Before He Stalks – Blake Pierce

Kill her after work. Don’t let her make it back home. This instruction seemed to be looped in his head. He’d been hearing it for two days now, a voice in his head that seemed to have been born when he saw the picture in the Arts and Entertainment section of the local paper. He’d […]

Before He Lapses – Blake Pierce

Christine had only seen snow once before in her life. So when it started to come down around her as she made her way home from her boyfriend’s house, she smiled. She figured that if she hadn’t drunk so much tonight, she’d be able to enjoy it better. She was twenty years old but could […]

Because You’re Mine – Rea Frey

The car idles. Grace cuts the engine, cradles the parking brake, and pulls. Her secret swirls inside her. She presses a hand to her belly and takes a deep breath to kill the nerves. After a hurried morning school drop-off for her son, Luca, Grace checks her hair in the rearview, hoping Lee can squeeze […]

Be A Good Girl – Tess Diamond

Fifteen years ago She felt numb. Like her entire body had been shot up with Novocain. Her arms lolled to the side as he carried her like a doll through the orchard. She could see the thick green leaves of the olive trees above her, her eyes drifting shut every few seconds. She was so […]

Backlash – Lisa Jackson

“Ilove you,” Tessa Kramer whispered. Lying on the summer-dry grass, staring into eyes as blue as the sea, she smiled, blushing a little at the boldness of her words. At nineteen she was certain she was in love. And no one, not her overprotective father, nor her suspicious brother, nor even Denver McLean himself, could […]

Baby Doll – Hollie Overton

Adead bolt has a very specific sound. Lily was an expert at recognizing certain sounds—the creak of the floorboards signaling his arrival, the mice scurrying across the concrete in search of food. But Lily always braced herself for the sound of the dead bolt, listening as metal scraped against metal. The lock was beginning to […]

Apple of My Eye – Claire Allan

As soon as I saw her I knew that she didn’t deserve to be a mother. She was squeezed in behind a table in the café, her face pale, drawn. She rubbed her stomach for the briefest of seconds, as if it were something she’d just remembered she was expected to do. Act the part […]

Anatomy of a Scandal – Sarah Vaughan

My wig slumps on my desk where I have tossed it. A beached jellyfish. Out of court, I am careless with this crucial part of my wardrobe, showing it the opposite of what it should command: respect. Handmade from horsehair and worth nearly six hundred pounds, I want it to accrue the gravitas I sometimes […]

An Unwanted Guest – Shari Lapena

THE ROAD CURVES and twists unexpectedly as it leads higher and deeper into the Catskill Mountains, as if the further you get from civilization, the more uncertain the path. The shadows are deepening, the weather worsening. The Hudson River is there, appearing and disappearing from view. The forest that rises on either side of the […]

Alter Ego – Brian Freeman

The man in the Australian oilskin coat and black cowboy hat didn’t realize it yet, but fate already had dealt him the thirteenth tarot card. A skeleton on a white horse rode his way, bringing death. He had ninety seconds to live. He struggled through knee-deep snow past skeletal birches and evergreens that shook their […]

Christmas Mountain – Garrett Leigh

I preferred the old name for HMP Manchester. Most days it suited my mood. But today was different. Life as a probation officer was a thankless one, but sometimes it panned out. A healthy dose of spring sunshine made the scene playing out before me all the sweeter. Golden rays streamed through the tiny window […]

Christmas Magic – Catherine Kean

Will cursed cookies poison their magical Christmas? Molly Hendrickson is looking forward to a happy holiday with her fiancé, Lucian Lord, manager of Black Cat Antiquities. A sorcerer and reincarnated knight from the Middle Ages, Lucian protects Cat’s Paw Cove from evil magic and is teaching Molly how to use her newfound abilities— because even […]

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