MIRROR, MIRROR - J.D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Mary Kay McComas, R.C. Ryan
ISBN: 978-0-515-15407-8
October 2013
Paranormal Anthology

Well-loved fairy tales take some unusual turns in the following stories from the past, present and future.

Taken In Death - J.D. Robb

New York City, New York - 2060

While investigating the murder of nanny Darcia Jones, Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her partner, Peabody, watch on the security discs as the children's mother, Tosha MacDermit, enters the building and then leaves with seven year-old twins Henry and Gala.  But while Dallas is still investigating the scene, the MacDermits arrive with alibis putting them in New Zealand at the time of the abduction. Dallas learns a horrifying truth: Tosha has a twin sister who has been held in a hospital for the criminally insane since she murdered their father.  Now it's a race against time as Eve calls in everyone she knows to help track down an insane woman, and the best hope they have is a seven year-old child with a toy.

Instead of focusing on the murder they are investigating, in Taken In Death , Eve and her team are desperately trying to find two live victims who may not stay that way for long.  As this novella takes place over the course of just over a day, it's a fast-paced, page turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

If Wishes Were Horses - Mary Blayney

Derbyshire, England - May 1816

For nine years, Martha Stepp has been the keeper of a magic coin that grants wishes…to everyone but her.  Martha's wants are simple: a man of her own, and a way out of the servant's life.  She wants something better than what she has, which is why she is on a quest to find the most comfortable bed in the house.  She is testing out the youngest son's bed on the night that Major Alistair Craig makes his early return home, and is almost caught there.  His temporary valet, Sergeant Jack Tresbere knows somebody has been sleeping in the major's bed, and intends to figure out who the next morning.  He knows immediately that Martha is the guilty one, but he's never been so taken with a woman before, and he doesn't confront her.  He'd long since given up hope of finding a woman who could accept him for who he is, but now he's wondering if Martha could be the one.

There's an attraction between Jack and Martha almost immediately, but in If Wishes Were Horses they are held back by fears and misunderstandings.  Jack has a healing gift, one that saved the major's life during battle, and he doesn't believe any woman could accept this about him.  Learning of the magic coin Martha possesses gives him hope momentarily—until she admits she'll be glad to be done with one of “nature's oddities”.  But the coin has heard their wishes, intentionally made or not, and it always grants the wishes it hears—one way or another.

Beauty, Sleeping - Elaine Fox

Georgetown - Present Day

For more than twenty years, Michael Prince has been a specter in his own home.  At his christening, his crazy aunt cursed him because she hadn't been invited, but another aunt changed the curse so he would sleep instead of die.  He'd grown up believing the stories to be a legend (I mean really, what is a spindle anyway?), but at thirty he became involved with the wrong fairy (Dierdra Spindle – really???), and now he's unable to leave his home, and ghostlike, not truly dead. From the moment Cassandra Carlisle buys his home, Michael knows that she's the one who will make a difference in his life (existence?) and he feels as if he's known her forever.  Now if only he can make her hear or see him….

B eauty, Sleeping is a very funny twist on the Sleeping Beauty legend.  Michael's story is told in first person, and readers get intimate insight into his thinking; he will have you laughing out loud.  At five years old, Cassandra watched the newscast of Michael's disappearance, and when she saw the pictures of his house, she knew that someday it would be hers, and Michael would be back.  Twenty-four years later, she owns the house, and a part of her isn't even surprised when her Prince appears.

The Christmas Comet - Mary Kay McComas

Present Day

Natalie knows she can always count on Miles when needed, even when she's been arrested.  Though she has a job as a lab tech at a hospital, she met Miles while doing her other “work”—feeding the homeless.  Until she can swing enough money to open a soup kitchen, Natalie will serve soup to those in need, anywhere she can find a place.  Unfortunately, doing so often puts her at odds with a police officer who arrests her, and usually it's Miles, another officer, who helps her out.  She'd like for Miles to be more than her knight in shining armor but doesn't believe he'll ever see her as anything except a pain.  As Christmas draws near, as does the arrival of a rarely seen comet, Natalie starts to hope that wishing on a comet can be the same as wishing on a star, because she knows exactly who is on her list.

A woman who gives far more than she ever takes is hoping for things in her life to turn out right in The Christmas Comet .  Natalie never turns down a person in need, not even if it means handing over her rent money to a desperate stranger; so much of her life is a bit of a mess.  Too much of a mess, perhaps, to involve Miles more than he already is.  Miles has feelings for Natalie but sees her as too young to be interested in someone who is her total opposite.  With a little Christmas magic, hopefully they'll be able to see one another more clearly.

Stroke of Midnight - R. C. Ryan

Innismere, Ireland - Present Day

Years after the death of her father, Sydney receives a gift from him that will change her life.  The box that her step-mother thought contained nothing more than old paint shirts also held a surprise: almost five thousand dollars in cash and a note from her father explaining that the money was meant for Sydney and her Da to take a trip to the village in Ireland where he grew up.  Honoring his wish, Sydney sets out for Innismere, and along the way she meets Cullen, a resident of the village, who had been visiting the States.  Cullen is charming and handsome, and as he shows Sydney his village, he also sweeps her off her feet.

In Stroke of Midnight , Sydney feels as if her father is still taking care of her when she finds the money and the note expressing his wish to share his homeland with her.  Though her step-mother thinks Sydney's impulsive trip is foolish and will not end well for her, Sydney is full of hope and happiness at the thought of seeing the land her father loved.  Cullen is a nice surprise, but she can't help but wonder if things are happening too quickly to be real.  Will she follow her head, or her heart?

From the frantic rush to save innocent children from a depraved mind, to the sweet young woman almost crushed by an overbearing step-mother, MIRROR, MIRROR has something for everyone.

Jennifer Bishop