Willow the tree has been watching her family for the past eight years. During that time, they have endured a terrible trauma, one which threatens to break them apart. But there is nothing that Willow can do. She is merely a tree, one that has resigned herself to waiting and watching. All of that changes when Malan, the eldest brother of the family, returns home from college. When Willow realizes that she would do anything to speak with him, she knows that something is wrong. She has attached herself far too much to him, and the feelings she has for him she cannot explain. She believes there is no hope. Never before has a tree transformed into a human. There is no way to change from one life form to another. That is when a white dove comes down and tells Willow that she can trade her thirty remaining years of life as a tree for one year as a human. Willow agrees. But in making that choice, she realizes that she may have signed on for more than she bargained for. After all, a year is hardly enough time to heal a human heart. Excerpt: “How are you doing, beautiful?” asked Malan, leaning out of his bedroom window. It was hard to startle a tree, but somehow he managed. “You waiting there for me, like usual?” Malan climbed out of his window on the second story of the house. Tonight he wore plain pajamas and no top, and his hair was in disarray. As he climbed down the decorative ladder with wild vines on it, Willow felt so important that she would have swelled with pride had she been physically able. Love pounded through her body. Malan landed on his feet so gracefully that Willow was stunned. He made his way over to her and smiled so broadly that she knew he was happy to see her-maybe even as happy as she was to see him. ****** “I want to become a human no matter what it costs me.” “And it will cost you a lot.” The dove examined her with large, bright eyes. “Once this has been done, it cannot be undone. There are terms and conditions before you turn human.” “What are they?” “As a tree, you will have forty long years of life,” the dove said. “As a human, you will get one year until you die. That year is yours to be with whom you wish, but the moment your time is up, you will perish and die regardless. Are you willing to give up thirty more years as a tree to be a human for one? Think carefully.” The quality of life as a tree wasn’t bad, but humans had something more. They could laugh, dance, and play. As a tree she could echo her thoughts to the birds and send messages to her friends, but it wasn’t really the same thing. Now, as she stared at the house, she realized what she truly wanted-to be a human so she could be a part of that world. Especially Malan’s. “I want to be a human.” ****** Suddenly, Malan began to remove his clothes. Willow jumped backward, frazzled. She had seen his body when he was younger, but now things were different-now she was human. Her face became hot due to feelings she could not explain, and she jerked around, pretending to examine a woman with an endangered species of bird upon her underwear. Willow wondered whether it was customary to wear underwear at the beach. “You know,” Malan said with a joking tone, “if you want to hang around with me, you’re going to have to look at me in a swimsuit. I brought you one, too.” That was when a red bikini hit her square in the head, knocking all embarrassing thoughts from her mind.
A young woman is gruesomely murdered. Within days another is attacked, and then another disappears.
The Suspects Psychiatrist Robin Lenning argues with his mistress at the restaurant just moments before she is brutally attacked and murdered.
Renae Lenning has known about her husband’s affair for years, but she kept it quiet. Has jealousy pushed her over the edge?
Addict Robby Brown leaves his valet job at the restaurant early in search of drugs. Soon after, his DNA is located at the first two crimes.
Detective Tim Sheldon must unravel the knots of secrets to prevent further attacks or risk being entangled within the orchestrated chaos of this shrewd, vicious murderer.
Fashion Week, cover of Vogue, haute couture fashion, international appearances, and product endorsements propel Lime Prince into Supermodel icon and temporarily away from the realities of her past. Her Ethiopian and Jamaican genes, accented with piercing lime green eyes and a runner’s physique, are the object of every man’s desire and take the New York fashion world by storm. But when the fantasies of beauty collide with the realities of violence, will her sordid past shame her out of the glitz and glamour of the modeling world?
Without Your Permission
AJ’s hospital room was frigid for the first day of spring in Chicago. The white walls, curtains, and linen gave it a ghost-like quality. Except for the steady beeps from the machines, it was dead silent. On the telly, Oprah pantomimed an interview with an elderly couple. I swallowed the lump in my throat before pulling back the white drapery that surrounded her. The sight of grayish black melted flesh on one side of her body forced me to bite my lip to silence the sounds of rage and sorrow that escalated inside. Her hospital gown covered most of the burns, but I could see where the flames had attacked her face, arm, hand, leg, and foot. The damaged skin began at her jaw, spread onto her shoulder, and the top of her left breast. Her left arm was nothing but blackened tissue that stopped midway on the back of her hand. Her left thigh and side of her leg were raw, and her foot was ten shades darker than before. AJ was sleeping, but her face made involuntary grimaces like clockwork. The oxygen mask that covered her mouth and nose exaggerated her breath with each exchange of air. I pulled up a chair, grabbed her right hand, and never took my eyes off my best friend.
In the midst of the deafening silence, I could clearly hear AJ’s words of wisdom as we stood behind Zora Neale Hurston High thirteen years ago. “Never let a man put his hands on you without your permission.” Those words served me well throughout the years; however, neither one of us could have fathomed the horrifying day when she’d need to remember them the most.