Featuring African American, Interracial, and/or Multicultural Romance novels available on Apple Books, Kobo, & Nook. Plus enter to win an Amazon Gift Card. http://www.blacklovebooks.com/summer-reading-2020 #blacklovebooks #summerreading #diverseromance #wideromance TWITTER READY POST SUMMER ROMANCE READING for every device. #Giveaway featuring African American, Interracial, and Multicultural romance novels. http://www.blacklovebooks.com/summer-reading-2020 @blacklovebooks #IARTG #pdf1 #bookdeals #booklovers #aaromance #irromance #multicultural #diversebooks #kindle #ibooks #kobo #nook
Greetings my friends. Sorry it has been so long since I’ve done an email. Almost 2 years to be exact. I’d moved to Texas in 2018. In Texas, I was teaching and trying to survive being a single parent of two teens in a state far from my home and family. I did survive a year and came back to California in June 2019. So much has happened since then. 2020 came in with all kind of crazy…such as #BlackLivesMatter, Quarantine because of Covid 19. I hope you all are faring well through the madness and finding some solace.
I know that life is crazy right now and I’m hoping in this time of quarantine you and yours are thriving and surviving. I know how much a good read can make the difference and was so glad to get back into the groove of writing. I have several stories coming out and wanted to share.
I have a Facebook Readers group where I have other authors stop by, there are games, giveaways at times and interaction daily! Come join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1114070102066354/
In other news I have started a natural products business! Quarantine will make you find ways to keep sane for sure. Besides writing this has been a wonderful experience and so much fun. Right now I have mainly homemade soap. Check me out. You can find me on Facebook under N.P. Naturals here: https://www.facebook.com/NPNaturalsOne
Some pictures of the some of the soaps
And now on to the book news!
After a bitter divorce three years earlier, Dyani Delacroix has focused all her energy on her job as a professor at the local university. So, when her star student, Caleb Tegner, begins to flunk out, she immediately calls him in for a meeting. The last thing she expects is to be the one taught a lesson when Caleb unleashes a passion she can’t resist.
Available July 9th, 2020 on preorder now!
Indelible scars and memories chase us like ghosts.
He was supposed to be coming home. But not like this, never like this. I’d always dreamed that one day Quinton Grayson would be mine. Now he’s back and we’re both dealing with paralyzing guilt. Does wanting him make sense when I have the responsibility to take care of my nephew? Quinton is holding back; dare I find out why?
When you’re on the sand you’re supposed to leave everything there. Unfortunately, I’ve brought it back to Arlington Heights and Lyric Scott’s doorstep. My body reveals all the scars for everyone to see, but the ones on my soul are graver. Will she even look my way? What can I possibly offer her other than to keep the promise I made to her brother, my best friend who I couldn’t bring back?
We’re a ready-made family now, how can I walk away? But how can I allow her to deal with the demons at my door?
Available August 7th, 2020 on preorder now!
Book 2 (Undeniable Series)
She knows her heart is at risk
Professor Âine Reid has crushed on Darian Tisdale since college. She succumbed to his sexy charms more than once, but when he made it clear he only wanted friends with benefits, she friend-zoned him, no benefits on offer. Now co-workers up for the same tenure track promotion, Âine has more reason than ever to keep Darian at arm’s length. He tempts her like no other, but she values his friendship too much to take another risk with her heart.
Can he prove that he’s changed?
Darian knows he hurt Âine long ago. He wants to prove that he’s now ready for more and to take their friendship to the next, more permanent and sexy level. He thinks she feels the same except when she signs up for a dating site, Darian knows he has his work cut out for him. He’s all in for the challenge except there’s the career making promotion they are both up for.
Can their friendship and sizzling chemistry combust to create a win-win for them both?
Available September 14, 2020 on preorder now!
Orkut was a social media networking site launched in 2004 owned and operated by Google and named after its creator Orkut Büyükkökten a Google employee created that ended in 2014. The social media platforms purpose was for its users to be able to find communities. As stated by L. Meghan Mahoney and Tang Tang, “Community is a natural necessity for humans” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017 ). With that being said we can see why social media has become a hit and is addicting, is because its users want to find places where the feel they belong, where they can communicate with other users of like minds. Social media works because it allows consumers/users to communicate with each other as well as with the platform rather than the business or platform talking “with a mass audience with a single media message” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017). By giving users the ability to communicate on social media it allows them to share their experiences and stories.
