Thursday, August 28, 2014

#ReleaseDay for #Penelope my 19th published book!

Is there any better way to wake up in the morning than knowing you're going to celebrate the release of your 19th book? Well, there is. When you wake up (at 4:am to get your work done so you can celebrate) and you find out that the book has already gone bestseller. I've had the pleasure of this phenomenon a dozen times...it NEVER gets old.

Penelope is my 19th published book and the 2nd book in the THREE MRS. MONROES trilogy.

The trilogy follows the three widows of Adam Monroe and their sisterly bonding after his death. Yes, it is true contemporary romance, but let's face it. When you have three women with three very different personalities bonding...you're crossing into some chick lit! And I'm loving it!

I think sometimes you don't even realize you're going to write something like that. The plan was to write about these women moving on. But amidst the back drop of lies and deception, you find a sisterly bond. And...don't we all love that sisterly bond that can't be broken and makes us all feel whole?

So even though today is about PENELOPE. I'd love to share with you the amazing covers (designed by Viola Estrella) and the THREE MRS MONROES.

Links to all books can be found on my website at www.bernadettemarie.com or at my publisher's site at www.5princebooks.com/bernadettemarie.html

 From loss breeds new opportunity.

Amelia Monroe had felt the sharp pain from the loss of a soldier before—Adam Monroe’s death didn’t have that same effect.

Sam Jackson had one job—deliver Adam Monroe’s revised will. Even he couldn’t have anticipated that he’d be entangled in the web of lies his client had woven.

Doing what is right had been inbred in Amelia. She’d planned to say her goodbyes and start fresh. Staying in Adam’s small town with his other lies, that wasn’t part of her plan.






From loss breeds new life.

Penelope Monroe married on impulse and her heart had been broken by Adam Monroe’s lies. Pregnant she wonders how she will survive, alone, with her baby.

Brock Romero held Adam Monroe when he died in combat. Now released from the Army he makes it his priority to find Adam’s wife and share with her his last words.

On the verge of making the same mistake twice, Penelope must trust her heart—especially when new lies are uncovered.
 From loss breeds new beginnings

Vivian Monroe had been jaded. Her husband’s death only compounded the lies she’d only come to learn about.

Clayton North knows a thing or two about loss. He figured it was fate for him to meet Vivian Monroe. He’ll take on the challenge of helping her mend her heart.

Midst new friendships and new romance, Vivian must let go of her pain and face the woman who helped Adam Monroe weave his deceptive web

 Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it, because she lives it.

When not writing, Bernadette Marie is shuffling her sons to their many events—mostly hockey—and enjoying the beautiful views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains from her front step. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.

A chronic entrepreneur, Bernadette Marie opened her own publishing house in 2011, 5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too.

Are you part of my street team? Enjoy exclusive benefits and events by helping me spread the word about my books! Click here to join!






Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#CoverReveal for #5PrincePublishing author #SusanLohrer ~ A Gift for Chloe


If you've followed me on my blog or social media you know that I LOVE Susan Lohrer! She's not only an AMAZING editor, but she has this CRAZY amazing talent to write books too! I'm so blessed to have this woman in my life on so many levels! Her newest release A Gift for Chloe is a FREE read! Get to know the talent that is Susan Lohrer on September 4th! You certainly won't be sorry!!!


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 4, 2014
Digital ISBN-10:1631120662
ISBN-13:978-1-63112-066-4

A Gift for Chloe
Her carefully ordered world is turning upside down…
Linda is the one who holds her family together. She’s an absolute rock—at least, she was until her daughter announced her pregnancy (wait, isn’t 40 way too young to become a grandmother?) and delivered the news that the baby has Down syndrome.
Now she finds herself standing in the middle of a bookstore, floundering to regain her equilibrium as her carefully ordered world tumbles willy-nilly around her. Instead of making a relatively simple decision about which book to buy, she’s spent an hour waffling between two titles and trying (and failing) to come to grips with this new reality she hasn’t had nearly enough chance to prepare for. It’s not that she hasn’t already fallen head over heels in love with baby Chloe, but this is something she’s not equipped to handle—she can’t even choose a self-help book on the subject, for goodness’ sake.
Her friends and the medical professionals blithely insist she’ll forget all about special needs the moment she sees her grandchild for the first time. Even the too-good-to-be-true, optimistic fellow customer she encounters in the aisle of the bookstore seems to think she’s worried over nothing.

