Not So Human by Jeannette DiLouie

Not So Human (Faerietales Book 1) by [DiLouie, Jeannette]

Sabrina is an average young American woman who struggles in the relationship department. However, her life becomes more than average in a matter of seconds when four men in black suits and sunglasses follow her home.

She’s really a faerie princess with a royal family in Scotland, but that doesn’t mean her life is suddenly a real life faerie tale. On the contrary, her life is suddenly in danger and if she isn’t battling the bad guys, she’s running for her life and finding possible romance that might not get the chance to blossom.

This is another book by Jeannette DiLouie, who seems to have a talent for multiple genres. Not So Human puts a new spin on faerie stories with the Human Preservation and Advancement Committee out to get Princess Sabrina and all of faeriedom. The story had me on the edge of my seat when the HPAC followed her home and her best friend, Deanda, tells her they have to pack and leave their apartment. That’s when the run for her life begins. The faerie characters are endearing, the HPAC, not so much.

This story is full of action, suspense, a little bit of humor and a touch of romance. Who could ask for anything more?

Not So Human by Jeannette DiLouie is the first of a four book series of “Faerietales”. I can’t wait to get the rest of the series to find out what happens to Princess Sabrina and a certain male faerie I’ve come to love.

 

Armed for Travel

Amelia Merchant sat on her bed reading the last chapter of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. When she finished, she closed the book, sighed, and touched her lips remembering d’Artagnan’s kiss.

Would she travel to another place in another dimension again, or was that just one freak incident?

Amelia didn’t know but she’d better prepare for the possibility. She couldn’t expect there to be a handsome man ready and willing to protect and help her in another dimension. Grabbing her purse and car keys, she scooted out the door.

Amelia eased her little VW bug into a parking space and walked into the sportsman’s shop..

The brawny, bearded man behind the counter smiled. “May I help you?”

“I hope so.” Amelia’s eyes scanned the array of weapons. “I need a couple of items that are small and easy to conceal. I also need a good compass and some simple instructions on how to use it.”

“Here’s a compass that is popular with the ladies because it resembles a compact.” He opened the small square case and Amelia noticed there was even a mirror inside. The clerk also explained that it came with a DVD that fully explained how to use it.

About an hour later, Amelia left the sportsman’s shop with the compass, a handgun and holster to strap to her belt  that would enable the gun to lie against her back , and a boot knife that would fit nicely in the calf of her favorite boots. She felt much better equipped for anything she may encounter in another dimension, or, at least, she hoped so.

The next day, Amelia took her gun to the local shooting range to practice. When she was getting into her car afterward, her cell phone rang.

“Hello.”

“Amelia, this is Kim. Stacey and I are headed to the library and wondered if you’d like to join us. We’re planning to see what guys are there, select a couple of books and then go for pizza. So, you wanna join us?”

“Sure, I’ll meet you at the library in about twenty minutes.”

She stuck her handgun in the glove box and locked it. When she parked at the library, she also locked her car. She joined Kim and Stacey at a table, hoping she wouldn’t disappear into another dimension before going for pizza.

“So, have you been here long enough to notice who’s here?” Amelia sat down across from her two friends.

The two offered mischievous grins before Kim said, “Jackson Winters is here.”

Amelia’s heart skipped a beat. “Are you sure?”

“Mm-hmm. Skylar Bennett and Hunter Graham are with him. Can you believe that?”

“No way! Have they seen you?” Amelia had been hoping for months that Jackson would ask her out, Kim wanted to nab some time with Skylar, and Stacey wanted to hook Hunter’s interest. The girls knew all three guys were on the basketball team but had never seen the three hanging out together before.

“I’m going to check out the classic literature. I’ll be back when I find my next read.” Amelia headed to the classics section.

A few minutes later Amelia was walking between two rows of bookshelves already engrossed in a good book. She was headed toward the table she shared with Kim and Stacey.

When she heard the giggling of female voices, Amelia looked up and found herself surrounded by young women in long gowns with white aprons. They were staring at her, whispering to each other and giggling. She looked down at her shimmering pink blouse, skinny jeans and brown leather boots and groaned.

“Ah, hello ladies. Could you please tell me where I am and what year this is?”

Many of the young ladies stepped back looking frightened, but one bold woman stepped forward. “You are in the castle of the Sun King, King Louis XIV and the year is 1668.”

“And this is France?”

“Oui, mademoiselle.”

“I don’t speak French, so please continue in English.”

“You are dressed very strange. Where have you come from?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Can you just lend me some clothes and take me to a room where I can change?”

That evening Amelia attended a ball in the castle. King Louis the XIV was known for his extravagant balls and parties. She stood along a wall with many of the other young women servants and helped to keep the refreshment table stocked.

