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Thursday, 30 July 2015

☀☄ The Emily Heart Time Jumper Series - Glassford Girl [Parts 1 to 3] - Jay J. Falconer

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for Emily Heart Time Jumper, a Young Adult Sci-Fi & Fantasy Adventure series by , which comprises of three parts: Glassford Girl I to III.

Find out about each of the three parts, the author and his Narrows of Time series.  Make sure to also sign up to the author's newsletter to get four FREE books!!!

Author Jay J. Falconer will be awarding 1 set of the series (all 3 paperbacks) and $25 amazon gift card to 1 lucky winner drawn at random via Rafflecopter during the tour.

The Series | About the AuthorTrailer: The Narrows of Time Series | Giveaway & Tour Stops

The Emily Time Jumper Series is a great mix of several genres, including Genetic Engineering, Time Travel, Coming of Age, Romance, Urban and Paranormal.  The author also promises "a few kick-in-the-teeth surprises that few readers see coming!" and never a dull moment!

The series has been written as stand alone episodes, but it should be read in order.

PREVIEW: Click on the book covers below to Look Inside each book on Amazon and read an excerpt (usually the first 10% of the book).

Glassford Girl1 [1]

*FREE download**
Teleportation. Telepathy. Superior strength and speed. Abilities she never wanted. Abilities she must learn to control.
Emily Heart used to have a normal life. A life filled with family, friends, and a warm bed to sleep in. But that was before the night of The Taking. The night when she was abducted and genetically transformed against her will.

Now she's lost everything and living on the streets of Glassford Park, struggling to stay alive one more day. But it won’t be easy. Not when a gang wants to kill her, cops want to arrest her, and a reporter wants to expose her.

However, Emily’s problems don’t end there. Any uncontrolled burst of emotion can send her jumping randomly across time and space, arriving naked and alone. If she's not careful, she could travel to infinity and beyond, never to be heard from again.

Emily doesn't quite know what she is, or what she's capable of, but she knows what she can't afford to do -- feel anything. [Published 9 January 2015, 183 pages]

Excerpt

Chapter 1

August 11, 2013
1:16 a.m.

Emily Heart pushed through the burning pain in her chest and thigh muscles, convincing her legs to run faster. She dodged a park bench before jumping over a homeless man lying under a pile of cardboard.

Her mind’s eye could see the gunman aiming his sights at the back of her head and squeezing the trigger, sending the bullet out of the barrel and downrange with supersonic intent. She leaned to the left, letting the round whiz past her fifteen-year-old body. It took out the headlight of a cement truck parked across the street near the alley behind Glassford Street.

The flickering specks of blue light were fading in her vision. It wouldn’t be long before she turned normal again. She would then be unable to see through the gunman’s eyes, or sense the cold blackness of hate she could sense in his heart.

She bent forward at the waist, using a low-profile running pattern, hoping she’d make it safely to the alley. She ran through the grass at the edge of the park, over the sidewalk and hit the asphalt, racing across the empty lanes of the street.

More gunshots rang out, one after another in quick succession. She couldn’t see where the bullets were headed, telling her the link with the shooter was broken. Bricks and mortar exploded all around her as the hailstorm of rounds missed her. They hit the side wall of an old warehouse covered in spray paint and gang signs. She turned right, just before the cement truck, and ran down the alley.

“Don’t lose me!” she yelled at Junie, who was sprinting in front of her, a book bag bouncing on the back of her rail-thin body. Emily was falling behind, unable to keep up with the speed and endurance of her twelve-year-old friend from the homeless shelter.

A minute later, she heard another round of weapons fire erupt as she was nearing the far end of the block-long corridor, plinking and ricocheting off the walls around her. She felt the wisp of a bullet fly through strands of her flowing red hair. It took out the painted window on the wall ahead of her, shattering it into a million shards of colored glass.

She looked back and saw the gang leader standing at the entrance to the alley, changing the magazine in his weapon. His crew came running into view, just catching up to him.

She made the corner and ran further down the passageway, which stank of garbage and sewage. She hurdled a pothole, then flew over a garbage can laying on its side, almost losing her balance in the process. But she managed to keep her feet under her while her shoes pounded the pavement ahead.

Faster, she told herself, faster! She pushed her feet to their tripping point, trying to draw more blood and oxygen than her teenage body could deliver. Her legs wanted to quit—so did her lungs—but she wouldn’t let them.

She pressed on, looking ahead, trying to spot Junie, but she couldn’t see her anymore. She turned another corner and saw a scrawny, dirt-covered leg sticking out from behind a pile of stained mattresses leaning against the wall. She ducked in and grabbed her friend by the shoulder, dragging her eighty-pound frame forward.

“Run, baby, run! Don’t stop! One more corner and we’re there! It’s on the left!”

Emily had learned over the past two years of living on the streets of Phoenix that the blistering summers were endless and miserable, and so were the nights, keeping most of the normal people indoors. She knew that nobody was watching, and nobody cared. There would be no rescue. Not at this time of night, and not in this part of town. It was up to her to get Junie to safety before the shooter and his crew killed her.

She felt a familiar tingle start to grow at the base of her spine when she turned the last corner. “Oh, no! Not now! Not again!” she cried, trying to steady her nerves as she caught up to Junie, who was squeezing her skinny body behind the dumpster.

