NEW RELEASE!!! ETERNAL ILLUSION

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The highly anticipated return of everyone’s favorite island is FINALLY available for print and eBook!

Are your bags packed? You can get your ticket back to the island for only $2.99 and stay as long as you like! This sale price will only last a limited time! Don’t miss out!

 

Want a taste?

Chapter 1
Lost in thought, Abe ran a loving hand over Ariana’s swelling belly, then grinned when she stirred from sleep and blinked lazily up at him. Wrapping his mind around that – not only had she been his wife for over three months, but was also carrying his child – was too much of a dream come true, one he never wanted to wake up from.
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Cambridge. It’s fifteen after one.”
Nuzzling closer to him, Ariana yawned and let her eyes drift shut. “Five more minutes.”
He snickered against her hair and then kissed her forehead. “Take all the time you need, baby, but I have a feeling Becky and Janie will—”
Quick and persistent tapping on the chamber door cut off his words and had him rolling his eyes in irritation.
“—knock on the door soon,” he finished through a clenched jaw, his mood swiftly turning sour at the lack of private time the island’s residents allowed him to have with his wife. “I can kill them, you know. Nobody will find their bodies. I swear it. Did I ever tell you that I’m a shark whisperer?”
Ariana giggled as she pushed against his body, and when he tried to grab her, she threw a pillow in his face and scrambled out of bed.
He fell back to his own pillow, defeated. “We are going on vacation. No cell phones. No knocks on the door—unless it’s room service—and, best of all, no distractions.”
Laughing as she opened the door, Ariana greeted her friends with a hug and took the coffee Janie held out with a sigh and a gracious smile. “I love both of you so much.”
Abe huffed as he glared at them. “You just saw them yesterday. And you don’t need that caffeine; it’s bad for the baby.”
Ariana took a long sip and winced as the heat bit her tongue. “The only thing that’s bad for the baby is my blood pressure going up when his or her father fusses over me too much.”
Abe blanched, and started to throw back the comforter to go to her, but thought better of it once he caught sight of Becky and Janie looking at him. Unlike Ariana, he hadn’t dressed after making love the night before.
He exhaled in relief as he studied the growing smirk on his wife’s face. She was the only one who could, quite literally, drop him to his knees with only a few words. He kept waiting for the spell she had him under to wear off, but with each day that passed, he had only grown more mesmerized by her charm.
Abe raised an eyebrow. “Come here, devil woman.”
“Abe,” Becky said, laughing. “There’s no time—er… take all the time you need, Your Highness,” she said quickly, when his mouth flattened into a thin line and his teal eyes locked on her, daring her to say one… more… word.
He would burn that damn clinic to the ground before he would allow anyone to take even one more minute with her away from him. She already worked too many hours as it was. It had started out being only five, but then had swiftly moved up to six, then seven. He had drawn a line at eight, but, more times than not, Ariana stayed at the clinic up to ten hours, even against his wishes and constant phone calls.
He tore his piercing eyes away from Becky and they softened as he met Ariana’s smile.
She set the cup down and crawled up on the mattress and into his awaiting arms. She stared into his eyes as her fingers brushed back the hair hanging over his ears, reminding him it was time for a trim. That would take all of fifteen minutes, so what would he do with the other four-hundred-sixty-five minutes she would be out of his sight?
He had some ass-chewing to do, that’s what, and he was going to do that first.
“I’ll be back before you know it, Abe,” she said sweetly, almost convincingly, but he knew better; she’d been telling him that every day since she’d started working, and it had never, ever been true.
Even though he knew arguing would get him absolutely nowhere, he still pleaded his case. “Stay here,” he whispered. “Take the day off. I could use a little healing myself.” He grinned devilishly.
The only answer he got was a small smile and a long kiss. Abe wrapped his arms around her and pulled her across his body, rolling with her until she was lying on her back and he was looking down at her beautiful face.
He knew she wouldn’t concede to his wishes today, but that wouldn’t stop him from trying. He had faith that one day she would.
“Sunset, Ariana. Please. I have something I want to show you.”
She laughed. “I just bet you do.”
