Ladies and Gents of the Lair, this post is going to be a little different than the usual... Make sure to keep scrolling because Ms. Anne Gimpel has let me share with you two books instead of one!!! :)
A Time for Everything
Siobhan Macquire’s fortune has attracted a string of men who are out to drain her for everything they can get. Her last boyfriend was no exception. Furious at being used—again—she goes for a walk in the Highlands.
With the weather worsening, she wanders alone for hours. She’s soaking wet and starting to get scared when someone calls out to her. A striking-looking man emerges from the mist. Except there’s something wrong. His kilt is way too long and he talks with an archaic accent. Siobhan soon finds herself not only lost in the countryside but also in time.
Sam pulled the draw cords of her hood tighter, squinting against driving rain. She shivered, willing her legs to move faster. Even in the northern latitudes, it got dark eventually during what passed for summer, and the light was definitely fading. One foot sloughed into a hole. Cursing roundly, she yanked it out, noting the mud added what felt like ten pounds to her tired leg. Going on a ramble—as the locals called it—by herself had seemed like a good idea earlier in the afternoon. Now she wasn’t so sure. It had been hours since she’d seen another soul. The air felt heavy—and threatening, somehow.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she scolded herself. “My imagination’s off the clock, working overtime.”
A flash off toward the river was followed almost immediately by a rumbling crash. It started raining harder. The sky lit again, casting the wet greenery and surrounding mountains in a macabre glow. Thunder sounded so loud it made her ears ring. The next lightning flare sparked off a rock not twenty feet away. Sam’s heart sped up. She stared at the mountains ringed about her. Why wasn’t the storm up there? Lightning was supposed to be drawn to high points, not meadows saturated with water.
As if determined to prove her wrong, another flash struck the ground off to her left. She threw her hands over her ears but the thunder reverberated in her brain as if someone had struck an anvil right next to her. Shaking her head to try to make her ears stop hurting, she started walking again. Lightning struck inches from her feet. Sam lurched to a stop, blinking to clear the afterimage. Even as wet as it was, the air felt electrified, thick with sharp edges. She could almost see marauding electrons reaching for her, hungry little mouths wide open.
Fear raced along her nerve endings, making her feel as if she’d downed half a dozen double espressos in a row. The breath whooshed out of her and her head spun crazily.
The storm’s trying to kill me.
Oh, please, she answered herself. Sam hated her tendency to engage in two-way inner dialogue, but she’d done it all her life.
An excruciating twenty minutes and half a dozen lightning strikes later, she thought it might be safe to move. It was raining like a son of a bitch, but after striking what looked like a circle around where she stood, the electrical part of the storm had left as quickly as it had come.
Guess the storm gods didn’t want me, after all.
Why should they? No one else does.
Sam sank into a funk. Shit, could I possibly be any wetter? Weather in the British Isles had been particularly wretched this summer. “Yeah, sort of like the rest of my life,” she muttered as she tried to assess if she’d be better off staying on the track or cutting cross-country toward where she thought a roadway was. Resolutely, she struck out for the road and promptly stepped into calf-deep water. It ran over the top of her boot and soaked her thick, woolen sock before she could jerk her foot back to solid ground.
So much for that idea. Obviously, there’d been so much rain the ground on both sides of the track had turned into a bog. She’d never seen one before this trip to Scotland. They were hideous. Miles of saturated ground with water deep enough to reach her knees in some places. Sam glanced at her watch and groaned. She’d been walking for close to five hours. No wonder it was getting dark. The village she was aiming for shouldn’t actually be all that far away. In fact, she should have been there long since. About to tuck her watch back under her sleeve, she took one last look at it and realized the second hand had stopped. She tapped the crystal with her finger but nothing happened.
Crap! Wonder when it quit? Must be the damp.
Yes, another less pleasant voice piped up, it also means I have no idea how long I’ve been walking. Peering through mist-shrouded countryside, she looked for some signs of Beauly Village but all she saw were sheep.
Sam told herself to keep walking. It wasn’t as if there was anywhere she could even sit to consider her options. Everything dripped water. Her jacket and pants, which had always provided adequate protection from the elements back in the States, were woefully inadequate here. She was afraid to pull out her cell phone. Electronics and water definitely weren’t compatible. Yeah, just look what happened to my watch. Dark thoughts crowded her mind. Why had she thought it would be romantic to spend a year in Scotland?
