Keeleys Curse

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There is substantial skeletal evidence of violent death and dietary cannibalism among Neanderthals. DNA analysis of the 12 Neanderthal individuals found there has shown that they were a family group of related males and children, buried approximately 50, years ago with nonblood-related females, all of whom were killed in a single incident and butchered for food. While other examples of Neanderthal cannibalism exist, only some Neanderthal individuals have ever been discovered—and not often their whole skeletons—so no statistical conclusions about the prevalence of violence can be reliably drawn.

Currently, only 27 Neanderthal and 19 H. But many fatal injuries would leave no mark on the skeleton, and furthermore, victims of massacres in the prehistoric past were as likely to be left unburied as not, and their remains thus scattered. There is also evidence for cannibalism among Paleolithic modern humans. Both Neanderthals and early H. But what about H. Here the evidence is scant, and there is an emerging possibility that at least in parts of Europe, particularly the Iberian Peninsula, the chronological overlap of Neanderthal and H. The basic contention here is that coordinated lethal conflict between groups of humans intent on increasing their access to resources of various types has existed at all times and in all places but not all the time.

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Conflict or war does not dominate the archaeological record of pre-state societies, but it does suffuse it, deep into the Paleolithic. We can turn to our closest biological relatives, the chimpanzees, for further evidence of the likely role of conflict in early human societies. Animal behaviorists used to see intraspecies conflict as generally resolved by submission or flight, but more and more evidence points to lethal intraspecies violence, even killing, especially among social animals like ants, meerkats and banded mongooses, gerbils, lions, prairie dogs, wolves, spotted hyenas, and especially chimpanzees.

Chimpanzee group conflicts have striking parallels to those found in human forager societies. First, conflict is not endemic but episodic—proximity does not guarantee conflict, but neighboring communities live under the threat of conflict nonetheless and behave accordingly, with territories clearly marked, patrolled, and defended. Second, casualty rates can be very high. Third, conflict does not begin through simple aggression but rather in response to ecological pressures and perceptions of advantage. Specifically, conflicts begin when one group enjoys an overall numerical advantage, and attacks are launched only when a localized numerical edge exists and usually with the benefit of surprise.

Fourth, raids are conducted by groups of males and are shot through with male sociality and even training activities. Adult chimpanzees have been observed to correct the patrolling behaviors of adolescent members. Finally, females might be killed but are more likely to be captured and socially absorbed by the winning group. This collection of behaviors can only be called war. It is organized group activity, conducted with lethal effects designed to diminish one group for the benefit of another.

Its existence among our closest living genetic relatives suggests that even where the archaeological evidence falters, human evolution likely has long taken place in the context of such violence. Did violence among our own hominid ancestors go back far enough and was it frequent enough to have evolutionary effects?

In other words, did death by fellow human generate an evolutionary selection effect? This sort of conclusion presumes an evolutionary role in creating or shaping complex forms of human behavior, something that modern scholars have only recently begun to accept. Yet the last few decades have seen increasing evidence for exactly that, especially for natural selection that affects group behavior. Of particular importance for military historians is the problem of altruism addressed by Bowles—that is, the willingness of an individual to take risks, even self-sacrificial risks, on behalf of another or others in the group, however large that group might be.

Genetically speaking, altruism seems to violate the primary imperative to survive and reproduce. If altruism had biological origins and it is visible in certain nonhuman cooperating species , what selection processes created it? The current orthodoxy on this subject argues that evolutionary selection works at an individual level, favoring traits that promote individual survival and reproduction. Young Adult. BRiAN Help. Interlibrary Loan.

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Login in Interlibrary Loan. Search WorldCat. Downloadable Library. Library Events. Events for Adults. Events for Teens. Events for Kids. Average Rating. Zora and me volume 2. On Shelf. Cary Community - Childrens Fiction. Quick Copy View. Place Hold. Add a Review. Add To List. He saw his mother look at him with disgust in her eyes and he knew it was the work of Nana. Byron was fifteen when his dad beat his mother to death in a whiskey-induced rage. He was saddened by the violence done to his mother, but the thought never crossed his mind that his father was wrong.