He tucked a strand of blond hair behind her ear and softly kissed her lips. Lingering a breath away, he spoke so only she could hear. “It’s sort of important and special. It’s been in the works for several years, but it’s almost complete now. I didn’t want to mention it until Roger said you could see it. He sent me a text last night, but you were too exhausted after work, so I didn’t say anything. I don’t think I can keep from telling you what it is until your next day off, so please don’t overwork yourself today, and try to get out of there by eight.” He paused for a moment. “And eat light for supper; I’m taking you out afterward.”
Ariana’s eyes narrowed to thin slits, but there was amusement in them that she couldn’t hide behind her fake anger. “You know how much I hate surprises.”
Abe knew she could have searched his thoughts in one instant, so he quickly rifled through his memory for the lyrics of Mary Had A Little Lamb, just in case. Mindreading was one witchy trait that could be both a blessing and a curse, but thankfully Ariana tried not to use it
too often. For that, he was grateful. It was bad enough that he couldn’t keep his hands off his wife for more than five minutes. Keeping his thoughts off her would be downright impossible.
He kissed her quick and moved away, so she could get up and ready for work. The quicker she left, the quicker he could let out his aggression on someone who couldn’t paralyze his vocal chords. “You’ll like this one. I promise it won’t embarrass you.”
“Can we come?” Janie asked, the petite girl nearly jumping up and down at hearing about something new and exciting on the island.
Abe chuckled. “Yeah, you can come. Bring someone, if you like,” he said, knowing that Janie had been spending quite a bit of time lately with Ryan from maintenance, and would more than likely want to bring him along. It was killing Lance to see her with the guy, but since he had been the one who let her go, there wasn’t a whole hell of a lot he could do about it but mope.
“Who else is going?” Becky asked with a sneer.
Abe shrugged nonchalantly, but he knew she was inquiring whether Will, his brother, was going to be there, and possibly be with Katrista, the girl who had flown to the island on the back of a minion from Hell under the orders of Apollyon, the demon who damn near took Ariana away from him in more than one way.
Just thinking about that night made him want to wrap Ariana in the tight cocoon of his arms and never let her out of his sight, but that had been almost three months ago, and they hadn’t seen or heard from the guy since his descent back into Hell. Gloria, their personal guardian angel, was checking in on a regular basis, but she hadn’t sensed any evil hanging around the island, either. It was still a struggle to relax, but Abe knew how Ariana hated to be smothered, so he forced his worry from his features, for her.
“I’m not sure, Becky, but if you think I’m going to tell my brother he can’t go just because you’ll be there, then you don’t know me very well.” He ignored the hurt look in her eyes and slapped Ariana’s butt when she crawled over him to get out of bed. He chuckled when she yelped.
After hearing the shower come on, he looked back to the two girls standing in the middle of his bedroom. “Would the two of you mind leaving? I’m about to go shower with my wife, and Ariana threw my boxers across the room last night.”
He smiled as the two girls immediately avoided eye contact, their faces turning a bright shade of pink in embarrassment at being in the same room with their naked king.
“Go on. Ariana will call you when she’s ready to leave. I can’t promise you’ll be on time for work, so you may want to leave without her.” He stopped and huffed when they only stood there with sullen expressions. “What? She isn’t yours; she’s mine. Go!”
Tripping over their feet, both girls turned and ran for the door.
With a smile on his face, Abe threw back the cover and jogged to the bathroom. He could only see the top of Ariana’s wet head, leaned back into the steamy shower spray, eyes closed as she basked in the warmth of the water. He tiptoed around the tiled wall that separated the shower from the rest of the bathroom, and had her in his arms before she even opened her eyes.
Ariana smiled as he touched his lips to hers, and Abe noticed that he couldn’t fit his body flush to hers any longer, not with his young growing so rapidly within her womb.
He ran one hand over the soft skin of her belly and pulled her mouth to his with his other by the nape of her neck. A low moan escaped her mouth and he drank in the ecstasy like a wino who had just found a forgotten bottle of eighty-year-old wine in the cellar.
She gasped for air when he released her mouth to devour her neck and that little spot below her ear she loved for him to kiss.
“Abe,” she panted. “I’m going to be late for work.”
An approving growl rumbled from his chest as her hands slid down to his hips. “Damn right, you are. I told Becky and Janie to go on without you, that you would be there when you damn well got there.”
She laughed against his mouth when he claimed ownership once again. “You are such a king.”
