#RRBC 30-DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY 21

I’ve reached Day 21 of the challenge and received a 20-day banner. This banner has the mighty responsibility of pushing me to finish the challenge.

Today, I will go back in my memories to the brief time that impacted my life the most by helping me grow into an adult away from my parents. In the summer of 1976, I traveled to Israel with a group called Yavneh. I subtracted and realized it was 47 years ago, and I was 17 years old.

This is our motley group. Our leader was the Israeli woman at the back standing beside the tall man, who might have been her husband. There goes my spotty memory again.

Here we are at the Kotel, or Western Wall. It was never crowded like the pictures I’ve seen in recent years. I returned to Israel with my parents the following year since my brother bought us a vacation, where we stayed in 5-star hotels, not youth hostels or sleeping on the sand like with Yavneh. I haven’t been back, but I hope to revisit Israel one day.

At the Kotel, the men and women pray separately, with a divider between them. There is a custom of placing your wish on a piece of paper and shoving it into the cracks between the rocks. I can tell you my wish since it didn’t come true. I had asked for my mother’s vision to return and my family’s health. Lately, there have been breakthroughs in Retinitis Pigmentosa but too late for my mother. The disease causes the retina to degenerate, and I heard of a man having a lens implanted to help him see.

I spent most of my life afraid I’d go blind. My brother didn’t, and I didn’t. My mother always told me it was a recessive disease, so I was hopeful. Then one day, when I asked about my relatives, my mother told me her parents shared relatives. I was confused and asked how that could be. That’s when she told me her parents were first cousins. A light bulb went off in my brain: that’s why my mother is blind. I’m not afraid anymore of becoming blind, but I still hate the dark.

I’m standing at Maarat Hamachpela with my friend from home.

I Googled to explain the holy site:

“The cave of Machpelah, in the West Bank city of Hebron, is the burial place of the Matriarchs and Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah. According to Jewish mystical tradition, it’s also the entrance to the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve are buried.”

I went to Yeshivah for 12 years but never heard of Adam and Eve buried there. It might be true since girls didn’t learn Gamarrah or the Torah through word of mouth when I attended school. I wanted to know what the boys were learning since I always wanted to do what I was told I couldn’t.

I was sitting here thinking Jacob had two wives, Rochel and Leah. Then I remembered Rochel was buried separately at Kever Rochel or the Tomb of Rachel.

“Located just outside of Bethlehem, along the road of the forefathers that connects Nablus and Hebron, Rachel’s tomb is where Jews and Muslims believe the foremother Rachel was buried. Rachel was the wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph and Benjamin, and the burial site is holy to Jews, Muslims, and Christians.” Google

I also stole this picture from Google. I don’t remember if we visited the Tomb; it could have been one of the places we couldn’t see because it was too dangerous, even though we had armed soldiers.

This is the cave where I learned I had claustrophobia. Dark and small places terrify me. I’ve walked out of 2 MRIs, 1 Catscan, and even a bone density test. I’ve never been able to jump into a swimming pool since I always need to feel the bottom with my feet. So, here we are, walking into the narrow opening of a cave. We go some way, and one of the soldiers announces we’ll have to stoop since the cave gets narrower. I start feeling dizzy and yell for everyone to back up. I hear a lot of grumbling behind me as people back out. Finally, I ran into the daylight. Everyone returns but me. I’m left outside with an old Arab man and his goat. Now that I think about it, how safe was I with no soldiers? Our two soldiers, with their rifles, returned to the cave.

Israel is a beautiful country, and Jerusalem holds a special place in my heart.

Tomorrow I’ll continue my journey through Israel, where I will face and conquer another fear.

MEET ME IN MAINE – Let’s Read A Chapter Together

Chapter 9

Elizabeth’s first date with David goes differently than expected.

I spun in front of the full-length mirror hanging from my closet door, eyeing my black dress and high heels. My hands trembled as I smoothed the silky fabric against my thighs.

