Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Return Blog Tour

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Navpress Publishing Group July 13, 2007)


Austin Boyd


Austin Boyd writes from his experience as a decorated Navy pilot, spacecraft engineer and an astronaut candidate finalist. Austin lives with his wife Cindy and four children in America’s “Rocket City”--Huntsville, Alabama, where he directs business development for a large NASA and defense contractor. His creative talents include inspirational fiction and poetry, finely crafted reproduction colonial furniture, archery and long distance cycling. He serves his community as an advocate for a crisis pregnancy center and as a motivational speaker in the area of lifestyle evangelism.

THE RETURN is part of the Mars Hill Classified Series with The Evidence and The Proof



Six years after completing a manned mission to the Red Planet, Admiral John Wells is set to make another journey to Mars. But this time his crew is not alone, as John's team encounters a secret colony comprised of individuals pursuing John Raines' strange religion, the "Father Race."

While John begins to uncover a web of lies on Mars, his wife and daughter are struggling for survival on earth. Now John must survive his dangerous mission and find a way back home, even as a shocking plan begins to unfold millions of miles away on earth.

Austin Boyd is back with his third thrilling novel in the Mars Hill Classified series, full of high-tech intrigue, memorable characters, and adventure that transports readers to another world.

From the Back Cover:

With nothing left for him on Earth, Rear Admiral John Wells didn't hesitate to lead a third NASA team to Mars, but he never dreamed that one day they'd look out their laboratory module into the lights of a slow-moving vehicle not their own. In the third installment of the Mars Hill Classified series, life on Mars becomes increasingly more unpredictable as the past collides with the future and nothing, not even the dead, is as it seems.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the fate of hundreds, including John Wells' family--presumed dead these last six years--rests precariously in the hands of Malcolm Raines, self-proclaimed Guardian of the Mother Seed and Principal Cleric of Saint Michael's Remnant, and his insidious plans for the Father Race.

Wells will find himself in a race against time and all odds to expose the truth: about Mars, about Malcolm Raines, and, if he's very brave, about himself.

"Austin Boyd is one of the brightest new voices in Christian fiction. His long association with the space program lends authenticity as he reveals the turmoil in the minds and hearts of those who are willing to risk everything by making that journey. In The Return, we learn that both human emotions and God's presence reach far beyond the pull of Earth's gravity."
--Richard L Mabry, author of The Tender Scar

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Illuminated Blog Tour

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Thomas Nelson August 7, 2007)


Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally.

To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. Illuminated, in stores now, begins the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within.

Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.


August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles.

It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out.

If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure.

The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.

"...this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar...if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded DaVinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated...on a scale of one to 10, this one goes to 11."
-Aspiring Retail Magazine

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Crimson Eve Blog Tour

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Zondervan October 30, 2007)


Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e…® ” She’s so well known in the industry there’s actually a club for her non-readers. That’s right. The Big Honkin’ Chickens Club (BHCC) members are proud of the fact that they’re too wimpy to read Brandilyn’s intense fiction. Now and then one of them tries. Bribing works pretty well. (Just ask Deb Raney.) Somehow they live to tell the tale.

Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 17th book. Her first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.

She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences. Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith.

Visit her website to read the first chapters of all her books.


Carla stared at the gun and David Thornby—or whatever his name was. Her mind split in two, one side pleading this was some sick joke, the other screaming it was all too real.

“Please. You must have the wrong person. There’s no reason for someone to want me dead. I don’t have any enemies.”

“Then you’d best rethink your friends.”

Realtor Carla Radling shows an “English gentleman” a lakeside estate—and finds herself facing a gun. Who has hired this assassin to kill her, and why?

Forced on the run, Carla must uncover the scathing secrets of her past. Secrets that could destroy some very powerful people...

Brandilyn Collins fans and reviewers are saying Crimson Eve is her best book yet:

“Collins tops herself by creating a suspenseful nonstop thrill ride … Truly the best Christian Fiction suspense title so far this year.”
Library Journal, starred review

“Crimson Eve is Collins at her very best. It left me feeling as if I’d climbed Mount Everest without oxygen … I didn’t think Brandilyn could outdo herself after reading Coral Moon. She did.”

