Thursday, March 20, 2014

George Bernstein's Second Novel Explores Living Multiple Lives in Breathless Romantic Suspense...

1695 AD England "Sound the assembly! The sun's up and time's awasting."
Charles Wallace stood in his stirrups, long, equestrian-hardened legs raising his tall frame high above the restless conglomeration of horses and riders, million about the glade of the gray granite mansion house.
The Earl of Devonshire's nostrils flared, savoring the pungent orders of trampled, dew-laden grass and fresh droppings. He tugged at the cuffs of his taupe doeskin riding gloves, massaging palms together, as a shiver tiptoed across his spine. Anticipation, not the chilled morn air, was its author... Wallace's topaz eyes raked the crowd, all mounted and eager to be off...Still, he scoured the sea of bobbing black and tan caps and flowered bonnets. Ah! There--the copper-haired French seraph. He visualized her delectably curved long legs below full hips, cinched by a petite waist. Her heart-shaped face was illuminated by incandescent emerald eyes, hovering above a slender, tipped up nose...Victoria Chevalier was a passionate, willful maid, plainly..

1850 AD Philadelphia "There's a small cafe nearby," he said. "Quite secluded, and tables in the back allow for complete privacy. Shall we go there?"...
Almost a year to the day after she first met Robert Isaac, they rode his black lacquered surrey into the countryside for a picnic. Jonathan Denton had succumbed ten months past, leaving his fortune in trust to his only daughter. William Quincy made many determined forays after a share of that wealth, but a phalanx of attorneys could not dent the ironclad instruments forged by Robert for his client. Denton had consigned Morgana's care and fate to the hands of his capable young man. It was a duty he would have taken seriously... even if he hadn't fallen hopelessly in love with her...
"I've found love with another man," she had told Robert, a merry twinkle in her golden eyes... Oh, you ninny." She laughed, eyes alight, her face a picture permanently etched into the fabric of his brain.
"His name is Robert Isaac. 'Tis you I love, my sweet fool..."

A 3rd Time to Die
By George A. Bernstein

Having just read this author's Debut novel, I was somewhat disappointed as I began to read his latest. The basic storyline--a married couple, with a greedy husband wanting to stay married for the trust funds left his wife, was the exact plot for the first novel. A hint to Bernstein that this is very noticeable to readers... Also, a need for proofreading is a small issue...

But after getting into the story, especially once the suspense mounts at every turn, this irritation was soon forgotten as the whodunit mystery grabs hold--tightly! There was no way I was gonna figure out who the guilty person was. Of course, having multiple people come back in multiple lives, when you have no idea who they might be in the present life, can having you questioning every single character now living...LOL Do you believe in reincarnation? Well, none of the individuals in this story did--even the psychologist scoffed at the idea...

Until a new client started telling that psychologist what was happening to her...

This strange, uncontrollable panic... The Terror
she called it...blossomed early in their marriage.
All was wonderful at first, as they kissed and touched
trembling with delicious passion. She'd close her
eyes, descending into her special imaginary place,
that tranquil little meadow, surrounded by massive
oaks and firs. She'd even imagine the tinkling of a
brook, tumbling over small rocks.
Mon amour! Mon amour!
That lustful French voice, whispering to her,
spilling goose bumps down her spine. Where did
it come from? Exciting, but kind of spooky, too.
Then something would change. Ardor and joy were
quickly squelched by the specter of a fierce horned
apparition, wickedly hooked beak and raking claws,
charging from the woods, screaming death. She
knew it was imagination, but The Terror clutched
her heart, drying up her juices, stiffening her limbs
with panic.
She'd fight through it, trying to relax, steadying
her breathing, wanting to please her husband.
She never discussed it with anyone, feeling
Ashley Easton had not planned to buy a horse, but when she saw how it had been beaten, having heard the horse's cries and run to find him, she promptly made the decision and bought the horse. It had been years since she had ridden and jumped, having stopped to marry and take care of her family, but she was feeling like her marriage was going sour...

We'll look great out there, won't we buddy?
A pair of redheads having fun."
She grimaced, shaking her head. Was she
really ready for this? She loved riding, and
especially jumping this big horse she had
bought on a whim, little more than a year
ago. Once healthy, he turned out to be the
enthusiastic jumper that guy had been
promised, and then some! Her vow to Keith
to take it slowly evaporated when she
realized he was so eager to attack fences.
Now, after ten months of hard training,
they were entered i her first tournament,
the first major amateur shows of the
Northern Illinois season. Nothing like
starting big...
Now Keith was screaming that she should never have made the purchase and, further, that she shouldn't be riding, claiming the reason was because she was pregnant. Maybe if he had asked her to talk about it...but forbidding her really was all that it took to ensure that she would indeed be continuing to ride and hopefully begin to compete!

What really angered her was his using the baby when he had earlier shouted that he didn't want the child!

So she left for her race prepared...but not for what happened there!

Injun tossed his head and took several quick, mincing steps in place, sensing the time was near for jumping. She again scoured the stadium but noticed no familiar faces. Then she saw him...lounging by the arena's railing, his obsidian eyes riveted on her.
Who is this intriguing guy, lean and fit-looking, whom she observed several times in the last few days, watching her work Injun over the practice course? Again the beat of hummingbird wings fluttered in her breast...
She shook her head imperceptibly, returning her attention to the stadius... She shifted her seat in the saddle, changing her focus, visualizing the challenging course before her...
"Show 'em how it's done, Red," he shouted, as she turned her attention to the course and began her run. The first jump was a brush and single-pole. Despite the man's encouragement, a wave of chills spilled across her back. She crouched low in the saddle, driving the roan forward with her knees. 

Jeez, that's a big fence! But Injun cantered in, head high and ears forward, and as if understanding the man's words, stood off in full stride, soaring over it with ease.
Wow! Beautiful! Maybe we can handle this after all. She leaned left, sudden confidence surging through her Her grip on the reins changed subtly, unfamiliar but somehow stronger. Her sometimes tenuous seat strangely firm, she eagerly drove toward the next obstacle, guiding with pressure from her knees as much as from the reins. Ashley squinted, measuring the size and breadth of the jump, a wooden wall. The world around her momentarily slowed to a crawl. Alle!
Her head popped up at that long forgotten sultry voice, chortling in her head. Why suddenly now, after a fifteen year silence? A quick head shake as she fastened on the approaching barrier...What the...? Where did the wooden barrier go? A boulder studded four-foot wall, covered with moss and ivy, loomed in front of them...The jarring shock of landing clear of the jump brought her head up, as she fought to regain her stirrup. Oh God, Oh God! We made it. When did they set that up? So realistic! Shit! This isn't the course. How the Hell...did we get lost in the woods? Tally Ho! Tally Ho!
The big sorrel thundered on, oblivi0us of his master's confusion, hurdling the rough trunk with Ashley clinging to his neck and mane, trying to regain command of the sweat-slick reins. She managed to thrust her foot into the flapping stirrup and gain tension on the bridle just as they burst upon an unruly tall brush line, bordering a bubbling stream.
Mon Dieu, cette foret est si beau. She blinked. Damned French again? This is too much!.. Forget it. Gotta concentrate on
weaving through sparse woods, thick with the smell of fir, hurtling rock and stone walls, trees and wooden fences, hedges and streams, until there were none left. 
Where did they come from and how had she gotten there? She'd seek those answers later. Had to finish this first. Broken sunlight, like celestial spears, pierced the woods ahead. A meadow? Once clear, they could find their way home...La Finis.
She shivered, glancing up, blinking again...Back at Onwentsia! Back on course!

It was time to admit it, Ashley needed some help to understand what was happening. In the meantime, however, she had met the intriguing man who had called out to her and he had started to help with her training. Then, while she was unable to ride due to the pregnancy, she brought her other two children to begin taking classes.

Once the baby was born, when Keith had not even made it to the hospital, she seriously began to think about her future. She started investigating and found people who were willing to tell her that Keith had been going to a high-priced call girl for years, but recently had taken a mistress...

Then it really got wild, as she started with a psychologist that her friend had recommended, and shared what happened to her while running her last race. The more she shared, the more he realized that what she was saying was true--at least for her. He suggested hypnosis to find the point where she had started to be afraid of sexual relations...

What he didn't expect was to find he, himself, actually watching... He had finally told her to go all the way back until she was actually experiencing the fear, even while knowing she was alright and was watching what happened herself... The psychologist saw exactly what was happening, not just by her telling him, but because he saw her and her lover murdered, torn to shreds in a small wood clearing.

Had he committed murder in a former life?! Now everybody was heading to the internet to find out whether these events had happened... Who, What, Why...and Where would the 3rd death occur?!

Even with the few things that bothered me editorially, I still have to recommend this for an exciting and intriguing paranormal romantic suspense... Check it out!


George A. Bernstein is the retired President of a Chicago company, now living in south Florida. He's also a "World-class" fly fisherman, having held a dozen IGFA World Records, and has published Toothy Critters Love Flies (, the definitive book on fly fishing for pike and musky.
A 3rd Time to Die is his 2nd novel. His first, Trapped, was a contest winner, and received high praise, gaining mostly 5-star reviews at Amazon. Feel free to visit George at

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