Witch’s Moonstone Locket
A Coon Hollow Coven Tale
Marsha A. Moore
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: March 24, 2015
Number of pages: 315
Word Count: 94,000
Twenty-three-year-old Jancie Sadler was out of the room when her mother died, and her heart still longs for their lost goodbye. Aching to ease her sorrow, Aunt Starla gives Jancie a diary that changes her entire life. In entries from the 1930s, her great grandmother revealed how she coped with her own painful loss by seeking out a witch from nearby Coon Hollow Coven. The witch wore the griever’s moonstone locket, which allowed whoever could unlock its enchantment to talk with the dead.
Determined to find that locket, Jancie goes to the coven’s annual carnival held in her small southern Indiana town of Bentbone. This opposes her father’s strict rule: stay away from witches. But she’s an adult now and can make her own decisions. She meets Rowe McCoy, the kind and handsome witch who wears the moonstone. He agrees to let her try to open the locket, but they’re opposed by High Priestess Adara and her jealous desire to possess him.
Desperate for closure with her mother, Jancie persists and cannot turn away from a perilous path filled with magic, romance, and danger.
Available at Amazon
Excerpt from Chapter One: Great Aunt Starla’s Cornbread
Warm rain mixed with Jancie’s tears, and she rose to stand beside her mother’s grave. Not ready to let go, she bent at the waist and her fingers followed the arc of her mother’s name—Faye Sadler—in the headstone. She knew the unyielding shape well. The word goodbye stuck in her throat. She’d said it aloud many times since her mother died almost a year ago, only to have the cemetery’s vast silence swallow her farewells. Rain beaded on the polished granite. Her hand, bearing her mother’s silver ring, slid down the stone and fell to her side.
If only she could’ve said goodbye to her mother before. After years of caring for her mom while she suffered with cancer, Jancie had missed the final parting moment while getting a quick bite of dinner. The pain still cut like a knife in her gut.
On foot, she retraced the too-familiar path toward her work at the Federal Bank. Although she’d landed a job as manager at the largest of the three banks in the small town of Bentbone, the position was a dead end. Within the first six months, she’d mastered all the necessary skills. Now, after a year, only the paycheck kept her there.
Jancie turned onto Maple Street. As usual, wind swept up the corridor, between old shade trees protecting houses, and met her at the top of the tall hill. September rain pelted her face and battled the Indian summer noontime temperatures. She zipped the rain parka to keep her dress dry, pulled on the strings of the hood, and corralled strands of ginger-colored hair that whipped into her eyes. Once able to see, she gazed farther into the valley, where the view spanned almost a mile out to the edge of town. Usually, farmers moved tractors across the road or boys raced skateboards and bikes down Maple Street’s long slope.
Today, on the deserted acreage just east of Bentbone, people moving in and out through a gate of the tall wooden fence breathed life into the rundown carnival. Surprised, Jancie crossed the street for a better view. She’d lost track of time since Mom passed. The coming Labor Day weekend in Bentbone meant the valley coven’s yearly carnival. She and her close group of girlfriends always looked forward to the cute guys, fair food, and amazing magical rides and decorations…even if her father didn’t approve of witches or magic. The residents of the sleepy town awoke to welcome a host of tourists wanting to see the spectacle created by the witches of Coon Hollow Coven.
Somehow, Jancie had forgotten the big event this year. Last year, she didn’t go since Mom was so sick and couldn’t be left. Jancie sighed and turned onto the main street toward the bank. She’d lost so much since her mother passed. Really, since the diagnosis of cancer.
At that time, four years ago, Jancie withdrew as a sophomore from Hanover College, a select, private school in southern Indiana near the Kentucky border—too far away. Instead, she returned to stay with her mother and commuted to Indiana University. Balancing hours with the home health care nurse, Jancie had few choices of career paths. Not that it mattered, since her remarried father expected her to find a job in Bentbone and continue taking care of her mother. Despite the sacrifices, Jancie loved her mother, who’d always managed money for a few special things for Jancie—a new bike, birthday parties, prom dresses—even though their income was tight. Mom had paid for her tuition and listened to every new and exciting college experience.
Jancie smiled at the memory of Mom’s twinkling brown eyes, that mirrored her own, when she asked about what happened during the day’s classes: if Jancie liked the professor; if she’d made new friends.
When she rounded the last corner, her thoughts returned to the work day. At the bleak, limestone bank building, reality hit. Jancie pulled against the heavy glass door, and a gust swept her inside. She peeled off the drenched jacket and hung it on the coat rack of her small, plain office. At her desk again, she took her position.
Through the afternoon’s doldrums, punctuated by only a handful of customers, her mind wandered to the carnival. She’d gone dozens of times before and loved it. But since Mom passed, nothing seemed fun anymore, like she couldn’t connect with herself and had forgotten how to have a good time. She organized a stack of notes, anything to put the concern out of her mind.
