Name  Beverly Cialone

Age  Old enough to know better…let’s just leave it at that!  😛

Where are you from?  Born and bred in a small town in South Carolina, I’ve lived in the south my entire life.  In junior high I was the reigning spelling bee champ, and to this day I remember the word that ended up being my downfall–“Addendum.”  I spelled it with only one “D”.  Funny, the stuff you remember.  I began writing at the age of nine, and I’ve been writing ever since.  There was also a great deal of musical talent in my family, and as such, I learned how to play the organ, piano, trombone, and xylophone.  I currently have a keyboard that I play around with every so often, but writing is my true passion.  Regarding that, I absolutely MUST have music playing while I’m writing.  I have several Youtube playlists I’ve made that I listen to on a regular basis while I’m writing, as well as the mind-boggling variety of music I have stored in my media player.

I got married shortly after graduating from high school, and I continued to write all throughout my twenties, despite having two children and a job.  Even after a tumultuous divorce and the resulting angst that comes with finding oneself a single parent, I finally made a promise to myself that I would be published by the time I turned 40.  Even though I was a year late, I upheld that promise to myself and became a published author.  I’ve been going nonstop ever since.

I’ve held all sorts of different jobs over the course of my lifetime, which include restaurant, retail, customer service, textiles, and the hospitality industry.  I have a management degree and worked for the US Postal Service for 10 years.  I left that job last year for a work-at-home position, but when the company did a massive layoff of all their work-at-home employees, I decided that then was a great time for me to really focus on my writing career.  As such, I released six books in 2015 alone.  As for 2016, I currently have six books I’m working on, one of which I’m getting ready to release.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news? 

I’m getting ready to release a book titled “The Wilderness Warrior.”  It’s about a man who, after a rather nasty divorce, leaves the big city for the serenity of the mountains.  He happens to rescue a young woman who has crashed her car and ended up wandering through the forest looking for someone to help her.  Since it’s a romance, you can pretty much guess where the story goes.  This one also has a bit of a Native American flair, but nothing like The Medicine Man series.  After this book, there will be even more new releases by me, although I haven’t decided which one will be next.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing when I was about 9, thanks to a pink toy typewriter.  It was so fun banging away on it that I began to let my imagination run wild, just for the chance to bang away on my typewriter.  As for why I began writing?  I suppose it’s just what I was meant to do.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer? 

Even though I wrote all through my school years and into adulthood, I didn’t consider myself a writer until I reached adulthood.  I can’t even begin to approximate how many notebooks, sheets of loose-leaf paper, and ink pens I went through, before the advent of personal computers.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I was married to an abusive man, and I developed the habit of staying up all night writing while he slept.  Then, in the mornings, I’d get my sons up for school, take them to school, come home and sleep for a couple of hours, then go to my day job.  During that period of time, I finished my very first book, which was published by the first publisher I acquired, a lady by the name of Michelle Halket of Central Avenue Publishing.  I will always hold a special place in my heart for her for giving me a chance to put my work out there.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? 

I tend to write in the 2nd/3rd person, although two of my works are written in 1st person.  While some people claim that writing in 1st person is difficult, I rather enjoy it, as I feel it lends a more personal experience and feel to the story.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title? 

Since my first book was about a young woman who decided to travel to her childhood home and surprise her parents when they returned from their vacation but they instead end up dying in a plane crash, I titled the book “Coming Home.”  Coming up with titles is usually easy for me, although I’ve had a bit of difficulty coming up with titles for some of my work.  Sometimes the title comes naturally, other times I have to think on it for a bit.

 

 
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The main thing I want my readers to do is enjoy what I’ve written.  As for any particular message, since most of my work is in the romance genre, I want them to walk away from reading my book with a sense that love is still a wonderful thing and is available to everyone–that is, everyone can have that happy ending if they work hard enough for it.

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ? 

My Native American series, The Medicine Man, features a great deal of Native American beliefs and traditions.  Regarding my other works, I tend to use real places that I’ve either lived, visited, or researched extensively.  As for what happens in the books, some aspects are based upon my own personal experiences.

 

 
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Both.  For example, one of my current works-in-progress is going to feature a young woman who is involved with an abusive man.  Since I, as well as my sister and a few close friends, but one friend in particular, have all been the victims of abuse, I decided to write the book in order to raise awareness and to spread the message that yes, there is a way out of that type of relationship, and that the victim of such a relationship can still find happiness in another, healthy relationship.

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor? 

When I was much younger, I would go to the library and check out stacks of books, mostly romance, but also a few self-help and other books in different genres that I wasn’t that familiar with.  As such, I developed a taste for romance and decided to try my hand at it.  With that being said, my bookshelves are currently stuffed to the gills with all types of genres–self-help, horror, mystery, thrillers, non-fiction, historical, and tons of cookbooks.  Some of my favorite authors are Danielle Steel, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Nicholas Sparks, Michael Palmer, and Robin Cook.  As for a writing mentor, I have to say no on that one.  Writing is a lonely road, one that not many people are willing to travel with an aspiring author.  The fact that I’ve been ridiculed for stating I’m a writer tends to leave a bad taste in my mouth, and as such, the only people who know are my immediate family, some former coworkers, and, of course, my Facebook family.

 

 
Fiona: What book are you reading now?

“Pleasure” by Jacquelyn Frank, the third book in her “Shadowdwellers” series.  I would recommend the series to anyone who loves a novel that combines romance, mystery, thrills, and a touch of the paranormal.

 

 
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

As I stated above, Jacquelyn Frank has captured my interest, although I’m pretty sure she isn’t a “new” author.  Many of my Facebook friends are authors, and I always try to be supportive of them.  Two of those are Terri DelCampo-Nelson and Robert Nelson, aka Blaze McRob.  There are simply too many “new” authors that I’m aware of to list.  Another author whose work I would recommend is Tamara Thorne, who wrote the book “Haunted.”  It’s quite the gripping tale that will keep you up at night.

 

 
Fiona: What are your current projects? 

My current projects include a book about a female race car driver whose boyfriend isn’t too happy with the prospect of her hitting the bigtime (NASCAR).  Another book is about a woman who becomes involved with the funeral director who handles her late husband’s funeral arrangements.  Yet another book in the works is going to be somewhat of an erotic thriller piece, as it involves a woman who attempts suicide but is rescued by two handsome twin brothers, one of whom is a psychiatrist, and the other is an ER doc.  However, she, too, had been involved with an abusive man, and he’s not too happy when he discovers that she’s involved with not one but  TWO men.  Meanwhile, the brothers develop feelings for her, and they decide to share her between themselves, which only leads to even more complex situations.

 

 
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. 

Most of my Facebook friends, whom I consider close friends, as well as a few former coworkers and high school classmates.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, I do.  I now consider myself a professional author, because I write for a living.  I write novels, and I also write articles to make some extra money on the side.  You have to treat writing like a job, and that means you actually have to sit down, find the work, and then do the work without wasting the day on Facebook.  Writing novels is my career.  Writing articles is my job.  It’s not too hard to figure out which one I actually enjoy the most.

 

 
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

Absolutely not.  I tend to edit as I go along, but once I’m done writing the book, I go over it once again with a fine-tooth comb to make any necessary changes, whether those changes involve wording or an entire scene.  Once I hit that “submit and publish” button, it’s a done deal.  Unless, of course, a reader/fan gives me a suggestion that I decide to implement in that particular book.

 

 
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 

No, unless it was because I enjoyed banging on that toy typewriter so much.  I knew what typewriters were for, so perhaps I figured that by becoming a writer, I could have that much fun every day!

 

 

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Absolutely!  Here is an excerpt from the book I am getting ready to release, “The Wilderness Warrior.”  The book description will be first, followed by the excerpt.  Enjoy!  🙂

 

Disgusted with life in general, the final straw for Mahkah comes when his attorney wife takes him to divorce court and costs him everything he’d worked so hard for.  After a nasty court battle, he decides that a solitary vacation is in order and treats himself to a lone hunting trip in the vast, mountainous forests of Tennessee.  He literally stumbles upon a cabin and uses his last penny to buy it, in a desperate bid to get away from the harsh, bustling society that played a part in nearly destroying him.

 

Cassidy is a couple of hours from home and returning from a disastrous job interview in Knoxville when she inadvertently hits a deer on a long, lonely stretch of highway.  When her car careens off the highway and down a narrow path into the thick forest, she soon realizes the hopelessness of her situation—her car can’t be seen from the road, she has no cell phone signal, and her car is so severely damaged that it won’t start.  After spending the night locked and huddled in her car, her hopes sink further in the harsh light of day.  Her car has gone down a steep incline, and nothing but forest surrounds her for miles.  With no other option for survival, she leaves her car in the hopes of finding someone who can help.  Unbeknownst to her, Mahkah is aware of her presence in “his” forest and silently follows her, taking on the role of invisible protector and Good Samaritan.  He finally makes his presence known only when an imminent wolf attack on Cassidy forces his hand.  What starts out as a temporary reprieve and rescue from the elements turns into something neither one of them expected—they are soon snowed in, and Mahkah uses every chance available to convince Cassidy that perhaps her life in Asheville isn’t what she really wants or even needs.  When Cassidy’s car is finally discovered in the springtime thaw, she’s faced with a difficult decision—should she stay with Mahkah and enjoy the simple, idyllic life he’s shown her for the past several months, or should she do the “responsible” thing by returning to the life she had in Asheville?  Only in hindsight will she realize that she got much more than she bargained for upon meeting “The Wilderness Warrior.”

 

The male character’s full name in this novel is Mahkah Sakima Adahy, which is Native American for “King of the Earth who lives in the woods.”

 

PROLOGUE

 

Mahkah glared across the courtroom at the woman standing behind the desk, the same woman who had just acquired the new title of his ex-wife.  Anger roiled deep in his gut as he thought back to the past six months.  She’d made his life a pure living hell, telling her lies, and trying her best to destroy the life he’d worked so hard to build.  In essence, she had succeeded, at least in that aspect—she’d managed to have his practice shut down, and everyone in town now viewed him with a suspicious eye whenever he set foot in any of the shops or restaurants.  As he continued to stand there watching her casually chat with her attorney, he began to develop a plan that would take him far, far away from this place and all the bad memories associated with it.  He waited until the judge banged his gavel to dismiss everyone in the courtroom before he slowly walked over to her and said, “You might think you’ve won, but it’s only temporary.”

His newly-minted ex-wife, a perfectly dressed and coiffed blonde, smiled sweetly up at him as she politely inquired, “What on earth are you talking about, Mahkah?”

Her false sweetness made his gut churn even harder as he replied, “You never have to worry about seeing me in this town ever again, Heather.  That means I never want to see you, or hear from you, either on the phone, via letter, or in person.  And you can forget about me sending you any money.  It’s obvious you have plenty of your own, as well as some of mine that you took obvious delight in swindling me out of.”  He turned and calmly walked out of the courtroom, then drove to the apartment he’d been occupying for the last six months.  He’d been forced to move out of his own home, the home he’d provided for her, the same home he’d shared with her for the last several years, but none of that mattered now.  He set about packing several boxes, duffle bags, and suitcases with his clothes and other necessities—toiletries, medical supplies, books, CD’s, anything and everything he could think to take with him that would fit in the boxes and luggage.  What didn’t fit was carefully placed in the bed and backseat of his truck, and after a final walk-through of his apartment, he firmly shut and locked the door before driving to his storage unit.  There he retrieved all of his guns and other items he’d worked so hard for, and his next stop was the bank.  He cleaned out his bank account and safe deposit box, then tucked the thick envelope into the inside of his jacket pocket before he ventured back out to his truck.  Without even so much as a backwards glance at the town and spiteful woman he was leaving behind, he headed toward the interstate with no particular destination in mind.

 

“So where ya headed?” the seasoned shopkeeper/marina owner inquired as Mahkah stood at the counter with his purchases.  Mahkah shrugged and replied, “Just looking to do a bit of hunting.  Any good places you could recommend?”

The man pointed out the window that was directly behind him and proudly announced, “If you’re looking for some good huntin’, my boy, then you’ve come to the right place.  See those mountains back there?”

Mahkah nodded.

“All them mountains, as well as this lake, are all bunched up together, ya see, in this here itty bitty piece of paradise we call Norris.”  He then pointed toward the lake and added, “If you’re a’wantin’ to get some fishin’ in too, I’ll be more’n happy to let you rent one of them there boats.”

Mahkah was amused by the man’s accent, but instead of commenting on it, he simply inquired, “What can I expect to find in the mountains, when I’m hunting?  And how much for the boat rental?”

“What kinda hunter are ya?”

Mahkah blinked.  “Excuse me?”

The old man shrugged.  “You lookin’ to bag a ten-pointer to hang on the wall, or are you the more adventurous type?”

Mahkah gave an uneasy laugh and echoed, “Adventurous type?”

“Wella course ya gonna find ya some bears in these parts…some coyote, raccoon, squirrel, deer, fox…”

“Just deer.”

“Then ya won’t be disappointed.  Place is overrun with deer, ‘bout like this planet is overrun with shady lawyers and greedy docs.”

The man’s last statement rankled, but Mahkah decided to let it slide as he nodded toward his purchases.  “How much?”

“That depends.”

Mahkah raised an eyebrow.  “On what?”

“On whether or not ya lookin’ to rent a boat and go fishin’.”

Mahkah turned slightly and surveyed the calm, sparkling lake that was just beyond the front door and spacious, wrap-around deck and boat dock.  “How much for the boat rental?”

“Thirty for an hour.  Fifty for half a day, seventy-five for the whole day until six p.m.  One hundred for an overnight rental.”

Mahkah nodded as an idea began to form.  He handed the man a crisp $100 bill and said, “I’ll take the overnight rental.”  He plucked a map from the wire rack on the counter and tossed it in as well, and moments later he walked out of the store with his purchases and the keys to his overnight boat rental.  He was impressed when he finally found it—a large, spacious houseboat that would serve his needs perfectly for his little overnight hunting expedition.  He unloaded some items from his truck and lugged them to the boat, then took off along the water.  Two hours later he found the perfect spot, and after securing the boat to the huge trunk of an oak tree, he set out on his lone hunting trip.

 

Mahkah was on his way back to the boat when he spotted it—a solitary log cabin not far from where he’d secured his boat.  He cautiously approached, on the lookout for smoke coming from the chimney or any other signs of life.  When he saw none, he walked up onto the front porch and hesitantly knocked, then decided to test the knob.  The door opened easily, and he coughed slightly as dust flew up to meet him.  It was obvious the place hadn’t been occupied in quite a while, as was evidenced by the thick layer of dust that coated everything, as well as the intricate pattern of cobwebs in every corner.  Despite that, the place was tastefully furnished with a leather sofa, two leather recliners, and a hand-carved, wooden coffee table that flanked a massive stone fireplace.  He nodded in approval and wandered into the surprisingly modern kitchen, and after checking out the bedrooms and bathrooms, he walked out the back door to survey the view.  The river was about a hundred feet from the back porch, and right at the edge of the river was a large steel outbuilding.  He turned and went back inside, searching for any clues regarding who the place belonged to.  When he found none, he figured the old man at the marina might know something, as he seemed to know everything else about this place he’d referred to as an “itty bitty piece of paradise”.  Mahkah shook his head and chuckled to himself at the memory, then walked back outside and headed for his boat.  He settled in for the night and had a simple dinner, then sat topside and savored the clean, crisp mountain air that was devoid of the noise and pollution he’d been bombarded with every day in the city.  He closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath, and he was surprised when he felt as if he’d finally come home.  He slowly shook his head and smiled, then muttered to himself, “I must be getting back to my roots or something.”  The distant, lone howl of a coyote seemed to affirm his thoughts, even though he made sure his shotgun was within easy reach as he listened to the leaves rustling close by.  As if to convince him that moving here was what he needed to do, the full moon made an appearance, and Mahkah couldn’t deny the peaceful feeling that settled over him as he watched the moon’s reflection shimmer on the calm, clear water.  The more he thought about it, the more appealing the idea was—purchase the cabin and live here instead of subjecting himself to the mad hustle and bustle of the city again.  He’d escaped the whole nasty divorce thing with his M.D. license intact, but that was about it.  He sighed and wearily got to his feet, then went downstairs and made sure everything was secure before he stretched out in the surprisingly comfortable bed.  With nothing but the cool, crisp air and the sounds of the forest to lull him to sleep, he closed his eyes and almost immediately drifted off.

 

“Say, what do you know about that deserted cabin in the woods?” Mahkah inquired the next day after returning the boat.  The old man sat back on his creaky, battered stool and replied, “It’s for sale.  Last owner was a hunter who had a misfortunate hunting accident.”

“I see.  Asking price?”

The old man gave Mahkah a thorough once-over before he said, “You buyin’?”

Mahkah shrugged.  “I’m considering it.”

“Where you from, boy?”

Mahkah shook his head and forced himself not to grin at the old man’s reference to him as a boy.  He smiled politely and replied, “Florida.”

“I see.  You Seminole?”

Mahkah raised an eyebrow in surprise.  “No.  Cherokee.”

“Ain’t never seen no Cherokee with green eyes like yours.”

Mahkah nodded.  “I got the green eyes from my mom.  Everything else came from my dad.”

“I see.”  The old man leaned forward and added, “Lookin’ to get back to your roots, are ya?”

A smile tugged at the corners of Mahkah’s mouth.  “One might say that.”

“Then you’ve come to the right place.”  He leaned back again and inquired, “So what’d you do down there in Florida?”

Mahkah cleared his throat and said, “I was a doctor.”

“Is that so.”

“Yes, sir.”

“What possessed you to give up that kind of life for this simple place?”

“Well, let’s just say I had one of those shady lawyers for a wife.”

The old man nodded in understanding.  “I see.  Took you for a ride, did she?”

Mahkah shrugged again.  “In a way.”

“So you lookin’ to relocate?”

“I’m interested in the cabin, yes.”

The old timer extended his hand and said, “Well, if’n we gonna be doin’ business together, I suppose an introduction is in order.  My name’s Bill.”

Mahkah nodded and shook the man’s hand.  “Nice to meet you, Bill.  My full name is Mahkah Sakima Adahy, but you can call me Mike.”

Bill blinked and inquired, “What kind of name is that?”

Mahkah smiled and explained, “It’s Native American.  It means ‘King of the Earth who lives in the woods’.”

“I see.  Well, since I believe in using a person’s given name, I’ll call you Mahkah.”  He sat back and crossed his arms before he said, “How much you willin’ to pay for that cabin?”

“I don’t know…I didn’t see any for sale signs or anything regarding price.”

Bill nodded and gave Mahkah a nice surprise.  “Tell ya what…what with you bein’ a doc and all, why don’t we make us a little deal?”

Mahkah raised an eyebrow.  “What kind of deal?”

Bill stretched his arms out and explained, “This whole area, the rural part anyways, is in bad need of a doc.  Someone like you—young buck, strapping, smart, in good shape, trustworthy—someone who can get to’em in a hurry, tell’em what’s ailin’em and fix’em right up.  I’ll let you run a tab here at the store for whatever you need, and the townfolk can pay whatever they can afford.  You can pocket the cash, or apply it towards your tab.  Does that sound workable to you?”

Intrigued, Mahkah inquired, “How many people are we talking here?”

Bill shrugged.  “Well, the whole population of Norris is less than 2000, so I’d say prolly somewhere around 100 who will likely need your services at some point.”

“I see.”

“I can even let you use an office that’s right around the bend there.”  Bill pointed in the general direction of the narrow, winding dirt road that Mahkah had taken to the marina before he narrowed his eyes and pinned Mahkah with an intense look. “Unless’n you make house calls.”

It was Mahkah’s turn to shrug as he said, “I can do that.”

His answer seemed to please Bill, whose grin threatened to split his face as he slid off the stool and walked around the counter.  He motioned for Mahkah to follow as he said, “Right this way so I can show you the paperwork for the cabin.”

“Wait—I don’t expect to live there for free.  I’m more than happy to pay.”

“Oh, I never said nuttin’ bout you livin’ there for free.  This is just the map and the deed I’m gettin’ for ya.”

Mahkah nodded and followed Bill into a small, cramped office, then watched as he retrieved a worn, yellowed folder from a small safe tucked into the corner.  He handed the folder to Mahkah and said, “Let’s go grab a bite in the grill while you look over them papers.”  He walked out of the office and shut the door, then led Mahkah to the delightful, modern grill that offered in-house seating or seating on the weathered, covered deck of the marina.  Mahkah slid into the booth across from Bill and retrieved the papers, then spread them on the shiny table that had been wiped down one too many times with a grease-laden rag.  Bill pressed his finger against the center of the paper and said, “Mighty fine piece of property you’re gettin’ for ya self…You have road frontage and rights, even though there’s no road that leads directly to the highway.  Fifty acres of forest, plus access to the river and full usage of that steel outbuilding.  Local utilities, but you can pay the bills here at the marina.  They won’t cut your ‘lectric or water off in the winter, so that’s a plus.  Having a phone is entirely up to you, but I hear the reception in these parts ain’t the greatest, especially when you’re surrounded by trees and water.  No cell tower for miles.  Plenty of huntin’ and fishin’ opportunities, if you’re a’wantin’ to ‘live off the land’, so to speak.  You can also garden in the backyard, if that’s your kinda thing. The winters here can be brutal, but the spring, summer, and fall months more than make up for that.”  He leaned back in the booth and studied Mahkah as he perused the documents.  Finally he said, “So?  Whatcha think?”

Mahkah slowly nodded and simply inquired, “How much?”

“For you?  Twenty-five thousand.  That covers the property and the cabin, as well as the outbuilding and a perpetual hunting and fishing license.  I take it you got guns…?”

Mahkah nodded.  “Guns, a crossbow, and a bow and arrow set.”

Bill grinned and quipped, “You sure do b’lieve in comin’ prepared, don’t ya?”

Mahkah smiled.  “Absolutely.”

“There’s one more little perk, since you’re a’gonna be the town doc.  I’ll let you have free use of an ATV for gettin’ here in gnarly weather.  You know how to drive one of them things?”

“I’m sure I can learn.”

“You know how to clean a deer and process the meat correctly?”

“Yes.”

Bill nodded.  “Good, good.”  He signaled for the waitress, who sauntered over and gave Mahkah a grin that let him know she was interested in more than knowing what he wanted for lunch.  Bill smiled at him and said, “Mahkah, this here’s Marie, the apple of my eye.  Marie, this is Mahkah.  Gonna be our new town doc.”

Mahkah gave Marie a polite nod.  “Hi Marie.”

Her smile widened even more as she nodded and said, “Hey there, sweet thang.  What can I get for ya to drink?”

“Coffee.”

“And what would you like to eat?”

“What have you got?”

“Burgers, steaks, fish…”

“I’ll take a burger, please.”

“Fries?”

“Of course.”

Marie nodded and tucked her order pad into her apron pocket before she disappeared back into the kitchen, and Mahkah turned his attention back to Bill before he withdrew a thick envelope from inside his jacket.  He opened it and retrieved $25,000 in crisp, bound bills, then set it in front of Bill and said, “It’s all there, but feel free to count it if you’d like.”

Bill gave a low whistle as he sat staring down at the stack of money.  “Good Lord, boy, what you doin’ carryin’ around this kinda money?”

Mahkah said nothing as he watched Bill pick up a small stack of the money.  He looked to be in shock, and Mahkah figured he probably didn’t come across that kind of money very often, if at all.  Bill waved his hand in the air and said, “No, no, I’m sure it’s all here.”

Mahkah cleared his throat and politely inquired, “Is there a hospital close by?”

Bill sighed and answered, “Closest hospital is fifty miles away, which is why people in these parts need a doc.  A good doc, and it seems you fit the bill.”

Mahkah smiled.  “Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it.  You can get your mail here, too, and feel free to come and use the phone whenever you need to.”

Mahkah frowned as a sudden thought occurred to him.  “How am I supposed to know when someone is in need of my services?”

“You’ll have a pager.  You’ll just see my name on the screen, as well as the name of the person and directions to their house.  Or, if they happen to be here at the marina, I’ll just tell you to come here.  That way you’ll know.”

“Okay.”  He looked up when Marie returned with their drinks and food, and after she’d walked away, Bill smiled at Mahkah and said, “It’s a deal, then.  Are you ready to move in now?”

Mahkah nodded.  “Absolutely.  I have everything I need in my truck.”

“One more thing…I’ll let you use one of my boats for free, if you ever want to go fishing out on the water instead of sitting on the bank.  Fair enough?”

Mahkah nodded again, delighted that he’d made the old man’s acquaintance.  It looked like his new life was getting off to a great start.  Bill sat back and studied his newfound friend for a few moments, then slid the band off one of the stacks of money and began counting.  A few minutes later he slid several bills across the table and said, “Keep five thousand of that for yourself, doc…you know, to get your utilities turned on and buy some food and other stuff you’re gonna need.”

Mahkah nodded and picked up the money, then glanced at Bill and incredulously inquired, “Are you sure?”

Bill nodded and said, “Of course I’m sure.  Consider it a little housewarmin’ gift, from the community.”

Mahkah nodded again and tucked the money into his pocket, which prompted Bill to shake his head and say, “Can’t be walkin’ around with that kinda cash on ya, my boy…here, take this envelope.”

Mahkah withdrew the money and slid it into the envelope, then smiled at Bill and shook his hand.  “Pleasure doing business with you, Bill.”

Bill smiled.  “Same here.”

They finished eating their lunch, and after their plates were empty, Bill sat back and rubbed his belly before he said, “I been tellin’ Marie that her cookin’ skills oughta snag her a fine young man one’a these days.”

Mahkah smiled and nodded, although the last thing on his mind was developing a new relationship with a woman.  He glanced at his watch, which prompted Bill to say, “Now git.  I’m sure you got lotsa things to do, what with gettin’ settled in your new place an’ all.”

Mahkah smiled and shook the old timer’s hand again before he got to his feet, then turned and walked out of the store to start his new life.

