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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ebook Sale & Book Excerpt - The Long Way Home by Janet Purcell plus $10 Amazon GC Giveaway

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Sunpenny Publishing ebook SALE

THE LONG WAY HOME and SOMEDAY, MAYBE are both on sale for 99¢ (US)!

 

WATERY WAYS is also on sale for 99¢ through February 13th and BRIDE BEYOND BETRAYAL is on sale for 99¢ from February 20th through March 5th.

Grab a copy of one or all while you can during the sale!

The Long Way Home
by Janet Purcell
Adult Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 237 pages
April 7th 2015 by Sunpenny Publishing

When Callie Vinerelli gives refuge in her Cape Cod home to a storm ravaged stranger, the hidden secres of her house on the dunes begin to emerge. She becomes enmeshed in the violence and tragedy of the past that left accomplished artist Christina Burroughs a paraplegic and stole her beloved daughter from her. Those still unresolved events invade Callie's life, causing chaos and intrigue, life changing relationships, justice and peace to Christina's descendants -and new love to herself.

Amazon Amazon UK - Barnes & Noble

Someday, Maybe
by Jenny Piper
Adult Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 306 pages
November 6th 2013 by Sunpenny Limited

In a ramshackle old cottage with an outside lav, and a rickety ladder up to a draughty attic bedroom, Jim and Mary Norris slog in all weathers to make a living from their market garden, and to bring up their little girl, Patsy. But at times Jim’s guilt is overwhelming as he watches his beloved Mary working her frozen fingers to the bone, almost dropping with weariness – not exactly what she’s been used to in her genteel upbringing as the niece of well- off local gentry, who cut her off when she married “beneath her”. But she never complains; she loves Jim madly and they are blissfully happy together.

Until her accident – and the nightmare that follows them all through the next 30 years. Mary’s gradual descent into madness overshadows even Jim’s second marriage and children, but the shocking climax is something no-one could have foreseen.

Amazon Amazon UK - Barnes & Noble

BOOK EXCERPT

Chapter 1

Callie

The wind hurled the screen door open, slammed it shut and blew it open again. Callie ran out to grab the handle and another gust blew sand and water

in her face. Pulling the door shut, she shoved the hook in the eye, slammed the inside door, and leaned her back against it, sandy raindrops dripping from her hair.

Moby Dick, a fearless orange tabby, watched her brew a cup of tea for herself and set a bowl of milk on the floor next to his food dish. He jumped down from his perch on the window seat and sauntered lazily over to it, but Lillian crouched under the table, her white fur on end. Apprehen- sive. Alert.

Callie shivered, pulled on the old Phillies sweatshirt left over from her Penn days, and tried to focus on the exhibit review she was writing for Cape Cod Arts.

Lightning illuminated the kitchen; thunder crashed with it. As the room went dark, she heard a new sound mixed with the rain slashing the windows and pounding the roof. A shade flapped in the back bedroom; she must have left the window open. She swore at her stupidity while hurrying down the dark hall to shut it.

But as she reached up to drag it down, another bolt of lightning flashed across the sky, and Callie found herself suddenly staring into something out of a horror movie:

A man was leaning on the open window frame, his face twisted in a horrifying grimace.

Callie screamed and jumped back. She ran out of the room, slammed the door and, with all her weight against it, looked frantically around for some way to keep it shut. There was nothing. The door didn’t have a lock and there was no furniture close enough to push against it.

I’ve got to get out of here! It was all she could think as she ran for the kitchen and grabbed her car keys and cell phone.

Hands trembling and teeth chattering, she reached the car, got in, and locked the doors. She flipped on her cell phone, desperately hoping she’d have even just the weak reception she sometimes got from the towers in Hyannis.

Nothing.

The police! The station was only about ten minutes away. She jammed the gears into reverse and spun the car around on the wet surfaces, but as she turned out of her driveway she saw through the pelting rain that a huge tree had come down, blocking the road and lying directly across a crushed red SUV. She braked just in time.

She was frantic. She could run to Ginny’s down the road in the other direction, but Ginny was away on vacation, and there were no other homes along that way… what now? The storm raged on. Callie’s foot shook on the brake pedal. Her heart pounded as she stared at the damaged car and tree. She tried to steady her hands on the steering wheel, telling herself over and over: “Get a hold of yourself!

Get a hold of yourself!”

The shaking slowed to an occasional jerky spasm, and her racing mind slowed a little too.

Maybe he’s hurt and was trying to save himself, she thought. This is probably his car. I’ve got to go back.

