Bookish Ramblings: October Wrap Up

With Halloween marking the end of October I’m going to wrap up my month.  It’s been an interesting month, lots has happened good and bad, so here we go!


This month has been a real hit and miss, thankfully with epic titles like Muse of Nightmares, Kingdom of Ash and Scythe all hitting the 5* mark the month was saved but it was yet again a month when I wonder why I get fairyloot.  Mirage was a 3* and These Rebel Waves I just couldn’t finish no matter how hard I tried.  This month Jo Michaels released a new series, The Hate Apocalypse, I really enjoyed book one, The Fury, and check out my review for book two, The Visionary, tomorrow!




I’ve been loving all my Geeky Clean items, the Rhysand and Dregs inspired bathbombs were amazing (you can check out my story highlights on IG to see them in action!) and I have had a sneak peak of their November Magical Beasts box, and it’s going to be one not to miss!  Wizarding Letters released some new bookmarks to their store, I got a beautiful set of Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares bookmarks and the store even featured my pic on their IG!  I also grabbed a free bookmark (a perk from an earlier purchase) which was Kingdom of Ash inspired – it arrived just in time.  Finally, this month I started collecting the Lunar Chronicles Character Cards from Shelflove Crate.  I have managed to bag all but 3 from B/T/S groups, they are gorgeous and I really hope I can complete the set!

The Bad

Being a blogger I know that not everyone will agree with what I write, I don’t mind that at all, but please know that when I do a traditional ramblings I put a huge amount of thought into what I write.  Sadly this month I had to do something I have never done and I trashed a post. This was down to one person who hadn’t bothered to read properly what I had written and let rip at me about it. The saddest part was that it was clear they hadn’t read the post as their comments made little sense. So being the anxiety riddled people pleaser that I am, I took it down. I felt sick for the rest of the night. Safe to say the following day I was so angry with myself for trashing my work but I feared a backlash so I think it was for the best.  Also the Littlest Leeloo has taken another health turn for the worst so we’re working hard for her to remain as happy as she can for the time being

Looking ahead

I have joined a new group on facebook called The Booket List and they are doing and acronym game for their TBR, I’m not sure if I’ll do it but I’ll give it a go!  They sort you into Hogwarts Houses too, I’m happy to be in Ravenclaw and I’m looking forward to being part of the group, they seem super organised. It’s going to be a bit of a month for unboxings too with Fairyloot, Illumicrate, NPC Crate and finally Owlcrate Jr.  We weren’t sure about getting Owlcrate Jr for Little Miss Playground again, the August book scared the living daylights out of her, we only made it about 50 pages in. The assurances that the staff at Owlcrate gave me went out the window entirely.  But this months is about a magical train, so fingers crossed it’s more for her age! It’s part of her birthday presents for the weekend, I have to make a Ravenclaw cake, wish me luck!

What are your plans for November?

Unboxing: Fairyloot October Beautiful Deceptions box

Yay!  This month I was one of the first Fairyloot’s to ship which has meant that I have been able to avoid spoilers and have been able to keep using social media without fear.  I’m doubly happy about this as this month’s Fairyloot was pretty outstanding in my view!  The theme this month was Beautiful Deceptions, and there was a good combination of established fandoms and firm favourites, it also contained the corrected misprint item from the August box.

The first item was an Aelin themed candle from the always awesome Nerd Poured Candles, this was perfectly timed with the release of Kingdom of Ash and the day before I got my box I read the exact description of this candle scent (Lemon Verbana and Fire) and thought it would make a great fragrance, I’ll certainly be burning it tonight when i’m reading! A deck of cards was included this month, they were themed on The Cruel Prince, they look great but as I’m one of the few people on the planet that didn’t love this book, I’ll be passing them onto someone who did. Red Queen socks featured too, it’s a series that I’ve not yet read but desperately want to (I just can’t add any more to my Tbr shelf at the moment) They are amazing quality and the image is really awesome. I don’t normally mention the promotional items that come in the box, but there was one bit of promo that in all honesty, I would have been happy to have had as a main box item!  A set of 3 Grishaverse badges featuring the Orders of the Corporalki, Etheralki and Materealaki, fabulous!