This handsome stranger is obviously compassionate and knows a lot about Downs, but Linda is in no way interested in striking up a conversation with him, let alone a friendship, no matter how intriguing he is… until he performs a random act of kindness she can’t ignore.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

For some #Elvis is still in the building

I had the great honor a year ago to publish a book I'm very proud of. It's not my book, but the book of a childhood friend's father.

In 1977 I was entering kindergarten. My mother was a room mother and so was Mrs. Cantwell. As we entered school, that late August or early September, my mother overheard the other mother's asking her if they were okay. They were sorry for the loss now that Elvis had passed. Of course my mother would naturally wonder what kind of fans need condolences from others?

As time passed and my mother and Mrs. Cantwell became friends she asked about that day. What she found out was Elvis wasn't just some iconic person they cherished. No, he was a dear friend to this local family who just lived a few blocks away.

Robert C. Cantwell, the author, was a Denver Police officer who worked his way through the ranks and retired after holding many top positions including head of CBI. He met Elvis in 1970 when he'd been the guard on Elvis's hotel floor after a concert in Denver. From there a friendship ensued until Elvis's untimely death in 1977.

Mr. Cantwell's collection of memories and personal photos take the reader through those seven years and that cherished friendship. The book documents trips to Vail, Denver concert venues, personal invitations to Las Vegas to see Elvis perform, Fools Gold Sandwiches which Elvis was known to send his plane for, and of course the gift Cadillacs he gave to some of the members on the police force.

A must read for any #Elvis Presley fan. It's hard to believe that today he's been gone for 37 years. But in the hearts of many Elvis has never left the building.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

#ReleaseDay of THE PAINTED ROOM by #PeteAbela and #5PrincePub












Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: Fiction, Family Life
Release Date: August 7, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-055-8 ISBN 10: 1631120557
Print ISBN 13:978-1-63112-056-5 ISBN 10: 1631120565
Purchase link : http://www.5princebooks.com/buy-links.html






A Painted Room
The best day in a parent’s life turns into the worst.For expectant parents, the origins of a new life are usually accompanied by excitement, anticipation and just a touch of anxiety about the future. There are classes to attend, prams to buy, and of course, the baby's room has to be painted.
This description fits Gary and Melinda quite nicely - except Gary hasn't painted the baby's room yet. He finally gets around to starting the job, but Melinda's water breaks before he finishes the first coat.
From there, the situation rapidly deteriorates. Their baby, Justin, is born via caesarean. Shortly after the birth Justin experiences breathing difficulties and is transferred to intensive care a few hours later.
The story follows Gary over a tumultuous few days as Justin undergoes emergency treatment. Gary and Melinda quickly discover that when a baby's life is on the line, it doesn't really matter whether or not you have a painted room.


About Pete Abela
Pete heralds from the city of Wollongong, just south of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia, where he lives with his wife and four kids. His love of reading eventually led him to take up writing, a difficult task which presents rewards and challenges in equal measure. A Painted Room is Pete’s second book, and follows his debut novel, Wings (2012).
When he’s not working, reading, writing or enjoying the company of his family, Pete likes to sneak away for a bit of exercise – either tennis, golf or a refreshing swim.
You can find more about Pete at his website and blog (http://peteabela.com). The blog contains a number of bad jokes and puns. You have been warned.