Lowering his head to explore more of what she had to offer him, he looked from one tempting mound to the other, and finally decided to take the left rosy nub between his lips and softly massage the other with his hand. Decisions decisions. It was a tough job being a man in love. He often thought he needed at least one extra mouth. Wondering vaguely whether Ariana might be able to witch it on his body, somewhere, he focused on the task in hand.
Ariana’s lips parted, and he smiled when a rush of pleasurable sounds echoed off the walls of the bathroom.
With his other hand free, he ran his long fingers over the cheek of her ass, down the back of her thigh and pulled her right knee up to his hip. He wasn’t worried about her getting off balance and falling. He had her. He had all of her.
His head jerked up and he crushed his mouth on hers just as he slid through the soft folds of her sex and into his most favorite place to be.
His jaw clamped shut and his hand shot out to brace them against the shower wall when her muscles tightened around his erection.
“Yeeees!” The cry escaped her throat and her nails clawed the skin on his back, but he pumped into her, keeping a steady rhythm and watching her expression as the orgasm threatened to rip through her body. “Abe…” she said, winded, and grabbed his biceps, squeezing the thick muscles and making him grin, “I—I need…”
“I know, baby. Just let it go.” He jerked his hand from the wall, pulling her other leg up, and just like a pro, she hooked her ankles at the small of his back and took all of him. His knees damn near buckled.
Aiming to get his own release by the time Ariana’s climax was over, Abe growled and quickened his strides. Her body quaked all around him. He was almost there. He was there.
“Take my vein,” Ariana whispered.
Pulling a bit back from the rush, he blinked the water out of his eyes and looked down at her in confusion. Sure enough, her head was tilted to the side and her wet hair was moved away, baring her neck and that throbbing vein to him. He jerked his head away, trying to ignore the instant bloodlust and the anger that was quickly boiling up inside him.
“No,” he said shortly.
“Abe, please. You need it. I want you to.”
He stopped moving inside her and set her feet on the wet tile. Grabbing a towel from the hook on the wall, he threw it around his waist, tying it extra tight, so just maybe it would cut off the circulation in his erection and deflate the damn thing.
“Abe! Where are you going?”
“Not now, Ariana.” He threw open the bathroom door and walked into the bedroom, and wasn’t a bit surprised to hear she had followed.
“What did I do? I don’t understand why you’re acting this way. Talk to me, damn you!” she shouted when he only stood at his closet and shoved hanger after hanger to the right. Hell, he wasn’t even sure what he was looking for.
He stopped and let his arm fall, but didn’t turn around. “You know how I feel about using you as a meeker while you’re pregnant. We’ve had this discussion before, Ariana. Hell, we’ve even fought about it a few times, but you don’t seem to understand or maybe you just don’t care; I don’t know—”
“You think that I don’t care about my child?” she said, and Abe turned around, the muscles in his jaw doing the same workout they did every time their conversation led to him feeding from her. “How can you even say that?” she snapped. “If I felt, in any way, that you taking the amount of blood from me that you need would hurt the baby, I wouldn’t ask you to do it.” She pointed to her chest, and fury burned throughout Abe’s bones. 
“I know it won’t hurt the baby—”
“But I don’t!” he roared, causing her to flinch. He shook his head and reached into the closet, grabbing a random shirt and a pair of jeans. When he looked back at her, he was a little calmer, but not much. “I don’t know what is good or what is bad for the baby, Ariana, but I can’t imagine taking anything from you that the baby needs could ever be a good thing. I won’t do it.”
He ripped the towel away, and to his delight, either the terrycloth or his pissy mood had done the job, because Mr. Happy wasn’t so happy anymore. Without wasting time going to the dresser for boxers, he just shoved one leg at a time in the jeans then buttoned and zipped the fly. After throwing the shirt over his head and pushing his arms through the armholes, Abe finally made his way to the dresser to grab socks.
“Abe,” Ariana whispered, but he didn’t look at her. He couldn’t look at her when he was this mad, especially when it was her that he was mad at. “Abe, look at me. I have to go to work, and I don’t want to leave you upset.” He still didn’t say anything.
Abe put his socks on and located his boots by the bar. Tying the sons of bitches wasn’t going to happen with his hands shaking so badly, so he just shoved his feet in, grabbed his keys from the bar and headed for the door.
“Abe! Where are you going? The sun is out!”
“Go to work, Ariana. I’ll see you later.”
He jerked open the door, then slammed it shut behind him.