She couldn’t let it happen. Not so soon. She’d barely recovered from the last time. She needed to focus all her attention on Junie, and let the balance of her emotions run dry. It had only been four days since she’d met her fiery companion in the homeless shelter, but she felt a strong connection with this girl, even though she barely knew her. She didn’t know why, but something inside of her told her to protect Junie. She was important somehow, not just another homeless girl with a deadbeat mother nobody cared about.

She followed Junie behind the garbage bin and into the hidden doorway; darkness engulfed them. “Down the stairs. And stay quiet,” she told Junie in a whisper, locking the door behind her.

“But I can’t see.”

“Go slow and use the handrails. There are twelve steps. Count ‘em as you go.”

They made it down the steps and through another doorway that led into a basement storeroom. It was piled high with junk and old restaurant equipment that had been mothballed by the owner. Emily knew this place well, spending at least one night a week there in recent months. It was her secret hiding place where she could escape the insanity of the city.

An emergency exit sign hung over the inside of the door that she’d just entered, showering an eerie redness over the scene. On the wall to the left stood another door. It led to a flight of stairs that rose up to the kitchen of a high-end Italian restaurant. Emily had made friends with the eighteen-year-old busboy, Parker, who was also a volunteer at one of the local shelters. When he was the last one to leave for the night, he’d push the red dumpster close to the door as a signal to Emily that the door was unlocked and she was welcome. She’d swoop in around midnight, and lock the door behind her.

“Over here,” Emily said, gesturing to a huge metal cabinet with rusty hinges that was standing next to a stack of Styrofoam coolers. “I think we lost them.”

Junie’s chest heaved in and out as it worked to recharge her lungs after the long run. “How do you know?”

“I can’t feel them anymore,” Emily replied, equally as winded.

Emily quickly opened the white cooler sitting on top and put her hand inside, pulling out a cellophane-wrapped peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a banana. As usual, Parker had left the food for her in the top cooler with a chilled Pepsi acting as ice to keep the contents from spoiling until she arrived. She tore the cellophane off, split the bread down the middle, and gave half of it to Junie.

“Here, eat while you can,” she said, before stuffing the sandwich into her mouth, chewing it with abandon.

Junie did the same, smiling, with peanut butter stuck to her teeth. “Sea food,” she said with her mouth full.

Emily laughed. “We have a banana for dessert.”

She popped the Pepsi open and waited to see if the contents would bubble up. It did. She sucked the cola off the top of the can until the carbonation settled down, then gave the soda to her friend.

Junie guzzled several swigs before giving it back to her. Emily swished the can around in a circle to test its volume—only a quarter of the liquid remained. Emily finished her half of the sandwich, then washed it down with the last bit of Pepsi.

They plopped down against the wall beside the cabinet. Junie wrapped her arms around her knees, keeping the dual-strap backpack sandwiched between her thighs and flat chest.

“Junie, that’s not yours. Where did you get it?”

“I—” Junie hesitated. “I took it.”

Emily sighed, feeling disappointment spread across her body. “What’s in it?”

She shrugged. “I snatched it from those boys right before you showed up.”

“Lemme see.”

Junie gave her the backpack.

Emily unzipped it and peered inside. “Uh-oh,” Emily groaned. “We’re in big trouble.”

She tipped it to the side and opened it wide so Junie could see the money inside. Lots of it. Bundles and bundles of wrinkled $100 bills, each wrapped with a blue rubber band and slip of notepaper with a four-digit number written on it.
* * *
Outside, the group of West Side Locos that had been pursuing the two street girls were becoming agitated. Their leader, Flaco, was more than agitated: he was pissed. The chase had taken them several blocks outside of their home turf and into enemy territory. He knew it was only a matter of time before a member of the Glassford Gatos noticed their trespass. His crew was light, no match for a full-out fight with a two-dozen-strong gang.

The crew stood in a loose bunch on the sidewalk at the far end of the alley where the girls had disappeared. Flaco was sure that the girls couldn’t have made it all the way to the end before his crew rounded the corner. They must be hiding in the alley somewhere.

“Where’d they go?” he yelled at his lieutenant, Nesto, shoving him against the wall, his gun pointed up under his chin. “El stupido! You let that street chica snatch the buy money?”

Nesto shoved him back, hard.

“Get the fuck off me!” he yelled. “I didn’t do anything. She was already there. It was your dumb-ass idea to set up the buy at the rec center. Back the fuck up.”

Flaco backed away, lowering his gun. He looked down the alley, the way they had come. “Okay. They have to be in this alley somewhere. No way they made it all the way through here before us. Split up. You two, this side; you two, that side,” he said, gesturing down the alley. “Search everywhere. Garbage cans, dumpsters, everything. We gotta get it back. Nesto, go back to the other end and keep eyes. I got this side.”

The crew split up, following his orders.

Flaco knew that if they didn’t find the money, he was a dead man. His uncle would kill him without a second’s remorse. He’d trusted him to make this drop with the Russians—the first really big one since he’d decided to quit high school and join the family business. He paced back and forth, trying to find a way out of the situation. He was about to give up on the search when one of his crew whistled from down the alley. It was the new kid, barely 14 years old. What was his name? Derek? Kid didn’t look Latino, but he swore he’d grown up in Hope Gardens on the West Side. Not that it mattered. His uncle told him to take him along and break him in, so he did. “Do as you’re told, and don’t ask questions” was a phrase that he knew all too well.

The new kid was waving at him to come take a look at something.

Flaco ran down the alley at full speed. “What you got?”

