"If you are looking for a series that keeps you on the edge, wondering what will happen next, wondering how an author created a jaw-dropping, heart-stopping book. Then look no further. Genie has created that with this series." --Bunnies Review

Monday, July 15, 2013


New West Legends (the Halo Legacy Series): Courageous men and women who fight modern challenges with Old West spirit

Bernie O'Shea built a PICTURE PERFECT LEGACY that gives his adopted children a focus in their lives. When secrets are revealed, will the legacy be a masterpiece or a fraud?

When a priest is tempted by earthly desires, will his spiritual integrity or a fall from grace be the LEGACY OF ANGELS?

Collin O'Shea is LIVING THE LEGACY of his police officer father… Until the innocence of his bride is shattered. Then he must choose between his career and his family.

CHASING THE LEGACY could be reporter Layla Dalton's biggest story--or destroy the tentative peace she is building with her past and the bomb tech who has loved her since high school.

Tallie O'Shea clings to the memory of her policeman husband. Until a former lover disturbs long-buried secrets while CHALLENGING THE LEGACY.

Arson fires and vengeful enemies bring the LEGACY UNDER FIRE as Halo's doctor struggles to regain her memory before killers bury her along with the evidence of their crimes. 

A letter from his dead father and a confession of killing a woman cast the SHADOW OF THE LEGACY over rookie cop, Johnny O'Shea. Seeking the truth, he returns to his hometown, finding love with a woman who doesn't want a man and a killer determined to keep secrets buried. 

The bad boy in a family of overachievers holds the key to why his adoptive dad was killed. But unlocking the LEGACY OF TRUTH in those childhood memories opens the door to destroying his entire family.

An attorney devoted to social causes and a burned out women's advocate help save their home town while struggling not to fall in love. However, an unintended pregnancy and a gift from the heart lead them on a journey to new possibilities and love in a LEGACY REBORN.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


…to visit fifty blog sites, say hello and respond to comments? A looooong time!

I thoroughly enjoyed my Super Book Blast on July 9 organized by Goddess Fish. They are great to work with! I also very much appreciate all the blog hosts and everyone who stopped by and commented. 

The winners of the gift cards have been selected and e-mails sent. I'm still waiting to hear back from a couple commenters and the blog host winner, but I will announce the commenters who have responded. They are: Shannon R., Grampy, jannashay, Rita W., MomJane, and "bn100." 

CONGRATULATIONS to all and many, many thanks to all the hosts, the commenters and everyone else who helped my Super Book Blast a very special day!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


The day is here! The time is now!

I'm at fifty blogs today to celebrate the release of LEGACY REBORN, book #9 of the Halo Legacy Series, which wraps up the saga of the O'Shea family and resolves the mystery of why the super-cop and adoptive dad of eight siblings was killed. (See list of blogs at right.)

I'll be giving away nine gift cards of $9.00 each after the Book Blast. Simply leave a comment a one or more of the stops. The more comments you leave, the more times you are entered.

And, now, here are nine short blurbs from LEGACY REBORN:

1) The cavalry had arrived--in the form of women, children, pets and a crusty old rancher. 


2) Following the animal's gaze, Phoenix saw CJ standing on the other side of the corral--still wearing eighteen-hundreds formal wear--with his arms folded on the top board. "Will your llama spit in my face?" 


3) Are you crazy? The thought occurred to Phoenix as she stepped into the tiled entryway…Any of these people could be a criminal who would sell their own baby for a profit...Why had this seemed like a good idea? 


4) Phoenix drew in a deep breath. Of man and sea and desire. 


5) Taking a chance their conversations weren't being monitored, CJ activated the communictator tucked behind his ear. "Any King's knights on the board?" 
He peeked out the door and a gunshot rang out, the bullet splintering the wood beside his head. He had his answer: the wrong people were listening. 


6) A whistle and a gravelly voice greeted Phoenix as she stepped into the three-story stone house. "Hey, pretty lady, wanna make out?" 
...The brightly colored parrot hopped onto Phoenix's shoulder and nuzzled her ear with his beak. 


7) As a feeling of peace settled inside him, CJ sat quietly holding [his birth mom's] hand as they gazed out over the landscape of the farm where he had spent most of his childhood. The beautiful, loving home Norah helped make possible because she gave up him and Grady, wanting the best for her sons. 


8) A man who wanted to be a daddy to her child. The wonder of that thought drifted slowly through her being. Her mind tested the foreign notions of trust and, dare she think it, love. Two things she hadn't experienced much in her life. She wouldn't take that step just yet, but would let the dream unfold bit by cautious bit in her heart. 


9) Turning his palms up, Phoenix kissed the blisters on CJ's hands. One by one. 

Monday, July 8, 2013



Day 8 and still celebrating the release of LEGACY REBORN with a recap of the previous books of the Halo Legacy Series books. Today features book #8, LEGACY OF TRUTH, Thomas and Jenny's story. Thomas is the bad boy in a family of overachievers and holds the key to why his adoptive dad was killed. But unlocking the LEGACY OF TRUTH in his childhood memories opens the door to destroying his entire family.

***Excerpt from LEGACY OF TRUTH***

The Wizard's fingers flew over the keyboard. She was closing in on the biological mother of her latest client. The twenty-two-year-old woman needed a kidney transplant, but the courts were slow to open her adoption records. Each day that slipped away literally ticked off the seconds of her life. 

Without a transplant, she would die. If her birth mother was found, she had a chance. 

The Wizard was determined to give her that chance. 

One more search. One more lead to track down. 

She hit the send button on the e-mail and closed her eyes in silent supplication. If this lead didn't pay off, she would turn to her underground connections. 

Whatever it took. The Wizard earned her reputation for leaving no Web link unturned when looking for biological family members of clients who had been adopted as children. Her success rate attested to that fact. 

However, being so emotionally connected to the success of her client's searches also took their toll on Jenny, mentally and physically. On this sunny April morning, she needed the fresh air of the park. Her computer had been claiming too much of her time lately, and she ached with the confinement. 

She pushed her wheelchair along the curving cement sidewalk under a canopy of trees to a place where she could look out over the water. 

The hurried sound of approaching footsteps warned Jenny she wasn't alone. She turned her head and saw two men approaching. The one in the lead wore a red jogging suit. A man in black leather strode a short distance behind. 
Her heart rate accelerated. Silly, of course, since a taser was strapped to her armrest and the extended foot rests on her wheelchair made a fine battering ram. 

Besides, they might just be out for exercise. At least one of them. 

Mr. I-look-good-in-leather seemed to be looking for something or someone. And it probably involved trouble. 

With her gaze focused on the broad shoulders and slim hips of Mr. Leather, she didn't notice the jogger was within arm's reach of her until he grabbed at the pack on the back of her chair. 

"Hey, let go of that!" Jenny spun her chair around sharply, catching the guy right above the ankles with the footrest. 

He yelped and stumbled, allowing Mr. Leather time to close the distance between them and knock the jogger to the ground with a shoulder to his midsection. 

The guy landed with an "oomph!" and rolled down the grassy slope. Several yards away, he scrambled to his feet and ran off. 

"Are you alright?" Mr. Leather asked. 

"He got away." Jenny frowned. 

Up close, the man seemed almost beautiful. Tousled dark hair, a full lower lip framed by a squared jaw, ice blue eyes, and a scowl that drew his dark brows close together as he resettled her pack back on her chair. 

She felt totally comfortable with the man, which irritated her even more. As if by his one chivalrous act, she could trust him with the keys to her kingdom's jewels--or at least a backpack filled with rocks she used to fool potential thieves. 

He looked at her as if expecting thanks for his actions. 

However, Jenny merely grumbled under her breath, spun her chair toward the office building and zoomed away from the most irritatingly attractive man she had ever run into. 

"You're welcome." Thomas muttered to himself...

(Copyright by Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel.)

Sunday, July 7, 2013



I'm continuing to celebrate the release of LEGACY REBORN, the wrap-up book of the O'Shea family saga. CJ finds love and the family resolves the mystery of why their adopted dad and super-cop, Bernie, had to die.

Part of this celebration is a recap of all nine books of the Halo Legacy Series. Today I'm spotlighting SHADOW OF THE LEGACY, Johnny and Rochelle's story. A letter from his dead father and a confession of killing a woman cast the SHADOW OF THE LEGACY over rookie cop, Johnny O'Shea. Seeking the truth, he returns to his hometown, finding love with a woman who doesn't want a man and a killer determined to keep secrets buried. 

Here's an excerpt from that book:

Rochelle closed her eyes and drew a deep breath, then moved into her warm-up routine. She hadn't had the time to do any kick-boxing for awhile, but already her body hummed in anticipation of the challenge.