My most favourite item this month totally made the box for me!  A Six of Crows inspired beanie hat with the tag line “No Mourners, No Funerals” is just epic, the temperature dropped here today so looks like I won’t have to wait too long to start wearing it.  There was a beautiful key chain included this month which is inspired by The Winners Curse – it’s not a book I’d heard of but the design is utterly gorgeous and is perfect for any one bookish with it’s wonderful quote of “Isn’t that what stories do, make real things fake and fake things real”. There were a couple of items this month that haven’t been featured for a while, the socks was one and the other was a tea. It’s peppermint and green tea (which is one of my fav’s) and themed on this months featured book, the tea is from The Tea Leaf Company and it’s going to be brewed pretty sharpish. (im going to have get my unboxing pic done soon before I’ve used everything!

This months book is Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, it’s one of many recent books with an Asian focus, which personally I love and I can’t wait to read this and other books that are out soon along a similar theme. This exclusive Fairyloot edition has an exclusive cover, pink sprayed edges and it’s also signed by the author, it’s a gorgeous edition. Here’s the blurb!

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.
But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

I’m so happy to have got Fairyloot this month, I have been wavering over the last couple of months but with this and a sci-fi themed Battles and Galaxies box next month I’m glad to have my subscription, it’s also always a bonus to be in the first batch to dispatch which has made the box even more special.  Thanks Fairyloot!

Bookish Ramblings: Five Things Friday!

It’s time for my weekly wrap up with a Five Things Friday – with thanks to Kimberly Faye Reads for the prompts!

New to my Queue

KINGDOM of ASH – I don’t think I need to say any more than that!

Favourite book(s) this week

I loved Scythe!  I had high hopes last week and it was definitely a 5* read for me, it dealt with some powerful issues but the authors take on a Utopian future was amazing. I also very much enjoyed The Visionary by Jo Michaels, it’s the 2nd book in her Hate Apocalypse series, again this was a thought provoking read and I liked how my views of a character were able to turned around, I’ll have my review up as part of the blog tour next week.

When I wasn’t reading

It’s been half term in the UK, so we took Little Miss Playground out shopping for her birthday next week.  I have also got myself caught up in making her a Ravenclaw themed birthday cake, so that will be interesting to see how that turns out! I’ve got so into playing Ni No Kuni 2 this week as well, i’ve been sinking a good couple of hours a day, it’s such a gorgeous game.  However, Mr Playgrounds copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 arrived today so looks like I won’t get as much time – good thing that Kingdom of Ash will keep me going at just under 1k pages!!

Pic of the week

I know, I know there’s a bit of a theme going on this week, but this is such an epic book that I have been looking forward to for so long, I even have matching candles from Bookish Burns 🙂

Looking ahead

I’m working on the blog infrastructure and will continue to reach out to bring in more books for review, I am also on the lookout for a new reviewer to join the team so if you think that could be you, take a look at the reviews section of the blog to see if you think you might be a good fit!  I’m also getting close to the 1k mark for followers on Instagram, this is so amazing and I can’t quite believe it, I would love to get to that mark by my birthday in December, we’ll see!


Whispers in the Lake Release Blitz with Brandy Nacole

Title: Whispers in the Lake
Author: Brandy Nacole
Genre: YA Paranormal Suspense
Cover Designer: Addendum Designs
Editor: J.K. Miller
Publication Date: October 26th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
It had always been the two of them, Jada and her brother Cooper. Taught to hunt ghosts and send them on their way, Jada and Cooper were raised as a team by their mother and father. Now, Jada is on her own. That is until her friend Eliza calls needing her help.
On a lake in Maine, apparitions are seen and cries are heard across the smooth water’s surface. Many have died near a small island that sits in the center of the lake. The town claims they were all accidents, but Jada knows better.
However, the more she starts to uncover about the town and its dark history, the more her own past begins to catch up with her. And this time, running is not an option.
Whenever she’s not reading or writing, Brandy is spending time with her family and friends, throwing around crazy ideas, teaching, and singing like a rock star at a concert for no one else but herself. She loves plants, but unfortunately is a killer of anything that requires water but can’t voice (scream) their needs.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Deep in the Hollow:
Buried in the Bayou:

From the Grave Cover Reveal with Karina Espinosa.

