Saturday, October 1, 2016

CLAUDETTE MELANSON: Mislead

https://www.facebook.com/events/1707136679540777/



MISLEAD
By Claudette Melanson
Copyright © 2016 by Claudette Melanson
She works at the coffee shop on the corner opposite the park. I’ve never been able to summon enough nerve to go inside…after I saw her in there that first time. This girl is so beautiful; I can’t even cross the threshold to engage with her under the guise of ordering a hot beverage. Her hair is a rope set afire. She always wraps it up into a braid for work. I know this because we walk the same path home through that park across the street. I’ve stared at that braid, falling to the middle of her slender back, for as many nights as I can remember as we both made our way toward our separate spaces, trying to gather the nerve to approach her. Wishing I could amass the courage to ask her to go somewhere else to consume the beverage she’s served all day to everyone else, with only me.
Her name is Gisella. I’d garnered this bit of information on the day I’d come close to going inside and ordering that coffee which would have allowed me to talk to her. I’d pressed my nose to the glass for nearly an hour before I’d ultimately chickened out…again. But before I’d hurried away, she’d emerged—her favorite white hot chocolate in hand, like the end of the day when she took one home, its identity scrawled across the side of the white paper cup—to take her break in the cooling fall air. I’d taken note of her nametag before scurrying away, not even brave enough to raise my eyes into her line of sight. My how the tables could turn…
As I watch her make her way along now, I think about the particular blue of her eyes…like cobalt. I knew the blue of cobalt, thanks to my high-school chemistry teacher. He used to bring in physical examples of the elements on the periodic table which held tangible form. Cobalt had been one of those elements, and I’m grateful for its inclusion as it had offered me such an accurate comparison for the color of her beautiful irises.
They’re irrationally large, those eyes of hers. And, yes, I realize earlier I said I hadn’t been able to meet her eyes, but after I’d learned her first name, it hadn’t taken more than five minutes to search that piece of information, the name of the coffee shop where she works and our hometown before finding her on Facebook. Now, I know what you’re thinking…and don’t go jumping to conclusions. I’m not some damned stalker who saw her at the coffee shop and couldn’t go back inside after I’d developed a fixation for her. I knew her from before. Gisella had been in my chemistry class in high school—the same class where I’d learned about cobalt blue.
It’s so funny, because back then I’d thought she was pretty enough, just way too shy for my tastes. I remember I’d looked at her once, and she hadn’t been able to hold the gaze. That reflex had turned me off immediately, but back then I’d been such a snob. Captain and quarterback of the football team, who’d only allowed the interchangeable cheerleaders with the confidence of box-office stars to be granted the privilege of a date with yours truly. Nothing like graduation to clue you in on how big a loser you really are.  After an ankle-ligament tear halfway through the season, I’d been benched for very nearly the remainder. This had meant I’d been invisible to scouts, no football scholarship for Trent—no matter how perfectly I’d played in all the years that had come before. I’d been completely left behind. I’d also been left with the appropriate attitude to understand her lack of confidence—a construction-worker-has-been, who still walked with a slight limp.
Seeing her again, the one day I’d happened into the coffee shop before I’d become so aware of her, I’d felt a connection. We are the same now…well, almost. I’d realized in the ninety minutes spent watching her from my small corner booth in the back; she’d somehow risen above me.  Every age-appropriate guy, and some well beyond the boundaries, had been hitting on her. Not that she’d responded with anything other than a polite smile. Which was exactly what hooked me. She knew she was better than any of them, and I knew that feeling well. Pity, I’d missed that about her when I’d possessed the upper hand, but I’d been too busy playing games with the moronic cheerleaders---games not all of them had the stomach to play, but that’s okay; not everyone possesses the same predilections, right?
But back to Gisella. In that moment, I’d noticed how perfect she was…and along with that had come the realization of what a stuck-up idiot I’d been all through junior high and high school. Just last night, I’d stared at the snowy landscape of her face on the screen for more than an hour. Most redheads were marred by freckles, but not Gisella. Her face was like newly-fallen snow no one had dared to mark with their contaminating footprint. It was a snowy vastness I greatly wished to set my own imprint upon.
