Over the past several months Emily has accumulated reviews. Most of them are tactful, even those who aren't crazy about the story. I respect that. Readers who have read the Trilogy and Scarlett really enjoy Emily's story, others don't.
I feel I should respond to that. First, Emily was the most difficult story for me to write for a couple of reasons; Emily's fate was already sealed in the Trilogy and Emily is not my favorite character. I usually write strong female leads. Emily is not. She is content having her parents, big brothers and husband take care of her. She enjoys being a mom, housewife and partner to her husband. She's like a throwback TV wife from the 50s.
Second, I think people are expecting Emily to be a mystery or crime thriller. Its not. Its her story and she's no female sleuth. Its a horror story with strong paranormal elements. The plot is Emily's life; how events in her life shape who she becomes. The person she becomes is what allows her fate to happen. She could have taken control at various pivotal points in her life but chose to sweep everything under the rug and live in her happy bubble.
In a sense its a cautionary tale. Not that we can all piece things together and keep bad things from happening but we should be vigilant, analyze situations and be ready for the unexpected.
The ending of the story is what seems to throw off most readers so without giving away any big spoilers the ending is strange. Its also a prelude to the final book in the Evan's Girls series. Erica is Emily's daughter and Evan's, as in Evan's Girls Series, final victim. Questions are left unanswered, mysteries are thrown into the mix and Erica's fate isn't sealed. Whatever twists and turns her life takes aren't yet known and shouldn't be. Erica needs to tell her own story.
I think I had more beta readers on this than any other story because I was just never satisfied with it. That said I think it does Emily justice. Its her story and should be read with that understanding. When I finally went back to this story with ideas from betas and a fresher set of eyes as I avoided it for months, I implemented suggestions, reread and realized myself there was no other way or turn for the story to take. In the end I'm happy with how it turned out. Emily is pleased with how it turned out.
For any readers who have found themselves at a loss or confused I suggest reading Eye of the Storm Eilida's Tragedy. Its the first book in the Ruthless Storm Trilogy and the ebook is free. Click here.
“Good afternoon. I work for Nox Pharmaceuticals and we have free packages we’re handing out. All it costs is allowing me to do a small demonstration.” His lips turned upwards into a smile.
The thing about living in the country is we didn’t have a homeowners association and got solicitors from time to time. Usually I didn’t open the door. My mistake today. I hadn’t even looked through the peep hole, expecting to see my neighbor.
I was ready to politely say “No, thank you” and shut the door, but I was curious. I’d never heard of any company selling drugs door to door. That was odd. “I’ve never heard of drugs pedaled door to door?”
He smiled wider. “They’re not prescription drugs in here.” He held up a bag. “Allergy medications -- over the counter.”
A little voice in my head reminded me of Ethan’s allergies, maybe they had something that worked better than his current medication. The package they were handing out was free. It really wouldn’t hurt anything to allow him in and I could always kick him out when he was done. There was no obligation to buy anything today. I relented. “My son has allergy problems. He’s ten.”
“Safe for children,” he assured me.
“Alright, alright come in.”
He didn’t waste time showing me the products in his bag and giving me a sample kit that included a catalog. Sure enough, they did have allergy medication for children. I’d look into it further, maybe even ask the pediatrician before investing any money. I couldn’t shake the strange feeling and glint of something in his eyes that reminded me of... something I couldn’t remember. I shook the thought.
As he shuffled around his bag, straightening it out to zip it up, he praised the home, how beautiful it was then asked about our view. We didn’t have company much. The occasional cook-out with friends and family but certainly not often enough. The scene from the deck was something I always enjoyed showing off so he hit a button and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm. He’d been polite enough and hadn’t tried to force a sale as so many others did.
Erica was busy with her toys that were covering the floor where she played. I brought him through the kitchen. I wrapped my hand around the door knob when he said, “Emily.”
I’d introduced myself as Mrs. Turnwell and hadn’t given him my first name. I was sure of that. How did he know? I slid my hand from the doorknob as his voice and my name echoed through my mind. Had the stalker found me? From the corner of my eye I spotted the rolling pin I’d left on the table this morning while putting the clean dishes away. I’d meant to put it away too but had forgotten it until now. I stepped backwards, figuring I could grab it, hit him over the head, grab Erica, and run to the neighbors. “Who are you?” I asked, doing my best to stay calm and not alert him.
He smiled, but not the friendly one he’d given me earlier. This time it was sadistic and black flashed across the blue of his eyes. It triggered a fear in me that I hid deep, deep inside. Terror I’d all but forgotten. Flashes of lightning and thunder, creaks in the hallway, and hiding in a dark spot filled with shadows.
“You remember, don’t you?” His voice calm.
The perfect spring day became dark as recollection coiled in my brain. “I... I... don’t know.” It was bubbling in my head, rising to the surface of my consciousness.
“Sure you do.” The flashes of black passed over his eyes like the clouds passed over the sun, obstructing its radiance. He moved closer to me and touched my arm, prickles chased up it and the overwhelming urge to vomit hit my stomach. My life rushed back to me. The darkness I’d all but forgotten. The evil that lurked in my earliest memories.
