Simply Crafty Paranormal Mystery
Size: 5.25 x 8.00 in
A missing girl, ritual murders, and a shadow stalking every footstep.
Alexis Caine survived an attack in the deserts of Afghanistan. An attack the government denied and discharged him for, leaving him broken and in a mental institution. What Alex saw that day in the desert continues to haunt him.
When a new job working as a bodyguard for a New Orleans ghost tour guide, Micah Richards, opens Alex’s eyes to a world of paranormal possibilities, he’s not sure he can believe his eyes. What if he’s not crazy after all? When a ritual murder in which two fellow tour guides die and a tourist vanishes, Alex wonders if he brought a curse down upon them all.
A shadow from the desert rears its nightmarish head offering Alex something he wants more than anything, but at what cost?
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 2
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Interracial Relationship, Love Can Heal / Redemption
Setting: New Orleans, LA USA
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
He had no face. Or at least that’s what my brain told me. Rationally there were reasons. It was too dark out in the deserts of Afghanistan in the middle of the night. He was too far away. I was too tired to see properly, maybe I was dehydrated and delusional.
Except alarm bells went offin my brain. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Something wasn’t right. Again, the rational part of my brain tried to parse facts. The cut of his fatigues was familiar. Maybe he was out for a late-night dump, outside base, in the middle of nowhere, without a weapon, or backup.READ MORE
I squinted through the night vision goggles, pushed them up, rubbed my eyes and then put them back down. The blur of his form didn’t change, just got closer as he headed my way. I radioed to the team, “Alpha Team, possible friendly outside base, Roger?”
The radio crackled back, “Location, over.”
I was on post, stationed behind a dune, flat on my stomach, about two dozen yards outside the base. A glance back through the darkness and I could see the vague outline of vehicles, no movement or heat signatures as those things would give the base away.
“North face,” I replied. “Friendly not accounted for? Over.” I asked. I’d been part of the team long enough to know everyone’s name and face, but in the gear, out here with nothing but sand and wind, everyone looked the same in the dark. Size and shape could sometimes help, but even that was pretty universal with soldiers used to long hikes with hundred-pound packs on their backs.
“No friendlies unaccounted for, over,” the voice crackled back.
But those were our fatigues. I squinted at him some more, trying to make out the face beneath the hat. He got closer, probably four dozen yards or so. The shadows seemed to distort his face, making it look ghoulish in the night vision lens, like it shifted, contorting, but that had to be the play of shadows. Real people didn’t look like that.
“Maybe another base? Any other channel chatter? Over.”
“None,” the radio spat back. “Nothing in our area. Nearest friendly twelve kilometers away. Over.”
What the fuck?
He was really close now, the face still distorted and shifting, a void with slits of contorting darkness where features should be. I’d never seen shadows do that to anyone.
It wasn’t a local, not in fatigues like that. “Advise. Unknown approaching. Not local. Not friendly. Over.” Fear intensified in my gut. I’d shoot if I had to, wouldn’t even be the first time, but he was close and each step made my heart pound faster with a feeling I couldn’t quite place. Dread?
“Drone shows no heat signatures, over.”
I hadn’t even heard the machine when my on-alert senses usually could pick up the heartbeat of the guy standing next to me, but it made sense that they would deploy one at the first hint of something unusual. My night vision gave me a vague heat signal, not unusual in the roasting evening temps, movement and shape, even if it did waver. Fuck.
The day before when we’d stopped in a small village, I’d overheard talk of something in Pashto, which for me wasn’t as fluent as Dari or as it was known internationally as Farsi. A story about jin, mythical spirits who tricked men into following them into the desert, only to kill them, or something along those lines.
My gut rolled over. It was legend. Talk. Probably to scare us. They had no idea any of us spoke the language. Most of the team spoke a few words in Farsi, none as fluently as I did. And none that I knew of could tell the difference between Dari and Pashto. I tended to pick up languages quickly, which is why I was always on point for communications despite being a weapons expert.
“Advise, over.” I aimed for his head, hands tightening around the barrel, of my gun, holding on for dear life while alarm bells screamed in my head.
“Backup headed your way, ETA minus one, over.”