How to contact the author:
Twitter: @PeteAbela



CHAPTER ONE


Melinda waddled into the bedroom, looked at the display on the luminous alarm clock and frowned. Shaking her head, she trudged across the room and pulled herself slowly onto the bed, wincing as her back registered its habitual protest.
She looked down at her body, an expression of displeasure crossing her pretty face. A couple of varicose veins featured prominently on her once smooth and unblemished legs. She removed the chain from around her neck and unthreaded the wedding band. Holding the ring in one hand, she tried to place it on her swollen ring finger first then her pinkie, but could not get past the first knuckle with either of them. Shaking her head, she replaced the ring on the chain. Her pajama top stretched tightly over her eight-month belly. She tried to pull the top down to cover the exposed band of skin at the bottom of her tummy, and snorted in disgust when it sprang back, once again revealing her stretch marks.
Melinda picked up a piece of paper from the bedside table and examined it closely. It did not give her any more joy than the sight of her pregnant body had. In fact, she scowled as she perused the paper.
It was a list of jobs.
A long list of jobs and only a few of them had been crossed out. The spare bedroom still needed to be cleaned out and painted. The cot required assembly and the plastic bags full of nappies, bibs, clothes and toys still remained unsorted.
A leather bound diary lay on the bed. Melinda turned to the yearly planner page and placed her finger on a prominently circled date. She counted backwards, a week at a time on her fingers, stopping at four. She looked from the list to her fingers and back again with pursed lips. Reaching across to the alarm clock, she fiddled with the settings.
The jangle of keys at the front door interrupted her. She looked up expectantly, and then composed her features to remove any trace of welcome. The keys were dropped, and a male voice swore. The jangling resumed and the front door opened. Melinda sat back on the bed with her arms crossed and looked down at her watch. “It's about time,” she greeted him icily.
“Hello to you too,” replied Gary.
“Don't give me hello. Where have you been?”
“I just had a few boys with the drinks,” slurred Gary. “It's not even midnight. Why are you upset?”
“Where do I begin?” asked Melinda. “For starters, you said you'd come straight home after soccer and empty the spare room.” She picked up the list and waved it at Gary, before throwing it in the air in disgust. Gary’s vacant eyes followed the list, struggling to keep up with it as it floated gently to the floor. “You never called and told me where you were. I've been stuck at home, resting under doctor's orders, not able to have a drink, not supposed to do anything, bored and uncomfortable. All the while, you're gallivanting around the country side, getting drunk with your mates.”
Gary threw his arms into the air. “I've been going out with the boys for years. I don't know why it's a problem all of a sudden.”
“Were you even listening to me?” pleaded Melinda, a solitary tear trickling down her cheek. “I can't go out. I can't occupy myself. I'm stuck at home alone. I need you here with me.” She flicked the switch on the bedside lamp, sending the room into darkness. “I'm going to sleep.”

#

Gary groaned.
He fumbled and bashed the alarm clock which had jolted him out of an unsettled sleep. He half-opened one eye. The luminescent dials glowed brightly, searing into his glassy eyeball like a hot poker. His befuddled brain struggled to make sense of his surroundings. Was it Monday already? Surely not. It must be Sunday. But what could cause the alarm to go off at quarter to six?
Melinda looked across at him. “Morning dear,” she said in a loud and cheerful tone. “We've got a big day today.”
“A what?” Gary shook his head. “What on earth is going on? What are you talking about?”
“It's Sunday. We've got a heap of jobs to do. You promised me we'd finish the painting today. And since we didn't clear out the room yesterday afternoon, we're going to have to get up early in order to finish.”
“Hold on a minute. Take it back to the start,” commanded Gary. “Are you trying to tell me that you've woken me up at sparrow's fart on a Sunday morning so I can empty the spare bedroom? You must be crazy. I'm going back to sleep.” He rolled over, pulling the pillow over his head and digging into the quilt. However, his pounding head and cardboard tongue prevented him from relaxing.
Another bout of beeping broke out, this time from across the room.
“I think that's your phone dear,” suggested Melinda with just the hint of a smile. “Why don't you get it?”
Gary groaned. “I can see I'm not going to get any more sleep this morning,” he grumbled as he stumbled out of bed.
Everything hurt. His legs and lower back were sore from the after-effects of the previous day's soccer match, his right foot throbbed, and his head pounded as a result of his night on the town. “But I don't think I'm going to be much good to anyone in this state.”
“It might be good for you,” suggested Melinda. “You'll need some practice operating in a sleep-deprived state for when the baby comes.”
“I'd rather put off the practice and just cope with it when the time comes.”
“How about this for a deal?” asked Melinda. “It's the best offer you're likely to get all day. If you go and get started on the bedroom, I'll whip up some bacon and eggs for breakfast. I'll chuck in a couple of Beroccas as well. That'll get you into the day, and hopefully we'll get the things done we need to.”
“I might need to take something before I start,” admitted Gary. “However, I did promise to do the painting, so I'll take you up on your offer.” He paused. “I’m sorry for last night as well. I did mean to come home straight after soccer. But I scored the winning goal and now we're in the Grand Final. The boys pestered me to come out. I was just going to have one drink but once I got there, I couldn't say no. I drank one, and then someone else put another drink in front of me.” He walked to Melinda’s side of the bed, knelt down and took her hand. “I'm sorry I didn't come home on time. I'm sorry I didn't call you to let you know where I was, and I'm sorry I didn't clean the baby's room last night. I'll try to make up for it today, even if it kills me.”
“By the look of you, it might actually do that,” laughed Melinda.