Orkut was a user-friendly platform which made it easy for users to join and move through the site to join communities. It allowed its users to:
Rate other users on how sexy, cool and trustworthy they found each other
Privacy concerns for its users was high
Users could search for classmates and friends
Communities that users could join online schools, workplaces, and residential street groups
Allowed direct communication with others, recommend products and services to their friends with ease
Combine technology and culture (Mahoney & Tang, 2019).
Orkut was a leading social media site in Brazil. Because outdoor advertising is banned in Brazil there was a wave online marketing. According to Loren Baker there are several reasons Orkut was a hit in Brazil. Those reasons consisted of:
Brazilians are just very community-oriented.
Orkut is easy to pronounce in Portuguese making it easy to remember.
Users can prequalify the friends they make.
Mobility ease of use.
Competition, awards, fan citations, friendship offerings (Baker, 2009).
Being able to attract others in the community that had the same connections which built a strong community of “150,000 communities” (Mahoney & Tang, 2019). Orkut was a trailblazer in showing how to utilize social networking. In being one of the firsts, Orkut lost their advantage through:
Novelty wearing off.
Technology changing (growing) and not following the changes.
Stopped meeting the needs of their target audience.
Functionality problems with the website (Mahoney & Tang, 2019).
Competition such as Facebook used better coding and grew faster.
In order to continue to be a leader in social media a platform must keep up with technological advances as well as the needs of their target audience. Although the interface was user friendly, the issue of slow loading graphics, outdated coding, and something as simple as the homepage being the users profile versus, “…Facebook and Twitter both are different, because the home page is about other people. As soon as you log in, you see what others are doing” (Bhasin, 2018). Plain and simply put, Orkut fell short because they did not keep up with technology or their users needs. In this fast-paced world, a company must keep up with the newest tech to stay relevant and to keep their users attention. One thing I would suggest to Orkut which has rebranded to “Hello Network,” under the same website www.orkut.com and launched in India in 2018, is that they must research their competition, ask their users for feedback to find out what they want, and to use better coding. According to Dutta Moupiya, Orkut stated, “This app is built specifically for the new mobile-generation seeking to bring people together around their interests to create positive, meaningful, authentic connections” (Moupiya, 2018). One can hope that Orkut Büyükkökten has learned from the mistakes made with Orkut and that their Hello app will bring him much success and their users what they need and want.
What are the issues that you find with the platforms you use?
Bhasin, H. (2018, March 09). 7 marketing lessons from Orkut – orkut marketing lessons. Retrieved December 20, 2019, from https://www.marketing91.com/7-marketing-lessons-orkut/
Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2017). Strategic social media: From marketing to social change. Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.
Moupiya, D. (2018, April 11). New alternative to facebook, Orkut founder Launches hello app in India. Retrieved December 20, 2019, from https://www.techgenyz.com/2018/04/11/orkut-founder-launches-hello-app-india/
In America we have a lot of different apps to do a plethora of different things. Such as Facebook where you can share pictures, stories, comment on other users’ pictures and stories, as well as buy and sell things. There is also Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter to name a few more apps that we use consistently to share our world. In China, however they aren’t allowed to use outside apps as they are banned. They have Weixin (pronounced “way-shin”) which is also called WeChat. Weixin was founded in 2011 by Tencent and has quickly become the main social media platform that “allows its users to send messages, share news, and pictures via their mobile phone” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017) I find myself fascinated by the thought of having just one app that would take care of all my needs versus having to use several apps that clog up my cell phone and if I’m honest can be a time suck.
