The Scarlet Ribbon ~ Excerpt and Review #Fiction #UrbanFantasy

what do you think of the new cover?

Book Description

When a dirty blue car mows Maggie down outside her local supermarket, she becomes trapped in the nightmare world of a coma patient. She manages to rescue an abused and neglected child in this very different world.

But when it looks like she will finally wake up, she cannot bear the thought of leaving the child behind.

But is this other world real, or was she just dreaming? And if it is real, can she help this child?

“Maggie is a likeable character who is easy to engage with, and I found myself willing her to find the courage to embrace happiness. If you like a story that is more than just your average romance then I thoroughly recommend this one…” Amazon Reviewer

“Excellent reading, excellent writing with several unexpected twists that lead to…well, that is for others to find out too. A heart-wrenching and gripping story. Well done, Anita Dawes!” Amazon Reviewer

Excerpt from The Scarlet Ribbon

I felt the sheets being straightened, and deft fingers checked my tubes and wiring. I still seemed connected to the real world, but for how long? How long would I be allowed for goodbyes, even though I couldn’t say them?

It was childish, but if I couldn’t say goodbye, maybe it couldn’t make me go. I held on to that thought, hoping it would somehow make it true.

I heard the sound of rubber soles crossing the floor, then the metallic click of the door latch. I hoped Doctor Marsden hadn’t left the hospital. I would be very interested in his explanation.

Jack smoothed the hair from my face, and his lips touched my cheek. He whispered in my ear, ‘Where are you, Maggie? If you can hear me, please come back. I love you so much. Whatever it is, Maggie, fight it. Don’t let go. I’m not leaving this hospital without you.’

As I listened to him, wondering if he meant it, I drifted away again.

I had no idea how long I’d been lying beside Annie. Days and nights here seemed normal, but back in my world, I knew time seemed to be faster. I was so confused. I didn’t understand why I was incapable of touching Annie, yet the arm I wrapped around her hadn’t fallen through the mattress the way it did everything else. I couldn’t catch the belt, yet it had marked my skin. Why didn’t any of it make any sense?

All I could think of was that some inanimate objects were different.

Annie’s arms and legs looked sore, but the skin wasn’t broken. Her mother hadn’t even come to see if she was all right. God knows how long she would be left on her own. I could hear muffled voices from below, another fight brewing. Why on earth did some people have kids? If they were so capable of hurting them, they must have known beforehand, had some little clue that they didn’t really want them.

Annie had relaxed a little. Her breathing was easier, hardly punctuated by the remnants of the sobbing, although a shudder would disturb her every now and then. One small, grubby hand lay open while the other was closed in a tight fist. I could see a piece of red ribbon sticking out between her first finger and thumb. I reached for it but couldn’t move it. The determined way she held on to it even in her sleep, I knew it meant something special. I wondered if somebody had given it to her. I doubted if those things downstairs masquerading as parents had anything to do with it. It had to be someone nice by the way she clung to it.

I wondered if she had built up some false hope that the giver might come back and save her from the misery she lived in. I knew it was possible. It was also possible that the accident had damaged my mind, that this was all a dream. Whatever the truth was, I had no choice but to go with what I was being shown…

Latest Review

D.L. Finn

4.0 out of 5 stars Seeking answers on the other side

Reviewed in the United States on 17 May 2022

“Scarlet Ribbon” is a story that made me wonder about the afterlife and what is in between. Maggie was out with her husband when she was run down by a car. She ended up in a coma for two long years, but her time became relative as she found herself in a strange place. Her body was in the hospital, but her mind or soul was experiencing a different reality.

While she was under, she could see what her husband was doing and was taken to other worlds and the past. She wanted to help, especially a young girl. There was cruelty and a blissful existence that coincided in the different places. As she seeks answers to her dilemma, she finds out more than she wanted to about how sheltered a life she had and people’s true side.

I have always wondered what goes on when people are in a coma, and this was a fascinating idea of what could happen. There never seems to be one simple answer or outcome to Maggie’s desires. I love her determination to do what is right, but within her new world, I felt her confusion as she bounced from one situation to another. I was rooting for the person she connected with on the other side.