#

Gary looked at the results of his work with pride. Despite feeling sore and lethargic, he had worked diligently and made large inroads into his task of cleaning the spare room in preparation for painting. Most of the cleared debris stemmed from the numerous holidays taken over their nine years together. A pile of suitcases, photo albums and souvenirs from all corners of the globe stood in a neat pile in the hallway, ready to be placed in the attic.
He smiled at Melinda as he entered the kitchen. “Brekkie smells good. The room's looking good too. Another half hour and I think we'll be ready for painting, so there's no reason I shouldn't get this done today.”
Melinda returned his smile warmly as she carried his steaming plate to the table. “That sounds great. It’ll be a big load off my mind.”
Gary picked up his knife and fork. “Nothing but the best for you, my dear.” He tucked ravenously into the food on his plate. “This is good. It really hits the spot. Even though I've made some good progress this morning, I think I was running on empty.”
“Eat up then,” said Melinda. “You've got a busy day in front of you.”
He looked at her curiously. “I know it's an important job, although I'm not sure I understand why you're so keen to get it done today. We've still got a few weeks to go.”
“There are no guarantees about the timing - the baby could come tomorrow.” She patted her bulging belly. “Looking at the size of me, it's hard to imagine I could get much bigger. And besides, there are lots of other jobs that are waiting on this one. Now that I've finished work, I can potter around during the week in my own time and apply the finishing touches.”
Gary looked at her with concern. “Don't forget that Dr. Downing said you have to take it easy. After all, that's the reason you've finished work. You're meant to be putting your feet up to ensure your blood pressure doesn't rise any further.”
“The biggest thing that's likely to have an impact on my blood pressure is if you don't finish the painting.” Melinda smiled to show that she joked, although Gary could tell there was a degree of truth in the statement. “If I wait for you, the jobs will never get done. I won't push myself. Even if I only spend an hour or two a day, I'll be able to keep myself occupied plus continue to get ready.”
“Not long to go now,” said Gary. “Your blood pressure will drop, your belly will disappear and things will go back to normal.”
Melinda raised an eyebrow. “Back to normal? Are you joking?” She circled until she was opposite Gary and leaned forward with both hands on the table. “The changes are just about to start. Life as we know it will never be the same once this little bundle pops out.”
“How hard can it be?” Gary dipped the last piece of toast into the remains of his egg yolk and scoffed it down. “Sure, we might be sleep-deprived for a while, but that never hurt anyone.” He yawned. “Well, not much anyway. People have been having babies for thousands of years, and doing it without any of the modern conveniences we have. I'm sure we'll be fine.”
“That's not what my girlfriends tell me,” commented Melinda. “They divide their lives into two - Before Baby and After Baby – and if they are to be believed, there is no comparison between the two.”
Gary stood, wiping his mouth. “I'm sure we'll be able to cope,” he said as he turned and walked back to the bedroom.

#

Melinda dragged the sheet across the floor in an attempt to cover the carpet before Gary could spill any paint on it. He looked at her. “Sit down, love. You need to rest and leave me to paint.”
Melinda looked up. “I'm happy for you to do the painting. Just make sure you keep the floor covered.”
“No problem, Melinda. I'm going fine. Just relax. You can sit there and watch if you like.”
Melinda smiled at Gary. A surge of affection rose unbidden within her. Gary looked like a big kid, dressed in his daggiest tracksuit pants and a faded Billy Joel t-shirt. Blobs of paint were in evidence everywhere – on his shirt, on his pants and even one large smear across his left cheek. His thinning black hair was dishevelled and his paint-smudged face managed to simultaneously convey expressions of impish mischievousness and gentle concern.
Melinda sank into the large, padded armchair purchased for night feeds. She rested her feet on a convenient paint tin and eased her neck and head into the back of the chair. The long, slow strokes of the roller travelling up and down the wall possessed a strangely hypnotic quality. She sat in silence, her eyes following the roller's progress as it transformed the wall from a dull peach to a light and airy green.
“You look like you're falling asleep,” observed Gary.
Melinda sat up with a start. “Sorry – just day-dreaming, remembering how long it took to get pregnant.”
“I kind of miss those days,” said Gary. “Too much was never enough.”
Melinda laughed. “As I recall, you were doing it pretty tough. In fact -”
Melinda paused mid-sentence. She touched her thighs with her hands and sat up straight in her chair. She looked down at the ground.
“In fact what?” A look of concern crossed Gary's face. “Are you all right?”
“I'm all wet. I think my waters have broken.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Author Spotlight Interview with Tracy Lawson



Today I welcome Tracy Lawson!
 Enjoy the interview and expert from my guest
 and join us at the end for an AMAZING contest!


