Friday, 13 September 2019

News Update

Hi all 

I hope everyone has enjoyed the last days of summer and the beginning of autumn. September to December is my favourite time of the year. I love the changing colours, the brown and coppery tones, the shortening days and the cooler nights. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy summer, especially when the weather is good, but I don’t function well in extreme heat, and autumn is the ideal time for me. I like it when the nights draw in. Getting home to turn on the lights, draw closed the curtains and lock the rest of the world out. Bliss. 

As one season ends and another starts, it seems like a good time for a news round up. In terms of new releases my next one is still some way off–March 2020–so I won’t go into much details yet, just to say that it’s the first book in a loosely linked series coning from Pride Publishing.  By the time this update is posted, I’ll have completed the first draft of the second story in the series, a contemporary romance, this one set in Ibiza. Again, there’s not a lot I can say yet, but I hope to have a big update on the series soon.  

I’ve also completed the final draft on a new novel which I submitted to my publisher last month, a romantic suspense set on the North-East Coast of England. This was a really exciting book to write and I can’t wait to share it. I’m probably going to write a standalone story next, based on my trip to Iceland earlier this year, followed by the third novella in that new series.  

I’m already making plans for my writing in 2020. I’d like to maintain the pace I’ve set this year with one novel, two novellas and a short story or two. 

In terms of what I’ve been reading, I’ve just finished Sylvia Day’s Butterfly in Frost which I really enjoyed and almost finished book one of Lily Harlem’s His Vampire Harem. I also read the first book in Mortica Knight’s Sin City series All Fired Up and am looking forward to the follow up books. I’ve downloaded book two Copping an Attitude to read on holiday.

On TV I caught up with the Netflix series What/If starring Renee Zellweger. Now, I can’t totally recommended this as a good show, but as a fan 1990s erotic thrillers, I absolutely loved it. Basic Instinct, Sliver, Body Of Evidence, I love all those films, and What/If is a throw back to that high octane, highly sexed era. Check that one out if you’re a fan of top-drawer trash. I’ve also been enjoying the new series of Peaky Blinders and I loved Fosse Verdon shown recently on BCC 2. And as a fan of cookery shows I’m totally into the new series of Great British Bake Off and Celebrity Master Chef. 

I’m heading off on my travels again this weekend, to explore the Baltic Sea. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time. It will be my first time visit for all the places we’re stopping at, the highlight of which is an overnight stay in St Petersburg, Russia. Like all of my cruises I hope to pick up a lot of inspiration for future books and romances. Then as soon I get back, it will be full steam ahead on the second draft of my novella while plotting out my next book. 

Have a great autumn whatever you have planned. 

Thom xxx

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Blitz and Giveaway: 13 Steps to the Cellar by Teresa Mathews

Date Published: September 4, 2019
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

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Thirteen Steps to the Cellar. They were steep; they were narrow—but was a fall down them enough to have caused the twenty-seven deep lacerations to her aunt’s head? 

Callie Harris travels from her home in Alabama to her aunt’s former mansion in Maine to unravel the haunting forty-year-old mystery of Dr. Laverne Harris Doss’ brutal death.

Why wasn’t a murder weapon found? Was her uncle justly convicted of the killing? Was his mistress involved? Or was the murderer the bearded stranger rumored to have arrived by train that night?

In the charming town of Richmond, located on the banks of Maine’s historic Kennebec River, Callie uncovers the community’s darkest secrets—a botched police investigation, a betrayed widow’s lie, a dead woman’s blackmail, and a wealthy philanthropist’s shame. The web of intrigue extends far beyond her suspicions and its connection to her personal story pierces Callie to her core.

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About the Author

TERESA MATHEWS is a graduate of The University of South Alabama.  She’s a member of the Mobile Writers Guild and serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association.

An avid gardener and artist, she has multiple book covers to her credit. Several years ago after visiting the site of her real-life aunt’s murder, Teresa discovered a third passion–storytelling. Although inspired by an actual tragedy, Thirteen Steps to the Cellar is fiction.

Raised on the Gulf Coast, Teresa, her husband, and son now live on a farm with a second home on the sparkling white sands of Fort Morgan, Alabama. This is her first novel.