And I’d tried to do just that for more than a year now. Since last summer. And now it’s fall again. I didn’t ask her to coffee or to go see that really cool horror movie that was playing at the mall last month. Her name crawls up, slowly, agonizingly, into my throat, plotting its escape and rush to her ear. But my fright-stricken tongue lashes it back into the depths from which it had emerged, where the syllables could, once again, fade to impotence. The process repeating itself for the 485th time while I play all my failures inside my head.
I allow my footsteps to land at a quickened pace, determined to approach her this time. What stops me now is the thought she may have caught sight of me on one of these many nights I’d strolled along behind her before she cut down the dirt path running alongside the buildings that eventually scored the grass at the side of the one where she lived, on the first floor. After, I’d eventually make my own way to a different, but equally depressing, stack of apartment dwellings, inside which I could hate myself…again…for being such a lowly coward. But in the now, she might get the wrong idea. She might just put two and three together and come up, mistakenly, with four, believing me to actually be one of those stalker types.  I mean; we practically knew each other. And I would’ve been walking this same path home anyway, fate kind in the fact she nearly finished her shift at the same time I did… I never had to wait around very long. I really just want to make sure she makes it home safe every night, even if I never do work up the nerve to ask her out. Plus there’s that other guy…
I’d decided I didn’t want him anywhere near her, whether I was around or not, when my eyes had settled on him during a recent journey home. He was always there, slightly ahead of her and to her right. Now him… He had stalker written all over him. I’m not stupid. I’d seen the way he leered at her when her path diverged, and she turned her back to him, and I’d also seen the hilt of the knife he’d recently started carrying, peeking up to glint in the dying sunlight or, a few weeks later in the year, the glow thrown by the streetlights standing at random attention throughout the park. Yes, I’d set the determination in my mind he would never lay a hand on her.  He’s the true stalker, not me, her protector. When he finally makes a move, it won’t matter. She’ll be glad I was always following, always watching out for her. I’m not just some dumb ex-football player; I’d always read a lot and made straight A’s in school. I’m definitely a lot smarter than I look.
Almost like the guy wants to prove me right, he ducks after her when her steps deviate from the smooth concrete to follow the bumpy dirt path, brought into being by the desire of so many to save a few extra steps. See? I’d always known it had been a good idea to keep an eye on her. So pretty and sweet—not to mention that perfect body—it’s like she has an ‘Attack Me’ sign taped to her back.
I rush forward, realizing I’ve been hanging back a little too far. The asshole already has a rock in his hand and brings it down hard on the back of her head, before shoving her into the thickly-wooded edge of the contrasting mown and landscaped space.  I want to kill this guy as I rush after them, the shrill scream Gisella vomits forth again, and then again, assuring me he’s done no catastrophic damage. I feel relief dilute the heated venom of my blood.
There they are on the ground. The pinched pallor of her face is visible just over his shoulder, her eyes sparking in what’s left of the light, almost as brightly as the blade of the knife he’s drawn from his jeans pocket.
“Shut up! Stop screaming!” he’s screaming, himself, into her face, and my blood’s boiling again. As I near, she catches sight of me, the cobalt locking onto my sage.
“Help me!” she cries out, her voice cracked by harsh strain. That is exactly what I intend to do. I’m going to make sure her stalker is never able to lay hands on her again. A mad rush of adrenaline allows me to haul him up and off her, using the worn softness of the red-plaid flannel he’s wearing.
“Hey! Tr—“ he tries to shout, but I backhand the words right out of him, crushing his lips into his teeth and leaving a slick of foaming blood across them and the adjoining skin of his chin and cheek. We fall to the crunchy carpet of leaves and pine needles far past their prime. Surprise claims his eyes, brown like the decaying foliage beneath us. It’s his surprise which allows me to bend his wrist in, toward his chest, until it breaks apart with a sound much like the crack of the sticks snapping into disjointed pieces beneath his back.