We arrived home late in the evening after spending the rest of the day enjoying quality time at Bouncy Kingdom. While the boys played, we talked about the house. I’d gotten used to Flash greeting us at the door and was taken back when he didn’t come running, but even dogs needed sleep.
I ushered the boys upstairs and tucked them in, kissing each of their foreheads. They shared a room, the baby -- no longer Erin -- would have her own, but it would be nice if they all had their own, especially with Ethan eight years old now.
“Night.” I flipped the light off, blew kisses, and closed the door, leaving it cracked so the hall nightlight could shine into their room.
Eric sat on the couch, his brows creased into a V. I immediately recognized Eric’s trouble face. “Not again. No.” Panic bubbled in my gut, blackness sprung from the corners and glided toward me.
He swallowed hard then cleared his throat. “It’s Flash.”
Water puddled in the corner of my eyes. “What do you mean ‘Flash’?”
“We’re making an offer on that house and then we’ll figure out how.”
A steady stream of tears rolled down my cheeks. “What’s wrong with Flash?” I padded towards the kitchen.
He shook his head, jumping off the couch to block my path. “No!”
From the corner of my eye, I spotted a matt of hair covered in blood. Losing it completely I pummeled Eric’s chest with my fists. He pulled me to him and we walked to the couch. “What did the bastard do?” I asked, heat and fear rising in my voice.
Copyright Elle Klass/ Books by Elle, Inc. 2019
Thanks to all the Ruthless Trilogy fans. It was your questions and requests that got my mind spinning and made the Evan's Girls series possible.
When you said, "What about the girls?"
When you said, "Evan has no redeming qualities. He's pure evil."
When you said, "I cried for the girls. I want to know more about them."
and many more. Scarlett was the first to respond and her story weaved its way through my brain. When I sat down to write it everything flowed like melted chocolate, page after page.
Apple, Nook, Kobo and other retailers
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The large Victorian, out of place in New Mexico, stuck out like a sore thumb on the long street. The few other homes were all common adobe structures.
“Wow! I’ve lived here all my life and never seen this place.” He stretched his legs and arms, his eyes plastered on the large home. The grass overgrown, weedy, and brown.
“Come on.” I ushered him towards the back and we slipped through the glass room. At nearly six feet tall the cobwebs brushed his shaggy hair and stuck, pulling with him. I reached up and knocked them off, giggling when he wrapped his arms around me and stole a kiss.
We strolled through the kitchen and into the large living room with a grand foyer and up the stairs. He twisted his neck in order to gawk at everything as he took it in. “Is it haunted?”
I stole up the steps and turned to see him staring at me. Haunted; everything was haunted. That wasn’t a specific enough word for me but I could tell he was planted in place at the base of the stairs. “If you mean do spirits live here, I don’t think so.” That was better than telling him there used to be ghosts but they’ve all gone to rest. I hadn’t told him about my other sight. No matter how much I liked him, some secrets were best left as secrets.
“A place like this has to be haunted.” He took the steps two at a time. “This furniture is ancient.” He slid his finger along the dusty arm of a chair.
“Ghosts, aliens, they only exist if you believe in them,” I stated.
He dropped onto the chair and a dust cloud covered him. “Absolutely.” He searched my face. “You don’t believe?”
I pinched my face at his comments. “Maybe. We can’t be the only life in the universe, right?” I knew there were ghosts. It wasn’t a stretch to think aliens existed.
“They might take over our planet one day or just hover over our planet and study us.” He flattened his hand and waved it in the air in front of him making beeping UFO sounds.
“What I’m going to show you is better.” I stuck the key in the lock and pushed the door open, coating myself in the rainbow colors from the stained glass.
“Shit! Is that the end of the rainbow? Is there a pot o’ gold in there?” He jumped off the chair and followed me into the room. “What the hell...?” His eyes drifted down. “What’s down there?” he asked, leaning over the spiral staircase.
“Nothing, it’s an empty room.” I shrugged and climbed towards the third floor.
“It seems like it has to lead to something.” He coasted down the stairs.
I wasn’t worried he’d find the door. It was flush with the wall. “I’ll be at the top when you’re done.”
He didn’t say anything but his feet pounded against the steps until I heard him drop to the bottom floor. I took my usual place in the center of the floor. I’d taped all my butterflies to the walls between the windows and strung some from the ceiling. The colors bounced off them as they flew through the spectral bliss.
Within a few minutes I heard him pound the stairs. He halted on the top step and soaked in my sanctuary. “What is all this?” he asked, turning his head and taking in the glory of the room.
“I come here sometimes.”
From the steps he met my gaze then shifted to the door and stepped onto the third floor. His one track mind, he pushed against the door. “It’s locked.”
No shit, Sherlock. “Yeah, but this is what I wanted to show you.” I put my arms and hands out, palms up.
He sat behind me, grabbed my middle and scooted backwards against the wall. “What’s on the other side of the door on the third floor?”
I snuggled the back of my head against his chest and collarbone. “I don’t know. I never explored it.”
“Nope. The magic in the room always beckoned me.” I never thought about exploring the third floor. With all the other secrets in the building I never once considered it. When I thought about it now, I couldn’t even come up with a good reason why.
He pushed his hands up my shirt and beneath my bra, fondling my breasts. His soft lips caressing my neck with kisses. The familiar tingle of his touch aroused me. I dipped my head and indulged on his tender lips, offering my tongue. His hands continued to caress my chest and belly. The result in his jeans pressing firm against my back.
I wanted him, but was more fearful of sex and pregnancy. With that in mind, I bolted upwards and scampered towards the stairs. “Beat you to the third floor.” I giggled and rushed down the stairs, his footfalls right behind mine.
His legs long, he coasted beside me soon and I bumped against him. He caught my arm and pulled me backwards, gaining the lead. I purposely led him away from the staircase and reached the first step when he realized I tricked him.
“I’m soo going to get you. You sneaky, manipulative girl,” he said with a smile as he rushed towards me. I wasted no time in scurrying up the steps. My heart pounding from the excitement. A giant dollhouse similar to the house sat in the opposite side of the rectangle room. Shelves of dolls lined the walls and a small wooden rocking chair made for a child took residence in the middle of the room, facing a window. The bench beneath the window was covered with fluffy padding, bleached by the sun.
“This is a little girl’s heaven,” Raury said as he stopped beside me, his eyes as wide as mine.
Was this all Shari’s? Drawn to the dollhouse, I peeked through the windows. All the furnishings were mirrored to those in the house. Chills traced my spine even after all the weirdness I knew existed.
“Look at this,” he said with the lid top of the bench open.
“What?” I padded towards him. Inside the chest was a box and more dolls, some made of cornhusks and handkerchiefs. Inside the box were paper dolls. The ones I always saw Shari playing with. We dug further into the chest and endless assortment of toys; a cup and ball, a bag of marbles and wooden building blocks. The further I dug the more creeped out I felt. It was a feeling of dread like none other I’d felt.
I backed away, noting that no dust covered anything in the room, as if it was cleaned daily. The dolls and toys were neat, unlike what a child’s room would really look like. The magic of the house was stuck in a time warp in the room. I continued backing away until I reached the steps. “We shouldn’t be here.” I darted down the steps without looking back until I reached the first floor grand living room. The familiar peace I always felt settled on me and I relaxed. My quickened pulse returned to normal.
A hand touched my shoulder and I jumped.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” asked Raury, sincerity and concern flashing in his brown eyes.
“I think we should leave. We weren’t meant to be there.” His punched lips and scrunched brows displayed his confusion. No doubt he didn’t have a sixth sense like I did, but other things about the room had to ring bells in his head. “Look at the dust and cobwebs around you. That room was clean, sparkling clean as if...” my words hung in the air.
“So you do believe in ghosts.”
Of course, I see ghosts and visions of death, I thought. “I believe there’s something in that room and we weren’t meant to be there.”
“It was a little creepy,” he followed up with, following me through the house and out the glass room door.
“Where’s that trail lead?” He stared at the cactus jungle, the path barely visible with overgrowth.
Soft, fluffy fur rubbed against my leg. I glanced down to see Salem and instinctively reached to pick him up.
“What is it?” The puzzlement in Raury’s voice alerted me I was about to cuddle a ghost cat in front of him. The lines between the ghost realm and the living realm blurred for that instant.
“Nothing, my leg itched,” I gave Salem a quick pet and stood, smoothing my mistake over.
The sun was setting as we climbed back into his truck. Memories of the room hadn’t left me. It wasn’t just Shari’s room; some of the toys were older than those she would have played with, yet they were perfectly preserved. It didn’t make any sense. As many times as I’d been to the house since Sara’s death I’d never seen another ghost with the exception of Salem. The energy was different. Ghost energy felt like living energy, what I felt in the room was darker, bolder, and something I didn’t have a name for.
An ambulance and police cars rushed past us as Raury pulled over to let them pass. Their sirens filled my ears as he stopped at the sign a couple blocks away from my current living space. We turned onto the street and the slew of emergency vehicles was parked in front of the house. The one I lived in. My pulse quickened, my eyes glued to the haste in their steps as they rushed inside it.
No! I screamed inside. No! my brain screamed, my legs pounding beneath me, pushing past the police officers and into the house. A thick arm wrapped around my middle.
“You can’t be in here,” it said, guiding me outside the house against my will.
He deposited me in the driveway, lights and sirens flashing, emergency workers running past me. Covering my face with my hands, anger burned inside me. I wasn’t attached to the What’s-Their-Names or anybody in the house but couldn’t accept that somebody else in my life was injured or dead... “Timmy!” I hollered, knowing somehow he was at fault. He’d done this.
Grab Part 1 The Purple Mask Free!
I don't think it's possible for creativity to be a negative thing.