He was almost even angry that she caused the fight. He was confused about it all and felt lost 7 Sophia Danu and then three days later his father died of a heart attack. It made perfect sense to him. Everyone knew she could do magic. She was the reason they were dead and he despised her with every fiber of his being.

It was all her fault. He wanted to kill her in that moment more than he could ever remember wanting anything, but after the funeral, he and his sister left Blue Springs to live with his aunt in the next county. Byron watched her gracefully stride up the winding mountain road. Once she disappeared around the switchback, he started the truck and, with no lights on, sped up the mountain—gravel flying wildly.

He timed his approach to trap her on the narrow mountain road. It was the perfect murder, he assured himself. He rounded the gravel road, expecting to see her walking by the cliff face. To his amazement, she stood directly in his path and faced his truck. Her arms were thrown wide with her staff raised high in one hand. Moonlight bathed her face. The most incredible thing he noticed in that split second before his truck struck her was the peaceful smile on her face.

She knew, he realized. She knew… In a moment of shock, he steered the truck away from her. Byron was so spooked that he slammed the truck straight into the unrelenting cliff face. He smacked his forehead on the steering wheel and passed out immediately while the horn blared in the night. Within thirty minutes, the Blue Springs police department sent a cruiser up to check out the obnoxious noise. The officer called for emergency personnel, but it was too late, my beloved Nana passed on and a disoriented, belligerent Byron was arrested.

It was a struggle to breathe around the suffocating knot lodged in my throat. Each object brought to mind affectionate memories of a happier, carefree time. Running my fingers over the back of the Victorian sofa, I watched dust motes lazily float in a shaft of sunlight that streamed through the windows. The tranquil smell of lavender hovered in the air, like Nana would walk in at any time. My fingers gripped the wooden scrolls on back of the sofa and my knuckles turned white with pressure. I breathed deep the fragrant air, attempting to restrain my emotions. I pictured Nana in my mind.

Her vibrant silver hair braided down her back. The matching silk tunic and pants that she preferred, claiming they 11 Sophia Danu were the most comfortable attire for working, spelling or sleeping. Sometimes the color varied, but she always used a striking color. Nana was anything but subtle or bland. My eyes filled when I saw the red dishtowel hanging on the stove. I crocheted it for Nana in home economics class. She worked in the kitchen with it draped over her shoulder as she canned vegetables and made preserves. A sob threatened to break free and I nearly gave in to the overwhelming desire to collapse on the floor in despair.

Not yet, I thought with clenched teeth. I took a deep breath and straightened my spine, blinking rapidly to fight back the tears. I would not break down with him here.


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Alex, the man I tried so hard to forget while I was in California. Nana will be missed by everyone. It never failed. His presence reacted like a shockwave through my body. My scalp tightened and my fingers tingled. No, in fact, lucky for me my reaction to him felt even stronger. Not that I would let him know—once down that road was enough. If I did, the slim hold on my composure would be lost and the last place I wanted to find comfort was in his well-muscled arms. In fact, I managed to make most of the trip from the airport without looking at him or talking to him except for the barest of greetings.

It was a blow to see him waiting at baggage claim, dominating the room with his presence. He leaned against a column in the center of the room with his arms crossed and one booted foot propped up, bent at the knee. He wore faded jeans and a dark blue, nearly black, tee shirt. His dark, handsome features screamed danger and he exuded a sex appeal that made women want him at any cost.

He was a man that other men were wary of, but women gravitated to despite the consequences. I knew from experience. His stance implied ease, but I noticed his awareness. Nothing in the room escaped his notice, especially not me. He watched every step I took with narrowed eyes. Seeing him was just another shock 13 Sophia Danu after the devastating one I already faced. Now I regretted not getting the rental. His hand settled softly on my shoulder. His warm breath on my nape sent chills down my back.

