Shadows of the Past
Shadow Slayers Stories Book 1 by Nellie H. Steele Genre: Supernatural Suspense
"A well-thought out and imaginative novel." - Indies Today
The blood wasn’t real. Her heart hammered in her chest. The blood wasn’t real. She could feel the terror coursing through her veins. The blood wasn’t real. But what if it was hers?
Ever since the nightmares started, Josephine “Josie” Benson’s life had started spiraling out of control. At night, she couldn’t sleep, and during the day she finds it increasingly more difficult to cling to reality. Nothing in her twenty-five years of life had prepared her for this moment, and, somehow, no matter who she turned to no one had any concrete answers. No one except for the mysterious stranger.
He swears he knows the answers to all of her questions, but how can Josie trust him when he only calls her Celine, a name she has no memory of or connection to.
Can this stranger who looks at her like she has secrets really be trusted? Does he know the reason for her nightmares? Or could he somehow be behind them?
Grayson Buckley can see the physical toll the nightmares are taking on her and it breaks his heart. He desperately wants to help her, to free her mind and awaken her, but he knows it isn’t time yet. He can’t rush this. One day she will awaken, and when she does all will be made known.
When one accident finally reveals the answers she’s been dying for, Josie finds that her life will never be the same. Will Josie be able to accept the truth of her past and the power that dwells within her? Or will she succumb to the evil that now manifests itself in the world around her?
Find out in Shadows of the Past: Book One in the Shadows Slayers Stories!
“Okay, let’s begin, Josie,” the doctor said, starting the pendulum moving. “Now just try to relax, let your body sink into the chair, relax. Your limbs are beginning to become tired and heavy and your eyes are starting to close. You’re starting to feel completely relaxed, and when I count backwards from ten, you will become even more relaxed. When I finish counting, you will be completely relaxed and asleep.” The doctor counted backward from ten, pausing after each number. When he finished, Josie was under.
She sat motionless in the chair, eyes closed, limbs slack. “Josie,” the doctor began, “I want you to find a safe place, a place where you are happy. Tell me when you’ve found one.”
“I have one,” Josie murmured after a moment.
“Good. I want you to remember this safe place. If you become afraid while we’re talking, I want you to go to that place, okay?”
“Josie, I want you now to recall the dream you described to me earlier. Can you remember that?”
“I don’t want to remember that. I want to stay here.”
“Josie, you can go back to your safe place anytime you want, but right now I want you to recall the nightmare you’ve been having. Tell me when you remember it.”
“Okay,” she said, after a momentary pause, “I’m thinking of it.”
“Can you tell me what you see? Tell me what’s going on.”
“It’s dark. I’m running; the walls are cold and wet, like a cave. I’m scared. I have to get out of here. He’s coming. I can hear him. He’s coming behind me. I have to run.” Josie began to breathe harder. She pinched her eyes shut and wrinkled her forehead before speaking again. “Aidez moi, aidez moi. Il arrive. Aidez moi. Mon Dieu, aidez moi.” Josie panted, gripping the chair, her voice rising to a fever pitch.
“Josie, Josie, you’re okay, it’s just a dream.”
“Non, non, il vient. Je dois partir.”
“Josie, please speak English.”
“HE’S COMING, I MUST GO!” she shouted, tears rolling down her face.
“Josie, you’re safe. It’s just a dream. Can you tell me more?”
“NO! NO!” she shouted, wincing in pain as the tears continued to stream down her face.
Stolen Portrait Stolen Soul Shadow Slayers Stories Book 2
Things were supposed to be better now that she had awoken, but somehow, they seemed to be getting worse.
Celine Devereaux Buckley, who once lived a mortal, very human life as Josie Benson, thought that coming home would be safe. She would be surrounded by those she loved and who loved her most, but her homecoming was more complicated than she ever imagined.