After work, Jancie drove her old blue Camry the five miles to the other end of town where she lived in her mother’s white frame house, the home where she grew up, now hers. Glad to own her own place, unlike her friends who rented, she’d made a few easy changes. In the living room, a new brown leather couch with a matching chair and ottoman. She replaced the bedroom furniture with a new oak suite for herself in what used to be her mother’s room. With pay saved from the bank, Jancie could remodel or build on, but she didn’t know what she wanted yet. Her great aunt Starla had told her to just wait and hold onto her money; she’d know soon enough.
Pouring rain soaked the hem of her dress as she darted between the garage shed and back stoop of the small ranch house.
Glad she’d chosen to get her run in this morning before work, she changed into cozy sweats, pulled the long part of her tapered hair into a ponytail, and headed for the kitchen.
Her phone alerted her of a text, and she read the message from her friend Rachelle, always the social director of their group: R we going to the carnival?
Jancie typed a response. I guess. R Lizbeth and Willow going?
Yep whole gang. What day?
Don’t know yet. Get back to u. Jancie worried she’d spoil their fun. Even though they’d all been her best friends since high school and would understand her moodiness, she didn’t want to ruin one of the best times of the year for them. Since Mom passed, they’d taken her out to movies and shopping in Bloomington, but this was different. Could it ever match up to the fun of all the times before? “I don’t know if I’m up to that,” she said into open door of the old Kenmore refrigerator while rummaging for leftovers of fried chicken and corn.
The meal satisfied and made her thankful she’d learned how to cook during those years with Mom. Not enough dishes to bother with the dishwasher, one of the modern upgrades to the original kitchen, Jancie washed the dishes by hand and then called Starla. When she answered, Jancie asked, “Can I come over tonight? There’s something I’m needing your opinion on.”
“Why sure, Jancie. C’mon over,” the eighty-five-year-old replied with her usual warm drawl. “Are you wantin’ dinner? I made me some soup beans with a big hambone just butchered from Bob’s hog. My neighbor Ellie came over and had some. She said they were the best she’s eaten.”
Jancie glanced at the soggy rain parka and opted for an umbrella instead. “No, I just ate. Be right over.” Keys and purse in hand, she hung up and darted for the shed.
Five minutes later, she turned onto the drive of the eldercare apartments and parked under the steel awning where Starla gave her a whole arm wave from her picture window. Jancie made her way to number twelve on the first floor.
The door opened, and Starla engulfed Jancie in a bear hug, pulling her into the pillow of a large, sagging bosom. Starla smelled of her signature scent—rosewater and liniment.
Jancie had loved her great aunt’s hugs as long as she could remember. Stress and worry melted away, and she hugged back. Her arm grazed Starla’s white curls along the collar of her blue knit top embroidered with white stars—her great aunt’s favorite emblem.
“It’s so good to see you. Come sit a spell, while I get us some iced tea.” Starla pulled away and gestured to the microsuede couch decorated with three crocheted afghans in a rainbow of colors. “I thought we were done with this hot weather, but not quite yet. That rain today’s been a gully washer but didn’t cool things off much.” The large-boned woman scuffed her pink-house-slippered feet toward the kitchen. “Would you rather have pound cake from the IGA or homemade cornbread?”
Jancie laughed and followed her into the kitchen. She wouldn’t get through the visit without eating. “You’re just fishin’ for a compliment. You know your homemade cornbread is better.”
Starla arranged plates with thick slices of warm cornbread and big pats of butter on top, while Jancie transferred the refreshments to the aluminum dinette table.
“With your hair pulled back like that, you’re a dead ringer for your Ma. So pretty with that same sweetheart-shaped face.” Starla folded herself onto a chair beside Jancie. “You look to be getting on well…considering what all you’ve been through.”
“I’m doing okay,” Jancie said through a mouthful of the moist cornbread. She washed it down with a swallow of brisk tea that tasted fresh-brewed. “But sometimes, lots of times, I feel lost, like I can’t move on.” She ran a hand across her forehead. “I didn’t get to say goodbye. I spent time with her through all those years, and it shouldn’t matter, but it does every time I visit her grave and most every night in my dreams.”
“Oh, honey. I know it hurts.” Starla smoothed Jancie’s ponytail down the middle of her back and spoke with a voice so slow and warm, it felt like a handmade quilt wrapping around her. “You spent all that time and gave so much. Just like when I cared for my husband some twenty years back. I know. I never got the chance to tell Harry goodbye either. Time will heal all hurts.”
Jancie looked down at the marbleized tabletop to hide her teary eyes. “I don’t think I’m ever going to heal, Aunt Starla. I don’t know if I can ever move on.”
