The Woodland Creek Series is an innovative and collaborative collection of Shifter stories set in one town, each with a guaranteed Happily Ever After.
Mina’s Revenge by J.M. Witt — Her powers are changing and they’re more than the bloodline inheritance from her mother. Amazon
Sinful Instincts by J.D. Hollyfield — She was his temptation, and he was her ultimate Sin. Amazon
Dream Catcher by M.C. Cerny — Happenstance brought Kerri Harper to Woodland Creek, but will she stay for the wolf intent on mending her broken heart? Amazon
The Good Girl’s Guide to Being a Demon – April Aasheim – Excerpt
Strange changes are happening to Cassie Walker. She’s losing track of time, seeing shadows, and developing…horns?
Fearful, she returns to her childhood home to solve the mystery of what she’s becoming. There, she meets up with childhood friend, Josh Tucker, who convinces her to enter the annual Demon Run in Woodland Creek.
But things aren’t always what they seem in Woodland Creek, and people aren’t who they appear to be.
Soon, Cassie finds not only herself in danger, but Josh as well.
Can she save them both? Or has her lineage tainted her forever?
The flight to Evansville was a smooth one, but that didn’t stop Cassie from chewing on the ends of her hair during takeoff. She had only flown once before and had to keep reminding herself that the plane her mother died in was a small private charter, and that it happened nearly twenty years ago.
She attempted to quiet her mind by reading Sky Mall magazine cover to cover.
Halfway through the flight––and after a complimentary glass of wine––she relaxed enough to notice the man sitting beside her. He was old enough to be graying at the temples, but young enough for her to check his hand for a wedding ring. Normally, she would have been oblivious to him, especially given her flying anxiety, but that afternoon she took notice.
Was it his intelligent eyes? Or the way he smelled like hotel soap and aftershave?
Or maybe it was just the wine.
Whatever it was, his presence stirred something in her, awakened senses long dormant. And judging by the way he glanced at her from time to time, she was certain he returned her interest. When he passed her a snack from the flight attendant, his hand lingered a little too long before handing it over. There was a heat coming off of him.
Cassie turned her face towards the window, uncertain what to do. When she turned back several minutes later, the man had fallen quietly asleep.
She continued watching him, her body warming with desire. His hand rested on the armrest, his fingers clenching every now and again as he dreamed. Beneath the scents of soap and aftershave she caught his natural odor––strong, masculine, and powerful.
What is going on with me?
You will hunger, for many things.
She scooted as close as she dared, moving her face slowly and deliberately towards his shoulder. His smell nearly did her in. She licked her lips, wondering what it would be like to bury her face inside the crest of his neck. She was close enough to bite him, if she wanted to. She poked the tip of her tongue out, needing to taste him…
An announcement came over the speaker and the man opened his eyes. He jolted in surprise at her close proximity to him, then quickly excused himself to go to the restroom.
Mortified, Cassie cowered back into the corner of her seat, hiding behind her magazine for the duration of the flight. When the plane landed, she waited until every person on the plane disembarked before shuffling out. Fortunately, the man was nowhere to be seen.
She needed to get home. Fast.
The airport shuttle dropped her off in Elliot an hour later. She was back in her hometown before suppertime.
Looking around, she realized she had almost forgotten how small it was.
In her memories, it wasn’t this inconsequential or rundown. But standing at the shuttle stop on Main Street, Cassie could see most everything Elliot had to offer: Pizza Hut, Wal-Mart, a grocery store, a family-owned diner, one library, two bars, and three churches. On the outskirts of town a plume of gray smoke rose into the air, marking the paper factory where most of the locals worked. After her brief inspection, she stopped at the library to use the restroom and was saddened to find a ‘Closed Indefinitely’ sign on the front door.
It was seven miles to her house and she had no way to get there. What it have killed her to wait one more day and make proper arrangements?
In response, the nubs on her head throbbed and she remembered the way she’d almost licked the man on the plane. No. She couldn’t have waited another day.
Cassie pulled out her phone, searching through the contact list. There was no one she felt comfortable calling after being gone so long, so she started down the county road, dragging her suitcase behind her. It was already growing cold out. She wished she’d brought a thicker sweater.