I swallowed at the shivers his touch invoked and shrugged off his hand, ignoring my tingling body. I stopped next to the mahogany dining room table and dropped my bags on the floor with a loud thump. Celia graciously offered to ship the rest of my belongings in the next few days. I needed to grieve. And I needed to do that alone because I too easily imagined falling to my knees and begging him to make me forget— and that would be a bad move.

I met his gaze and felt a pang deep in my gut. His steely golden eyes, wolf eyes I thought, radiated a frightening intensity and heat that was devastating to my raw senses. Sensation coursed through my body and my nipples hardened. My gaze slid away from his and I frowned at my weakness. I felt his frustration at my evasion.

Thank the Goddess. The large stained glass door slammed shut behind him.


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The windows rattled at his exit. I exhaled, an explosion of air that deflated me, but I stood still until I heard his powerful SUV drive down the mountain road, gravel crunching until he reached the bottom of the driveway. When I no longer heard the rumble of his vehicle, my shoulders drooped and I fell to my knees. I cried harder than I have ever cried. Falling into the fetal position, I released all the despair and sadness kept bottled up, covered by rage.

Thirty long minutes later, I rose and wiped my 15 Sophia Danu face on my tank top. I picked up my bags and walked down the long hallway to my room— taking in the pictures that covered the wall along the route. Images of a happy Nana and Pop prompted a smile and I placed a finger on the faces of my youthful-looking parents. There were other portraits of my extended family in Ireland—sophisticated and stunning, my cousins, aunts and uncles posed in front of the impressive drawbridge and castle in one picture, around an inviting pool in another and seated at a long dining table at yet another.

They are taken on the family estate in the town of Greystones where my grandmother was born and raised. On the other wall were pictures of my school years from pigtails to long curls. The pictures brought tears to my eyes, but I blinked them away. How sweet of Nana to hang them all. She always made me feel special. I went to my room and dropped the bags by the wardrobe. The antique, white lace spread and bright throw pillows still covered the bed. An assortment of pictures, posters and other teenage accessories filled the room.

Nana left my room the way I had it as if waiting on me to come back home. The tears threatened again and I dropped on the bed, exhausted. I rolled on my side. The thought of enduring condolences from well-wishers depressed me further. I wanted to stay in bed and never get up. I felt close to Nana here in our home. Emotionally lower than ever, I raised my head to look for the crystals that I kept on my nightstand. Soothing crystals were what I needed. As I looked at the antique table, I gasped and then a soft smile crossed my weary features. I sat up on the bed, reaching for the flowers with trembling fingers, as if they were a lifeline.

Holding the small crystal vase in my hands, I brought the flowers to my face and inhaled, taking the fragrance into my lungs. I closed my eyes and let the aroma permeate my senses and mind. Did Nana replace these week after week as she did when I lived here? Why would she do that? Every crystal, spell or plant was used for a purpose.

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Otherwise, it deserved to have its time in the sun, too, as Nana liked to say. Nana abided by a mixture of beliefs. She refused to personally label herself as Wicca, Christian or any other name, instead saying that her beliefs and power came from a time before there were such labels. She raised me with the same philosophies and beliefs.

She was a gifted healer and many called her a witch, although not in a derogatory way. Humans need labels, she told me once, to know where they fit in relation to others. The town of Blue Springs loved Nana. Many people came to Nana rather than Dr. Lewis, the residing physician. He respected her knowledge and opinion, too—calling to discuss patients and their recovery.

As long as I could remember, townspeople came to Nana for remedies, tinctures, soaps, shampoos, candles and crystal jewelry. The mountains of Eastern Kentucky provided the knowledgeable woman a plethora of herbs, wildflowers and resources for her craft. Nana was an amazing woman, a true angel with tremendous healing power and a generous, loving spirit.

She was a force to be reckoned with and a wielder of powerful magic. She helped mountain folk who had no money for doctors or hospitals with their treatment. She was ninetyseven when she died, but still young, frequently walking the mountains and working her spells. Nana was ninety-seven, but she aged as if she were in her late forties.