“Doorway,” Derek replied, pushing the dumpster away from the wall. He pointed at the doorframe where a torn shred of clothing was hanging on a nail. “Check it out. Wasn’t the older girl wearing a blue T-shirt?”

Flaco smiled. “We got ‘em. Good eyes, new boot.”

Flaco heard a cry from Nesto, who was running toward them in a full gallop. “Policía! Policía!”

A police cruiser came screeching to a halt, blocking the alley at the end where they’d originally entered. The cop gave the siren a quick double blast and then called over the loudspeaker.

“You there! Stop where you are! On the ground! Hands behind your head!”

Flaco and his crew took off running in the opposite direction, but another police cruiser with lights flashing and engine roaring skidded into the mouth of the alley, trapping them.

“This way!” Flaco yelled, instantly reversing direction. He ran a few feet, then veered and kicked in the door that the new kid had found. He ran into darkness, not expecting the ground to disappear from under his feet. He yelled as he fell down the void face-first. He bounced and flipped, cracking his head on one of the steps on the way to the bottom.
* * *
Emily’s spine tingled again, deep down at the base, but the tingle was stronger than before. She knew it was coming, and she wasn’t going to be able to stop it this time. The gunshots must have started the countdown. Guns always sent her mind into a blur and her heart racing, charging her body with a rush of uncontrolled emotions that seemed to act as the trigger for the blue light. Gunfire and gangs were two things that she had fought hard to avoid during her time on the streets.

The jump was coming, but she couldn’t leave Junie to fend for herself. She needed to think of something. She usually had seventeen minutes from the first tingle until the blue light consumed her and she’d vanish. The pre-jump process used to proceed like clockwork, but lately it had been different. The lead time was now ten minutes, tops, from the first indicator to the last moment. Barely enough time to find seclusion before it happened. She didn’t understand why the timer suddenly decided to change, it just had.

Now that she had a friend in tow, she couldn’t slip away into the shadows and let it take her. Not with Junie depending on her. This is why you never break the rules, she scolded herself, as she reviewed the list in her head. Her mind highlighted rule number seven in bold—never get involved; nothing good ever comes from it.

Junie was babbling on and on, trying to explain what she was doing on the playground next to the shelter in the middle of the night, and why she’d stolen a backpack from a bunch of West Side Locos.

“I was sitting in my secret place under that little arbor thing, ya know, in the corner by the bathrooms. I was waiting for some drunk to finish his dump and leave so I could wash up. I heard the Locos coming up the walkway through the trees by the picnic tables so I hid. I knew the bag was important because they were arguing about it. Then they all turned their backs and kept yelling at each other. English mostly, but some Spanish sprinkled in. They just left it sitting there on the picnic table. I thought I could sneak up and grab it and get away, then sell whatever was in it. I hate living in that shelter, Em. Too much touching. I don’t like all those hugs, and people wanting to give me a bath all the time. They think they have to help me just because Mom leaves me alone for an hour to go out and get high. Plus it smells like vomit all the time.”

The tingle in Emily’s spine crept up to her shoulder blades, confirming what she already knew—the countdown had started.

“Shhhhh,” she said, covering Junie’s mouth with her hand. “I hear voices outside.”

“Are they coming in?”

“I don’t know. I can’t sense them. The walls must be blocking.”

They listened. There were muffled voices just outside the door, at the top of the stairs where the dumpster had hid their escape route. Emily’s pulse started to pound even more, thumping in her eardrums. The tingly feeling shot up to her neck. She took a deep breath, trying to focus her thoughts away from the ticking bomb inside of her. She had to do something with Junie, and fast. She only had minutes.

“We have to get out of here,” she whispered. “We can sneak out through the upstairs—it’s a restaurant, and they close early. I doubt anyone is there this late, but we’ll probably set off the alarm when we leave.”

“Alarm?”

“Do you remember my friend Parker that I told you about? The busboy?”

She nodded.

“He disabled the sensors on the back door so I can sleep here whenever it’s raining, or when he leaves food out for me. Nobody ever comes down here except him when he takes the trash out, so he leaves food for me whenever his boss leaves early. I never go beyond this basement. That’s our deal. But we don’t have a choice this time. Just stick close and we’ll be fine. If I run, you run. Got it?”

Junie’s eyes widened. She looked scared, but she nodded.

They got up and made their way across the room as shouting rang out from the alley above. They froze. Emily heard a police siren chirp twice, then an amplified voice that sounded like it was coming over a loudspeaker. Shit. Cops. Definitely cops.

Thump! Thump! Thump!

“The Locos are trying to kick the door in!” Junie said.

Thump! Thump! Crack! The door at the top of the stairs to the alley slammed open, and one of the West Siders came tumbling down head over heels. He fell through the door at the bottom and landed on his side in a heap, just inside the entrance of the storeroom. His eyes were closed and his head was bloody. He started to moan.

Junie screamed.

Emily covered her mouth.

“Flaco?” a Latino voice called out from the top of the stairs. “Flaco? You okay?

Emily held a finger to her mouth, reminding Junie to be quiet.

The same voice spoke again. “Send Derek down to check.” A few moments later, footsteps pounded the wooden steps, getting louder with each beat.

“Run!” Emily whispered in Junie’s ear, shoving Junie across the room toward the door that led to the kitchen upstairs. Junie opened the door and ran up the steps. Emily was about to follow her friend, but stopped when she heard another person breathing heavily behind her. Something told her to turn and look at him. It felt like curiosity, but it was more than that.

He was young—too young. Maybe a little younger than she. The red glow of the exit sign made it difficult to be sure, but his spiked hair looked to be jet-black, with triangle sections cut down to the scalp above his ears. His eyes were either blue or green. She hoped blue. Tattoos covered both of his forearms like a sleeve, and a single gold earring hung down below his left ear. She didn’t recognize its unique shape—maybe it was a symbol, or something that he’d made. He was two inches taller than she, with high cheekbones that perfectly offset his narrow, aquiline nose and full lips.

Emily couldn’t help herself. She stared into the eyes of the pretty boy. A thought came unbidden into her mind: he’s way too cute to be part of this.

“Damn girl, you’re smokin’,” he said, with a voice much lower than she had expected. His eyes moved down across her figure, then back up.

She smiled when he made eye contact with her again, sensing that he wasn’t going to shoot. He was calm and quiet on the inside. There was no malice in his thoughts, just a growing feeling of desire that excited her.

He lowered his gun.

She relaxed.

Then a voice came flooding down the stairs, as did more footsteps, breaking the calm. “Derek?”

Derek bolted across the room at her. Emily came to her senses and lashed out with her right foot, just like Master Liu had taught her. The lightning-fast front kick struck him in the groin and he fell back to the doorway and landed on top of Flaco, temporarily blocking access for the rest of their crew.

Emily ran upstairs and shut the door behind her, jamming a metal garbage can under the doorknob to slow the gang down.

Junie stepped out of the shadows in the dimly lit kitchen. She was holding a stainless steel skillet cocked by her ear, ready to brain whoever came up the steps.

“It’s me!” Emily hissed, taking the weapon from her friend. She put it on the counter next to the prep station. “Hurry, out the front. This way.”

She ran past Junie through the double swing doors where the dining room of the elegant restaurant was waiting. Lights from the street cast shadows across the empty chairs, wooden tables, and the bubbling lobster tank. The tables were covered with white tablecloths and folded linen napkins, wineglasses, and elegant cutlery. The floor was spotless and shiny, and there was a fresh scent of pine in the air.

Emily felt a tremor rise up through her body. What had begun as a tingle in her spine was now an overwhelming, full-body sensation. She felt electrified and alive, like she always did right before a jump, meaning that her senses had now been supercharged, allowing her to have visions of the immediate future. Normally, she would use this ability to know where to hide until the jump came and she could disappear. But this time, she couldn’t just use her abilities to protect herself. She had to make sure Junie would be okay before she vanished.

She knew that another thug was about to start kicking at the door to the kitchen behind her, and then bolt through it and find his way into the dining area, where he’d start shooting his machine gun. She could sense his plans, and felt the anger boiling inside his chest. It wasn’t the pretty boy that she’d kicked in the basement. This one was itching to kill.

She waited a few seconds for what she knew would come next. It did—the extra strength that hard-charged her muscles, allowing her to become stronger and faster, but only for a short time. It would fade from her body the moment time began to slow down, which was the last step in the process right before the jump.

She scooped Junie in her arms like a rag doll, ran across the dining room in a flash, and dove over a low wall that separated the foyer from the dining room. Junie sat in a ball, clutching the backpack to her chest, holding onto it for dear life.

“You know they don’t serve peanut butter in a place like this,” Junie mumbled.

“What?”

“My mom used to be a hostess, so I know. Your friend must have brought it from home. I think he likes you.”

She took Junie’s head in her hands and looked her in the eyes. “Listen to me. We don’t have much time. As soon as I’m gone, wait for the glass to break on the front window. Then go through it and run outside. Hide the backpack somewhere safe and go find the cops.”

“Cops? We don’t like cops!”

“This time we do. They’ll protect you. They’re holding back now, but they’ll be here in a few minutes.”

“When do I run, again?”

“After I’m gone, you’ll hear gunfire, but don’t be afraid. The bullets won’t be coming at you. A man will scream, and then glass will break. That’s when you run. After the glass breaks. Got it?”

Junie gulped as tears began to flow, but she seemed to pull it together. She sniffed and nodded. “Thank you, Em.”

“You should use a tablecloth so you don’t get cut,” she said, helping Junie put her backpack on.

“When will I see you again?”

“It might take me a while, but I’ll find you. Now cover your ears, and don’t scream when you hear gunshots. He won’t be aiming at you. Just wait for the glass.”

Emily heard the double doors swing open and smash against the walls on either side of them.

Emily took a breath and steadied herself for what she was about to do. The closer she got to a jump, the more it happened: time got slow and she got fast, but only for about fifteen seconds of her time immediately preceding a jump.

She felt the blue energy rise up through her body, telling her that it was time to act.

She sprang over the wall and ran at the gunman in a cloud of blue. She could see three bullets just leaving his gun, hanging in midair, with smoke trails behind them. She touched the bottom of each bullet with her finger as she zipped past them, then grabbed the wrist on the man’s gun hand and added a twisting force to it.

She turned her attention to the second villain who had been frozen in time, stepping through the double swing doors. There was another man in the kitchen behind him, but she didn’t see the pretty boy, Derek, anywhere. She grabbed the second man’s shoulders and spun him around so that his gun was facing the third man, who was not far behind. She gently touched the trigger finger of the second gunman, then moved to the third Loco and did the same with his trigger finger.

