Title: Where the Poppies Grow
Author: International Bestselling Author Stephanie Ayers
Genre: Paranormal, Thriller, and Suspense
Blurb: Every Spring she stands in the poppy field waiting on her groom. No one knows her name or where she comes from. She never ages and never fails to appear, weeping for her lover. Each night, the men of Stoney Village hear her cries and wander to the field, but only one can be chosen. Will there be any left to answer her calls where the poppies grow?
Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09R7ZX8XN
Book is available in Kindle Unlimited
She said her name was Maize, and I couldn’t stop staring at her. Her dirty blonde hair looked so silky, I wanted to run my fingers through it. Her cheeks flowed with a natural blush my fingers ached to caress. She paid me no mind, though, just continued collecting the poppies, clutching them to her chest and sniffing them before tossing them into the air. The flowers flit around her like red confetti, until they fell to the ground and mingled together in the field.
“I’m Carter. The poppies are early this year.”
I had no idea why I said that. I only meant to introduce myself. It was true, though. The poppies usually didn’t bloom for another month.
Maize just smiled and nodded, tossing more flowers into the air. A few of the blossoms settled in her hair, and it stole my breath away. She was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen, and she wasn’t from around here.
She couldn’t be because I’d never seen her before. And a girl who looked like she did would have been noticed, and not just by me. Everyone would have noticed her.
The fact that I only ever saw her in the poppy field should have been a clue, but I was so captivated by her, it never crossed my mind I never saw her elsewhere.
Admittedly, I stayed pretty busy between my schoolwork and my real job—which I only had so I could pay for college. Neither left me much time for a social life, and it never bothered me until I met Maize. Time stood still when she was around. I never wanted to leave because I never knew for sure when she’d come back.
She showed up with the appearance of the first poppy, and I worried she would go away when the last one disappeared. I don’t know why I thought that. It was crazy thinking, but I was much too wrapped up in her—or maybe it was the idea of her—to really consider the bigger picture.
The time of year, the appearance of the poppies, and the fact that she never went anywhere but the field should have been obvious clues; red flags I happily ignored as long as I could spend time with her. Time stood still whenever Maize was around, and that was okay with me.
It was not okay with my boss or my teachers. My mother didn’t much care for it, either, but none of them mattered when she was there.
We didn’t even need to talk. We just picked flowers side by side and tossed them into the air, their blooms covering us like blood until we were one with the field. And maybe that’s when I should’ve run far, far away, but I didn’t.
That was my first mistake.
“Where are you going?” my mother inquired.
“Please don’t. The poppies are in bloom, so it’s Maeve Hadley season.”
I laughed. My eyes rolled toward the ceiling. “That’s just an old wives’ tale, Ma. The only thing haunting that field is ghosts of memories gone by. No one has disappeared from that field for as long as I’ve been alive.”
Mom’s forehead wrinkled. “That doesn’t mean Maeve hasn’t shown up. Just do me a favor and stay away from the poppies. Please?”
I shook my head. Mom was easily placated, but I hated lying to her. Somehow, she always knew.
“I’m not going to make any promises I can’t keep. I promise to be careful, okay? Besides, the girl I meet up with is named Maize, not Maeve.”
“Maize, Maeve—they sound an awful lot alike. I heard she uses a different name every year.”
Connect with Stephanie
Author Bio: A creative ninja with a dark mind and a quirky nature, Stephanie Ayers writes all the words and spins twisted tales filled with horror, fantasy, suspense, and anything in between. With a trunk full of tricks thanks to a checkered past, she haunts Irish castles and snowy mountaintops in her dreams, while living the unicorn life in Ohio disguised as a human. When she isn’t listening to the voices in her head, she spends her days as a mom, Gigi, cat lover, and Netflix binger, while avoiding housework at all costs.
Since signing with Crazy Ink Publishing, Stephanie has managed to somehow produce over a dozen solo works (with no ending in sight). With ink in her blood, an absence of fear, and a passion for telling stories, she isn’t afraid to dip her pen in the inkwell of many genres, and even has four successful series in her name—the stand-alone horror volumes of The 13 Series, the amateur witch detectives of the Coven Cozy Mysteries, the individual displaced characters in the Portal to Madness series, and her epic five book fantasy series, Destiny Defined.
When she isn’t lost in her overactive imagination or entertaining her mini-unicorns, you can find her all over social media and find a full listing of her works on her Amazon author page. Her favorite wandering place is her readers’ group on Facebook. Join the herd now!
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