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Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Blitz: Taken by A.L Long

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Last Chance Series, Book 3
Erotic Romantic Suspense
Date Published: August 2019

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“If we could never be together, I would forever remember his touch.”

Alannah’s life was right on track. She knew what it meant to love and be loved. All of that changes when Winston Nelson steps back into her life and takes away everything she longed for. Hidden away where no one can to find her, Alannah once again has to submit to the man she swore would never control her again. Day by day, the hopes of a normal life begin to disappear along with her desire to live

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Other Books in The Last Chance Series:

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Last Chance Series, Book 2
Published: June 2019

“I could feel her heart beat
even though we were miles away”

Rescued from the only life she had ever known, Alannah Jackson learns what it means to be loved and not controlled. Finally able to let go of her past she begins a new life with the man who has shown her what love is. Faced with the truth, Alannah finds she can never escape her past or who she is. She will never love, only serve.

Roman’s love for Alannah is tested when he finds that she has been slaved by a man just as ruthless as Winston Nelson. Against his better judgement, he accepts Martin Holland’s offer to help retrain Alannah and he begins to question the love they shared. After Martin Holland makes it clear of his intentions, Roman stops at nothing to get her back. There is no room for another man in her life.

Contains adult content 18+

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Last Chance Series, Book One
Published: April 2019
The last memory that Alannah ‘Lanie’ Jackson has of her father is the day he went away. Hidden away in an attic from the rest of the world, the only thing that Alannah ‘Lanie’ Jackson can hold on to is the memory of her father and the hope that one day he will come for her. Every day that passes, the memory of her childhood disappears and she learns that her only purpose now is to please. Trained to act a certain way, the day comes when she can finally be free. She only hopes that the man who purchases her will be kinder than her current master.

About the author:

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Award-winning Author of the Independent Press Award and NYC Big Book Award. A.L. Long is also the recipient of the National Indie Excellence Award.

My love for writing began several years ago after an early retirement from a demanding job that I loved, but also hated because it consumed so much of my time. Now, I am able to focus my time on what I love. Writing romance has been a life long dream and to actually say that I am a published author is beyond what I would have ever expected.

Even though some may say I have a little naughtiness in my books, I look at it as an added bonus for my readers. After all what is a romance book without a little spice.

When I am not writing, I enjoy spending time with friends either at home or out on the town. Mostly, I enjoy a relaxing night at home where I can enjoy a glass of wine in the company of a good book.

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Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Free Book Blitz: Ruckus by Zoe Dawson

SEAL Team Alpha, Book 1
Romantic Suspense

Promo Special – Currently Free in ebook format at all online retailers.

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For U.S. Navy SEAL, Bowie “Ruckus” Cooper, going on a mission into the most dangerous place on earth wasn’t new, neither were the orders to tag and bag an international criminal, but when Bowie finds a captive American reporter, that wasn’t exactly run of the mill. Neither was getting separated from his team, teaming up with her or protecting her against all odds, while working to keep his hands from around her neck and off her delectable body.

Other Books in the SEAL Team Alpha Series:

Kid Chaos

SEAL Team Alpha Book 2


SEAL Team Alpha Book 3


SEAL Team Alpha Book 4


SEAL Team Alpha Book 5


SEAL Team Alpha Book 6


SEAL Team Alpha Book 7


SEAL Team Alpha Book 8


SEAL Team Alpha Book 9


Turbo, Columbia, South America

Heading into the world’s most dangerous jungle hadn’t  been on Dana Sorensen’s radar until months ago when she’d gotten an email from her dying mother asking Dana to do something for her. Tell these peoples’ stories. Let the public know what was happening. It had been the last correspondence Dana had received before her mom, her brave, beautiful, accomplished mom had lost her fight with cancer.

As a surgeon involved with Doctors Without Borders, her mom had met and married Dana’s dad, who was a nurse also serving with them. She often wondered if she could even live up to her mom’s ability to be so selfless. Even as the tears moistened her eyes, Dana tried to tell herself that she had no way of knowing her mom was going to go so fast, before Dana could get home. And, with guilt pressing in from all sides, eating at her, the grief still fresh, Dana was going to fulfill her mom’s dying wish. Come hell or high water.

