A special welcome to Gracen Miller as she interviews her characters Phoenix and Madison here on Books and Barks today. Read on till the end for an excerpt from Pandora’s Box.
Blurb for Pandora’s Box:
Where does the road to Hell begin?
What happens when your son turns homicidal overnight and your husband disappears on his way to work? Do you cower in fear or fight for your life? Madison Wescott fights against the odds. Distrustful of a God she doesn't believe in, she finds herself face-to-face with a world she didn't know existed and discovers her own soul is darkened with demonic connections.
With good intentions? Or by demonic design?
Phoenix Birmingham bursts into Madison’s life in a whirlwind of sarcasm and sexual appeal. A hero for the masses—and for her jaded heart—but few will ever know the sacrifices he has made or the sacrifices to come. Discovering her entire life has been influenced by multifaceted paranormal beings, Madison is determined to defeat the apocalyptic blueprint fate has decreed, but only one man dares to challenge the supernatural forces manipulating them. Even with Phoenix's aid, can destiny be denied? Or will demonic design prevail while they pay the crucial price with their souls?
Phoenix, Madison, welcome to the set of Books and Barks—B&B for future reference! I hear you two are experiencing rough times. Hopefully, my questions won’t be too uncomfortable to answer. I understand you’re from a small Alabama town? Can you tell us about where you’re from?
Nix: Call me Nix, all my friends do. I’m from California. Mads—that’s my nickname for Madison—is the Alabama native. Just listen to her twang and you’ll know right away where she’s from.
Madison: Thanks for having us at Books and Barks. It’s a pleasure to be here. I grew up in a small Alabama town, where everyone knows you, all your family and definitely all your business. And their favorite hobby is poking their nose in your business too.
Nix: Don’t you just love her southern accent? You should hear her say dog—ahem…it’s dawg in southern lingo. *winks at Mads*
Madison: *rolls eyes* Oh, lawd, Nix, this is an interview, not a lesson in southern dialect. As you can tell Nix is a drama king.
Nix: *expression of mock hurt* Wounded, Mads, wounded right here…*points to heart*
Madison: *nudges Nix’s foot with her toes* And you just made my point for me. *grins*
Phoenix, I guess you’re a “Sherlock?” I’m not sure what this term means, other than the Sherlock Holmes reference. Can you tell us what a Sherlock is?
Nix: *scruffs his fingers through his short spiky hair* Sherlocks are a network of like-minded folks who hunt supernatural creatures. The founder of the Sherlock community was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who as you know, was the creator of Sherlock Holmes. He believed in the occult and dedicated many hours to saving those wrongly convicted of crimes. Most often than not those wrongly convicted were possessed by demons. As you know, “the devil made me do it” defense can get you an insanity plea, not an exorcism. That’s where Sherlocks come in, we send those evil bastards back to Hell. Sherlock legend says Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the first of the members to actually hunt supernatural creatures. By taking the Sherlock name, we pay homage to a great man. *glances at Madison* You have anything to add to that, Mads?
Madison: *ironic laugh* Considering I have more than a handful of Sherlocks actively hunting Amos and me, I think I should keep my opinions to myself.
Madison, you have a son named Amos. Can you tell me a bit about him? I’ve heard you’ve had some trouble with him lately, he’s...he’s killed a couple house pets? Oh, that doesn’t sound good.
Madison: Yes, Amos is my son. He had a difficult time when he was five. He’s—
Nix: I love your optimism, Mads, I do, but “difficult time”? Seriously? Just say it, he was demonic and acted the part better than Chucky. The day I met them, Amos had a blade to her throat and would’ve killed her if we hadn’t intervened.
Madison: *glares at Nix* He asked me the question, Nix, not you, so it’s my story to tell.
Nix: By all means, gloss over the events. I’m sure Robert won’t mind the watered down version. Don’t tell him about the orange glowy eyes or the jagged scar Amos gave you on your thigh.