Reading the case study about Weixin, I have found out that the application is not only a “combination of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and eBay” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017), it is also user friendly. One would think with so much packed into an app that it would be hard to navigate because of complexity. Mahoney and Tang state, “Weixin allows its users to record messages by simply holding on one button and talking, which saves the trouble of typing Chinese characters on the phone” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017). To have such ease when trying to get a message out makes the app a dream application. There is also the fact that when news is being read on the application it doesn’t send the reader to an outside website the reader is linked directly to the URL within the app! Oh, how glorious that would be to have that function within the apps we currently use. Shannon Liao from The Verge says, “WeChat has 902 million daily users, and about 38 billion messages are sent on the platform every day. Last year, Tencent added mini-apps to WeChat, creating an app store of sorts: inside WeChat, you can play games, pay bills, find local hangouts, book doctor appointments, file police reports, hail taxis, hold video conferences, and access bank services. State-run media and government agencies also have official WeChat accounts, where they can directly communicate with users” (Liao, 2018). For instance, when I use Facebook a lot of the time the app will send me to the news website and completely take me out of Facebook. A true annoyance to be sure, because if I’m, using Facebook I want to use Facebook and not be redirected somewhere else.
It’s amazing that this one application has so many functions that are just helpful in everyday life. If this type of app came to America we would not need, Lyft, Uber, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, various news applications, banking apps and a whole lot more applications would become defunct. I honestly don’t see this happening here or perhaps anywhere else because that would most likely mean those other platforms would be out of business. There is also the fact that this app is a state-run application and as we know most of us don’t want the government in our business let alone in our applications. Tencent also pays attention to what their consumers want and need by adding campaigns that speak to those needs. One campaign in particular which had their users responding was their 2014 “Qiang Hongbao” campaign (Red Envelope), this campaign allowed for users to link their bank accounts to a Weixin account and send and receive virtual red envelopes. Mahoney and Tang say, “Red envelope is a traditional Chinese culture that includes a monetary gift that Chinese people give to their family and friends during holidays” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017).
China seriously has one app that rules their world and I find it fascinating. Ge Wang, Wei Zhang, and Runxi Zeng state, “In China specifically, socializing on WeChat has become an indispensable part of users’ everyday lives, and WeChat is the most important social media application for maintaining users’ online interpersonal relationships” (Wang, Zhang, & Zeng, 2019). What do you think? Would you like an app that did all those things this app can do? This application is part of China’s daily life because it involves all the things that they need to get through their day. Do you think such an application would be successful here in America? I’d like to think so, however as I stated before I think that other platforms would find some reason to not want it as it would interrupt our free enterprise.
Liao, S. (2018, February 01). How WeChat came to rule China. Retrieved December 07, 2019, from https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/1/16721230/wechat-china-app-mini-programs-messaging-electronic-id-system
Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2017). Strategic social media: From marketing to social change. Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.
Wang, G., Zhang, W., & Zeng, R. (2019). WeChat use intensity and social support: The moderating effect of motivators for wechat use. Computers in Human Behavior, 91, 244-251. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2018.10.010
Let’s face it everyone wants to be that person who does something great. If you want to get your target audience motivated you mobilize them by giving them a reason to act socially responsible as well as showing that you support a cause or charity.
According to L. Meghan Mahoney and Tang Tang in their book Strategic Social Media from Marketing to Social change, “Humans want to do the right thing” (Mahoney & Tang, 2019). For instance in October National Breast Cancer Awareness is celebrated by organizations, individuals, and businesses. Social media is one of the most popular places where those who are advocating for a cure will post. Doing something great has been made easier because of the invention and innovation of the internet. People are now able to click on links, search the net for causes and charities to donate to with ease without leaving their homes.
In the case study Breast Cancer Meme in Mahoney & Tang’s book states that, “Various forms of Internet memes circulate on Facebook to help spread awareness” (Mahoney & Tang, 2019). What better way to garner support for social good than to be where there are according to Statista, “2.45 billion monthly active users” (Statista, 2019). In order for cyberactivism to succeed those who want to make sure their message goes viral and encourages behavior change go where the “people” are.
The campaign involved private messages being sent to women where they were asked to, “put a single color as their status update” (Mahoney & Tang, 2019). This color signified the color of the bra the women were wearing along with their name. This action mobilized women and brought awareness to breast cancer. According to The Susan G Komen Foundation began Friday 8th January with 135 fans on their Facebook page. By 5:30 in the evening, they had 135,000. As of today they now have 138,606 fans” (Macleod, 2010). Social media and cyberactivism go hand in hand. If you want to create a buzz about something you believe in the best place to post that would be by using social media.
A few questions to make you think. What do you believe in? Do you think posting to a social media platform the best way to get your message out? What does change look like for you? A few questions to make you think. What do you believe in? Do you think posting to a social media platform the best way to get your message out? What does change look like for you?
