Bundles!

Bundles galore!

I’m participating in not one, not two, but three terrific Storybundles going on right now!  If you’re looking for some great reading to keep your mind occupied with all the craziness going on in the world, look no further!

I love a good mystery, and the Mysterious Women bundle features ten of them!  Well, more than ten since a couple of the books in this bundle are story collections.  All the books are by kickass women writers.  My contribution is Paper Bullets, the second book in my Abby Maxon mystery series.  I’m busy working on the third book — Private Affairs — so this bundle’s a great way to catch up with Abby Maxon. If you haven’t read Protectors by Kris Nelscott or one of Juliet Nordeen’s Modesta Quinn mysteries or Christy Fifield’s Spy Girls stories about female spies in World War II, this is a great opportunity to pick up all these books at a great low price! And you’ll have an opportunity to support a great charity — Able Gamers — by donating a portion of your purchase price (I hope you do).

The Mysterious Women bundle goes away in only 9 days, so don’t delay!

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If mystery’s not your thing, or if your tastes run more to science fiction adventure, Kevin J. Anderson’s put together a nifty bundle that’s right up your alley!

I don’t have a book in this bundle, but I do have a story in Snot-Nosed Aliens.  Every story in that book’s a hoot.  Where else could you read a story called “Bushtits Gone Wild”? That’s by Stephanie Writt, by the way, and if you haven’t read any of Stephanie’s stories, you really should.  Snot-Nosed Aliens also includes stories by Michael Warren Lucas, J. Steven York, Dayle A. Dermatis, and David H. Hendrickson, among others.

And if that’s not enough to convince you to pick up the Far, Far Away Adventure SF Bundle, which goes away in only 16 days, this bundle also includes a great Retrieval Artist novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch – Recovery Man’s Bargain (I love the Retrieval Artist series!), an awesome Thunder Mountain novel by Dean Wesley Smith – Lake Roosevelt, and a beautiful new edition of H. G. Wells’ The Complete War of the Worlds!  The 13 books in this bundle are well worth the low Storybundle price. Plus, you can support The Challenger Center for Space Exploration by donating a portion of your purchase price to this great charity!

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But what if you have a young reader at home who’s jonesing for something to read?  And if your budget’s tight (like most of us) and you’re looking for a great bargain, look no further than the YA Megabundle!

This bundle’s special.  Thanks to all the amazing writers and the fine folks at Storybundle, you can pick up the 28 books in this bundle for whatever you want!  Plus, we’ve set the minimum price for this bundle at the ridiculously low price of one dollar.  If you’re in a position to pay a little more, that’s great, and here’s why: half of the profits from this bundle are going to Mighty Writers, a non-profit organization benefitting children’s literacy that’s also working in food security outreach right now with the disadvantaged population it serves.

The YA Megabundle features books by NYT and USA Today bestselling authors and spans a wide variety of SF/F genres.  My contribution is my superhero origin novel Faster.

Another way this bundle’s special: it’s not going away right away. You’ve got another 53 days to snap this one up, but it’s such a great value, why delay?

Special Promotion!

Visions of the Future Special Promotion!

Have I got a deal for you!

If you’ve been waiting to purchase your copy of Visions of the Future, wait no longer!

Storybundles don’t last forever, and this one’s about to go away in only eight more days. To sweeten the deal (as if Storybundles aren’t already a killer deal), I’m going to throw in a free copy of my near-future novella In Dreams for everyone who buys Visions of the Future starting today through the end of the bundle.

A near-future tale of love, loss, and redemption.

Nature videographer Jerome and his lover Andy, an environmental activist, dedicated their lives to rescuing the planet from the disasterous policies of generations past. Just when their efforts began to make a difference, Andy lost his life at sea.

Or did he?

A mysterious man has entered Jerome’s lonely, solitary life. A man who wears Andy’s face but has none of his memories. A man who’s haunted by an unknown presence that cloaks itself in the fog.

And watches.

So how do you get your free copy of In Dreams?

Simple!

Just shoot me an email to annie DOT reed DOT writer AT gmail DOT com. (Substitute in the . and @ in that email address – you know the score. *g*)  Attach a copy of your receipt from Storybundle to your email, and I’ll send you back a link where you can download your free copy of In Dreams.

