KAREN: Stephanie Burkhart pens heartwarming tales that are rich with fascinating details. Whether your reading fancy is Historical, Paranormal or a good Steampunk Adventure, this author will keep you on the edge of your seat. Stephanie's Flash Fiction, Esmeralda, takes the readers to the circus for a really big show! Grab your popcorn and peanuts for this spine-chilling paranormal tale.
***GIVEAWAY: Stephanie will be offering a print copy of The Hungarian to one lucky commenter. Read on and find out how you may add this treat to your goody bag.
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A paranormal flash fiction by: Stephanie Burkhart
Jason popped up from the New York subway and began making his way toward work. Tall, gray buildings littered the streets so he couldn't see the sun, just shadows. He accepted them as a part of his life, never uncomfortable or ill at ease when surrounded by them. Familiar scents and people waited near him as he stood next to the pedestrian sign. The light flashed and Jason stepped off the curb. A dark haired woman, slender and tone, dressed in a colorful burgundy dress and a silk scarf around her neck thrust a flyer into his hand. His gaze connected with hers. The blood accelerated through his veins.
"Come to the circus," she whispered smoothly.
Jason glanced at the flyer, noticing a gypsy circus from Romania was in a small town just outside of the city. Intriguing. The last time he'd gone, he was a small boy and it was a happy memory, though he thought the clowns were creepy.
"Will I see you there?" he asked.
"Do you want to?" She stepped close to him, invading his space. Sweet jasmine teased the curve of her neck, inviting him to taste. He swallowed and flexed his fingers, holding himself in check.
"Well, why else would I want to go?" he asked, aware of the heat pricking his cheeks.
She licked her lips. "You'll find me on the trapeze."
"I'm Jason. What's your name?"
Her cat-like eyes fluttered. "Esmeralda."
He glanced at the flyer again and when he looked up, she had disappeared into the crowd.
Jason took the train to get the circus. Bright tents lit up the horizon, but he could care less about the other attractions. He'd go to a zoo if he wanted to see exotic animals. He was eager to see Esmeralda fly through the air and spend some time with her after the show.
Gray storm clouds began to collect overhead. The trapeze was in the big tent, stuffed to capacity so Jason stood near the back. Esmeralda flew overhead from swing to swing, doing flips and twists that seemed almost too daring for any normal woman. For her finale, she flipped off the swing, landed squarely on her feet, blew kisses to the crowd, and then ran out of the arena with feline-like grace. Jason pushed passed by the people around him, intent on finding the woman who had haunted his dreams since he'd met her.
There were a series of performers' tents behind the show tents. Jason had no idea which one belonged to her. He passed each until a faint whiff of jasmine drifted past his nose. The sun sank closer to the horizon casting long shadows over the canvas shelters. Anticipation raced through his veins, then was replaced with a nervous apprehension he couldn't explain. He approached her tent and peeled back a part of the heavy cloth entrance door.
"Esmeralda, it's Jason."
"Yes, your scent is enough to drive me wild." Her seductive voice lowered his defenses.
A clown walked by and his painted smile unnerved Jason. "Don't do it. Don't go inside. She'll eat you alive," said the clown.
Jason ignored the warning and walked inside. Darkness surrounded him. A match sizzled. A flame lit a candle casting inky shadows around a lupine face. Yellow cat-like eyes froze Jason in place. Hair covered Esmeralda's face. Jason backed up toward the exit. His stomach knotted with fear. The wolf lunged out, grabbed his wrist, clutched his head to her breast and howled.
"The Hungarian" is Book 1 in the Budapest Moon Series, a paranormal romance with werewolves and witches.
About the Book: Dare Matthias risk his dark secret for Katherine's love?
Happily Ever After Reviews, 5 Cups
"This is an excellent book and I think fans of both the paranormal and historical romances will really, really enjoy it."
You Gotta Read Reviews - You Need to Read, Lupa
I was so very happily surprised by this book. The characters are enchanting, the scenes are vividly written, and the story has a fantastic flow. I really enjoyed the warm love and fiery passion that seemed to leap off the page.
Sizzling Hot Book Reviews, 5 Hearts
"I highly recommend The Hungarian, even if you aren't that interested in the paranormal such as werewolves. The romantic tale of The Hungarian is enough to win over anyone."
ENJOY THIS EXCERPT
The door squeaked open and Katherine peeked over the top of her book. A tall, muscular man walked in wearing a white button-down shirt and holding his blazer. He paused, as if surprised to find her, and then walked toward the window, his stride easy. He moved with wolf-like prowess, his long legs taking cool, calculated steps as his unusual eyes surveyed her. Katherine bit the inside of her lip, returning his measured perusal with one of her own. His silence was unnerving, yet intriguing.
His eyes drew her to him -- malachite green with a gold ring around the iris. Dynamic. Expressive. Even now, as he looked at her, they softened and grew translucent. He stopped in front of the window and casually threw his blazer onto a nearby chair as if he owned the room.
"Hello," he said.
"I am? I thought you were staring at me."
He chuckled. "Perhaps I was admiring you."
"Who else is here?"
Katherine pursed her lips as her insides warmed from the deep silkiness of his voice. He smiled and walked to her chair, slowly gliding around it, tracing his finger over the leather headrest, skirting her curly hair.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"And who is inquiring?" She tried to sound cool and composed, but she had to fight the nervous temptation to play with her hands.
"Then my name is Juliet."
A teasing smile graced his lips as he walked out from behind her chair and glanced at a bookshelf before turning to look at her again.
"Would you fall for Tristan?"
"Only if my name were Isolde."
He walked over to a wooden table near the window and ran his long finger over a clay mock-up of Excalibur lodged in a stone. "What do you think of Arthur? Do you think it suits me?"
"Only Guinevere would believe your name was Arthur."
He crossed his arms, his eyes sparkling in the sunlight. "Would you believe my name was Matthias?"
"I might, if--"
"If I knew more about you."
BOOK TRAILER ON YOU TUBE:
***GIVEAWAY: "The Hungarian" is also available in print. I'll be offering a print copy of The Hungarian to one lucky commenter. I'd love to get questions about the novel or series. I know autumn is the air – what's your favorite pie? Don't forget to leave your email in the comment so I can get a hold of you.
About the Author:
Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. She grew up in New Hampshire and joined the US Army in 1986. Stephanie spent 7 years stationed overseas in Germany. In 1997 she left the Army and in 2000 joined LAPD. She adores chocolate, loves coffee, and enjoys walking. She's a cub scout mom, too. She's published with Victory Tales Press, 4RV Publishing and Desert Breeze Publishing.
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