Sunday, May 31, 2015

~Release Day Blitz~ Hunger by LL Hunter


Title: Hunger
Series: The Dragon Heart Series #3
Genre: YA fantasy/urban fantasy/ paranormal romance/myths and legends
Author: L.L. Hunter
Formats: eBook and print
Release Date: May 31st 2015


Hunger Blurb:

Eva and Ash thought they were safe.
What they don’t know is someone is watching their every move.
As the bounty on their head looms, Eva will do anything to protect Ash, even if it means trusting the enemy.
Ash must learn to work with Henry if he is to survive, and Eva must put up with both boys—and her feelings for them.
But their plan to escape the clutches of Eva's father is ruined when the trio is separated.
To find their way back together, they must all confront their own demons—in order for them to confront the Man with the Fire in his Eyes.

When you’re the last of the Dragon Hearts, everyone hungers for your blood.

Crave Love. Crave Blood. Crave Death.



Purchase Links:

Amazon: (available on release day)

Haven’t started the adventure? The first 2 books in the series are on sale!

1. The Dragon Heart Keeper (FREE)


2. Crave (99 cents)


The Dragon Heart Keeper Blurb:

Framed for a crime he didn't commit, 18 year old Ash Brandon finds himself being whisked away to what he thought was jail. Until he wakes up the next morning feeling really strange. But what's more strange are the people he meets.
When Ash discovers he is going through a frightening new metamorphosis, he has no choice but to trust these people.
Until he meets their beautiful young daughter, Eva, his whole outlook on life changes and she helps him accept who he was destined to become.
For they are the Keepers, and he is a Dragon Heart.

Crave Blurb:

I remember excruciating pain.
I remember unimaginable heat.
I remember an undeniably beautiful young woman.
But I’m not sure whether these things are real.

One year ago, Ash Brandon was framed and sent to an unknown realm where he learnt his fate. A fate where he held the blood of an ancient line of Dragon shifters called Dragon Hearts. The thing is, he can no longer remember. All he knows is that he is a nineteen-year-old guy who wants to study architecture and one day, take over the family business.

Then two beautiful girls show up in his life — one who is sexy as hell and could be the woman of his dreams, while the other claims to have known him from a past he cannot remember. Only there is one thing he can’t wrap his mind around — Why does he crave each of the girls?

A now eighteen-year-old Eva, a powerful Dragon Heart Keeper from the Dragon Realm, is punished by her parents and sent to the earthly realm by her witch maiden. Her memories have all been wiped clean, but why can she still remember Ash, and the undeniable bond they once shared?

Emily is a Siren princess, and she always gets what she wants. When she sets her sights on Ash, all bets are off. She will make him hers — if only his Keeper weren’t in the way.

Will Ash discover who he truly is before its too late? Or will his deadly addiction to both girls get him killed?

Crave Love - Crave Life - Crave Truth

Inspired by the short story,
The Dragon Heart Keeper, also by L.L. Hunter


Follow L.L. Hunter






Instagram: @llhunter


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~Release Day Blitz~ The Reapers by Ali Winters


Title: The Reapers
Author: Ali Winters 
Genre: YA Fantasy

Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours


Blurb:
The balance of life and death must be kept at all costs.

Having been a reaper as long as she can remember, Nivian knows that what she does is essential in maintaining balance. After being assigned to a rushed mark she finds that there is more to this human than any other she has encountered.

Kain had been living an ordinary life without a second thought until he meets Nivian who turns his world upside down. He is thrust into a world of hunters and reapers. The keepers of life and death have been feuding for centuries over a reason no one can even remember.

With Kain having been marked for reaping, and Nivian being hunted, they forge a friendship and together must find the truth in order to keep balance in check. Wrong choices could destroy everything. As they journey they discover hidden histories, powers, and lies and truths that have been spun since the beginning of time. The consequence of failure, unimaginable.






Ali grew up in the Pacific North West. She attended Oregon State University for photography. After many adventures she moved to Colorado and earning second degree, she found and met and married her husband. 
Ali currently lives in windy Wyoming with her husband and two dogs, Nika and Tedward. When not writing Ali is either photographing, knitting, reading, dancing or staying inside where it’s warm with a hot cup of coffee. She dreams of traveling the world someday soon.

Author Links:

You can email Ali at 
authoraliwinters@yahoo.com

Or you can also find her on these social platforms.

