand on her hip. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t place her. ”You can go now.” I waved a hand in a sweeping motion. “There isn’t room for you anyway.” There were seats in the back, but she looked like a front-of-the-class, I-want-all-the-attention kind of girl.

“But I pre-registered.” She used her hands for emphasis and struck a classic pose that probably got her into any club or out of any trouble she came up against.

Snorting out my disgust, a glimmer of recognition hit me and I looked harder at Ms. Tardy.

This face before me belonged to Ylati Badashi, the recently “retired” model, and her million dollar Vogue body was in my lecture hall. She must have taken my fluster of disdain for admiration, because her supposedly non-collagen-filled lips curved. But it was that I-have-you-now twinkle in her eye that jostled loose my wrath.

I whisked my walking cane from under my desk. Quick as a turtle in sand, I advanced on her with my geriatric, cane-wielding old man shtick, trying to scare her off my lawn. The fear in her eyes fueled my words. “Get out of my hall!”

I was seething by the time she turned tail and bolted out of the room. She looked like a shackled cat running from the spray of a hose. The image brought tears of laughter to my eyes. It had been a while since I’d laughed that hard. I’m sure my students never see me so much as smile.

Even though I knew the price for expressing my emotion would cost me another spoon and wreak havoc on me later, I couldn’t help the satisfied feeling of living up to my so earned title among the students, Dr. Asshole.

“Dr. Tennison, are you alright?” One of my more faithful students, Ms. Phillips, actually sounded concerned.

I returned to my drab demeanor, leaned heavily on my cane, and grunted an acknowledgment to the third-year co-ed. My physical display allowed the monster of lupus inside me to seek retribution and sap away my energy. Disgruntled for wasting precious vitality on a fritter of a person, I forced down my angry self-reprimand. There was no use getting angry over getting angry.

I resumed my emotionless state and taught as I have for the past nine years—with ruthless abandon. No whining, no excuses, and if you’re late, you fail. If you can’t beat my turtle-ass to class, you’re wasting my time, your time, and everybody else’s time.


After teaching all day, I was down to thirteen spoons. Three spent starting my day: one for teaching class, one for each trip walking to the car, and one for the gallant ass-chewing I gave to Ms. Tardy. When I get down to five spoons, it’s time to think about calling it a day, but I wasn’t there yet.

Mitch, my butler and savior for most my life, picked me up in the blue BMW Alpina. I have never had the privilege of driving it. The DMV denied me a license because of my condition. I did have the honor of paying for it. If you were to ask me, Mitch had a damn nice car to chauffeur me around in.

I called Mitch not only my savior, but also jokingly, my wife. Without him, my life would be impossible. He cooked my food, did my laundry, dropped off and picked up the dry cleaning, scrubbed the house to the point of peeling off paint, scheduled my day, tidied the yard, took some phone calls for me, and made sure I take my medication. I did stop him from wiping my ass—occasionally. Okay, so I’m joking about the last part. He doesn’t wipe my ass, but what unmarried guy in his thirties is going to deny the rest? If sex weren’t involved, I’d marry him. Sure, he’s an adorable thirty-nine year old in a small stout package with dark hair and soft dark eyes, but that’s not how I roll. I’m pretty sure that’s not how he rolls, either.

Off we go to the medical center with Mitch at the wheel and me in the back seat orienting myself with the next class session. Mitch is quite the chatty type, but I’ve learned to drown him out as any good husband would do. Routinely, after the days I teach, he drops me at the hospital where I work. My assistant nurse, Mary, is the old battle ram of the team—wise enough to tell patients to be here an hour early, kind enough to be the matron of compassion, knowledgeable enough to know what to do if ever I seize from pain.

She leads me to the five-minute staff review and then my first patient of the day. I’m handed a clipboard and being a doctor, I read the case symptoms first. Yes, it’s bad to look at what’s wrong with the person before looking at the name, but we all do it. I wish I had looked at the name before I walked in the patient room, but it was too late to walk the other way when I opened the door.

“Ms. Badashi.” Smooth as a virgin dry-erase board, I did not give away one iota of the seething hate boiling through my veins to Ms. Tardy. “It says here you have all the symptoms of river blindness. What would you prescribe yourself?”