However, she couldn’t help notice a very handsome gentleman dressed in white pants, black boots, a white shirt with a front ruffle and a red jacket. She watched as he danced with several of the elegantly dressed ladies, and then his eyes met Amelia’s as one of the dances ended. His eyes were so startlingly blue, Amelia’s breath caught in her throat and she could not break eye contact.

He approached her as the music and the next dance began. He stood just a foot in front of her and bowed. Then his eyes met hers again.

“May I have this dance?”

Amelia put a hand to her throat and tried to find her voice. “I’m sorry, but I am simply a Lady’s maid. I don’t think I’m allowed to dance.”

“Under ordinary circumstances, you cannot dance, but at my request, you simply cannot deny me. You see, I am Phillipe, brother to the king.”

With that he led her to the dance floor where they stood across from each other in lines among others and participated in a very proper dance.

*****

Kim began to panic when she couldn’t find Amelia in the classics section of the library. Jackson, Skylar and Hunter would be joining them for pizza.

After a frantic search, she apologized to Jackson and the group exited the library.

*****

At closing time, one of the librarian’s walked through the library to do some last minute straightening and in the middle of the classics aisle found To Dance with Kings by Rosalind Laker lying open on the floor.

 

 

New Improved Flash Fiction Friday: Swords and a Kiss

Where am I? Amelia stood in a dusty street. Tall buildings lined either side. She heard voices and noticed some kind of commotion happening.

There were four men in boots, pants, shirts, vests and large hats with feathers upon their heads. They seemed to be arguing. Amelia sneaked closer and stood between two buildings.

Two of the men drew their swords, while the other two stood to one side. The two with drawn swords began to fight.

However, before they hardly begun, a group of guards arrived and tried to grab the two.  The two, in the wings, moved forward and the four fought the guards in unity.

Amelia didn’t know who the good guys or bad guys were, but she kept her eye on the one who appeared to be the youngest. He was extremely good looking with long black locks hanging to his shoulders. He carried himself quite straight and appeared self-confident.

Amelia watched as the battle continued. She gasped as the swordsmen she rooted for lost his sword. He continued to dodge his opponent’s sword artfully while trying to get to his blade where it lay on the ground.

Without a thought, Amelia ran from her hiding place, grabbed the sword and called, “Hey!”

All the men stopped, staring at her. She tossed the weapon to the young man and ran back to her hiding place. All eyes followed her and when she was safely tucked between the two buildings again, the men resumed their battle.

It was then she realized how out of place she looked in her skinny jeans, hot pink t-shirt and red canvas chucks.

The battle continued until several of the guards had fled and the young swordsman disarmed his opponent and sliced the man’s side. It was a serious wound.

As the remaining guards carried the wounded and fled, the four original men shook hands.

“Well, d’Artagnan, there may be room for you as a Musketeer of the Guard yet.”

d’Artagnan? Musketeer? Did her ears deceive her? She had just begun to read about them when she ended up here.

d’Artagnan’s gaze fell upon her. He approached slowly.

Amelia stood on shaky legs. She felt her face growing warm.

d’Artagnan stopped in front of her, his dark chocolate eyes scanning her from head to toe. Then he bowed, and when he stood, a slight smile tipped the corners of his mouth.

“Milady, I do not know where you came from, but I owe you a debt of gratitude for retrieving my sword for me.”

“No problem.” Then realizing he wouldn’t understand, she said, “Think nothing of it, sir.”

“Your clothing are quite unusual. I wouldn’t let the king’s guards see you dressed like that or you may be arrested and hauled off.” He winked.

“Yes, I will be careful. I . . .”

Before she could finish her sentence, d’Artagnan took a step closer, put a hand in her long, blonde hair, and placed his mouth upon hers. His lips were warm, soft and moist, and the kiss tender.

When d’Artagnan drew back, Amelia was breathless.

“Is there some way that I can be of assistance to you, milady?”

“Um, I’m not exactly sure, but I need to find  a way to get home.”

“Where is your home?”

“In the United States.”

“I’ve never heard of that place.”

“Yes, well, it’s a long story. Don’t worry about me. I’ll figure something out.” She sounded more confident than she felt.

“I’m not comfortable leaving a lady in distress. Maybe I could, at least, get you some suitable clothes.” d’Artagnan took her arm and led her down the street.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, one of the librarians at the Manheim Township Library retrieved a book from the floor, The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

Flash Fiction Friday: Battles of the Heart (Part 2)

“What is your name, lass?” The soldier’s eyes searched her face.

“Alita Washington.”

The soldier stopped and stared at her. “Not the daughter of Sir Washington? Sister of Gabriel and Jaxson Washington?”

“The very one! You knew them?”

“Aye. Gabriel was my best friend.”

“Yet you still serve his murderer?” Her green eyes sparked and flashed.

