“The plot was interesting, the pacing was good, and there was just the right amount of romance,” wrote one reviewer of Mandi Tucker Slack’s “The Alias,” which was released in 2011 and is available for sale online.
“TIDE EVER RISING” EXCERPT:
Another burst of wind rushed past, causing the old timbers and bricks to groan. She eyed the charred, decaying walls. This place felt different than the last; more eerie and . . . she couldn’t quite think of the word””more alive? She inhaled sharply then turned when she heard the sound of her name carried on the wind. Gooseflesh caused her hair to stand on end, and her breath caught in her throat. She could hear the wind sighing through the pinion pines close by. A window pane, hanging from a loose nail, squeaked as the breeze caressed her cheek.
“Maysha?” she called, feeling uncertain. “Did you call me?”
“What? No!” her sister returned. “Look, can we go now? We’re going to be soaked before we get back to the car. And besides, I think I left my window down.”
Kadie exhaled and shivered visibly. She couldn’t quite shake the feeling that she was being watched. This house definitely feels different than the last, she thought. Feeling uneasy, she turned back toward Maysha. She entered the kitchen area again, glancing cautiously behind her.
“Alright, I’m coming. You know, I””whoa!” Kadie’s foot fell through a loose patch of linoleum flooring. She stumbled and fell to the floor, nicking the palm of her hand on several small shards of broken glass. “Oh . . . ,”she murmured, eyeing her cut hand. She brushed the dirt and glass from off her palm and then turned to carefully pull her foot out of the splintered wooden floor. “Great.” She frowned and eyed the small circle of blood spreading around a tear in the fabric of her jeans.
“What did you do? Are you all right?” Maysha stepped toward the crumbling, stone steps.
“I’m fine!”Kadie called.
She didn’t want Maysha to risk cutting herself or stepping on a rusty nail. Besides, Kadie mused, there’s no sense in both of us needing a tetanus shot.
Kadie pulled the cuff of her jeans up to better examine her leg. A jagged scratch oozed blood that dripped onto her sock. She pulled the leg of her jeans back into place then stood. A flash of light caught the corner of her eye and she paused. Startled, she turned to face the jagged hole her foot had created and was surprised when she noticed an object just beyond the cobwebs. Curiously she knelt and peered into the opening. Careful to avoid the glass and rusty nails, she pulled at the rotting wood and linoleum, clearing the space.
“Ugh!” she yelped when her fingers came in contact with a thick web, and she watched with wide eyes as a black widow spider scurried away. She cringed then sighed.
“What is it? Aren’t you coming?” Maysha called.
“Just a second,” Kadie responded. “I think I found something.”
Using a stick, she cleared the cobwebs and carefully reached into the hole to remove a rusty coffee can. Dust and dead leaves clung to the old can, and she brushed them away excitedly.