The story picked up the pace when she emerged from the coma, and work began for her to heal and try to remember. The ending was a surprise but didn’t feel done just yet. I hope there are more versions of her life to come and I will be reading them.


Many thanks to Denise for her wonderful review!

My absolute favourite story of Anita’s, The Scarlet Ribbon is 2.99 for the next two weeks, and can be found HERE

Tuesday Teaser… #Fiction #Excerpt #WIP

Excerpt from the WIP for Ghost of a Chance

The basement door was easy to overlook, it looked like a cupboard. It opened easily, revealing a dark hole leading down into the bowels of the earth. I looked for a light switch, my hand searching where my eyes could not but found nothing.

As we made our way down the stairs in the dark, I used the torchlight on my phone to see the way. I found the light switch at the bottom of the stairs.

The air in the basement smelled old and musty, with the faint odour of tobacco. We were in a large room, set out like an office with an old desk and overflowing bookcases. An even older leather armchair sat in the corner surrounded by a neat stack of cardboard boxes.

Laurie must have read my mind, saying exactly what I was thinking. ‘Phew, thank God there’s no freezer, nowhere to hide a body…’

My next thought I kept to myself, maybe the body had been cut up and was in all those boxes.

A loud noise made me jump and Laurie shriek, and that was when the light went out.

‘What was that? Snow, where are you?’

‘I’m here, Laurie. Stand still while I switch on my phone light. I don’t suppose you remember seeing any torches when we were here before?’

The limited light from my phone isolated us as we stood at the bottom of the stairs. I strained my eyes, trying to see the further corners of the room. It looked as it did moments ago, but it didn’t feel the same. Weird rustling sounds, creaking and what sounded like whispering came at me from all the corners of the room.

Laurie must have heard it too, for she turned away from me. ‘I’ll go look for a torch, shall I?’ And shot up the stairs like an athlete.

I wanted to follow her, but something kept my feet rooted to the floor.

The whispering came closer and seemed much louder. Something brushed against my face and the image of a bat flew across my mind. This was unlikely, as there didn’t seem to be any access to the outside, something bats had to have.

I shone the light around the room again and as it reached the leather armchair in the corner, the light flickered and went out but not before I thought I saw someone sitting there.

I barely had the time to consider this when something shoved me.

I felt hands on my lower back, strong enough to cause me to stumble.

Instantly, my arms thrashed around, expecting to contact whoever touched me, but found no one.

‘Laurie, is that you?’

The room was silent, the creaks and the whispering stopped as if waiting for someone or something to answer my question.

I tried to move, to make my way up the stairs but my feet refused to move.

I felt the hands on my back again, a growing chill spreading from the site of contact. ‘Who are you?’

When the voice began to speak, the whispering grew louder, creating a tornado of sound, circling around me.

‘You don’t want or need to know who I am, MR Snow. Get out of my house!’

When the shove came, it sent me flying across the room and I found myself in the leather armchair, pinned down by the hands that sent me there.

As I sat there, stunned and very disorientated, I tried to make sense of what had just happened. A flickering light appeared, bobbing up and down. Now what, I wondered. My rational mind not quite accepting any of this.

‘Snow, where are you? I found a torch, it’s a bit feeble but better than nothing.’ As she shone the light around the room, she found me sprawled in the armchair.

‘What are you doing? Don’t tell me you wanted to take it easy, what are you like?’

A small laugh escaped from my mouth as I thought about trying to explain what I thought had just happened.

I did my best to describe what happened to me in the basement. Laurie listened, but I wasn’t sure she believed everything I said. One thing we did agree on, we were trying to help a lonely and confused woman, not get involved with ghost hunting.

That’s what I think, but is it really? ( all opinions gratefully welcome!)

Jaye Marie

An Unforgettable Book…

Description

SHADES OF DELIVERANCE MEETS THE WALTONS…
Simple’s life is a painful nightmare.
He is one huge bear of a man, but with the heart and mind of an innocent child. He suffers terrible abuse from his vicious and uncaring backwoods family.
Together with his half-sister Leanne, they are hunted like wild animals and suffer the terror of nearly being burned alive as they try to escape.
Will they ever discover the joy of freedom?

Excerpt from Simple…

Walking towards Gran, I could feel the blood draining from my body, trying to find some place to hide.  It felt as if it had all gathered in my feet, making each step I took the hardest thing I had ever done.