—No, I can’t! one part of her said.

—I’ve got to! He might be badly hurt, another part of her argued, as the windshield wipers went back and forth, back and forth.

—Can’t get out of here anyway, with that damned tree down. I’m stuck here, and nobody can get in here to help me either…

So, despite her terror, she put the car in reverse, made a K-turn and drove back up the driveway. She had to get to the house phone and call 911; she must try!

But when she parked again by the house she could see him. He was face down below the open window, the shade still flapping. And he was not moving.

My God, he’s dead!

She stared through the windshield wipers and sheets of rain. She spoke aloud to try to control her fear: “I can’t just leave him like that. I have to go make sure.”

She drove back up to the house. Still not wanting to leave the safety of the car, she ventured one foot out on the driveway, stood looking over the top of the opened car door, and leaned in to get a better look at his face.

He opened his eyes. Startled, she jumped back.

“Help me,” was all he said, and his eyes closed again.

She ran to the kitchen door, threw the lock, took the five paces to the phone. Grabbing at it, she fumbled and almost dropped it.

“Please, please work,” she whispered as she brought it up, trembling and bumping, against her ear.

Dead. No dial tone.

Now what? she thought frantically, looking around the room for an answer.

When none came, she walked stealthily down the hall to the back room again and edged to the window, fully expect- ing him to jump up again. But when she finally got the courage to go close enough to look down, there he was— just lying in the river of rain. He looked as dead as her phone had sounded.

Then she saw his head turn slightly and, when he looked up at the window, their eyes met. She gasped, her heart pounding again.

He’s still alive. Maybe just barely. Will he die if I leave him out there? Will he hurt me if I try to help him, bring him inside? Oh God, what shall I do?

Startled, she’d jumped back from the window to collect her thoughts. When she edged closer again, his eyes were closed. But he’d moved one arm to a different position, and she saw something sticking out from under him.

A baseball cap. Phillies.

Up here in Red Sox Nation? Strange…

But then she remembered her soaking wet Phillies sweatshirt that wasn’t keeping her as warm as it usually did.

Maybe not so strange, she thought. I can’t just leave him there. He’s probably just some ordinary nice guy who got lost, or something. I’ve got to at least see how badly he’s hurt.

Pulling a dry slicker over her sodden clothes, she pushed the door open against the wind and rain and made her way to him.

He opened his eyes and looked as though he was trying to say something.

Callie hesitated just a minute, but she had to know; her fears needed answers before she could help him.

She stood tall over him. “Who are you and why are you here?” She had to shout to be heard over the pounding rain.

Looking up at her, the man paused and seemed to be reaching for strength to answer. Licking his lips, he got out a few words. “Looking for… Looking for—great-grandmoth- er’s house.” His eyes closed again.

“Alice?” Callie shouted again. “Alice Booker? She moved.” “No… Christina.” His voice was weak and she could barely hear him.

“Christina Burroughs?” Callie knew that the locally famous artist had lived there a generation or two ago. As an arts journalist she’d been wanting to write about her. Now here was this guy collapsed in the pouring rain, almost on her doorstep, claiming to be the woman’s great-grandson…

Somehow, he didn’t look so frightening anymore.

“Can you get up?” she shouted into the wind. “Try. Try to stand.”

He struggled to his knees, grimaced in pain and fell back again, seeming not to notice the wet sand and mud splash- ing up on his face and into his open mouth.

His pain’s for real, Callie said to herself. He’s wiped out. Probably even has some broken bones. I’ve got to get him in the house, out of this rain.

His need battled with her terror, and won. She knelt beside him, then put his left arm over her shoulder and her own arm around his waist. Together they staggered, stumbled, fell and crawled. Lightning flashed and thunder grumbled, but they finally made it inside the house with the door closed behind them.

The man retched; water spumed out and down the front of his rain-soaked shirt.

“Stay there,” Callie said, needlessly. There was no way he could do anything but lie where he’d fallen.

She grabbed the phone again, hoping against hope…

Still dead.

She ran upstairs for blankets, towels and a pillow. She wrapped him in the blanket, soiled wet clothes and all, and put the pillow under his head. Then she left him and went back up to her bedroom, rubbed herself dry, tugged a brush through her unruly red hair and put on dry sweat- pants and sweatshirt.

The storm that had been pounding Cape Cod all morning was pushing the June warmth away, and she was chilled to the bone. Her teeth were chattering, but she knew it was as much from shock as from the cold.

