Coming Soon and Chapter 45 of The Voice In The Forest


Wait… what?

For those of you who found me through Heart of Cinders, or The Spinning Wheel, or Crossroad Inn, first of all: HI! 

Second of all, I write in multiple genres. So, all you science fiction fantasy fans, you can ignore the update this time around, but there is more for you below.

For everyone else, those of you who found me through the Comfort Food romances especially, Brewed Anew is coming soon!!!

Oh, I’m excited for this book. I hope you all like it, and I will be sharing the cover and the links to buy it soon, so keep and eye out!

As with Personal Pan and Cupcake Queens, this book takes place in Seattle and is a Hallmarkian sweet LGBTQIA romance.


Quick reminder of all the books:

Yes, After Glass Shatters, the penultimate book in the Cinders In Midnight Glass series is coming soon!!!!

We all know that Cinder and Tristan have been through a lot, and that the world has a LOT more stories to tell.

So, I thought I would remind you all that the prequel to Cinder’s story,  Before The Fire, is exclusive to the newsletter and is free to those on the list. If you missed picking it up, it’s right here:…

Also, I will be writing a companion stand alone story for the nation of Onyx, called Dragon Queen. Not only will this story give us more information about the legend of the Dragon Kings and their magic that have ruled Onyx since they formed the country so many hundreds of years ago, it will also tell the story of Tristan’s parents during the last war.

So keep an eye out for that!

Of course, someone could read the six books in Cinder’s story without the prequel and the companion book, but they do add to the story.

The other thing I want to remind everyone about is that Crossroad Inn, the serial I’m writing on Vella will have the first season coming out in book form as soon as I manage to get around the wild world of too many files I have created for myself in writing and editing the serial, that will be coming… I will be happy to accept your prayers and good vibes on this project because whoo boy. I did it to myself this time.

And, finally, reminder for our little newsletter/blog story. Go easy on me about the typos, the run on forever sentences, and grammar errors.

Normally, I write out my stories in long hand in notebooks, mess with them, and then type them up with changes. For this story, I am writing it one chapter at a time in the deep rough just for all of you and the newsletter. The past chapters can be found here on the blog so you can get caught up. So, enjoy the hot mess ride of changing names and tenses and point of views, and welcome to weird world of my story brain.

the voice in the forest

Chapter 45

I awoke in the morning to tension and clamor. None of the noises wafting through the house were distinct enough for me to make sense of them, for even a single word to give me a hint.

Montgomery held me in his arms, but judging by the tightness in his muscles, I didn’t need to even look at him to know he was awake.

“Do you know what’s going on?” I asked, “Is it about the scream from last night?”

“Honestly, I have no idea. But,” he put a finger under my chin and tilted my face up toward his, away from his chest, “I’ll go find out what I can. You shouldn’t stress about it.”

“No,” I said, stretching up and giving him a kiss, the feel of his soft lips on mine almost enough to derail me completely.

“You’re right,” he said, his voice low and soft as he bent to kiss my neck, “Maybe we should just stay here.”

Laughing, I pulled away from him entirely before I sobered again.

“That’s not what I meant,” I said, squeezing his hand before I stood up and went to my closet. “I mean, I’m coming with you.”

“Ara,” he said, darting over to me and putting a hand on my back. “You don’t need to push yourself so hard.”

“For this, a scream in the middle of the night,” and the discovery in the lake the day before, although I didn’t want to talk about that, “I feel like I should.”

“Please,” he said, rubbing his hand along my back now, “Let me do this.”

I pulled a cozy flannel out of my closet and a pair of worn jeans from a drawer, turning around to lay them at the foot of the bed, not bothering to turn this into an argument. 

Just because I was going to venture out of this room, didn’t mean I needed to wear something uncomfortable or too stiff. That wouldn’t work for helping me get better anyway.

Whatever was going on, me being there yesterday for it, to say something when I needed to, made a difference in what we were facing today and having Montgomery with me. I wasn’t about to let another shot at making things better for him, and for me, to slip through my fingers today because my body was tired.