“I’ve never edited a more tightly crafted, deftly woven, compellingly written book.” –a Crimson Eve editor, with 20 years experience

“This is your best book! I could not stop reading!” – one of many readers with similar responses

Read about Violet Dawn and Coral Moon, books one and two in the Kanner Lake series.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nobody by Creston Mapes Blog Tour

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Multnomah Fiction September 11, 2007)


Creston Mapes


Creston Mapes is a talented storyteller whose first two novels, Dark Star and Full Tilt, made him a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year awards and the Inspirational Readers Choice awards. Creston has written for major corporations, colleges, and ministries, including Coca-Cola, TNT Sports, Oracle, Focus on the Family, and In Touch Ministries. Committed to his craft and his family, Creston makes his home in Georgia with his wife, Patty, and their four children.

He's been married for twenty-one years to the girl he first loved way back in fourth grade. They have three lovely girls and a boy in a very close-knit family, spending a lot of time together - watching old classic movies, going on outings, and taking in various school and community events and activities. Creston loves to go for morning walks with his dog, read, paint watercolors, meet friends for coffee and Bible study, watch hockey, take his wife on dates, and spend time in God's Word.


Not everything that happens in Vegas has to stay in Vegas!

They said, “He’s a nobody.”
They were dead wrong.

When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop.
His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation–and perhaps a chunk of the money–into his own hands?

With sirens bearing down on the scene, Hudson makes an impulse decision that whisks him on a frantic search for answers, not only about the mysterious dead man, but about the lost soul lurking within himself.

Uncovering bizarre links between a plane crash, a Las Vegas pit boss, a dirty cop, and a widowed Atlanta business mogul, Hudson is forced to find out: who was Chester Holte, what was he doing on the streets, and why are his homeless friends convinced he was an angel in disguise?

“Nobody was absolutely riveting from the opening scene to the final page. With compelling characters, a plot that surprised me at every turn, and a subtle, yet profound message that moved me to tears, this book goes straight to the top of my highly recommended list.”
- Deborah Raney, author of Remember to Forget and Within This Circle

“A taut, entertaining novel of mystery, intrigue, and spiritual truth. Creston Mapes delivers a winner in Nobody.”
- James Scott Bell, bestselling author of No Legal Grounds and Try Dying

“Nobody had me fascinated from the first paragraph and kept the surprises coming to the very end. Somehow, as the pages flew by, it also managed to convey a beautiful picture of faith the size of a mustard seed. From now on I’ll read anything by Creston Mapes the instant it hits the shelves.”
- Athol Dickson, Christy Award—winning author of River Rising and The Cure

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Trophy Wives Club Book Tour

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Avon Inspire (September 4, 2007)


Kristin Billerbeck


Kristin Billerbeck was born in Redwood City, California. She went to San Jose State University and majored in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec, and then,
she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing. She got married, had four kids, and started writing romance novels until she found her passion: Chick Lit. She is a CBA bestselling author and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year. Featured in the New York Times and USA Today, Kristin has appeared on the Today Show for her pioneering role in Christian chick lit.

Her last three books were:

Split Ends: Sometimes the End is Really the Beginning (April 17, 2007)

She's Out of Control (Ashley Stockingdale Series #1) (Nov 13, 2007)

Calm, Cool & Adjusted (Spa Girls Series #3) (Oct 1, 2006)


Haley Cutler is the consummate trophy wife. Perhaps "was" is the more accurate term. Haley married Prince Charming when she was only twenty years old – back in the day when highlights came from an afternoon at the beach, not three hours in the salon.

When Jay first turned his eye to Haley, she was putty in his slender, graceful hands. No one ever treated her like she was important, and on the arm of Jay Cutler, she became someone people listened to and admired. Unfortunately, after seven years of marriage, her Prince Charming seems to belong to the Henry the XIII line of royalty. When Haley loses Jay, she not only loses her husband, she loses her identity.