Her eyes fell on the pepper spray she kept near her purse for whenever she had to go into dubious Boston neighbor- hoods on assignments for the newspaper.

Nah, I don’t need that. He seems harmless. Just looking for his great-grandmother’s house, she thought.

—You never can tell, though. Maybe I’d better.

She tucked it into her waistband and pulled the sweat- shirt down to conceal it.

Her hands were shaking as she dug into a dresser drawer in the guest room. She pulled out a large pair of sweatpants and an extra-large sweatshirt that her step-brother Luke had left for his next visit, and took them downstairs.

The man was conscious. He was lying in the same spot on the floor but he looked dazed, and was shivering and groaning.

Shock, she thought. She couldn’t remember what you’re supposed to do when someone is in shock but, poised for flight in case he tried to grab her, she began drying his sopping hair, his face and neck. She wanted to get his wet shirt off, but she’d have to lift him some—suppose he grabbed her? Prevaricating, she just put the sweatshirt onto his chest and folded an extra blanket over that.

She looked down at his legs and feet. His jeans were clinging, cold and wet. He had on one rubber-soled shoe and one sock; the other foot was bare. She got the shoe and sock off and rubbed his feet dry.

“I’ll do the rest,” he managed to whisper. “In a couple of minutes…” And he laid his head back down on her kitchen floor.

Callie put another blanket over him and began building a fire. When she’d got that going strong, she pulled a quart container of vegetable soup out of the freezer and, without thinking, put it in the microwave to thaw. She even pushed the buttons before she remembered—no electricity.

Then, glad whoever had built the house had had the insight to put in a gas stove and propane tank, she pulled out a cast iron soup pot, dumped the frozen chunk of veggies and broth in, and covered it with a lid.

It was only then she thought of Lillian and Moby. Fran- tically she searched the house, and finally found Lillian crouching under the guest room bed, but Moby was nowhere to be seen. She went to the window and tried to see if he was outside, but the rain was still pelting down and she couldn’t see more than a few feet from the house. She went back down to the kitchen door, intending to open it just enough to see if he might be out there wanting to come in, and that’s when she saw him—busily sniffing and head-butting the sleeping man’s feet and legs.

“What do you think, Mobes? Is he okay?” she whispered as she bent close to pet him.

I guess if he’s doing his head-butting thing, this guy isn’t a serial killer.

The man slept, the soup simmered, and the storm raged on. Callie sat in the rocker by the fire and tried to get past her apprehension. He really could be a serial killer, she told herself. Or a rapist, or an escapee from a mental institution, or…

Then she forced herself to stop thinking that way. He could also really be Christina Burroughs’ great-grandson.

She tried both phones again. Still dead.

Soon her rapid rocking slowed, but her mind still raced.

Was he who he said he was? Why was he really here?

Just then, things began to beep and hum. The power was returning, and the house was coming alive again. The microwave, clocks, refrigerator, timers, were all resetting themselves and whirring back into action.

Maybe she was about to find out more about Christina

Burroughs.

The thunder was rolling way off in the distance now. It was still raining, but the wind had abated.

And still the man slept.

And still her phones were dead.

“Well at least we won’t be in the pitch dark tonight,” she said to Moby, who had jumped up into her lap hoping for some good throat massaging.

The soup was still simmering slowly. It was well past lunchtime, and Callie ladled out a bowlful for herself and buttered a corn muffin she’d made the day before.

She sat sipping her soup and studying the man on her kitchen floor. In sleep, he looked much younger and less threatening than she’d thought when she first saw him— pretty good, actually. Close to her age, late twenties, maybe a little more. Although his hair was matted with sand and sea brine, she could see it was dark. It looked as if it had some curl to it, and he wore it somewhat long. It was hard to tell just how tall he’d be when he stood up, but he covered the entire space from one end of the hearth to the other—so probably around six feet, she guessed. He’d sure felt tall to her when she was dragging him inside.

Suddenly, he opened his eyes again, and caught her studying him.

“Hello,” she said as calmly as she could, her hand resting on the pepper spray hidden in her sweats.

He looked around the room, seemingly puzzled to find himself there. “Hello,” he answered, his voice croaky. He cleared his throat and tried again, but it wasn’t much better.

She filled a glass with water, put a straw in it and held it for him. He raised up a little on one elbow, winced in pain, but managed a sip before he lay back down again. He looked gratefully at her and said, “Thank you. I’m Joe McCarran... I don’t mean to scare you.”

“It’s okay. Rest. We’ll talk when you’re more able.”

He nodded again, closed his eyes and seemed to go back to sleep, but he was restless, twisting and turning, moaning.

