Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review of Severed Threads

Book Review of Severed Threads by Kaylin McFarren
sponsored by Pump Up Your Books

Paperback: 349 pages
Publisher: Creative Edge Publishing (July 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1467526711
ISBN-13: 978-1467526715

Book Synopsis:


Believing herself responsible for her father's fatal diving accident, Rachel Lyons has withdrawn from the world and assumed a safe position at a foundation office. When called upon by a museum director to assist her former love interest with the recovery of a cursed relic from a sunken Chinese merchant ship, she has no intention of cooperating - until her brother is kidnapped by a drug-dealing gangster. In order to save him and gain control over her own life, Rachel must not only overcome her greatest fears, but also relive the circumstances that lead to her father's death.

Creative Edge Publishing
ISBN 9781475186529
ASIN 1475186525

Available July 15, 2012 -
Publisher's Website:
--Kaylin has been involved in the business of collecting and selling Asian antiques for more than a decade. Due to her interest in this field and her fascination with the undersea world, she was inspired to write a story about the recovery of a Chinese concubine's cursed treasure from a sunken ship, which aids in healing a woman's damaged soul. Kaylin spent four months researching scuba diving, trade routes, famous battles, and the natural disasters that befell Spanish galleons during the 15th-17th centuries. It is her hope that this action-adventure romance entertains readers and honors dedicated salvaging and exploration companies that have contributed remarkable discoveries and cross-sections of history to museums and institutions around the world.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter One
Shipwreck Site
Ten miles off the California Coast

Chase Cohen tumbled over Stargazer’s side and into the cold Pacific Ocean – his dreams of riches so close he could barely breathe. Five years diving for salvaging companies had taught him to restore his senses as quickly as possible. To concentrate and remain focused on his purpose. Yet every time he entered this icy underwater world, he found himself briefly caught up in his surroundings. Off to his right, a brown dogfish approached. It hovered close by, apparently intrigued by his trailing bubbles and slow-moving black fins. When he smiled and reached out, the shark-like creature darted away then turned back around to assume a distant appraisal.

Chase’s partner dropped into view, sending the fish scurrying for safety. Hanging weightless before him in his black mask, wetsuit and regulator, Sam Lyons took on the appearance of a dark angel. His peppered hair swayed in the current, matching the rhythm of his large slow-moving hands. The muted light of the sea framed his brown eyes, now tense with impatience. He signaled okay and Chase mimicked his action.

Deflating his BC vest, Chase followed Sam’s scissoring fins down the length of the anchor line and in no time they reached the bottom, eighty feet down. Moss-covered boulders were tucked into the soft gray sand. In the distance, the ground gradually slopped into an opaque bottomless depth. They were positioned in the exact area Sam’s mysterious map had indicated. For hundreds of years, the jagged outcropping had snagged unsuspecting ships and toppled them into the sea. Somewhere down here tucked out of sight lay a barnacle-crusted anchor. And if Sam’s calculations were right, below it rested the wreck of the Wanli II – the Ming Dynasty Emperor’s lost galleon.
Aside from the antiquated Elmwood box Sam had acquired from a local junk shop, it was still unclear what had led him to this particular spot. Perhaps the drunken ramblings of the retired salvager he’d kept company with at the Crow’s Nest Bar. Or the volumes of books he poured over every night. Had he really found the mother lode as he claimed? Chase had his doubts, but Sam’s unrelenting pursuit of his elusive treasure ship gave credence to the notion that something spectacular lay buried down here. Something he wanted so badly he would stake his life on it.

As they swam beyond their own anchor, an occasional fish passed by. But there was nothing of interest in the gray, gloomy water. Following Sam, Chase floated over a pile of craggy bedrock into a gully of crevices spanning like arteries in all directions. They signaled and nodded before separating to cover more ground, to peer into dark places, hidden nooks and crannies where evidence and unseen creatures might rest.

For more than thirty minutes, they surveyed the ocean floor. They fanned boulders and incrustations, dusting off layers of sediment. The further and deeper they went, the more muddy the frigid waters grew. Chase strained his eyes and ran his hands over rocks in the hazy murk.

This is pointless! Diving 101 had taught him the necessity of staying within visual proximity of his diving partner, to carefully monitor his time, but growing impatience tempted him to blaze his own path. He signed to Sam before veering off in a northerly direction and continued groping along. His flashlight bounced off the particulate, floating like dust in the narrow sunbeam.

Then something took shape before his eyes. His hand closed over the metal object, an ingot half buried in silt. He brushed the sand away, searching for more remnants, artifacts, anything to confirm Sam’s boisterous claims. But his efforts proved fruitless.

He glanced at his watch and quickly realized time was running out. Worse yet, Sam had disappeared. Damn it. He noted his position on his compass and checked his gauge. By his calculations, he had barely five minutes to spare. Just enough air to reach the surface. But what about Sam? As he circled back around to locate him, Chase’s breath suddenly caught. He felt a wall hit his lungs, the stream of oxygen halt in his regulator.

What the hell? He briskly tapped on his gauge, but the problem no sooner became clear. Equipment malfunction. The gravity of his situation sunk in with the weight of lead. Reacting purely on instinct, he triggered the inflator on the buoyancy compensator in his vest. He sucked on the backup mouthpiece. Then willing himself to sustain a controlled ascent, he rose through the swirling cloud of silt he’d kicked up from the ocean floor.

Halfway mark, he assured himself. Out of nowhere, a current took hold-blasting him sideways into the grip of an abandoned fishing net. Oh, shit! Tank tangled, he struggled to break free. But the woven trap held tight. He grabbed the knife strapped to his ankle and slashed wildly above him, behind him. All around until the web gave way. With his heart pounding, he quickened his strokes. Racing his small cluster of rising bubbles, he calculated his required safety stop. Miss it and he’d be facing decompression sickness and a whole heap of pain.

When he reached ten feet, he slowed his strokes and hovered. For an eternal minute of strained, rationed breaths, the silhouette of Sam’s boat taunted him from above. Come on… come on. Finally, he kicked his fins to rise. Reaching upward, he emerged in the choppy surf and spat out his mouthpiece. He gasped for air. Salty air. Air that never tasted so good.

“Bloody wind’s comin’ up,” the Irish helmsman barked at him. “Callin’ it a day.” Onboard, the crew feverishly looped anchor lines. Froth-tipped waves rocked the boat back and forth as Chase bobbed in the restless surf. He slid his mask back over his dripping hair.

“Gauge is busted,” Chase yelled. “Get me some new gear. I’ll head down and grab Sam.”

Within a matter of minutes, Chase reached the bottom. He retraced his path and spotted his partner twenty yards out.

Up, Chase repeatedly motioned.

Sam shook his head. He signaled not okay. Yet rising bubbles indicated his oxygen was still flowing.

Chase grabbed him by the harness to maintain contact. Hang on, Sam. As they ascended, Sam began moving his arms and legs. Then his limbs went limp. After ten more feet, his regulator fell out of his mouth. Heavy lids sealed his glazed eyes, indicating he’d lost consciousness. Come on, buddy. Don’t do this. Chase’s brain scrounged for information, a practice drill from the certification classes he’d taken years earlier. Classes he should have paid more attention to.

Damn it! This wasn’t supposed to ever happen. Chase shoved Sam’s regulator back into his vacant mouth. He pushed the purge button forcing air down his throat. Sam didn’t breath. Escaping air bubbled around his slack lips. Chase punched Sam’s chest repeatedly. But his efforts proved useless.

God no, God no. This couldn’t be happening. Not to Sam. Not to Rachel’s father. Not when Chase had assured her he’d look after him.

Fifteen feet under the ocean, Chase struggled to keep his calm. He seized the lifeline and secured Sam to it. He removed his weight belt and inflated his BC. With one huge push, Chase shoved him upward. Go! Then remaining in place, he hovered – decompressing himself for the longest five minutes of his life. All the while, his memories filled with Sam. The only man in his life he had allowed himself to trust. The only father figure he’d ever known. Without hesitation, Sam had offered him a job. He opened his home and welcomed him like a member of his family. How could Chase have been so careless?  So completely self-absorbed?