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Pre-Order Link:
Amazon



Nivian jumped over the edge of the bridge, landing with a soft tap on the surface of the water. She reached down, pulled the soul of the driver up by the collar of his shirt, and stood him up next to her on top of the water. She took the drivers hand palm up in hers, waving her other hand over his. She pinched the air and pulled, lifting up and exposing his life string, his wide eyes were hypnotized by the glowing string. She grabbed the scythe strapped to her back and swung. With a slow deliberate movement she sliced the human’s thread. The light formed a ball and hovered as she pulled out the small pocket watch. The life light floated down to the watch and sunk into it, disappearing. With a snap, she closed the watch and returned it to her pocket.
“You really shouldn’t drink and drive; you could have seriously hurt someone,” she said giving him an apathetic look. He gaped at her, mouth opening and closing like a fish. “Yes, you really are dead.” She confirmed as she started to turn away.
“Are you … the devil?” he managed to sputter.
“No, of course not. I am just the natural order of things,” she said, briefly looking back at him. “Wait here; your spirit counselor will be here soon for you to guide you to your afterlife. I have other jobs tonight,” She turned, walking away as she pulled her hood back up over her head and vanished.




~Release Day Blitz~ The Other Fighter by Lauren Hawkeye and Tawney Stokes

tobp3-releaseday

All three parts in NYT Bestselling Authors Lauren Hawkeye & Tawny Stokes' THE OTHER FIGHTER are available now! Make sure to get your hands on this sexy, intense read - you do not want to miss getting to know Tristan - and Part 1: Uncaged is just .99c




About Part 1: Uncaged


I want lots of things out of life, but this… this is what I crave most. And with a dead-end relationship in my rearview mirror and a new business ahead, that freedom is finally within reach.

Of course, fate is an evil bitch.

People I have nothing to do with expect me to settle my brother’s debt— and if I don’t pay with cash, I pay with my life. I’ll be dead very soon… but not if a certain sexy-as-sin fighter with a Prince Charming complex has a say in the matter. One who’s decided to help me out of this mess, whether I want him to or not.

I might escape all of this with my life. But I already know it won't be so easy to hold on to my heart…

About Part 2: Relentless

He needs to save me. It goes against everything I am to be saved.

My brother has dragged me right into the trouble I've tried to avoid my whole life. For the first time I don't know if I'm going to be able to save myself... but I already have strong enough feelings for Tristan that I don't want him to get caught up when my whole family goes down in flames.

I may not have known Tristan for very long, but I do know this... when it comes to what he wants, he's completely relentless...

The Other Fighter is a novel told in three parts. This is part two of three.

About Part 3: Takedown

I'd never imagined that love was in the cards...

And I don't know quite what to do with it. But it seems I've pushed him away one two many times, and now when I need him the most, he may not be there.

And the truth is, I don't just love him. I need him.

But will that be enough to keep us both safe?

The Other Fighter is a novel told in three parts. This is part three of three.
Amazon | Barnes and Noble (coming soon) | Kobo | iBooks (coming soon)
Grab the complete bundle of THE OTHER BROTHER here!

quote1

About Lauren Hawkeye

Lauren Hawkeye/ Lauren Jameson never imagined that she’d wind up telling stories for a living… though when she looks back, it’s easy to see that she’s the only one who is surprised. Always “the kid who read all the time”, Lauren made up stories about her favorite characters once she’d finished a book… and once spent an entire year narrating her own life internally. No, really. But where she was just plain odd before publication, now she can at least claim to have an artistic temperament.

Lauren lives in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada with her husband, toddler, pit bull and idiot cat, though they do not live in an igloo, nor do they drive a dogsled. In her nonexistent spare time Lauren can be found knitting (her husband claims that her snobby yarn collection is exorbitant), reading anything she can get her hands on, or sweating her way through spin class. She loves to hear from her readers!

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Tawny Stokes

Tawny Stokes has always been a writer. From an early age, she’d spin tales of serial killers in love, vampires taking over the world, and sometimes about fluffy bunnies turned bunnicidal maniacs. An honour student in high school, with a penchant for math and English, you’d never know it by the foot high blue Mohawk and Doc Martens, which often got her into trouble. No longer a Mohawk wearer, Tawny still enjoys old school punk rock, trance, zombie movies, teen horror films, and fluffy bunnies. She lives in Canada with her fantastical daughter, two cats, and spends most of her time creating new stories for teens.