Title: From the Grave
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Orina Kafe ArtWorks
Editor: Beyond DEF
Publication Date: December 13th, 2018
Secrets don’t stay buried forever.
Mackenzie Grey is a lone wolf who’s earned her fair share of battle scars from the past, but that’s all over now. Or so she thought.
Known as the Freedom Princess, her heroic deeds have come with a heavy price when a mysterious new villain emerges, one who’s intent on killing Sebastian. As a new breed of danger lurks on the horizon, secrets between Bash and Kenz pile up and her worst nightmare is realized.
Mackenzie spent the last three years learning who she was in Origins. Now she will face her greatest challenges in Trials …

Karina Espinosa is the Urban Fantasy author of the Sins of the Fallen series and the Mackenzie Grey novels. Infatuated with travel, pop culture, and the need to write everything down, she spends much of her days in front of a computer working on her next book, shopping online, and listening to music. With nomadic tendencies, she is currently resting her head in South Florida until the itch to move strikes again. You can usually catch her on Facebook, Instagram and live-tweeting during episodes of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Orphan Black. Follow her on social media!

Author Links:
Buy Links:
*Disclaimer* While it’s not required to read Mackenzie Grey: Origins before From the Grave, it is recommended.



Review of Soul Shade (Soul Stones #2) by T.L. Branson

Death lies around every corner.
The newly crowned queen of Aralith, Maya Drygo, is reeling from the loss of her father and the destruction of her city. With the threat of war looming beyond the horizon, she must race to rally the kingdom against an unknown threat, but trouble lies closer to home than she realizes.
When Maya’s refusal to forgive Will Sumner for her father’s death leads to a difference of opinion around battle preparations, Will storms off to take matters into his own hands. Now Maya is left to navigate the politics of being queen on her own.
In the cutthroat realm of lords and ladies, Maya learns everything is not as it appears. With no one but a stranger standing beside her, she realizes if she’s to survive she’ll have to give what she never has before: trust.
The kingdom is falling apart, the gods of old are reawakening, and a bloodthirsty enemy stands between her and the peace she’s fought so hard to protect. 
**Possible Spoilers**

The reader is immediately hooked with a clearly strong female heroine with a direct relation to the late King Alexander Drygo. It’s worth mention that she, Khate, is a woman in her forties which is a refreshing twist in the genre that is typically immersed in the minds of teens. Point of view changes are still frequent but fluid and well defined. The new characters are phenomenal, and the new relationship developments are beautifully intertwined with the main story line. Sowena is a character that is difficult to like, but she makes a terrific turn around about a quarter of the way through the book. Between her and Khate, plus Maya, the reader could hardly want for a better mashup of strong female leads. The story arc holds with tales like Pirates of the Caribbean with multiple protagonists on multiple adventures at once. With the addition of seafaring adventures, there is a distinct pirate-y feel to many of the escapades while the world is also now fully intertwined with elves that invite a more high fiction tone to the various ongoing quests. Branson is hitting all of the sub-genres of fantasy with this one. Will’s power manifests itself more in Book 2 than it did in Book 1, which was satisfying! There are plenty of twists and turns, and with each one the plot thickens. (Though I may be a little dense, because in retrospect, all of the clues are so bright, but when we find out who Khate is, that was my personal favorite!) Some of the dialogue becomes predictable, but in an anecdotal, had-to-say-it, that-was-classic, chuckle kind of way. Soul Render was the adventure of a young boy with a rebel’s cause who wound up with the powers of a goddess. The scope was fairly small, but in Soul Shade, the scope widens significantly, and it is the stage setter for the world conflict. Not to mention that by the end, Will Sumner seems poised upon a precarious precipice. T.L. Branson fully delivers with a five star adventure!

Review of Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own

I went into reading Scythe knowing that it had been generally well received. I’ve had some disappointing reads of late and I wanted to read something new that would blow me away and i’m glad to say that’s what I got!

From the opening pages, it was clear that the sense of dread that was being conveyed made this far from a typical utopian read.  It immediately raised an important hypothetical; in a world where everyone has the potential for immortality yet still being afforded the ability to procreate, how do you maintain the population numbers? The Scythes carry out the task of Gleaning, a true death – and I have to say I found their way of selecting those to be gleaned pretty genius. It ensured that everything was as fair as it could be in the circumstances and the imposition of quota’s ensures that there are no more gleanings than necessary, however, there are always those who take their calling too seriously….

