Books: New Wounds, Book 5 of the Step Into Darkness Series.

Hey, y’all! Sorry I missed last week’s post. I was gearing up for the release of the beauty above! After almost 15 years, the series is complete! I’m excited, amazed, and frankly, a little in shock. After growing up with these characters it’s interesting not to have another story of their’s to write. To be able to share them with the world is such an amazing feeling and I thank everyone who has, and continues to welcome them into their hearts and onto their bookshelves.

Here’s a little excerpt for you!

New Younds

6:15 p.m. June 2, McMicken, Ohio

Justine juggles an alabaster plastic bag of orange chicken in one hand, with Arika’s dripping paper bag of takeout from her favorite soup shop in the other.

Arika fumbles with her apartment key. “Sorry! I have too many keys.” She mutters beneath her breath about sloppy packaging.

“Need some help?” Blake nudges by Justine and holds his phone’s flashlight to light the doorknob for Arika.

“Thanks—” Arika’s face falls when she meets his eye, and she glances at Justine.

Here we go. “What brings you by, Blake?”

He shifts from one foot to the other when the door opens, and she edges by him.

Arika drops her bag on the couch. “Are you coming in or decorating the hallway for the night?”

He peeks the way he’d come and twirls his phone for a moment before following them.

There goes my lunch for tomorrow. She grabs a couple of bowls from the cabinet above the sink and dishes out the food. “Hungry?”

He takes the offered bowl and the three settle at the card table to chew in silence.

Sweetness and spice blanket her tongue while she fidgets in her seat. Okay, are we going to sit here listening to mouth sounds, or is someone going to speak before I scream?

“Enough, I don’t care if Blake is here,” Arika waves her spoon toward him, “something happened at the hospital. Spill.”

“What are you—”

“Girl, please. I know the difference between quiet with my thoughts and my mind has been blown.”

She glances at him and shifts in her seat. “I don’t—”

“Come on, you can’t dangle that in front of me and not share the news.” He pauses with his forkful of orange chicken halfway to his mouth, a few grains of rice falling on the floor.

Arika groans. “Okay, let’s clear the air. You two are friends; I’m not a fan of Blake’s—no offense—you did my girl dirty with that kiss—and there’s something weird going on with Eric and Blake.”

His eyes widen.

“Oh, hush, you don’t get to be shocked.” Arika grabs an ice cube out of her glass and chucks it at him. “Either we’re all friends of Justine’s, or you ought to leave. Are you friend or foe?”

“Friend!” His yell makes Justine jump and he drops his fork. “S-sorry. I suck with timed answer stuff.”

“Settled. Justine, roommate-dearest—Spill it now.”

She snorts and her mind blanks for a moment. “Wait, you’re serious?”

“As a murder,” he wags a brow.

Weird choice of words… She sets aside her bowl and her fingers slip to her pocket where Eric’s letter waits. Pulling out the paper, she takes a deep breath. “He was drugged out of his mind—I’m not sure he even wanted me to have this, much less to share it with anyone.”

Before she can react, Blake snatches the page from her and pushes away from the table.

“Hey!”

“The way to deal with this is to rip the bandage off.” He gestures with the paper between himself and Arika. “Now, choose who does the honors.”

She plants her palms on the table, bolting up to swipe it from his grasp. “They’re Eric’s vows! To me.”

Arika’s jaw drops.

“Are you going to read them?” he says.

She opens her mouth and shuts it again while his eyes drill into her. “Why—”

“You two split and got back together, and split again before he saved you and pushed a man off the roof—”

“Woah!” Arika glares at him. “Boy, shut it. You know nothing about what happened.”

“Stop, both of you.” Justine takes a deep breath. Wow, he has a thing about this. What did he see as a kid? “I’m not reading it right now, and it’s not okay for you to pressure me into it, Blake.”

His shoulders slump a bit, but he settles into his chair and picks up his bowl.

“Why do you have such a thing about what happened to her stalker-rapist-ex-stepfather?”

Justine chokes on her forkful of rice.

Blake’s cheeks go scarlet. “Her what?”

She sinks into her chair.

Arika covers her mouth, her face paling. “I’m so sorry, I—” “No.” She takes a deep breath. “I have to stop running from this, and for me that means being honest with my friends.” Her hands quake and she folds her arms. “Blake, I’ve told you Dirk—my stepfather—and I didn’t get along.” She swallows and holds his gaze. “He tried to rape me…

To grab this book, or any of my others, visit my author site by clicking here.

As always, thank you so much for spending a little time in my imagination! See y’all next week!

Sincerely,

Justina

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