Cue happy, thankful tears! And Chapter 51 of The Voice In The Forest


Hi Everybody!

This is the weekend I finally get to see Hocus Pocus 2!

Is this 1000% nostalgia?


Am I going to tamp down my ridiculous giddiness?



But, I am more than a little jealous of the people who got to watch it right when it came out. I wanted to! I tried!

Of course, no dice.

That means this weekend it’s finally happening!

Loud noises!

(Clearly I am more than a little loopy right now. Terrible sleep recently. 0/10 do not recommend.)

Thankful Tears

This last week I was also finally able to get to my PO Box after a month (I know. Shame on me.)

And among the usual things, my copyright, junk, stuff from people I work with in this wild industry, was a bright pink little envelope.

It was an adorable little thing that made me grin just looking at the color.

Honestly, as I pulled it out I thought it must have been put in the wrong box. Surely it didn’t belong among all my very boring correspondence.

Maybe someone was sending a lovely card to someone for their birthday. A love letter for their anniversary.

I needed to check where it belonged and hand it back to the postman.

But… what was this?

That, right there along the front above my PO Box address was my name.

Wait… what?

Oh! Someone sent me something pretty!

Holy crap!

Tearing it open I found a pretty little card inside this pretty little envelope.

Adorned in flowers, it made me grin like a fool as I opened it up.


Someone sent me a thank you note for writing characters they love.I… well I was a grinning, crying fool right there in the post office.

The only thing I can do right now is say, Hope, THANK YOU.

When some things have been going wrong lately, this could not have possibly come to me at a better time.

Putting out our stories is hard, and to know that the characters (the best part) matter that much is a gift I will never stop thinking about.

This lovely little card is going to be framed and hung on the wall to remind me when I get stuck that getting the story out, being true to these characters, is a good thing. A happy thing.

And we could all use a little more happy.

Even if it comes with a healthy dose of the kind of angst we are all craving. 😉

It’s All Hallow’s Eve

It’s officially October!

You know what that means!


For the entire month of October I will be releasing two episodes of Crossroad Inn per week instead of one.

The fun has already started


Toil and Trouble!

The Voice In The Forest

Chapter 51

“How long do I have before I need to start this regimen with the doctors if that’s the way I choose to go?” I asked, my voice barely there and Montgomery’s hand tightening his hold on my shaking ones.

It was the only option.

Even if it was one that was cousins to my worst nightmare.

Nothing abut this was okay. Nothing about it was something I wanted to be involved in at all, let alone under duress and with my entire future at stake.

But it was all so much worse.

What if looking at his own body wasn’t the way Montgomery was released from this vague existence?

What if a year wasn’t enough time for me to find out how to help release him?

That meant that if I failed in this monstrous game for my inheritance, I would be condemning him to an eternity alone here with no one who could even see him, let alone help him.

I couldn’t do that to him.

Part of me wanted to look at him, to gauge how he was taking the news. But for the rest of me, just the idea of turning my head in his direction sent shockwaves of nerves running through my body making it hard not to shake myself apart.

“Well,” Henry said, turning pages and looking back and forth from them before he turned to a small calendar on his desk and scanned it.

Every second he spent looking for the answer made my goosebumps worse and made the shaking in my hands reach further up my arms no matter how hard I tried to stop it from happening.

Somehow, I should have known.

The likelihood that, even though I was the last heir to the entire family, I would be given free reign over the property and the house, should have always been a long shot in my mind.

Nothing like that ever happened in my life.

“Ah,” Henry said, finally dropping the pages to look back at me, a small smile on his face, “I know this is a lot to take in right now, Ara. And I know that either course of action will be a lot of…um…”

“Work?” I asked, my voice barely there now, as my mouth tried to scream the truth, awful. It would be awful.

For the first time in a long time, I was actually in love with someone and could see myself being ready to marry them in a year. Of course, that person was dead, their body had just been found, and if I told anyone they sat right next to me, all those doctors mentioned would have more than enough reason to send me away forever.

The doctors threatened everything about me, but mostly that I could manage to hold myself together in front of everyone while they made me want to run and never look at them again.

No. Any way for me to fix this was bound to be torture.

Someone, fate, God, Trenton’s family, had a sick sense of humor.