She’d pitched her mom’s story to the editor for Trek Magazine about migrants traveling through the Darién Gap to make it from Colombia to Panama, then up through the Central American peninsula with the final destination the US. It had all stemmed out of her mom’s last trip to Asia where she’d found out that a lot of migrants were heading through South America to bypass the routes that had dried up due to stronger restrictions. And it wasn’t just Asia, but a slew of foreigners looking for a better life free from war and persecution.

But here she was standing on a dock in Turbo, Colombia, a disreputable port town rife with violence on the coast of Colombia and in the horseshoe of the Gulf of Urabá to fulfill her mom’s wish. It was just before dawn, the sun nothing but a glimmer on the horizon. She waited for a boat that would take her and her crew into the Darién Gap, a place that was teeming with dense jungle, dangerous wildlife, impenetrable swamps, wary guerrillas, intense paramilitary, deadly drug traffickers, disreputable guides and no marked trails.

The Darién might be a ten-thousand-mile swath of inhospitable land, but Dana was a correspondent who, due to her mom and dad’s noble example, had given up reporting about the war in exchange for pieces on the human condition. She was now a writer, photographer, filmmaker and contributing editor to International Humanitarian Journal. From her war correspondent experience, she could handle stressful encounters and dangerous people as situations that were all in a day’s work. She’d had some harrowing experiences in her life, but had gotten the story every time. This piece was timely, a hot button and would allow her to showcase what people would do for freedom and a better life along with keeping her promise to her mom. But going into the Gap was risky. She was well aware of the dangers, but had never let that stop her before. These stories needed to be told.

She needed to tell them.

There were several people with her from her film company, along with porters heading to Domingodo to meet up with a representative from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, Cuba-backed guerrillas who had been at war with Colombia since 1964. They controlled the most direct route through the Gap, and it would be her best chance of meeting and talking to migrants attempting the crossing. Permission had been obtained from an official in Havana to pave the way for her and her crew to do this timely story.

The soft drone of an outboard motor broke the predawn quiet. James Quinn, a freelance videographer she’d hired to document the trip leaned over and said, “Are you ready for this?”

She smiled. “I was born ready.” He and her South African producer and naturalized American, Liam Nelson were the two crew members accompanying her on the trip. Her cell chimed and she pulled it out of her cargo pants and read the screen. Jeffrey. He had been calling ever since she’d left San Diego and her office to make this trip.

She hit the accept button and said, “Hi, there.”

“Dana, geez woman, you’ve been a hard one to get a hold of. I really needed to talk to you before you left. It was important.”

“I know, but the okays came through for this trip and I had to go. You understand.”

He sighed heavily. “I do. I know how much your mom meant to you.” At his words, her eyes filled, and she worked at not losing it. “Look I’d be the first one to say what you do is great. You have more courage than some men I know. I would never stand in the way of that, but—”

“I know, and I promise to make time when I get home.”

She wiped her slick palm on her pants. Why was this simple conversation with Jeff making her palms sweat? She swallowed and kept her voice nonchalant. Because she had been sure that he was going to pop the question. That’s what he wanted to talk to her about—getting married. She wasn’t sure she was ready for that. If she would ever be ready for that.

She squeezed her eyes closed on that thought, the unnamed emotion clogging her chest. Every time she thought about marriage it would crop up like some kind of plague. She’d been in some pretty scary situations, so why did marriage make her want to run for the hills like a scared little girl?

“Promise?” he said.

“Promise,” she replied. The motor boat pulled up beside the dock along with another boat whose engine had been drowned out by their transportation. It was a ferry to Sapzurro and Capurganá where migrants could then traverse overland to La Miel, Panama. These migrants weren’t forced to go through the Gap as they had documentation that would allow them to pass without a problem. That wasn’t the route of her story.

People without documentation were forced to hire coyotes, part of the Clan Los Piratas who would charge between five hundred to seven hundred dollars, and transport them in poorly maintained boats, often leaking. But were also notorious for conscripting migrants as mules, then disposing of them.

That was her story.