With her first independent decision, Haley leaves LA and moves home to Northern California. Feeling freedom just within her grasp, Haley learns that her settlement payments must go through one of Jay's financial advisors, Hamilton Lowe. Haley believes he's nothing more than a spy. And the feelings of distrust are mutual. Yet somehow, Hamilton finds himself handing over the monthly checks in person, and Haley can't deny that there's a kind of tenderness and protectiveness in Hamilton that she's never experienced in a man before.

But before Haley can even consider another relationship, she must learn to accept her inherent worth, and what it is to be loved for who she is, not what's on the outside.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FIRST Tour - Demon: A Memoir

It is October 1st,
time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the
button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her
latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:

and her book:

Demon: A

(NavPress, 2007)


Tosca Lee received her BA in English and International
Relations from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She has
also studied at Oxford University.

As a Leadership Consultant, Tosca works with managers and leaders of
organizations throughout the Pan-Pacific region, Europe, and the U.S.

Tosca is a former Mrs. Nebraska-America 1996, Mrs. Nebraska-United States 1998 and
first runner-up to Mrs. United States and has been lauded nationally for her efforts to
fight breast cancer.

In her spare time, Tosca enjoys cooking, studying history and theology,
and traveling. She currently resides in Nebraska with her Shar Pei,

Visit her at her website and
her blog.


Chapter One

It was raining the night he found me. Traffic had slowed on
Massachusetts Avenue, and the wan light of streetlamps reflected off the pavement.
I was hurrying on without an umbrella, distracted by the chirp of a
text message on my phone, trying to shield its illuminated face from rain
and the drizzle off storefront awnings. There had been a mistake in my
schedule, an appointment that I didn’t recognize and that I had stayed
late at the office for — until six forty-five — just in case. Our
office manager was texting me from home now to say she had no idea who it
was with, that the appointment must have belonged on Phil’s calendar,
that she was sorry for the mistake and to have a good night.

I flipped the phone shut, shoved it in my bag. I was worn out by this
week already, and it was only Tuesday. The days were getting shorter,
the sun setting by six o’clock. It put me on edge, gnawed at me, as
though I had better get somewhere warm and cheerful or, barring all else,
home before it got any darker. But I was unwilling to face the empty
apartment, the dirty dishes and unopened mail on the counter. So I lowered
my head against the rain and walked another two blocks past my turnoff
until I came to the Bosnian Café. A strap of bells on the door
announced my entrance with a ringing slap.

I liked the worn appeal of the Bosnian Café with its olfactory embrace
of grilled chicken and gyro meat that enveloped me upon every arrival
and clung to me long after leaving. That night, in the premature
darkness and rain, the café seemed especially homey with its yellowing
countertops, chipped mirrors, and grimy ketchup bottles. Cardboard shamrocks,
remnants of a forgotten Saint Patrick’s Day, draped the passthrough
into the kitchen, faded around their die-cut edges. A string of Christmas
lights lined the front window, every third bulb out. On the wall above
the register, a framed photo of the café’s owner with a local pageant
queen, and another with a retired Red Sox player, had never been dusted.
But no one, including me, seemed to mind.

I stood in the entry waiting for Esad, the owner, to notice me. But it
was not the bald man who welcomed me.

It was the dark-haired stranger.

I was surveying the other tables, looking for inspiration — chicken or
steak, gyro or salad — when he beckoned. I hesitated, wondering if I
should recognize him, this man sitting by himself — but no, I did not
know him. He impatiently waved again, and I glanced over my shoulder, but
there was no one standing in the entryway but me. And then the man at
the table stood up and strode directly to me.

“You’re late,” he said, clasping my shoulder and smiling. He was tall,
tanned, with curling hair and a slightly hooked nose that did nothing
to detract from his enviable Mediterranean looks. His eyes glittered
beneath well-formed brows. His teeth were very white.

“I’m sorry. I think you have the wrong person,” I said. He chuckled.