Madison: *stares at Nix a long heartbeat, before clearing her throat and turning back to B&B’s interviewer* Amos did all of what Nix said. They weren’t good times obviously. The worst I’ve suffered yet. Scared and tired cannot describe what I went through with any accuracy. The worst part was holding Amos after the episodes while he sobbed his heart out and knowing I couldn’t alleviate his confusion or heartache. How do you explain to your child why he killed his household pets, he couldn’t control his actions when he was in his demonic rages, so I couldn’t punish him either. During his episodes he tried to kill me more than once. That’s all behind us now, and he’s not been that way for five years.
Nix: We hope that’s behind us, there’s always the possibility things will change when *air quote* you-know-who *end air quote* returns.
Madison: Don’t borrow trouble, Nix, please don’t borrow trouble. Not yet. It’ll come soon enough.
*Nix gives her hand a supportive squeeze*
And the doctors wanted to treat Amos with drugs? But you suspected it was something more, didn’t you, Madison?
Madison: They wanted to heavily medicate him and place him in a hospital where they could monitor him 24-7. I agreed to the medicine, but it didn’t help. He was diagnosed with Dissociate Identity Disorder, which is the new feel-good medical terminology for Multiple Personalities. *snorts* I don’t know why, but I didn’t buy the diagnosis and a good thing I didn’t either or a demon would be controlling us right now. That’s where Nix and his family came in. They saved us.
Nix: Kind of hard to say we saved you when nothing is resolved, Mads. It’d be better to say we helped her identify the root of her problem.
Madison: *shrugs* Saved us for the time being anyway. No one can fight my coming battle for me. That weight is on my shoulders.
Madison, my notes say you were married...or weren’t married? I’m not sure...things seem to be all scrambled up in my notes. There’s something about an F.B.I investigation? Can you tell me anything about these things?
Madison: A little birdy told you all the skeletons in my closet, huh? *sigh*
Nix: *whispers while leaning forward in his seat* She’s a southern belle and has a delicate reputation—
*Madison smacks him on the arm*
*Nix chuckles and settles back in his chair*
Madison: I was married to Micah Dominus, but he went to work one morning and never came home. I reported him missing, of course, because I was worried! Only to discover, Micah never existed, not anywhere. My marriage wasn’t legal, I was a stay at home mom, so I had no job, but I had gobs of cash sitting in overseas bank accounts, all in my name, thanks to Micah.
Nix: We’re talking cha-ching type of cash.
Madison: *ignores Nix* I was investigated for fraudulently reporting a person missing that never lived, along with tax fraud and money laundering charges. I lived in a small town, people talk, and while I was cleared of all the allegations, there are still many that think I’m guilty and bought my freedom.
Wait! Backing up a bit…my notes say your son killed your cat and dog! That’s not normal, but very spooky!
Nix: Worse than a horror movie type of spooky, huh, Mads?
Madison: *sips water from a glass* A horror movie cannot compare to the very scary, very real life we live.
What you’re telling me is just...incredible. It almost sounds like The Exorcist, or The Omen. I mean, wow. Have you found anything that can help Amos?
Madison: No problem. I understand how incredible it sounds.
Nix: The Omen’s a damn good analogy actually. *strokes his chin* But Chucky is still accurate too. Amos had that wild, crazed look on his face like Chucky—
Madison: *interrupts him by clearing her throat*
Nix: *Nix peers at Madison* What?
Madison: *frowns at Nix* I’m not particularly fond of the comparison, Nix. And it’s probably best I not divulge that delicate information about Amos. It’s a bit bothersome for some folks.
Nix: A bit bothersome, Mads? I was horrified when I found out and—ow! *rubs arm where Madison pinched him* She’s right, not discussable material.
Can you tell me a little bit about the teacher you met named “Zen”?
Madison: *laughs* There’s not much to tell. He’s immortal, been around for who knows how long because he keeps his past to himself. He could kill you before you blinked an eye and you’d never see him coming. He’s way too serious—
Nix: I don’t trust him. He never smiles. Can’t trust a man that doesn’t smile.
Madison: You don’t trust anyone, Nix. And he smiles…with his eyes. You gotta know what you’re looking for.