Would he be on me before then? He was still coming. Shouldn’t he have reached me already? I could hear the approach of my team behind me, stealthy, moving quickly, but while the sand hid a lot of footsteps and the rustle of clothing, their whispers tended to echo offthe small surfaces of the vehicles and tents when in an enclosed area. The sandstorm earlier in the day had forced the team to base early and in tight formation, which meant keeping a close watch on all sides until morning and we could move again now that the storm was over.
Two team members crawled up beside me, slow enough to not startle me, though I clung to the trigger and the image of whatever the fuck it was headed our way. Both stared out into the darkness, nothing but our night vision to give us clarity.
“Friendly?” I inquired of them.
Neither spoke for a minute.
“Unknown,” the one on the left said.
I glanced toward the guy on the right and through the night vision I could see him frowning as he stared out into the sand. Both men beside me had faces, defined and full of shadows but nothing like what was coming our way. I glanced back. The guy —or thing, whatever he was—wavered again, face distorting almost like he yawned, but opened his mouth too wide. It was something out of a horror movie, the unhinged jaw of a skeleton or some creepy cryptid, gaping into a void, which filled my stomach with rocks and terror.
I heard the two men beside me gasp. The one on the right scrambled back, tugging on my jacket as he went. “Pull back,” he said.
“Advise?” I inquired, confused.
The other scrambled away as well, dragging me back with them.
“Pull back to base,” the one from the right said again. Johnson. I recognized his voice. He tapped his radio. “Team regroup, over,” he said as he dragged me back toward the circle of vehicles. The man, or thing, or whatever the fuck it was, was still coming, filling me with a sense of doom.
Felice N. Tixx on Amazon wrote:
I have to say this was quite good for a paranormal read. The setting for the start to this new series, is one of the most haunted cities in America, New Orleans and one of my favorite places to visit.
Lissa Kasey not only does some amazing paranormal building but brings us some weird and interesting characters. Alexis and Lukas Caine are interracial twins. Both chose different careers: Lukas is a homicide detective with the NOPD and Alex became an Army ranger. After a tragic and unbelievable experience in Afghanistan Alex ended up in a physic ward and now lives with Lukas. Alex still deals with PTSD and the eerie nightmares from his military experience. Although he wants to pull his own weight, he’s finding it difficult to get a job. Lukas steps in and makes a suggestion and Alex finds himself working at Simply Crafty.
Simply Crafty is an eclectic and strange little shop, managed by Micah Richards. Micah not only runs the shop but he does Ghost Tours of the cemeteries and haunted city sights. Micah also has a form of protection in the way of a cat by the name of Jet. He also has a very lively friend who helps him at the shop by the name of Sky.
Immediately, I thought for sure this was going to turn into “insta love” when Alex realizes what Micah’s former employment was. But I was surprised by Alex and his moral beliefs and the gradual understanding that develops between him and Micah.
Lissa Kasey not only builds many vulnerable and emotional moments with Alex and Micah’s relationship, but there are those emotional, brotherly love, moments between Lukas and Alex too. Lukas’ urgency to keep Alex safe is very heartfelt but in protecting Alex he seems to keep secrets from him. There’s also a teasing connection between Lukas and Sky that adds to the intrigue of the story.
As far as the paranormal goes, there’s just the right amount of eerier, creepy and gory moments that build up to something strange and evil that both Micah and Alex have experienced and it seems to be just the beginning.
This first book has me hooked and it’s got an ending that has me wanting more. I’m really curious to see what Lissa Kasey has planned for this Alex, Micah and company. Bring on book 2!
Kindle Customer on Amazon wrote:
The blurb was interesting, so I downloaded a sample of the book. At the end of the sample, I couldn’t wait to read more. I immediately purchased the book and read it in one sitting!
The book is well written with excellent dialogue and compelling MCs, and the secondary characters add depth to the story. I look forward to the next book in the series.
Loved the story and history surrounding Alex and Marcus. Something is happening and they are struggling to find out what. Mystical entities are definitely interested in them but to what purpose and why? The author leaves these questions open, hopefully to be answered in the next book. Also love Lucus and Sky. Hopefully their relationship will grow. So much going on and can't wait till the next book.