The people of Blue Springs accepted the anomaly as they did our talents. Based on past family records, Nana might have lived another hundred years. Anger seared through me that her life was cut short. I squeezed the crystals in my palm. The sharp edges dug into my skin and succeeded in diverting my thoughts from my anger. Tonight was a celebration of her goodness and spirit.

The rage would come again later and I would welcome it, but for now I 19 Sophia Danu would remember Nana for the magical gift that she was to me and the town of Blue Springs. Along with our magical talent, another family legacy included two books. One was a book of the light and one was a book of shadows. The white book was embossed with gold filigree, the pages were crisp and bright white as if never used. Nana once showed me the names of the magicbearers in our family listed in the front of the book.

The power was passed from daughter to daughter and there was always only one. I was raised with the knowledge that one day my name would be listed in that spot. I guess that time was now. The other book, the dark one, was black and dull. The pages yellowed with age. He passed away three days later of a fatal heart attack—natural causes I assumed because of his drinking and dissipated lifestyle. I touched the book then, those years ago when Selma died, curious of its purpose. Nana slapped my hands firmly telling me not to touch the book until she was no longer alive.

I was shocked at her reaction. She warned me to use the book for justice, never for personal gain or revenge. I was taught that taboo as a young child and abided by the rule vigilantly for fear of angering the Goddess. Power thrummed against my hand when I rubbed the rough cover and caused my arm to twitch. She told me that he molested his daughter, Renee and he was even worse with Selma gone. She prayed to God and the Goddess and was directed to mete out justice. Tired beyond words, I dismissed thoughts of the Malones.

Despite the yawning emptiness I felt, 21 Sophia Danu it was good to be home. The thought sustained me for another minute before my mind naturally returned to Alex. I surrendered and as I lay there hiding from the world and remembered him as a teenager. He was five years older than me. Nana hired him to help around the house. It was her way to lend financial support to his single mom.

He worked odd jobs like fixing the porch steps, painting the fence or rebuilding the drying shed after a hard storm. I was ten when he first came to our mountain to work. I spent sunny days following him around. The dark, handsome, muscular young man held an edge of danger and rebellion that thrilled my young heart.

I told Nana he was the one for me and she agreed, but warned me that he needed space and time to come to the same conclusion. Unfortunately, I was seventeen and immature. My emotions were intense and consuming. I was in love and he was my world. So I laid it all out there…I can still hear the emphatic denial of his love.

Words I have never forgotten or recovered from. I sighed and once again rerouted my thoughts. I glanced at the flowers again. And why not? I thought, she wielded an uncanny talent for prophesy. Unlike me, her visions came ahead of time so she must have known. I remembered the vision of her death— arms outspread, the peace of her expression, the truck veering into her path after Byron tried to correct it. Yep, she knew—I was suddenly convinced. Before I hung up she told me how proud she was and how I must always remember my legacy—and that she loved me.

Recalling the conversation brought tears to my eyes and I realized Nana did indeed know her fate. The call and the flowers were a message to me. With sudden insight I knew she wanted me to find the books, but why all the secrecy? Why not come out and say it? The evil trickling into Blue Springs went far beyond the Malones. There was something greater here—something gathering power—stalking and waiting for the right moment.

Vogue cop Keeley

Nana knew about it 23 Sophia Danu and it killed her—even if Byron was the pawn used to carry it out. A sense of urgency filled me. Find the books. They were my heritage and essential to developing my gift. I knew Nana possessed power far beyond what she ever displayed. Determination filled me to wield it as wisely, cautiously and judiciously as she. I was content to stay in Kentucky and go to UK— close to home.

Nana was the one who insisted that I go across the country—so I could breathe, she said. She believed that I needed space to grow before I came back home. You need space and you need distance. I sighed and glanced at the clock. It was time to shower and prepare for the visitation. I dreaded dealing with it. I looked forward to getting back home tonight—where I felt surrounded by Nana—where I would search for the books.