“There is one thing you can try. I’d have done it, if I’d have known before decades softened my aching heart. Way back, I was desperate like you.”
Jancie looked into Starla’s blue-gray eyes, set deep inside wrinkled lids.
Her aunt leaned closer. “Not many know about this,” she whispered as if someone outside the apartment door might hear. “There’s an old story about how a member of the Coon Hollow Coven, one who’s recently lost a loved one, is made the teller of the moonstone tale.”
Jancie rolled her eyes. “That’s just a silly story, one of lots that Mom and Dad told to scare me when I was little, so I’d stay away from the coven. When the moonstone locket opens at the end of the tale, you’ll get your wish but also be cursed.”
“Oh no.” Starla shook her head and pushed away from the table. “Let me get Aunt Maggie’s old diary. I got this in a box of old family things when Cousin Dorothy passed. ” She lumbered to her spare bedroom and returned with a worn, black-leather volume only a little larger than her wide palm. Once seated, she thumbed through the yellowed pages. “Here.” She pointed a finger and placed the book between them.
This story takes place in present day, in a small town with a small coven of real witches living near regular humans. What a wonderful, magical world with talking animals and really cool magic. I love seeing the beginning magic school children witches are learning. The way the witches lives and skills are described is magical in itself. The author did a good job immersing the reader in the world of spells and powers.
>Jancie is a 20 something, reeling from the death of her mother and stuck in her hometown in a dead end job. Rowe is a 20 something witch reeling from the death of his wife and unborn child. A spell brings them together and truths are revealed. Rowe and Jancie fall for each other, but the romance is pure and sweet. The truly scary part of this story is the evil, in the form of the high priestess, Adara. She is unhinged, unpredictable and wants Rowe.
>The secondary characters, like the ancient witch Vika, are so well described. Their interactions are both poignant and funny. With 2 covens and a town of humans, there are a lot of secondary characters. A truly good novel creates interesting characters, no matter how important. Even the animal “familiars” were quirky and funny. Fans of fantasy, suspense and romance, will love this book.
>This novel is appropriate for a young adult (14+) to adult audience.
>I am giving this novel 5 fangs.
>Goodreads – Witch’s Moonstone Locket – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1262793633?book_show_action=false
>Amazon – Witch’s Moonstone Locket – http://www.amazon.com/review/R1E4DE0XJZJFXV
About the Author:
Marsha A. Moore loves to write fantasy and paranormal romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales.
The magic of art and nature often spark life into her writing, as well as watercolor painting and drawing. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and is a registered yoga teacher. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out for an hour or more is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand.
Every day at the beach is magical!
Google +: http://google.com/+MarshaAMoore
Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/marshaamoore
Goodreads author page http://www.goodreads.com/marshaamoore
5 copies of Witch’s Moonstone Locket: A Coon Hollow Coven Tale
1 $20 Amazon gift card
Genre: Paranormal Erotica
Date of Publication: 7/2/14
Number of pages: 103
Word Count: 30K
Cover Artist: Les Byerley
Ever since Brock lost his mate and son in a tragic murder, he’s been unable to move on. When urged to go back home and bury his past, he never expected to meet Sarah. The demon is strong, sexy, and kind-hearted. Everything a man could want in a woman.
Sarah has longed to discover the mate who completes her and finds herself wondering about the demon who left the house next door shrouded in magic. After he appears in her camera lens, it’s an instant attraction and doesn’t take long to realize he belongs to her.
When Elias steps into the picture, Sarah must fight the urges he stirs inside her. She can’t believe fate has given her two mates. Now she is faced with a decision. Choose the one who promises nights of passion and undying love, or the other who can only offer her his broken heart.
Sarah stood outside the house and watched while Brock unraveled the magic woven around it. The demon fidgeted and paced, and on more than one occasion, she worried he would run from her. She hoped, once inside, he would be able to find peace. Something in her gut told her his jitters were not all due to the opening of old wounds. She realized she actually made him nervous. When she’d caught him admiring her assets, she’d been anything but angry. His roving eyes had sent moisture between her thighs and a longing that nearly had her shoving him to the floor to sate her desire. Hot, inviting, he made her mouth water. She wondered if he tasted anything like the spicy cinnamon scent she inhaled every time she got near him and decided she needed to find out. Would it be in poor taste to seduce him when he was at his weakest? For some reason, she didn’t care, and that was really out of character for her.
She looked up and met his dark, brown eyes, noting a twinkle of mischief in them.
“Find something you like?” he chuckled.
Shit. She’d been caught staring at his ass. Well, it wasn’t her fault he filled out a pair of jeans like nobody’s business. Not to mention he was standing two steps up from her which put the muscular perfection right at eye level. She curled her lips upward. “As a matter of fact, yes. Yes, I did.” There, let him chew on that! She hoped he’d take it as a hint of her interest.