Tawny also writes adult paranormal/urban fantasy fiction under the name Vivi Anna, and is an aspiring screenwriter.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

~Cover Reveal~ Betrayal (Obsession #2) by SM Phillips

BETRAYAL (Obsession #2)

Synopsis:

"I gave you one chance, Anna. A chance to run and never look back. That's all you had to do. Run and keep your goddamn head down, yet here we are and it's not just you in the firing line anymore. You better pray that nothing bad happens to my brother, because this time I'll be taking you down with me."

Running was the only option that Anna Jameson was given. To up and leave everything that she had ever known and put it all behind her. That was the toughest decision that she'd ever made, and she made it... But was it all worth it?

As soon as her anxiety and fear began to slowly ebb away, she could see a faint light at the end of the dark and horrific tunnel that she had found herself in... That light was the dark, sexy and demanding Jensen Blake. A man who played on her every emotion and a man who she swore she would avoid at all costs.

Nobody can run forever and the past is about to catch up with her. With nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, how many more people will suffer at the hand of Anna's hidden past?

Danger, fear and betrayal decide to make an unwelcome appearance and it looks like they're about to become her new best friends. 

~ Add it to Goodreads

  

TEASERS:

 
  

~ Other books by S.M Phillips:

  

Obsession (Obsession #1)

Synopsis:

 Obsession knows no bounds...


Anna Jameson can't wait to escape the hell hole that her cousin has left her in. Desperate to escape her past, the idea of moving to stay with Holly whilst she got her head together sounded like the perfect plan... Until Holly upped and left, leaving Anna to pick up the mess that she left behind.


Jensen Blake knows what he wants and will not be told otherwise. Obedience and control are what he knows best. With demons of his own, he has spent most of his adult life traveling from place to place the moment things started to become predictable.

When Jensen and Anna are pushed together, an instant dislike simmers between them. Anna hates bad boys. She has witnessed enough of them to last her a lifetime.

The sexual attraction between them is evident but will that only make things harder for them both to handle?

Add to Goodreads

BUY LINKS:

*Amazon U.K *Amazon U.S *iBooks *Kobo *Nook

  
Escape Down Under (Down Under #1)

Synopsis:

For Jess Townsend, life is about to get complicated.

Following on from her split with Josh two months ago, Jess has thrown herself into her work full throttle, making sure that the one good thing in her life remains the same.

Suddenly she is called into an important meeting at work. Absolutely petrified that she is about to lose her job, she does the only thing she knows how. Panic on the inside and walk through it with her head held high on the outside.

Jess soon discovers she is being offered a once in a lifetime opportunity, but will she take it?

After dealing with an ex who can't let go and a broody mysterious Adonis who won't accept no for an answer, maybe the opportunity of an escape has arrived at the perfect time.

What does fate have in store and what obstacles will be thrown her way?

Add it to Goodreads

BUY LINKS:

*Amazon U.K *Amazon U.S ~ Free on Kindle Unlimited.

  
Fallen Down Under (Down Under #2)

Synopsis:

"Fuck." I slam my fist into the desk before me and feel nothing but rage. I need to go after her. I need to explain. "But isn't this what you wanted?" The voice inside my head whispers. "Isn't this a nice easy way out?"

Everything Max has done has always been at a cost to others around him. He wasn't about to make that mistake again. No longer will his selfish ways punish those close to him. Sometimes it's better to have had and lost than to never have had at all.

Finally after what felt like forever, Jess was getting a glimpse of control over her life again and allowed her defences to come crashing down, only to have what it guarded to be crushed once again. Now, on the other side of the world away from her friends, she doesn't know what to do.

Should she stay or should she go?

Is it too late or have they both fallen too far into something that is completely out of their depths? 

Add it to Goodreads

BUY LINKS:

*Amazon U.K *Amazon U.S *iBooks *Kobo *Nook

  
Forever Down Under (Down Under #3)

Synopsis:

In the last few months, Jess has been faced with more obstacles than she ever thought possible. Heartbreak, loss and betrayal to name just a few. Will her drama fuelled life finally settle into the happy, care free one that she deserves or is someone hiding and waiting for the perfect opportunity to ruin it all?