Scythe follows the travels of Citra and Rowan, flung into the world of the Scythes as unwilling apprentices.  They are strong characters and I loved reading about both of them.  Unlikely candidates that they are, their development and the way their dynamics evolve is pretty special, there were a number of twists, many of which I didn’t see coming, so engrossed was I in the pages.  There is a nifty sci-fi edge to it as well, as you would expect from a Utopian future, the evolution of our current “cloud” to the Thunderhead, an all seeing all encompassing maintainer of all but the Scythe’s is actually not as creepy as it first sounds but I liked how it brought a bit of now to the future I was reading.

Scythe brings many questions about morality and dignity in death, it’s clearly a tough read at times if you’re sensitive to that issue, but I felt that it was extremely well done in its approach.  I actually found it quite fascinating to consider the individual ways that the Scythe’s ticked and how like in all walks of life there are those who are gracious and those who are all about the show. I did find it to be a very emotional read at times, especially with the more troubling aspects of Rowan’s training – I felt I couldn’t breath at the intensity of some of the scenes and the depth of the writing skill had me crying with the characters at times.

I enjoyed how each chapter was formed of 2 parts as well, Citra and Rowan’s story but also snatches of different Scythe’s gleaning journals which show that indeed the thoughts and feelings held by Citra and Rowan are nothing new to the Scythedom and they make for compelling footnotes.

For me Scythe is a book that is pretty underrated but really doesn’t deserve to be, I found myself left in deep thought at the end of the pages and it still has me thinking now. It’s a great read that I don’t hesitate to give 5 stars to.

Release Blitz for A Princess’s Duty by Sloane Murphy


The Princess’s Duty (Of Fire and Frost #1), an all-new Dark Fae Romance by Sloane Murphy is NOW LIVE!



Bestselling author Sloane Murphy presents the first book in a new paranormal Fae series, A Princess’s Duty.

Emilia Daarke has wanted to escape the Summer Court her entire life. She’s not brutal like the other Fae. She’s not savage. But they are.

When the boy she loves, Cade Vasara, Crowned Prince of the Winter Court, kills Emilia’s twin, they are torn apart and Emilia’s love for Cade dies just like her sibling did.

Years later, she has fallen in love with a Hunter – a forbidden love that goes against all that she has been taught. A man her father will never approve of. When her secret is outed, her father captures her Hunter and gives Emilia an ultimatum.

If she succeeds, she’ll lose the one she loves. But if she fails, he will die, and she will never be able to forgive herself…



Grab your copy Today!

Free in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US –

Amazon Worldwide –

Add it to your TBR –



About Sloane Murphy

My name is Sloane, but people call me a variety of names, particularly after they read my books. If you’ve read them, I’m sure you can use your imagination to work them out. I was born in England and have lived in small towns and cities ever since.

My husband, Chris, is the most supportive person in my life. Without his love, help and patience I wouldn’t be where I am today. Living my dreams, with him by my side and our crazy fur baby creating chaos.

At school I drifted through, achieving average grades. I fell into administration and sales jobs, thinking that I couldn’t really do anything else, despite always wanting more.

I’d been writing poetry and song lyrics since the age of about 11, but my love of reading has always been strong. In 2012, I got my first kindle and discovered the works of Samantha Young, Addison Moore, Amanda Hocking, Tijan, A.E Murphy and many many more.

In 2015 I stumbled into the indie world by accident. I emailed a certain indie author after falling head over heels for her books, and she became one of the best friends I will ever have. She’s a gladiator! But she pulled me in, and took me to my first book signing. She encouraged me to start my blog. She encouraged me to put my art out into the world, first with teasers & covers.

Then when I finally told her about my stories, she encouraged me to put them out there. Between her and the one I love the most – thank you, Lauren Rowe – (my twinnie, and my best friend) I found the confidence to put myself out there, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Follow Sloane Murphy

Website –

Facebook page:

Amazon page:



Twitter –


The Visionary Release Day Blitz with Jo Michaels

 Title: The Visionary
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Urban Fiction/Apocalyptic Fiction
Editor: Tia Silverthorne Bach with INDIE Books Gone Wild
Publication Date: October 22nd, 2018
It’s one year until the apocalypse of 12.21.12 is supposed to take place.
Burning buildings, screaming babies, and death will surround us.
It will be the end of the world.
That can’t be allowed.
When six powerful women come together with one goal—to save humanity—they’ll get much more than they bargained for. They join forces and learn to use the gifts hidden within themselves to battle a monster feeding off something too many of us feel in our souls: Hate. But they must first learn how to forgive—themselves as well as others.
Hate is birthing a creature dwelling under Central Park in New York, and the fiend is eager to burst forth and sink his fangs into the Earth.
The Fury, The Visionary, The Beguiler, The Siren, The Prophet, and The Mystic are our last hope, and even they aren’t sure if they can win.
The end is coming, but with it, there may be a new beginning.