“Murderer? Miss, your father and brother, Gabriel were killed in a battle just like this one.”

“And Jaxson returned home maimed. But it was Sir Wallace who pierced my father through and left Gabriel to die on the battlefield.” She raised her voice.

“Anyone engaged in a battle can lose their life or sustain a permanent injury. Surely you can’t hold Sir Wallace accountable for actions in battle.”

“I can, I do, and I will. Now I think it best if we stopped talking and you simply lead on.”

“I’ve just one more question.” His steady gaze met hers. “How many have you killed or left on the battlefield for dead in your quest to find and kill Sir Wallace?”

She stood, her mouth hanging open, but uttered no sound.

He watched as her face crumbled, tears began to pour from her eyes and sobs racked her body. She began to sway and he caught her in his arms before she landed in a heap on the ground.

He held her and stroked her hair. “Ah, you poor lass, revenge can destroy the avenger. I know you’ve been hurt. You’ve lost loved ones and you’ve been grieving, but killing Sir Wallace won’t bring your loved ones back.”

Her sobbing subsided but he didn’t release her. He simply put a finger under her chin and tilted her face up to his. He wiped her tears with the thumb of his other hand. “Where is Jaxson and your Mum? Do they know where you are?”

She shook her head violently. “My mother died giving birth to me. Jaxson is all I have left, but he’s broken. He limps around and does what he can with his remaining hand, but he hasn’t found a way to earn any money. I don’t know what’s to become of us.”

As she looked into his eyes, he lowered his head toward hers and once again claimed her lips in a kiss. This time the kiss was long and passionate. She felt her knees go weak and put her arms around his neck and clung to him, returning his kiss.

When the kiss ended, they both stood trying to catch their breath. Then he looked into her eyes. “Marry me, Alita. I will take care of you and Jaxson.”

She gasped and stepped back. “But I’ve only just met you, and you say you were Gabriel’s best friend. How is it then that you left him on the battlefield to die? You were there, weren’t you?”

His eyes grew watery. “Aye, I was there. I tried to get to Gabriel when I saw the large soldier he was fighting gaining the upper hand, but I couldn’t reach him in time. When I did get to him, it was too late. I held him in my arms as he took his last breath. I didn’t leave him on the battlefield to die. I left him on the battlefield already dead.” Tears spilled from his eyes and he hung his head.

Alita stepped forward, put her hands on either side of his face and pulled his face to hers. She kissed him tenderly. Then she offered him a small smile. “You have asked me to marry you and I do not even know your name.”

“My name is Bertram Weinhold.”

“Well, Bertram Weinhold, I will marry you.”

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

This meme is brought to you today via The Broke and the Bookish and this week’s topic: Top Ten Best Books Of 2016 (you choose — best books overall of what you read regardless of pub date, of a particular genre, 2016 debuts, 2016 releases, etc)

I have chosen to do the Top Ten Books of 2016 That I Have Read — no particular genre and not all 2016 releases.

I loved this book and eagerly await the next book in the series, due to release in July 2017.

2. 

This is a great romance story that includes some great characters and a bit of humor.

3. 

This is an altogether sweet romance story with a wonderfully chivalrous gentleman.

4. 

Another wonderful romance story between two unlikely characters, but not a perfect romance. This one is realistic with some bumps along the way.

5. 

My first steampunk read and I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the rest of this series.

6. 

This is the first book I’ve read by Charles Martin. Mr. Martin creates rich characters and spins a wonderful story. I look forward to reading more of his works.

7. Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror (Records of the Ohanzee Book 1) by [Smith, Rachel R.]

Although I do not like the style in which this book is written — serialized, where the story line flows continuously through the books in the series, heavily connecting the books, I did enjoy the characters and the story line and do look forward to reading the rest of the series. However, if Ms. Smith continues to write in this style, I probably will not read her future works beyond this series.

8. 

A good writer never stops learning and seeking to improve their craft, and I enjoy studying books on the craft of writing by James Scott Bell.

9. & 10. Love Finds a Home, Love Comes Softly Series #8, a Novel  -     By: Janette Oke

These are my four favorite books in the Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke, but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire series.

What books are on your list of Top Ten Reads of 2016?

Flash Fiction Friday: A Timely Rescue

Kressara breathed deeply of the cool, crisp air as her feet crunched through the two-day old snow. The sun made the white woods sparkle. The stress slipped from Kressara’s shoulders as she enjoyed her favorite time of year. She loved walking in the woods after a snowfall. Everything appeared fresh and clean.

A step around a curve in the trail and her shoulders tensed again. Red drops on the ground. Kressara bent down to examine them. There were many, leaving a trail in the blanket of white — blood. Kressara’s heart beat faster. Dare she follow the crimson pathway? Would she find someone or something in need of help or would she find danger? Should she turn around and enlist Drophar’s help?