Gran got up from her rocker and I watched it continue to move, as if she had left some part of herself sitting in it.  She walked inside the cabin and waited for me. She had never done more than cuff me across the back of the head, but I figured I had to be in for more than that this time.  I was trying to think of the worst she could do.

It was cool inside the cabin.  Gran was sitting at the big wooden table grandpa had made.  She might as well have been the town judge, sitting behind the high bench.  She didn’t move or look at me as I sat opposite, waiting for judgement.  I knew better than speak first.  I couldn’t have, even if I wanted to, my mouth had dried up.  Gran finally spoke, her voice hard, as if she had eaten gravel.  ‘You’ve done a bad thing, Leanne. Taken our trust and pissed it in the wind.  Jimmy says he should be the one to punish you, says you had no right taking Simple anywhere near the Spiers. Reckon I should turn you over to him, save my words for someone who can hear them.’

I said, ‘I can hear real good,’ with more grit in my voice than I intended.

Gran fixed me with one of those looks that made me wish I could turn to stone. ‘Seems to me, young lady,  if your ears still work, then your brain’s gone soft like Simple’s. Fancy interfering in business that aint yours. You know right enough, he needs telling more times than the sun wakes us and then some. You want him took off for takin’ town young’uns?’

‘Course not, Gran.’  My voice came out as a whisper.

‘Simple was hurt real bad.  I couldn’t just leave him…’

Amazon Review

This is a story about some very tough and mean people somewhere in the backwoods and mountains of America. It is told from the perspective of a young girl whose mission in life is to protect her big, but simple-minded brother from harm. The story is compelling, frightening and sometimes brutal in the manner of the film Deliverance, but it is also a heart-warming story of loyalty, love and deep affection. It was not what I was expecting, but I’m glad I read it. It has an unforgettable quality about it and the characters are complex but convincing. It really is a great story and unputdownable.

Out of Time: excerpt #MysteryThriller

In this exciting sequel to NINE LIVES,

Kate Devereau wakes up in hospital unable to speak or move after the brutal attack by her ex-husband.

Her brain has shut down, refusing to acknowledge the misery of her dark and disturbing past.

A past that conceals a web of painful secrets.

Michael Barratt, Kate’s old flame, brought her to the hospital insisting that her ex-husband had tried to kill her

And from the state of him, had tried to kill him too.

With the help of DI David Snow, Kate will gradually piece her shattered life back together,

only to discover her nightmare is far from over.

Her first instinct is to run, but Snow convinces her to stay to help him put an end to the nightmare.

A nightmare that will get a lot worse before it gets better…

An excerpt from Out of Time

When he discovered Michael Barratt’s location, Snow didn’t have to ask what happened as the constable’s face said it all. A lovely shade of green was indicating the man was having trouble hanging on to his breakfast.

The churchyard resembled a scene from a horror movie with blood everywhere. The victim had been attacked from behind. A single knife wound to the neck, causing him to bleed out in a matter of seconds. What had possessed the man to leave the safety of the church? You had to wonder at his mental state, for he didn’t appear to have had a death wish.

Snow looked down at the man lying on the grass, an attractive man, despite the scar tissue and missing hair. He felt a little sorry for him, not for dying, but for spending too many years searching for Kate Devereau, only to fall flat at her unforgiving feet. He thought again about the other woman in his life and the child. Michael Barratt sure liked to complicate his life, but to what end? Still, the fight was over for him now.

The area behind the church had been checked as soon as the body was found, but there was no trace of Jack Holland. Snow wasn’t fooled, he had to be around there somewhere, as he wouldn’t rest until he had Kate Devereau in his clutches.

She almost knocked him down as he opened the door to the church. ‘Where is he?’ she said, trying to sidestep around him. He put his hands on her shoulders. ‘You cannot go out there, Kate. I will not allow it. You will have to say your goodbyes later.’

Her face contorted with either rage or upset, he couldn’t tell which. ‘He is dead, Kate. He went outside against our instructions and paid the ultimate price. At least it would have been quick …’

She started to walk backwards away from him, a stunned look on her face as the truth sank in. Snow caught the attention of a WPC and indicated Kate shouldn’t be left alone. He watched them walk away and wondered what would happen next. He tried to reach Jim Harris on his phone but there was no answer. He left a constable to guard the door and went to find him.