Interested? What? You haven’t read Eternal Island or Eternal Immortality yet? No worries! I’ve got you covered!

 

 Eternal Island:

Eternal Immortality:

Eternal Illusion:

Like angels, demons, vampires, werewolves, suspense, urban fantasy and romance? Check out K. S. Haigwood’s other books.

Like thrillers, suspense, romance and satire? Check out Ella Medler’s other books.
Thank you for stopping in!
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ACCEPTING THE MOON – A Prequel to MOONRISING Book One by K.S. Haigwood

Synopsis

There is a new Alpha Wolf in town, and she is about to change everything.

Mena had all she wanted in life: a nice house, money, a successful husband who treated her like a queen.

That was, until she found out her marriage was all a lie, and things she never thought could exist, did.

Vampires are real.

Werewolves are real.

And Mena is not human anymore.

 

Available from the following booksellers -
 
 
 
 
 
 
About
the Author

Ever find it hard to talk about yourself? Yeah, I have that problem, too. I have been married to my soulmate for 8 years, who wouldn’t pick up a book unless promised that it was filled with pictures. I have a beautiful 7 year old daughter, Riley, that talks too much and has a very vivid imagination. I have no clue where she got those traits. My step-son, Hayden, is 16 and very into football and hunting. I am a writer of paranormal suspense romance. If you enjoy a great love story with a massive amount of drama about angels, demons, ghosts, vampires, witches and fairy tale creatures brought to life through a twisted mind, then you might just enjoy reading my work.

 
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The Lost Art of Whistling

Originally posted on Susie Lindau's Wild Ride:

The organic use of communication called the whistle has been around for a while. The original tweet probably was expressed by a caveman. He may have accidentally whistled while dashing home for supper. Later, it alerted his clan to imminent danger, meaning, “Dude! Look out for those crazed and hungry mastodons behind you!” Dinosaurs are extinct and the whistle is increasing in rarity.

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When I was a kid, I heard a whistle nearly every day.

My dad loved to imitate birds, even warblers. After hearing one summon a mate from a faraway tree, he would whistle to it for kicks and giggles. It would fly closer and closer. This nasty trick worked best on cardinals. Imagine their disappointment when the poor bird discovered it was only stupid human producing the intoxicating siren call and not a voluptuous feathered friend.

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LILY CHILDS’ FEBRUARY FEMMES FATALES – AN ANTHOLOGY

I am both pleased and thrilled to bring you some very exciting news.  Magenta Shaman author Lily Childs, the brainchild and driving force behind Lily Childs’ Feardom and co-editor of Thrillers, Killers ‘n Chillers has compiled some of the best dark fiction from the ladies of her February Femmes Fatales and released what is sure to be the ‘talk’ of 2014 when it comes to horror and urban fantasy –

FFF Facebook Cover Photo

– an anthology in e-book and trade paperback.

Do you like your horror so dark, dripping and visceral that you almost dread to turn the next page, and your telltale heart beats ever faster as your eyes devour the words in front of you?  I’ll bet no pansy-assed crime is going to do it for you, right?  It’s got to be so treacherous, gritty and suspenseful that you bite your nails to the quick, leaving little red smears on the pages.  Noir, you say?  Noir so steamy and sultry, a cold shower’s the only thing to cool you down and save a ‘not-in-the-mood’ spouse/partner from a ‘ravishing’?  Or, is it ravaging?

You’re in luck!  My dear friend and mentor, as well as the ‘grande dame’ of horror and urban fantasy, Lily Childs, has released a new anthology, featuring dark fiction and poetry by twenty-plus of the premier female writers of the genre today.

FFF Front Cover

Dark dames?  Here’s twenty-three to thrill and chill you…

FFF Back Cover

Where can I buy this nightmare-inducing, burn-candles-long-into-the-night book, you ask?

Psssst!  *whispers*  Come ‘ere… *steps in to alley*

Trenchcoat BW 50

You look a decent sort… I suppose I can tell you…. as long as you spread it around, right then?

Lily’s February Femmes Fatales is on all Amazon platforms.  Here are the main ones are:

Kindle version:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/February-Femmes-Fatales-Lily-Childs-ebook/dp/B00I8AHW2I
http://www.amazon.com/February-Femmes-Fatales-Lily-Childs-ebook/dp/B00I8AHW2I

Paperback:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/February-Femmes-Fatales-Lily-Childs/dp/1494731878/
http://www.amazon.com/February-Femmes-Fatales-Lily-Childs/dp/1494731878/

Now… you’ll keep your word, right?  Tell all your friends.  And… it wouldn’t go unnoticed if you wanted to leave a few words on Amazon about the book.  Doesn’t have to be a huge review, but it goes without saying… “I liked it.”  isn’t likely to get you a plate of cookies.

Just sayin….

What’s that you say?  Do I have a story?  I am both thrilled and honoured to have been asked to contribute a story for Lily’s anthology.  Thank you for asking.  Would you like a little peek at Soul Taker?  *opens trenchcoat*

FFF Soul Taker

I’ve already burnt through several candles – for some reason, I can’t read this stuff in the light of day; it’s got to be in that dark, silvery time between the witching hour and the pre-dawn – and more than once awoken my inamorata, having given myself a fright over reading these femmes fatales dark offerings.

Well, I’m off to the apothecary for some herbed candles… it’s going to be a long night.

~*~

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw

16 February 2014

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My Story “Not Lost” to be included in Literary Orphans first year print anthology — and don’t forget my novellas!!!

VeronicaThePajamaThief:

Congratulations, Mike!

Originally posted on Mike Monson:

This is pretty great, I think.

Check out this link to the announcement by Literary Orphans of the stories and poems they’ve selected for their first year anthology. Thanks to any readers who voted for my story to be included. Read the story here, it is very short. You can also see the story and two of the other stories of mine published by Literary Orphans in my short story collection Criminal Love.

Anyway, the collection looks great. Buy it when it comes out. I’ve read most of the stories and poems selected and they are wonderful. I’ll read the rest over the next several days. So glad to see that Tom Pitts, Joe Clifford, CS DeWilt, and Jen Conley are also included, as well as Claire Podulka, Vallie Lynn Watson, Len Kuntz, Abigail Amabisca, Gessy Alvarez, Joel Kopplin, Peter Marra, Kurt Kamin, Scott Waldyn. Wow.

Literary Orphans…

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One Word Blog Day

~ * ~

finale

1.  noun.   the concluding part of any performance, course of proceedings, etc.; end.

~ * ~

Author’s note – Thank you, to everyone who followed my One Word Blog Day posts throughout this past year.  I very much appreciate your loyalty and your comments.  This post will be my last.  2014 brings many new challenges for me that promise to take up much of my time and it is with some regret that I will not be continuing the weekly “one word” posts.  

May the new year find you with good health, peace and success in all your endeavours.

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw

29 December 2013

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Ghosts Of Christmases Past

***

A friend recently posted on Facebook, as part of her Christmas message, to “not look back on Christmases past”.  I can, to a degree, appreciate such a sentiment. After all, not everyone’s “ghosts of Christmases past” are pleasant or welcome memories.

We all have ghosts.  Anyone who says they don’t is in a state of denial deeper than an ocean.  If one has a past, then at some point, their future will be inhabited by those ghosts.  And, like a recalcitrant child, putting off dealing with them is not going to bring about a positive change in their behaviour.  Ghosts cannot change… it is not their nature.

My friend’s post brought to mind some of my own ghosts of Christmases past, some of which cannot be dismissed as nothing more than the product of a bout of gastric upset brought on by a bit of undercooked mutton or half digested potato, if you’ll pardon my rather clumsy attempt to paraphrase Mr. Dickens.

***

“Past is prologue.”

I was four years old when I first heard that phrase.  It is from a Russian proverb and part of a lesson taught me by my grandmother on my mother’s side, Nana Marie, whose namesake I am proud to be.  I can still remember sitting in Mama’s parlour on a damp, chilly winter’s afternoon, surrounded by the smells of lavender, lemon, Nana Marie’s liniment and the warm scent of her carefully prepared tea.  There were many afternoons such as this.

The lesson that particular day was, once again, on the past and the future; how one shapes the other but is not a final determination of the outcome of the latter.  Nana Marie, in her strong, slightly rough voice – as Mama would say, Nana Marie was a bit too fond of her Russian cigarets (forbidden inside Mama’s home, I might add) – expounded on the past and the future with some regularity, as if it were more important than almost anything else, to understand.  And, as I would come to learn, it was.