“Ivermectin.” The big brown eyed lost puppy look of hers could have cracked a walnut. That’s when the pain behind my right eye surged. Was the eye torture from her annoyingly correct answer, or lupus? I couldn’t tell. “Do you have river blindness?”

“Please let me into your class.”

The audacity! “Am I to believe that my staff bumped you to my first patient when there are real people in need of my services?”

“Hey!” She actually looked put out. “I am a real person. I am in need of your services!” Again she was wasting my time. You’re late, you fail.

“You, young lady, are a fraud. Get out of my office.” I pressed a palm against my pounding eye. It relieved some of the pressure.

Her whining made my eye worse. “What I need is for you to teach me Blood cell biology.”

“Why me?” I said more to myself than to anyone else.

“Because you’re the best.”

Mitch says flattery will get you anywhere. Yes, there is appeal to being called the best. My ego did flutter a little, but not enough to forgive her cardinal sin number one. With my one hand still pushing back my right eye, my index finger pointed at the door—hard to do with a clipboard still in my hand.


She leaned forward; just enough so her frou-frou top’s fringes hung lose. “I’d do anything to get into your class.”

“Anything?” I smiled and suggestively touched my chest. I did not fail to notice the pink bra she had on.

She nodded and accentuated, “Anything.”

“Sign up next semester and be early.” I threw the clipboard on the counter and tried to slam the door on my way out. Too bad hospital doors didn’t slam. Amazing how my eye felt better after I left her sitting there, but dealing with her cost me yet another spoon. I had eleven spoons left and I needed to get through the rest of my five-spoon work day. Fortunately, I didn’t see her again. I figured that was that.

Mitch picked me up from work at six o’clock. He mentioned Puzo, the dean of students, called. Randolph Puzo is a good man. Works hard, cared about the students, and had gone to bat for me in front of the board about my special condition. He’s the kind of guy you wanted on your team because he did anything to get the job done right.

“John, how are you?” Randolph’s voice came through my iPhone as clear and crisp as a new Benjamin.

“I’m fairing well. What can I do for you?”

Now, Randolph knows I can’t waste energy on chit-chat, and being the good man that he is, he gets to the point.

“John, I have a student that says you chased her out of the lecture hall.”

“Ah, Ms. Badashi. I was afraid she’d fall in those stilettos for the vertically challenged.”

“John,” Randolph chuckled, though I was quite serious, “can you please let her into the class?”

It’s tough and unpopular to be a hardnose, but principles are principles and I refuse to compromise. “She was late, Puzo.”

“It was the first day of the semester.”

“All my other students arrived early. Even before I did.”

His comment was barely audible. “They got the asshole alert.”

“Excuse me?”

To Randolph’s credit, he was as gracious as he always is. “Mr. Tennison, I would greatly appreciate it if you forgave this one transgression and allowed an eager student access to your lectures.”

I should’ve been grateful to Randolph. He’d done so much for me. If I couldn’t make it to class, he would cover for me. He makes sure my lecture hall is the closest to the parking lot. I never had to move desks, books or arrange my classroom during the off season. He’s probably going to catch hell for me denying a student what seems like her dying wish. But when I thought about her suggestive comment, thinking her womanly guiles would work on me, my temper rose to boiling.

“Mr. Puzo, I abide by the school’s program, requirements, curriculum, and every rule and regulation your fine institution implements. Please abide by mine.” I hung up and thought the next call would be a request for my resignation.

Mitch eyed me briefly from the rearview mirror as he was driving. “Sounds like women troubles.”

“Student issues,” I corrected. I wished he wouldn’t call them “women troubles,” as he knew I never had so much as a girlfriend. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been promiscuous. I went to college. Don’t think that lupus affects one’s sex drive, because it doesn’t. I just never had time or the energy to have a steady girl.

“Tim called. Said he’d come to collect you at seven.”

I only had six spoons left for the rest of the night. But I know what Tim would say if I tried to get out of going with him tonight. Just come with us to Loon’s and have a shot and you’ll be fine. Tim wasn’t the type to let me break routine. The schedule never did me wrong. I had a good life, just a limited one.