She dashed out of the kitchen and into the dining room, where she applied pressure to the underside of a table built to seat eight people, calculating the trajectory of its flight in her head.

She knelt on the ground, then curled herself into the fetal position and waited for the last second of the countdown to tick by. It did.

The jump pain hit as her body began to sizzle with blue lines of energy, like tiny lightning bolts crisscrossing her skin. A searing bolt of agony shot from the back of her skull to the center of her forehead, just as she was consumed by the blue fire and vanished.
* * *
Junie heard things happen just as Emily had described: first there were three shots of gunfire that tore through the ceiling panels above her, then a man screaming in pain, then more gunshots, then more screaming, then glass breaking, and a second after that, the alarm system began to wail.

She took a deep breath and ran to the front window, seeing a man on his knees holding his wrist, and two bodies a little further back lying on the floor, bleeding from their chests. She snatched a tablecloth, stepped on the wooden chair closest to the broken window, spread the tablecloth over the bottom of the frame, and climbed out. She heard sirens coming from the right, but she decided to go left instead, running as fast as her feet could take her.

Glassford Girl [2]

**Free on Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Library**
How to be happy? Live on the street? Remain in present time?

Emily Heart can't. She's something new - abducted and genetically altered, Emily is figuring out how to live in one time and place, when any burst emotion might send her across time and space or possibly blink her right out of existence.

Imagine never being able to trust your feelings - because you don't know where they'll lead. Even with reporter Jim Miller trying to keep her safe, Emily's fighting a losing battle.

Who is the strange Orange Man? What dangerous technology is in his briefcase? Jim Miller, Emily, and boyfriend Derek aren't sure they want to know - but the Orange Man is gunning for them anyway.

Then, breaking all her own rules, Emily Heart finds herself alone in a showdown with the worst kind of evil. Can she figure out how to use her time-jumping talents to save herself?

The second installment of the mind-bending Emily Heart Time Jumper Series, Glassford Girl: Part 2 is a gripping ride through space, time, and the hearts of a young woman, the people who want to keep her alive, and those who want her dead. [Published 15 March 2015, 253 pages]

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

September 25, 2014 
12: 31 a.m.

The horn on the police van blared and the vehicle swerved hard to the right, sending Emily Heart flying into the lap of the handsome criminal sitting across from her. The handcuffs around her wrists hit the boy in the neck, making him gasp in pain.

The beat of Derek’s heart pounded at her chest as she slid down his body and plopped on the floor of the paddy wagon. She adjusted the blanket covering her naked body, making sure to conceal everything before he looked down.

His hands were cuffed behind his back, but hers were in front, put there by the cops before they shoved her in. The officers were originally going to use their standard behind-the-back cuffing procedure, but she pleaded with them to keep her hands in front. Otherwise, she’d never be able to keep the blanket closed. They agreed.

Derek stood up, spun around, and bent down to help her off the deck.

Her butt found the aluminum bench on her side of the transport and slid into place.

Derek turned and sat across from her. “You okay?” She nodded, enchanted by his chivalrous act. How many boys, or men for that matter, would have done what he just did with their wrists immobilized? Not many, she decided.

Two heavy thumps rang out along the wall separating the back of the van from the two cops in the driver’s section.

“Anyone hurt back there?” one of them asked.

“What the hell is going on?” Derek answered. The access window slid open between the two compartments and a poorly lit cop’s face appeared.

“City bus almost T-boned us. Are you two all right?”

“Barely. You seriously need to think about installing seatbelts back here. Hate for us to die before you lock us up and throw away the key.”

“Check behind you, Einstein. See that safety strap? Use it or lose it,” he said, before slamming the window shut.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Phoenix’s finest,” Derek quipped.

Emily laughed, though she didn’t think his remark was all that funny; but time jumping can warp your sense of humor. She had been traveling through time for two years, ever since she was thirteen years old. That’s two years in Emily time, though it had been spread out over almost thirty years for the normals in real time. Her BFF, Stacy, was now on the other side of forty, and probably didn’t do much squealing anymore. Except maybe in the bedroom with whatever man was smart enough to have pinned her down with a wedding ring and a house full of kids.

She sighed, thinking about her future and what it could never be like. Her condition wouldn’t allow it. She ached inside, knowing that she’d never have a family of her own, let alone date, fall in love, and get married to the love of her life.

She couldn’t track Stacy down for a reunion, either, not with her best friend having aged normally for all those years while Emily hadn’t. There was simply no easy way to explain it to a normal, not without that person calling the grabby men with the straightjackets and rubber rooms.

Derek flashed his thick, full eyelashes at her, sending a charge throughout her body. She gazed into the eyes of the pretty boy that she hadn’t seen in over a year, not since the chance meeting in the basement of that high-end Italian restaurant. The overhead dome light in the van flickered twice, but that didn’t stop her from memorizing every curve of his perfect face.

She didn’t believe in love at first sight, but figured that’s what most people would say she was experiencing. There was no denying that she was attracted to Derek. But love at first sight? Hell no. It was a silly concept. Stacy used to talk about it relentlessly, but that was long ago, back before the night of The Taking. Stacy was a true believer in that single, magical moment in a young girl’s life when she meets the boy she’s going to fall in love with and marry. Stacy was an emotionally charged girl, seemingly waiting for that life-changing event to happen with every age-appropriate boy she met.

