K. Dawn Byrd, Author BLOG
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Queen of Hearts on Amazon (free chapters)
Daphne Dean is proud to be serving her country stateside during WWII as a reporter and an Office of Strategic Services operative. When the photograph she takes of the crowd at a murder scene places her on the mob's hit list, she's forced into hiding in a vacant mental asylum in the middle of nowhere with terrifying secrets of its own.
Daphne believed herself to still be in love with her ex-fiancée, Kenneth, until she spends several days locked away in the asylum with Vito, the mob boss' son. Can she put the terrifying events that occurred there behind her and allow herself to pursue a relationship with Vito? Or, will she return to Kenneth who has turned his back on his country by becoming a draft dodger and a black market racketeer? One thing's for sure, it won't matter if she can't escape the mental institution alive.
Queen of Hearts EXCERPT
Daphne opened her eyes and then closed them quickly as her head pounded and a wave of nausea threatened to consume her. She breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly. Once she felt stronger, she attempted to pull herself up to a seating position, but was unable to move her arms.
Stay calm, she told herself. Daphne peered through the slits in her eyes and then squeezed them shut when the dim overhead light increased the blurred vision and the pounding in her head. She tried again, keeping her eyes open long enough to realize that she was in an unfamiliar place. She shivered in the frigid air.
Daphne tugged on the restraints, exhausted. The band on her left arm gave slightly. She worked her arm back and forth, her heart pounding wildly as she took deep, even breaths in an attempt to decrease the terror racing through her. What kind of sick person would strap her down to a table? And, where was Vito? He knew how much she hated the place, how terrified she was of being alone. Why would he leave her?
The thought that maybe he had done this to her sickened her. Vito had said he loved her. Was this how he treated someone he loved? Maybe Vito was a sick man. Maybe he needed psychiatric help. Her left hand broke free with a snap that rocked the stillness like a shotgun blast. She tugged on the other restraint with her free hand and once she was free, Daphne rose to a sitting position, raising her hands to cover her eyes as a wave of dizziness overcame her.
The realization that she was alone brought a mixture of relief and fear. After several minutes her legs were free, but she didn't dare move because movement brought on a fresh wave of sickness. Nausea washed over her once again and she leaned over and vomited. It was coming back to her. She'd been drugged.
Daphne glanced over her shoulder. The eight steel drawers behind her mocked her, enticing her to enter the black depths that had undoubtedly held numerous corpses in the past. An icy shiver traced its way up her spine as realization exploded in her brain. The basement was terrifying enough, but the morgue almost sent her over the edge into the slim line that seemed to separate her from sanity and madness.
She stood on rubbery legs and then collapsed, crawling to an old chair in the corner. It was an antique wheelchair, dusty and abandoned long ago. She slumped onto it, removing her feet from the frigid floor, wondering how long it would support her weight.
To her horror, Daphne realized that she had been strapped to the embalming table. Rust stains splashed across the basin gave the appearance of dried blood. She gritted her teeth to hold back the scream that hung in her throat.
My publisher...Desert Breeze Publishing
"We wanted to create a company that would do more than just offer exceptional romance novels. We want to be more than that. We want to be the publisher of choice for both readers and writers. We want to offer more. We want to anticipate the needs of our readers, and meet them. We want to exceed your expectations. And if we haven't, we want to know."