She knelt beside him and put a calming hand on his arm.

“We should get you someplace more comfortable. Can you help me do that?”

He didn’t answer, but did at least stop moaning.

Callie went upstairs and brought down some sheets and another pillow and blanket. She took the backrest cush- ions off the couch near the fireplace, to make a wider bed for him, thankful that the kitchen was so large and well furnished.

“Now all I have to do is get him there,” she told Moby.

“This should be interesting.”

Once again she went over and started talking quietly to the injured man. This time he was more responsive. His right arm hung at an odd angle; it was obviously broken, and the knowledge that he was at least temporarily handi- capped helped ease her fears.

“Do you think between the two of us we can get you over to the couch? It’s not too far and you’d be so much more comfortable,” she said.

Between the two of them they managed to inch him onto a throw rug and, while she pulled and he inched his buttocks along, they managed to get his back against the edge of the couch.

He was heavier than he looked and his left leg flopped uselessly when he tried to pull himself up, but eventually they got him up and onto the couch where, dazed, he sat where he had landed—as if he were there to make a social call but couldn’t remember who he was calling on, or why. “While you’re sitting up let’s see if you can get those wet jeans off and put these sweatpants on,” Callie said, tossing the dry clothes to him. “I’ll go dish you out some soup while you’re doing that.”

With the blanket across his lap, he somehow managed to work the wet jeans down to his ankles. “Can’t … get my feet out.” He was trying to reach with his one good hand.

Still trying to maintain a distance between them, Callie pulled the jeans off and maneuvered his feet into the sweat- pants.

This is just too weird!

“I’ll do the rest. Just give me some time,” he told her. “And don’t worry. I feel just as awkward about this whole thing as you do.”

She was surprised he’d picked up on that. It reassured her, but she warned herself: Be careful. You have no idea who this guy is.

“Soup smells good,” he said, as she returned with a steaming bowlful. He was lying back on the couch with an afghan over his chest and shoulders like a shawl. She gath- ered his wet jeans up and put them on the washer in the mudroom with her own wet things, to be dealt with later.

She had put the bowl of soup onto a TV-tray table across his knees. He was trying to feed himself, left-handed, but he trembled so much the soup was dribbling down his chin.

So Callie spoonfed him, and he managed to put pieces of buttered cornbread into his mouth.

“Well, at least your appetite’s not damaged. See if you can sleep now,” she said with a smile. Her fear was fading but, still leery, she added sternly: “But when you wake up you need to tell me what you’re doing here on my private road looking for Christina Burroughs’ house.”

He nodded, gave her a small smile, and closed his eyes.

She was in the laundry room shaking out their sodden clothes and putting them into the washing machine when she came to the jeans he’d been wearing. There were things in his pockets—some folded up pieces of paper, a Swiss army knife, some change, and a wallet.

She didn’t hesitate one minute.

She opened the wallet and pulled out his driver’s license. Pennsylvania. Hmmm, interesting. Name: Joseph McCa- rran . According to his birth date, she was right about his age. Hair: Brown. Eyes: Brown. Right, and right. Very dark brown. And his picture looks pretty normal. Better than he looks right now lying on my couch. Just a guy. Pretty good- looking, as a matter of fact.

She quickly rifled through the rest of the wallet. There was a car registration—Pennsylvania again—for a four- year old Chevy Blazer, no surprise there either—it matched the red SUV under the fallen tree.

There were the usual credit cards, a library card, and three $20 bills. That was all. She checked the rest of the pockets and only came up with a quarter and a nickel. Nothing else.

She pushed the jeans down into the warm soapy water with the rest of the clothes, and when she put the lid down she found the folded-up papers that had been in his pocket. One was so rain-soaked she couldn’t read a thing on it.

The other had only one thing typed on it: her address.

She folded the papers back as they had been and set them aside with the other things that had been in his pocket. Again she checked the phones, and when she found they were still dead, her apprehension rose back up a notch.

I’ve got to get him talking, she decided. If I don’t like what I hear, well, maybe the phones will be working by then. At least I have to know if he really is her great-grandson.

He slept another hour, and when he woke he seemed more alert.

“Thank you for helping me,” he said. “Tree came down… smashed in the roof of my car. Laid me out flat on my side… pinned my leg under it. Had a hard time trying to get out… rain was pouring in.” He paused to catch his breath after every few words. “I thought I could make it to your house, but when I was almost here, the wind knocked me flat on my face.”