The most dangerous clan in the area, Clan Los Piratas was a neo-paramilitary group with upwards of twenty thousand members. Dana had read that they had murdered several Americans, many DEA agents in the area and were on the US government’s list. They had a stronghold in the Darién Gap, but she was confident they wouldn’t bother them with their FARC approval and their sanctioned story about the migrants.

Even as the sun rose and the misty jungle lay like a dense, dark giant across the river, she shivered in the steamy air.

As her crew loaded up their gear into the motor boat, Dana disconnected the call. She’d worry about Jeff when she got home. She didn’t need distractions on this trip. After meeting their contact, Captain Enrique Escobar, a middle-aged, dark-haired man with gray at the temples and in his close-cropped beard, his sharp eyes and features telling Dana he had seen plenty in the Gap. During the dire week, with the constant threat of robbery, kidnapping, and death, he and his men hiked the route, while she and her crew recorded one of the world’s most dangerous journeys. She and her crew had hacked through spiderinfested mangrove swamps, walking for days in muggy, ninety degree temperatures, the migrants surviving on crackers and gulping river water. Each of these people—a man from Jafar,  Bangladesh trying to escape its cutthroat political gangs and miserable working conditions; another Bangladesh woman, not much more than a girl—a rural laborer who’d gone to the jam-packed cities for work and found herself locked in the bowels of unlicensed garment factories working for twenty cents an hour; and countless others, Syrians, West Africans, and Cubans. She’d interviewed many of them who told their heartbreaking stories. She and her crew documented everything on memory cards and they were carefully kept in a waterproof bag in her pack. By accident, she found some old footage of her and her mom when she’d met up with her overseas and interviewed her for a piece that had never been aired. Stupidly, she’d forgotten about it and realized this was her only copy. She’d edit this and get it aired when she got home. She’d contact someone she knew at 60 Minutes or National Geographic who would jump at the chance. Once they reached their destination, they were stopped by Senafront, Panamanian soldiers who guarded the border, the travelers’ hopes of freedom and respite were dashed. The migrants were denied entry into Panama, everything they had suffered and endured had been in vain. Fighting her sense of justice, she tried to tell the Panamanian patrol what kind of journey they had made, how courageous they had been. The officer was sympathetic, but he had no choice, he had to follow orders. There was nothing she could do. All that was left for her was to tell their story, document their journey so that their efforts meant something. A painful discomfort under her sternum along with a healthy dose of guilt suffused her as she boarded a piragua to take them to Panama City and the airport for their trip out of the Gap. Home to San Diego to civilization, concrete and glass, teeming with urbanites. But her uneasiness wouldn’t go away. She tried to think about processing this film and documenting the trip. Her heart was heavy, real sorrow for the plight of the people she’d gotten to know so well in the week of traveling with them through the dangerous and deadly Gap, an emptiness deep inside she couldn’t name for fear of… what?

As a storm came up quickly and violently out of the south, they were forced to pull to the bank to wait it out. Dana pitched her waterproof tent and settled inside, lying down on her side. As the leaded sky darkened, she fell into a fitful sleep.

She woke to the crack of gunfire, screaming and running feet. Before she could move, a gun was shoved into her back. She looked over her shoulder at the merciless dark eyes of the man holding the weapon.

“Hello, Dana Sorenson. I’ve got a job for you.”

Before she could gasp a response, he had her out of the tent.

“Who are you?” she demanded. “What do you want?”

“Oh, before too long you will know who I am and what I want.”

A black hood descended cutting off light and hope.

When she fought, someone clipped her on the back of the head and she fell to the ground.

She’d been taken.


About the Author

Zoe Dawson, the author of 40+ books had always dreamed of becoming a full-time romance writer. Her other passions include traveling the world, owning a beach house (she believes she was a mermaid in another life), and seeing her books in movies. When she’s not writing, she’s painting or killing virtual MMORPG monsters in World of Warcraft. She lives in North Carolina with her two grown children and one small, furry gray cat.

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Book Blitz: and Give Away Let Me by K.V. Rose

New Adult Dark Romance
Date Published: 9/3/2019

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“Let me,” he says, voice low, his hand running up my thigh.
“You hate me,” I whisper, knees trembling.
He smiles against my throat. “I don’t need to love you for this, Riley. Let me.”

