The Afterlife Series
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Visionary Fiction
Publisher: Rose Petal Publications
Date of Publication: Originally Released 1/1/2014
Reprint / New Cover 6/21/2014
Number of pages: 228
Word Count: 54,937
Connor’s dead. But she can still feel him. Is it just her imagination or something more? Celeste wants to know. And she’ll stop at nothing to find out.
A once-aspiring artist, Celeste is going through the motions of life. She’s stuck – in a job she doesn’t love, with a man who isn’t right for her, in a web of painful memories from the past. Adding to her despair is the sudden and unexpected death of Connor, her true love. As she struggles to make sense of the world around her, strange coincidences and mysterious events lead her to question her sanity. When the happenings persist, she wonders if Connor’s spirit is trying to tell her something. Her jealous husband Dave insists it’s all just her imagination. But when Celeste’s young son has an experience of his own, she is determined to uncover the truth.
Join Celeste as she risks her marriage, her career, and her own safety to escape the demons from her past and unravel the mysteries of life and death. With so much uncertainty, there’s only one thing Celeste knows: her world will never be the same.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/-jGCYT1my9E
Celeste began sobbing uncontrollably. She struggled to see the road ahead of her through tear-filled eyes. The landscape became a fuzzy blur of moonlight and shadowy trees. The world around her spun into an unrecognizable mix of darkness streaked with occasional rays of dim light. As she drove blindly ahead, she felt as if she were plunging into nothingness. And she didn’t even care.
She would have continued in her oblivious state, but somehow, out of nowhere, she heard a very clear and distinct male voice pop into her head. She thought that surely she must have imagined it, because it sounded like Connor.
Suddenly a deer darted out in front of her, its startled eyes aglow from the blazing gold headlights. Blood pulsed through her veins as she abruptly swerved her car to the right, narrowly missing the animal. With her heart still pounding, she took a deep breath and tried to regain her composure.
“That was close,” she said aloud to herself. “Stay focused, Celeste. Keep it together.”
Although she was alone in her car, she noticed a distinct presence. It felt like Connor was somehow with her. First the voice, and now this? Surely she must be losing her mind! Even so, she had an irresistible urge to talk to him. Maybe it was silly or useless, but she couldn’t fight this desire brimming inside of her. She didn’t just want communication with her deceased former love; she needed it—even if it was one-sided. She began to have a conversation as if he were right there with her.
“I’m so sorry,” she sobbed. “I’m sorry I didn’t stay in touch with you and try to be a part of your life in some way. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you or able to help you. I’m sorry for the night I left you. I’m sorry I didn’t let you get closer to me or tell you that I love you. I’m just so sorry.”
Tears streamed down Celeste’s face like the rain on a shiny glass window, and she gasped for air. What she wanted most right now was to know that Connor still existed somehow, somewhere. She wanted proof that his spirit lived on. She wanted to know that he was alive and well in heaven. Although she had been raised Christian, her faith had faded as she’d grown older. Life’s circumstances, unanswered prayers, and the cynical, materialistic world around her had left Celeste with doubts and questions. She now wondered if God and the afterlife even existed at all. She wanted to believe. She just didn’t know how.
Right after she spoke to Connor, a song came on the radio. The words caught her attention, and she stopped crying long enough to listen. It was a tune by Nickelback titled “Someday.”
For a brief moment, Celeste noticed a tingling sensation run down her spine. She felt like Connor was speaking directly to her through this song. It felt as if he were trying to respond to her. Were the words to this song meant for her? Did he somehow hear her cries? Was he trying to tell her he was going to help her in some way?
“No,” thought Celeste. “You’re being ridiculous. This is all just a coincidence. Connor can’t hear you or help you—he’s dead.”
Somehow, even though her rational, logical mind told her this, her heart told her otherwise. Maybe Connor really was alive in the afterlife. Maybe he really could hear her. She needed to know the truth. She wanted answers.
Main character Celeste from Echoes of Paradise shares what she loves most about Connor, her lost love.
10) He accepts me for who I am.
I’ve been with many men who want to change me or insist that I do something I’m not comfortable with. My husband Dave is the perfect example of this. He wants me to agree with him on everything and be just like him – but I’m not. Connor gives me the freedom to be who I am and appreciates me for me. He respects me, and that means a lot.
9) His sense of humor.
Connor can be serious and diligent when need be, but he also tries not to take himself too seriously. I enjoy when he teases me, jokes around or lightens the mood.
8) His playfulness.
This goes along with his sense of humor. Connor knows how to let go and have a good time. He enjoys teasing me, chasing me and having me chase him. His playfulness helps prevent me from being too serious.
7) The way he protects me.
Every woman wants a man who will take care of her and look after her. Connor is definitely that man. He’s always willing to help and will do anything to protect me — even after death.
6) His kiss.
The man is a good kisser. He’s gentle yet passionate and never overbearing. I love the way I feel with him.
5) His charm.
One of the first things I noticed about Connor was his charm. He’s a bit of a flirt and has a quiet but spirited magnetism about him. How could I help falling in love with him?
4) His love of nature.
Connor loves being out in nature, among the trees or on a lake. Since I enjoy this too, it’s a perfect situation for me. I get to spend time outdoors taking in all the beauty of my surroundings while also being with the man I adore.
3) His eyes.
Connor has beautiful, warm brown eyes. The first time he looked into my eyes, my heart just melted. He wasn’t just glancing at me; he was taking a look deep into my soul.
2) His smile.
Connor has the most gorgeous smile I have ever seen. When he smiles, he lights up the entire room. I feel special just being in his presence.
1) His desire and willingness to reach out to me from beyond the grave.
Let’s face it: Any man who dies and then hangs around his former girlfriend to guide her, comfort her and help teach her how to live a better life must really love her. I feel honored that he still wants to connect and communicate with me. That’s true love. I am a lucky woman!
Deanna Kahler is an accomplished writer and proud mom. Her work has been published in numerous corporate newsletters and magazines across the country. She began writing as a young child and enjoys the opportunity to reach others and make a difference in their lives.
Echoes of Paradise is her second book. The story is close to her heart because it was inspired by some of her own experiences. Deanna is now working on a follow-up novel, Visions of Mortality, scheduled for release in 2015. The book will feature some of the same characters and also have a paranormal/afterlife theme.
Deanna holds a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where she graduated with departmental honors. She lives with her husband and daughter in a Metro Detroit suburb and enjoys writing, dancing, walking, and visiting parks in her spare time.
For more information, please visit www.deannakahler.com
Author photo by Steven Jon Horner Photography