“But, Mont—” my words died on my tongue, flying from my head entirely, leaving me not even sure what I planned to say, as someone knocked on the door of my room.

He looked at me a little confused and I shrugged, answering his unspoken question about the sound. I had no idea who was on the other side of the door.

“Yes?” I called out, making my way gingerly across the room to open it.

“Arabella?” Henry called, “May I open the door? Are you decent?”

One quick look to Montgomery, whose mouth was in a thin line, told me he wasn’t thrilled that Henry was here right now, nor that he wanted in.

But I didn’t answer, I made it to the door and swung it open.

Henry looked frazzled and almost… scared as he looked at me, mouth working around unsaid words.

“What’s going on?” I asked, my voice thin as I suddenly struggled to get a full breath. That tension I felt in the house when I woke up, that something was terribly wrong, settled deeper into my skin, even as the noise from too many people saying too many things turned further into unintelligible mutterings.

Instead of understanding the words around me, my heartbeat pounded in my ears and made it so I could barely hear anything else.

Time slowed, Henry spoke, things I didn’t hear, or refused to hear.

Montgomery came to my side, slipping his arm around my waist and bracing me as if he thought I would fall.

But I gripped the door and the frame tighter, still not sure why he thought I would be unsteady, nor why I thought I should be as well.

“Say that again,” I said, dragging in a ragged breath and trying to slow my heart so I could hear Henry.

“Your mother,” Henry said, his words breaking through the wall of noise in my head, “No one can find her.”

Pushing past Henry, shaking off his grasping hands and Montgomery’s support, I stumbled down the corridor.

My legs didn’t want to go at this speed, my entire body fought against me, making me ungainly and awkward as I bounced around the corner and headed to the stairs.

Other people passed, all of them a blur, even as some of their shocked expressions at my attire registered in a way that my brain shoved into a corner with a sneer.

I didn’t have time to worry about what they thought of me, my mother was missing.


What happened?

The scream of the night before echoed through my mind, even more shocking and terrible than the night before when I heard it for real.

Everything in me refused to accept that the scream, chilling and wrong, was her voice.

Finally, I slammed into the open door frame of my mother’s bedroom.

In the middle of the room, Trenton sat on the bed, his face a mask of shock, while people spoke to him and asked questions.

“Mother?” I asked, who I directed the question to, I wasn’t sure. 

But half the faces in the room snapped my way, including Trenton, their eyes focused on me.

Trenton leapt from the bed and was in front of me in moves so fast, my worry addled brain didn’t follow his steps.

He took hold of my arms, dragging in a breath that shook his entire body and shook me in the process.

“We don’t know, Arabella,” he said, tightening his grip, “But we’ll find her.”

I nodded, unsure what else to do.

Moments later, Henry arrived and took a hold of one of my arms, turning me around and heading back the way I came.

“She can’t be missing,” I said, my voice barely more than a breath.

“Don’t worry, yet. We’ll find her.” Henry’s voice had a strength to it that I tried borrowing, but failed.

“How long?” I asked, because the level of activity around me I couldn’t square with the early hour. 

Why was everyone awake? 

Why didn’t they tell me sooner?

“Not long after everyone was woken up last night, Trenton went to check on her and discovered her gone. He and I have been looking ever since.” 

Looking up at Henry, I saw the shadows his late night into early morning search planted in his eyes, but they made me angry, allowed for some of my shock to fall away.

“Someone should have told me,” I said, voice hard.

“He checked on you, and you were asleep.” His answer wasn’t good enough, and based on the way he diverted his gaze from mine, he knew it.

No matter all the problems I had with her, she was still my mother. I deserved to know.

My hands shook in impotent fury, but Montgomery slipped his hand into mine on my other side and I took a breath.

“I’ll get you back to your room, then I’ll go back to the search,” Henry said and I nodded.

He would look. I would get dressed. And then Montgomery and I would add ourselves to the search.

A pit formed in my stomach, because I got the strange feeling, that we were the only ones who were able to find her.

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