Love and hate are merely two sides of the same coin. And I hate Riley Larson.
She's responsible for my little brother's death. She played us both, all those years ago. And she drove him to the edge.
I've spent all this time avoiding her, loathing her, wishing to get her back for what she did.

And now, she's back in my city.
And finally, I can get vengeance for my brother.

She did always like to be scared.

No cliffhanger, can be read as a stand-alone. Dark romance, only suitable for those 18+.


I touched her.

I can still feel her throat under my hand, even though she’s long gone. With any luck, she’ll be on a plane back to the States. Maybe already there by now, because it’s nearly midnight. The bass downstairs from Dad’s annual summer party is pumping, and people are drunk as hell, acting sloppy, and I’m in my old bedroom, and I know Mom is in hers, too.

I don’t know why Dad throws this party.

Actually, I do know. It comes with owning half of the real estate market in Toronto and wanting to show off what that means. I’ll be leaving in the morning, of course. I only came for Mom. I don’t give a fuck about Dad, just as he never gave a fuck about Jack.

She thinks I don’t know.

She thinks I don’t know the scheme she cooked up with my dad. She thinks I don’t know he pushed her to me, but I do. What I don’t understand is what he gave her as an incentive. She seemed to really love Jack. They seemed happy together. And yeah, sure, I thought she was beautiful—she still is, if I’m trying to be honest with myself—but I was happy for Jack.

My throat feels tight.

I shake out my hands, trying to get the feel of her off of my skin. It sickens me that when my hand was on her throat, when that fear slid into her eyes, I felt good. Not just because her life was, quite literally, in my hands, but because…

I shake my head and lay back in bed, tapping my fist to my mouth and closing my eyes. I can’t think about her. In the three years since Jack died, I’ve tried so hard not to think about her. When I do, it eats me alive. Knowing that, even though I blame her, and even though, eventually, I’m going to hurt her as bad as she’s hurt me, it was my fault too.

I fell for her. 

About the Author

K is an author of dark romance living in Toronto. She enjoys iced coffee, hot men, and everything in black. To follow K and her adventures in dark delights, head to, or find her on Facebook at

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Friday, 30 August 2019

Millin MIles Away by Alice Bane

Sci-fi/Romance/New Adult
Date Published: Oct 5th 2019
Publisher: VisualBee Publishing

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I won’t bore you with details about the mysterious medical issues I’ve had over the last year;

the sudden severe allergies to food and medication, the sleep paralysis. All I’ll tell you is that they turned my life upside down.

But I’m a rational person.

Naturally, I assumed that my mind was playing tricks on me when I saw the strange figures standing over me.

But it felt so freakishly real;

especially one face in particular that always stayed with me long after I woke up.

Something about him always drew me in and I knew he was different. He made me feel different.

All my life, romance has felt like something that was reserved for everyone but me. I’d accepted that the only love in my life would be experienced through my artwork.

Now I’m questioning everything I know about myself, about reality, and especially about love.

EXCERPT from Chapter 1

The girls would always tease me about how put together my life was. Sure, it looked good on paper; top-rated artist in my department, an amazing house which I always kept immaculate, and when I wasn’t working, I was at the gym. They seemed to think that I had a perfect life. They had no idea how much I envied them. They both had incredible relationships with gorgeous men who doted on them endlessly. They were always commenting on how jealous they were of my body, but they also never missed a chance to eat delicious foods that I couldn’t so much as smell without getting sick. They didn’t realize that my house was always clean because it was empty and sterile; just like the rest of my life.

I didn’t even have a pet. Ever since little Ivan died, I accepted that I wasn’t pet owner material. If I couldn’t keep a goldfish alive, what chance did I have with a more complex and emotionally dependent animal? Besides, with my work schedule, it would be cruel to even try.

“Before we get started with what we’ve got on today, I need to ask you guys a really important favor,” Abiola said, circling the desk to take both mine and Laura’s hands in hers. “The two of you have been such a huge part of my life. You’ve been there for me through all my family drama and I couldn’t love you more if you were my flesh and blood sisters.”

“Abi,” Laura pushed out her bottom lip. “That’s the sweetest thing you could possibly say.”

