Title: Gifted: An Anthology
Author: Sandra Ely
Release Date: April 26, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance
In these four installments we follow four young women as they discover love and their own strength.
My Traitorous Heart: When Miriah Anderson finds a rose on her door, it can only mean one thing- her former lover and once savior has returned; together they must put her demons to rest to ensure not only their lives, but their future together. Nearly two years have passed since Miriah was abducted and tortured at the hands of a demon-beast. Now, after leaving her to face her recovery alone, James is back, begging for her help. Miriah must put her fear aside in order to end her nightmare once and for all now that the hunters have been lead to her door step. Through her eyes we watch as she works with James and realizes the spark of their love is still present. Can she trust him not to leave her in her moment of weakness again?
Whispers on the Wind: The darkness is coming and it’s up to Rebecka to stop it before it takes over, destroying the whole town and everyone in it. Tyler knows her secret and is determined to help, whether she wants it or not. With time growing short, he must take aggressive action and inform her of a fate beyond their control. Will Rebecka crumble under the pressure? Or can they find a way to work together to banish the coming of an endless night?
Heart of the Hurricane: After a tragic accident takes the lives of Alyssa’s mom and sister, she is left alone to piece her life back together. With the aid of her life coach-Ryan, she has to overcome her fears, if she wants to obtain her heart’s desire. Is she strong enough to overcome her past and become the woman she was meant to be?
When the Earth Shakes: Between planning her best friend’s wedding, working full time, and dealing with family issues, Lyla needs a vacation. When she’s gifted a week long trip to get to know her last remaining grandparent, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Through Lyla’s perspective, we are taken on a journey of self discovery as she falls in love and learns the power of forgiveness.
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A stay-at-home wife and mother of two incredible boys, Sandra enjoys writing fiction dealing with supernatural aspects. She lives in Missouri, although she has lived in several other states including: Arizona (where she was born), Colorado, Florida, South Dakota, Kansas, Montana, Iowa, California, Ohio and Michigan.
From My Traitorous Heart (Book One in the Anthology):
A scarlet rose was taped to my door. This could only mean one thing- he was back. I felt my heart skip a beat as I reached out to take the red rose. I caught my thumb on one of the protruding thorns and immediately put it to my lips. Of course his return would be marked in blood, I thought.
I opened the door with my free hand. Locking the door had never become a habit of mine. I lived in a relatively safe neighborhood (if any could be considered such anymore) and had my own special set of defenses. Perhaps, though, I would start, if for no other reason than the annoyance it would cause.
I took the rose straight to the kitchen and got down the smallest vase I had. At 5’2”, it was a reach for me to get to the top shelf , which should show the frequency I have use to display fresh flowers. They’d been gifts from someone I had come to think of as just short of forgotten, which is why I failed to get rid of them.
I filled the vase with luke-warm water, humming as I went about the unplanned chore. I slid the flower’s stem gently into the glass vase. I had no desire to remove the thorns; they would do well to remind me: even the most beautiful creations can be dangerous.
From Whispers on the Wind (Book Two in the Anthology):
Thinking on her feet had never been one of her strong suits. As a rule, she didn’t give into impulses. Today she had, and more and more she had come to regret the decision. “So, you intend to keep secrets, then?”
He knew she was stalling for time. A slow smile spread across his face. “I suppose you have a right to know, but given the circumstances, I think I’ll keep my secret for now. You, though,” he stood now, slowly moving towards the woman who was just shy of cowering in his living room, “Have no secrets.”
“Don’t come any closer,” she warned, some internal alarm tickling her solar plexus.
“This is my house and I’ll go where I please.” He took a step forward, then another.
Rebecka’s heart was beating furiously in her chest. She took a deep breath. “Stay away from me.”
“Is that what you really want, my little wind sorceress?”
Focus, she told herself, And breathe. That was all she’d been taught. She had no sense of control, but usually her will was accomplished. Then again, prior attempts had always occurred when her nerves weren’t stretched so thin and her mind was relaxed and open. “Last warning.” Her cerulean eyes frosted over with a glaze of power. He continued his pursuit.