“Not at all! I’ve been waiting for you for quite some time. An
eternity, you might say. Please, come sit down. I took the liberty of ordering
for you.” His voice reminded me of fine cognac, the Hors d’Age men
drink aboard their yachts as they cut their Cohíbas.

“You have the wrong person. I don’t know you,” I insisted, even as he
steered me toward the table. I didn’t want to embarrass him; he already
seemed elegantly out of place here in what, for all practical purposes,
was a joint. But he would feel like an elegant fool in another minute,
especially if his real appointment — interview, date, whatever —
walked in and saw him sitting here with me.

“But I know you, Clay.”

I started at the sound of my name, spoken by him with a mixture of
familiarity and strange interest, and then I studied him more closely — the
squareness of his jaw, the smoothness of his cheek, his utter
self-possession — wondering if I had indeed met him before. But I hadn’t, I was
certain of it now.

One of Esad’s nephews arrived with a chicken sandwich and two cups of
coffee. “Please,” the stranger said, motioning to a vinyl-covered chair.
Numbly, stupidly, I sat.

“You work down the street at Brooks and Hanover,” he said when the
younger man had gone. He seated himself adjacent to me, his chair angled
toward mine. He crossed his legs, plucked invisible lint off the fine
wool of his trousers. “You’re an editor.”

Several thoughts went through my head in that moment, none of them
savory: first, that this was some finance or insurance rep who — just like
the pile of loan offers on my counter at home — was trying to
capitalize on my recent divorce. Or, that this was some aggressive literary
agent trying to play suave.

Most likely, though, he was a writer.

Every editor has stories to tell: zealous writers pushing manuscripts
on them during their kid’s softball game, passing sheaves of italicized
print across pews at church, or trying to pick them up in bars,
casually mentioning between lubricated flirtations that they write stories on
the side and just happen to have a manuscript in the car. I had lost
count of the dry cleaners, dental hygienists, and plumbers who, upon
hearing what I did for a living, had felt compelled to gift me with their
short stories and children’s books, their novels-in-progress and rhyming

“Look, whoever you are — ”


I meant to tell him that I was sure we didn’t publish whatever it was
he wanted me to read, that there were industryaccepted ways to get his
work to us if we did, that he could visit the website and check out the
guidelines. I also meant to get up and walk away, to look for Esad or
his nephew and put an order in — to go. But I didn’t say or do any of
these things, because what he said next stopped me cold.

“I know you’re searching, Clay. I know you’re wondering what these
late, dark nights are for. You have that seasonal disease, that modern
ailment, don’t you? SAD, they call it. But it isn’t the disorder — you
should know that. It isn’t even your divorce. That’s not what’s bothering
you. Not really.”

I was no longer hungry. I pushed away the chicken sandwich
he had ordered and said with quiet warning, “I don’t know who you are,
but this isn’t funny.”

He went on as though he hadn’t heard me, saying with what seemed great
feeling, “It’s that you don’t know what it’s all for: the hours and
days, working on the weekends, the belief that you’ll eventually get
caught up and on that ultimate day something will happen. That
everything will make sense or you’ll at least have time to figure it out.
You’re a good man, Clay, but what has that won you? You’re alone,
growing no younger, drifting toward some unknown but inevitable end in this
life. And where is the meaning in that?”

I sat very still. I felt exposed, laid open, as though I had emptied my
mind onto the table like the contents of a pocket. I could not meet
his gaze. Nearby, a couple — both of their heads dripping dirty blond
dreadlocks — mulled over menus as the woman dandled an infant on her lap.
Beyond them, a thickset woman paged through People, and a
young man in scrubs plodded in a sleep-deprived daze through an anemic
salad. I wondered if any of them had noticed my uncanny situation, the
strange hijacking taking place here. But they were mired in their menus,
distractions, and stupor. At the back counter, a student tapped at the
keypad of his phone, sending messages into the ether.