Easy peasy, right?

Don’t delay, though!  This offer, along with the bundle, is only available for a short time.

And if you’d like a little more information about Visions of the Future, be sure to read Ron Collins’ blog post about his novel Wakers and the other writers in the bundle (in which he says embarrassingly nice things about me).

New Releases!

What have I been up to since the holidays, you ask? Good question! As it turns out, I’ve been fairly busy on the writing and publishing front, so I’ve got a lot of stuff to talk to you about.

First and foremost, I’m delighted to be part of a brand new science fiction Storybundle, Visions of the Futurehttps://storybundle.com/scifi  (I’m including URLs in this post in case the links don’t work, since I’m having a heck of a time with links this morning.)

Look at the writers in this bundle! Wow! Is this an amazing lineup or what!

Yes, I’m overusing exclamation points, but holy cow. Not only does this bundle offer a wide variety of bestselling authors, but you’ve got a whole spectrum of science fiction to choose from, from military scifi to post-apocalyptic to far future to space opera to the totally unique visions of Bob Jeschonek and Leah Cutter–and then you’ve got the awesome Retrieval Artist series and the prequel to The Seeders Universe series.

And four of these books are Storybundle exclusives, including my book, the expanded edition of The Forever Soldier and Other Future Tales, which is now nearly twice the size of the original edition I published back in 2011 and includes the award-winning story “The Shape of a Name.”

As always, Storybundles offer readers a choice on what to pay and whether to donate a portion of the proceeds to a worthy charity.  This time around, we’re supporting AbleGamers.  But Storybundles are only around for a short time, so don’t delay!

I hope you participate in the bundle (https://storybundle.com/scifi) and that you support our charity.  And if you do, stay tuned to these pages for a special offer from me next week. (Yes, I promise – next week.)

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What else have I been up to? Thanks for asking! I’ve got a brand new collection out just in time for Valentine’s Day.

MAGIC FROM THE HEART (https://books2read.com/u/3k1WBW) is for the romantic in all of us.   Love—in all its various forms—and magic go hand in hand in these heartwarming stories.

Want a sneak peek at the types of stories you’ll find in MAGIC FROM THE HEART?  For a limited time, “The Library of Orphaned Hearts” from the collection is free to read on my website.

Collected here for the first time, these ten stories are available for the low price of $3.99US. (https://books2read.com/u/3k1WBW)

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That’s not all I’ve been up to. I’ve got a brand new Uncollected Anthology story available. “Room 308” is part of the The Crossroads Hotel, the Uncollected Anthology’s 20th issue!

For our 20th issue, we decided to do something a little different. Not only do we have a common theme among all the stories, we have a common setting — the Crossroads Hotel, a place where anything can (and does) happen.

“Room 308” tells the story of Claire, an entertainer who’s misused magic in her act just to keep herself employed. Twenty-five years ago, she made a promise in room 308. This Christmas Eve, she’ll return to room 308 and keep her promise. Because what happens at the Crossroads Hotel doesn’t always stay at the Crossroads Hotel. When it does, it stays forever.

Creepy, right?

We’ve got nine great stories in the Crossroads Hotel issue of the Uncollected Anthology.  You can buy the stories separately for $.99 each or purchase a bundle of all stories (https://bundlerabbit.com/b/crossroads-hotel/) for the great low price of $4.99. I hope you’ll buy the whole bundle.

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And finally for this update, if you missed the Storybundles I was in last year (I hope you didn’t, but just in case), the two collections of mine previously only available through Storybundle are now available at your favorite ebook distributor (and soon in print as well)

SPELLS GONE BAD is available for $3.99US. (https://books2read.com/u/bMpa75)

CRIMES OF YESTERYEAR is available for $2.99US (https://books2read.com/u/mZKPv2) which is a fantastic price considering this collection contains three brand new stories not published elsewhere as well as the award-winning story “The Color of Guilt.”

If you haven’t read either of these collections, I hope you’ll pick them up from your favorite ebook store!

A Bundle Here, a Bundle There…

This year is definitely turning into the year of the bundles, and I couldn’t be happier about that! Why? Because bundles are an awesome way for readers to get a whole lot of great fiction at a low, low price.

