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Mirror, Mirror
by Jessica Jesinghaus
Genre: Paranormal Mystery Thriller

Nearly twenty years ago a teenage girl was murdered…

Samantha Williams was just a young girl when her cousin, Emily, was brutally raped and killed in her own home. As a child, Sam’s family did their best to shelter her from the gruesome details. Now, working the crime beat for the Portland Tribune, Sam has the resources at her fingertips to investigate the case for herself.

Through the eyes of a killer…

After inheriting a family heirloom, an antique vanity table that once belonged to her murdered cousin, Sam begins seeing visions in the mirror’s depths. Like watching an old home movie, she bears witness to Emily’s murder. As if that weren’t frightening enough, she starts to see other things too: fleeting glimpses of the killer himself! Are the things she sees just a figment of her imagination or could something otherworldly be trying to communicate with her? When the killer strikes again and leaves clues behind meant specifically for Sam it becomes a race against time to try to catch him.

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Jen and Patrick stood outside Sam’s bedroom door. “She’ll sleep for a while.”

“I can’t help but think this is my fault.”

“Why?” Jen questioned.

“If I hadn’t brought that damn file for her to look at…”

“She would’ve gotten her hands on it eventually. Somehow. If not from you, then from Joe, or from some one else. That’s just Sam, so don’t blame yourself.”

“What do you think she was talking about?”

“I have no idea.” Jen shook her head.

“Whatever it was, it had her pretty freaked.”

Sam could hear the two of them talking, she’d only pretended to fall asleep. She needed a moment to sort things out, to try and make order of the racing thoughts inside her head. Was it real? Or had she imagined it? She didn’t like the implications of either answer. Something inexplicably scary had just happened to her. Either that, or she was cracking up.

Sam stood shakily in front of the mirror, reaching out hesitantly to touch its surface. Her fingers trembled uncontrollably, and she drew her hand back, afraid suddenly to touch the glass. Afraid it may not be real and afraid it might be at the same time.

“What just happened to me?” she wondered aloud.

Then, in a flash, the smooth pane of glass before her filled with the same image as before. Sam stood mesmerized, watching the scene play out before her again. As she watched, the figure in bed with her cousin rocked atop her in the unmistakable throws of passion. Sam could hear Emily’s voice crying out in ecstasy. Then there was that same strange crackle, and the scene jumped forward. Emily’s lover now stood by the window, his back to Sam, and Emily was asking him to untie her. But he never moved.

“Come on,” Emily was giggling. “Untie me. Please?” Still nothing. “Untie me.” Sam could hear the discomfort growing in her cousin’s voice with every request.

The scene crackled one more time. This skip brought the vision to its grizzly end. As Sam watched in horror, she saw Emily’s lover atop her again, this time wielding a knife. He let out a horrific sound, half laugh and half scream, as Sam watched the knife make its first vicious plunge into her cousin’s body. All the while, Emily screamed, and the knife flashed again and again.

Just as suddenly as it began, the vision flickered and disappeared. Sam was utterly astounded by what she had just witnessed. She turned away from the vanity table and quickly strode out into the living room. She must’ve looked frightened, because as soon as Jen saw her she jumped up from the sofa and rushed to her side.

“Sam? What’s the matter? What’s happened?”

“The mirror…” Sam started, but Patrick stepped to her side and interrupted.

“Come sit down,” he instructed as he led her to the sofa.

“What about the mirror?” Jen prompted.

“I saw Emily.” Sam stopped to collect her thoughts and to try to convert them into words her friends would understand. “I was looking in the mirror, and I saw Emily… on… on the night she was murdered…”

“What?” Patrick asked. “Sam, you… that’s not possible,” he sighed.

“I know what you must be thinking,” Sam admitted, “but I did not imagine this. It was real.”

“Sam, are you hearing yourself?” Jen asked, trying to reason with her friend. “What you’re telling us is just impossible.”

“Don’t you think I know how this must sound? I know it sounds nuts, but I also know what I saw! She knew her killer. He was there, in bed with her.” Sam stopped her narration a moment and saw Jen and Patrick exchange worried glances. “Listen, I know you must think I’m nuts, but I’m telling you she knew him! She was tied to the bed, they were having sex, and the next thing I saw was him with the knife. And he was stabbing her and she was screaming…” Sam felt hot tears quietly sliding down her face.

“Honey, stop,” Patrick cooed, stroking her hair softly. “We can talk about this later. You can get some sleep, you can calm down…” Sam nodded reluctantly.