Shortly after arriving, she begins feeling strange. As her physical condition once again worsens, she and her family can’t help but wonder what could be causing her so much pain. When Damien Sherwood, her beloved human cousin, connects her missing portrait to Celine’s troubles, he throws himself into a desperate search to find it. The image, a portrait of Celine with mystical powers to guard the Buckley household, has gone missing, and without it, everyone is in grave danger. But how can they get it back when Celine is already under attack from its absence?
Damien, tired of watching Celine suffer, finally comes up with a plan to retrieve the missing talisman. Crazy though it may be, he’s willing to try anything. With the help of Celine’s magical gifts and her former human boyfriend, Michael, Damien travels back in time to track down the missing portrait. However, unexpected dark forces are lurking even in the past.
Will Damien and Michael be able to retrieve the painting before it’s too late for Celine? Can they change the course of the past without damaging the future they love? Or will their efforts end up getting them killed?
Find out in Stolen Portrait Stolen Soul. This is book two in the stunning Shadow Slayers Stories series and will keep you on the edge of your seat and holding your breath until the last page.
The house loomed large on the horizon. Damien took a deep breath as he studied the dark structure’s silhouette. Lights still glowed from the inside; someone was still up. With any luck, he could avoid them and go straight to his room without any interaction.
He approached the house and entered the foyer. Celine and Gray were making their way across the room. Just my luck, he mused. “Hey, D!” Celine greeted him.
“Hi!” he called, meeting them in the middle of the room.
“Late night researching with Alexander?” she asked.
He smiled at her, wide-eyed. “Yes, er, no. I mean, that’s not what we were doing. I mean, we were, but then we were playing chess. He’s excellent at chess. I mean, not like I’m getting my butt kicked every time, but it’s challenging, so that’s fun,” Damien babbled.
Gray stared at him, crinkling his brow in confusion at his rambling. “Heading to bed?” Celine asked.
“Yep, yes.” He feigned a yawn. “Gosh, I am so tired. I’m going to go right to bed and go to sleep.”
“Is everything okay, D?” Celine asked, realizing his nervous babbling signaled he was anxious about something.
“Yep. It’s all good. I’m all good. Just tired.”
“Well, you better get to bed then! We’re heading up too, we’ll walk with you.”
The trio started across the foyer, on their way to retire for the evening. As they approached the stairs, the door opened, Michael came through.
“Hi, Michael, good to see you,” Celine said, stopping to greet him.
“Hey, buddy!” Damien called to him from across the room. “Late one, huh?”
Michael didn’t respond. He appeared frozen in place, unable to move. Even from across the room, Celine noted that he appeared unwell. “Are you okay?” she asked, as she approached him.
There was no response. Michael took one stumbling step further into the room before collapsing.
Nellie H. Steele lives in the South Hills of Pittsburgh with her family and her many fur-babies. When she isn't writing, she enjoys teaching Statistics at a local university or watching her dogs and cats play in the yard.
Nellie is the author of the Cate Kensie Mystery Series, a cozy mystery series following the adventures of Dr. Catherine Kensie, a history professor turned Scottish Countess, and her beloved dog, Riley, as they navigate their new lives in their quirky Scottish highlands castle, solving mysteries along the way! She is the creator of the Shadow Slayers series, a suspenseful series with a supernatural twist! Follow the Shadow Slayers through time as they fight to banish darkness from the world. Nellie also writes an adventure series, Maggie Edwards Adventures. Follow Maggie Edwards as she travels the world solving mysteries and finding unique treasures!
Tell us about yourself! I have always wanted to write a book. In middle school, I toyed with the idea of writing as a career. I didn’t write my first book until my late thirties though! Life got in the way. In college, I bounced around majors, finally settling in Mathematics which were my favorite classes. I moved on to a master’s degree in Computational Mathematics and finally, a Ph.D. in Statistics after realizing I loved teaching (I taught my first class in graduate school and loved it!).