From a very young age, I learned many important things… from Mama and Papa, and especially, from Nana Marie.  I learned that as resolute as the past was, so it was that the future was equally fragile.

The past is a portent of one possible future.  How well we understand our actions, and their consequences, in the present… which will be tomorrow’s past… can give us the opportunity to play a far greater role in our future than one who simply accepts that the past has set their future… “le destin est le destin, et ne peut être modifié”.

But, I digress.  This post is supposed to be about Christmases past.

***

I have many happy memories of Christmases from my childhood, although not all were as such.  My sixth Christmas was one such happy one, when my wish for all things Hello Kitty was granted, after some considerable expenditure of time and effort by Papa.

My tenth Christmas, while tempered with the absence of my father, was not as somber as one might have thought, given the circumstances.  Papa, you see, had left us on the eve of my tenth birthday, leaving behind two broken hearts with only the meager comfort of a small note left, expressing his sorrow at leaving… abandoning… his family.  I think that particular Christmas was made tolerable, in no small measure by my mother’s resolute strength and determination, of course, but also by the fact that we were both still in a stage of denial, believing that any day, despite any evidence to support such a belief, that Papa would walk through the door and our world would once again be whole.

It would be fifteen years before Papa would walk through the door of a room I occupied and two and a half years after the passing of my mother.

In the intervening years, denial finally gave way to acceptance and we both moved on, hearts still bruised but determined that there was a life out there for us that past defeats should not… and would not… diminish.

My eighteenth Christmas, and sophomore year in college, would find me with my second lover, Annabeth Harrington, my Psych professor from freshman year.  Fueled by an almost insatiable lust for one another, we were both still basking in the glow and the memories of a dinner we had attended some months earlier at the White House.  Yes, college life was everything… and more… that I had hoped and dreamed it would be.  .

That year, however, would be the last “joyous” holiday season for a while.

*

Not long after the beginning of my senior year and only days before my twentieth birthday, my past caught up with me.  To be more precise, a rather hastily ‘dispatched’ boyfriend – “beard” really, but that is a story for another day – from my senior year of high school… whom the years since had turned into a raging psychopath… kidnapped me, and together with his equally psychotic “girlfriend” spent the next six months raping, brutalizing and torturing me to such an extent, it would have made the Marquis de Sade vomit on his bedclothes.

Needless to say, Christmas that year was not celebrated.  Not in the customary manner, at least.  By December of that year, I was having great difficulty keeping track of time and days passing and really could not have told you with any degree of certainty, the month, let alone date or day of the week.  By December of that year, I scarcely knew night from day.  I suspect, though I try not to dwell on the thought; that Brad and Natasha “celebrated” Christmas in a manner befitting two sick, depraved minds.

My twenty-first Christmas, and my first one with my now wife, Christina Anne, was not the festive occasion it might otherwise have been if the preceding fifteen months had been different.  Tina tried… she tried so hard that first year… to bring back some degree of normalcy to my life.  But when one has nightmares even in broad daylight and wakes up in the middle of the night… every night… screaming in such agony as only a soul tortured beyond it limits can…

It was not a good time for either of us and more than once I, and I’m sure Tina must have as well – even her compassion had to have its limits, questioned God’s wisdom in putting Tina in my path on that fateful day in September of 2006.  That was the day I boarded a plane with a bellyful of booze, a pocketful of pills and a one-way ticket to St Louis.  A few weeks prior, in the women’s shelter I had been staying in, I had sat and watched as a young girl let go of that last thread that she had been hanging on to and let the pills take her into oblivion.  Lost in my own pain, I was powerless to stop her.  And, if I am completely honest with myself, I didn’t want to stop her… not really.  I wanted one of us at least, to finally find some peace.  In my despair, I thought I was helping her.

Weeks later, boarding a plane in Boston, I prepared to let go of my last thread as well.  I had helped no one.

***

They say that time heals all wounds, but that isn’t true… not completely.

It is love that heals.

Time is a construct of man… an arbitrary measurement of the progression and passing of one’s life from this existence to the next.  But, love…

Love is the ‘life’ that our Creator breathes into our souls.

Love heals.

Love healed me, for the most part anyway, and brought two souls closer and closer with each passing day and the good memories began to outweigh and out measure the bad.  Christmas would once again become a time to not only celebrate our Savior, but to also celebrate family and friends and the future.

