Check out all the books containing the legend of the Star Anthame, and don’t forget to go all the way to the bottom of the page to enter the giveaway for your very own Star Anthame necklace!
“On All Hallows’ Eve, after the stars align and the skies burn, I will return…”
Mark Hunter had recited the prophecy countless times. The exhibit about witchcraft in early Saint’s Grove was the most popular one in the museum where he worked. It just so happened to be his favorite exhibit too; it featured his ancestor Johan Jager, the witch hunter.
As much as Mark loved the legends, he never believed they could be true. But when the celestial event that the witch foretold occurs, it rips open the seals between worlds and unleashes the witch and chaos upon the unsuspecting town of Saint’s Grove and Mark has no choice but to believe. Luckily, not all evil has come through the portals; Alexander Kemp, who hunted witches alongside Mark’s ancestor, has come as well.
Witches, Alex assures Mark, are very real and very dangerous. And one of the worst ones has taken possession of Mark’s sister. The witch has come to Saint’s Grove to harness the same power that brought Alex across time and use it for evil. She has seven days to carry out her plan, before the rift between time and space closes.
As the time ticks down, Mark realizes he has another problem; Alex intends to use the rift to go home and Mark isn’t so sure he wants the man to leave. Now, he has seven days to defeat the witch, save his sister, and figure out how to ask the man he barely knows to stay in the future with him.
Crossing Time by M.H. Soars
A love story that defies the barriers of time
When a cosmic event opens the seals to the universe’s spiritual planes, the town of Saint’s Grove will be in for a Halloween they will never forget. Supernatural creatures — good and bad — will take over the quaint little town, creating havoc and destruction. But the event will also bring together two people from very different worlds. Two people who would never have fallen in love otherwise…
Madison Frost never believed in fairy tales or happily-ever-afters. She didn’t have time to daydream about a knight in shining armor when she was desperately trying to keep her business from going under. When her town gets invaded by supernatural creatures, she saves a mysterious man who manages to breach the barriers of her steely heart. There’s only one problem, she believes he can never be hers for loyalty is calling him back home, back to the 19th century.
Albert Saint is a man filled with regret and anger. Forced to return to Saint’s Grove — a place he hates — he tries to forget his inner turmoil with alcohol and illegal fights. Everything changes on the evening someone tries to murder him. Albert narrowly escapes death and travels through time, crossing paths with a beautiful brunette who saves him. He can’t explain the powerful connection he feels toward Madison, an emotion that will make him question everything he ever believed to be true.
Across the Universe by Elise Marion
Anika Butler lives a quiet, unremarkable life. Without friends, family, or a love life to keep her occupied, she spends her spare time daydreaming over the painting of a man who was born in the 1800s.
When she joins the other residents of Saint’s Grove to witness a rare lunar eclipse and planetary alignment, the man from the painting appears in front of her claiming to have traveled through time, and she will discover that she is anything but ordinary. When he tells her of their past lives together as lovers, Anika knows that it must be impossible … yet strange dreams begin to feel like memories, until she can no longer deny that something within her recognizes him as her eternal soul mate.
Isaac Parker lost everything when his fiancé, Aurora Barton, was murdered right before his eyes. The witch who killed her also afflicted him with a curse: he can never die, making it impossible for him to be reincarnated. When the eclipse and planetary alignment occurs, allowing him to travel through time, he returns to Saint’s Grove seeking the Star Anthame, the ancient weapon that was used to curse him. With only seven days to locate the relic and break his curse, this is his only hope for finding Aurora again in his next life. He never imagines he will find her in Saint’s Grove where he last saw her, now reincarnated as Anika Butler.
However, a witch with a grudge will re-emerge into their lives, forcing them to fight for their futures, and for love. If the curse isn’t broken, they may lose their chance at happiness together … not just in this life, but in all the lives to come.
The Ghost and the Belle by Rose Shababy
Always a loner, Irene Bell prefers to spend her days tending her little bookstore in the sleepy little Virginia town of Saint’s Grove. After all, she tells herself, what other company does a girl need when she has her books?