Life for Max hasn't exactly been plain sailing either. Now that he finally has someone in his life that means more to him than anything he has ever known, one thing is for certain, he's not going to let anyone get in the way of his new found happiness, no matter what the cost.

Demons are released, pasts are exposed and their future together is only what they make of it. 

Add it to Goodreads

BUY LINKS:

*Amazon U.K *Amazon U.S *iBooks *Kobo *Nook

About the author:

Welcome to the crazy and hectic life that is me... A fun, loving mum of one special little boy, girlfriend (I'm sure it should be wife by now!!) and an overall crazy, happy go lucky girl from England.I have always had a passion for reading and writing. Wherever I am, my book reader is never far behind along with a mug of coffee.

I found myself wanting to write from a young age, I have quite a few hidden stories on my computer somewhere, maybe I will have to dig them out and play around with them at some point.
FOLLOW S.M PHILLIPS:

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

~Chapter Reveal~ The Accidental Art Thief by Joan Schweighardt




TheAccidentalArtThief_medTitleThe Accidental Art Thief
Genre: General fiction
Author: Joan Schweighardt
Publisher: Twilight Times Books


Find The Accidental Thief on Amazon.


For a quarter of a century forty-five-year-old Zinc has worked as a caretaker for a wealthy old man, living in a small casita on his ranch in New Mexico. She doesn’t make much money, but she has the old man, her dogs, and gorgeous views of the mountains. She is basically a very content recluse who doesn’t invest much time thinking about what she might do if her circumstances change. So when the old man dies suddenly, and his daughter all but throws her off the property, Zinc is forced to reinvent herself—and quickly.
With a touch of magical realism and a collection of offbeat characters, The Accidental Art Thief explores the thin line between life and death and the universal forces that connect all things.
//////////////////////////////////////
THE ACCIDENTAL ART THIEF
a novel
by
Joan Schweighardt
Chapter 1