Jo Michaels is…

Hi, I’m Jo. Let’s forget all the “Jo Michaels is blah, blah, blah” stuff and just go with it. I’m a voracious reader (often reading more than one book at a time), a writer, a book reviewer, a mom, a wife, and one of the EICs at INDIE Books Gone Wild. I have an almost photographic memory and tend to make people cringe at the number of details I can recall about them and/or their book(s). My imagination follows me around like a conjoined twin and causes me to space out pretty often or laugh out loud randomly in completely inappropriate situations.
I have a degree in graphic design, and my journey to the end was one few students who begin that program ever complete. However, this was one case where my memory and OCD tendencies helped me. Graduation was one of the most amazing days of my life. But, my most amazing day was when my now husband proposed. Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella someday, and he pulled off the proposal of fantasies.
At the risk of sounding cliché, I’m going to let it out there and say how much I absolutely adore the man I’m married to. Along with my children, he’s my whole world.
I’ve lived in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia, but I’ve had my feet in almost every state. Traveling is something I adore, and have plans to someday see the Mongolia I’ve written about in Yassa.
One of my favorite things is hearing from fans! You can find me on social media most any day of the week. Connect! I’d love to hear from you.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Chapter 1 ~ Charmed
Lily Conyers sat in her yellow BMW convertible and stared at the beach where her friends were playing in the surf. Kat fell down and came up with a red face and a scowl. Lily tossed her head back and laughed aloud; she figured Bea had tripped the girl. Those two were always going head-to-head. What silly things women do to one another out of a desire to win at nothing in particular.
After watching a few more minutes, Lily tilted her seat back and closed her eyes. She knew she led a great life. For her twentieth birthday, she’d attended no less than ten parties at various celebrities’ houses. There were a lot of people that would pay to have a model of her caliber show up at their parties, but she never accepted money for her appearances. Those shindigs were usually the ones where heavy drug use was the order of the night. There were often a lot of narcotics on hand at the cheaper parties as well, but she never partook, and no one seemed to mind. At the pricier parties, it was expected she’d use. That wasn’t her bag. She’d seen what it did to careers and wanted no part of it.
It was the people in the modeling business who weren’t successful yet that she loved being around most. They still knew how to have a good time without getting blasted out of their minds.
Being over five-foot-five was certainly an asset, but a girl didn’t have to be tall if she could project properly. Lily was considered above average with her five-foot-ten-inch frame, and she knew the other girls envied her face, hair, and body. That envy made her feel good about being Lily, but she was careful not to be a bitch about it.
Not that she didn’t work for it. She spent hours in the gym with her personal trainer every day and at least two hours a twice a month at the salon and spa near her beach house.
“There’s no such thing as natural beauty,” Denarius said every time she visited him. It had a ring of truth to it. A person couldn’t expect to put in no effort and just be fabulous all the time. Of course, the raw material had to be good to begin with. She had that in spades.
She hadn’t wanted to come to the beach, but something told her if she didn’t, she’d regret it later. So far it’d been a wash.
“Hey, beautiful,” said a male voice nearby.
Without even so much as a glance at the speaker, Lily flipped her middle finger in the direction it had come from. She didn’t need man trouble. Her boyfriend was a supermodel, too, and he’d hit the roof if he caught her with some low-life. Best not to chance it.
Figuring she looked tempting with one bare leg hanging out of the car, she pulled it in and shut the door. It was better to be incognito than invite trouble in and feed it cookies.
She sighed as she thought about Wilhelm. He had the whole package: intelligence, good-looks, loyalty, and he was in the same line of work. They’d done a number of campaigns together for high-profile clients. Every shoot was new in its own way, and they rocked their photographer’s world by coming up with interesting poses never before seen.
Wilhelm had been in her life for over three years. They’d met in their junior year of high school and had gotten their first job together not long after. Never thinking about dating him, she was surprised when he’d asked her out the day they graduated. It was a whirlwind romance, and he’d been by her side through a lot of tough times.
