QSFer Caleb James has a new Paranormal Mystery/Suspense book out:
Handsome, brilliant, and surrounded by good friends, twenty-three-year-old medical student Miles Fox has a secret—and it’s not that he’s gay. Though he harbors a crush on his straight best friend, Luke. Miles, like his grandmother, Anna, possesses the healing gift, an ability she’s made him swear never to use or divulge, lest horrible things befall those he loves. It happened to her when Nazis butchered her family.
But it all goes to hell when Miles heals a terminally ill man on a New Orleans cancer ward and wakes locked in the psych unit. Worse, news of the healing miracle spreads. For millennia, its carriers have been hunted by those who would steal it. Dr. Gerald Stangl and his teenage son, Calvin, know what Miles possesses. They, like their predecessors, will stop at nothing to take it, including kidnapping, torture, and murder. As the Stangls’ noose tightens, Miles and Luke are trapped in a death match with stakes higher than they could ever imagine.
Dark Blood Saga Book One
Wednesday, July 4, 1998
MILES’S SIX-YEAR-OLD legs churned as he chased Amos, his golden retriever puppy. The boy and the dog flew down the sandy lawn of Grandma Anna’s house, its borders hedged by tangles of beach plum and wild rose. Overhead, the sun shone through clouds of spun sugar. Grandma Anna was inside the white clapboard house with Mother and little Maya. Father had to work the holiday in Boston but had promised there’d be a long weekend where they’d drive to Provincetown, go out on a whale watch, and handpick a box of saltwater taffy at Cabot’s.
Amos turned, stopped, and dropped the drool-covered red rubber ball. He pawed the ground and nudged the toy with his nose. He barked. It was a game, and Miles knew if he approached too fast, Amos would grab the ball in his mouth and race off.
He inched forward. “I’m not going to take the ball. Nope, not me. Not interested. Who’d want that stinky thing?” He skimmed his red sneakers forward like the ninjas he’d watch on TV with Grandma Anna. His eyes and the dog’s locked. The space between them narrowed from ten feet, to nine, to eight. The animal’s lustrous red-gold fur sparked in the sun. Muscles in his back twitched as he tracked Miles’s stealthy approach.
“I don’t want the ball. It’s slimy. Who’d want a ball like that?” Ninja sneakers slid forward, seven feet, six feet. Boy and dog focused on each other and the game. Five feet, four feet. “I don’t want it.” Three feet, two feet. “Uh-uh, not me.”
As though each could read the other’s thoughts, Miles and Amos lunged for the ball. The pup was closer and faster. He gripped the prize between his teeth and raced down the hill with Miles in pursuit.
Caught in the moment and the ecstasy of flight and pursuit, neither Amos nor Miles saw the heavily laden burgundy Dodge Caravan as it turned off Highway 6A.
Likewise, the driver was distracted by his oldest daughter punching her little brother in the arm. It had been a miserable six-hour drive with no AC, three children, including the new baby, and his largely unresponsive wife, who suffered an emotional meltdown after giving birth three months earlier. He did not see the dog or the boy. What would become seared into his memory was the sequence that started with his daughter’s scream—
“Daddy!”—followed by a dull thud and single surprised yelp as the two- ton vehicle going thirty-five miles an hour made impact with the dog. The animal flew for what seemed an impossible distance.
His pulse jumped as he slammed on the brakes. He saw the dark- haired child racing toward them as he broke through a beach plum hedge, and for a split second he feared there’d be a second impact. Tires squealed as they burned rubber and ground fine white sand into the asphalt. He spotted the red dog in the rearview mirror, not moving save for blood that pulsed from an open wound onto the hot tar. From the angle the dog lay, it was clear his neck was broken.
“Don’t look!” he barked to his family, who stared in horror at the unfolding tragedy. “Shit,” he muttered.
His wife turned, her lip trembled, her mouth opened into a scream: “No!” He saw condemnation in her eyes.
I didn’t see him. This wasn’t my fault. One more sin that would be laid at his doorstep. He opened the door, not certain what he was supposed to do. “Kids, stay in the car! Don’t look.”
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Caleb James is an author, member of the Yale volunteer faculty, practicing psychiatrist, and clinical trainer. He writes both fiction and nonfiction and has published books in multiple genres and under different names. Writing as Charles Atkins, he has been a Lambda Literary finalist. He lives in Connecticut with his partner and four cats.