Carol Schoenig-Author

Mystic Desire Anthology – Love That Binds

Love that Binds

This short story took me out of my comfort level.  The parameters were a Fantasy, Paranormal with romance.

I invite you to read the first chapter.

Love That Binds

Chapter One

The squeaky, high-pitched voices of the girls chanting made Ianthee run faster. She ran past the aged wooden sign announcing the town of Hecate (Heckatee) that sat at the edge of town. She wondered if it was the town or the Greek and Roman underworld goddess they named it after that fueled the townspeople’s beliefs in ghosts, witchcraft, and curses.

Just past the edge of town, she ran into a wooded area hoping to lose them. Their voices got closer and closer as they chased her into the woods. Fearing what they might do to her if they caught her, she began to cry. Tears ran down her face and blurred her vision. Her toe hit a rock and she fell face first into the mud. The girls laughed and chanted, “Muddy witch,” as they formed a half circle around her. Her body was wired tight as a bowstring and on the edge of hysteria as the mob edged closer.

The sound of leaves rustling and footsteps coming closer made her heart beat faster. The taunting had stopped and had been replaced by silence.

She turned toward the sound. “Are you all right?” Ianthee saw a pair of large brown hiking boots. The sound of his deep, yet soft voice was mesmerizing.

“Yes,” Ianthee said around the sob trapped in her throat.

“Here, let me help you up.” He put his arm around her waist and helped her to her feet. “My name is Caleb Oster.”

She looked up into sapphire blue eyes. He pulled out a handkerchief and started to clean her face. As he gently wiped her cheeks she studied his features, a square-shaped face with stubble spread sparsely over his jaw, chin, and cheek.

Ianthee had heard girls at school talk about Caleb. He was sixteen, played football, and was one of the few boys that drove a car.

Ianthee heard the girls gasp. Then one of them said, “You better not get too close to her. She’ll put a spell on you.”

Ianthee wondered if he had heard the name the girls called her. Better yet, she wondered if he had heard the rumors in town. If he hadn’t, it wouldn’t be too long before he did. Rumors about how her mother and grandmother had used witchcraft to cure some elderly of rashes, arthritis, and a host of other ailments ran rampant among the town people.

“My name is Ianthee.”

He tilted his head. “Ianthee. That’s an unusual name. What does it mean?”

The way he’d said her name, so soft it was almost like a whisper, made her want to swoon. It was so different from the way the mean girls pronounced it in their bullying chants, “Eye on Thee is a witch.” She hated the way they pronounced her name as if the syllables were separate words.

She smiled up at him. “It means the hunter’s daughter.”

“Is your father a hunter?”

“Yes, but he’s dead.”

“I’m sorry!”

He continued to wipe the mud from her face. She began to shiver from her wet clothes. She felt like her heart stopped when he took off his sweater off. The girls were still watching them. They had turned their teasing chants on Caleb.

“Don’t touch her. You’re going to get warts all over you,” one chanted.

He didn’t deserve their meanness, and her sadness became mixed with anger. Warmth and a feeling of being nurtured swept through her when he wrapped the sweater around her and tears hovered in her eyes as he pulled her closer. Caleb lifted her chin, compelling her to look at him. She swayed as his face came closer. It was as if magnets drew their mouths together. She thought she was floating when his lips finally touched hers.

“Ew, she will cast a spell on you. She’s liable to turn you into a frog,” another warned.

“Or make you disappear,” someone else added.

He pulled away and looked into her eyes. “You wouldn’t do that, would you?”

She shook her head. “I have no such power, even if I wanted to.”

 

The Caretaker

The Caretaker

Chapter 1

“Mom, you can’t do this.”

Phae sucked in a deep breath and counted to ten. “Kera, I am your mother. I am 64 years old. I can do whatever I want. I appreciate your concern. But I’m going whether you like it or not.”

Pinching her bottom lip, Kera said, “I think you should see a doctor mom. I don’t believe that you’re being rational.”

Phae glared at her daughter. She didn’t know if she wanted to laugh, cry or be angry. She could feel a knot forming in her stomach as indignation jolted through her body. “What are you insinuating Kera? That I can’t make decisions for myself?” Phae could feel her face getting warm as her temper flared. “I can assure you I have been making decisions for this family since before you were born. Always putting everyone else’s needs and wants first.”
Phae took a deep breath. She looked across the room to where Kera stood with her palm over her mouth and her eyes shimmering with tears. For an instant, Phae saw a little twelve-year-old girl who needed her mother’s understanding, not the 38-year-old teacher and mother of three that Kera had become.
I’m handling this poorly; she thought. I don’t want to argue with my daughter. She walked over to Kera and wrapped an arm around her.
“I’m sorry mom. I didn’t mean for it to sound like I think you’re incompetent.”
Leading Kera over to the bed, she pushed aside the packing.

“Sit Kera. Maybe I can help you understand. ”
Phae began to pace and wring her hands, contemplating how to explain her decision without sounding as if she regretted her life.
”I didn’t finish college. I worked and supported my parents and siblings adding to the family coffers. When I met your dad, I was taking a few night courses on architecture. I dreamt of becoming an architect and design fabulous buildings. I dreamed of going to Europe to see the ancient ruins and the architecture in Italy, Greece, and Spain.”
Phae expelled a whoosh of breath. “Your father swept me off my feet at nineteen. We got married, and I left my parents house and moved in with your father. I was blessed with two beautiful children. Your brother was a honeymoon baby, and you came along two years later. Your dad didn’t want me to work. He believed he was the breadwinner, and we would get by on what he brought home. Life pulled me along, and I went wherever anyone needed me to be. I was happy with my life. I took care of you kids and took care of my parents and your dad’s parents when they got old until they passed on.

“Kera, I don’t regret my life. I loved your father; I love being a mom and grandmother, but at this stage of my life, I need an adventure. I want an adventure. I want to see a little of the world before I die.

“I had hoped when your father retired he might be more open to traveling. He died before we even had a chance to discuss it. With pleading eyes, she implored Kera to understand. I’m not waiting for someday anymore. My someday is here. I want to take advantage of this opportunity to live in Mallorca Spain, to see the things I’ve always wanted to see. I want to be on my own and not have to worry about pleasing anyone but myself. I know you are concerned for me tell me what you are afraid of…. “I’m worried about if you get sick or have a heart attack, or get mugged.”

Phae shrugged. “Even if I didn’t go those are all possibilities.” Phae walked over to the dresser. She picked up her cell phone and two boxes. “I got a new cell phone number that permits me to call or text internationally. As a going away gift, I bought you and your brother each one.”

“What if you decide not to come back? “

Phae looked over the top of her glasses and smiled. “Really? This is my home. My family is here. You, your brother, my wonderful grandchildren. Besides, I’m looking forward to you all coming for a visit.”

Kera cocked her head to one side and responded with, “Mom what am I supposed to do for nine months while you are away?”

“Live your life, honey. That is what I am going to be doing.”Kera rose and hugged her. “I’ll miss you. And I’ll still worry. Send lots of pictures, okay?”

Phae stroked her daughter’s cheek pushing hair away from her fair face. “I’ll miss you too. Now help me finish packing.”

Works in Progress (WIP)

Works in Progress

This is where readers can find out what’s in my pipeline if it’s a novel or short story.

The titles are “working titles”  the publisher or I may decide to change them before the completion of the story.

I appreciate and need your feedback.  Let me know what you like to read or what you think of some of my ideas.

Keep reading!

Faux Love

Is targeted to be an 80,000-word novel.  Currently, 85% of the way written.  The main characters are Hauck Deveraux and Andrea (Andie) Brewster.

Several years ago, Andie was in an accident.  She lost her leg, her career, and her fiance.  Believing she is not desirable she protects herself from losing her heart.

To keep her sister from going to jail, she finds herself playing the role of fiance to a billionaire.

Intrique, suspicion, and attraction find Hauck and Andie connecting to one another.  How will she tell him about her leg?  How can she get back to the life she had? What secrets does Hauck have?