I want to tell you about not one, but two new bundles from the great folks at StoryBundle.

The first is the BUMP IN THE NIGHT THRILLERS bundle curated by award-winning author Kevin J. Anderson: If you’re ready for summer thrills and chills (ones that don’t even require air conditioning), you’ll love the new “Bump in the Night Thrillers” StoryBundle, which just launched today. Sixteen suspenseful, fun, and entertaining reads, including my story “Dust to Dust,” which is part of the brand spanking new Fiction River publication  Pulse Pounders 2: Adrenaline.

The bundle books include compelling urban fantasy reads with some of the strangest detectives you’ve ever met, including Dan Shamble Zombie P.I. in Kevin J. Anderson’s Unnatural Acts, as well as ghosts, elves, vampires, sorceresses, modern-day dragon slayers, immortal Shakespearean characters, and more in Dean Wesley Smith’s The Deep Sunset, R.R. Virdi’s Grave Beginnings, Patrick Hester’s Into the Fire, Susan Sizemore’s Living Dead Girl, J.A. Pitt’s Night Terrors, L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Prospero Lost, Alex Berg’s Red Hot Steele and Cold Hard Steele.

For thrilling adventures in other times and places, there’s Death Wind by Travis Heermann and Jim Pinto and Lady Sherlock by Brooks Wachtel. For straight suspense with a high-tech or a darker edge, you’ll enjoy the Daredevils Club novel Artifact written by Kevin J. Anderson, F. Paul Wilson, Matthew J. Costello, and Janet Berliner, and The Demon in Business Class by Anthony Dobranski, Whack Job by Mike Baron, and The Devil’s Churn by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

The bundle is only available through August 16. Get a huge bundle of reading material, help support indie authors, as well as the Challenger Center, a terrific non-profit organization that engages students and teachers in dynamic, hands-on exploration and discovery opportunities that strengthen knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), inspires students to pursue careers in these fields, and provides an outlet to learn and apply important life skills.

But that’s not all! (Here’s where I channel my inner late-night TV infomercial salesperson.)

If you love short fiction like I do, or if you love really digging into the worlds authors create, or if you love binge-watching TV series on your streaming service of choice and want to do that with your summer reading, have I got a deal for you!

THE SF&F BINGE READER BUNDLE, affectionately known as the Bundle Bundle, curated by award-winning author Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

I’ve kinda lost count of the number of stories I have in this bundle. I have four stories in the Uncollected Anthology’s Year 1 Omnibus, two stories in the Fiction River bundle (one’s a Diz & Dee story!), and one story in the The Faerie Summer bundle. That’s it. I think.

Here’s what Kris has to say about the Bundle Bundle:

Usually, StoryBundle provides bundles of books, individual titles by individual authors who band together to provide a great reading bundle.

This time, individual authors and editors have banded together with bundled books to give you the deal of the summer.

By my count (and I might be a bit math-challenged), you get 19 standalone novels in this bundle. Some of the novels are long, and some of them are short. But 19 novels! Plus more short stories than I’m willing to count, wrapped in 7 anthologies and a gigantic bundle that is bigger than your average anthology.

What kind of fiction will you find here? Science fiction and fantasy only, but written in such a way as to blur the lines of genre. You’ll find books in which high-tech gaming meets the world of faerie, books which hack reality (and involve crime lords!), time travel to the Old West, wreck diving in space, space pirates (!), librarian witches (complete with feline familiars), and the Fates—who just got fired.

Honestly, there are so many books and stories in this bundle that even if you’re the world’s pickiest reader, you’ll find a series or a group of books that are perfect for you. You’ll be saving a bundle too, since these boxed sets and omnibuses and bundles all retail for at least $10 (ebook) and sometimes much more.

Oh…and if you’re so inclined…please toss in a few extra dollars to help AbleGamers. AbleGamers tailors game equipment and systems to help disabled gamers join the large online community of gaming, providing social outlets and entertainment for folks who usually struggle to participate. Since two of our book series deal with gaming in this bundle, I figured AbleGamers would be the appropriate charity to add on.

Like all great deals, though, this one’s around for a limited time only. The Bundle Bundle, or the Binge Readers Bundle, or the “I can’t believe I got such a great deal on all these books!” Bundle is only available until August 9.