“I realize how this feels, and I apologize,” Lucian said, folding long
fingers together on his knee. His nails were smooth and neatly
manicured. He wore an expensivelooking watch, the second hand of which seemed
to hesitate before hiccupping on, as though time had somehow slowed in
the sallow light of the diner. “I could have done this differently, but
I don’t think I would have had your attention.”

“What are you, some kind of Jehovah’s Witness?” I said. It was the only
thing that made sense. His spiel could have hit close to anyone. I
felt conned, angry, but most of all embarrassed by my emotional response.

His laughter was abrupt and, I thought, slightly manic. “Oh my,” he
said, wiping the corners of his eyes. I pushed back my chair.

His merriment died so suddenly that were it not for the sound of it
still echoing in my ears, I might have thought I had imagined it. “I’m
going to tell you everything,” he said, leaning toward me so that I could
see the tiny furrows around the corners of his mouth, the creases
beneath his narrowed eyes. A strange glow emanated from the edge of his
irises like the halo of a solar eclipse. “I’m going to tell you my story.
I’ve great hope for you, in whom I will create the repository of my tale
— my memoir, if you will. I believe it will be of great interest to
you. And you’re going to write it down and publish it.”

Now I barked a stunted laugh. “No, I’m not. I don’t care if you’re J.
D. Salinger.”

Again he went on as though I’d said nothing. “I understand they’re all
the rage these days, memoirs. Publishing houses pay huge sums for the
ghostwritten, self-revelatory accounts of celebrities all the time. But
trust me; they’ve never acquired a story like mine.”

“Look,” I said, a new edge in my voice, “You’re no celebrity I
recognize, and I’m no ghostwriter. So I’m going to get myself some dinner and
be nice enough to forget this ever happened.” But as I started to rise,
he grabbed me by the arm. His fingers, biting through the sleeve of my
coat, were exceedingly strong, unnaturally warm, and far too intimate.

“But you won’t forget,” he said, the strange light of
fanaticism in his eyes. His mouth seemed to work independently of their stare,
as though it came from another face altogether. “You will recall
everything — every word I say. Long after you have forgotten, in fact, the
name of this café, the way I summoned you to this table, the first prick
of your mortal curiosity about me. Long after you have forgotten, in
fact, the most basic details of your life. You will remember, and you
will curse or bless this day.”

I felt ill. Something about the way he said mortal . . . In
that instant, reality, strung out like an elastic band, snapped. This was
no writer.

“Yes. You see,” he said quietly. “You know. We can share now, between
us, the secret of what I am.”

And the words came, unbidden, to my mind: Fallen. Dark


The trembling that began in my stomach threatened to seize up my
diaphragm. But then he released me and sat back. “Now. Here is Mr. Esad,
wondering why you haven’t touched your sandwich.” And indeed, here came the
bald man, coffeepot in hand, smiling at the stranger as though he were
more of a regular than I. I stared between them as they made their
pleasantries, the sound of their banter at sick odds with what my visceral
sense told me was true, what no one else seemed to notice: that I was
sitting here with something incomprehensively evil.

When Esad left, Lucian took a thin napkin from the dispenser and set it
beside my coffee cup. The gesture struck me as aberrantly mundane. He

“I feel your trepidation, that sense that you ought to get up and leave
immediately. And under normal circumstances, I would say that you are
right. But listen to me now when I tell you you’re safe. Be at ease.
Here. I’ll lean forward like this, in your human way. When that couple
over there sees my little smile, this conspiratorial look, they’ll think
we’re sharing a succulent bit of gossip.”

I wasn’t at ease. Not at all. My heart had become a pounding liability
in my chest.

“Why?” I managed, wishing I were even now in the emptiness of my
apartment, staring at the world through the bleak window of my TV.

Lucian leaned even closer, his hand splayed across the top of the table
so that I could see the blue veins along the back of it. His voice
dropped below a whisper, but I had no difficulty hearing him. “Because my
story is very closely connected to yours. We’re not so different after
all, you and I. We both want purpose, meaning, to see the bigger
picture. I can give you that.”

“You don’t even know me!”

