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A freelance writer is awakened by a bad dream, and then the dream becomes reality. At the age of thirty, Dannah Wingate discovers she has become psychic. Pursuit of her family history and how she acquired this unnerving ability leads her to a small college town in Mississippi, and a handsome stranger who is wrongly accused of murder. Dannah knows the truth, but proving it becomes her challenge.
April 13, 1952
Even with his back to her, he could feel the heated anger boiling from his wife as she stood in the doorway of their tiny kitchen.
"Salvatore? I found these cuttings from the newspapers in your underwear drawer. Whatâ€™s the meaning?â€ She spoke in English but with a heavy lyrical accent.
"Nothing you would understand, woman,â€ he responded without looking at her. "Put my things back where you found them.â€
"Iâ€™ll do nothing of the sort. I want an explanation. You have every article on all those poor little children who were murdered. Why?â€
Salvatore Varossa erupted from the kitchen chair so swiftly it tipped over backwards with a loud clatter against the linoleum floor. One large bony hand clamped cruelly around his wifeâ€™s neck, while the other tightened into a menacing fist held aloft. Shocked by his outburst, she dropped all the papers and began clawing at his painful grip.
"Why? Why you ask?â€ He lapsed into his native Italian tongue, his voice low and gravely. "Ester, itâ€™s something you could never understand. Itâ€™s a chore I must do. The voice of God is loud, strong and very clear. I must obey His will.â€ His chin trembled as he experienced a fleeting moment of weakness, but it quickly firmed again. "And... itâ€™s because a man likes to keep trophies of his exploits, thatâ€™s why.â€
When he released his handhold on her neck, she fell to the floor sobbing. "You? You killed all those innocent little children?â€
"There is no innocence in this world. Evil begets evil.â€
From the corner of one eye, he could see his ten-year-old daughter, Catherine, dart behind the sofa. That his streak of violence had recently grown more pronounced was known by every member of his family, even the cat. Catherine was a simple-minded child probably born of someone elseâ€™s weak seed, certainly not his own. All the children Ester had borne for him had died in their infancy... except this one.
While his wife huddled in the corner, Salvatore kneeled onto the floor and painstakingly, almost lovingly, picked up each of the newspaper articles, read them aloud, one-by-one, then folded them and placed them in an envelope. But, it was the report in todayâ€™s paper that upset him more than his wifeâ€™s untimely discovery. He ransacked the kitchen drawers to find the scissors and carefully cut the item from the newspaper and reread it several times, once out loud.
"Desperate to find the killer, it was announced today by the City Police of Oxford that they have sought the advice of a self-professed psychic, Rainy Skies, Native-American wife of noted cotton exporter Jonathan Wingate. Rainy Skies, descendant of several generations of Chickasaw tribal shaman, is said to have the unique power to see faces and feel emotions when touching objects that have belonged to or been touched by the killer or his victims. Pressed by angry citizens, local police have reached a point where they are willing to try anything, even the supernatural, to bring this heinous killer to justice. Mrs. Rainy Skies Wingate, who spoke from her home at 703 Azalea Lane, has graciously accepted the invitation to meet with the detectives tomorrow morning.â€
Salvatore carefully folded the item and placed it in the envelope. He tucked in his shirttail, spit on his fingers and slicked his thick black hair away from his face. His mind raced at a furious pace searching for a solution. There seemed to be only one. He climbed the narrow stairs to the bedroom he shared with his wife and opened the top drawer of his dresser. First, he hid the envelope beneath his socks, then found his prized hunting knife, kept safely stowed in its scabbard. He removed the blade from its sheath. Little beads of blood sprang from his thumb as he tested the sharpness. Buono.
Sharleen Johnson has several published novels to her credit with more in the pipeline. She has been active in the local chapter of the Romance Writers of America and has lectured beginners on the craft of writing fiction. She writes romantic suspense in both contemporary and historical settings. Her other interests include training dogs, gardening, genealogy, crafts, "my beloved Macintosh computer," and playing casino blackjack.
Sharleen lives near Chattanooga with her husband, Joseph Rhinock, and Tiger, their Norwich Terrier. They have a son, daughter and seven grandchildren.
This story is an exciting suspenseful tale that will keep you on pins and needles until the end. The lead duo are thrown into a very quick, very passionate affair that is as volatile as the storm brewing around them. McCrae is an angry, bitter man who wants to kill whoever ended the lives of his family. He's a real hot-head where Crissa keeps cool under pressure. A very interesting plot with the storm and their raging emotions make for an explosive storyline.â€ Highly Recommended - -Robin Peek, "Under the Covers."
This story is smoothly written. From the prologue to the last page, the action is paced to keep the pages turning. The hero, Frank, is driven and well motivated, and while the heroine, Crissa's motivations are less clear, she comes alive. The developing romance literally steams. Sharleen Johnson has written a page-turner.â€ Five Stars --Janet Lane Walters, simegen.com
This story by Sharleen Johnson will have you sitting tall and tapping your foot in impatience. You want to get to the end of this book. You have to get to the end because the need to know what happens is intense. Johnson knows her police work and pulls off the story by filling us in just as we need to know. Filled with details, sensual love scenes and spicy dialogue, Johnson has a winner. Â© --Diana Lesire Brandmyer, Sharpwriter.com
Ms. Johnson has created a riveting page-turner filled with colorful and extremely fleshed out main characters. A skillful balance between her use of narrative and dialog makes for easy reading, as well as an extremely well researched and visually rendered locale. This reader thoroughly enjoyed this exciting work by an up-and-coming author to keep an eye on.â€-- Denise Clark, Road to Romance
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 292
Paper Weight (lb): 12.4
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