The past could not be forgotten, but it also could not set in stone, the future.  Not if we didn’t want it to.

***

Christmas 2008 – Candy Canes and Bittersweet Memories

My mother, from whom I had been estranged since shortly before my seventeenth birthday, when she discovered I was a lesbian and disowned me, passed away in March of 2008 after a long battle with breast cancer.  Christmas that year was the first year that I did not hold out, as I had for the last six years, a tiny flicker of hope that she and I would reconcile and put the past behind us and that Mama would at last accept me… accept who and what I was.

Christmas that year was bittersweet.

Tina’s mother – her parents had come out from back East to join us for the holidays that year – finally and fully accepted me and asked if I wouldn’t call her “Mother Shaw” instead of the formerly and formally imposed appellation of “Mrs. Shaw”.

I cried… I cried tears of joy.

And… I cried tears of sorrow.  My future mother-in-law had finally accepted me, but…

My own mother had passed away several months before, having never accepted who I was and now she never would.

Christmas that year was bittersweet.

***

2010 – A Year of Reconciliations

We all have milestones in our lives… some might say millstones, the weight of some of those events a burden on our shoulders, growing heavier as the years bring us ever closer to the day that we shed these all too fragile mortal coils and transcend to wherever it is our own personal belief system portends.  We all have events in our lives that shape and celebrate our life; events that are not always of our own choosing, but nevertheless an important and integral part of our journey.

March of 2010 brought me back once more to the tall, white Vermont marble marker; the symbol of the final resting place of my mother’s physical form – her soul and spirit, I knew, were now in Heaven and she was free of pain and all of the other burdens our corporeal forms are afflicted with.

Unlike the previous two years, however; I was not dreading this visit.  While “happy” or “excited” might not be the customary emotions one feels when paying their respects to a loved one lost, I was both.  I had finally – with the help and guidance of a truly amazing friend – reconciled with my mother.  I had at last opened my heart and found something lost a long time ago.

I had rediscovered an eternal truth about mothers and daughters.  The love of a mother is eternal and neither time nor circumstance can ever change that or take it away.  I had forgotten this a long time ago.  I had grown selfish and buried that truth away.  I had become a martyr to my own fears and uncertainties.  I had come to enjoy too much the role of “poor little Veronica.”

But Regan changed that.  She taught me how to bring myself back.  I reconciled with my mother and to this day, I talk to her up in Heaven… every day, without fail.

I’m sorry… I’m digressing again.  Next thing you know, I will be talking about cupcake recipes… chocolate cupcake recipes.

Where were we… ?

***

March 25, 2010. 

Tina and Ali have already gone back to the hotel and Julie, the family attorney, and I are preparing to leave as well.  The weather is growing worse, the rain coming down harder.  I am chilled to the bone, but do not want to leave.  Mama and I say our tearful good-byes and I make my way back to the car, where Julie is waiting… when it happens.

A man approaches the car.  He calls my name.  Something shifts in my brain… and time stands still.  The thunder in my ears is not from the weather, but the sound of a million thoughts and images crashing and swirling in my brain… a dervish of emotions that, mercifully, overload my brain and I crash.

The last time I saw or spoke to my father was the evening before the eve of my tenth birthday… 14 years, six months, and 8 days ago.  And, in those 5,303 days, I never… not once… hated my father for what he had to done to my mother and me.  Not once!  I felt a lot of things, a lot of emotions, but hate was never one.

Until now… until that day in the cemetery, on the second anniversary of my mother’s passing, when my father walked back into my life.  On that day…

On that day… I hated my father.  I hated him with a passion!  The heat of my hatred could have turned forests to ash.  The heat of my hatred for the man whom I had once loved more than anything else in this world, besides my mother, could have burnt the sun to a cinder!

That day, I told my father that I hated him and that I would never forgive him for what he had done to Mama and me.  I told him that I never wanted to see or hear from him again… ever!  I told him to get in his car and drive away.  I told him to drive so fucking far away that I never crossed his mind again!

*

But… hate cannot survive where there is love.  And I did still love my father.  And suddenly the realization hit me… I was going to lose my father again!  I had already lost my mother and now I was going to lose Papa as well!  Again!

I could not let that happen.  I would not let that happen!