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

Cassidy sighed as she glanced at the clock on the CD player.  She’d hoped to be home before dark, but that was looking more and more like an impossibility as she took note of the ominous gray clouds in the late afternoon sky.  She knew that snow was in the forecast, and she grimaced as her fingers tightened against the steering wheel.  The interview hadn’t gone well at all, and she frowned as she recalled what a pompous ass the interviewer had been.  He’d been overweight and looked as if he’d been stuffed into the suit he’d been wearing, and the fact that he’d perspired the entire time hadn’t given her much faith in his abilities as an interviewer, much less someone she wanted to work for.  He’d openly leered at her and had belittled her previous work experience, but the worst had been when he’d rudely insulted her alma mater.  Now, as she sped toward home, she shrugged and decided things could be worse as she popped a CD into the player and turned the volume up.  Even though The Doors typically improved her mood, such wasn’t the case tonight as she kept a worried, watchful eye on the sky.  She knew she still had at least three hours of driving ahead of her, and as an afterthought, she suddenly remembered that she hadn’t eaten since breakfast.  As if on cue her stomach suddenly rumbled, and she grimaced at the prospect of driving hungry for the next two hours.  There was no place for her to stop and get food, or even use the restroom—the only signs of life along the long, lonely stretch of highway were the wild animals that occasionally darted across the road and the thick, dark, foreboding forest that lined both sides of the highway.  Fear gripped her at the thought of having car trouble before she could make it back to civilization, which was currently two hours away.  She plucked her cell phone out of the center console and glanced at the screen, then grimaced when she saw the dreaded words, “No Signal.”  She sighed and dropped it back into its resting place before she turned her eyes back to the road, then gasped and screamed when she saw the deer.  Her grip tightened even more on the steering wheel as her foot automatically slammed down on the brake, and too late she realized she was going to hit the creature.  She felt her car going into a skid right before she slammed into the huge, magnificent buck, and then everything seemed to go in slow motion as the buck flew up onto the hood of her car before it made contact with her windshield.  She heard a sickening crack as her windshield instantly shattered, and when her car began to spin, all she could do was hang on for dear life as she finally went hurtling off the highway and down a narrow path through a tall thicket of trees.  The path was so bumpy that she flew up high enough to hit the roof of her car, but the worst part was when she saw the huge tree looming ahead.  Too late she realized that her air bag had deployed when she’d hit the buck, and she weakly gripped the steering wheel and gritted her teeth in preparation for the impact.  Moments later her car careened into the base of the tree with a loud bang, and she winced when it felt as if every bone in her body vibrated from the force of the impact.  She suddenly felt weak and frightened as she stared into the thick, dark forest, but before she had time to contemplate her predicament, everything went black as she mercifully passed out.

 

He heard the screeching tires and the loud bang, and as he lay there for several moments, he wondered if he should get up to go investigate.  He couldn’t foresee anyone shooting after dark, and as he continued to lay there, his curiosity finally got the best of him.  He slowly sat up and pulled his boots on, then grabbed his bow and knapsack before heading out into the darkness.

 

Cassidy groaned and glanced at the clock, then frowned when all she saw was the darkened strip where indicator lights were supposed to be glowing.  She slowly straightened in the seat and glanced at her surroundings, and terror settled over her in a paralyzing, icy wave when she realized she was stuck in the middle of nowhere in the thick blackness of night.  She quickly locked the doors and reached down for her phone, and her panic increased when her fingers failed to find it.  The forest was pitch black, and she wondered if her interior light would work if she pressed the button.  Then again, she wondered if that would be such a good idea as she suddenly remembered every horror movie she’d ever seen with stunning clarity.  She slowly lowered her hand and linked her fingers together in her lap as she tried to figure out what to do.  She suddenly realized that she was still wearing her seat belt, and she gave a sigh of relief when she pressed the button and released the stranglehold it had on her.  She reached up to gingerly rub the side of her neck, then winced when she felt the raw, tender skin the belt had chafed when it had automatically tightened against her.  She leaned back in the seat and wondered if sleep would be possible as her mind continued to taunt her with horrifying images she’d seen on TV and in the movies.  She grimaced and gave a slight shake of her head when she realized just how foolish she was being, until she saw the flash of movement just off to her right.  She held her breath as she slowly turned her head, expecting to see something straight out of one of those horror movies that she used to be fond of watching, but all she saw was the thick darkness that seemed to swallow her.  She suddenly shook her head and nervously muttered, “You’re losing it, Cassidy…”  A sudden idea occurred to her then, and she shook her head as she fumbled with the keys in the ignition.  She closed her eyes and tried to crank the car, but her car was just as lifeless as her cell phone, wherever it happened to be.  She suddenly wished she had a tall, cold bottle of water in her hand, just as she wished she’d never agreed to that ridiculous interview.  She leaned against the seat and closed her eyes as she replayed every horrible moment of that enraging farce, and even though she didn’t mean to, moments later she dropped off to sleep.

 

When Cassidy woke the sun was coming up, and at first she couldn’t remember why she was sitting in her car in the middle of the woods.  Then she recalled the horrifying accident with the buck and the tree, and she sighed as she tried to figure out how she was going to get out of the woods.  She glanced down at her watch and discovered it was barely seven a.m., but sunlight was already streaming through the thick branches of the tall trees that seemed to be on all sides of her.  She carefully opened the door and slowly stepped out of the car, then gave a squeal of alarm and surprise when she felt herself slipping on a thick bed of pine needles.  She clung to the door and glanced behind her, then grimaced when she saw the steep incline she’d careened down the night before.  There was no way she’d ever be able to walk back up to the highway, and for that matter, she didn’t even know how far away it was as she strained to hear any traffic.  All she heard was the lone chirp of a bird and the unsettling snap of a twig somewhere close by, and as she stood there chewing on her lip, she knew she had to do something.  She desperately tried to remember the Girl Scout training she’d received when she’d been twelve, but for the life of her, she couldn’t remember how to find water or which direction moss grew.  Maybe if she followed the steep path her car had gone hurtling down the night before she’d eventually come to some water or, better yet, a hunting club or some place that would have people.  She glanced down and saw a medium-sized stick that had been ripped from a tree as her car had gone skidding down the path, and she couldn’t help her grimace of discomfort as she reached down to pick it up.  Her head hurt, she was hungry, thirsty, and sore all over, but she knew she couldn’t stay inside her car forever or she’d never be found.  The thought was enough to propel her forward as she reluctantly let go of the car door, but moments later she shrieked as she toppled backwards and landed on the bed of pine needles.  She struggled back to her feet and curled her hand around the top of the stick, then cautiously made her way down the path until it finally leveled out.  When she turned around she could no longer see her car, and she swallowed hard when she realized that now she’d be forced to spend the night outside in the dark, unless she indeed found a hunting club or a small town.  Even though she didn’t like that particular idea, she knew she had no choice but to keep going if she wanted to survive.

 

He watched as the small, slender woman haltingly made her way down the steep path, and he debated whether to approach her or wait and see how adept she was at fending for herself in the vast forest he called home.  He didn’t make a sound as he watched her glancing around, and he frowned when he noticed she was limping and moving rather slowly for someone so young.  His frown increased when he saw the painful-looking, irritated raw skin on the side of her neck, but he remained silent as he watched her hobbling along the path that would take her straight to a small stream, if she didn’t go off-course.  He had to wonder if she’d been sent to find him, and the thought alone was enough to make him hesitant regarding offering her any kind of assistance.  The last thing he wanted was to be discovered, but then again, he wasn’t the type to let a woman fend for herself in the unforgiving forest he’d called home for the past two years.  As he watched the woman continue to limp along the path, he decided he’d keep an eye on her from a distance, at least for now.  He knew from experience that one could never be too careful when it came to strangers, and without a sound he slipped out from behind the massive oak and began his voyeuristic role as a Good Samaritan.

 

Cassidy weakly leaned against a tree as she glanced at her watch, and she was surprised to discover she’d been walking through the forest for the past five hours.  Her stomach rumbled loudly as it reminded her that she hadn’t eaten in over twenty-four hours, and her throat felt like cotton due to her lack of water.  The more she walked, the more she ached, and two hours later she finally decided that she’d had enough adventure for one day as she set about kicking pine needles directly off the path and under a huge oak tree that would at least provide a bit of shelter.  Its branches hung low to the ground, and after she’d kicked an adequate amount of pine needles beneath the cluster of branches that were going to serve as her home for the night, she collapsed on top of them and sighed as she stared up at the sky.  It was all but obscured by the tall trees that surrounded her, and her voice was a faint whisper as she sent up a silent plea to whoever or whatever seemed to be in control of her fate at the moment.  “Please…I just want to go home.”  She released a deep, weary sigh before she almost instantly dropped off to sleep.

 

He held his breath as he crept toward her, careful not to make a sound as he expertly stepped around twigs that could possibly awaken her and alert her to his presence, if he inadvertently stepped on one.  He silently crouched beside her and placed the bottle of water within her reach before doing the same with the apple he’d brought.  It wasn’t much, but he figured it was better than nothing as he slowly straightened and just as silently disappeared back into the forest.

 

 
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Coming up with names, character traits, locations, and scenes that haven’t been overdone and have become cliche.  And believe it or not, writing sex scenes that are exciting, interesting, and believable instead of cheesy and downright laughable can be quite difficult at times.

 

 
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? 

I must admit, I am fangirling over Jacquelyn Frank.  Her writing draws you in, and her descriptive use of the English language only adds to her books’ intrigue.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I haven’t had to travel at all.  My books are available only as e-books for now, but I am working on getting them in paperback.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers? 

I design my own covers.  I find an appropriate image, then use different photo modification programs and design the final cover with Amazon’s Cover Creator.  For The Medicine Man series, the man on the cover is Gerald Auger, who has been cast in the AMC series “Hell on Wheels,” “Into the West,” and is also to be featured in the upcoming “Lewis and Clark”.  I befriended him on Facebook and politely asked permission to use his image for the first book cover in the series.  He graciously said yes, and as long as I give him and the photographer(s) proper credit, he has no problem with the fact that he graces all five covers of The Medicine Man books.  🙂

 

 
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I’ll admit, sometimes I get stuck while writing a particular scene.  However, the hardest part usually comes when I’m getting toward the end of the book.  It’s difficult to find just the right words to use when you’re writing the final scene.  And sometimes, when I type the words, “The End,” I have to have a little cry.  My characters become my friends, at least for the duration of the book writing.  They are as real to me as my son in the next room.

