So, this week I’ve been hard at work recreating covers for the series which I’m going to put below for you to look at. I’ll show the paperback covers too when I’ve completed them. Yay.
What you will notice if you already are collecting the series is that the ISBN numbers are going to change as my former-publisher decided to be a bit mean and keep them. I’m going to ask for your help if you have reviewed the books before or want to add your say, if you would please place a review on Amazon for other readers who may like the series to know your thoughts. Although I can’t see them or read them myself, I know that it really does help others know if Aeron’s series, Hayfield Manor and La Vie En Bleu are books that they’d enjoy or not!
The Above & Beyond Series’ covers… are designed to show the progress Aeron makes from The Empath to Full Circle. They might have some tweaks before you see them in print but… with some struggling with my vision, I’ve created them. I hope you like and enjoy.
Hayfield Manor retains Sophie on the cover and will be uploaded first onto Amazon because I don’t have many tweaks to make.
As you will see, my painting is still the cover for La Vie En Bleu but I’ve now got the freedom to make extra touches. I will be editing La Vie En Bleu because I had to make hasty enforced changes to the original so I’m going to sure up parts. I will upload that then and when my proof-reader gets through Full Circle, I will upload the series and let you know when you can hit ‘buy’ and also where you can get a ePub version too.
Feel free to heckle Em into reading faster!
Hope that gave you a smile… and I’ll leave you with Aunt Bess…
My thoughts: Aunt Bess’s story in this novel is very poignant and also uplifting. She had me in tears then made me laugh so I hope you get as attached to her!
Full Circle exclusive.
Copyright © 2018 Jody Klaire.
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any means, electronic or mechanical without permission in writing from the author and publisher.
Please note: all scenes are the intellectual property of the author and that online exclusive scenes may differ from the published version.
Bess Lorelei hadn’t found retirement easy. She’d moved around, painted, fixed up places and painted some more. She’d get melancholy once in a while but then she’d forget why so maybe it hadn’t been so hard.
Now, she was in one of Frei’s slick cars, windows down, breeze in her hair and her baby sister, Lilia, snoring like a snoozing bear in the passenger seat. She’d escorted Lilia to the Eis Estate to get a check-up from Susan and was driving her back to Oppidum again at Eli’s request——He’d gotten Grimes in on it and the man heckled more than the kittens had. He’d even promised to “back her up” and be at the cabin waiting for her. Man sure had some level of crazy juice. What kinda back up was he? She didn’t need cwtching in front of folks.
Still, she’d agreed to escort Lilia and the check-up was all good but they’d had a tail since Pennsylvania and only after some creative driving as they hit Missouri was her rear-view clear and her tension easing.
“Is there a reason you’re trying to get the car to take off,” Lilia muttered in a groggy whisper.
“I always figured they should be able to.” Bess grinned across at her. “And, I wouldn’t put it past Mousey to go making that possible.”
Lilia chuckled. “Yes, Jessie is… inventive.” She groaned and pressed a button making the seat slide up to sit her straighter. “There’s something incredible about coming home.”
Bess sighed at the sight of the Oppidum bus depot. “Maybe for some.”
“Oh, come on. No one is going to make you a housewife anymore.” Lilia reached over, then winced and pulled back. “I feel like one of my kindergarten sewing projects.”
“You weren’t in kindergarten when you were sewing, Twig,” Bess said, putting on a dramatic groan. “You were probably fifteen or something.”
“No, this was great-great aunt Chapman’s class… she made us sew alright.” Lilia rubbed at her chest. “Can’t say I much enjoyed being shot and operated on.”
Bess frowned. “What did that dotty old bat get you sewing for?” Her daughter, Mrs. Stein as Aeron knew her, was just as knotted up with bitterness. Same tree, same sour-faced batty fruit. “And the doc was real good but I don’t want you getting leaks again, you hear?”
Lilia pulled her mouth to the side. “I shouldn’t have followed my flash… stupid idea… how many times have I gotten it wrong?”