But when a much anticipated lunar eclipse and planetary alignments bring a meteor that tears a rift between realities, the entire town is thrown into chaos as mythology becomes reality.
A reality that includes a drop-dead gorgeous ghost named Benjamin Churchill, who appears naked and unconscious, smack dab in the middle of her store.
A chance meeting with a witch reveals he’s been cursed, his body and soul bound to his former office, now Irene’s bookstore. The only way to break the curse is to assemble the long-lost pieces of a mystical artifact known as the Star Anthame, a knife created by magic and cursed by the darkest witch Saint’s Grove has ever known. No one knows where the pieces lay, and worse, they aren’t the only ones looking for it.
Racing against a ticking clock, both Irene and Benjamin must fight the irresistible attraction between them.
Breaking the curse means Benjamin can finally cross over. Failing means he’ll be stuck between worlds for another thousand years. And no matter how hard they look, they can’t seem to find a way for him to stay.
What’s a girl to do when the man she loves is a ghost?
The Ghost and the Belle
Saint’s Grove, VA, September 9th, 1875
Benjamin Churchill bent over his large but plain wooden desk, his untidy chestnut locks falling across his face despite the thin leather thong he used to tie it back. One piece of hair drifted across his cheek and he reached up to push it away, his fingers ruffling the several days of beard growth on his chin.
You better shave that before Stella sees it, he told himself.
Of course, he usually had at least a shadow of a beard covering his strong square jaw. He often forgot to shave, and his perpetually messy hair constantly fell in his eyes. His attire suffered a similar fate, often wrinkled and shirts half tucked in. On any other man it would have been a messy and unappealing sight, but Benjamin managed to give off an alluring, albeit casual, rakish charm that had most of the young women in town tittering behind their gloved hands when he walked by. Perhaps it was the glint in his eye, his strong, even white teeth that sparkled when he smiled, or the way his shirt never managed to hide his muscular strength. To all those young women he’d been viewed as the most eligible bachelor in town.
Tucking a loose piece of hair behind an ear, his chocolate brown eyes squinted as the light of the kerosene lamp glowed gently on the papers in front of him.
More papers littered his desk, and several nibs lay strewn about, as well as a nearly empty inkwell. He pored over the papers, pursing his perfectly-shaped, almost too-full-for-a-man lips.
A recent graduate from the University of Virginia School of Law, summa cum laude no less, the loan papers he now studied represented the most important case of his short career as a lawyer. He’d enjoyed his time at university, but Benjamin was a man who knew his mind. From the beginning he planned on coming back to his home town of Saint’s Grove to set up shop, and nothing swayed him from his course. Not even the beauty and intellectual pursuits found in Charlottesville were enough to replace the picturesque charm of Saint’s Grove, or his love of the small town.
His parents both passed away before he finished college, and he nearly had to beg, borrow and steal to hold onto the family home for both him and his brother Armin. A plain man, he was a year younger than Benjamin. Armin possessed a kind but simple nature and always managed better when he had someone telling him what to do. The brothers lived together in their childhood home, Benjamin providing the income and Armin taking care of most of the daily chores.
Benjamin converted the downstairs of the house into his office when he set up his practice. It consisted of two large rooms: the foyer, which stretched into the back of the house and now served as his personal office space, and what used to be the dining room, which sat to the side of the foyer and now held his library. Plain green brocade curtains hung in all the windows, including the large bay window facing the town square. All the curtains were drawn, and other than the kerosene lamp, the only other light in the room came from the fire crackling in the fireplace along the wall opposite the library.
He arrived home, anxious to share his newfound skills with the townsfolk and benefit the community as a whole. Unfortunately, in the year since he established his law office, his most exciting job had been when he prepared the last will and testament for old lady Harrelson.
Until Jedediah Hawkins burst into his office almost in tears.
Rail thin and weathered, Jed owned one of the farms on the outskirts of town. It was a beautiful homestead where he raised cattle, grew apples and tobacco, and lived with his wife and three children.
The two men were only a couple years apart and had attended primary school together. Although Benjamin never thought of Jed as a close friend, he had always liked him and knew him to be an honest, considerate man.