Shock reigns his expression, both in the set of his mouth and the gleam to his eyes. He hadn’t believed there would be anyone around who would stop him. “But I thought… We were supposed to take her together.”
“I decided you were never going to touch her,” I growl at a low volume, for his ear only to hear. He’s the stalker, the menace… He’s the one who brought a knife into all this. I have no choice. His shattered wrist is easily manipulated; it doesn’t take much force from me to drive his own blade into the flesh which fails him when it meets the cruel point. I paid attention in biology. I know where his heart makes its home inside his chest. I force the flat strip of metal to silence its push of the stuff of life forever. I hear her shift and rattle the dry dead things scattered across the forest floor. The realization of how this must play out switches my brain to autopilot. I flip his inanimate shell so that it lands atop my body, appearing to gain advantage.
“Oh my god!! Are you okay?!” sounds from above. An assurance I’ve done the right thing. Her fingers become a part of his shirt, trying ineffectually to pull his dead weight off me, even with the seep and ooze of crimson over her neck, making its way down from the wound at the back of her head to disappear under the ribbed collar of the coffee-house t-shirt which hides the perfection of her pale shell. She might be more of a handful than I’d imagined. No matter; that was a worry for later.
I know that now is the appropriate time to scream. “Oh god!! Please, help me! Pull him off… He had a knife… He fell on it when we were fighting. I-I-I th-think he’s dead.” The level of fear I’d infused into my voice makes me wish I could applaud my own performance…had the circumstances allowed for such a luxury.
“Oh my god, you saved me.” A sob tangles itself up with her words.
I had. There’s no denying it.  I really hadn’t planned for everything to go down this way, but my buddy from work had provided me with the perfect in. It would be easy to deny knowledge of him later. The company we work for has hundreds in its employ, and we’d been careful to never be seen together after work and even during.
“Can…can you help get me out from under here?” She tries desperately to help further, but her efforts don’t amount to any level that actually make a difference…but I let her think they did anyway, using my substantial strength to push the mass of forever-stilled flesh aside. “Thank you.” I mimic the trembling of nervous limbs and appendages after I stand.
“It’s not your fault. You were only trying to h-h-help me.” Her words are heavy with unshed tears. “I’ll tell them. It was self-defense…and you saved me…” All the anxiety constricting my chest falls away like the cut strands of a net at her words. Disbelief fills me when her body falls across mine in a clumsy hug. She manages to whisper, “Thank you,” before breaking into sobs, and I hold her, the delicate bones in her back heaving under my fingers.
I hope I look appropriately shocked when I push her gently away. I’m finding my joy hard to contain as I dig in my back pocket for my cell. “I have to call the police.”
“Of…of course.” She’s trying very hard not to look over at the red-clad lump, lying too small a distance from our feet.  Right before I hit the send button for my 911 call, she asks in a voice weakened by the recent violence, “Hey, aren’t you that football player I went to school with?” I nod. “After this is all over, would you, maybe, go get a coffee with me? I-I just don’t think I can be alone for a while.”
She asks the question I’d wanted to approach her with for more than a year. This makes me bold enough in the now to reach out and brush the fingers of the hand not holding the phone over her arm in a gesture of comfort. “Hey, absolutely. Whatever you need.” Maybe after, we can go back to her place and watch The Lost Boys together. She must watch that one every couple of weeks. Yeah, I bet that one will make her feel better, and I’m sure that tabby cat of hers will jump up into her lap like it always does. I guess it’ll be the first real time we’ve watched it together, though we’ve watched so many times before—me from my blanketed spot under the tree growing so conveniently in front of her window.  I wonder briefly before dialing what we might do after? I have so many ideas for all the fun games we can play together. I offer her a reassuring smile as I hit the Send button for the call. All the wishes and dreams I’ve played on the tape inside my head starring my Gisella can now come to fruition, now that our real time together has begun. Now that we have forever and ever and ever… Because, after all I’ve gone through, I’ll be damned if I ever let her go…