Zinc had hung feeders all along the boughs of the trees, mostly cottonwoods and piñons that she could see from the window of the casita where she lived. This way when she needed a break from the work she did at her desk, she could look up—a small window was right there—and drink in the bird life, albeit at some distance. There were greenish-brown hummingbirds and red-brown finches to be seen three seasons of the year. Sometimes there were piñon jays, their blue bodies as vivid as the desert sky overhead. At least once a week she caught sight of the local roadrunner, whom she had named Steven, after someone she had loved once, someone who had broken her heart. And once—mystery of mysteries—a peacock dropped out of the sky, spread its resplendent blue-green feathers, turned its head in the direction of the window behind which Zinc stood with one hand over her open mouth and her eyes brimming with tears of joy, and looked right at her before disappearing into the scrub. Now that was a day to remember.
But lately Zinc had begun to wonder what it would be like to work facing the mountains rather than the cottonwoods. In fact her casita did have windows facing east, but the main house, where the old man lived, obscured her view. She wondered what it would be like to work outdoors sometimes, where she might see jack rabbits running in the scrub, or maybe even a lone coyote reigning proud from some rocky outcrop. She mentioned this desire to Smith, the old man’s sometimes driver, and Smith said she should get a laptop. Smith told her there was a second-hand computer store on Central. The owner was a real geek, he said; he picked up obsolete models for next to nothing and gave them new life. His prices were extraordinarily reasonable, as if he labored merely for the love of it.
For the love of it. Zinc liked that.
*
On a Saturday Zinc walked down the dirt road from her casita to San Dominic Road, and from there she walked to the bus stop on Bonita. She preferred not to talk to strangers if she didn’t have to, so she carried with her a Macy’s shopping bag into which she’d stuffed the bathrobe she’d removed from her body earlier that morning. It still smelled faintly of the coffee she’d accidentally spilled. When the bus came, she took the seat behind the driver. Then she watched out the window, and sure enough, before long she saw the second-hand computer shop storefront, wedged in between a coffee shop and a new-age gift store that featured a large limestone Buddha in its big front window.
She took the bus a mile or so farther and then got off and awaited a return ride. This time she knew where to look and she was able to gather in more information. The computer store was called Timothy’s Second-Hand Computers, and what Zinc recognized as a very old Mac model sat in the center of the window—a bookend (in size and positioning if not in eminence) to the Buddha in the shop beside it. The Mac’s screen and the innards that should have been behind it had been removed, replaced with a roll of toilet paper, the end sheet of which stuck out from what had once been its floppy drive opening. Timothy had turned the old Mac into a toilet paper dispenser!
Zinc could drive of course, and she had a junker to prove it—a seventeen-year-old Pontiac Firebird that her brother, Frankie, had given her two years earlier. But she didn’t drive it unless she absolutely had to. Just looking at the orange-red beast with its long raised snout and angry flared nostrils, parked as it was as far from her casita as the old man would allow, seemed like a bad idea. And so the following week, late in the afternoon, she took the bus once again, this time throwing a pair of jeans and a paperback into her Macy’s bag, and getting off at the corner just before the second-hand computer store. Then she stood, hidden behind sunglasses with lenses the size of fists, her wild brown curls stuffed beneath a NY Yankees cap, leaning against the stucco wall of the Central Ave Bank, cattycorner from Timothy’s, at the point where she could see the door but could not be seen herself, attempting to determine how busy the place got. When she felt quite sure there wasn’t much traffic (in fact, the door hadn’t opened once), she crossed Central and marched in.
A little brass bell on the door announced her arrival, but Timothy, who had his back to her, only mumbled, “How ya doing?” and didn’t turn around. The table he worked over was full of computer parts, illuminated by a green goose-necked desk lamp, the bulb of which was close to the table surface.
“Fine,” she heard herself say. It came out sounding like a child’s voice. Well, that was her voice; it was high-pitched and there wasn’t much she could do about it.
“Can I help  you?” he asked, and he looked past her for a second, perhaps searching for the child he thought he’d heard.
“I’d like to buy a computer. A laptop. A used laptop. An inexpensive used laptop.” She smiled nervously.
Timothy was old, perhaps in his mid seventies. But it was only the skin on his face, which fell over his bones like carelessly hung curtain swags, that gave him away. He was trim and—she noted as he got up to round the counter—spry and surefooted. She raised her hand to her sunglasses, but then dropped it just before her fingers made contact. A moment later her hand came up again, and this time the glasses came down with it. Timothy stopped in his progress to stare into her eyes, tipping forward from his waist for the briefest moment. “The laptops are over here,” he mumbled, and he turned to show her the way.
Timothy spent the next several minutes describing the virtues of each of the four second-hand models he had available. Two were so old they didn’t even have modems. “What do you want it for?” he asked, turning toward her suddenly.
Zinc swallowed. This is what she hated. The sudden question, the switch in focus, and then the inevitable journey the interrogator always took into her eyes. Years ago, when her skin was smooth and tight, people only said, “What an unusual color your eyes are.” But now she was forty-five and there were tiny lines around her eyes, making them somehow more—not less—prominent, or so she felt. Sometimes it seemed as if they were doorways, with doors that strangers could throw open easily and walk on through. Where did they go?  What did they do in there all that time?
Caught off guard, there was no chance to come up with a lie. And the truth was Zinc was a terrible liar anyway. “I write poetry,” she said.
“For a living?” asked Timothy, sounding alarmed.
“No, I keep house.”
“For a living?” This time he chuckled.
“For an…a…man.” She’d almost said “an old man,” how she and Smith referred to him, a term of affection for them.
“Your husband?”
“My employer.”
“Full time?”
“Part time…the housekeeping. Well, actually, it’s more than that. I do other things for him. And then the poetry. I make some money now and then from that too. So if you put the two together….”  She realized she was rambling and stopped abruptly.
Timothy turned back to the computers. “You’re under the radar,” he mumbled. “One of those people who can’t manage a real job. A lot of you here in Albuquerque.”
The color came to her face immediately, a flash flood. She loved what she did. She loved her life. Why did everyone assume that if you didn’t make much money or didn’t do something glamorous, you were a loser? And wasn’t he under the radar too, working at rejuvenating dead computers in a store that nobody visited? She squared her shoulders. For the love of it indeed. But all she said was, “No.” And then she thought better of it and forced a chuckle. “Well, maybe.”
“You shouldn’t admit it,” Timothy said, turning to hand her one of the laptops. She could see in his eyes that he was serious, that he meant well. “If you make your money cleaning house for someone,” he expounded, “you should tell people you’re a personal assistant. It’s almost true if not exactly, and it sounds much better. Saying you keep house….” He shook his head. “People will make assumptions. You’ll never get anywhere. You’ll clean houses forever.” Again he took the journey into her eyes, but this time he returned much sooner. “But then you’re not all that young, are you?”


