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Adrian's Angel
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Adrian's Angel
(available NOW via Champagne books!)
 
"Adrian’s Angel stands out in a vast sea of novels involving the Salem Witch Hunts as one of the most refreshingly original works ever written..."  --Violet Harper, The Pagan and The Pen Book Reviews.
 
"I really enjoyed this story because Ms. Ashton has a way of grabbing hold of you in the first few lines and keeping you engrossed until the last sentence. I loved reading all about Salem during the witch trials and loved how the author interwove past and present together. She had me guessing what would happen next and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat with anticipation. I especially loved Adrian's sharp, but quite dry sense of humor. If you're looking for a story to get lost into for a few hours you have definitely made the right choice in picking this one up! "
 
 
Read the 5-Heart review from The Romance Studio:
 
 
**Print and eBook version of Adrian's Angel now available at www.champagnebooks.com; Fictionwise and Kindle  and several other sites.
 
*NEW: Scroll to bottom for Adrian's Angel playlist!*

Saying goodbye to old ghosts isn't easy, especially when Adrian Birichino comes face to face with a woman twenty years won't allow him to forget.

Plagued by baffling circumstances surrounding the loss of his childhood sweetheart, Adrian Birichino has spent the last twenty years trying to forget. When fate forces him to return to the town he loathes, his pervasive nightmares turn alarmingly real as a luminous angel steps out of thin air, inducing an accident that leaves his life in familiar hands. Once Adrian hears her demented ramblings regarding who she is and where she's from, will he agree to help her...or commit himself to an asylum once and for all? But if she's just a figment of his imagination, how had she managed to leave behind tangible evidence of her existence?

Having been catapulted to a sinister spot in time, Riley Gail must find a way to convince Adrian she is real and living in the heart of the infamous witch-hunt…else resign herself to be immortalized in the pages of history as one of Salem’s accused forevermore...

Excerpt #1:

She’s not real, this is only a dream. You’re passed out near the car. Dreaming. This isn’t happening…

Frosty fingertips touched his calf and he jumped. Damn the woman was cold! Couldn’t she at least warm her hands by the fire before touching his already irritated flesh?

“It’s not too bad, I’ll need to insert a stitch or two. I’m afraid you’ll have to stay off it for a few days.” There was a sheer radiance, a divine glow that caressed the air surrounding her. There was something different about this woman, yet oddly enough, something pleasantly familiar.

“Are your hands always so cold?”

“Like your heart, Birichino,” he thought he heard her say.

“Excuse me?”

“Cold hands pave the way to a warm heart. At least that’s what Auntie Glenda always told me.” She smiled, flushing the wound with alcohol.

Adrian bit his lower lip against the burn. “I’m sure that’s true,” he grunted. “Thank you for coming to my aid, er…” He still didn’t know her name.

“You don’t have to thank me, Adrian. It’s my pleasure.” Her smile was sincere. She skillfully tied off the third and final stitch and walked into the kitchen. She returned with a piece of white cloth that she used as a makeshift bandage. A deep sadness loomed in her eyes and caused a heavy ache to well in his belly. What kind of life had she led? Was she here alone? And something else lingered in the shadow of the pale sapphires, although she turned away too quickly for him to pin a name to it.

“Are you a native of Salem?” Her speech was strange, like an echo of the past. Unlike the women he was accustomed to, she wore no make-up, no frills. If it weren’t for her natural beauty, one might even call her a plain-Jane.

She reappeared only to gently shove a cup of steaming brown tinged liquid at him. “Drink this. Don’t look at me like that, it’s not poisoned. It’s tea. You need rest, we’ll talk later.” Adrian took the offered vessel and sipped the semi-sweet warm elixir. His mysterious caretaker rearranged the blanket and extinguished the light after tucking him in.

   She said the tea wasn’t poisoned, yet suddenly Adrian found it impossible to keep his eyes open. As his heavy lids fluttered in their fight to remain alert, the woman’s natural luminescence mingled with the firelight and in that magical moment, Adrian knew he was in the company one of God’s most cherished of angels as he succumbed to the sweet call of the sandman.

“Sleep, Adrian Birichino. You must mend, and quickly. My life depends on it.”

