Title: The Aurora Affair
Author: Carolyn Haley
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Confronted by supernatural powers, a skeptical heroine discovers that her love affairs are the key to harnessing her own power to influence the world—for better if she does it right, or for worse if she fails.
Supermodel-turned-artist Madeline LaRue has been suppressing her psychic gifts all her life. Now she’s stranded in a remote musicians’ enclave, called in by her twin sister to explain away some spooky goings-on that are more than merely spooky. Devout skeptic or not, Madeline has walked into a cosmic storm where, along with her sister, an ex-lover, and a charismatic New Age musician, she is targeted by forces she has always denied, and that only her artist’s eye can discern.
But the power to fight back lies dormant within her. Knowing that only true love can fuel that power and only passion can unleash it, Madeline must choose a mate from the four men besieging her heart and mind.
Love is bewildering at the best of times, but never with stakes like these. For the right choice will launch humanity into a new golden age, while any other will trigger a millennium of darkness. All depends on whether Madeline can face her fears—no matter what cost.
The universe punished me for doubting its powers by arranging a special demonstration.
It dropped me, blindfolded and hamstrung, into a room with locked doors, and gave me four weapons: my paints, my doubts, my figure, and a library.
Then it said: “If you can find the right door and open it with the right key, then you can have your heart’s desire. Oh, by the way—There’s a psychic lunatic running around out there. If you can free yourself before the sands in the hourglass run out, then you can prevent him from corrupting a critical mass of humanity and plunging the world into a new dark age. Have a nice day!”
Okay, the universe didn’t actually say this to me. If it had, I would have answered, “Forget it! I’ll live without my heart’s desire.” After all, I’d been doing so for 27 years.
I expected more of same as I backed out my driveway one August evening, heading for New Atlantis. A cryptic call from my identical twin sister had changed my weekend plans. Unaware I was launching on a preordained journey to entrapment and a psychic battle, I zoomed northward in altruism. Two hours later found me steaming along a fire road through the Green Mountain National Forest.
Literally steaming: me in a perspiration cloud from heat and humidity abnormal for the Vermont mountains; my convertible steaming from the hit it had taken a few miles back. It had begun the drive as a pristine vintage roadster—a ’66 Sunbeam Tiger, my pride and joy and special toy that had taken me from novice driver to winner in autocross. Now it bled coolant and oil as it limped and thumped on a shredded tire, two bent rims, and damaged suspension. Its V8 motor shook the dense woods around us, as half my custom sport exhaust lay behind in the pucker brush while the other half dragged beneath the car, carving a trail in the dirt.
Please, please! I chanted internally. Hang in there another mile!
No way would I walk alone through the wilderness in a sundress after dark. Even if the Tiger kept going, at 10 mph I’d still be out here when the looming thunderstorm broke and twilight fell. Already, beneath the foliage canopy, I needed headlights. But one was broken and the other gouged out. I could probably hold my flashlight in one hand and steer with the other. Then again, the increasing flares of lightning could guide my way.
Please, please—c’mon, baby, hold it together—
The forest pulled back to reveal a stone wall blocking my travel. Front and center loomed an iron gate backed by chain link and bracketed by cameras, set into masonry taller than I could reach. Along the top, barbed wire coiled like a lethal hairdo. Inside the gate, a guard shack squatted in the murk.
“Trespassers Will Be Teleported to a Hostile Planet!” said signs in four languages. And welcome to New Atlantis to you, too! I thought back. I couldn’t blame the owner, Dru Montclair, for needing to live in a fortress. That happens when you’re a mega-superstar, as was Blanche now that she shared his stage and his bed.
Approaching the gate, I didn’t bother braking—the car wouldn’t have stopped, anyway—sure that the guard could hear me coming and would be ready on the release switch. Indeed, the gate scraped open when my passage tripped a motion sensor and switched on floodlights within and without.
Once safe inside, the Tiger ground to a halt and expired. I dropped my forehead against my knuckles atop the steering wheel as the gate scraped shut behind.
“Hell of an entrance, Miz LaRue!” came a voice from beside me. I jerked my head up and around to find a guy standing halfway between me and the guard shack, backlit by the floods. My brain, still sludgy from adrenaline overload and dehydration, couldn’t manage a snappy comeback. I must have taken too long to respond, for he strode forward and changed his tone to an authoritative calm.
He stood at the driver’s door, hand on the latch, ready to pull if I didn’t answer.
“Um, no, it stalled.”
“Don’t try to restart it. Just click off and give me the key.”
I obeyed, at loss for words, at loss for thought. When he said, “How many fingers?” I counted three. That seemed to satisfy him. He pulled open the Tiger’s door and asked, “You ready?”
“Um, a little gummy in the knees, but I think I’m okay.”
I pivoted in the cockpit and stuck out the legs that had earned me a six-figure income. The rest of the package emerged disjointedly, making me glad that Blanche the Dancer wasn’t around for comparison. The gate guard noticed everything without reaction, just offered a hand to help me stand.
At that, my synapses resumed firing. Those hands! Oil-stained fingers with nicked knuckles, curved around palms callused and thickened from years of turning wrenches. A mechanic! At New Atlantis! Oh joy, the day’s bad luck had just reversed!
What’s your favorite part about being a romance author?
Dreaming up interesting and exciting stories where the relationship(s) work out and people can live happily ever after.
Here’s my tip to add romance to your love life:
Do what you love!
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Carolyn Haley lives and breathes novels as an author, editor, reader, and reviewer, all from her home in rural Vermont.
Through her editorial business, DocuMania, she writes magazine articles and commercial copy, while helping other authors through editing, production, and education. She is a regular contributor for the “Thinking Fiction” column on the An American Editor blog, and writes reviews for New York Journal of Books. She also writes a yard-and-garden blog at Adventures in Zone 3.
Besides working with words, Carolyn enjoys outdoor pursuits, such as gardening, paddling, walking, and riding, along with autosports and aviation.
For direct correspondence, contact Carolyn at email@example.com.
For more about her novels, visit: