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Sunday 31 July 2016

☀ The Promise - C.E. Wilson

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for The Promise, a  Urban Fantasy by (first published 16 November 2013; this new revised edition , Live and Love the Fantasy Publications, 192 pages).

PREVIEW: Check out the book's synopsis and excerpt below.  Read the first chapter with Amazon Look Inside.

The Promise is FREE on Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owner's Lending Library.

Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author |


What does it mean to be human?

Lily Evans is about to find out. On what should have been a day of great happiness she is diagnosed with a rare and unbelievable disease: she is shrinking, possibly without limit.

As her life starts to spin out of control and the world starts to grow around her at an uncontrollable rate she is forced to confront her greatest fear - losing the man whom she loved from the moment she saw him. Can they stay together even though she feels her humanity slipping away? Can she trust him with her secret and - as her disease progresses - her safety and even her life? Can she trust herself?

A bittersweet story of love and loss, The Promise is an Urban Fantasy that will have readers questioning the meanings of love, trust, and even humanity.

Teaser: Excerpt

Chapter One

60 inches / Five Feet
      The ring fit my finger perfectly. The classic silver band with the elegant square diamond was simple, exactly like one I would have chosen myself, and I felt a certain pride knowing that my fiancé understood me so well. He was one of the few people in my life who tried to understand me. The moment was joyous and as we shared kisses, I should have been elated. Me. Lily Evans was now engaged to one of the most beautiful men I had ever seen in my life. And he wanted me, too. It was a moment straight out of a cheesy chick flick, but there was something that tempered my overwhelming happiness.
      Erik Larkin had proposed to me on the same day that I was officially diagnosed.
      So even though the ring felt right and proper on my finger and didn’t clash with the tattoos on my wrist and forearms, the day of his proposal had officially become the best and worst moment of my life.
      My boyfriend – ahem, I mean fiancé – Erik Larkin smiled gently as he slid the delicate band on my finger and tears came to my eyes in the doctor’s office where he had proposed. So romantic, right? That was Erik. He knew I didn’t care. He knew when the moment was right, and also that the right moment didn’t actually exist. When Erik was ready to propose that’s exactly what he did. He schmaltzed down to the local jeweler, wagged his dark eyebrows and smiled with a charisma that was best reserved for pharmaceutical reps and grabbed the most expensive ring that I would allow slipped onto to my finger. I liked quality, sure, but quality didn’t equal size to me. So despite the fact that the diamond didn’t resemble something on a Super Bowl ring, it gleamed with perfection. Erik would call it a ‘perfect’ diamond because there wasn’t a single flaw on the gleaming faceted stone. God, how did I end up with such a perfect man? And why did my happiness have to coincide with something so fantastical?
      I had dreaded this exact moment for months. Not the engagement! The diagnosis.
      “Couldn’t you wait for something a bit more romantic?” I asked Erik with a teary smile. I hated crying in front of anyone and I hated crying in front of Erik even more. Why? Because he never judged me. He gave me unspoken permission to act human and though I should have been grateful, I only wanted to be stronger. I sucked some snot back into my nose like the graceful princess I was and Erik shook his head with a chuckle… which of course turned on the waterworks. How did he manage to do that?
      “It’s alright,” he said, smiling warmly. “So long as you’re crying out of happiness and not utmost disgust.”
      I sucked in another sob. “Shut up. You know why I’m crying, idiot.” I didn’t tell Erik, but I think he knew that my tears were borne of both happiness, and also fear. We both wondered... how long would the ring fit my finger as well as it did on the day he proposed?
      Perhaps I need to explain. I’m getting ahead of myself and I don’t want people to think I’m a whiny, emotional baby who cries over proposals from handsome, witty, sexy Gods like my future hubby.
      I was shrinking.
      Please don’t laugh. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. The day Erik proposed I was already short, barely standing five feet tall. It’s not that short, but considering I used to be almost six, losing a foot was already enough of a shock to my system.
      I had been shrinking for the past few months, and Erik had been kind enough to stay with me. At five feet tall, I already felt like a child sitting next to him, looking more like his daughter than his wife-to-be. Well, other than the fact that Erik and I were polar opposites in regards to physical appearance.
      My tattered-on-purpose jeans were loose – even though they came from the junior’s department – and it was becoming more difficult to find clothes that didn’t make me look younger than I already felt. I never planned on wearing clothes from stores that featured slumped over emo mannequins after the age of twelve, but they fit me better than most other places. Staring down at the whiskered effect across my thighs and the tacky gemstone sewn against the right hip pocket, I realized there were times when I felt less and less human and more like a doll.
      Through all of that, as much as I wanted to curse the world, when Erik’s light blue eyes stared into mine and he shot me another warm smile, I swear my heart almost burst into a sexy puddle of red blood.
      “I couldn’t wait another moment to propose to you, Lily. I wanted to do this sooner, but I was so sure you’d run away after the test results came in.” He lowered his head, unable to hide his face because of a short, professional cut across his jet black hair. My fiancé the business man. “I don’t want to lose you,” he whispered, hinting at a future that I didn’t want to accept.
      “You are going to lose me.” My voice cracked as I leaned over the chair and cupped his warm and scruffy cheek into my palm. Despite styled hair, my man needed a shave. I’d been with enough bad boys. I loved that Erik was professional and clean shaven. I spared him a sad smile as I realized how quickly I could lose all of this. Lose all of him. “One way or another, things are going to change.”
      The doctor cleared his throat, eyes wet, touched by the strange scene that unfolded before him. In his albeit few years of practicing medicine he had never heard of anything like my case. No doctor had.