Jed possessed a very small savings when he found the farm of his dreams nestled along the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Unwilling to let it slip through his fingers, he went to Stone’s Banking and Loan, Saint’s Grove one and only bank, and secured a loan. He’d paid his mortgage faithfully for ten years, until the previous month when he went in to make his usual payment, only to be told they were calling in his loan.
Jed begged them to reconsider, but to no avail, finally bringing him to Benjamin’s doorstep.
“I don’t understand,” he almost sobbed as he sat across from Benjamin. “How can they just take a man’s life away without so much as a how-di-do? I’ve never missed a payment.” Jed buried his face in his hands, muffling his words. “What am I going to tell Carol Anne and the kids?”
Benjamin knew exactly what happened the moment he looked at the loan papers. “Jed,” he swallowed, barely able to look at the other man. “There’s a term call option in your loan agreement.”
Jed stared at him blankly.
Benjamin sighed, running a hand through his hair. “The bank stipulated that they can review your loan every five years and demand payment in full rather than continue the loan. It’s in writing and you signed it. The second five years comes up next month.”
Jed paled, moaning a little. “I didn’t know. How the heck would I? Surely there is something you can do. Perhaps you could talk to the bank?”
Benjamin shrugged a little. “I’ll attempt it, but my honest opinion is that it will be fruitless.” He held up a hand when Jed began to weep in earnest. “Do not worry, Jed. I’ll do what I can to help you.”
And he did. He went to the bank, talked to the loan officer who barely met his gaze as he dismissed Benjamin with a casual disregard.
Benjamin didn’t stop there. He made an appointment with the owner of the bank, Marlon Stone.
Stone was a large man, his scarlet silk cravat tucked into shirt, his rich velvet vest stretched tight across his belly. His jowls quivered slightly as he eyed Benjamin across the immense walnut desk that dominated his office.
“How may I help you, young man?” he asked with a hint of condescension.
Benjamin felt a muscle in his jaw tick. “I wanted to speak with you about Jed Hawkins.”
“Ah, yes,” Stone brightened. “Are you here to pay his loan?”
“No, I’m here to ask you to reconsider calling it in.”
“Reconsider?” Stone’s bushy eyebrows furrowed. “Why on earth would I do that?”
Benjamin fought the urge to curse, the only hint of his frustration in his flared nostrils. “Jedediah is an asset to the community. He employs several farmhands, all local boys, sells his crops locally as well as throughout the state, and as he continues to grow and his crops reach their full potential, he’ll put Saint’s Grove on the map as one of the largest tobacco farmers in the state. Retaining our local businessmen is vital to this town.” He smiled at the older man. “Besides, surely you are not in need of the money, and what would a man like you do with a farm?”
“True, I’m in no need of the money personally.” Stone nodded, reaching for a wooden box on his desk and withdrawing a large cigar. He clipped the end, lighting it. He puffed for a moment before pointing at Benjamin. “Nevertheless, we here at Stone’s Banking and Loan have been offering far too many loans. We’re stretched too thin these days and it would only take one big financial crisis to pull us under. No, I’m sorry. There’s simply nothing I can do.”
“Nothing you can do, or nothing you will do?” Benjamin gritted out, regretting the words as soon as they came out of his mouth.
Stone’s eyes turned to flint. “In this case, they are synonymous.”
Benjamin studied the man, his rich clothing, gold rings and diamond pin in his cravat, and fought the anger welling inside him. “Are you calling in all your loans?”
“Well, now, that’s bank business,” Stone harrumphed. “I’m not at liberty to discuss such things. No, I’m sorry, young man. I’m afraid you’ve wasted your time. There’s simply nothing I can do,” he repeated.
He stood, indicating the meeting was over.
Benjamin stayed seated for a moment. “Mr. Stone, can you really justify putting a family out of their home? Jed’s children were born and raised there. What possible use would you have for their farm?”
Stone’s face hardened, and eyes darkened further, something in them almost frightening Benjamin. He’d never liked the banker, but now he felt something ominous coming off the older man.