And so began the long, painful process toward reconciliation.  A tentative letter sent.  The anger was still there and I wanted… I needed… answers, but more than that, I needed my father.

*

Fast forward a few months…

***

Christmas 2010

Tina had been hiding something from me for months.  I told her, more than once, that her little ‘subterfuge’ was futile, because I would find it eventually.   Each time, Tina just smiled and walked away.  I spent weeks… months… searching every square inch… every nook and cranny… of our condo for the Christmas gift she had hidden away.  I even went to her office in the downtown JusticeBuilding and searched.  My efforts were to no avail and by Christmas Eve, I had resigned myself to being completely and totally surprised.

By mid-morning Christmas Day, the stack of brightly-wrapped gifts… save for one each for my inamorata and myself, which would be unwrapped that evening… that had been artistically ensconced under the eight-foot Noble the night before was now transformed into a sea of clothes, books and jewelry on the sofa and the thick, white Barbara Barry area rug was covered with bows, ribbons and wads of wrapping paper.  A cup of freshly-brewed Ethiopian Sidamo sat before me on the coffee table, ignored as I buried my nose in a first edition (UK) of Thoreau’s Walden.

So engrossed in the book was I that the telephone, on the end table beside me, had rung several times before the sound registered.  I reached for the handset, only to have it jerked from my outstretched fingers by Tina.  I looked up.

“It’s probably just work,” Tina stammered, a flush rising on her slender neck.

“You’re not going in?  Today?”  I could hear the disappointment in my voice, mirrored, no doubt, in my eyes as I stared up at her.

“No, no, no… of course not, baby girl.  I promise!”

The sincerity in her voice was unmistakable and mollified, I returned to Thoreau.  So wrapped up in the book was I that I was only dimly aware of the sound of the doorbell several minutes later.  Moments after that…

“Feliz Natal, minha princesinha!”

I looked up… the book fell from my lap… I shrieked!

“PAPA!!!”

To this day, Tina swears that my feet never touched the floor.  She says that I literally flew over the coffee table, across the living room and into the arms of my father, without once letting my bare feet touch the floor.  All I remember is that one moment I was sitting on the sofa and the next moment my 5’ 3” body was firmly attached to my father’s chest, my arms tightly wrapped around his neck, the scent of Old Spice and cherry pipe tobacco caressing my nostrils, laughing and crying at the same time and trying to talk through the tears of joy…

“Papa … Eu te amo … Eu te amo … Eu te amo … Papa … Papa … oh, eu te amo tanto!”

It was several minutes before I calmed down enough to detach myself.  When I finally did loosen my grip and Papa lowered me to the floor – Papa stands at 6’ 6” – I looked up and saw that his dark eyes, like mine, were bright with tears.  In that moment I felt such a rush of love for my father that it left me light-headed and I felt faint.

Over the next three days, the only time I let Papa leave my side was when he slept – there was no question of him staying in a hotel – and when he was in the bathroom.  Well, I take that back.  I did watch him shave… just as I did when I was a little girl, except I didn’t stand on the toilet this time.

And twice during Papa’s stay, Tina had to drag me out of the guest bedroom at three in morning, where she found me sitting in the big, wooden rocking chair… watching Papa sleep and offering a silent prayer to God, thanking Him for bringing my father back to me.

*

This is one Christmas past that I will always look back upon.  A father and daughter were reunited.  How could I not look back?

***

And so it is…

I live with these ghosts of Christmases past.  Some are good.  Some are not as welcome as others, but I have found something else out.

They are all necessary.

Past is prologue.

*

To truly and deeply love, one must remember and accept this…

Just as the Earth accepts that the rain will always follow the sun; so it is that sorrow will always follow joy.

And when sorrow, like the rain, has had its season… joy, like the sun, will return.

I think it was C.S. Lewis who once said…

“The pain now is part of the happiness then.”

I believe… no, I know this…

The pain then is part of the happiness now.  But…

Love will always conquer pain.

Because it isn’t time alone that heals.  Time without love is only the ticking of a clock on the mantle.  A reminder that something needs done… that something awaits.

Love heals.

Love grows.

Love endures.

Love is eternal.

***

Merry Christmas to all.

I wish you peace and good health.

I wish you success in all you endeavour.

I wish for your ghosts to not be too restless.

I wish you love.

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw

25 December 2013

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