Snow marched around outside the church, looking for Jim Harris. He refused to consider losing anyone else. He was so angry, if he could get his hands on Jack Holland, they wouldn’t need to lock him up.

He found his sergeant checking the cars outside in the street. ‘You need to answer your phone, Jim before I have heart failure …’

‘Sorry, Boss, it must be on silent. Saw a man hanging around out here, so thought I’d check.’

‘Since when do you leave the scene of a crime, Jim, whatever the reason?’

A scream from inside the church drew their attention, and they hurried inside, expecting the worst. Kate and Sam were sitting on the floor in front of the altar, and Kate was the one who had screamed. Sam looked up as they approached and pointed towards the altar. ‘Present from Jack Holland …’

Snow had to look hard to recognise what had been left on the velvet altar cloth, and his heart sank when he realised what it was. Kate’s flowers were lying there, soaked with blood. The most obvious message from a killer, intended to strike fear into the soul of his next victim, and from the look on Kate Devereau’s face, it had worked…

#TuesdayBookBlog ~ Annie’s Song by Anita Dawes #BackwaterFiction

Family or freedom, which would you choose?
Life in the backwoods of Virginia at the turn of the century was perfect,
until Annie discovers a nasty family secret.
Something her family have been doing for years.
She knows she cannot live like this, but her protests fall on deaf ears.
Her struggle to change everything only makes life so much worse,
Forcing her to try and escape…
Annie’s song echoes through the mountains
Her sorrow falls with every drop of rain
Pieces of her heart lie scattered throughout the forest
Will her footsteps lead her to the freedom she seeks?

Excerpt from Annie’s Song

Pa and Nathan left in the truck and it was another hour before they brought Josh’s body home. I know it don’t seem right to say it, but I wasn’t feeling sad that he was dead. Just worried as to how he got that way. Josh was no fool. He knew how to bring a tree down without killing himself.

Watching the truck coming towards us seemed to take forever, like Pa was going deliberately slow. We waited for Pa to get out of the truck and I could see from his dirt streaked face it weren’t good. Nathan’s face looked worse.

Ma tried to stop me running to the truck but couldn’t hold me. I climbed on the back and didn’t see Nathan getting out. Suddenly he was there beside me. I remember kneeling and touching the blue check shirt that covered Josh’s face. I remember the touch of Nathan’s hand on mine and the gentle way he said, ‘Don’t look, Annie please. Just let Pa bury him.’

I had to see for myself, had to know if it was the tree falling on him that killed him. My eyes were wet, but the tears wouldn’t fall. I pulled the shirt back and a scream tore at my throat, trying to find a way out. No sound came as I looked at what was left of his face, dark gaping holes looking back at me. Gone were his blue grey eyes, the very thing I liked most about him had been gouged away.

His face was scratched and torn and bloody. Dried blood matted his hair and dead leaves stuck to him. Nathan tried to take me away, saying I’d seen enough. I felt myself being lifted slowly from my knees, and as Nathan carried me away, and that’s when my brain registered what it had seen. The torn flesh on his face hadn’t been caused by the fall. The skin standing away from the bone and the dried blood made it hard to read, that’s why my mind didn’t see it right off. They’d cut Pa’s name down one side of his face, as if taking his eyes weren’t enough. The scream that wouldn’t come before finally broke and shut down my brain like an axe blow.

Pa climbed on the truck and covered Josh before Ma could see him. Lifting the body, he carried him to the barn like a baby. We buried him under the big old tree at the back of the barn. We all stood there not saying a word and I closed my eyes. I could still see him and was sorry I hated him most of the time. Ma’s eyes were red from crying, I heard her whisper, ‘Goodbye, Josh,’ before she turned and went back to the cabin.

Nathan followed her, but Pa stood a while longer before leaving me there to say my own farewell. There weren’t much to say and no one to tell of his going. I smoothed the ground where he lay and wrote his name in the freshly turned earth, knowing there’d be no marker and the grass would soon grow again and cover him like a blanket…

Now in paperback… and on Goodreads and Smashwords