Tracy Lawson knew she wanted to be a writer from the time she could read. While working toward her Bachelor’s degree in Communication at Ohio University, she studied creative writing with Daniel Keyes, author of Flowers for Algernon. After short stints as a media buyer and an investigative analyst, she settled into a 20-year career in the performing arts, teaching tap in Columbus, Ohio, and choreographing musicals. Though her creative energies were focused on dance, she never lost her desire to write, and has two non-fiction books to her credit: Fips, Bots, Doggeries, and More, winner of the 2012 Ohio Professional Writers Association’s Best Non-fiction History Award (McDonald & Woodward), and Given Moments (Fathers Press).
Tracy's love for writing new adult fiction is sparked by all wonderful teens in her life, including her daughter Keri, a college freshman. Counteract is Tracy's first novel. 




What is something your fans would find fascinating about you?
I taught tap dancing lessons for twenty years, and I’ve choreographed fifteen school musical productions to date.

How do your friends and family feel about your writing?
I recently went to my high school reunion, and my classmates and I all remembered writing books in elementary school, as part of our school district’s Young Authors program. I knew even then I wanted to write books, so I think my friends and family aren’t too surprised! My family has been very excited for me, and my nieces can’t wait to get their copies of Counteract.

What was the hardest part of writing the book?
I think the hardest part was getting in touch with unfamiliar emotions. I wanted my characters and their reactions to their circumstances to be honest and believable. For example, I’d never had a close brush with death, but at one point in the story, Careen and Tommy are convinced they’re going to die. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel if death seemed imminent—until we went on a vacation and took a trip into the South Caucus Mountains in the Republic of Georgia. The road to the mountain village was narrow, crumbling, and had no guard rails. We jounced along through waterfalls and along cliffs, and by the time we got there, I had a pretty good idea!

How long did it take to publish your first book?
My first book was an historical nonfiction, based on a journal written in 1838. That project involved lots and lots of research, and it took me twenty years from the first time I read the journal until I got a publishing contract. To be fair, I didn’t work on it full time—sometimes I didn’t work on it for a year or two, and I could’ve done the research a lot faster if I’d had the internet when I started the project.
I started working on Counteract in November 2010, so it’s been about three and a half years. I wrote Resist, the second book in the series, in six months, and it’s due out next spring, so I’m getting faster as I go!

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

My favorite thing about being a writer is sharing stories and connecting with my readers.

You can connect with Tracy here:
Tracy Lawson on Amazon 
Tracy Lawson on Facebook 
Tracy Lawson’s Website 
Counteract Website 
Tracy Lawson on Twitter 
The Resistance Trilogy on Twitter 

When Free Will Becomes an Illusion, the Resistance Will Rise . . .
The Fight for Personal Freedom Begins With Counteract, Book One of the Resistance Trilogy

Ripped from the headlines...The year is 2034, and the United States as we know it is no more. In the future, the concept of "Big Brother is always watching" has taken on new meaning.
NSA drone flyovers and government surveillance of citizensemails and phone conversations are the least of anyone's worries. With the rampant threat of terrorism a constant presence, the government has had to take extreme measures to ensure the public's safety.
The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense (OCSD) has been enacted as an offensive against terrorist attacks. And make no mistake, attack is imminent.
Citizens in 2034 now live in carefully monitored quadrants, with regulations governing food distribution, driving, entertainment, and much more. For college student Careen Catecher, and recovering accident victim, Tommy Bailey, life is far from carefree and easy.
Anyone who loves a good dystopian thriller will find a new favorite in Counteract. Lawson joins the ranks of authors like Aldous Huxley, and his Brave New World and George Orwell's 1984, as she questions whether the government should be allowed to usurp personal freedoms under the guise of doing what's best for the people.
Readers will find themselves eagerly turning the pages as Careen and Tommy uncover the enemy in their own backyard and discover just how far they are willing to go to fight for a freer way of life. 