 

Excerpt #2:

     Winter embraced his hometown with a frigid kiss. The frosty flakes formed a blanket of white glittery dust along the terrain, concealing the black ice that pierced Adrian’s soul. The signs on the buildings were vague through the chalky wrath as he made his way down Wharf Street, but they’d not changed. He knew what they said, what each disturbing sign represented. Salem’s Museum of Myths and Monsters. Did his own foolish tale rest therein?

     A bone chilling reluctance almost saw him turn the car around and head back to New York, and not for the first time. His old neighborhood was perched along a lofty hillside a few blocks east of the Museum. He didn’t want to see it…didn’t want to stir the frenzy of emotion that refused to lay dormant inside his cursed soul. The infamous town was nothing more than a trivial homage to exploit its terror stricken victims. A city thriving on treachery and deceit, luring tourist to partake, if only for a fleeting moment, of the wrongs inflicted by its horrific past.

     Adrian’s therapist called his unyielding resentment by another name. But no matter what labels were placed on his feelings regarding his hometown, his tainted memories of yesteryear, Adrian knew one thing.

     He loathed the town of Salem and everything it represented.

 

Excerpt #3:

     He rubbed his cursed eyes, shook his head as if he might clear the hellish fog lingering therein. It didn’t change anything. The bothersome text lay open on the table. “Impossible,” he breathed as a cold fist closed over his heart. He’d seen smoke rise as the book melted to ash. Heard the crackling rage as the famine flames consumed each and every cursed page! The stench of burning paper was still thick his nostrils.

 

     Nevertheless, there it was. In one piece. On the table. Open as if she intended for him to read the specified entry.

     What the hell was going on? Curiosity lured him

 closer.

 

     Chapter five. The Salem Witch Trials.

 

     A shiver skated down his spine. The last thing he wanted to do was read horror stories. His nightmares were bad enough already without throwing witches and goblins into the mix. Closing the book, Adrian ground his molars and placed it back on the shelf. He might have tossed it into the fire again, had he thought it would do any good.

 

     He could be just as stubborn as she.

 

     Standing before the frost-etched window, Adrian stretched his injured leg in front of him and examined it. It was feeling much better. The snow had finally stopped falling. People would be getting out soon. Perhaps tomorrow he might feel well enough to make the journey into town and see about fixing his car. There were enough canned goods to get him through another week or so. Heaven forbid he should need to stay that long.

 

     He wondered who owned the safe haven. A pang of guilt struck him. He’d taken advantage of the empty cabin and its provisions. The stew hadn’t shelved itself, nor had the wood been stacked by…no, ghosts did not go shopping or wield an ax for firewood. Still, he felt compelled to do something to compensate the mystery owner for the use of his, or her, cabin.

 

     Of course, money was always appreciated. He’d leave a check to cover the expenses. As a matter of fact, he may as well write it out now so he wouldn’t forget.

 

     Adrian’s mouth fell open when he turned away from the window. The damned book was back on the table! Every muscle in his body constricted. His blood ran cold. He didn’t have to see the text to know it was opened to chapter five.

 

     He swallowed. Horror swiftly transformed into anger. Jaw clenched, Adrian spoke in a low venomous tone that could cower a heard of wild steeds, “Show yourself.”

 

     Nothing.

 

     His chest rose and fell in inner fury. “Come out, damn you! I said show yourself!”

 

     The lights flickered. The pages of the book fanned angrily back and forth as a frigid gust shook the cabin walls. Adrian dared not permit the frightful illusion to consume him, least he be lost forever.

 

     The ridiculous battle of wills could go on for eternity. If he allowed it. For his own peace of mind, he couldn’t. His chest heaved as he circled the room. “Alright! You win.” The lights stopped flickering, the pages stilled. “I’ll look at the damned thing.” As if he had a choice. He added beneath a snarled lip, "On one condition...”

 

Adrian's Angel playlist:

*Anything/Everything Mozart!

Mozart: Rex tremendae

Mozart: Confutatis

Chicago: Glory of Love

Elvis: I Can't Help Falling In Love

Frank Sinatra: Witchcraft

Frank Sinatra: Don't Worry About Me

Mozart: Requiem

 

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