Nix: First, I don’t want to study Zen enough to know what to look for. Ah…no thanks. *shudders* And second, you don’t trust anyone either?
Madison: I trust you and Zen.
Nix: *puffs up chest* I can’t resist a woman who puts her blind faith in me, deserved or not.
Madison: I thought you loved me for my cooking, Nix. *cheeky grin*
Nix: Good point. You haven’t had good cooking until you’ve been so lucky to dine at her table. *groans* Mmmm…Mmmm…
Madison: *chuckling* Take note, the way to Nix’s heart…deep fried southern home cooking.
Well, I do wish you both luck with Amos and...everything. That’s about all the time we have for today. Would either of you like to add anything before we leave?
Madison: *leans forward, sketches out a design on a napkin and hands it to B&B interviewer* I’d suggest you tattoo this on your body somewhere. It’ll protect you just in case a lower level demon decides to come for you. Nothing will protect you from a King, but they don’t get outta Hell often. But if one comes from you…*shrugs* Good luck, because it’ll be too late to run by the time you realize it’s a King.
Phoenix: Mads, baby, I think you’re scaring her.
Find out more about Madison, Phoenix and Amos, and everything else that happens when you open Pandora’s Box, Book One of the Road to Hell series. Out now from Decadent Publishing. Buy links to follow below!
To read the first 3 chapters of Pandora’s Box, follow this link: http://madisonroadtohell.blogspot.com/p/pandoras-box-coming-8-19-2011.html
Thanks for having me with you today!
Where you can stalk me—not really!—but I would love to meet and interact with you:
Road to Hell series FB Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Road-to-Hell-series/112564408814796?ref=ts
Pandora’s Box Buy Links:
In a small, sleepy Alabama town the battle for mankind's liberty has begun...
“May I?” He held up the medical supplies.
She nodded and watched as he doused gauze with antiseptic. “Dr. Nix at your service,” he said with a grin, two adorable dimples charming her where words failed.
Madison rolled her eyes, and tipped her head to the side to give him better access. He brushed her hair off her neck, back behind her shoulder. Such a simple gesture, yet it felt terribly personal. The air grew thick and sticky with her awareness of him. She shifted in her seat and crossed her legs.
Madison stared into his eyes. Green, she thought, his eyes were green, gorgeous and intense, with ridiculously long eyelashes women would fantasize about. If they didn’t, they should. A flicker of compassion, concern, and something else she couldn’t identify flashed in his eyes.
“Ready?” he asked.
The husky tenor of his voice forced her gaze to shift to his mouth. Nice, sexy lips, designed for kissing. She gave a mental shake but couldn’t resist wondering how his mouth would feel on hers.
“Madison?” Humor deepened his voice, a touch of a smile tilted the edges of the lips she’d been fantasizing about, and she realized she still stared at them. “You ready?” he asked again, and her eyes widened in embarrassment over her foolish stupor.
She swallowed hard. “Yeah.” She whispered past the lump in her throat and forced her vision to lock on the wall over his shoulder. Good God, what was wrong with her? Her pulse throbbed like crazy, and she felt woozy. Loss of blood! Must be why she reacted that way. No other explanation made sense.
Even though the antiseptic stung like hell, the gentle touch coming from such a gruff man surprised her. “It’s not bad,” he said, dabbing the blood away. “Just a nick.”
Well, she could nix the blood loss theory. Exhaustion and stress were the only other excuses she could come up with. “I’ve suffered worse.” Her voice sounded off, kind of hoarse. She tried to clear her throat delicately, but he must have noticed her unease, because his perceptive eyes met hers. Again, she thought she caught the edge of concern reflected in their green depths.
“This isn’t the first time he’s attacked you?”
“No. It’s the first time he’s tried to seriously kill me, though.” She sighed as she closed her eyes, ready to give up fighting, the sudden tears threatening to fall. Okay, woozy and acting strange because of strain…not because of him. Seriously, as far as first impressions went, she wasn’t impressed.