Scarlett came through the doorway, wearing a tight red dress. “Sexy.”

“Is it too short?” I turned to her. “I can change.”

“Don’t change. You look hot.” She grinned. “It’s not as short as my dress.”

“You’re comfortable in too-revealing clothing while I’m not.”

“Are you calling me a slut?” Her eyebrows arched.

“If the shoe fits.” 

Scarlett stalked across the room, a shoe dangling from her hand.

I stepped back, shaking my head. “You wouldn’t.”

The doorbell rang.

“Now, you’ll never know.” She slipped her foot into the pump and winked before rushing from the room.

“Lizzie. It’s for you,” Scarlett called from the living room.

Why was David early? I raced for my bag and coat. My heart was pounding as I came to a stop. I must act cool and collected. I took a deep breath and sauntered through the doorway.

He came to his feet. “Hello, Elizabeth.”

My gaze drifted from his cleft chin to chiseled cheekbones, coming to rest on dazzling blue eyes. I opened my mouth, but no sound escaped.

“I hope you’re happy to see me.” He shifted closer, lifting his hand to stroke my cheek.

“I am.” I closed my eyes as his touch sent shivers through my body.

“Okay, lovers.” Scarlett pushed between us. “You’ll miss your reservation, and my date will be here soon.”

David took my hand. “We can take a hint.” I followed him from the apartment, but not before I stuck my tongue at Scarlett behind his back.

* * *

After clicking the remote to unlock the black Jaguar parked at the curb, David opened the passenger door, and I sank into the beige leather seats. Once the car was humming, he seat-belted himself and faced me. “Are you comfortable?”

I nodded. “It’s a gorgeous car.”

“Air-conditioning or sunroof?” David grinned, giving me an enticing glimpse of dimples.

I thought of the wind messing my hair. “Air-conditioner, please.”

We drove in silence until I asked, “Is there any news?” When he didn’t respond, I added, “We don’t have to mention the explosion or –”

“Pick any topic.” He glanced at me. “I want us to relax and enjoy the evening.”

I lowered my face and smoothed the black fabric bunched beneath the seatbelt. 

He placed his hand on my arm, and I lifted my face to the glittering blue eyes seeking mine. “Don’t worry. We’ll find the ones responsible for the explosion.” David pulled the car in front of a one-storied teal blue building, its windows and door strung with twinkling lights. “We’re here.” 

Valets rushed to open our doors. I took David’s arm as we headed inside behind the couples filing through the doorway. Soft music accompanied the hushed conversation in the darkened room. A fire sizzled in the fireplace, nestled in the far left corner. The maître d led us to a table set for two overlooking the water.

After the maître d seated us, a server filled our water glasses and handed us menus. I glanced through the pages, amazed at the steep prices.

“Don’t look at the prices.”

I raised my face and stared at the handsome man sitting across from me, grinning. “I wasn’t.”

“You were.” David chuckled. “Your arched brows tell the complete story.” When I blushed, he continued, “Don’t worry. You have lovely eyes and brows.” As heat suffused my face, he laughed. “I have the money, so spend it.”

I shook my head.

He reached for my hand, which rested on the table, covering it with his. “Order what your heart desires.”

“I’m not familiar with most of these dishes.” As I perused the menu, my gaze drifted to the tables closest to us. Well-dressed couples drank wine and ate, smiling at each other, laughing, and holding hands. His finger stroked the inside of my wrist, and I shivered.

“Are you cold?”

I met his gaze. “I’m fine. Can I order the same dish as you?”

A smile deepened his dimples. “I was going to order steak and home fries.”

“A steak-and-potatoes man.” I smiled. “I’ll have the same.”

The server took our orders and David’s choice of wine. I turned to the window where the moon stroked the dark water with shimmering silver streaks. The soft music and murmur of conversation helped to soothe my frayed nerves.

“Are you upset?”

I caught his concerned expression. “No. Why do you think I’m upset?”

He leaned forward, giving me a lopsided grin. “I was hoping you weren’t angry from last night.”