Johnny was not her opponent, but the cancer that had invaded her body. No battle was more important than this one. No prize more vital: her life.

Her first moves were simple. A few easy punches before she bobbed and danced away, though there was no need for defense as Johnny threw no punches. If only the disease was as yielding. Instead it had snuck up and attacked without warning. Rochelle jabbed with her right hand and followed with a punch from her left.

Adrenaline pumped through Rochelle's body as the familiar moves flexed and worked her muscles, and brought a smile to her face. Then she lifted first one knee and the other, followed by a series of alternating punches. Right, left, right.

Rochelle drew a deep breath and blew it out, already feeling winded less than ten minutes into sparring and hating that weakness.

She pushed herself to throw the momentum of her body into a right cross, then spun around to deliver a one-two kick before bouncing away on the balls of her feet.

She moved toward Johnny again, throwing another flurry of kicks and punches, feeling the heat in her body and fighting the fatigue slowly creeping over her.

"Let's take a break." Johnny caught her in a clinch.

Rochelle shook her head and moved away, throwing another right hook that fell wide of Johnny's head.

A vision of the damning spots in the x-rays filled her head, and Rochelle delivered another combination of kicks to Johnny's mid-section. In her mind, the lumps dissolved a little more each time she made contact.

She threw a knee, followed by a side-kick, and another spot disappeared from her mind's eye. Rabbit punches with her right hand eliminated a few more.

Rochelle kicked and punched until the vision in her head was clear of spots and fatigue was claiming her body, sapping her energy as it spread from her arms, down her torso, and turned her feet to leaden weights. She fell against Johnny in a clinch, and he supported her as her body went limp. Spent and sweaty, Rochelle surrendered to the exhaustion claiming her.

(Copyright by Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel)

Saturday, July 6, 2013



The celebration continues! Today, I'm offering an excerpt from book #6. Arson fires and vengeful enemies bring the LEGACY UNDER FIRE as Halo's doctor struggles to regain her memory before killers bury her along with the evidence of their crimes.  
Shifts in the emergency room hadn't prepared Shiloh for triage on a site that looked like a battlefield. She simply patched up bloody arms and faces as best she could with limited supplies, then sent people on to a safe place. 

Though shocked and hurting, the pioneer spirit of these citizens was obvious in their 
stoic expressions and assistance in helping their neighbors and the strangers who were in town for the news conference. In a short time, the bandages and antiseptic Shiloh had crammed into her bag were gone, leaving her searching the bottom of an empty bag for tape to close a gash on someone's forehead. 

"I'm going to get more supplies!" Shiloh shouted to one of the EMTs. 

She sprinted back across Celestial Creek to her clinic, through the side door and upstairs where medical supplies were stored. As she jerked open the door of the storage room, orange tongues of fire roared toward her like the angry bellow of a giant beast intent on swallowing her whole. 

The gasp of surprise was ripped from her throat as the force of the inferno threw her against the wall. Shiloh crumpled to the floor, instinctively curling into a ball. 

Stunned and gasping for breath, she lay unmoving... 

Grateful the other firefighters brought his turnouts and air tank when they arrived on the scene, Jeremiah was now equipped to help more people. As he carried another victim to the medic area, he expected to see Shiloh directing medical care. 

"Where's the doc?" Jeremiah shouted to be heard amid the sirens and smoke and chaos. 

Rochelle Wymer, one of the local emergency medical techs, glanced up from bandaging a gash on an older woman's arm. "She went to the clinic for more supplies." 

"How long has she been gone?" 

"Damn, Jer, I didn't set the timer on my watch when she left." 

Jeremiah usually appreciated Rochelle's in-your-face approach that kept the EMTs and firefighters moving when sheer determination was all they had left. But today, worry for the lady doctor nagged at his gut. 

He looked across Celestial Creek toward the doctor's clinic, hoping to see a slender figure moving this direction. 

What he saw instead was smoke billowing out an upper window. The building wasn't part of those destroyed in the explosions on this side of the creek, yet it certainly seemed to be on fire. 

Jeremiah started walking rapidly toward the building, then broke into a run, as he shouted into the radio wired to his helmet. "Fire at the doctor's clinic!" 

A muffled curse answered him, followed by a pause, and the order to one of the engines to hit the other side of town. Jeremiah pounded across the bridge at a run, focused on Shiloh's clinic. 

The redirected engine arrived at the same time Jeremiah did. Flames shimmered menacingly through the glass doors in the front of the building, so Jeremiah trotted around to the side. Usually unlocked during business hours, the side door seemed jammed shut. Using a crowbar, he pried it open. While his partner directed a hose line on the flames, Jeremiah dropped low and scanned under the smoke for any sign of the doctor. 

He found Shiloh by the window, unconscious. A knot swelled at the back of her head, and her skin was red from the heat, but she was breathing. 

"The whole building is about to collapse." The message came over Jeremiah's headphones. 


(Copyright Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel)

Friday, July 5, 2013



Today is day 5 celebrating the release of LEGACY REBORN, the book that wraps up the saga of the O'Shea family and answers the question of why did Bernie have to die?

As part of the festivities, I'm recapping the previous books of this series. Today the spotlight is shining on CHALLENGING THE LEGACY. Super-mom Tallie O'Shea took on eight adopted children and built a legacy of compassionate justice with her policeman husband. When he is gunned down, she doesn't think it's an accident. Then a former lover shows up and the lies from her past start unraveling. As dangers explode around her, can Tallie set things right before everything she loves is destroyed?

Here's an excerpt from CHALLENGING THE LEGACY.

The pressure of Pierce's fingers on hers surprised Tallie. She knew speculation about the two of them had been raging through town since Pierce showed up the night Halo exploded. Fitting, it seemed, since his arrival and the news he was Marly's biological father had rocked the foundation of her world.

Events continued to unfold at a rapid pace, including the whirlwind courtship and marriage of her oldest son, Collin, and local café owner, Beth Boulanger. Tallie already loved Beth like a daughter, though she had questioned Collin about the haste of their wedding.

However, Beth glowed with innocent love as she walked down the aisle toward Collin. And Tallie had never seen her oldest son as happy as when he took Beth's hand and tucked it under his arm, then turned to face his brother, Patrick, who was performing the ceremony.

"Dearly beloved..."

What a difference the packed church was to the intimate setting when Tallie had married Bernie. Just the minister, his wife, and Bernie's uncle, along with Collin and Patrick, who were still wary little boys not believing they might actually have a loving home of their own.

Collin is so handsome. Just like Bernie was.

Tallie dabbed at her tears with a tissue. Bernie had worn a navy blue suit and starched white shirt. Tallie wore the new dress he insisted on buying for her and carried a bouquet of flowers--real ones--from the florist fifty miles away. The two boys were self-consciously silent in their borrowed suits and slicked-down hair.

 "This will be a real marriage." Bernie had told her when he proposed a union so the boys would have both an adoptive father and mother. "You decide when you're ready to be physically intimate. But I'll always be faithful to you."

Tallie touched the wedding ring still circling the third finger of her left hand. A ring that had belonged to Bernie's grandmother.

When they married, Bernie spoke his vows clearly and looked directly at her. In all their years of marriage, Tallie knew without a doubt Bernie had indeed been true to her. He never gave her reason to think anything else.

You would be so proud of your children, Bernie.

As she dabbed at her tears again, Pierce took Tallie's hand and smiled at her. What would her life have been if she had married Pierce? She would have missed out on all her children, as well as the courage that came with being part of Bernie's legacy. She might have become as bitter as Portia Stratford.

She had loved Pierce with a deep physical passion--in a different way than she loved Bernie. She and Bernie were partners, with a love that grew from shared respect and purpose. No matter the past and whatever the future might hold, Tallie was grateful she had her marriage with Bernie and the blessings of all her children.

Only time would tell if her relationship with Pierce would become more than being parents to Marly. Today, Tallie simply cherished this beautiful time of her oldest son marrying the woman he now gazed at with total devotion and love. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013


The celebration of my Halo Legacy Series continues today with an excerpt from book #4. CHASING THE LEGACY could be reporter Layla Dalton's biggest story--or destroy the tentative peace she is building with her past and the bomb tech who has loved her since high school. Many of us in the United States celebrate this July 4 with fireworks, but this book starts out with an explosion of a different kind. 


Grady was more entranced by Layla than the old house they were walking through. She touched the woodwork and walls with reverence and sparkled with excitement when she talked about Beth's expanded café and gift shop moving in, as well as setting up her own newspaper and printing shop. 

When they arrived on the second floor, Layla opened the double doors to the grand ballroom with a flourish. 

"Miss Stella and her husband used to dance in this room. All by themselves, sweeping and swooping around the entire room to music only the two of them could hear--" Layla stopped abruptly. Laughed self-consciously. "At least, that's how the story goes." 

The curtains at the windows fluttered, and a soft sighing like the muted music of an orchestra drifted around the room. 

"If Miss Stella says it happened that way, I believe her," Grady said. 

Layla looked at Grady for a moment. "You see her too?" 

"Doesn't everyone?" 

Slowly, Layla shook her head. "Most people think I'm crazy when I talk about Miss Stella." 
"Most people don't see beyond their own lives." 

For a long moment, Layla simply stared at Grady. She didn't think he was making fun of her, but trusting people didn't come easily. "Let me show you the telescope." 

As she led the way up to the top floor of the house, Layla was overly conscious of Grady behind her. Of the shiver of excitement that he might be watching the sway of her hips and-- 

"Here we are." Layla turned and forced a smile as she pushed away the lure of falling into Grady's arms. 

However, his gaze seemed focused on the magnificent telescope pointed toward the heavens. "Do you come here at night and watch the stars?" 

"Sometimes." Layla tried to keep the disappointment out of her voice. Didn't Grady find her attractive? 

Then he turned his full attention on her and a smile formed on his features, like the sun emerging over the eastern horizon. Layla's breath caught in her throat and her heartbeat accelerated. Like one foot had slipped into an abyss. 

She stepped back, catching herself emotionally. "And that's the grand tour." 

Quickly, before she decided the risk was worth taking, she moved back toward the stairs. And safety. 

"What are the other rooms on this floor?" Grady followed more slowly and glanced into the open door of a room tucked into one of the turrets. 

"Just...old stuff." Layla slipped between him and her old bedroom, deftly closing the door on the private world of her childhood. 

Unfortunately for her peace of mind, that left Layla standing with her back to the door, facing Grady. Up close. 

"Why did you leave town and not come back for so long?" 

(Copyright Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Day three of the count-up of my Halo Legacy Series! In celebration of the release of the wrap-up book of this series (LEGACY REBORN shown above), I'm recapping all the books in this series.

Remember, all nine books in this series are 99 cents each through July 9!

Today, I'm sharing am excerpt from book #3, LIVING THE LEGACY...

Collin watched the glow in Beth's eyes as she talked to members of the orchestra. The delicate lavender color of her formal gown and the diamond clips in the upswept curls of her hair enhanced her physical beauty. However, it was the love of music sparkling in her conversation that really captured Collin's attention. 

Why had she neglected music? he wondered. Surely she could carve out time for something she so clearly loved in addition to running a restaurant. 

Well, he would make sure their time together included the orchestra she enjoyed so much. And he did intend to spend time with Beth, Collin realized. Though this was their first actual date, it seemed he had known her forever. 

Inwardly, Collin took a step back. Such fanciful thoughts for a man whose life was devoted to a job requiring deadly focus and split second decision-making. 

The vibration of the cell phone in his pocket clearly reminded Collin of that job. Caller ID showed this interruption was a serious one. 

He excused himself and went to the lobby to take the call. His team leader offered few details but to report ASAP. 

Collin returned to the table and apologized to Beth. "Something's come up and I need to go." 

He paused and frowned, irritated a call-out was pulling him away from the most pleasant evening he had enjoyed in recent memory. "I'm so sorry." 

The sparkle in Beth's eyes turned to worry. "Is everything alright?" 

If everything was alright, the SWAT team wouldn't be activated. But Collin couldn't say that. He couldn't destroy Beth's innocent concern. "One of the drawbacks of my job is being on call 24/7." 

"Oh." Beth rose to her feet. 

The scent of her flowery shampoo filled Collin's senses and sizzled through his body. She stood close enough he would only have to take a step forward to fold her in his arms. To protect her from the angry and distraught and plainly malevolent people he met every day on his job. 

"Do you mind driving my truck back to Halo after I stop at the station? I won't have time to make the trip." 

Doubtful hesitation crinkled across Beth's face. "If you don't mind." 

"I mind leaving you without a proper escort home." 

Collin drove quickly to the station and pulled into a parking spot. Then he cupped Beth's face between his hands and kissed her gently. As the seconds ticked away, his cell phone vibrated again. 