And he was certain there was much more going on with the farm than either he or Jed knew. He didn’t know how he knew, but every instinct inside him was screaming at him, telling him that Stone had an ulterior motive.
Benjamin stood to leave, determined to find out what Stone really wanted with the farm. “Thank you for your time,” he told the banker. “I’ll be seeing you.”
Now, sitting at his desk, he pushed the loan papers aside in frustration.
“Damn him!” Benjamin slammed a fist down on his desk, the inkwell jumping from the force. He buried his face in his hands. He desperately wanted to help Jed, but for all his desire, he knew there was nothing he could do. Never in his life had he felt like such an utter failure.
The door to his office swung open, a cold wind sweeping through the room, causing the flame in the lamp on his desk to flicker wildly and papers to flutter. He clamped a strong hand down on them as he looked up at the young woman entering.
“Sorry!” she trilled, closing the door quickly. She was a tall and slender woman with features like delicate china and pale blonde hair piled high on her head underneath a stylishly high blue hat decorated with frills and ribbons that matched her dress. She smiled at Benjamin, accentuating her high cheekbones and nearly taking his breath away with her beauty.
He smiled back at her and stood to greet her as she crossed the room and lightly kissed his cheek. “Stella, darling, I wasn’t expecting you.”
Stella reached up behind her tall bonnet to remove her hatpin, placing both the pin and the hat on his desk. “I wanted to visit my fiancée.” She beamed at him and Benjamin felt a surge of emotion. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her against his hard chest and letting his lips trail across hers. She responded in kind, letting her hands wander to his hair.
Passion stirred low in Benjamin’s gut a moment later and he gently pushed her away. “Temptress,” he muttered hoarsely. “I believe you do this to me on purpose. Our marriage cannot come soon enough.”
Her eyes twinkled as she widened them in feigned innocence. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“You’re a terrible liar.”
Her gaze drifted down to his chin and a tiny frown turned the corners of her mouth down. “I see you’ve been so busy you’ve forgotten to take care of yourself again. Don’t let father see you like that. You know how much importance he puts on appearance.”
Stella’s father owned Pennington Dry Goods in the town square. A fastidious man, Mr. Pennington always seemed to vaguely disapprove of Benjamin. He believed strongly that a man should be composed and well put together, and a disheveled appearance such as Benjamin’s was a direct contradiction of that belief. Of course, Stella constantly tried to get him to dress better, to pay more attention to his appearance. It was one of the qualities he liked least about her.
Still, Benjamin found himself entranced by her beauty and her father hadn’t been able to stop the growing romance between them after Benjamin returned from school.
Even though they’d grown up in the same town, Stella was several years younger than him and still in pigtails when he left for school. He’d never given much thought to the scrawny girl who worked with her father at the dry goods prior to leaving for the university, but when he returned he was shocked to find that she had grown into a winsome beauty.
Before long the two had pledged their love to one another and Benjamin had asked her father’s permission to propose, something Mr. Pennington had granted grudgingly. He didn’t entirely approve of Benjamin, but he loved his daughter and wanted her to be happy.
Benjamin pulled the leather thong out of his hair and attempted to pull it all back and retie it. “I have most definitely been neglecting my appearance and I know you think I’m a wretch. I’ll shave tonight.”
“See that you do.” Her cheeks dimpled as she smiled. “Where’s Armin?”
He shrugged. “He told me he was going to the dry goods for a few supplies, so I’m surprised you didn’t see him before you came. If he wasn’t at the store, I can’t say where he’s gotten to.” He smiled. “You know Armin.”
She nodded. “And how are things coming along with your case? Have you saved poor Mr. Hawkins’ farm?”
Benjamin frowned. “Sadly, no. I have one more lead to follow up, but if it doesn’t prove fruitful, I’m afraid there isn’t much I can do for him. I’m not hopeful.”
She placed a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. “How unfortunate. There’s nothing, then?”