“Last night?”

His jaw tightened. “The way Logan interrogated you, I should have stopped him. The chief allows him to take control.”

“It wasn’t your fault.” I twirled the wine glass in my hand, watching the dark burgundy liquid catch the votive candle’s flickering light. “Why does the chief allow Logan to intervene?”

“Logan is wealthy and has influential contacts.” He leaned back in his chair. “The chief needs his help to solve the recent crime wave.”

“Is it a crime wave?”

David took a sip of wine, his unhurried gaze following the contours of my face. “A few incidents have occurred in the past six months.”

“Murders?” My stomach plummeted as if I’d consumed a lump of coal.

“Yes.” David shifted in his seat. “Chief Lively has requested my help.”

“Why you? Aren’t you a lawyer?”

“Yes. I’m a mere lawyer.” His eyes darkened to midnight blue as they met mine. “But the chief claims to enjoy my keen mind; he told me I chose the wrong profession.”

“I can see you as a detective.” I busied myself with sipping wine instead of witnessing his woeful expression.

David laughed out loud. “I’m not hurt.” Heads turned from neighboring tables. “I’ve been an officer of the law.”

“As a marine?”

“You’ve heard.” He winked. “Major David Hunt, at your service, ma’am.”

“Nice.” His uneven smirk captivated me as I struggled to compose myself. I didn’t hear the server arrive and place our dishes on the table.

I came to realize I loved to watch David eat. He cut his steak with precision, chewing with his mouth closed, his Adam’s apple bopping along his tan neck. My gaze lingered at the juncture of his white shirt and blue-striped tie. I noticed he had stopped eating, and I raised my face. 

“Hi.” Dimples appeared in the light stubble on his cheeks.

“I enjoy watching you eat.” Blood rushed to my face, and I glanced away. Why did I say that?

David took my hand. “And I love watching you.” His face shifted closer to mine, and I shut my eyes. “Lizzie.”

I opened my eyes.

“You’ve mesmerized me as no other woman has for a long time.” He sat forward, his hungry gaze devouring me until I trembled from its intensity.

“There you are.” A shout rang across the room, followed by the husky figure of Chief Lively. 

David shot to his feet, facing Lively with an annoyed expression. “What’s wrong now?”

“There has been another death.” The chief halted beside our table, his dark glare landing on me.

“I can’t help you; we’re having dinner.” His face ashen, David sat, replacing his fallen napkin on his lap.

“I need you,” Lively replied, his voice sharpening. “They took Logan to the hospital.”

“What happened?” David threw me a concerned look before hurrying to his feet and leading the chief to an isolated spot beside the window.

“Logan will be okay. A woman is dead.”

“A woman, this time?” David glanced over the chief’s shoulder at me. “I’ll drive Elizabeth home.”

“No. We don’t have time.” Lively stepped in front of me, his heated gaze meeting mine. “You’ll have to come with us.”

I nodded.

David said to the chief, “I’ll meet you.” He then turned to me. “I’m sorry.”

Attempting a smile, I said, “I’m fine. I might even help.”

His eyebrows rose in disbelief as he escorted me from the restaurant. And so began my journey into Blue Harbor’s secrets, known only to the select few, which now included me.

MEET ME IN MAINE

Lizzy gets ready for her first date with David. Is she eager? Let’s find out.

CHAPTER 7

Scarlett stepped through the front doorway, halting in surprise. “I thought you’d still be asleep.”

“Where were you?” I asked from my perch at the kitchen counter, eyeing the white paper bag clutched in her hand. “You’re never an early riser.” 

With a grin, she sauntered into the kitchen, placing the bag beside my coffee cup. “I bought muffins at a cute cafe around the corner.”

“No diet?” I asked.

“Not today.” Scarlett popped a Keurig cup into the machine, withdrawing two plates from the kitchen cabinet and settling beside me before reaching for the bag. “I’m hungry from scouting the town.”