“Twig, you just don’t trust yourself to see good.” Bess waved it off, trying to ignore the main street: the tourist places, the shops, the green next to the town hall with an oak tree she’d fallen out of… a lot. Oppidum might have looked more spruced up than before but it was the same old place she broke out of.
“No, I don’t,” Lilia smiled up at the police station. How could she still be so gooey eyed over the scrawny boy she’d had her first kiss with? “Aeron wouldn’t be in Serenity if it wasn’t for me.”
“You chomping on nutty nibbles?” Bess frowned——did Oppidum need a mountain rescue? Who got stuck on Blackbear mountain? “It ain’t you who could have been leading good ol’ Charlie Black along and getting him lost up on a proper mountain.”
Lilia eyed her. “What’s wrong with Blackbear?”
“Nothin’, but it ain’t a mountain like the ones in Colorado that’s for sure.” Bess turned off the main stretch and the suburbs——which had grown since she left——turned to country and Mrs. O’Reilly’s farm peeked over her field of swaying crops.
“It’s still hers… and she still farms it.” Lilia grinned. “Nothing like a field high and happy.”
“Twig, I ain’t gonna wander down that memory with you an’ Eli or I’ll have to squash his skinny butt.” Bess wagged her finger as they headed under the canopy of trees all interlinked, lush and rustling like they were hollering at her for being away so long.
“Do you really think you’d have had an affair with Charlie?” Lilia asked, her tone careful. “I know you had different ideas to me but… you didn’t seem like you would.”
“I can’t say ‘cause I don’t remember.” Bess sighed as the feeling of being so close to the cabin started to build. Happy? Tense? How could it ever be the same without her momma there? “An’ I got less hormones than I did when I knew Charlie.”
“Was he as handsome as he looks in his pictures?” Lilia was watching her like she was trying to read her.
“And then some. You seen his baby girl. She didn’t get that gorgeous from her momma.” Bess shook her head. “Charlie was intense, fiery but when you got underneath, he belly laughed like nobody I’ve ever heard and was loyal to the point of needing Serenity.”
“And he liked you?” Lilia shifted in her seat but whether it was pain or wanting to study Bess more, she wasn’t sure.
“Course he did. Who wouldn’t love a Lorelei woman?” Bess gave a curt nod. “Only, he wanted a wife and a family and I wasn’t popping out no peanuts… I think.”
“I don’t know why, you’d have made a great mother.” Lilia tutted at her. “He still loved you even after you turned him down?”
Bess shrugged. “I can’t even remember him telling me that he got married or had kids.” She rubbed the back of her neck as they pulled up outside the cabin. It was washed in a fresh coat of cream, white trims on the windows, blue shutters, flowerboxes full and blooming more colors than she could take in. It was a tall place, made to fit Loreleis from peanut to wrinkly.
The river eased on by, turning the huge waterwheel that seemed to creak right through to her heart. Funny, how she couldn’t remember a lot of things but the sound, the sight, the smell of the place was as clear as it had always been.
“Maybe he didn’t tell you,” Lilia said, groaning as she reached over to squeeze Bess’ trembling knee. “Welcome home.”
“Huh,” Bess mumbled and shut off the engine. “It ain’t been that in a long time.” She got out of the car, trying to ignore how she could feel the energy of the place seeping up through her shoes.
Eli burst from the house——two mini-people in tow——and ripped open the passenger door. “You’re okay?”
Lilia winced as Eli smothered her with kisses, checked her all over and the two mini-people did the same.
“Momma-Lilia, are you okay? The doc said you were okay? Okay?” the smallest one asked. “We need you to feed us… Daddy makes rubber.”
The taller of the two, who looked a whole lot like Eli, put her hands on her hips. “We can’t eat rubber no more.”
Eli nodded to them. “I third that.”
Lilia pursed her lips. “I’m only good for food?”
Eli and the girls looked to each other and shrugged.
“If you go running off again, I’m gonna cry,” the tallest one said. “I can’t lose no more mommas.”