I took a position as a faculty member with a local college and after a decade of work there, I sat down and began my first book. It started as a birthday gift for my mom and a way to pass the time and settle my nerves while I waited for the results of a year-long promotion process. One creative writing certificate and 90k words later, I presented the gift to her. On her birthday, I hid the first draft of my first book and sent her on a scavenger hunt, collecting clues all over her house. When she found all the clues, they led her to a black binder with a puzzle on the front. The puzzle was a poem, informing her that I’d written my first novel and hoped she’d enjoy it!
After that, the stories kept flowing and I found that I enjoyed writing and wanted to continue!
A fun, quirky fact about me: I have twelve (yes, you read right, twelve) pets! Eight cats and four dogs, all rescues and some special needs. I can’t say no to a furry face! Our latest addition, Lily, is a four-year-old Yorkie who was a “mill mama” used only for breeding for the first four years of her life. She’d experienced no life outside of a cage and very little human interaction. In one short year, it’s amazing to see the change in her! She is very interactive with people now and curious about her world.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
My vivid imagination fantasizes about any and all of my novels becoming movies! I’d love to see the Cate Kensie series on the big or small screen (Hallmark Channel, I’m looking at you!)! I think that series would be visually stunning with the scenery in Scotland and the castle and its grounds. And the history aspect of the series makes it interesting!
And I can’t write the Shadow Slayers series without considering how epic this series might be in movie form! The rich cast of characters and the fast pace of the series would do well in a movie format.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
This is a tough one, but for the character of Josie, I think Eliza Taylor would be a great choice! I’ve enjoyed her in The 100 and Christmas Inheritance.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’ve got several exciting things on the way! In addition to Book 4 in the Cate Kensie series and Book 3 in the Shadow Slayers series (which really ramps up the suspense!), the new Maggie Edwards Adventure series is now available! Book 1, Cleopatra’s Tomb, is an exciting globe-trotting adventure. I’m also working on a fourth series in historical fiction. A new series with all new characters, the book was inspired by a book cover created for another series that didn’t get used. The cover did not fit the book it was proposed for, but I loved the cover so much, I created a character and story around it.
I’m really excited about the new series coming out! And, of course, I can’t wait for readers to continue reading the current series and keep learning about the characters they love!
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
FOR SHADOWS OF THE PAST: My favorite moment in the book is the first time Josie comes face to face with Duke Marcus Northcott. The scene is dramatic, and the experience is overwhelming for Josie. It is a keystone moment for both characters and the first moment we see Marcus in the story. The imagery of him circling her, like an animal circling its prey, creates a vivid impression of her life when Marcus was present.
FOR STOLEN PORTRAIT STOLEN SOUL: My favorite moment in this book is the end. I won’t give it away but those final words in the last chapter between Damien, Gray, Alexander and Michael are epic!
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I am a pantser, not a plotter, so my characters can definitely hijack the story. I start out with a general sense of direction but as the characters come to life, they can alter the direction, sometimes even completely change the book and its outcome.
I have intended to remove characters from the story (through leaving town or killing them off) and had them stay long after I intended them to because they had their own ideas about how they fit into the book! As the character takes shape, they are often quite different from what I originally intended when I roughly planned them.
It makes for an interesting ride for me when writing!
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I can do either and it depends on the scene or how much thinking I need to do to move forward with the plot. In general, though, I usually write with noise. When I first started writing, I kept it a secret (my first novel was a surprise birthday present for my mom!). I got used to writing “on the sly” so no one knew what I was doing and therefore, could not ruin the surprise by letting the secret slip out. As a result, I got pretty used to writing with the TV on in the background or some other form of noise. I continue to write in the evenings quite a bit, so I usually have some old TV show playing in the background while I’m working.
Fun Facts about Books
Shadows of the Past, while a fitting title for the book, contains the word Shadows as a tribute to my inspiration for the series, the television show, Dark Shadows. This supernatural soap had a big impact on my imagination for this series!
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