 

 
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 

Every literary undertaking is a learning experience.  Writing a novel encompasses every human emotion there is and also teaches you about your personal, physical limits, such as–how late can I stay up before I fall asleep at my desk?  How long can I go without a bathroom break?  Things like that.  With every book I write, I like to think that I enhance my vocabulary and hone my writing skills a little more.  I’ve also learned that some subjects are just too sensitive to include in a piece of fiction, and since I tend to draw from my own experiences, that lets me know that perhaps some subjects are still a bit raw and off-limits when it comes to putting them in a book.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers? 

The absolute best thing I can tell you is this–if you’re serious about becoming a writer, or if you already consider yourself a writer, don’t go down this path thinking you’re going to become mega-rich overnight.  Even though most writers find the task enjoyable, writing is still work.  With that being said, the best way to improve your skill is to immerse yourself in it every possible chance you get.  Write, write, and then write some more.  Do ample research regarding what you’re writing about, because if you don’t and a reader calls you out on it, not only will you have egg on your face, you’ll also risk having your reputation as a writer either severely damaged or discredited altogether.  Become more aware of your surroundings, and keep a notebook handy for those random ideas that float into your head.  Trust me, you WON’T remember them a few hours later.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

I sincerely hope that you enjoy my work, and if you do, please take a few minutes to leave a review.  If there are readers out there who find my work not to their personal tastes or liking, I ask you to please refrain from leaving a bad review, as that is more damaging than you could ever imagine.  No one says you ever have to buy my work, ever again.  Just consider it a learning experience and move on, no bashing necessary.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read? 

Absolutely!  Aside from those “Dick and Jane” books from elementary school, the first book I remember reading that impacted me was titled, “Like It Is.”  It was a collection of short stories that involved young adults dealing with a variety of life crises.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry? 

Everyday life.

 

 

Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?

I would love to have the chance to sit down with my sister and fill her in on everything that has happened since her passing in 1999.  If she is already aware of those things, then a nice little chit chat would suffice.

 

 

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?

I haven’t thought that far ahead!  Besides, I’m being cremated and turned into a tree, so…

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ? 

I am a Facebook junkie, but I also enjoy playing Scrabble and The Sims 2 on my computer.  When I’m not doing that, I love listening to music, whether it’s on Youtube or my media player.  I also love playing around with those photo modification programs just to see what I can do with a picture.  I also enjoy making book trailers and have a playlist of the ones I’ve created on Youtube.

 

 

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching? 

I’m a Weather Channel junkie, but I also enjoy watching the local news and some shows from my past.  Regarding films, I enjoy a good horror movie that makes me scream and cover my eyes, as well as something that’s going to make me laugh.  I absolutely adore anything related to ancient Egyptian culture, Native Americans, the universe, and death.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music 

I enjoy most food, so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one.  My favorite colors are pink and purple, and I enjoy most all types of music, with the exception of opera, hard-core rap, and weird folk songs.

 

 

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done? 

When I was little, I dreamed of becoming an astronaut.  However, now that I’m a responsible adult and all that, my first choice would involve being a psychologist, as I find human behavior fascinating and want to understand the hows and whys of it.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?

I have a Facebook author page, as well as an Amazon author page.  Here are the links to both!  🙂

https://www.facebook.com/Beverly-Cialone-182257978512695/?ref=hl

http://www.amazon.com/Beverly-Cialone/e/B00IJE9RR6/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1452045998&sr=1-2-ent

 

Links to my books:  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=beverly+cialone

 

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/uspslady

 

 

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION FOR HIGH VOLTAGE

 

Tess Solomon has had a rough year—she lost her entire family in a house fire, only to become involved with a man who took great delight in abusing her in every horrific way possible. In a moment of desperation, she attempts the unthinkable, only to be rescued by two hot, mysterious twin brothers—Victor and Vincent Volt.  When the brothers develop feelings for their charge, they decide to do something they’ve never even considered before, and that is to share Tess.  However, her spiteful ex-boyfriend Danny has different plans…for all of them.  Will the steamy love triangle forge a strong, close bond that will allow them to overcome Danny’s evil plans?  Or will it all fall apart, leaving Tess even more broken than she was before?

 

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION FOR SWEET DEATH

 

When Emily’s abusive husband Chip drops dead from a heart attack during an argument with her, she is frightened and devastated, despite the way he’d abused her. Her salvation comes in the form of the funeral director tasked with handling her late husband’s funeral arrangements–Emory Markandeya. Emory is the quiet voice of reason when Emily is convinced her late husband is haunting her and literally trying to drive her insane. However, when Emily’s in-laws try to place the blame on her for Chip’s death, Emory is out of town on vacation, and Emily ends up in jail. Will Chip’s family succeed in wrongfully accusing her for the death of her own husband? Or will Emory be able to save her from even more heartache and pain?

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION FOR WHITE LIGHTNING

 

When Cameron meets Alexa, he is intrigued to discover that she’s a race car driver at a local dirt track.  However, after witnessing a few horrifying, race-related accidents that leave her severely injured, he begins to doubt his decision to take their relationship to the next level.  When Alexa has a chance to make her dream of becoming a NASCAR driver a reality, she is torn when Cameron doesn’t share in her enthusiasm.  Will she pursue her dream at the risk of losing Cameron?  Or will she ditch it all for the sake of preserving their relationship and finding true love?

 

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