I’ve Been Bundled!

You know, one of the neatest things about writing in a bunch of different genres is that every now and then I get invited to participate in fun projects I never would have imagined might come my way.  This brand new Storybundle is one of them.Yup, that’s my book In Dreams right up there in the Moonscapes Bundle alongside titles by Dean Wesley Smith, Kevin J. Anderson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Ron Collins, M.L. Buchman, Blaze Ward, Lisa Silverthorne, and Maggie Jaimeson!

If you haven’t heard about Storybundle before, here’s how it works:

The initial titles in the Moonscapes Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:

  • Starflight by Ron Collins
  • The Nara Reaction by M. L. Buchman
  • Recovery Man by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • Auberon by Blaze Ward
  • In Dreams by Annie Reed

If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular titles, plus five more!

  • Eternity by Maggie Jaimeson
  • Rediscovery by Lisa Silverthorne
  • Climbing Olympus by Kevin J. Anderson
  • Fiction River: Moonscapes by Fiction River
  • Star Mist by Dean Wesley Smith

Isn’t that nifty? But here’s the really nifty thing.

Part of your purchase price will go to support AbleGamers, a nonprofit organization that enables people with disabilities to enjoy the amazing world of video games. In America alone, over 33 million gamers with disabilities need specialized, custom controllers and assistive technology in order to enter the same virtual worlds as everyone else. Since 2006, AbleGamers has enabled thousands of individuals with disabilities to have a greater quality of life by providing these expensive pieces of assistive technology to children, adults and veterans with disabilities who need help overcoming the social isolation being disabled can bring. AbleGamers has helped tens of thousands of people with disabilities through one-on-one consultation and building a customized solution for each individual, tailored to their specific needs.

When you purchase the Moonscapes Bundle, you’ll be able to read it on your computer, smartphone, and tablet as well as your Kindle or other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. In other words, you get a bunch of DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books, so you can take this great package of science fiction books with you wherever you go this summer, and you’ll be supporting a great charity, too!

The Moonscapes Bundle is available only for a limited time. So as they say on TV, don’t delay!

New releases!

On this last day of November, I have a whole bunch of new releases to be thankful for.

FR16 Hidden in Crime ebook cover lighter webFirst up is the latest volume of Fiction River Hidden in Crime contains my story “The Color of Guilt,” a period piece about a crime that’s thankfully no longer a crime. At least not where the story takes place.

AQuietShelterThereCoverwebNext up is a cool anthology that’s close to my heart.  A Quiet Shelter There benefits Friends of Homeless Animals rescue in Virginia as well as other shelters and rescue organizations. My contribution to the anthology is “Life, With Cats,” a science fiction story inspired by a wonderful ginger kitty who came to live with us several years ago.

HangoverCover600x900And finally, the latest issue of the Uncollected Anthology is out! This issue’s theme is Enchanted Emporiums and features my story “All Hallows’ Hangover,” a fun little post-Halloween romance.

Free Fiction Thursday – Reboot

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Regular visitors will notice the old website’s undergone a bit of a change.  Spring cleaning, virtual style.  I’m trying to make it easier for readers to find my stories, plus give everyone a head’s up when I’ve got new things coming out.  The sub-categories under the Fiction tab are still under construction, but we’re getting there.  Plus a lot of my older publications are getting snazzy new covers for the new editions, many of which are now in paperback as well as e-book.  Changes, I tell you — changes!

In honor of all those changes — not to mention the return of Free Fiction Thursday — this week’s story is “Reboot,” a time-traveling science fiction tale.  Enjoy!

Reboot ebook cover small

Reboot

 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright © 2013 by Annie Reed

“Are you going to miss it?  Being a hero?”

I heard snickers and groans, pretty typical for a crowded classroom full of nine-year-olds.  I’ve been in enough of them over the years to know.  These days the desks are all molded plastic, clean-lined, ergonomic, not the knee-scraping wood and metal-framed contraptions I grew up with.  The cafeteria smell’s gone, too; now it’s the smell of too many bodies crowded together in too small a space.  Everything’s more crowded these days.