Emily knew it to be nothing more than fantasy, brought on by endless hours of wishful daydreaming. She knew better. Dreams were for normal people. Her life was just the opposite— an abomination to all things human.

Then again, here she was, feeling a tsunami of emotions for a boy she’d barely met. She convinced herself that her gift of second sight was to blame for everything she was thinking and feeling— in her mind, her heart, and her body. It had provided her with a profound look inside Derek, absorbing all he was in the blink of an eye.

That level of emotional connection with another human being changes a girl. She knew him— the real him. Not the gangster façade that had been baked on like a ceramic shell for protection.

Even if she tried, she couldn’t stop herself from being attracted to his gentle and kind spirit. It was something she’d rarely encountered since being abducted and genetically altered against her will. At least not from a boy who was her age, and beyond drop-dead gorgeous.

But she also knew they could never be together. Not with her time-jumping condition. Any sudden burst of emotion could trigger a cascading event that would send her naked and alone to some random point in the future.

Relationships are filled with thousands of intense moments like that, meaning love and dating were things she could never have; not if she wanted to remain in the present.

Just bad luck, she decided. Life sucked. Her life sucked. It wasn’t fair, not on any level. And there was little she could do about it. Focus on the now, Em! she yelled quietly inside.

Focus on what you can control. Everything else is a waste of time and energy.

She also couldn’t help that Derek was sitting handcuffed on the bench right across from her. He was close enough to sense, smell, touch, even kiss. Yet, that was all it could ever be— infatuation from a distance.

She let the tantalizing thoughts fade away. They weren’t meant for her. Not with her entire world having just been turned upside down, inside out, and sideways. And all of it happened in the past ten minutes.

She knew she had jumped ten minutes ago because she’d ended up naked on the street in the middle of a four-way shootout between the Phoenix Police Department, her new friend and beat reporter, Jim Miller, and two violent street gangs— the Glassford Gatos and the West Side Locos.

She knew Jim had been shot multiple times because she’d seen it happen in front of her, then she’d been handcuffed and had her butt groped by a member of law enforcement before being tossed into the back of the van, wearing only her birthday suit and a blanket.

Derek glanced at Emily again, sucking her in with those amazing blue eyes.

Just as before, she was flooded with a surge of powerful emotions that showed her all that he was. She loved how his life force warmed her heart and brought her to a place of serenity. But she couldn’t allow herself to remain there.

Rule number ten flashed in her mind: No boys.

She fought the feelings back, not wanting them to cloud her judgment. However, each time she connected with Derek, the attraction grew tenfold. She knew she was fighting a losing battle.

Emily needed time to formulate a new set of rules and a few more lists. Something, anything that would give her the ability to regulate what was building inside.

She probably needed to get away from him, or at least not look at him. Either choice would protect her from the effects of the psychic connection. She knew that was the logical thing to do, but her head wasn’t making the decisions, her heart was, and it was beating with a wallop. Everything she was feeling and thinking was a jumbled mess of chaos and contradiction.

She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think. What was wrong with her? Why was she letting this happen?

Come on, Em, you’re stronger than this!

The channels in her mind started changing, switching between logic and love and back again. Over and over they flipped, making every moment harder to control than the last. She was walking close to the precipice; dangerously close. The jump process could begin any second.

“Aren’t you going to say anything, gorgeous?” Derek asked, scrunching his eyebrows and tilting his head.

Her mind was reeling. So was her body. There wasn’t time to figure any of this out. Derek needed to shut up. He was making things worse every time he opened his mouth. But she didn’t want him to stop. She wanted his attention. His admiration. His love.

Wait. No, Em. You can’t. Get these thoughts out of your head. It’s making you crazy.

Nothing made sense. She was out of control. Her trusted logic was failing her. What the hell was going on? She felt like screaming. Maybe it would help? Maybe it wouldn’t. She didn’t know. She didn’t care. Wait, yes she did. So much confusion and doubt. It was smothering her. Somebody, please make it stop! Then everything switched again and her logic returned. Thank God. She drew in two deep breaths and let the disgusting memory of the cop squeezing her butt play in her mind. It helped her flush the sexual tension from her system and lower her heart rate. But then, just as she was getting a handle on things, Derek spoke again.

“Okay, I get that you don’t want to talk to me. How about a smile? Just a little one? It won’t hurt. I promise . . . Come on, beautiful, just a little one. For me?”

The pressure in her chest tripled and the passionate thoughts returned, crashing into the logic shield she had constructed in her head. Somehow she found the strength to look away and beat back a smile that threatened to take control of her lips.

He finally looked away.

She relaxed and put her head back, resting it on the wall of the van. Her eyes closed and her memories took over, taking her back to the first and only time they’d met. It had been under another set of inauspicious circumstances— right before a fatal gang shootout in that Italian restaurant— when Emily had been protecting Junie and was forced to kick Derek in the groin and run.

This time with Derek is going to be different, she promised herself. Just need to stay focused and in control.

She cracked her right eye open ever so slightly, figuring she could sneak a peek at the adorable boy whose mere presence was controlling the rhythm of her heart.

She realized she’d been sitting in silence like a brainless zombie, staring into his sexy eyes for at least five minutes, all the while making it seem like she wanted Derek to beg for her attention. If he only knew what a total wreck she was inside.

What a dork, she thought— her, not him. She was furious at herself for not talking to him, thinking that he’d probably get annoyed and lose interest.

Wait! Should she care? No? Yes? She didn’t know. Why can’t she think straight? Arrrg.