Her left hand grasped the hilt of the sword at her side as her right hand felt for the dagger strapped to her leg. She would go on.

As she followed the blood trail, the drops became puddles and she knew she should come upon a creature soon. It was obviously slowing down and having to stop to rest as its body weakened.

Kressara picked up her pace, then her eyes spotted a crumpled heap lying in the snow a few yards ahead. She slowed again, approaching with caution.

“Oh!” A cry escaped her. She bent and checked the young faun for a heartbeat. It’s heart still beat faintly, a crimson pool by its side. She scooped the faun up and ran back to the village.

Kressara didn’t pause to knock on Brynhilde’s door. The old woman gasped as the door of her hut flew open.

Kressara lay the young faun on a pallet on the floor. “You must act quickly, Brynhilde. His heart beat is fading.”

Brynhilde examined the gaping wound in the faun’s side. “Someone has pierced him with a spear.  One of his lungs has a slight puncture. He has lost a lot of blood.”

She began pulling bowls and bottles off a shelf and mixing powders with some liquids. She poured a liquid on a rag and cleaned around the wound. She thread a needle with goat hair and sewed the puncture in the lung, then re-threaded the needle and closed the hole in the faun’s side.

“Sit with him while I make some gruel. He will need nourishment if he is to survive.”

A loud knock sounded at Brynhilde’s door. “Come in,” called the old woman.

Drophar entered. “Kressara, where have you been? I have been looking for you.”

“I was walking in the woods when I found a trail of blood that led me to this young faun.”

Drophar bent down for a closer look at the faun. The hair on its head was ebony, while the hair on its legs was brown. It had antlers that were about three inches long. It’s skin was pale from the loss of blood, but it was flawless and its lips were full.

“This is a descendant of Greshot. Where did you find him?” His eyes searched Kressara’s face.

“In the woods about a mile from here.”

Drophar knit his brow.

“What’s wrong?” Kressara’s heartbeat quickened.

“Greshot’s people have recently been attacked by the centaurs. If the centaurs find out that we have helped a faun, our village could be in danger.”

Kressara’s eyes grew rounder. “But, surely you didn’t expect me to leave him lying in the woods to die?”

“No, of course not. I will send Asden to inform Greshot that one of his offspring is with us.”

After three days of Brynhilde administering medicinal poultices and slowly pouring gruel down his throat, the young faun regained consciousness. He sat up, curled up in a corner. His eyes grew large and flitted from one area of the hut to another.

“It’s okay. You’re safe here.” Brynhilde spoke gently.

The faun put his hand to his bandaged side.

“Do you remember what happened?” Brynhilde questioned.

The faun nodded, just as Kressara entered the hut.

“You’re awake! How are you feeling?” She smiled and slowly approached the frightened faun.

As she drew closer, the faun sniffed the air. This woman smelled of pine and spice. He liked her scent. It seemed familiar. He felt safe in her presence.

Kressara sensed his hesitation. “No one here will harm you. I found you in the woods. I brought you here so that Brynhilde could care for your wound.”

He smiled at this woman. She was beautiful with hair like fire, skin like cream and lips like pink rose petals. “Thank you for saving me.”

She put her hand to his forehead. “Your fever is gone. Are you one of Greshot’s people?”

The young faun puffed out his chest. “I am Greshot’s oldest son.”

“I will bring him to see you.” Kressara exited the hut.

She returned a few minutes later with a man, who was unfamiliar to the young faun, and Greshot.

“Father!” The faun arose, swayed a bit and toppled into his father’s arms.

Greshot looked first at Kressara and then at Brynhilde. “Thank you both so much. I can never repay what you have done for Tappak. You have given his life back to him and restored him to me. If you ever need anything, you need only ask and I will provide for you.”

With that, he picked his son up in his arms and carried him out of the hut.

Drophar rubbed the back of his hand down Kressara’s cheek and then followed Greshot from the hut.

Flash Fiction Friday:Dawson and the Pierian Guards

Dawson ducked back into the shadows. The sound of marching feet too close for safety. He had to hold himself back as he saw Princess Nala in the center of the Pierian guards. His information was correct, but how would he get past all of those guards?

He tore a button from his shirtsleeve and tossed it onto the tiled floor behind the right read guard. The guard turned, stepped back a few paces.

Come on, just a few more strides.

Yes, the guard moved, and Dawson grabbed him from behind, applying a sleeper hold. The guard’s body went limp in his arms. He pulled the guard into the shadows and did a quick clothing exchange. Then, he slipped the guard’s helmet over his head, grabbed the immobilizer that hung at the guard’s waist and took the laser rifle from the guard’s shoulder.

Dawson marched down the corridor and soon took up the position of right rear guard. The left rear guard turned toward him, Dawson gave a thumbs up and faced forward.