The girl who’d asked me the question, a pretty thing with braids in her auburn hair and shaved patches the size of my thumb on the sides of her skull—the newest thing in fashion, my granddaughter tells me—blushed a bit but managed to keep looking at me.

“Children!”  That was the teacher, a harried woman whose face—lined around her mouth, weary shadows underneath her eyes—looked every one of her middle-aged sixty or so years.

“That’s okay, that’s okay,” I said.  I held my hands up in a shushing gesture and the room quieted down.  I smiled at the girl with the braids and naked strips of pink scalp.  “It’s a legitimate question.  Not the first time I’ve been asked, so don’t go getting embarrassed, no matter what these guys think.”  I winked at her and she smiled back.  I still had some of my old charm.   At least it still seemed to work on nervous nine-year-old girls.

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Human Interest

Good morning, everyone.  Happy Thursday!

Whew!  This has been a busy last couple of weeks.  The fine folks at Thunder Valley Press are putting out paperback editions of a lot of my stories, and in the process updating the covers of some of my earlier publications.  A good example is this week’s free story, “Human Interest.”  Snazzy cover, right?  And the really cool thing about these paperback editions is that they come with a code for a free e-book copy of the same story.  If you’re at all like me, I love my e-reader, but I still like having paper books on the shelf.  Or shelves.  Multiple shelves.  Taking over the house. *g*

I also signed the contract for my story “Dead Men Walking” which will appear in Fiction River # 5, Hex in the City, edited by Kerrie Hughes. Isn’t that a gorgeous cover? Boy, I seem to be all about the covers this week.

Well, it’s not all about the covers, not on Free Fiction Thursdays. On with this week’s story, a cautionary science fiction tale. Enjoy!

Human interest v3 small

Human Interest

Annie Reed

Copyright © 2013 by Annie Reed

Cover Art Copyright Michael Knight | Dreamstime.com

Dusty, windblown sand pelted Samuel in the face when he stepped off the shuttle.

Great.  Just great.  Welcome to Paradise.  Another piece of shit town on a piece of shit planet at the edge of nowhere.  The absolute perfect place for the latest in a long string of crappy assignments for a vid reporter who knew his star had risen about as far as it was ever going to go.

Samuel ducked his head and raised his gloved hands to protect his face. His travel gear protected his body from the worst of the scouring sand, but he hadn’t covered up his face before he stepped out of the shuttle in case someone from the outpost expected a little meet and greet.  Over the years Samuel had discovered initial meetings worked best face to face.  When he established a personal connection early on, his interviews had the comfortable feel of two old friends sitting down for a chat.  Just the kind of vid shows his bosses wanted, and the kind of work that bored Samuel to death.

Only no one from Paradise had come out to meet the shuttle.  Samuel moved fast to secure a breather mask over his nose and mouth and flip down his helmet’s clear plexi shield.   The shield dimmed the glare from the system’s lone sun, hot and brilliant overhead even through the blowing sand.  The oxygen system in his mask kicked in, and he breathed in air that tasted flat and vaguely metallic instead of like something had burnt to a crisp about a million years ago. Technically humans could tolerate the air on Paradise, but Samuel had no desire to breathe dust and sand and who knew what else.  That nasty taste had to come from somewhere.

Part face guard, part heads-up display screen, the helmet’s shield kept the blowing sand out of Samuel’s eyes.  Still, the dry air seemed to suck all the moisture right out of him.  He wondered where the good citizens of Paradise hid their alcohol.  Good way to get to know the locals, sharing a drink or two.  Or ten.  Samuel really needed a drink.

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Actual Darkness

Happy first Thursday in 2013, everyone!

I don’t know about you, but I had a very nice, mellow New Year’s Eve. In fact, I didn’t even notice the new year had arrived until about three minutes after midnight. At least I was awake this year. My family likes to tease me about the fact that most years I’m asleep by midnight even though I try not to be.

This week free fiction returns to Thursday with a science fiction story that’s definitely on the noir side. The title for “Actual Darkness” came from my friend Marcelle Dubé, a marvelous writer. Enjoy!

actual darkness ebook large

 

Actual Darkness

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2012 by Annie Reed

When the naked woman fell on the hood of Jefty’s cab, at first I thought she was one of them End Times partiers jumping off the top floor of The Wynn.