Please enjoy an excerpt of Counteract
Day 15: Friday, November 10, 2034
Quadrant OP-439
2:45 AM

Careen’s heart pounded and she tried to relax as she leaned back against the dark wood paneling of the booth, nervously picking at lint on her sleeve. She couldn’t wait to see him yet dreaded it at the same time. Even though the pub was dimly lit and all but empty, she felt as if she was on display and exposed as she waited.
He opened the heavy wooden door and for a moment was silhouetted in a rectangle of golden light. The door swung shut and he stepped into the semi-darkness but the glow seemed to cling to him as he crossed the room and slid into the booth with her. He barely glanced at her, but put his arm around her as though they knew each other well. Pressed close to his side, she felt safe. Loved. She leaned her head against his shoulder. “Hey.”
“Yeah. Hey.”
They sat without speaking for a full minute. When he slowly turned his gaze to hers, his blue eyes were deep and serious. She lifted her face in anticipation of a kiss, but instead of leaning closer, he whispered, “I don’t know what’s real anymore.”  
Careen awoke with a start. Panic pressed in around her. She threw back the covers and ran to the bathroom.
She gripped the sides of the sink, studying herself in the mirror. There were dark circles under her eyes, and the pink highlights had faded from her hair. Her knees were shaking. “I don’t know what’s real anymore.” As soon as the words were out, tears followed, hot, running down her cheeks, and dripping into the sink. 

2:45 AM
Fallen leaves scuttled across the sidewalk as Tommy rounded the corner toward his house. He hunched his shoulders against the chilly breeze and dug his hands deeper into his front pockets. 
Even from half a block away, the house looked shabby, like it could use a fresh coat of paint. But his dad always took care of stuff like that. Tommy had no idea what home maintenance he ought to be doing. Did it matter? He was the only one who lived there. Sometimes he felt like he was the only one who lived, period.
But as he turned into the yard the front door opened, and the girl he’d seen the other day, the one with the long brown bangs, stepped out onto the porch. She smiled, and, trying to be cool, he resisted the urge to turn and look behind him. 
She met him at the edge of the porch, and Tommy stopped one step below the top so they were eye-to-eye. Hers were brown, just a shade lighter than her hair, with tiny flecks of gold in the irises. She smiled as she reached out and laced her fingers through his, and as she pulled him closer, everything came into sharp focus. “I’ve been waiting for you.” 
“I’ve been waiting for you, too.” Tommy spoke aloud into the darkness, waking himself up.

6:26 AM
Careen huddled in the bathroom until it was almost daylight, then threw on a pair of jeans and a sweater, grabbed her messenger bag and left. The streetlights were on, but as she hurried down the sidewalk the patches of yellow light faded and went out. The sky glowed orange in front of her as the sun peeked over the horizon.
When she got to his house, she crept up the front steps and peered in the window, as she had done the day before. It was dark inside. Her vial necklace swung free and clinked against the window, and she impatiently tucked it inside the front of her sweater. Not now. I’ll take it later.
She should just walk through the front door and find him, talk to him, but that sounded a lot easier than it was. She felt the same mixture of longing and dread she’d experienced in the dream, and pressed her palms against the screen door. The mesh of the screen pulsed softly, like a heartbeat.
Then the front door opened.
Careen stared up at him. His blue eyes widened and for a second she wanted to laugh because their bewilderment must be mirrored in each other’s faces.  
“Do I know you?”
“I’ve been waiting for you,” she said, thinking even as she spoke that it wasn’t really an answer. 
He flinched and stared at her like she was crazy. Then he looked her up and down, opened the door, and pulled her into the house.
Startled, she looked behind her, but there wasn’t anyone there. The boy gave off a faint golden glow in the dim hallway, and she scanned his face as though she needed to commit it to memory. His left eye fixed her with an intense, open gaze, but his right eye, just a bit more heavy-lidded, maintained a hint of a wink that was laid-back and sexy. There was a recently-healed scar along his left jawbone, and when her eyes flickered to it, he looked away self-consciously. He was dressed in sweats and his blond hair was messy. He was a little bit of everything.
“I was going out for a run.” He hesitated. “How did you…I mean, why are you here?”
“I’ve seen you a couple of times, and I had a dream about you last night. So I kind of came back to find you because I need answers.”
“Yeah?”
Apparently “answers” isn’t the password. Now what? “Yeah. And you’re glowing, just like in my dream.”
“Seriously?” He dubiously checked his reflection in the hall mirror. “I see some pretty freaky stuff, but I definitely don’t see myself…glowing.”
“What kinds of things do you see?”
“Well for starters, how about those vines that were growing all over you when you were out on the porch? Grass grows inside the house, and sometimes it rains in here, too.”
She tried to hide her confusion. Could this really be the guy who had the answers?
After a long, uncomfortable silence, he asked, “Want some breakfast?”