      Dr. Russel – Mark, as we knew him – was a friend of Erik’s family and close to our age. After insistent begging from Erik and his parents, he decided to step in as, not only a medical professional, but also a protector. At first he didn’t want to believe, and I couldn’t say that I blamed him. But when he saw the numbers changing, the numbers diminishing week-by-week, day-by-day, he realized that he couldn’t bluster and chortle at the results any longer – especially when his friend was hurting. So despite his initial reservations about me, he agreed to help out in any way he could and keep all medical information confidential. I couldn’t shake the feeling that Mark didn’t want Erik to see me spend the rest of my life as a circus freak, shrinking at an uncontrollable rate with no end in sight, so as his friend, he swallowed his reservations and did the best he could. Dealing with me was a risk to his name, pedigree and professional reputation, but Erik didn’t leave him with much of a choice.
      Mark could probably easily remember when we first met. I had been tall, almost as tall as Erik. Not anymore. Mark wasn’t sure why it was happening, or when it would stop, but he promised to do everything in his power to keep our secret for my sake and Erik’s.
      “We don’t know what the future holds, Lily,” Mark said gruffly from behind his desk. He leaned forward, steepling his hands. “This... shrinking... it could stop at any time.”
      He was still so uncomfortable saying the word. Shrinking. Shrinking was a subject left for science-fiction and The Twilight Zone, not for a man practicing modern medicine. He surveyed us over his knuckles.
      “I used to be almost six feet tall,” I started off.
      “I know, Lily. No one is denying that.”
      I ignored his pathetic attempt to placate me with calm words and continued to raise my voice. “Now look at me!” I motioned to my body and held out my large platforms shoes that barely poked out from under my too-long jeans.
      “Lily...” Mark started. “You shouldn’t get yourself riled up.”
      “How about you try to deal with this and not get riled up, huh?” I shouted.
      “This could stop at any time.”
      “How can we know that? You didn’t even believe this was happening until a few months ago and now suddenly you’re an expert? You’re telling me this’ll stop? You can’t know, Mark! You have nothing to base anything on!” Every action of mine lately reminded me of a child’s. I took in a deep breath, afraid that Erik would pluck me up off my chair, settle me in his lap, and run his fingers gently through my dreadlocks.
      Thankfully I wasn’t that short… yet.
      I glanced up at Erik. His tall, lean body slumped heavily in his chair. Even as a formerly tall woman, I didn’t understand how short girls wanted a tall man; I already found Erik a little intimidating. Despite the outward appearance of a professional, his eyes carried heavy bags and his cheeks sunk in slightly. Erik looked as though he existed in black and white while the rest of the world flourished in Technicolor. My diagnosis took as heavy a toll on him as it did on me. My heart bled for him, wondering how he managed to fall and remain in love with me before he leaned in close and kissed my temple. My skin blazed from the brush of his lips. His expensive cologne that reminded me of oranges and freshly mown lawn invaded my nostrils. The tiny ring he had slipped on my finger a few minutes before and that familiar scent took me back to earlier times and happier memories.
      “I love you, Lily,” he whispered into my black dreadlocks, refusing to let me get caught up in the past. “Nothing will ever change that.”
      “Not even a few lost inches?” I grumbled.
      “Not even a few feet?”
      “Come on, Lily. You can’t possibly get that much smaller. You’re probably not going to change that much.”
      “I’ve already lost a foot, Erik. The truth is staring me in the face every morning. And you don’t know what else is going to change. Neither of you do.”
      The day that Erik proposed should have been the happiest day of my life, but because of some impossible illness, it was ruined. I couldn’t smile without the future hanging over my ever diminishing body. The future watched me with a smirk. It gave me the man of my dreams – the life I always dreamed of – but it was all temporary. Soon it would all be forgotten and I would become nothing more than Erik’s ‘little thing’ before long.
      The thought left me breathless.
      Five years ago I fell in love with Erik and him with me, despite all our differences. Where I was dark, Erik was light. His skin was nearly translucent on a sunny day with hair that was a bluish black that he never bothered to style at the time. His vibrant ice blue eyes were a striking contrast to his jet black hair. He knew how to dress and I swear on my life, I never thought I would fall in love with a man who wore a peacoat and penny loafers.
      Erik came from a good family.
      I didn’t.
      I grew up with a single mother who put me up for adoption when I was eleven. Yes, eleven. I could remember her when I wanted to, but most of my memories were of the foster homes I grew up in until I was eighteen. Some were good and some were bad. I acted out in the bad ones, regrettably covering both my arms with tattoos and piercing my nose and eyebrows several times. I let my dark hair grow out into messy dreadlocks and I smoked like a chimney which caused grey circles to form under the delicate skin of my hazel eyes. I didn’t care much about anything during my teenage years, but no one did.
      What did it matter if I got lung cancer?
      If my own mother didn’t want me, who would?
      I made so many poor decisions when I was younger and I would never have the chance to find out if one of them led me to the docto What if I had quit smoking sooner? What if I forgot to check one needle to make sure it was pure before I got tattooed or pierced? What if? I could ask myself all these questions until I was dead and I would never know the answers. The answers didn’t even matter. Not really. The only question I had lately was, am I actually shrinking?
      And somehow, despite reality, the answer was yes.

The Promise
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About the Author

C.E. Wilson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, grew up in Millersville, Pennsylvania, and has been living in Pittsburgh since 2009.

For the first few years living in Pittsburgh, she was an English teacher. Her first book, "Oath of Servitude," was published in 2012. In 2013, she quit teaching to be a full time author and hasn't looked back since.

She loves spending time with her daughter and husband.

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