People can’t take it, you see. End of the world’s not just a Bible thumper story, not no more. People see that dull light in the sky that used to be the sun and they get scared. So the rich ones throw parties to make themselves feel better. The hangers-on and party girls, they show up too, and when they all get drunk enough and stoned enough they think they can fly, well, they up and step off the roof. Guess it eases the pain, but it sure makes a godawful mess for those of us trying to get by best we can.

Most times the sun’s still got enough juice left you can see those damn fools plummeting down soon enough to avoid ’em, but once it gets to be about four in the afternoon, even the headlights on the cab ain’t enough to cut through the gloom, not now that half the damn neon on The Strip’s all busted up and nobody cares to fix it.

Now, if the cab was mine, I wouldn’t be driving it all hours like Jefty does. He says driving a cab up and down The Strip’s all he knows how to do, and that even in end times people still got places to go. I guess that’s true enough, but the end times we’re living in robs people of their good sense, just like them partiers falling from the sky. Some people who get in Jefty’s cab don’t want to pay him for their ride, or they might think about taking Jefty’s cab for themselves. That’s where I come in. Me and my gun.

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – My Father, the Popsicle

Good morning, everyone! We’re back on Thursday this week. Yay!

I don’t know about you, but at my house we’re gearing up for Thanksgiving, which seems very early this year to me. I’m just not ready for turkey day. I finally started cubing and drying out day-old bread for stuffing, and tomorrow night I go out to my friendly neighborhood Trader Joe’s on the hunt for a turkey that weighs less than twenty pounds. Wish me luck!

Now on to the free story. This week we have “My Father, the Popsicle,” a story about a girl who believed she was an orphan, right up until the day she got a letter concerning her father, who’s not quite as dead as she thought. Enjoy!

 

My Father, The Popsicle

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed

Cover art Copyright Thierry Maffeis at Dreamstime.com

Jodi thought she was an orphan until one sweltering Thursday night in late June when she received The Letter from Billingsly, Wendham & Owens, Attorneys at Law.

That’s how she always thought of it after that.  The Letter.  Wasn’t that how you were supposed to think about things that changed your life?  Capitalized and important?

At first she thought the whole thing was a joke.  She’d just worked a double shift at Hot Dog on a Stick in the new mall south of town.  She was dead tired and sick of the smell of lemons, corn dog batter, and hot grease.  Her head hurt from pulling up her hair under that stupid striped hat, her shoulders ached from all the fresh lemonade she had to mix, and to top it all off, the air conditioning had been out on the bus ride home.  To say the bus had been fragrant was the understatement of the century.  She was in no mood for jokes.  Her roommate Harry had a pretty twisted sense of humor.  A fake letter from an attorney was just his style, but tonight the joke wasn’t funny.

“I ought to rip him a new one,” Jodi muttered as she opened her front door.  “Hear that, Harry?” she said to her empty apartment.  “I ought to rip you a new one.”

Not that Harry would be home yet.  Harry worked as a bartender at the only gay club in town.  Tonight he was on swing shift.  Whether he could hear her or not, after a day spent swallowing the snappy comebacks she wanted to make to clueless customers whose IQ wasn’t much higher than the hotdogs they ate, muttering about Harry’s lack of humor sure as hell made her feel better.

Still, the envelope did look kind of authentic.

Jodi dropped her keys and the rest of the mail on the coffee table.  It was all junk mail flyers and offers for credit cards neither one of them could afford, so it didn’t much matter where she left it.  She plopped down on the couch she’d rescued from a second-hand store, slipped off her sensible, style-free shoes so she could stretch her toes into the carpet, and ripped open the envelope.

She skimmed through the introductory stuff.  Dear Ms. blah-blah-blah I represent more blah-blah-blah bankrupt estate.  The word assets caught Jodi’s eye, but the word that brought her up short was father.

What?

If this was Harry’s idea of a joke, it definitely wasn’t funny.  He knew she had no sense of humor when it came to her family, or lack thereof.

She ended up reading The Letter three times in a row, each time with an ever-increasing shakiness in the pit of her stomach, not to mention a growing sense of unreality.

(read the rest of the story here)