“What?”

She set a chocolate chip muffin on a plate before sliding it toward me. “Everywhere I visited, people were discussing the explosions.” Scarlett bit into a corn muffin, her voice muffled as she continued, “No one was hurt, but plenty of boats were damaged.”

I quirked a brow.

“Ten boats burned to ashes, and many residents believed it was arson. The shipowners have insurance, but it takes time to collect; for now, they’ve lost their livelihood. The cafe owner handed around a collection to support them, and I pledged money from the both of us.” She glanced at me. “Is that okay?”

“Of course, it’s okay. The boat owners need our help.” Losing my appetite, I shoved the plate away. “Were these people shocked?”

“Nope.” She shook her head, her long ponytail bouncing around her shoulders. “A wave of violence has plagued the town for the past six months.”

“That’s strange; the residents should be more concerned their harbor exploded.”

Scarlett stopped eating and looked at me. “I don’t know the details since people are closed-mouthed, but I’ll find out.”

“Are you canceling our appointment at the bed-and-breakfast for this afternoon?” I stood and began pacing the tiny kitchen. “New York City was dangerous enough; I don’t want to move to a place where I’m afraid to walk home in the evening.”

“I’m not canceling.” Scarlett swiveled to me. 

“We can find a town with no crime wave. The coast of Maine is lined with towns offering picturesque harbors and inns to purchase.”

“No.” Scarlett scrambled to her feet, retrieving her cup from the Keurig and bringing it to the counter. “I want to live here.”

“Why?” I sat as she sipped her coffee. “Is it Jonathan?”

She peeked at me from the corner of her eye. “Yes, it’s him. Then there’s David and Logan. Blue Harbor has interesting characters.”

“Are you seeking characters for a murder mystery or a Hallmark movie?” 

Scarlett pulled a plastic knife from the paper bag and cut my rejected muffin into bite-size pieces. “I don’t want to live in a boring town.” She offered me a piece, but I shook my head. “Blue Harbor offers a unique way of life.”

“The town offers more options for dying.” 

She popped a chunk of muffin in her mouth. “Every town has crime. Once the police catch the ones responsible, the town will be peaceful again. Blue Harbor has the best shops and harbor, and I don’t want to live farther north.”

“The explosions destroyed the harbor.”

“The planks are being replaced as we speak.” Scarlett gave me a pleading look. “Blue Harbor has other piers.”

“Okay. We’ll keep the appointment.” I took a sip of coffee.

“What will you wear on your date with David tonight?” 

“I forgot.” My head pounded. How did I forget?

“Don’t tell me you forgot a date with a gorgeous man.”

“I’ve been trying to forget yesterday; the bleeding man, burning boats, and chilling screams gave me nightmares.”

“Are you keeping the date?” She gawked at me. “No way are you canceling it.”

“I’m going.” I shrugged. “But I don’t need a man to feel whole; I can find happiness without being half of a couple.”

“You can still date and have fun.” Scarlett winked. “You remember how to have fun, right?”

I turned my face to the window where white puffy clouds coasted along the blue horizon. “It’s been a long time.”

“One date doesn’t have to lead to another.” Her expression becoming somber, she added, “I’m not looking for a commitment either.”

I nodded.

“You can’t help men falling for you; you’re blessed with blonde hair and green eyes.” Scarlett tossed her ponytail. “While I sport a frizzy mop of brown with boring brown eyes.”

“Nothing about you is boring.” I laughed. “And you have no problem finding men.”

“But I’m always one step behind you.”

“And I picked Martin.” I stared at the shredded napkin clasped in my hand.

“Forget Martin; he’s history.” She took my hand, peeling pieces of napkins from between my fingers. “Turn your thoughts to David, tall, dark, and handsome.”

“He has those Nordic blue eyes.” I gave a soft sigh.

“Nordic blue?” Scarlett chuckled. “Is that a color?”