Disclaimer
This story is an original work by author, Claudette Melanson. It may not be reproduced or reposted without permission from the author. Snippets are allowed to be used as reference for review or blog purposes only. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
GIVEAWAY
Today's giveaway is another great one. Claudette is offering up FIVE ecopies of The Maura DeLuca Trilogy!
To win: go to the Official FB Event Page; find the post announcing  today’s giveaway; and comment, “I WANT TO WIN” in that post and you just might!!! 

Rising Tide: Dark Innocence (The Maura DeLuca Trilogy Book 1)
2015 Readers' Favorite Gold Medal Winner for YA Mystery
2015 RONE Award Finalist for YA Paranormal
2015 New Apple Top Medalist for Young Adult Ebook
Chosen as one of 400 for the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for 2014!!!

Rising Tide will sink its fangs into you, keeping you awake into the wee hours of the night
Could Maura's life get any worse? ...turns out it most certainly can.
Isolated and sheltered by her lonely mother, Maura's never been able to make friends. She seems to drive her classmates away—except for the odd times they pay enough attention to torture her—but she doesn’t understand why. Maura considers herself to be a freak of nature, with her unusually pale skin and an aversion to the sun that renders her violently nauseous. Her belief is only worsened by the fact that almost everyone around her keeps their distance.
Even her own father deserted her before she was born, leaving Maura alone with her emotionally distant mother, Caelyn. Even though Maura is desperate for answers about her unknown parent, Caelyn remains heartbroken and her daughter can’t bring herself to reopen her mother’s wounds. Or is there a more sinister reason Caelyn refuses to utter a word about her long-lost love?
When a cruel prank nearly claims Maura’s life, one of her classmates, Ron, rushes to her rescue. Darkly handsome & mysteriously accepting, Ron doesn’t seem to want to stay away, but Maura is reluctant to get too close, since her mother has announced she’s moving the two of them to Vancouver…nearly 3,000 miles away from their hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania.
If life wasn’t already challenging enough, Maura begins to experience bizarre, physical changes her mother seems hell bent on ignoring, compelling Maura to fear for her own life. Vicious nightmares, blood cravings, failing health and the heart-shattering loss of Ron—as well as the discovery of a tangled web of her own mother's lies—become obstacles in Maura's desperate quest for the unfathomable truth she was never prepared to uncover.

Undertow: Death's Twilight (The Maura DeLuca Trilogy Book 2)
2015 Readers' Favorite Honorable Mention for YA Horror
2016 New Apple Summer eBook Solo Medalist for YA Horror
Maura finally found the truth she was always seeking…or has she?
After being left in the dark for all of her life, Maura’s father, Maxwell, has finally returned to reveal sinister family secrets Maura could never have dreamed possible—including his revelation that she is one of The Born. But his daughter soon discovers both he and her mother are keeping pieces of her reality hidden, still. As Maura struggles to unravel the mysteries surrounding her new existence and discover every piece of the cryptic puzzle, life appears intent on casting stumbling blocks across her path with every step forward.
Tragedy seems to stalk Maura, and those around her, as she stumbles along, altering the young changeling’s family, just when they have all come back together. The changes left in its wake could be for the better, or may threaten their existence, entirely.
With the arrival of Christmas comes the opportunity for Maura to draw close to everyone she loves—and finally reunite with Ron, the man she loves. But permanence has always eluded her, and in her current state of flux this pattern endures, as fate seems intent on snapping the threads that bind her to those she holds most dear. Maxwell’s good intentions pave a road for Maura, littered with misery, while her mother, Caelyn’s, desire to shield her family from pain may tear her away from them, altogether. The perfect happiness in the young vampire’s grasp is so easily swept away and dragged under, out of reach. Can Maura erupt from the darkness and confusion to break the surface and find the life she’s always dreamed of?
In the midst of chaos, assistance materializes in the form of another of her kind—ephemerally beautiful, yet explosively volatile, this new vampire may prove capable of unlocking the puzzle-box Maxwell seems intent on securing from her sight. Maura will discover the darkest parts of herself in her quest to understand the being she is destined to become. Her newfound friend has some shady intentions of his own—such as thwarting the love that has grown between Maura and Ron. Following in the wake of the impulsive vampire’s misguided instruction may further pull a naive Maura down into the depths of ultimate despair, heartbreak…and even destruction.