She waved her hand. The handful of books on the shelf flew off and landed with a loud thud against the wooden floor. Concentrate, she thought and waved her hand again. His chestnut hair fluttered in the unnatural breeze, but still he continued his advance.
“You’re going to have to do better than that, sweetheart.” He was upon her now. “I don’t back down easily.” In one swift movement, he grabbed her hands in his and pinned them above her head.
He bent his head closing the few inches that separated their faces. “What motivates you?”
She felt paralyzed as his breath whispered over her skin. The pressure continued on her wrists as she tried to pull them free and push him away. And then his lips met hers and she felt something inside herself break. The flood gates fractured, her power rushed out from her very core and sent the man flying across the room. She wasn’t entirely sure what she was doing, but she let her instincts guide her.
From Heart of the Hurricane (Book Three in the Anthology)
Sorrow filled Alyssa’s deep aqua eyes as she stared at the shallow pool before her. She couldn’t give into the memories that always waited just beneath the surface, threatening to consume her.
“It’s all about control,” she let Ryan’s velvet voice wash over her, grounding her in the present. “Focus on your breathing.” He took hold of her hand, “We’ll do this together.”
Alyssa didn’t speak as they took their first step together into the luke warm pool. The water climbed over her ankle and a tremor of fear ran through her body.
“Relax, Aly. Clear your mind. Now, let’s take another step.”
She grit her teeth and tightened her grip on his hand. For three weeks she had been meeting with Ryan as they worked together to banish her fear. She had to admit, it was helping. When she first started coming, just the sight of a puddle had sent her into an almost paralyzing fear…. Now, she was standing in water that rose half way up her slender calves.
“Okay. Now, look down,” he instructed; his voice acting as a shield against the darkness in her mind.
She did as she was told. After all, this is what she paid him for. For the price he charged, she expected no less than miraculous results. She saw the clear water stretching out in front of her, too deep to classify as a kiddie pool, but Ryan assured her it was the perfect depth for an aquaphobic like her to start in.
Panic raced through her system; she felt the adrenaline build in her body’s natural fight or flight instinct. She had an overwhelming urge to get away, but Ryan’s hand in hers kept her in place. Her body trembled and she could swear she saw waves forming in what should have been still water.
From When the Earth Shakes (Book Four in the Anthology)
“Maybe that’s because nobody ever looked at you like I do.” Where’d that come from? “But I think you’re wrong. I think my grandmother saw your potential. I didn’t know her well, but she never struck me as the type of person to tolerate weakness on any scale.”
He chuckled, “You’d be right. I always just thought it was because everyone always spent all their time fawning over my sister.”
“I think you have as much to learn as I do.” I hadn’t moved my hand away from his face. Lightly I stroked my fingers over his firm jaw line. The light stubble he had growing was prickly on my fingertips, but the skin beneath was smoother than I anticipated. I thought with all the hours he spent in the sun, his skin would have taken on a more leathery consistency.
He didn’t seem to mind my casual exploration of his features. “Let’s do something tomorrow,” he suggested.
I dropped my hand. What was I getting myself into here? I was definitely attracted, but I’d been attracted to other guys before. Never like this, though, I reminded myself. The intensity I felt when I was with him wasn’t just for him, but more like he made all my senses come alive. The sun was brighter, the air sweeter, the world itself was more vibrant. “I don’t know,” I hoped my voice wasn’t shaking as much as my insides were.
“Tomorrow,” he spoke as if there was no chance I would say no. How could he know he was the sun and I was but a measly planet trapped in orbit of this insane gravitational pull? Could he be feeling it, too?
“I’m leaving in a couple days, Rob.”
The light in his eyes dimmed as if my reminder caught him off guard. “Then,” he continued, a firm resolve in the velvety smooth voice of his, “Give me a chance to show you a night you won’t forget.”
Everything about him seemed cool, calm, confident… Everything except those eyes that seemed to be pleading with me on some base level. Something was telling me he needed me as badly as I needed him. “But Grand-dad,” I started.
“Will be busy,” he finished for me. “He’s got a standing monthly date with a couple of his buddies. They’ve been getting together like this for years.”
“Oh.” And just like that, I was all out of his excuses.