The struggle raging between her heart and her mind was nearing its pinnacle. She needed to make a decision, and soon. She sat up and opened her eyes, pretending to be calm, cool, and collected.

Derek looked at her and didn’t seem upset.

Maybe she hadn’t messed it all up. She couldn’t risk taking another read of him, so she decided to proceed like a normal.

Play it cool, Em, don’t mess it up, she told herself.

But then something that she hadn’t planned happened. She smiled at him.

He smiled back, looking relieved. “That’s better. I knew you had one in there somewhere. Wasn’t so difficult, now was it?”

She shook her head and wanted to say something, anything, but all she could do was grin again, this time even bigger, not knowing whether her reaction was out of nervousness or something else.

The pressure in her chest intensified and a massive knot in her stomach began to grow, making it difficult to concentrate.

The van hit a bump and they bounced up off their benches and then slammed back down, hard, making her butt hurt. The van stopped briefly, then took off in a lurch, sending both of them off balance and smashing against the back door.

“Makes you wonder if a blind squirrel is drivin’ this rig.”

She laughed.

“Do I make you nervous?”

She shook her head.

“Then why won’t you talk to me?”

She shrugged, unable to think of a response. None of the word choices she came up with sounded good. Total dorkness.

“I don’t bite,” Derek said with a devilishly sly grin. “At least not on the first date.” At that moment, Emily made her decision. She was going to fight through the tightness in her chest and the pain in her belly. It was time to give in to her feelings and talk to him.

But when she opened her mouth to say something witty and coy, a wave of post-jump nausea came flooding out.

She leaned forward and puked on Derek’s expensive Doc Martens.

Glassford Girl [3]

Time jumper Emily Heart narrowly escaped the deadly encounter at the reporter’s home, but now finds herself floating in a cold, damp place filled with a sea of colors and certain death.

Drawing another breath won’t be easy, not after her jumps have become even more erratic and unpredictable. So, too, have her relationships with Derek and the rest of her friends, forcing Emily to question everything and tighten her circle of trust as her troubles escalate.

Should she rescue Junie from a deadbeat mother and keep her friend from a life in foster care?

Is the Orange Man stalking her, or just her friends? What does he want?

Now that Detective Alison has tracked her down, will he arrest her or set her free?

When the national media gets involved, how will Emily avoid the spotlight and stay alive?

Part 3 in the series chronicles the tragedy of Emily’s life as her very existence is twisted and transformed beyond anything she could have ever imagined or believed. [Published 13 June 2015, 290 pages]

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Emily Heart wasn’t breathing when she arrived after her most recent time jump from the back yard of Jim Miller’s house. Moments later, billions of sleeping neurons began to fire, rebooting her bio-systems and bringing her closer to a conscious state.

Her heart stirred with a single thump, then charged to full power when it sent the first rush of blood into her muscular system. A howl of post-jump pain hit her just as her waking senses realized there was a mounting pressure inside her ear canals. She also heard the rhythmic sound of swooshing, and her body felt weightless and carefree, making her think she was floating in air.

Yet there was a searing-cold dampness smothering her skin. Then something brushed across her cheek, sending a panic alarm that hastened the revival process.

Her respiratory system came alive, causing her lungs to expand in size. Her mouth opened, hoping to receive a gulp of air, but only a frigid liquid crossed her lips and landed on her tongue, tasting foul and disgusting. She gagged, expelling the thick, foreign matter from her body as her eyes flew open.

A gray-colored fish looked back at her, floating a few inches in front of her nose with its pelvic fins flapping. Behind the creature were tassels of thin-leafed grass swaying in the current, their tips reaching for the sunlight beaming in from above.

Emily realized she was underwater. Her arms and legs started to flail, sending the curious fish darting off in an instant. She grabbed and kicked at the green-tinted water, hoping to climb her way to the surface, but her body sank further and further with every stroke.

A garbled scream was all she could muster, looking down through the murky water, past her bare feet in search of the bottom. It was there, only a few feet below, but covered with a blanket of golf balls. Most looked to be white, but a sprinkling of yellow and orange caught her eye, plus a few with red stripes painted across their centers.

Her feet made contact with the uneven surface, allowing her to bend her knees and push off with a mighty thrust. Emily threw her arms up, hoping to propel the launch with even greater force. It seemed to work. She rose like a ballistic missile hell-bent on reaching a high orbit.

The surface came to her hands first, and then her elbows and shoulders broke through with ease. Emily rejoiced when the warmth of sunshine hit her face and naked shoulders. She gasped a massive breath, letting the oxygen and salvation filter into her body.

Someone was talking, but it didn’t sound like a live person. The voice had a scratchy, high-pitched artificial tone, as if it was coming from a radio. The announcer mentioned the Super Bowl in Phoenix and its kickoff next month, telling her it was January 2015. She must have arrived not long after the narrow escape from the briefcase explosion.

“Help me!” she screamed into the chilly daytime air as gravity took over, sending her body below the waterline. She grabbed at the surface, but regretted now that she had never learned how to swim. Terror spread as the sunshine faded away, taking her into the abyss like a golf ball sliced off course by its careless owner.

The bottom of the lake came fast, reaching the tips of her toes first. Once again, she used her legs to send herself to the surface, ignoring the pain and nausea swirling inside her belly. Her second jettison from the bottom wasn’t as effective as the first, barely taking her head out of the water.