Riptide: Betrayal of Blood (The Maura DeLuca Trilogy Book 3)
The 3rd book in the 1st of several trilogies featuring Maura & her family!
Maura has never felt so alone in her life…nor has her existence ever been so overshadowed by peril…
Not only do both her parents—her distant but loving mother and recently- returned father—remain absent from her life, but due to the hideous error in judgement executed in collusion with her best friend, Valdamir, and adoptive sister, Susie, Maura has been cut off from the pair’s friendship and support, forbidden by both her father and the fallout from the dire outcome to see either of them. The heartbreak she suffers, brought on by the weight of these estrangements, is only intensified by the continued mysterious absence of her supernaturally-destined mate, Ron…whose disappearance delivers grave consequences Maura would have never dreamed possible…
Despised by her vampire cousin, Aldiva, for reasons Maura cannot yet comprehend, the young changeling will be forced to guard her back with every step, as she comes to realize this member of her vampire family would love nothing more than to bring about her demise. Aldiva’s wrath calls forth other members from both Vancouver covens, forcing them to rush to Maura’s aid—even though her father, their king, has expressly forbidden the other vampires to initiate contact with his daughter. Will her extended family on Vancouver Island obey, abandoning Maura to her doom, or will they instead rebel against Maxwell’s wishes in order to save her life?
In addition to the menace personified in her unsolicited enemy, the unlikely vampire princess will find herself drowning as she is pulled down into the depths of a far more devastating crisis…one which may condemn her to a fate she considers much more undesirable than death. But in order to tear herself free from the deadly pull which is drawing her under, Maura must enlist the help of her preternatural family, exposing her newfound friends to a danger none of them have ever had the misfortune to face before. Can she be saved or will the riptide drag Maura under…along with those she loves the most…

In this third and final book of The Maura DeLuca Trilogy,the first of several trilogies to come, the reader will delve even deeper into the secrets guarded by Maura’s father, the mystery of Ron’s role in her life and the identities of the mysterious Vancouver Island Coven members who have, up until now, remained hidden in the shadows. This trilogy rounds out the segment of Maura’s life during which she discovers she is a member of The Born—a human destined to complete her transformation into a vampire! This series of young adult fantasy novels has been enjoyed by readers of nearly every age and are found by them to be dramatically different from any other vampire books they have read in the past. Discover a magical world filled with fae, angels, elves, pixies and other enchanting creatures in addition to two families made up of some of the most likeable vampires—for the most part—to ever exist.
AUTHOR BIO
Claudette Melanson writes & edits in Guelph, Ontario, with her husband Ron and four bun babies: Tegan, Pepper, Butters & Beckett. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English and an MA in Literature. She's wished to be a Vampire since age five. She hopes to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many books living inside her head.

In her spare time she enjoys watching Japanese Anime and reading vampire stories....along with other great fiction. She is also very interested in good health and is an advocate of Ketogenic eating, using whole and natural foods. Her favorite foods are bulletproof coffee, cashew flour crust pizza and treats made with xylitol and almond, coconut or cashew flours.

Future dreams include writing many more books and spending more time with her son Jacob. Her biggest dream is to make Universal Halloween Horror Nights a yearly event with hubby and son. A Rabbit Rescue fanatic, she also hopes to help rescues all over the world save many innocent lives.  

https://www.facebook.com/events/1707136679540777/

89 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for featuring me today, Wendy!

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  2. That was great. Very dark. Great storytelling.

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    1. Thank you so much Phil; I really do appreciate your kind comment :)

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  3. That was great. Very dark. Great storytelling.

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  4. New Author for me.

    Books sound really great

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  5. New Author for me.

    Books sound really great

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    1. Thank you so much, Lisa. So very happy you visited :)

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  6. This sounds darkly amazing! Can't wait to read it!

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    1. Thank you so much! No greater reward than readers for our words! :)

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  7. Fantastic short story. Thank you, great way to start off the Halloween season

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    1. Thank you so much, Laura. I'm so happy you all liked it. Always happy to contribute to Halloween joy, lol! Appreciate your time and kind words. <3

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    1. You are so welcome, Beth! Thank you for taking the time to read it :)

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  9. Thanks for the creepy story, Claudette!

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    1. Very welcome, Glenda! Thanks for stopping by to give it a read. :)

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  10. Wow! So chilling and viscerally descriptive! Well done!

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    1. Why, thank you Bea! Very much appreciated. So very happy to hear you enjoyed it and great way to describe it! Love it. <3

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    1. Thank you so much, Lorella. I'm so happy you enjoyed it :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Sammie. Thrilled you liked it :)

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  13. Awesome story! Thank you for sharing it :)

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    1. Thanks, Judy. I really appreciate the time you took to read it

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  14. :O Claudette. I want more. I need more. There's sooo much potential here! :D

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    1. Thanks Kaela!! I never thought about turning it into a whole book...until now

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  15. Thank you! That was great. Your new to me so it is nice to read something you wrote to see what I think, now I think I need to go purchase your books.