“Yes.” I wrinkled my nose. “I found it on Google.” A side glance at her confirmed my suspicions; she sat there grinning like a cat who consumed a bowl of cream. “When is Jonathan taking you on a date? Tonight?”

“Yup.” She slid from the stool. “I’m excited; he’s taking me to a new restaurant on a pier.”

“Nice.” I swallowed. “A pier that didn’t burn?”

“Blue Harbor has many piers.” Scarlett shook a finger at me. “Remember, happy thoughts.”

I planted a smile on my face.

Scarlett gave me a smirk before continuing, “I checked the restaurant online, and it’s fancy.” She leaned her hip against the counter. “Should I wear my strapless red dress?”

“Perfect choice.” I grinned. “You’ll catch the big fish.”

She laughed. “I won’t tell Jonathan you called him a big fish.” Scarlett tilted her head to the side. “What will you wear?”

“I have my little black dress.”

“With an emphasis on little.” With a snicker, she added, “Perfect.” 

I got to my feet and began rinsing the dishes. “Who gets Logan?” I turned to her.

She canted her head to the side.

“If I pick David, and you choose Jonathan, who gets Logan?”

“Can he be the spare?” She clapped her hands together in delight.

A giggle slipped from my mouth. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Men refer to women as spares, so why can’t I?” 

“As long as they don’t hear it.”

“I’m sealing my lips,” Scarlett replied, running an imaginary zipper across her lips.

SOLITUDE

ocean wallpaper

A rare commodity is solitude.

It can be easily misunderstood.

To be all alone with no one else around.

You can do this in the air or on the ground.

You can sail off in the blue sea,

Or hop on a plane without me.

We can all use some time alone

Without T.V. or telephone.

Time to think about your goal.

You will come back feeling whole.

TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE

Follow your dreams & fantasies

to Oasis, Florida,

where nothing is what it seems,

and time is on your side.

THE DEAD GAME

by Susanne Leist

5-Star Review of THE DEAD AT HEART

Broadway Turk Superstar

VINE VOICE

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Showdown at Old Town?

Reviewed in the United States on March 12, 2021

The Dead at Heart by Susanne Leist is the third installment of this cleverly crafted supernatural series. Fans of the author are acquainted with her parallel universes in which mortals and nocturnal creatures live side by side in a fragile existence. In this episode, the vampire stronghold of Oasis finds itself under attack by mysterious forces. Sheriff Sam sets out in pursuit of the werewolf team that kidnapped the lady of the estate. He asks Shana for assistance as her beloved William is suspected of complicity. She accompanies him on a hair-raising chase from the swamps of Florida to the historic city of Quebec. Shana’s loyalty to William is compromised yet she has no choice to continue the pursuit with Linda’s safety at risk.

The plot thickens as the Watchers, represented by Samantha and the Archangels, intercede with the intent of ending a potential conspiracy among a contingency of rogue vampires. Shana realizes that William may be condemned by the Watchers, yet dares not hamper the search as Linda’s fiance Gregg has joined forces with Sheriff Sam. They soon learn that an autoimmune virus has infected the outlaws and caused their insurgency. Proclaimed as the Dead by their fellow vampires, Shana fears the worst. Can she help rescue Linda from the damned and save William in the process?

This is a Gothic suspense/thriller that remains true to the vampire mythology while exploring fresh storylines and plot twists guaranteed to keep readers enthralled throughout. For vampire genre enthusiasts and romantic horror fans alike, The Dead at Heart by Susanne Leist is one you won’t want to miss.

WELCOME TO CANADA!

Welcome to Canada.

The Dead are waiting for you.

Chateau Frontenac is their base.

I hope your room is to your taste.

THE DEAD AT HEART

https://amzn.to/3lrQ3KO

THE BLUE HARBOR SERIES

Sailboat

Welcome to

Sailboat

THE BLUE HARBOR SERIES

The streets of Maine flow red

as the curse claims its next victims.

A bed-and-breakfast might not have been

the ideal purchase for Elizabeth & Scarlett.

Coming soon.