Although she wanted nothing more than to escape, she forced her feet to stay planted just where they were, because, second to escaping, she wanted a laptop. And, as Timothy had so kindly pointed out, she wasn’t a child anymore; she had learned to control her impulses. Ultimately, she chose the laptop that was least expensive—an old modem-less IBM that Timothy guaranteed would work for the next five years if she was kind to it—and took the bus home.
So lost in her thoughts was Zinc that she was briefly startled when she opened the door to her casita and was immediately charged by two dogs, her dogs, Paddy and Orlando. Paddy was six years old and appeared to be mostly golden retriever with some chow mixed in—a furry yellow dog with a black tongue that was always hanging sideways out of his mouth. Zinc had found him at the end of the dirt road that led to the property when he was a puppy. He was half starved then, and the gash on his leg indicated that a larger animal, probably a coyote protecting her pups, had tried to warn him away. (If a coyote had really wanted to hurt him, it would have gone for his throat, and given his size at the time, Paddy would not have survived.) Paddy was sweet and intelligent, but he was also suspicious when there were strangers about, generally up at the old man’s house as Zinc didn’t get visitors herself. Orlando was a beagle mix, about four years old. He had come from a shelter just over two years ago. This was back before the old man’s legs had gotten so bad, back when he could still get around with a cane on one side and someone’s arm on the other. He’d heard that his neighbor’s dog had run away, and since the neighbor was in worse physical shape that he was, and didn’t have a driver to chauffer him around, the old man volunteered to have Smith take them both to the shelter to look for the Doberman, Gilly. Gilly wasn’t there, but the old man saw Orlando dancing at the bars of his cage, and he imagined that the beagle would be the perfect companion for Paddy, that Paddy might relax if he had a younger dog to play with. So he brought him home and told Zinc if she didn’t want him, or if Paddy wouldn’t tolerate him, it wasn’t a problem; the shelter would take him back. But both Zinc and Paddy fell in love with him immediately and that was the end of that.
Once she had greeted her dogs, given them each a biscuit and let them out, Zinc let the “under the radar” remark go down the drain, literally. It was a trick her father had taught her when she was a child (back in rural upstate New York, a couple hours north and west of New York City) and would come home crying because someone had teased her or called her a name at school. He would drag a wooden bench over to the kitchen sink and have her step up on it. Then he would turn on the faucet and Zinc would repeat the words that had hurt her so (“weirdo,” “mute,” “witch eyes,”) and together they would wash them down the drain. They had done this so many times and with such zeal that both believed that they could “see” the insults swirling drainward. “Go play, now,” her father would say, and she would, skipping outdoors, her curly brown pigtails flying out on either side of her head, calling out her brother’s name, Frankie, Frankie, who, her father hoped, would watch after her after he and his wife were gone—because a sixth sense told him they would never reach old age.
Zinc had been working for the old man and living in the casita behind his house for twenty-five years now, since the year after her parents died, the same year Steven left, and she did not love the place any less. It had been built over one hundred years ago, from adobe. Although it had been upgraded with central cooling and heating, Zinc seldom needed temperature control. The adobe stored and released the heat slowly, keeping her little house cool in summer and warm in winter, except when the temperatures were extreme. It was almost as if she were living in something that was alive itself.
Her little casita was beautiful in its simplicity; all the walls were painted a warm white and all eight-hundred square feet of flooring was covered with a red-gold Mexican saltillo tile. Her furnishings had all come from the old man’s house over the years, odd pieces that he no longer needed, and all of it was Mexican as well. And then there was the art. The old man was a collector, and each time he brought new paintings into his house, he would pass the old ones on to Zinc. His daughter, whose name was Marge, liked to carry the smaller ones over herself, probably, Zinc thought, so that she could remind her each time that some of the paintings were of considerable value and that Zinc must never nevercome to think of them as anything but a loan. As if Zinc could ever forget that.