Olinger crushed me against her bountiful bust.

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I caught his smirk and mentally damned him. Did he have to look so fucking perfect? Olinger grabbed my attention from Alex when she put her hand on my cheek. Not that you want to think about that right now, dear, but you know that Blue Springs is your home. We need you and your gift. Bless them. Plastic plates, forks, napkins and cups littered all available surfaces in the funeral home. Visitations and funerals in Eastern Kentucky were social affairs and everyone turned out for them, especially for someone as well-loved as Nana.

I was pleased that so many came to honor her. I knew that she would be happy that so many people cared and appreciated what she did for them. I sighed wearily. I was tired of standing and greeting. My feet ached in the high-heel shoes. I wore a slim black sheathe I bought in California.

It was fine when I picked it up on the west coast. Now it felt out of place and I wished I had on jeans and a tank top. The dress was working for Alex if his heated gaze was any indication— maybe it was worth the absurd amount I paid for it. He stood in a corner speaking with a friend, but he kept an eye on me at all times.

Despite my duties in the receiving line, I managed to always know where he stood. I was supposed to avoid him, not keep track of his whereabouts. I mean really, he even looked lethal in a 27 Sophia Danu harmless setting like the funeral home. The air around him vibrated with an awareness and nonstop potential explosive reaction. His gaze looked…ready, territorial and possessive. I swallowed at the feelings that look aroused. As I murmured some greeting and shook hands with another lady from church, I remembered the intensity of the passion I felt in his arms and the things we did on that summer night.

That was before he made a fool of me. I hugged someone else and shut the door on that train of thought. I shook hands with Mr. After four hours, the line dwindled down and I was ready to get home. I felt a zing of awareness lift the hair on the nape of my neck. I realized Alex now stood behind me. I looked at him, striving to show none of the turmoil inside.

I was so tired. The flight, exhaustion, hunger and sorrow wore me down. I smelled the home-cooked food on the table and my belly growled in response. It was none of his business if I ate or not, he gave up that right! He placed his hand on my lower back, still trying to control me. I pulled my arm from his grasp and he let me go—not wanting to make a scene any more than I did. Olinger and the ladies have already boxed some up for me. And stop trying to be my friend. Arin Solen stepped up in line. I stiffened instinctively and Alex shifted to stand in front of me, going from angry with me to protective of me in a second flat.

Strangely I noticed him bare his teeth—and even they were sexy, white and glistening and strangely long in the eyeteeth. I looked at him oddly. He seemed…wolfish. Solen always provoked that effect in me and Alex picked up on it. He reached a gnarled hand out to grasp mine, but Alex wrapped his arm around my shoulders, 29 Sophia Danu covering my clasped hands in a show of support and condolence.

Solen dropped his hand and his lips tightened to a thin line. He gazed into my eyes and I felt a brief moment of disorientation. Maybe I did need to eat. Where else would I go? I lifted my chin and faced him directly. This is my home. I am back to stay. Solen, my grandmother just passed away. I sighed. I valiantly greeted the rest of the visitors. I smirked as I noted that yet again, my mind drifted to him. He looked so sexy and an air of danger clung to him as he moved about the funeral home in his dark suit and long, dark hair.

His striking golden eyes with their heated glances made me cream just thinking about them and his tall, muscular body was enough to make a woman melt. Sighing, I blanked my mind, easy to do since I was so tired, and pulled up in front of the cabin. I got out and stood with the light of the moon streaming down upon me. I lifted my face and closed my eyes as I raised my arms to the moon. The healing love of the Goddess washed over me, leaving me with a warm tingle.

I inhaled the pungent mountain aroma, grateful to be home, even in the midst of heartbreak. I smiled, knowing her spirit was with me. Nana would guide me in the 31 Sophia Danu days to come. It took two trips to the car before I finally got the food put away in the refrigerator and freezer. Stripping out of my shoes and dress, I dropped them on the kitchen table and then sat down on the sofa in my silk panties to eat a late dinner and unwind.

With the lights turned off in the cabin and the moon pouring in, I relaxed for the first time in two days. I ate my fill, licking my fingers free of grease and felt almost normal again. I sauntered to my room and pulled my silk robe from my unpacked bag. I put it on, enjoying the feel of it against my skin. I set my glass on the nightstand and sat on the soft bed. I ran my fingers over the homemade quilt. I remembered Nana sitting in the chair with this quilt draped over her lap while she knitted it.

I looked around the room where so much of her personality was reflected. I smiled to see the shimmering photos that I took in California of the infamous bridge above her bed.

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The dusk scene of the bridge and the water sparkling below was striking. I stretched out on the bed. As I gazed around the room, Where did you keep the books Nana? You already know, my girl, she instructed with a soft reply. And suddenly, I did. I went to the round table, covered with a lace tablecloth. I lifted candles and crystals from the surface and removed the tablecloth. Bending down, I ran my hands around the bottom of the table and then I felt it—a small drawer.

A smile crossed my lips. Armed with the wand and key, I looked at the pictures—The Gate, at dusk—I titled it in stenciled letters. I eyed them closely and moved the top one aside. It looked like an uninterrupted wall. On a whim, I pointed the stick at the wall and invoked a spell for clarity. Admittedly, a smug smile appeared when the safe constructed in the wall became visible. It was solid silver and large enough for two books. I slid the key into the lock.

It turned and clicked and I smiled again. A thrill ran through my blood. Nana pushed me on. Reverently, I lifted the package out. I sat down on the bed and opened the leather covering, the silk robe draped off one shoulder as I tucked my long legs under me. The light and dark books were together with a letter addressed to me on top. My hands trembled as I pulled the letter out of the envelope.

The red fingernail polish reminded me of blood as I opened the letter. Keeley, The daughter of my heart, you have been aware of your legacy from birth. You know you are special, as are all the daughters of my family. We come from a long line of gifted females. Witches, many call us, goddesses, some called us in ancient times, but we are always the same—powerful and talented with the ways of nature, healing and love.

We have lost many of our gifts over the ages, but it is there for each daughter if she finds the right man to share the power. He opens the heart to love, allowing nature to release all of our gifts. You will be able to control the elements and Mother Nature, herself, if you can be whole and pure of heart. You must do that, darling. You must open your heart and allow someone to love you. It is said that one of first females in our clan was very beautiful, enchantingly so.

Men who saw her desired her and wanted her for their own. The same could be said for the demon that fell in love with her as she danced one morning in a field of flowers. He came to her in human form and courted her each day as they met in the forest glen. She exchanged kisses with him and talked as they lay among the flowers and walked in the woods. He saw her in the village, harmlessly flirting with suitors. He knew many vied for her hand and he grew jealous and possessive. To assure her love for him alone, he thought to give her his greatest gift.

He granted the maiden and all her descendants the skill of magic. It was a wondrous gift and she laughed and hugged him and expressed her delight at her new talents. But though she was fond of the lad from the forest, her father betrothed her to the heir of the largest landholder in the village. He was young and fine and would provide a life of comfort for her.

On their wedding night, the demon visited the 35 Sophia Danu blissful couple. In the frightening guise of full demon glory, he cursed their daughter and every daughter of every generation to face his wrath. He comes in different forms with different ploys to entrap us, but the important thing to remember is that he comes. He has either killed or enslaved or been defeated by each keeper of the book for thousands of years.

I have gone on to a place he cannot use my age against us. I am so sorry to leave you to face this, but it was my time—I have foreseen this death for years. Then he would have taken you.

At least in this manner, I can pass on my power to you and not the demon for he is close. I feel him nearby. The evil is gathering. Unfortunately, my death means he will turn his sights to you, but I have faith in you, Keeley. You see there is a bit of hope linked to the curse. Over three hundred years ago, one of our ancestors was a seer, a prophet.