You know why, an inner voice—the nasty one—sneered. It was your infatuation with Clint. Sam gave her resident maven a point for accuracy. Clint, with his spiffy Scottish intonations, dreamy blue eyes, and red-blonde curls, had sweet-talked her into bankrolling a trip to his home. Between his ever-so-broad shoulders, washboard abs, and nice, tight ass, he’d barely let her out of bed for a month. By the time she’d figured out the reason he had so much time on his hands was because he didn’t have a job, it was too late. She was head over heels in love. And hoping desperately that this time it would lead her to the altar. After all, it wasn’t as if he had to work. All he needed to do was treat her like a queen. She had plenty of money for both of them.
Eager to grant her prince whatever he wanted, she’d readily agreed when he’d talked longingly of going back to Scotland for a while. Except he’d had a personality transplant practically the second they’d landed in Glasgow. In the month-and-a-half since they’d arrived, she’d scarcely seen him. He was always off with his mates, as he called them, drinking or climbing. There were weeks when he hadn’t returned to their rental flat in Inverness at all. Worse, she suspected some of those mates were gay. When she’d asked him if he swung both ways his eyes had turned to blue ice chips. He’d twisted away and slammed out of the house. That was the last time she’d seen him.
Water ran off the bill of her hood. Some of it dripped into one eye. “Oh to hell with it,” she snarled. “I’m catching the first plane out of here—without him.” She sighed, feeling sad and angry by turns. Clint was far from the first man who’d taken advantage of her. As soon as they found out she was an heiress to a whiskey fortune, they promised her the moon and then fleeced her for everything they could get. She’d gotten pretty cagy in the years between sixteen and her current twenty-five. She’d even rented a modest apartment in Seattle and pretended she lived there when she met someone new.
Eventually, though, when she thought a guy might be different, she took him to the Capitol Hill mansion she’d more-or-less inherited after her parents relocated to one of their many other homes. No matter how promising a relationship looked, the truth of that rambling mansion was always the beginning of the end.
By Ann Gimpel
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Gabrielle McCallaghan just lost her job. Seeing the writing on the wall, she quit to spare her uncle the embarrassment of having to fire her. With her bond fairy on her shoulder, she strides through a crowded neighborhood contemplating her options.
Out of nowhere, a gorgeous, full blood magic wielder appears and makes a beeline right for her. Gabby knows her hybrid witch magic is no match for his, so she tries to evade him. The fairy does her best to help, but the contest is laughable. Even in his human form, the wolf-man is still stronger than she ever dreamed of being.
It doesn’t take long before Gabby is drawn into a deadly game of intrigue that started over a thousand years before. The stakes are high and the timing abysmal, but she finds herself falling in love in spite of herself. Can she and her full blood lover make a life for themselves? Or will the long-running battle between full bloods and hybrids pound the fragile bond between them to dust?
Gabrielle shook her head. She was shocked at how eager she was to be free of Brad and this office. Now that the possibility of independence sat there, beckoning to her, she couldn’t resist. “Thanks, Uncle Brad. You’ve been more than kind to me.”
He cleared his throat. “Well,” he said, voice surprisingly gentle, “keep in touch. If you stop by tomorrow, I’ll have your check for this last week.”
Gabrielle knew how little she’d done. “That’s okay. I’ll just grab my things and be out of your hair. I—” but she didn’t know what else to say. Suddenly uncomfortable, she turned away from her uncle and went to clear her few possessions out of her desk. After inadvertently slamming her long, dark hair in a desk drawer, she pulled it into an untidy pony tail. Ten minutes later, she let herself out the swinging glass door adorned with BRAD MCCALLAGHAN, CPA, in faded, dark blue letters.
“That wasn’t very smart,” she muttered to the pixie sitting on her shoulder. “What am I going to do now?”
Doesn’t matter, I’m free.
“No, we’re free,” Amalia corrected. The pixie was clearly in mind-reading mode. "It hasn’t been any fun at all being your bond fairy ever since you took that job. All you’ve done is grump around, hating life.”
Gabrielle stared balefully at the pixie. “You need to keep your opinions to yourself.”
“Why?” Amalia crossed one leg over the other. The foot that dangled beat a tattoo against Gabby’s breast.