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    1. I'm so very happy you enjoyed the story. I would be honored if you purchased other books and thank you so very much for the support!

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  17. love the short story would love to see it turned in to a book

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    1. Thanks Victoria! I just may do that. The suggestion really has me turning it over in my mind.

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    1. Thanks so much Tommi! I really appreciate that.I aim to please :)

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  19. Amazing look into your imagination and the darker crevices of your mind, but makes for a great read.

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    1. Hehe thanks Debra! My mom always told me I had too much imagination. Guess it's finally coming in handy ;)

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  20. Your mind amazes me, Claudette. Thank you for the glimpse inside of it. ��

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    1. What a sweet compliment, Tommi! Never thought I'd hear someone say that! Thank you so much for taking the time to read. I love you guys!

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  21. Truly amazing the stories you write. I hope you continue to come up with more amazing stories for us to read. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you so much; I really do appreciate it! I'm working on an anthology of original Christmas horror stories for next year, along with 3 other novels :)

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  22. Wow, talk about a stalker! Worse, I was hoping she was going to turn into a vampire & rip that guy's throat out. I have to admit, tho, that's a really disturbing story...

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    1. That would've been a great twist! haha! Disturbing was what I was going for...so thanks a million!

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  23. Awesome story really enjoyed reading it.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jean. I love that you took the time to read my words. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

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  24. Thank you Penny! I appreciate your kind feedback :)

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  25. I love a nice Halloween story. This is going to be a great book, one that I want to read very soon.

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  26. Thanks so much, Jerry! This one might or might not become more of a novel. I am working on a Christmas horror anthology at the moment to be titled The 12 Terrors of Christmas. It'll be released later this year :)

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  27. A good story, and looks like lots of other interesting books too.

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    1. Thank you so much! I would love for you to check the other books out :) I'm working on a Christmas horror anthology you might enjoy

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by to read :)

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  29. Thanks for sharing this with us. Im always looking for new authors to check out, and this definitely grabbed my attention

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  30. Thank you so much, Shannon! That is wonderful to hear. I'm so happy to hear it did 😊❤

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  31. Sounds wonderful thank you so much

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  32. Replies
    1. You are welcome. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment :)

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  33. Replies
    1. Thank you! I really appreciate your kind words!

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    1. Thank you, thank you! I hope you like the writing enough to check out my other stories: https://www.amazon.com/Claudette-Melanson/e/B00IHS7GBI/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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  35. Wow, That gave me the chills. Thank you

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    1. Then, I accomplished my goal. Thank you for your feedback!

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  36. Mislead has definitely got that creep factor going for it. Just goes to show you can't trust anyone. Not even a football jock you went to high school with. Ouch. Worse I was so hoping Gisella was going to turn into a vampire & bite HIM. lol

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    1. That would've been a really great ending, I agree! Glad you enjoyed the story :)

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  37. Loved the story, the ending was so cool :)

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    1. Thank you, Judy! Endings are always challenging to nail.

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  38. Great writing--very engrossing.

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    1. That means a lot to me, thank you, Kara!

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  39. I am really interested. Going to go look for some more of your work

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    1. Honored, Cori! Nothing an author loves to hear more :)

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  40. Sounds great would love to read more.

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia! Though I have so many other novels in the works right now, I may just come back to this story and turn it into a bigger work as well.

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  41. What a great short story! I enjoyed it!

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    1. I'm so happy to hear you did! Thank you for taking the time to read.

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  42. I loved reading this short story, I hope you turn it into a book I think it would be a GREAT read !!

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    1. It's definitely on my list. I have a huge Word list of novel ideas I want to write. I may make Shimmer into a full length novel as well. Thanks for the feedback; you are very kind!

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  43. Every time I read this story I get creeped out. You must be doing something right! Thanks :)

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    1. Thanks so much Margaret. I love hearing that from readers. I aim to please! :)

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  44. After reading, I cannot wait for Halloween to come. I don't like the colder weather, but I want everything else. Love the review.

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  45. Thanks so much! I always look forward to Halloween too. I love cold weather, but I'm one of the few who does lol.

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