She managed to take another swig of air, but it was short and shallow. It was clear she couldn’t keep repeating this maneuver. Not with the dwindling supply of air and certainly not in near-freezing water with a weakened, post-jump body.

Emily fought to keep herself above the water with furious hands and feet, but as before, she started to sink. She was ready to accept drowning, but something broke through the water and came at her. It was a metal pole with a golf-ball-sized scoop on the end. She grabbed at it, wrapping her numb fingers around it.

Her body stopped its decent and changed course when the pole retracted, pulling her up to the light above. She broke through the water, gasping for air, while staring into the eyes of an elderly man and woman wearing colorful golf attire.

The couple worked the pole in concert, dragging Emily across the surface and onto the grass-covered shoreline, face down.

“Get my blanket from the cart, Clark,” the woman told the man. “She must be freezing. The poor thing!”

Emily rolled to her side and wrapped her arms around her shivering body. “Thank you for saving me,” she mumbled in a weak voice.

The old man draped a soft blanket over her legs and pulled it up to cover her shoulders. The smell of mold, dust and cigarettes was intense, but Emily was too tired and too cold to care.

Her mind kept switching focus, showing visions of the briefcase explosion, Derek’s face, and then the fish staring at her. One after another they played, a split-second each, clouding her thought process and making her dizzy. A second later, she puked, sending a stream of bile into the grass.

“We should call 9-1-1!” Clark screamed.

“Get my cell phone. Hurry!”

“No,” Emily answered with chattering teeth, trying to stop her rescuers from involving anyone else. Finally, the rapid-fire visions stopped playing in her head and she was able to concentrate.

“Lay still, child. Save your energy. We need to get you to a hospital.”

“I’ll be okay. Just . . . need . . . a minute,” she said, feeling more energy drain from her body. Her eyelids felt as though they weighed a hundred pounds each. She was exhausted, but couldn’t let herself sleep. Not yet.

“Hurry, Clark! I think she’s going into shock.”

“Beverly, which pouch is it in?”

“Front one! With my extra tees!”

“Okay, found it. What’s your damned unlock code?”

“All ones, like I told you before.”

“Got it. Dialing now . . . it’s ringing . . .”

“I’m really worried, Clark. I think hyperthermia’s setting in.”

“Why don’t you use your body heat to warm her up?”

“Good idea,” Beverly said, crawling to the ground.

Emily felt Beverly snuggle behind her with her arms and legs wrapped around her.

Clark’s voice doubled in volume when he spoke again into the phone. “I’ve got a young girl here who we just pulled from the lake! We need paramedics, now!”

“Tell them where we’re at!” Beverly snapped at him.

“We’re at Stone Creek Golf Course in Paradise Valley near Cactus and Tatum Boulevard. We’re on the first hole. By the lake . . . Yes, she is, but we think she’s hypothermic . . . I’d say, maybe nineteen. Hard to tell. She’s covered in gunk from the lake and, well, she’s naked . . . I don’t know. That’s how we found her . . . Clark Grismond . . . Just my wife, Beverly . . . okay, we will. But they’ll need to hurry! She’s freezing to death.”

Just as warmth began to flow into Emily from the old woman, something felt off. Her belly and chest were tingling, making it feel as though her skin was moving on its own. It was normal for her body to become hypersensitive after a jump, but this sensation was different. Something was wrong. She could sense it.

Emily pushed at Beverly with her elbow. It worked. Beverly’s grasp weakened, allowing Emily to wriggle free. She turned onto her back while lifting the blanket to look at her breasts and tummy. Then she saw them, sticking to her skin and sucking blood.

Leeches!

Two of them were on her left breast— on opposing sides of the nipple— plus several attached to her abdomen in random locations. But there were more. A pair of bloodsuckers were feasting along the inside of her upper thigh, not far from her vagina.

Emily screamed, feeling a rush of adrenaline kick in that came out of nowhere. She tossed the blanket aside and sat upright in an instant. “Get them off me!”

Beverly moved to a crouching position but kept her hands out and away like Emily’s body was a toxic wasteland. “Clark? What do we do?”

Before Clark could respond, the jump process ignited with the power and speed of a supernova. Emily spun on her backside and shoved the woman with both feet, sending Beverly flopping backward and landing at the feet of her husband.

Emily knew she only had seconds before the blue fire would come. She was already exhausted from the last jump and didn’t know if she could survive another one so soon. She steeled herself, preparing for what would come next.

The next instant, time froze, and the blue fire came to consume her, faster than it had done before. It transformed her body into pure energy, sweeping her away from the golf course, leaving Beverly and Clark behind with their expressions frozen in time.
Parts 1 and 2 are also available as a set. You can preview the first two chapters of the first part by clicking on the Amazon Look Inside link:

Glassford Girl 1 and 2 box set

UK: purchase from Amazon.co.uk US: purchase from Amazon.com find on Goodreads


About the Author

Jay J. Falconer is an independent author, publisher, blogger, editor, engineer and Sci-Fi junkie who lives in the mountains of northern Arizona where the brisk, clean air and stunning mountain views inspire his workday. He makes his online home at: www.JayFalconer.com and is an active member author with BookBreeze.com.

Mr. Falconer is the author of the critically acclaimed Narrows of Time Series and The Emily Heart Time Jumper Series, and is currently developing an all new apocalyptic Sci-Fi series called Redfall, The Flames of Tomorrow, due to be released later in 2015.

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