“Well, I would be so honored if the two of you would be my bridesmaids this spring. Please say yes!”

The three of us all wrapped our arms around each other in a sickeningly sweet display of female solidarity. I forced a smile and swallowed the lump in my throat as I imagined walking down the aisle on the arm of some random groomsman who had a wife or girlfriend somewhere in the church. This would be the second time I was a bridesmaid at someone’s wedding. The old saying ‘three times a bridesmaid, never a bride’ rang out in my mind.

“I would love to be a bridesmaid at your wedding,” Laura crooned.

I mustered the minimal amount of excitement I could get away with for the situation and said, “Me too. I love you, woman,” then patted Abiola on the back.

Abiola nodded and wiped at eyeliner from beneath her watering eyes. She was an old soul with a soft heart. She spent her weekends volunteering at a children’s group home. That was where she met her fiancé Trevor, and they bonded over their dysfunctional family situations. They would probably adopt a bunch of foster kids right after their wedding and live happily ever after. She deserved that; it was all she ever wanted.

“Okay ladies,” Abiola clapped her hands. “Today we’re looking for something we can use for the promotion of the OSA campus, which will be opening next year in Portland, Oregon. Boss says our primary focus is to attract engineering and architectural students for the Lunar-retreat that’s in the works.”

“So, where do we start?” Laura said, looking right at me.

“I am going to need to work up some concept drawings for the Lunar Resort. Also, if you could give me the clearest photos of the most beautiful views the Lunar Surface has to offer, that would be cool to show exactly what the students should be aspiring to be a part of. I want to see some dramatic landscapes with visible craters, maybe some rock formations. Anything to pull people in.”

“I’m on it,” Laura nodded and sat down at her touch responsive computer.

“I’ll go to engineering to get permission to use blueprints of the resort that you can use to make the concept drawings,” Abiola said, then turned and headed towards the elevator.

It was an exciting project. I used to fantasize that by the time I was ready to retire, I would be able to cash in on all the vacation time I had accrued and maybe even spend a few of my golden years at that resort. The thought of waking up in the morning and looking out the window to see the Earth just as we see the moon from down here always gave me a sense of calm.

Four hours later, all final decisions had been made on what I wanted to use on the project. Right on cue, my trusty assistants started complaining that they were starving to death.

“If I don’t get some corned beef nachos in me in the next ten minutes, I might actually die,” Laura said and stood up dramatically from her desk.

“I want waffles and bacon,” Abiola rubbed her belly.

I sighed at the memory of bacon; I would probably just have some raw vegetables and berries. I was still looking at my screen and inspecting one of the photos, trying to decide on how I would alter the image to bring it to life. My eyes burned. I clenched them shut and rubbed them, forcing them to rest. Eye strain was the enemy and this day was proving to be particularly difficult since I had hardly slept the night before. I couldn’t shake my anxiety about today’s social gathering after work. Stress and lack of sleep usually meant a big fat migraine, which was the last thing I needed at Laura’s party.

“I’m going to head to the chill room. I need a nap more than anything.”

“You better be rested for tonight’s festivities,” Laura wagged her finger at me.

“I’ll bring my party face, I promise,” I said. I stood up but couldn’t stop the oncoming yawn. “The fatigue is killing me.”

“Yeah, no coffee or sugar in your morning will do that to you,” Abiola said with a shake of her head. “I don’t know how you do it.”

“Well, it’s easy since a cup of coffee could put me in the hospital again, I guess.”

“Jesus,” Abiola pressed her fist to her mouth. “I didn’t mean to…”

“It’s fine, Abi,” I assured her. “I just need to get a little rest.”

The two girls headed down to the food court while I made my way to the sleeping pods. White, plush, and stacked like a honeycomb, they were an inviting image that screamed comfort. I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief to find my favorite lower level pod was unoccupied. Turning on the sound system, I selected a playlist I knew I could sleep through. Sometimes I would choose guided meditation tracks or audiobooks. Today’s selection was soft cello. Something about the deep tones helped me unwind no matter what was on my mind. I settled in, turning on the heated cushions and closing my eyes.