“On the contrary,” he said, sliding the napkin dispenser away, as
though it were a barrier between us. “I know everything about you. Your
childhood house on Ridgeview Drive. The tackle box you kept your football
cards in. The night you tried to sneak out after homecoming to meet
Lindsey Bennett. You broke your wrist climbing out of the window.”

I stared.

“I know of your father’s passing — you were fifteen. About the merlot
you miss since giving up drinking, the way you dip your hamburgers in
blue cheese dressing — your friend Piotr taught you that in college. That
you’ve been telling yourself you ought to get away somewhere — Mexico,
perhaps. That you think it’s the seasonal disorder bothering you,
though it’s not — ”

“Stop!” I threw up my hands, wanting him to leave at once, equally
afraid that he might and that I would be stuck knowing that there was this
person — this thing — watching me. Knowing everything.

His voice gentled. “Let me assure you you’re not the only one; I could
list myriad facts about anyone. Name someone. How about Sheila?” He
smirked. “Let’s just say she didn’t return your essage from home, and her
husband thinks she’s working late. Esad? Living in war-torn Bosnia was
no small feat. He — ” He cocked his head, and there came now a faint
buzzing like an invisible swarm of mosquitoes. I instinctively jerked

“What was that?” I demanded, unable to pinpoint where the sound had
come from.

“Ah. A concentration camp!” He looked surprised. “I didn’t know that.
Did you know that? And as for your ex — ” He tilted his head again.

“No! Please, don’t.” I lowered my head into my hand, dug my fingers
into my scalp. Five months after the divorce, the wound still split open
at the mere mention of her.

“You see?” he whispered, his head ducked down so that he stared
intently up into my face. “I can tell you everything.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I’ve made a pastime of studying case histories, of following them
through from beginning to end. You fascinate me in the same way that
beetles with their uncanny instinct for dung rolling used to fascinate you. I
know more about you than your family. Than your ex. Than you know
about yourself, I daresay.”

Something — some by-product of fear — rose up within me as anger at
last. “If you are what you say, aren’t you here to make some kind of deal
for my soul? To tempt me? Why did you order me coffee, then? Why not a
glass of merlot or a Crown and Coke?” My voice had risen, but I didn’t
care; I felt my anger with relief.

Lucian regarded me calmly. “Please. How trite. Besides, they don’t
serve liquor here.” But then his calm fell away, and he was staring — not
at me but past me, toward the clock on the wall. “But there,” he
pointed. His finger seemed exceedingly long. “See how the hour advances
without us!” He leapt to his feet, and I realized with alarm that he meant to

“What — you can’t just go now that you’ve — ”

“I’ve come to you at great risk,” he hissed, the sound sibilant, as
though he had whispered in my ear though he stood three feet away. And
then he strode to the glass door and pushed out into the darkness,
disappearing beyond the reflected interior of the café like a shadow into a
mirror. The strap of bells fell against the door with a flat metal clink,
and my own stunned reflection stared back.

Rain pelted my eyes, slipped in wet tracks through my hair against my
scalp, ran in rivulets down my nape to mingle with the sweat against my
back. It had gotten colder, almost freezing, but I was sweating inside
the sodden collar of my shirt as I hurried down Norfolk, my bag
slapping against my hip, my legs cramped and wooden, nightmare slow.

The abrupt warmth inside my apartment building threatened to suffocate
me as I stumbled up the stairs. My ears pintingled to painful life as I
fumbled with my keys. Inside my apartment at last, I fell back against
the door, head throbbing and lungs heaving in the still air. I stayed
like that, my coat dripping onto the carpet, for several long moments.
Then a mad whim struck me.

With numb fingers, I retrieved the laptop from my bag and set it up on
the kitchen table. With my coat still on, I dropped down onto a wooden
chair, staring at the screen as it yawned to life. I logged into the
company server, opened my calendar.

There — my six-thirty appointment. It was simply noted:

Sample from Demon / ISBN

Copyright © 2006 NavPress Publishing.

All rights reserved.
To order copies of this resource, come
back to www.navpress.com.