“Never mind.” Knowing it would be wasted breath to try to get the pixie to do anything but what she wanted, Gabrielle sucked in crisp autumn air and walked toward the bus stop. It felt good to be outside. Not living a lie anymore was a big relief. She’d struggled with guilt for months about her antipathy for Microsoft Excel, Turbo Tax and Tax Cut. At least that part was over.
Strangers swirled around her. Seattle’s Capitol Hill was always full of people. Gabrielle looked longingly at a Starbuck’s sign, but three dollar coffees weren’t part of her new austerity plan. Actually, neither was the bus. What she needed to do was walk home. She had the time. And lower Queen Anne Hill wasn’t all that far away. She could be home in an hour.
What a joke. I have nothing but time now. Maybe if I walked more, I could get rid of some of this blubber. She tugged at the too-tight waistband of her too-short dark green skirt. Sitting eight hours a day hadn’t improved her figure at all. Gabrielle knew her height masked extra pounds; she also knew she’d gained a good ten since she started working for her uncle.
“Don’t stare,” Amalia hissed, sea-blue eyes wide with apprehension, “but that looks like trouble.” The pixie always reverted to mind speech when she felt threatened. Good thing too. Her constant dialogue had gotten Gabrielle into trouble more than once when someone had assumed she was the source of some smartass comment or other. Not all humans could hear pixies. It depended how much magic they had. The problem was when a person had no idea they had magic, but had been blessed—or cursed—with just enough to hear fairy chatter. Those folk were the ones who’d ended up in asylums a hundred years ago. Now doctors just crammed them full of mind-numbing drugs.
Gabrielle’s head snapped up. A hunk of a man who radiated power—wore it like an aura that screamed how much clout he had—strode down the opposite side of the street as if he owned the world. Coppery hair fell nearly to his waist. Well past six feet, he was dressed like a pirate in a cream-colored shirt with full, old-fashioned sleeves, a dark brown leather vest, and tight-fitting, black leather pants that left very little to the imagination. Knee-high boots of buff-colored suede fit over the pants. Apparently feeling her gaze on him, he slowed, head turning from side to side. Gabrielle could have sworn he was scenting the air like a dog.
“What is he?” Gabby sent. “I know he’s a full blood, but what kind?” Because pixies were entirely magical just like the full bloods, they were often quicker on the uptake. Gabby was a hybrid and her human blood often got in the way.
“Warg. He can see me, Gabby. Do something.” Amalia’s nails dug into her shoulder.
The pixie’s words had barely registered when a wolfish amber gaze settled on Gabrielle, boring into her. Heart racing, she ducked into the first shop she saw.
“Are you all right, miss?” A shopkeeper hurried over. Dyed red hair spiked in curls that fell past her shoulders. Sharp, green eyes took in Gabby and her off-the-rack J.C. Penney’s clothes.
Gabrielle looked around and saw she’d entered a lingerie store, and a pricey one at that judging from the tags hanging off flimsy bits of silk. She tried to quiet her breathing. “Yes. Just thought I’d, uh, look around a bit. I have a friend who’s, ah, getting married.” She offered up what she hoped was a convincing smile, reinforced by the tiniest leave me alone spell. The last thing she needed was for the salesclerk to boot her out of the store.
“There you are, darling.” A cultured baritone rang from the doorway. The voice had a definite German accent. “Nice of you to shop for something to entertain me.” The warg moved to her side and slid a hand under her elbow. A blast of sexual energy set Gabby’s nerves on fire. Her nipples pebbled instantly and her skin tingled with promise. Mostly so she wouldn’t throw herself into his arms, she took a step away and tried to settle her heart back into a normal rhythm. But the warg’s heat—and a delicious musky scent—followed her.
The shop girl’s eyes grew huge. She was practically salivating. Gabby could tell she was struggling to keep her gaze above the warg’s waist. “Welcome to my shop, sir,” she cooed. “We have things for men too.”
He raised a well-formed eyebrow. “Yes, dear. Your whole shop is actually for men.”
About the Author
Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Two novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, and its sequel, Psyche’s Search, have been published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing, a small press. A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)
Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers her solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.
Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. A trilogy, the Transformation Series, featuring Psyche’s Prophecy, Psyche’s Search and Psyche’s Promise is complete. The initial two books have been published, with the final volume scheduled for release in 2012. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist and the Transformation Series is no exception.
In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. Part of her website is devoted to photos of her beloved Sierra. And she lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone else is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.