He rested again. “Pretty sure this arm’s broken,” he said, using his left hand to lift his right from his lap. “Something’s wrong with this leg too. I thought maybe you’d hear… the tree, the crash…”

“No, I didn’t hear anything—the storm you know, the thunder, the wind howling.” Callie, busying herself at the kitchen counter, was biding her time, waiting to hear what he’d say before asking outright what he was doing there in the first place.

“You been here long?” he asked.

“In this house? No. Only about a year.” “Who lived here before you?”

“Why do you want to know?” She didn’t even try to keep the edge out of her voice.

“As I told you, I think my grandmother and great-grand- mother lived here. I came up here wanting to see the house, and to find out what I could about them.”

Could be making it up to throw me off guard, Callie thought. Christina Burroughs’ paintings are probably worth a ton of money. Maybe he’s sniffing around to see if some still exist here. I’ll play along for a while.

“A widow named Alice Booker. She broke her hip and went to live near her daughter. The house was built in 1826. I found that out at the closing,” she said. “The mort- gage company has the search, but I’m sure you could find a lot on your own down at the court house. You don’t know for sure if this was your great-grandmother’s house?”

“No. There are family stories that my grandmother was taken from her mother. She grew up not knowing why her mother disappeared from her life when she was only eight years old. She says she was told a lot of confusing stuff. None of the stories really tie together. One says this house burned down to the ground—obviously that’s not true. And there are also wild tales of a major argument that happened here, and that’s why Christina could never walk again.” “’Hmm,” Callie said. “Sounds like a lot of speculation to me.”

“Right. To me too,” Joe said. “That’s why I’m here. To fill in some of the blanks. My grandmother is getting older now and I’d like to help her get some answers to all these ques- tions she’s had to live with most of her life.”

Joe took a sip of water from the glass Callie held out for him, and when he started to talk again his voice rasped less. He laid back and closed his eyes, drained and shaky. Callie brought him some orange juice and he sipped it slowly. “The title search I needed for the closing did show she owned the house,” she said. “I have a million questions, but I’ll save them for later. See if you can sleep again.”

The phone rang suddenly, splitting the silence.

“Mom!” Callie almost jumped into the receiver. As she spoke she took the portable handset upstairs with her, for privacy. “Oh Mom, I’m so glad to hear your voice. My phones have been out for hours. You okay?”

“I’m okay,” Kate Vinerelli said. “What about you? You sound shaky!”

Callie told her about the man dozing on her couch with probable broken bones and his car pinned under a tree out in the storm . “Says he’s Christina Burroughs’ great- grandson.”

“Do you believe him, Cal?” Kate asked. “He could be a fraud, you know. Someone fishing for information about Christina Burroughs for reasons other than a sweet aging grandmother back home. Be careful.”

“I am being careful, Ma,” Callie whispered into the phone. “I’ve got my pepper spray tucked in my waistband. And, besides, he’s too injured to do me any harm.”

“Maybe not physical harm, but be careful what you tell him.”

“Don’t worry Ma. I haven’t even told him my name yet! What I’m hoping is that he’ll give me a lot of good information about her. I haven’t had time to properly research her yet, but now... maybe I’ll get to write something great about her after all—maybe little things her daughter remembers that no-one else knows—a fresh angle.”

“I hear you, Cal. But just be careful, okay?” “I will, Ma. I will.”

“Okay. Keep your distance. I’ll call the rescue squad to come get him.” Kate, unflappable as usual, said she’d also call the Dolson brothers to go find the tree and the car.


Janet Purcell is a professional artist and writes a weekly fine arts column and feature articles for The Times of Trenton (NJ). Her interior design features appear regularly in DesignNJ magazine. Her articles have appeared in Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications, Bridal Guide, American Spa, and many other magazines and travel guides. Her travel stories have frequently been published in the New York Post, Country Discoveries, and in Princeton, New Jersey’s Packet Publications’ community newspapers. Her previous novel, Singer Lane, was published in 2008 and her third novel, Rooster Street, is awaiting publication. Though not a trilogy, many of the same characters are found continuing their lives in each of the three books. Her paintings can be seen at www.janpurcellart.com.



Deeply thought-provoking, Jenny Piper is a wonderful author who makes no bones about her handling of delicate subjects . Her skill as a story-teller is a delight to the heart and soul, and is right up there with the best of them. She lives with her husband in rural Hampshire, and has been variously an actress, an artist, a teacher and a psycholo- gist, but has had a lifelong love of books and nowadays spends much of her time writing.


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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting. They look like very nice books.

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