He tipped back his head in laughter. “Well, I guess I deserve that after I gawked at you.”
He pushed the door open, his features immediately schooled. Her heart ached for him and longed to see the sexy smile again. Her new goal was to get him through this and help him move on. She wanted to get to know the real Brock. The one who wasn’t in pain. “I’ll go first just to make sure it’s safe.” He slipped past the threshold and disappeared. Sarah remained on the first step, waiting for him to give her the all clear. Minutes later, he stuck his head out, his face ashen. “You can come in.”
She made her way up the remaining steps and through the doorway, not sure what she would find inside and half expecting her senses to be assaulted. She took in a deep breath and found the air to be crisp and clean. She must have had a puzzled look on her face.
“The spell kept everything out so there’s no mildew or mold,” he stated matter of fact.
She glanced around the spacious kitchen and felt as if she’d stepped back in time. The white porcelain refrigerator and gas range with its side storage compartment were state of the art for the period when the house had been previously occupied. Everything glistened as if freshly cleaned, waiting for the museum patrons to walk through the time capsule. She noticed Brock no longer stood next to her so she moved across the linoleum floor to the beige carpeted living room. She found him standing in the center, staring down at the floor.
“Brock?” She walked up and stood next to him. He didn’t respond and almost seemed to be mesmerized except that his hands balled into fists then released, only to repeat the process. Her heart fractured. Clearly, this was where he had found his mate. She reached out to touch him but hesitated unsure how he would respond. “Brock, maybe this wasn’t a good idea. I think we should leave.”
He lifted his head and glanced around the room. “No. I need to face my ghosts. I guess I wasn’t expecting it to be this difficult.” He ran his fingers through his short, blond hair. “Hell, I’m not really sure what I was expecting.”
It was heartbreaking to see him so vulnerable. This time, she didn’t stop herself from placing a hand on his arm.
“Is this where…?” She couldn’t finish the question without her voice giving away her emotions.
Brock is still mourning the death of his mate and son after 50 years. Now he wants to try and move on. When he returns to his families home to take the spell off the house he meets Sarah another demon. Sarah is starting to wonder if she will ever find her mate. When she meets Brock she feels an attraction, is it just sexual or could he be her mate. Then she meets Elias and the attraction is instant. Sarah knew mates came about in one of two ways, instant attraction or slow attraction. To go from no possible mate to the possibility of two in a couple days Sarah didn’t know if to be freaked out or excited. How’s a girl to choose?
This was a quick read, not a lot of depth to the story but more of an erotic paranormal romance. Enjoyed the characters, how everyone came together in a time of need. There is chemistry between al the characters.You have Brock and Sarah and their hot sex scenes. Then you have Sarah, Brock and Elias together in a fan yourself scene. Nothing like good old demon sex. Throw in a few bad guys for some suspense and you have an great afternoon quickie.
Lovers of paranormal and erotica will enjoy the story, but once you hit the steamy scenes the paranormal part kind of fades from your mind
About the Author:
As a child, Valerie would often get into trouble for peeking at her mother’s favorite TV show, Dark Shadows. She can still hear her mother saying “It will give you nightmares.” She was right of course, but that did not stop Valerie from watching. As an adult, her love of the fanged creatures never waned. She would watch any vampire movie she could find.
Being a true romantic, Valerie was thrilled when she discovered the genre of paranormal romance. Her first read was one of Lara Adrian’s, Midnight Breed Series and from there she was hooked.
Today, Valerie has decided to take her darker, sensual side and put it to paper. When she is not busy creating a world full of steamy, hot men and strong, seductive women, she juggles her time between a full-time job, hubby and her two German shepherd dogs, in Northern IL.
Valerie is a member of Romance Writers of America and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Romance Writers.
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Signed copy of Eternal Flame, Guardians #1
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Eternity … Monsters of fantasy and myth, angels and demons, vampires, shapeshifters, and a world full of magic!
All legends are created out of truth, join Acelynn on her journey to find that truth in the first installment of The Road to Ruin Series: Bound by Sacrifice, a Traversing Eternity book.
When you make a deal with the Devil, it can be Hell…
Acelynn made a deal to save her sister’s soul, kill Satan’s son or become Satan’s bride. It seemed impossible to find a legend like Cain, but after decades she finally got a lucky break. This break happens to be one sexy immortal, the type of man Acelynn can’t let herself fall for. He’s full of hope, a light shining brightly, and all Acelynn knows is darkness. And the darkness keeps growing as vampires, werewolves, and other magical creatures change the course of her journey. Will her heart be the only thing that stands in the way of saving her sister’s soul? Or will she always be bound by sacrifice?
Paranormal Romance/ Urban Fantasy/ Vampires / Werewolves / Shapeshifters / Fantasy / Science Fiction