Saturday, 9 July 2016

New Novella

Beyond the Old Green Door


Beyond the Old Green Door is where Urban Fantasy, Steampunk Erotica meets re-incarnation with a twist of magic and those sexy little bits everyone loves. Can the impossible really become possible? Or is it all just a whisper in the wind? Sherry’s world falls to pieces when the honeymoon she had planned in Rio with her fiancé turns to a tragedy with his death in a plane crash. Can a twist of fate, a wrong turn and a touch of magic find the love and passion she thought she had lost in the arms of another? Or will her love once again be torn apart? Can a wish really turn back time?
5 star Review
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!

 By Gail (Nebraska, USA) -
This review is for 
 "Beyond the Old Green Door"
I really enjoyed this book! I started it and couldn't put it down. I haven't read this genre before, so it was a new adventure for me.
I will definitely buy more of Julie's books ;)

   Free Chapter One

Sherry awoke with a start, her body drenched in perspiration. She swung her legs over the edge of the bed, stumbled to the bathroom, and turned on the faucet. A montage of murky images from her dream nudged her sluggish brain. She closed her eyes, splashed cold water on her face, and concentrated. Ah, now she saw it clearly…a golden statue. Similar to Rodin’s The Kiss, elements of angst and passion mingled between the lovers, culminating in an erotic embrace.
Shaking her head to clear her mind, she opened her eyes and looked into the mirror. The face peering back was that of a stranger—the eyes, pools of desolation, the skin, ghostly white against the backdrop of her brilliant, auburn hair. She grabbed a nearby towel, patted the droplets from her face and dragged a brush through her tousled locks. With a sigh, she realized nothing could be done about her ghastly 
appearance, not now, maybe not ever. Not after what had happened.
She needed air. Now. Tossing the towel to the floor, she headed for the door of the hotel room. She had to get away from the walls closing in on her, or surely she’d go insane. Five days she’d been waiting. For him. There would be no more waiting.
Tears came to her eyes, and she wiped them away. Before fate stepped in, this was to be her honeymoon, and yesterday her wedding day. All that had changed, and, somehow, she had to accept it. But how?
She walked briskly from the hotel lobby and stepped onto the main street of Rio de Janeiro, assailed by the steamy heat. Elbowing her way through the crowd, she moved along the congested sidewalk to the sounds of boisterous chatter and laughter. She’d forgotten Mardi Gras was in full swing.
Already the humidity had rendered her sticky and wilted. Flicking her damp hair from her eyes, she drew in a breath of sultry air. She didn’t know which was worse, the relentless heat or the noisy crowd jostling her in every direction until she felt like a spinning top.
A man in a painted mask of a blue wolf loomed before her, his harsh laugh setting her already tattered nerves on edge. His breath reeked of garlic, pitching her queasy stomach into spasms. Sherry pushed him away and squeezed through a narrow gap in the rowdy crowd.
Lightheaded, her bruised ribs aching from numerous elbow jabs, she staggered into the 
doorway of an ancient shop. Plucking the fabric of her shirt away from her overheated skin, she leaned against the wall and looked at the sign overhead. The Old Green Door.
Curiosity compelled her to reach for the handle. To her surprise, the door opened, and she stepped inside, reveling in the cool air that greeted her. Her head pounded in perfect sync with the drums beating in the street. She couldn’t escape the noise outside until the parade ended, and since she hadn’t seen a schedule, she had no idea what time that would be.
The door closed of its own accord with a soft click behind her. All fell silent. How very curious, not a sound from Mardi Gras outside reached her ears. Had she stepped into another world?
She shivered, and a chill tumbled down her spine. The temperature had dropped considerably since she’d entered the shop, yet she could see nothing to indicate any type of cooling device.
Bric-a-brac cluttered the tiny store, from antique furniture, medieval armor, and golden deities of all kinds, to dark teak wood and precious metals. Mirrors and paintings graced the walls, depicting great battles, hideous-looking beasts, sensuous women, and handsome men. Not one of the handsome men depicted was as beautiful as her man. An image of Lachlan flashed through her mind—black raven hair, startling azure eyes, and the sinewy, ripped body of a god. Her lover had done nothing extraordinary to keep his body in shape except live a healthy lifestyle. A busy politician, he’d 
found the time—no, made the time—to take her horseback riding, hiking, and water-skiing. She remembered every precious moment now with tears in her eyes.
Scanning the shop for the proprietor, she spied an overstuffed green sofa in the corner. Drawn to it by an overwhelming need to catch her breath and settle her nerves, she sank into the plush cushions, leaned back, and closed her eyes.
She tried to quash the memories, but they marched forth in all their naked verity. Lachlan’s soothing voice thrummed in her head and her heartbeat accelerated. She heard it as plain as the day he’d called her apartment in New York after his five-day meeting in Mexico. After the usual I-missed-you-so-much and I-love-you, he had proposed, and her heart sang.
From the moment they’d met eight months ago, both knew there would be no other in their lives from that day forward. As unreal as it seemed, they were destined to be together, and they often marveled at the intense feeling of déjà vu that surrounded their love.
Now, he was gone, and misery clawed at her gut. His plane had gone down in a desert in Southern Brazil and Search and Rescue had been unable to locate a trace of the ill-fated flight. “All are believed dead,” they had said. Her Lachlan, dead? How could it be? He’d always been so vital, so full of life. They’d planned so much for their lives, and now their future had been snatched away in the blink of an eye. They were to be married during Mardi Gras. Lachlan had called 
ahead and made all the arrangements with a small chapel on the outskirts of Rio. Now, all her dreams, her hopes, were nothing more than whispers in the wind. Everything she loved went down with that plane, and her heart felt like it was packed in ice.
With an exhaustive sigh, she rose and wandered down the narrow rows of merchandise, examining many items but touching nothing. A delicate aroma drifted through the air, and her nose twitched as it picked up an intoxicating scent of sweet spice and roses. A bittersweet smile spread her lips. Lachlan had arranged to have a bouquet of red and white blossoms delivered to their hotel room upon her arrival. Attached to the arrangement was a card that read, Love you, now, and forever.
Sherry wiped the tears from her cheeks and glanced down. Through a haze, an unusual golden idol caught her eye. The hair on her nape rose.
Where had she seen it? Visions from her dream last night surfaced. Of course…the decadent couple embracing. With a mixture of dread and curiosity, she reached for the statue to examine it closer, but she was halted by a voice.
“Are you sure that is the one you want?”
Sherry glanced up, her hand hovering above the statue, her gaze traveling to the old man at the end of the row of shelves; tall and wizened, a long white beard hung to his waist and tiny silver stars adorned his royal blue robes. If it hadn’t been for the serious look on the man’s face and the hint of warning in his tone, Sherry might 
have laughed. He reminded her of a character straight from the annals of an Arthurian tale.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I must come as a bit of a surprise, but my clientele has come to expect a certain amount of eccentricity from me.” His warm smile calmed her. “Hence the gown.” He smoothed his hands down his robe and gave a soft laugh.
Sherry smiled back and nodded toward the idol. “It’s a lovely piece,” she said, lowering her hand to her side. “Is it real gold?”
“Yes, but gilded only.” His gaze met hers as he wandered toward her. “However, the piece is not for you. You have suffered much tragedy and have no need for more.”
Still out of sorts, Sherry’s words came more harshly than she intended. “Are you a seer? Do you tell fortunes?”
“I read people,” he said, hovering over her. “You have lost your parents and…” He peered at her as if searching her mind. “Someone else you loved dearly.”
“Lachlan, my fiancé.” She glanced away from his penetrating gaze. “We were to be married today.”
“Ah, yes, I see.”
She swung back. “Fine then, tell me. What does my future hold without Lachlan? He was my world, and now all I see is a bleak, desolate hole.” Mesmerized by the deep violet of his eyes against his weathered face, she tried to look away, but failed. 
The old man took her hand and rubbed it between his gnarled fingers. “Do you really wish me to tell you? The truth can be painful.”
“What does it matter now?” Tears escaped her eyes and stained her silk blouse. “Surely the future can be no worse than the present.”
He squeezed his eyes closed and spoke in a deep, sonorous tone, his voice sounding much younger than he looked. “The future holds many paths,” he said. “But on one path only do I see your man. Your lives are one, and you live happily together to a ripe old age, surrounded by children.
“On another path, your man dies and you are forced to carve out a life on your own. You never marry, and your life is lonely, but you become a brilliant historian.”
He opened his eyes and dropped her hand.
She searched his face. “Is that all?”
“I could go on, but as I have told you, only in one of your futures did I see your man.” His voiced softened. “That is the question you wished to ask, is it not?”
Sherry stepped back and hid her disappointment by looking over his shoulder into the blank air. How she wanted to believe him, but what he spoke of seemed unattainable. She could not allow herself to wander down this path of dreams and illusions, no matter how much she wanted it.
She leaned forward and reached for the idol, but he caught her hand again. “If you could ask for anything, anything at all, what would it be?” 
A stab of pain tore through her heart. “Why do you torment me with such useless talk, and why have you stopped me twice now from touching this idol?”
The old man laughed. “A question for a question, ah. I wasn’t expecting that. I think I am beginning to like you.” His brow furrowed, and his lips curled into a smile. “What can I say except to leave you with one thought?”
“Yes?” she said listening intently.
“True happiness is like a warm breeze that touches your life when you least expect it.”
Sherry shook her head. Crazy. There would be no happiness for her without Lachlan. “Then you must know what I would choose,” she said. “I want to see Lachlan alive again, go back five days, but that is impossible.”
He waved a hand before him. “And if you could select any piece in my store, what would you choose?”
“I have already chosen, have I not? Drawn to this golden idol from the moment I entered your shop, I would choose this statue.”
“Then let it be upon your own head.” He shook his shaggy mane and released her hand. “You were given a choice.”
Sherry plucked the idol from the shelf. “I don’t understand—”
Her words came to her through a tunnel, and a vivid palette of colors flashed behind her eyelids. Time ceased to exist, and the old wizard disappeared like fog rolling out to the ocean. Down…down…she tumbled into a pit of darkness. She burst through only to be pitched into a tunnel of bright, whirling lights, and, still, she plummeted, spinning faster and faster until all thought, all reality vanished and only a feeling of terrible dread existed. She closed her eyes, ceased her struggles, and allowed her mind and body to float free.
Until she came to a thudding halt.