Macleod, D. (2015, January 09). What color is your bra for breast cancer awareness. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2010/what-color-is-your-bra-for-breast-cancer-awareness/
Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2017). Strategic social media: From marketing to social change. Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.
Statista. (2019). Facebook users worldwide 2019. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/
As someone who has to wear glasses the options for places to buy them can seem vast. In my view, the idea of having to go into a doctor’s office and get an examine, then have to buy their glasses which can be very expensive can be tiring. Warby Parker is an online company that started in 2010 when a bunch of college students got together because they were unhappy with the choices for prescription glasses.
The classmates decided to start an online delivery center for sunglasses and prescription glasses which would open up avenues for those who couldn’t afford the high prices. traveling to stores, and the usual need of an appointment in order to see an eye doctor. The fact that the college students started a business from a seeming need is to be admired. The students saw a need and found a way to fill that need creatively.
One of the great things about this company is the fact that they make it easy in this fast-paced world to get the glasses you need without having to step foot out of your home. One of the great campaigns is the “Home Try-On Campaign” where customers can order five pairs of glasses, have them sent to them no charge and t hen find the pair they want and return the others at no charge. This would be something I would love to do because it gives me the chance to find something I like without all the hassle of going into the store and then I don’t have to pay to get them shipped to me or ship them back! What a deal.
The great thing about Warby Parker is that they respond to their customers comments on their social media which makes the customer feel like it’s not just about the money that the company makes but that they actually care about them as a person. Warby Parker’s use of social media isn’t done to just sell but to actually take the time to get to know their customers. By allowing their customers to generate content on their social media it gives their products a more personable feel and lessen the dissonance and disconnection that customers might feel in ordering online and not in person. As a consumer myself I find that if a company engages with me and allows me to put content on their sites it means that they are transparent and trustworthy.
The other fact that I love about Warby Parker’s as a company is that they are socially conscious and will give one pair of glasses to someone in need when a customer buys a pair of glasses. It was interesting to find out that Warby Parker to date has given out,500,000 pairs of glasses. A company willing to help others prove that they aren’t just in it to gain money. As a conscious buyer if I know a company is helping out others, I will tend to buy from that company because I feel good about my purchase being able to help others. A company who’s socially conscious is a company that cares about people.
I will preface this with the fact that I haven’t used Warby Parker’s services. However I have used other competitors such as Zenni.com and the like. For me the information about how Warby Parker does business is most helpful and may influence my next purchasing choice.
I’m curious. What makes you go to a certain company and buy their product or service?
Coming May 22, 2018, in the Down and Dirty boxset! Blurred Lines
Meet Phaedra Sims and Rocco De Angelis. Their attraction to each other has come to a boiling point. The issue is, is that they shouldn’t even be on each other’s radar.
Sgt. De Angelis and his assigned help need to find a way to get the job done without crossing the line. But how easy it would be to blur the lines and take what each of them needs and want to let the healing begin.
Phaedra Sims had taken the job at the prison to block out the memories in her head as she helps to heal others. Memories of a love that died too soon. Sergeant Rocco De Angelis is a man who has proven his dedication to his job over himself. Phaedra can’t deny the chemistry between them. Rocco plans to make sure she doesn’t. Healing the heart and soothing the soul will definitely be blurring the lines.
Available for preorder for just 99¢!
I can’t believe that the first book in my Undeniable series is here! It’s Complicated featuring Keiko Jarrett and Ashton Locke! Friends turned lovers! I’m so excited to share with you an excerpt of their love story.
Ashton Locke has had a thing for Keiko Jarrett since college. So when she proposes adding friends with benefits to the mix, he’s intrigued, but wary. Sure, he’s always wanted her, and is definitely not ready to settle down with anyone, but what happens if one of them crosses the line?
Keiko is ready to take her flirty friendship with Ashton to the next level of hot. But she never bargained for feelings to intrude and cause complications. She laughed at Ashton’s hesitation and promised she’d remain heart-whole.
Some promises are meant to be broken and as Keiko and Ashton’s benefits bleed in all aspects of their lives, Keiko needs to convince Ashton that love is worth the risk.
“Repeat that again?” Ashton was sure he hadn’t heard what Keiko had said to him.