He let his gaze turn to the papers strewn across his desk, tapping a fist on the wood. “Not that I can tell.” He shook his head in frustration. “I spoke with Mr. Stone and he simply wasn’t willing to budge, although something about his demeanor made me uncomfortable so I went down to the town hall and looked up current ownership of the property surrounding Jed’s. Mr. Stone has recently acquired a new partner, a company called SP Enterprises. Together, they’ve purchased several large plots of land around the Hawkins’ farm over the course of the last year, none of which were mortgaged by the bank. I looked at the property values of those pieces of land and found he paid far above market value for them. Now he’s after Jed’s land. It’s all very suspicious. I believe he wants that land for a specific reason.”
“SP Enterprises? I don’t know them.” Stella’s fine brow wrinkled.
“Neither do I, but I’ll be going down to the courthouse tomorrow to investigate. I’d like to know who’s behind the company.”
“And what possible reason would they have for a bunch of old farms?”
“I do not know. I have my suspicions, but they’re vague at best.”
“What do you suspect?”
He shrugged. “Perhaps something on the land itself is of interest to him. It is the only explanation I can come up with. As such, I’ve sent off for geological surveys of the land. I expect them any day now.”
“Geological survey?” Stella raised an eyebrow. “What use will that be?”
“Perhaps none. And if it proves fruitless, that will be the end of things for Jed.” His face darkened. “If I have to tell the man there’s no hope of saving his farm, I would at least like to be able to tell him I did all I could to help him.”
Stella glanced down at her dress, smoothing an imaginary wrinkle. “You certainly can’t be faulted for your thoroughness.”
He turned away, placing his clenched fists on the edge of the front of the desk. His head sagged a bit as a huge sigh ran through him with a shudder. “I feel like I’ve failed him.”
“Oh, I’m sure you’ll find something,” Stella muttered, a dark look crossing her face.
Benjamin frowned. Something about her tone made him uneasy. Normally a winsome girl, her reaction seemed unusual. “I’m not sure I understand your meaning.”
She glanced at him and brightened slightly. “I meant nothing, my dear. I’m certain no matter the outcome, Mr. Hawkins will underst-“
The front door of the office swung open, and three men with handkerchiefs pulled up over their faces burst into the room, cutting Stella off midsentence. A cold wind rushed through the room just as before, except this time the papers on Benjamin’s desk swirled madly around the room as the lamp on the desk flickered and went out. One of the men slammed the door shut behind them as the other two trained pistols on both Benjamin and Stella.
The only light left in the room came from the fireplace, the flames crackling as their light played across the furniture, casting ominous shadows all around the room.
Benjamin instinctively stepped in front of Stella. “Who are you?” he asked, his voice clipped and angry.
The man who had closed the door marched across the room and backhanded Benjamin so hard he staggered backward, knocking Stella to the ground. She cried out and Benjamin immediately knelt down to help her up.
“Shut up!” the man snarled.
“I’m sorry, darling,” Benjamin tried to sooth Stella as she looked up at him with frightened eyes. “Are you all right? Did I hurt you?”
She shook her head. “N-n-no, I’m fine,” she managed.
He turned to stare up at the men. “What do you want?” he snarled.
The two men brandishing guns moved across the room quickly, tearing him away from Stella while the third man, clearly the ringleader, grabbed her arm and roughly hauled her up off the floor. She began crying in earnest and something wild erupted in Benjamin.
“Get your filthy hands off her!” he roared, struggling to get away from his captors. He pulled with all his might, escaping their grasp and rushing forward to attack the man holding Stella. As he neared them, the man pulled a strange looking knife from his belt and plunged it into his chest.
“Benjamin!” Stella screamed.
He looked down to see the knife jutting out of his chest, the hilt an ornate, strangely shaped piece of silver. He reached up and grasped the handle, screaming hoarsely as he pulled it out of his chest. A crimson stain spreading across the linen of his shirt as all his strength seemed to leave his body, and he fell to his knees, one hand reaching for the sobbing woman in front of him. “Stella,” he gasped. His vision narrowed, as if he looked down a dark tunnel, and the last thing he saw was the masked man holding his fiancée, lifting a gun to her head as her eyes widened with terror and tears streamed down her face.