“Ara,” Henry said, leaning across the desk, sighing, and taking my free hand in his before I could yank it away, “Please believe me that this isn’t the way I wanted this to go for you and I know how difficult this must be for you.”

He had no idea. No matter how much he thought he understood what this was like, no matter how, much he filled in the gaps of whatever information he did happen to have, there was no way he would ever guess the truth.

Besides, Henry, just like most people when they said they understood what someone was going through, was talking out of his ass.

Someone who had never been in a mental hospital against their will, put their by their own mother and lied to by everyone in their life because they didn’t believe them could never understand what it was like to be me and be put in this position.

It took everything I had left in me to keep the shaking at bay and not allow the hysterical laugh building up in me leak out of my pressed together lips.

“Maybe,” Henry said, careful and slow, making me wonder if he saw the unhinged gleam in my eye, if how close I was to the edge of reason was something visible on my face, “I know this sounds like a lot and not like a dream situation at all, but maybe it would be best if you look at the marriage option instead of dealing with the doctors.”

All possible traces of laughter died in my throat, replaced by the heavy, wet, metallic feeling of vomit building up.

Getting past my interior panic, Montgomery’s tight hold on my hand managed to allow me something to focus on and I sucked down a greedy breath, forcing my urge to vomit away for a moment.

“That’s…” I coughed to clear my throat, my voice coming out strangled and harsh, but I still felt like I needed to say something. There had to be some way to get him off this idea that made even the doctors seem like the best option right now.

Maybe I should have listened. Maybe he was making a good point, but as I squeezed Montgomery’s hand back, my fingers tingling as if they were going numb, I just couldn’t think about Henry’s suggestion as a real possibility.

I shook my head and tried again, “All of this is a lot to think about. I’m going to take some time before I can give you an answer about what I’m going to do.”

“Of course,” he said, smiling. “I’m fairly sure that the intention with these conditions was to have you attempt to do both so that if you didn’t find your partner, you could still have the doctor’s approval to get you the estate.”

Even though I wasn’t sure of that. Not at all. I nodded along as if it all made sense to me. But that was a lie. Not a damn thing about this horrible mess made any sense and I couldn’t believe anyone agreed to write up something that required this.

“While you’re thinking through your options,” Henry said, letting go of my hand to pat it as he bit his lip, looking down at where our fingers met once he settled his back onto mine again, “You might want to consider making an agreement with someone, a contract, a… business decision to marry.”

There was that wet, metallic threat of vomit again.

“Business?” I croaked, thinking of the kind of frog who would never be a prince that would agree to such a thing.

Especially since anyone agreeing to it would have to be told they were the better option than a doctors assuring their ‘wife’ wasn’t too crazy for the inheritance.

Yeah. I’m sure that would attract a wonderful man.

More vomit churned in my stomach at the mental image of that kind of man.

And what would they think when we finally divorced so I could spend the rest of my life either pining after my ghost love after he moved on, or spending time acting like the wife of someone they couldn’t see and didn’t believe existed?

Henry had the good sense as some of my thoughts must have flickered across my face to look chagrined and remove his hand from mine.

Flexing his hands together on the desk in front of him, Henry shrugged and looked away from me before he gave me a weak smile.

“Unfortunately,” Henry said, “I know of many similar situations. It might not sound… preferable, but it should at least be something you include in your thought process.”

“Thank you,” I said, standing up so suddenly the room shifted and I had to plant my hand on the desk while I gripped Montgomery’s tight with the other to stay as steady as possible. “You’ve given me more to think about than I…” a small laugh popped out of my mouth and I shook my head, “ever would have imagined. But, for now, I must get some food from the kitchen and return to my room.”

“Let me order you something,” Henry said, shoving himself to standing. “It’s the least I can do after dropping this all in your hands so suddenly after everything.”

“I appreciate that. And I appreciate that you told me to give me time to think. Good night.”

Darting out of the room and making my way upstairs, my grip on Montgomery’s hand didn’t lessen even as parts of my fingers went completely numb.

With any luck everything in me would go numb and I could go back to getting done what I needed to instead of having the same things run through my head on a loop of terrible options.

Marriage, or doctors.

There was no other way through to my future.

A twisted bargain. Marry someone else to stay with the man I loved.

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