He looked at the dark-haired beauty with the stunning mocha-colored skin, who was also his friend, and wondered if she was daft.
She’d taken him from the group and asked him to go inside to help her with the hors d’oeuvres and, while he was arranging the veggies and fruit onto a tray she’d given him, she’d dropped this bombshell on him. He’d almost let go of the grapes but managed to catch them when he turned to look at her.
“I want us to take our relationship to a different level. I want to be your fuck buddy.”
“Okay, who are you and where have you taken Keiko?”
She giggled softly as she continued to fix the tray with cheese, meat, and crackers as if she hadn’t just told him she wanted them to fuck. Not that the thought of fucking her hadn’t passed through his mind a time or two since knowing her. But this was Keiko, his friend and not some random girl.
“Hear me out, Ashton, before you say no, please?” She stopped messing with the tray and looked into his eyes.
Leaning back against the counter in the cozy kitchen, he waved his hand for her to continue. God, he hoped he wasn’t going to regret letting her continue. He probably should have stopped her and walked away. “Go ahead Kei.”
“Well, I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I’m tired of the games that dating brings. So, I thought what better way to still have the benefits of a relationship and none of the drama than to date my best male friend. That best friend being you. Besides, you want me, you’ve said so yourself.”
She had hit the nail squarely on the head with the comment about him wanting her and having stated it before. He wasn’t about to deny that, but to actually have sex with her and keep their friendship intact? How would they manage that? It didn’t seem to be possible to have sex with her and not have it run into the emotional issues.
“How in the world do you expect us to have sex and remain friends, Kei?” They had a strong friendship. If this turned into anything but lust there would be problems. His parents proved that to him repeatedly. He saw a wicked glint hit her eyes and he was in for it. She put down the cucumber she’d been cutting, wiped her hands, and came around the counter to stand directly in front of him.
She pressed her lush body to his and wrapped her arms around his neck as she looked up at him with her beautiful chocolate-brown-colored doe eyes.
“Easy. I’ll show you. Kiss me, Ash. You and I’ve been doing this dance way too long.”
Charlotte Austen has been in love with her two best friends, Chris and Drew Malcom, since high school, but choosing between them was never an option. The day she said goodbye to them was a painful one, especially since she thought she would never see them again. Ten years and one visit later changes everything.
Alaskan tiger shifters, Chris and Drew, have never gotten over Charlotte. The fact that they were both in love with her was never the problem … being destined for a mate, however, was. They reach out to her, hoping to find a way to resume their friendship. The three of them get an unsuspected surprise when they see each other again.
The trio’s happy discovery does not come without a price. Jealousy and prejudice threaten to destroy the budding romance. Will Chris and Drew be able to stop the threat before they lose the love of their lives forever?
Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079P45XYW
Amazon Fr: https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B079P45XYW
Drew pulled her to him and kissed her fiercely. She heard a low growl coming from the back of his throat and that only turned her on more. She had heard growls emanating from them before and quite a bit in the past two days, confusing them for simple male grunting sounds, but now she knew that the sound was a far more primal one. Soon after, his kiss turned playful, as he first licked the top of her lip and then nipped it. She moaned at the sensation and felt her nipples harden against his chest and her belly contracted with excitement, all modesty forgotten.
She had thought about what her first kiss would feel like with them, but her thoughts had paled in comparison with this reality. She moaned again, louder this time, when Drew pulled back slightly and cupped her breasts. Chris moved in closer from behind and began to gift her with kisses to the nape of her neck, gliding his hands up and down her sides.
Drew ended their kiss with another playful bite, but to her bottom lip this time. He exhaled loudly, while she tried to catch her breath. “You should get some more rest,” he said with regret.
“I have done nothing but sleep for the last two days.” Rest was the last thing she wanted right now. “Please don’t stop.”
“Mmm … I can smell her desire,” Chris said right before he tugged on her earlobe with his teeth.
Drew closed his eyes as he inhaled. “You smell delicious.”
“You can—” Charlotte did not have a chance to finish her sentence. Chris tilted her head to deliver another breath-stealing kiss, leaving his hand splayed right under her neck. Charlotte threw her arms up and over behind Chris’s neck.