Zinc did not have a land line or a cell phone. She did not have a TV or an MP3 or an iPod or a digital camera. She had a radio. And she had a computer, now two of them, and while the new one was modem-less, the Internet that worked through her desktop model had become her connection to the world. She had even made a few friends over the Internet, most of them editors of literary magazines who considered—and sometimes accepted—her poetry for their quarterly or biannual publications.
She opened her new used laptop on the kitchen table and plugged in the charger. In addition to the Word program that she planned to make good use of, there were a half dozen others. She was delighted to see that one was a chess game, and that you could “zoom” it up to be the size of the screen. She and the old man played chess all the time. She couldn’t imagine playing chess with a computer herself, but the old man might enjoy it. He got so lonely sometimes. And now his eyes were so bad that he could no longer read. She read to him frequently, but never for more than an hour at a time, because she was prone to sore throats. He listened to audio books, but he said it wasn’t the same. They made him sleepy. He hated to sleep, because he had nightmares much of the time.
Zinc thought he must have read more books in his life than any ten people she knew, not that she actually knew ten people. He could remember everything too, even information from books he’d read back when he was quite young. Although his tastes ran toward histories and biographies and hers toward fiction and poetry, they could spend hours talking about books; they could spend hours talking, period.
While the computer charged, Zinc heated leftovers from a casserole she’d made for the old man the evening before: artichoke hearts, spinach and chicken tenders. She called the dogs in and fed them and let them out again. When she finally allowed herself to look at the digital indicator on the computer screen, she saw that the charging had progressed only to fifty percent of capacity, but it would have to do.
Zinc pulled out the cord and closed the laptop and hurried out of the house. Her breath caught immediately and she stopped in her tracks, the laptop crushed to her chest. There was a moment every evening when the setting sun was exactly opposite the mountains, and if one were lucky enough to catch it, one could see the Sandias (sandia meant watermelon in Spanish) turn pink. Not just light pink, but if conditions were right, shocking pink, a kind of otherworldly fuchsia that made the heart pump faster.
Almost as soon as it began it was over. The mountain turned gray and the sun was on its way again, descending over the volcanoes to the west. The spectacle moved Zinc to run, something she did occasionally when no one was around. Orlando and Paddy, who had been resting together under a pine tree, saw her and rose simultaneously to join in the fun. With the dogs at her heels, Zinc ran across the yard, along the slate path through the garden, and started up the slate stairs. The stairs were beautiful. The old man had built them himself, years ago, back when his wife was alive and his children were young. They were encased in stone and featured stone risers. He had gathered the stones himself, from multiple hiking trips taken into the mountains with his loved ones.
Zinc was almost to his door when the toe of her leather sandal caught and she fell forward. Of course she had to drop the computer to keep from landing flat on her face. She sat up and immediately burst into tears. Her new computer—which had cost her two trips to town and half of the money she’d saved in the glass jar she kept on top of the refrigerator—had to be broken. There went sitting outdoors facing the mountain. There went who knows how many poems about coyotes, about jack rabbits running through the brush. Orlando licked her. Paddy moaned as if he knew exactly how she felt.
Under the radar.

The door opened slowly beside her. She looked up expecting to see the old man looming over her. She always praised him when he came to the door with his walker instead of waiting in his wheelchair for her to open it herself. He needed more exercise. He was a small man now, the size of a twelve-year-old boy. He suffered from, among other things, kyphosis, a hunched back. A very hunched back. It made him look like a troll. But it was not the old man’s troll face that Zinc found herself staring up at. It was his daughter, Marge. “What are you doing on the ground?” she asked impatiently, in a shrill voice. “And why are you crying? And where were you this afternoon?”
Zinc got up slowly, lifting the laptop from the slate as she did. She could feel movement, things inside slipping around. She glanced over her shoulder at the driveway. Usually when Marge was there she parked out in front of the house, where a delivery person might park—which made sense because she never stayed any longer than a delivery person would. Now Zinc saw that Marge’s car was beside the workshop. She could see the bumper of the dark red PT Cruiser. If she had known Marge was there, she wouldn’t have run across the yard, and then she wouldn’t have dropped and broken her new computer. “He’s all right, isn’t he?” she asked.
Marge folded her thin arms beneath her small breasts. “No,” she snapped. “He’s not all right.” She looked upward and took a breath. “He took a fall. Down the stairs. Right here. Where were you all afternoon, Kathryn?”
“What do you mean, he took a fall? How?”
Marge unfolded her arms and thrust them out, exasperated. “He must have been feeling badly. I don’t know. He must have wanted something. He must have tried to get you on the intercom and then gone outside to see if you were in the yard. And he must have tripped.” She took another swallow of air. Her arms fell to her sides. “Peter found him. He’s dead.”