I sighed and rubbed my temples. How could I deny my best friend since high school? If I didn’t go with him, he’d take every opportunity and every one of his ambulance-driving skills to annoy the fuck out of me at work the next day. Anastasia, fellow lupus sufferer and Tim’s girlfriend, would call me relentlessly and whine in my ear all night. Ever since I can remember, Wednesday nights belonged to the three of us. It’s hard to break tradition.

By six forty-five, I sat ready in the kitchen of my two-story house. Tim usually managed to get Anastasia dressed and ready to go out almost on time. His secret was telling her they had to be there half an hour beforehand. I could have waited upstairs lying down, but going up and down the stairs costs me a spoon. I should have moved to a one-story house, but I’d never sell this home. I’d never be able to replace childhood memories and nostalgia.

Mitch was wiping down the swirled-granite counters while I sat at the four-seat mahogany dining set. His time off was Wednesday night and all of Sunday, fitting perfectly with my schedule. Wednesday I went out with my friends while Mitch went—wherever he went, and on Sunday he left after breakfast and returned on Monday before dawn. But he always made sure I was in safe hands or he could be reached by cell phone before leaving.

I looked at the hundred-year-old Simplex grandfather clock that hung at the opposite end of the entryway to the kitchen. The hands read seven-o-five. My fingers drummed on the table as I counted every second that ticked away. From outside, the sound of Bach booming from distorted speakers was a sure sign Tim’s Tercel was speeding to my driveway.

Mitch raised his head and folded his towel. “Ah, well, here they are.”

We both sauntered out of the kitchen to the rap of Tim’s knuckles on the glass of the window. Mitch grabbed his overnight bag, opened the door, and nodded a greeting to Tim. I scowled and pointed at my Rolex.

Like me, Tim was white bread. But where I had brown hair, he had jet black. I wasn’t as pale as he was, though he tended to stay out of the sun like me. He wore lots of brown and brass and occasionally topped all that splendor with some hat bearing mechanical constructions. Opposed to my daily suit and tie tonight, I lost the jacket and noose, but my slacks were pressed and my button-down collar was appropriate for where we were going.

Tim smiled nervously. He lived up to his nickname of “Jackrabbit,” bouncing on the balls of his feet. Heavy eyeliner accentuated his shocking blue eyes, which pleaded forgiveness. “You know Anastasia.”

I gruffed at Tim and waved at Mitch. I always told Mitch he could take the car, but he insisted on taking the bus. Public transportation was a block away and he never seemed to mind. I didn’t argue. It would have been an exercise in futility as “he was always right.” Just like asking him where he went on Wednesday and Sundays, it was pointless to ask. I stopped wondering where he spent his time off long ago.

Tim bounded to his four-door Tercel and opened the back passenger door for me with a flourish. Anastasia hung over the open window of the front passenger seat. Hourglass figure, impressive chest, thin lips, a strong nose combined with Bette Davis eyes set wide on a heart-shaped face—Anastasia was beautiful. Though I couldn’t understand why a natural redhead dyed her hair auburn. Probably to reap as much attention as possible from her cardinal red strands. Most men would lie down just for the pleasure of saying she stepped on them. But she was as crazy as monkey-flung feces. I had no idea how Tim puts up with her.

“Hi, John.” Anastasia greeted me with a breathy smile and hungry eyes.

I smiled, took her hand, and kissed it lightly. “Good evening, Anastasia.”

She giggled and swatted her free hand on Tim’s butt. “How come you aren’t so charming?”

Tim pivoted around and gingerly took my hand, mimicked my knuckle-kissing gesture and nailed my professor voice perfectly, “John, how lovely to see you. Won’t you please get your ass in the car?”

“Whatever, Jackrabbit.” I said, climbing into the trusty Tercel. I noted that I was down to five spoons and was leaving the house. But it was unlikely we’ll be out too late.

Slave to a 100 lbs. GSD (German Shepard) and a computer she calls "Dave", you'll often see her riding a 19 hand Shire nicknamed "Gunny" to the local coffee shop near the Santa Monica mountains.

Stephanie reads for the love of words, and writes fiction about Dark Hearts and Heroes revolving around social taboos. When ever asked, she'll reply her whole life can be seen through a comic strip ~ sometimes twisted, sometimes funny but always beautiful and its title is adventure. Come play!