Drew wasted no time in taking advantage of her inviting position. He cupped her breasts again before bringing them closer together and sucked hard on her nipples in turn. “You have such beautiful breasts,” he murmured against as he continued to lavish his attention on them.
Chris let loose another sexy growl as she tugged on his hair. He used his free hand to glide down her belly, moving the covers away from her body. She nearly convulsed when his fingers made contact with her soaking-wet pussy. She wanted his fingers inside her, but he only toyed with her at first, rubbing her lips, parting them, and then rubbing the wet flesh between. “I want a taste,” he said, cupping her firmly.
She let out an incoherent sound of agreement.
“Lay down, baby,” Drew said, releasing her breasts.
She complied, positioning herself on her back and then she boldly spread her legs in invitation. Chris moved between them. He massaged her breasts and then ran his hands down the length of her torso to her thighs as if his hands were memorizing her body. “You’re so fucking beautiful, Char.”
Drew lay down beside her. “Chris and I are going to acquaint ourselves with every beautiful inch of you, and then when you are ready, we are going to claim you, permanently.”
About Elena Kincaid
Elena Kincaid is an award-winning and Amazon best-selling author. She writes Paranormal and Contemporary Romances. She developed a passion for reading and writing at an early age, and loves to write what she loves to read, usually romance with a paranormal twist. Her desk is constantly cluttered with journals, sticky notes, and torn-out pieces of paper full of ideas.
She was born in Ukraine and raised in New York, where she currently lives with her daughter. She graduated college with a BFA in creative writing, and in addition to writing, she also started a graphic design business a few years after graduating. When not working, Elena loves to spend time with her family, travel the globe, curl up with a good book, and catch up on her soaps.
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/elenakincaidthree
Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SMEstreetteam/
He’s the demigod of her dreams and she’s got a lineage that she can’t hide from. Will a nightmare demon steal it all away, or will these two souls find their destiny together?
Somnus spent his time walking in the dreams of others. He ghosted in and out of their lives, unseen, giving them the magic they needed to dream. Nightmares were unusually high, so he slipped into one of his favorite charge’s dream. That’s when she saw him. Really saw him. Against all odds and against all the rules, Rachel could see him.
Rachel has something special about her, a lineage that she is unaware of, that not only draws Somnus’ attention, but the nightmare demon as well. Somnus must protect her, even from herself.
Get ready for a wild ride as Rachel and Somnus come to terms with her heritage, the demon, and their shared destiny.
Somnus stared at the child sleeping before him. He was a five-year-old with blond hair and blue eyes. The little guy had tossed and turned for an hour before he finally calmed down enough to allow sleep to claim his little body.
Somnus held out his hand and willed his magic to flow from himself to the child. It moved along the air like a cloud of golden glitter, settling on the child’s blond head. The child’s eyes began to move under their lids and a small smile lit the boy’s face. Somnus took a quick peek and saw that the boy was laughing in his dream. He was playing on a playground with other kids, running and climbing like a young boy should be. Somnus had visited the boy enough times to know that the bruises on his delicate skin were not caused by a playground accident. He took some measure of comfort knowing that if only for a short time, he could relieve the boy’s angst from his real life in a dream.
Satisfied with himself, Somnus ghosted to the next person on his list for the night. He liked his job. Giving people the ability to dream was nothing short of a necessary miracle and he did it well. Dreams allowed the mind to make sense of what happened during their waking hours. Long term memories are formed in sleep and sometimes dreams served as a means of relief from the stress of living. Like in the case of the young boy who was beaten daily by his father. Somnus would have throttled that man if he could, but as a demigod, it was forbidden for him to interfere like that. Hell, it was forbidden for him to interfere whatsoever. He could only give the person the ability to dream. Somnus could start the dream in a good place, but ultimately it was up to the dreamer as to where the dream went from where he started it. If he wasn’t aware that it would drive the father insane, he would deny him the ability to dream. Humans, of all races, needed to dream in order to sort out their thoughts and feelings. To deny one the ability to dream long term would deny their minds the time to regroup. There would be no getting over a bad day. There would be no letting painful emotions go. After a time, the mind would short circuit and the person would go crazy. However, that wouldn’t be helpful to the boy either.