His mother kept asking when he was going to propose. They’d both usually blush and look away but never denied they were thinking of going in that direction. Even though he’d been great to Lily, she knew something was holding him back. What it was, only time would tell. Maybe he wanted to wait until after the two-year mark. After all, it hadn’t even been a year yet since they had that first date. She sighed and gazed for a minute at her left hand where an engagement ring might sit, imagining what a sparkly diamond would look like with her fabulous manicure.
Lily moved her seat to the upright position and stared at the waves with longing before hopping out of the car and running toward her friends in the water. They played and splashed in the surf for a little while until she started to feel the sun through her SPF sixty. She suggested they all get out of the heat for a bit by visiting their favorite restaurant on the pier, Scats.
Kat spoke up and sounded like an ambulance when she began to whine. “Guyyyyys. Noooooooooo. I don’t want go sit in therrrrre.”
Lily rolled her eyes; she hated whining. “Okay, Kat, calm down. What did you want to do?”
Bea turned away from Kat with an eye roll as well.
“I wanna go flirt with boys.” Kat had a wicked gleam in her eyes.
“No. We have that party later, and you’ll have plenty of guys to flirt with there. I can feel my damned skin melting off my bones. I’d think you wouldn’t want a sunburn on the day you’re gonna meet a bunch of, like, huge name photographers. Russell James is coming!” Lily threw her hands out to the sides to make her point.
Kat dropped her head and stuck out her bottom lip. It was that pout that landed her the modeling contract she had.
Lily wasn’t buying it; she’d seen it too many times before. “Stop that. Grow up.”
Kat shot a scathing glance, her pout turning from “poor me” to “screw you” in under a second.
Lily decided she was too tired to be at the beach anyway and begged off with the excuse she needed to rest before the late night so she’d look like the model she was. There wasn’t even a suggestion flung out for the other girls to do the same; she knew they would because they’d want to try and outshine her. After air kissing everyone goodbye, she dried off, got in the car, and pulled out of the lot.
She drove home in a good mood, listening to the radio full-blast and letting her hair get whipped around by the wind. One song later, and she pulled into the garage, closing the door behind her.
Her phone began to ring when she placed her purse on the island in the kitchen, and she scrambled for it, knowing it was Wilhelm.
“Hello, you sexy, sexy man!” she said by way of greeting.
“Hi, gorgeous; you comin’ to the party tonight?”
“You know it. I wouldn’t miss this one for the world. I just walked in. Long day at the beach with the bratty bunch.” She laughed at her own joke.
“I know what you mean. Those girls rub me the wrong way.”
For a split-second, she wondered if that was an innuendo for something else.
After sitting for an hour with her thoughts and watching the girl next door, Lily decided to do the decent thing, and she took her beach umbrella down, stuck it in the sand, and opened it over the girl’s sleeping form before stumbling back to the house. Grabbing the empty tumbler, Lily staggered through the door, put the container on the bar, and collapsed on the couch.
She was awakened hours later by the doorbell ringing. Her head pounded behind her eyes as she fumbled her way to the door, cursed the locks, and jerked it open to find the weird tattooed girl standing there.
“Can I help you?” Lily asked.
“Yeah, are you the one this umbrella belongs to?” The girl thrust the umbrella out.
“I am.”
“Well, thanks for putting it up out there for me. I would’ve been burned to a crisp if not for you.” She winked, stuck out her hand, and introduced herself. “I’m Markaza Turner. Nice to meet you…?”
The end sounded like a question, so Lily responded, “Lily Conyers.”
“Yes! That’s what the label said. Sorry.”
She then reached her hand out and took Markaza’s. A look crossed her face like Lily had used a stun gun instead of a hand. She tried to let go, but Markaza seemed to be in some sort of a trance or something and had one hell of a grip. When she finally snapped out of it, Lily withdrew her hand and shivered. Something about that encounter was strange, and she wondered what had just happened.
She narrowed her eyes. “Just put the umbrella on the back porch, please. Thanks for bringing it back.” With that, she backed up, shut the door, and ran to a window nearby to watch what Markaza would do next.
She stood looking at the door for a long moment, as if she were willing it to open back up, before tucking the umbrella under her arm and heading around to the deck at the back of the house.
Lily followed the movements from the inside to make sure nothing got stolen.