I practiced the deep breathing exercises the doctor had taught me as I pictured myself floating through a dark endless sky toward the moon’s surface. The pictures I had looked at for over four hours served to be the subject of my meditation. I inhaled deeply, focusing on relaxing my arms and legs. Exhaling, I imagined moving further out into space. In… and out…

As soon as sleep found me, I was swept up in a flurry of blinding light. My stomach turned as the light began strobing violently, causing me to feel disoriented. My body tensed as I realized it had been several weeks since I’d had an episode. Right on schedule, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Oh no, no, no, no… I can’t deal with this right now, not at work!

I struggled to wake myself, I couldn’t move. The cold sensation of a smooth metallic surface beneath me was confusing. I felt my fingertips twitch as I tried desperately to flail any and all limbs that might respond to my will, but my body remained where it was. I strained to sit up or scream, but I couldn’t even open my mouth. I was trapped, overwhelmed by the weight of my chest collapsing in on itself. If I didn’t put every ounce of will I possessed into sucking air through my nostrils, I had a very real fear that my body would simply shut down, leaving my body as a cold stiff corpse which might be found hours later in my cozy little pod. Filling my lungs with intention, I gasped for air, breath after panicked breath, hoping someone would notice and wake me.

The strobing intensified for what felt like several minutes and when it finally stopped, there remained a constant blinding light that made my eyes water. Tears streamed from the outer corners of my eyes into my ears.

“Help… me…” I managed to whisper to no one in particular.

From the edge of my vision, a blurry figure leaned over me.

“Please,” I sobbed, trying to turn my head to get a better look at who it was, but I couldn’t.

My chest burned as my heart pounded out of control. I tried to calm myself by reciting the scientific facts about what I knew was happening.

During REM sleep, your muscles are essentially turned off to keep you from sleepwalking. When a person wakes up during REM, they are fully conscious but completely paralyzed. Usually, physical stimulation from someone rubbing or shaking them will pull the victim out of the purgatorial state. Unfortunately, living alone means I have no one to rescue me during these episodes, which can sometimes last for hours.

 “Just close your eyes. Everything will be okay,” a distorted voice spoke through the fog of my half-conscious state.

Maybe my brain is morphing the cello music into a voice. Sleep paralysis is often accompanied by waking dreams or hallucinations, after all.

I thought I could force myself to come out of it but, instead, I moved even deeper into unconsciousness. It wasn’t like falling, but more like being underwater and sinking slowly. I struggled against what felt like a chemically induced calm. I tried again to force myself awake but couldn’t. The darkness swallowed me up and I finally surrendered to it.

To my surprise, I suddenly found myself vividly aware of two things; one, the fact that I was breathing without much effort, and two, I was no longer in my cushioned sleeping pod, but rather stretched out flat on my back on a cold metal surface. All efforts to move just made me realize that what I was experiencing was very different from the sleep paralysis I was familiar with. I could move my fingers and flex my wrists and feet. There were actual physical restraints fastened around my wrists, neck, forehead, and ankles that were preventing me from moving.

Blinking hard, I strained to look around at my surroundings. The entire room was reflective as if every surface and object was made from surgical steel. It was shockingly cold, almost like the inside of a walk-in refrigerator. I grunted, twisting my wrists in hopes that I could slip out the straps.

There was a continuous hum that was so low I didn’t hear it so much as felt it vibrating through my entire body. There was a spherical light that seemed to be floating in the air a few feet over me. The ceiling was high above that and almost too dark for me to make out anything but the vague shape of what might have been a reflection of myself and the rest of the room around me. I strained to see past the light so I could study what else I could make out in the reflective ceiling. My heart pounded in my ears as my attention was drawn to a distorted human shape in the darkness at my side.

A chill spread through my body as I realized that someone, or something, was quietly watching me struggle but I couldn’t for the life of me work out who, as the silhouette disappeared from my view the moment I noticed it. Even when I turned my eyes as far as I could, the dark corners of the room remained completely obscured. Regardless of the deafening silence and the fact that I couldn’t see anyone, I knew someone was there.

About the Author

Alice Bane holds a BSc and a voracious interest in all things extra-terrestrial. Self-identifying as a citizen of the universe, she has opted to travel the cosmos through her words. Million Miles Away is her debut Sci-Fi Romance novel.

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