He had to leave. He allowed one more moment of regret, then said goodnight, and strode inside to confront whatever emergency was once again claiming his life. 

Irritation swirled through Collin as he entered the station. Beth was the first woman who had captured his attention for a very long time, and he had to cut short their date for a call-out. This had better be good. 

A mass of organized chaos greeted Collin. 

"About time you showed up, O'Shea." His team leader frowned. "We've got a town blowing up. We're sending all the manpower we can spare." 

"What town?" Collin shrugged into his camouflage jacket. 


Collin froze as a crystal clear image of Beth lodged in his mind. She was driving straight into a disaster.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


In celebration of the release of the last book of my Halo Legacy Series, LEGACY REBORN, I'm recapping previous books of the series. 

Remember, all nine books of this series are only 99 cents each through July 9!

Today, I'm offering a short excerpt from book #2, LEGACY OF ANGELS, which tells the healing story of a former priest and a former prostitute.


"I'm not safe anywhere." Terror beat in Claudia deGras' heart, pulsed through her veins, shut down any rational thought. Get out of here! 

She bolted toward the door, not daring to look back as the sound of heavy footsteps followed her. 

The old brown sedan sitting in the driveway always had the keys in the ignition. Most of the time, it started without much protest. 

Claudia flung open the door and cranked the key. The engine caught and roared as she shoved the accelerator to the floor. Two doors banged shut as the old Buick slid sideways on the gravel, then found traction on the pavement. 

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Patrick O'Shea on the wide bench seat beside her, his hand braced against the dashboard for balance, but his face reflected his normal serenity. 

Could she trust him? Did she have a choice? And where was she going? 


Monday, July 1, 2013


Woo-hoo-hoo! It's release day for book #9 of my Halo Legacy Series! LEGACY REBORN wraps up the mystery that has plagued the O'Shea family throughout this series by solving the mystery of why their adoptive dad and supercop Bernie O'Shea was killed. You can read excerpts on my web site <www.GenieGabriel.com>.

That web site has been updated, offering more information and excerpts from each book of the Halo Legacy Series. And I'll be rolling out more info in the first nine days of this month.

Thanks to my publisher, all nine books of the Halo Legacy Series are 99 cents each from July 1-9! <http://shop.roguephoenixpress.ieasysite.com/category.aspx?categoryid=82&startpage=0> I'm celebrating those days with a special count-up on this blog recapping each book of the Halo Legacy Series. 

And on JULY 9, I'll be at over 30 blogs in a Super Book Blast!  Those blogs are listed on my web site "Meet Me" page <http://www.designsbymsg.com/GENIEgabriel/Meet.html>. I hope you can stop by and say hello, which will also add your name to the drawing at the end of the book blast for nine gift cards of $9.00 each. You an also leave a comment on this blog to be entered.

I hope you join me for a celebration times nine from July 1-9!

Now, here's a brief excerpt from book #1 of the Halo Legacy Series, PICTURE PERFECT LEGACY.

(Five Years Ago) 
They say Bernie is dead. But how can that be? I kissed him this morning and set a roast out for dinner. His favorite so he wouldn't stay long at the meeting. 

I hate it when Bernie's late. Then I start to worry. 

But Collin's looking serious and Marly has been crying. My children are home--all eight of them--and the house is quiet as a tomb. Tallie O'Shea shivered. 


Marly's arm around my shoulder carries the weight of reality. 

I look at her to tell me it isn't so and see the tracks of tears on her cheeks. Collin. Patrick. Jeremiah. Grady. CJ. Johnny. Even Thomas is home from wandering. All with that horrible, stoic look of concern. 

Collin doesn't want me to see the body. But I must. That's the only way I'll believe. To know he's really gone. 

I don't look at his face. I know there won't be anything recognizable left of the man whose arms held me last night. I look instead at his left hip for the mark only a lover would know. It is flat and dull against the cold, blue flesh, and I know my Bernie won't be coming home again. 

For years I have been strong for my children. Now the source of my strength--my Bernie--is gone. My heart, my mind, all that is in me shatters. Gouging and ripping at my flesh in jagged streaks of pain. I hear the keening of a wounded animal and realize it is me. Eight pairs of arms reach to catch me as numbness claims my soul. Blessed darkness enfolds me as I spiral down, down, down into despair. 

What will I do without my Bernie?