“How about I run you a nice, hot bath?” Jen offered.

“Okay,” Sam relented.

As Jen got up and disappeared into Sam’s room, Patrick held onto Sam tightly. “Honey, are you all right? You’re scaring me.” Sam looked up into Patrick’s face and he couldn’t miss the terrified look in her eyes.

“You’re scared?” Sam managed a half-laugh. “Try being me right now.”

“Okay, point taken.” They both released a jitter of nervous laughter and when it subsided, Patrick asked, “Feeling better?”

“A little.”

“Come on. Let’s go check on that bath.”

They found Jen in the bathroom, adding some bubbles to the already half full tub. “Hey girl, bath’s almost ready.”

“Thanks Jen.”

“If you need to talk later, I’ll be upstairs, all right?” Sam nodded. “Patrick, you got it from here?”

“Yeah. I got it.” With Jen gone, Patrick turned to Sam. “Come on, let’s get you out of these clothes.”

Sam smiled, despite the tears still brimming in her eyes. “Is that all you think about?” she teased, while Patrick helped her out of her T-shirt. As she slipped into the water she asked, “Care to join me?”

“If you’d like,” came his reply.

As Sam sank back against Patrick’s chest in the hot water, she sighed deeply. After a few minutes of silence, she piped up, “I didn’t imagine it.”

“I never said you did.”

“I need you to believe me. What I’m telling you is real.”

“What did you see, exactly?”

“Like I said, I saw Emily.” She spoke haltingly. “It was like looking through a window, right into her room. It was the night she died. There was someone with her, in her room. His face was always in shadow. They were in bed together…” Sam’s voice trailed off for a moment, and she closed her eyes. Patrick’s hands made their way to her hair, his fingers twining there, relaxing her.

Sam continued, “She was tied to the bed, but willingly. Patrick, she knew him. They were lovers… and I… I saw him kill her.”

“But honey,” he protested.

“I did not imagine it!” Sam sat up and turned to face him.

Patrick cupped her face in his hands. “I believe you. Okay? I believe you saw something.” Patrick paused. “But we’d just seen all those pictures. You looked at pictures of your cousin’s dead body!” He took her by the shoulders and turned her back around, leaning her against his chest once more.

From the Shadow
by Jessica Jesinghaus
Genre: PNR Horror / Occult

What makes a man a monster?

For too long Jacob has lived in isolation. Forsaken by God and cursed by a Shadow, he is doomed to an eternity of solitude with only the demons of his past for company. For nearly two hundred years, he has longed for that which he knows he can never have: forgiveness, love, and redemption.

A chance encounter could hold the key…

When Jacob meets Lynn, she shines a ray of hope across his bleak existence. But will she be strong enough to shoulder the truth of his past? Can she forgive the horrors he has wrought? Can she help him come to terms with his past and move with him into a brighter future?

An old nemesis threatens…

Confronted by an ancient enemy, Lynn and Jacob travel halfway around the world. There, they face the daunting task of sifting through ancient history for clues to their tormentor’s weaknesses and a way to loose his grip on their future.

What good can come From the Shadow?

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Desolation Gulch
by Jessica Jesinghaus
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Valerie knew fairytales weren’t true… at least not the happily-ever-after kind. In her world, nothing ever worked out so neatly. Her life was full of dark secrets and deep hurt. Until she met Fallon. Somehow he could read her hidden chapters and he knew exactly how to turn her life into a dream.

But Fallon isn’t everything he seems; he has dark secrets of his own.

When Valerie finds herself in a dangerous situation and must flee, it’s a daunting task. With nowhere to run and no way to guarantee Fallon won’t follow, Valerie finds herself stranded in a small Central Oregon town at the mercy of a handsome stranger. He promises to help her, but can anyone save her from desolation?

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Born and raised in Southern Oregon, Jessica has been writing since she was ten years old. She attended Willamette University with the intention of going to law school and becoming a criminal prosecutor. But, as is the way with life, plans changed. Since 2002 she has worked in the medical field and absolutely loves the challenges and positive impact she can have on the lives of others. She loves the outdoors and considers herself blessed to call Oregon her home.

Following the birth of her second child, she committed herself to writing her first novel. Unfortunately for her, story ideas rarely present themselves one at a time and she often has two (if not three) manuscripts in progress at once. When she’s not writing her own material, she enjoys reading a wide variety of books, many of them aloud to her husband and two children.

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