Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Midnight Mist

By Ralph E. Horner
Paranormal Romantic Suspense, 387 pages
Cover art by Richard Stroud


An enchanted ring sends Melody ahead one hundred years in time to reunite her with her true love. Jeff is overwhelmed to see her, but discovers that Alice, Melody's mentally disturbed sister, has time-traveled with her. Jeff must locate Alice to regain possession of the ring, and at the same time protect Melody from her sister’s deadly attacks.


From behind, Jeff held Alice’s face down, grasping her left hand, searching for the ring. It wasn’t on any of the fingers of that hand. She kicked back, slamming him on the shin. As she thrashed, Jeff put his knee on her lower back, trying to keep control over her. Pain coursed through him as Alice sank her teeth into his forearm. Clenching his teeth in misery, he held up her right hand and saw the gold ring on her index finger. She continued to bite hard on his arm, making it feel like her canines were going all the way through to the bone, but he still managed to grab the ring. Sparks exploded off his hand. Like touching a hot frying pan, he instinctively let go.

Several people watched, making no attempt to stop the fight, thinking they were both men.

Blood ran down Jeff’s sleeve to the pavement as Alice finally let his arm go. She grasped her right index finger with her left hand. Jeff knew she was attempting to make an escape by going back in time. He grabbed her left hand, trying to keep her from removing the ring. Sparks exploded, as Jeff made contact with the ring again, but he held on this time, even though it felt as if he were holding a lit match. He watched in horror as Alice slowly slid the ring toward the tip of her finger. As hard as he tried, he could not stop her from slipping it off. He suddenly found himself struggling with her in the grass next to a narrow road. They had gone back to eighteen ninety-three together.

Alice held the ring tightly in her left palm. Jeff tried in vain to force her hand open. He pulled her short-haired wig off and her long black hair fell down onto her shoulders. As Alice tried to turn toward him, he slammed her wrist on the ground several times trying to break her grip. Jeff was stunned by an elbow crashing into his jaw, disorientating him momentarily. Alice twisted toward him and sprayed something from a tube into his eyes. Jeff covered his face and yelled, feeling like his eyes would burn out of their sockets. More of the mist hit the back of his hand. It had to be Mace.

“Hey, leave him alone,” came the sound of a man’s voice.

Now blind and helpless, pain shot through Jeff’s side as Alice kicked him hard in the ribs. Then came another rib-cracking blow to the same area. Jeff moaned and covered his head in fear she’d strike there next.

“I guess we’ll have to stop you,” still another man’s voice. Jeff realized there were two men coming toward them. He could hardly open his eyes and his vision was so bad it was like looking through wax paper. Jeff could see that Alice was running away. Then two men knelt next to him.

“Are you hurt badly, Mister?” one of the men asked. “Your arm’s bleeding.”

“What can we do for you, son?” The other man lowered his head, gazing into Jeff’s face.

“Water!” Jeff thrashed his head and rubbed his eyes. “Hurry! I need water for my eyes.”

“I’ll be right back.” The man took off on a run.

“Try to relax there, Mister.” The man rubbed his shoulder.

Jeff lay on his stomach moaning and shaking his head. His eyes were in too much pain to be concerned about the fact that he was trapped in another time. He was having trouble breathing.

“Here comes Larry now. He’s running with a whole bucket of water. I hope he doesn’t spill it all before he gets here, though.”

Larry set the pail down in the grass next to them. Jeff got up on his knees and bent over it, scooping out water with his hands and splashing his eyes as fast as he could. The water soon became a discolored red from the blood of his wound. He finally dunked his entire face into the water, rubbed his eyes and forced them open. When he took his head out of the bucket, his vision was slightly better, but his eyes burned as if someone had scrubbed them with steel wool. At the World’s Fair, he had used Mace on Alice to get her knife, and now she had used the same weapon on him.

“Are you feeling any better?” Larry asked.

Through blurred vision, Jeff saw a thin, blond man wearing a straw hat and a handlebar mustache.

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