Bess’ gut twisted, curled and maybe wrenched while it was there. One of the reasons why she hadn’t popped out peanuts: they got attached to you. How did you go charging off to rescue folks when there was a mini-person waiting for you to get back?
“Can I talk to you?” Charlie asked, his gray eyes swirling with some thought. He was bandaged up one side from trying to peel the skin off his back falling from a motorcycle; His eye was black from a fight with one of the FBI idiots, and he had a limp from somewhere… she couldn’t remember him getting a limp too.
“You kick a rock?” she muttered, going back to her work. She knew the look. She didn’t want to talk.
“I fell off the assault course.” He shrugged. “If you quit getting me drunk and forcing me to try and beat you, I wouldn’t be limping.”
Explained why her legs were heavy.
“I could do with your opinion,” he asked, his tone full of that puppy-dog ooze he swayed most with.
“Charlie, I ain’t an expert on peanuts.” She flicked through her paperwork. Why’d he have to try and keep her involved?
“But when I go, she waits at the road… sometimes she camps there…” He chewed on his lip. “How do I make her see that I have to go…?”
She’d seen the kid from afar. Renee was definitely his. She’d double-checked but it didn’t need checking. Renee’s whole energy was like his and she’d be some looker like him too. “Tell her you’re busy being a hero and she got to hold the fort.”
Charlie cocked his head. “Not sure her mother would like that.”
They both knew Charlie didn’t much like his wife, let alone love her. He’d married her ‘cause he got her pregnant. It had been the right thing to do and… even if the wife was about as fun to be around as the FBI idiots, Renee made it worth it for him.
“Give her your medal,” Bess whispered, fixing on her own wedding ring. No surprise Renee was born not more than a year after she turned him down.
“You think?” He grinned. “Yeah. She loves it when I take her to see the choppers… yeah.” He tapped the desk and wagged his finger in the air. “Yeah, I knew you’d think of something.”
She flicked her paperwork to the side. “So go and see the kid. Just don’t go making more.”
It was hard enough to see him walk away from Renee. It weren’t right to pull a family man from his home even if she needed him. She couldn’t keep the FBI under control without him.
“You giving me leave?” He stared at her. Made a change from gawping.
“Yeah, I got my own leave… If I married the guy, least I could do is remind him what I look like.” She stood up, ignoring the flash of hurt in his eyes. “So, go see your kid… and give her your medal…”
He set his jaw, like he always did when she’d said something to hurt him. The storminess in his eyes said he was gonna pull a Charlie curveball and he strode out. Considering the guy was elite, when hurt he could be dumber than most. Did she call him back and warn him not to? She sighed and stared down at the ring, taking it off. It was only there for show anyhow.
Bess rubbed her hand over her chin. So she hadn’t been married back then? She was sure she had been.
The whiskey bottle was half empty and she packed his things away in a box. They’d not been married long. She’d loved him though. He’d been a real arrogant chump when they’d met and he’d stayed that way but she loved that. She loved that he’d just swagger in and treat her like she wasn’t in charge. She’d needed it. She’d needed him. Now all she had was a medal, a thank you note for his service, and a flag. She pulled over the bottle. What a waste.
She let out a long sigh. So she hadn’t told Charlie? They’d been close, so why didn’t she? Sure, he’d had a twinkle for her but he was married. She pulled her mouth the side as Lilia was helped, or hindered, from the car by Eli and mini-people.
“What a dimwit,” she muttered to herself, then took off her socks and shoes and went and stood in the river.
She could almost hear her papa laughing, her momma too as they splashed about in the water. They’d always been in love, like Lilia and Eli, but she’d not really felt that way herself. She’d been close a few times but not… like it should be——She swished her feet around in the water and sighed——but if she didn’t know any better she’d think Grimes had a shot. “Women my age don’t go falling in love.”
A breeze tickled her like her papa was howling with laughter. She put her hands on her hips only to hear her momma do the same——Glad they found it funny.