It was pushing three a.m. when Somnus arrived at the home of his most interesting charge. He liked to pretend that he didn’t wait anxiously for the tiny little signal in his brain that told him she had fallen asleep. Her name was Rachel, and every night she took the dream magic he gave her and twisted it into something terrifying. It was no wonder she barely slept, he thought to himself. He wouldn’t either if he saw the things she did in dreams.
He stood over her, nothing more than a ghost in his form, watching her breathe. Her short, dark hair spiked up around her face and head in stark contrast to the white pillow case beneath her. She had long black lashes that cast the slightest shadow across her high cheekbones. His gaze followed the lines of her face down her nose to her full red lips. It wasn’t bad that he knew that was the natural color of her lips at all. He pretended that he didn’t feel a tug of longing in his gut as he looked at her. Somnus wanted all his charges to have good dreams, but this woman was special. Maybe it was because she had so much trouble in that area that he felt the need to help her more than the others. Maybe it was because her ability to conjure some really scary shit in her sleep intrigued him. Or maybe it was because he was a man and she was beautiful. No matter how he tried to dress it up, she was his favorite and he was a little obsessed with her. Okay, he was a lot obsessed with her.
Shaking his head, Somnus allowed his magic to flow. As the golden dream dust settled over her head, Rachel began to dream. I’ll just take a quick peek, he thought, before walking into her dream.
Rachel was dancing in a rose garden, surrounded by beauty and wonder. Her eyes shined brightly; the cobalt blue reflecting the light and seeming to shimmer in the sunlight. This was what he wanted for her, Somnus thought. To be happy in her dreams, to have a little bit of peace. He watched from the edge of her subconscious, feeling better about the amount of magic he used on her with each passing minute. When she laughed aloud, the sound was like music to his ears. He had done well.
Just as he turned to leave her, Rachel’s dream began to change. Dark storm clouds moved in and cluttered the sky, lightning flashed and Somnus could almost smell the ozone in the air. The entire mood of the dream changed instantly. Rachel looked confused for a moment, but then she changed as well. It was as if she had been expecting this. That was impossible, though. Humans did not have any control in their dreams. Somnus knew he should leave, but he couldn’t. He was completely mesmerized by the way Rachel prepared herself for what she knew was to come. She pulled in a deep breath as if to steel her courage, fisted her hands at her sides, and turned around to face whatever danger had come for her.
The dream did not disappoint. From the dark clouds, a form took shape. It was blurry at first, but as the clouds moved and swirled, a large figure became clear. It stood on two legs and had two arms, but that was where the resemblance to any human ended. On top of its head were two huge curved horns that curled around its head behind its pointed ears. Its skin was the color of hot coals, its eyes black and emotionless. It ran in Rachel’s direction and she screamed.
The thing looked like a demon. It ran after Rachel, snarling and slashing at her with its sharpened claws. Rachel was fast though, and kept just enough ahead of it. The scenery changed from a garden to the inner city, and Somnus watched as Rachel maneuvered through the empty streets. He knew he shouldn’t still be there, but he couldn’t help but watch. His heart pounded in his chest, waiting to see that Rachel made it out of the dream safely.
She rounded the corner of a building and came to an immediate stop right in front of Somnus. “You!” she accused. Somnus looked around to see who she was talking to. “Stop that!” she shrieked. “You know I’m talking to you. You’re always here!”
“What?” Somnus barked out. Surely he was the one dreaming. She couldn’t see him, could she?
Thunderous footsteps followed her and became louder. “We don’t have time for this,” Rachel informed him, grabbing his hand. “We have to run.”
“I don’t think so,” Somnus replied. How the hell was she touching him?
“Whatever,” Rachel told him. “It’s your funeral.” And then, she was gone. Awakened from her dream. Somnus watched as the dream world dissipated, and he was once again standing in Rachel’s bedroom. That was by far the strangest thing he had ever witnessed in the dream world.
“Why are you in my house?” Rachel demanded, sitting up and looking right at him. “You have some explaining to do. Start talking before I call the cops.”
Somnus didn’t know what to think. He was good and properly gobsmacked. This was unprecedented and he was at a complete loss. He was ghosted, but yet, she could see him. That wasn’t supposed to be possible, and yet here she was, staring him down, demanding answers. He had no clue what to say to her, but he had to start somewhere. “Why don’t we start with how the hell you can see me?”
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