Title: The Aurora Affair
Author: Carolyn Haley
Genre: Metaphysical 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.
Once safe inside New Atlantis’s back gate, my banged-up car ground to a halt and expired. I dropped my forehead against my knuckles atop the steering wheel as the gate scraped shut behind.
“Heck of an entrance, Ms. 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 floodlights. 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 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 my twin sister 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!
I leaned against his solidity, vaguely noticing that we stood the same height, as he walked me across packed dirt to a log bench outside his guard shack. I flopped my weary derriere atop it while he nipped in and came right back out with a water bottle. I took, gulped, then poured the rest over my head, neck, and chest.
“Ahh. Thank you. I had a gallon in the car, but it went into the radiator.”
“And right back out, from the look of things.”
“Oh god, I hope the engine hasn’t seized!”
“Mm. We’ll see.”
He stood before me and finally asked, “What happened?”
I wiped my wrist across my mouth.
“Deer. Two. Right in the middle of the road.”
He returned to the car and walked around it, scowling. “Doesn’t look like you hit them.”
“No. I missed them, that’s the problem. Landed in one of those rock-lined drainage ditches along the road. Took out half everything underneath, and punched out the lights on a boulder and a sapling on the other side.”
He nodded. “How’d you get in that deep, then get out?”
“In? Overconfidence, and being mad at my sister. Out? A winch.”
His brows jumped and he stopped circling the car to stare at me.
“A come-along,” I amended, pleased to demolish his expectations. “Between that and jacking the nose I got the rear tires on the ground and was able to back out of there. That messed up anything left that hadn’t been crunched.”
He continued to stare, reminding me of a hawk with his expressionless intensity. Then he returned to the bench and sat at my side. The lights caught his eyes, revealing a clear, sky blue often found in pilots and sailors. They regarded me so frankly, so honestly, that I did a double take and looked straight in.
Instantly, a familiar and dreaded rippling began in the atmosphere around us, until his visage was overlapped by a face I knew but had never seen before, with a voice I’d never heard before yet recognized and which warmed my heart. My vision heightened and blurred at the same time, with a golden shimmer around the edges, forming into white and silver curtains like an albino aurora. An ache resonated through my body, swelling until I was paralyzed. I recognized him. I loved him. He belonged to me.
Then the scene snapped back to the wooded gateyard of New Atlantis.
The guard stood and stepped away.
Panting, I shook off the vision and wondered how many seconds had passed while I’d been overcome. The flashes I normally experienced were as quick as the lightning still blinking above us. A big vision like this one, which had occurred only once and not for a decade, warped time enough to alert other people that something was awry.
He had noticed, judging by his stiff stance at arm’s distance and that stare through his hawk mask. Now he stood lit so I could see that he was not only my size but my age. He wore scruffy cut-off jeans and a holey T-shirt. His hair, unevenly trimmed, brushed his neck and jaw. It gleamed a tawny bronze, as did his skin over lean muscle. He was a perfect specimen for the Men At Work series I was painting for a gallery feature. However, this was not the moment to invite him to my studio!
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It connects love, sex, and relationships to cosmic purpose.
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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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more about her novels, visit: