“When the dead need to speak, she must listen…
Artist and Egyptologist Lily Evans struggles with her newly discovered psychic talents, while trying to get her life back to normal now that her mother is in a mental institution and the man Lily loves is far away in England. But “normal” is the last thing she finds.
When her best friend Katy takes her to a Celtic Faire, Lily meets a druid fortune-teller, who warns her that she can “never escape the Other.” Frightened and angry, Lily ignores his dire warning and stumbles across an eerie old portrait of a beautiful woman, who has something to tell her.
With the help of the enigmatic druid and his gifted friends, Lily embarks on a dangerous journey to unravel the mysteries of the portrait, the tarot card reader, an ancient book and whispers of witchcraft. She must discover the truth behind them all…or risk losing her very soul.
Fire And Shadow
Lily Evans Mystery Series Book 2
Susan J McLeod
Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Publisher: Imajin Books
Date of Publication: October 10, 2012
Number of pages: 152
Cover Artist: Ryan Doan
Fire And Shadow will be half price, $1.99, from October 21-October 31. The first book in the series, Soul And Shadow, is also $1.99.
I went over to see the mystery picture. The customer looking at it had run like a startled rabbit at Carolyn’s entrance, slamming the door behind her. I wanted to see the painting she’d found so enthralling.
It was a portrait of a woman dressed in seventeenth-century clothing. Tight black curls were piled up on her head, and more cascaded down her bare shoulders. Her gown was pink, her skin was white, and she had a lovely face with high cheekbones.
Her most striking feature was her large brown eyes. They stared out across the years as if their owner were looking right through me. It was eerie, and I wanted to turn away and hide myself from her gaze. There was something in those eyes, a kind of voracious hunger. I wasn’t sure what to call it, but it frightened me. Still, I couldn’t stop staring at her. She was so… alive.
Slowly, against my will, I reached out and ran my fingers over her painted features. All at once, I could hear people shouting, chanting and screaming. Smoke was filling my nostrils and my lungs. Flames were rising all around me, the heat becoming more and more unbearable. Still, a voice was crying defiantly. “Fools! You cannot destroy me. I shall return!”
I jumped as Carolyn said my name. She was standing beside me again, looking puzzled.
“I’ve had to call you three times. Your painting is ready to go.”
I answered her unspoken question. “This is quite a portrait, Carolyn. It’s hard to look away. Who’s the artist?”
“That’s an interesting question. It’s on loan from the Morrisville Museum. There’s no signature, and I don’t recognize any artist or style. I’ve done some research, but I haven’t turned up anything. It’s old though. It could actually be from the seventeenth century. Isn’t it fascinating?”
“It’s a beautiful portrait,” I agreed, “but she’s almost… well, too alive.”
“I know what you mean. She’s been here for three days, and everyone who comes in is drawn to her like a magnet. But no one asks who she is or whether she’s for sale. Sometimes I swear people are frightened of her.”
Susan Jane McLeod has been writing since she was seven years old. At age eleven she won a county-wide essay contest and her professional career was launched. By the time she was nineteen, her poetry had appeared in several magazines, including American Girl and Seventeen. She also won an honorable mention in The Writer.
She grew up in Rochester, New York, with three sisters and one brother. In her early thirties she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and given a 50-50 chance to live. After two surgeries and chemotherapy, she is cancer free today.
She has worked at several jobs ranging from a baby store to a research consultant, but her favorite was managing a bookstore, surrounded by her passion: literature. She is currently employed by a non-profit foundation that runs Zara’s Center, a home for AIDS-impacted orphans in Zimbabwe.
Susan has published several short stories and two novels. The first, Soul and Shadow, is an award-winning paranormal historical romance. The second, Fire and Shadow, is classified as paranormal suspense. Both books have been in Amazon Top 100 bestseller categories.