The wind stirred, bringing with it a heavy scent of hay and corn. American flags waved limply in front of the yards she passed. Her old grade school was run over with weeds as most of the kids in Elliot were now bussed to the next town over. And there were plenty of beat up cars parked in lots, awaiting the day when they’d be restored to their former glory.
It was sad, really. The town she remembered was gone, and the town she’d returned to was beaten.
A horn sounded behind her and a smiling man with a red face and white cotton hair pulled up in a truck beside her. Cassie smiled when she saw that it was Allen Olson, an old family friend.
“I can’t believe my eyes!” he exclaimed, rolling down his window. “Little Cassie Martin! Climb in.” He nodded to the empty seat beside him and she pulled herself up into the cab. “How long you here for?”
“I have no idea.” She heard thumping from behind her and turned to see several dozen pumpkins rolling around in the bed of his truck, most likely left over from his trip to market. She breathed in deeply and smiled as she fastened her seatbelt. “I forgot what October smells like.”
Allen nodded. “If you’re here to sell the house, I’d advise waiting a year or two if you can. The factory’s shuttin’ down in six, seven months tops. But I heard Tyson’s putting in a bid on the property.”
“Tyson? The fighter or the food?”
Allen laughed and wiped his nose with his wrist. “You’re funny, Cassie. Just like your mother. The chicken people. If that happens, Elliot will have a renaissance.”
“Poor chickens,” she frowned. “But what if they don’t open here? Is the town going to be okay?”
“The mayor’s courting folks. There’s a chance we’ll get Toyota, or even a tech industry. We’ll make Elliot ‘The Most Livable City in Indiana’ again, mark my words.” His eyes grew serious beneath his bushy brows. “There’s still life in this town yet. We just need to convince a few young people to stick around and make it home. Maybe start families.” He looked at her sideways.
“Hey, now.” Cassie put up her hands. “Don’t look at me. I’m not even dating, let alone making babies.” She sighed and stared out her window. There was a somberness to Elliot that was nearly tangible. “I’m glad Kevin and Dad aren’t here to see this.”
Allen gave a quick nod, then returned his attention to the corn-flanked gravel road. “I’ve seen worse,” he proclaimed. “At least we’ve still got good fishing. And if you’re looking for a little excitement there’s the Woodland Creek Demon Run this weekend. It was where your parents met.”
He raised a knowing eyebrow as he pulled into the driveway of her two-story house. Last year’s wreath, decorated with plastic gourds and dried leaves, still hung on the door.
“Thank you for the ride,” she said, sliding out. “I’d invite you in but…”
“But you need some time for yourself. I understand. Call me if you need anything. I may not look it, but I can still lift a thing or two.” He raised an arm, revealing a soft bicep, then backed out onto the road, disappearing into a horizon of yellow corn and waning sunshine.
Cassie turned her attention to the old farmhouse.
The vast yard had succumbed to grass and weeds as tall as her knees. Some of the weather siding had been stripped bare by last year’s brutal winter weather, and cobwebs cloaked the entire front porch. But at least it wasn’t boarded up or marked ‘condemned’ as she’d worried. The house had been in her family for generations. One year untended hadn’t undone decades of care.
She heard a crackling sound and looked up. For a frightening moment she was certain she saw smoke billowing from the chimney. She could even smell it––the pungent scent of soot rising into the twilight.
She rubbed her eyes and the smoke was gone.
About the Author
April Aasheim spent her childhood traveling around the Southwestern portion of the United States with her gypsy mother and her get-rich-quick stepfather. During those years she spent time traveling with the carnival, living in an abandoned miner’s shack, and learning to read Tarot Cards. After spending her early adult years in California, Tennessee, and Arizona, she finally settled down in Oregon where she has lived for the last decade. April is a mother, a wife, and a reluctant homemaker. She has written several short stories and maintains an active blog. She is also the author of the witchy, Amazon Best-Selling fantasy series: The Daughters of Dark Root.
There are three amazing prizes for this blog tour!
- Always Loyal, a Michael Stokes photography book
- Exhibition, a Michael Stokes photography book
- $20 Giftcard to your choice of Amazon, B&N, or Starbucks