His reeling thoughts centered on Sam’s daughter. The moment Rachel had stepped into his life, all the bad that ever was had vanished. Of all the women he’d allowed himself to become involved with, she was the one who had found her way into his heart. How could he possibly explain this fiasco to her? What words could he use to excuse his actions? Sam and Rachel were both the most important people in his life and now in a matter of minutes, that could all change.

Be alright, Sam. Please, be alright. Chase tucked away his anxieties and headed straight for the surface. With each determined stroke and kick, he prayed that his partner would survive. By the time he boarded Stargazer, the crew had already hoisted Sam onto the dive platform. They had radioed the San Palo Coast Guard station, only fifteen minutes away, and one of his crew members had taken over the helm. As they blazed a path towards shore, Chase breathed in oxygen to help purge the excess nitrogen from his system. His gut wrenched as he watched the bulky helmsman aggressively work over Sam’s body. Exhaled breaths, rhythmic chest compressions.  Ian’s relentless attempts continued for an eternity with no visible response from Sam. Then Ian checked Sam’s vitals. He closed his eyes and shook his downcast head.

Chase could hear voices all around them asking questions, but his fear muted them. He shoved Ian out of the way. “No!” He took over breathing into Sam’s gapping mouth, hammering his chest with his fist. “Breathe, Sam, goddamn it! Breathe!” he yelled. Chase knew people could be revived after as much as an hour in cold water without brain damage. He couldn’t give up. Not when it meant losing his closest friend.

They finally reached the dock and someone had the courage to pull Chase off. Hold him at a distance as a team of professionals took over.

“Looks like cardiac arrest,” a Coast Guard officer announced. The words reverberated in Chase’s ears. He grasped the boat’s gun-rail to keep from collapsing. He watched as they transferred Sam’s spent body into a waiting ambulance. Then he forced himself to follow closely behind, his rubbery legs barely cooperating. He begged to come along, but the same officer assured him nothing more could be done.

Chase stood barefooted in the graveled lot, watching the white emergency vehicle drive away. As soon as it disappeared from view, he fell back against a parked car.

Why Sam? He was a healthy fifty-five year old man. He had over twenty years under his belt. He knew the ocean better than anyone. With no boats or reported sharks in the area, he had to have seen something. Witnessed a sight so shocking and unnerving, it stopped his heart cold.

What did he see? Chase’s eyes dropped to a discarded plastic bag, bouncing and rolling across the ground. All sound had been siphoned from the air. The only thing registering was his throbbing brain and the radiating pain in his chest.

“Mr. Cohen?” A man’s voice turned him around. The police officer had been making inquiries, taking statements. The crew members were now huddled at the far end of the dock, casing weary looks in Chase’s direction. “Would you like to come with me… to explain all of this to Miss Lyons?” he asked.

Chase’s chin shivered uncontrollably. God, Rachel. The worst was yet to come. He glanced at the boat’s fantail, now vacant except for Ian. The mountainous man stood hunched over, face in his hands, sobbing.

“I’ll… tell her,” Chase managed. He waited until the officer turned and walked away. Until he was completely alone. Why had he agreed to do such a thing? Knock on Rachel’s door. Tell her he was responsible for taking away the only parent she had left. Watch the love in her eyes turn to hate.

Although he loathed his decision, he chose the coward’s way out. He flipped open his phone and auto-dialed her number.

Rachel’s voice came on the line. Confident. Captivating. Unaware. “So, don’t tell me. Another fool’s errand, right? I swear my father will never grow up.”

Chase remained silent for an eternal moment. And in that moment, he wished for the strength of Goliath – to rein in his quaking nerves, to give him the courage to spill the words that refused to form.
“Chase?” Concern edged her tone. “Chase, are you there?”

He forced another swallow. “Rachel, listen,” he began, a rasp of a voice. Rusted from panic, from guilt. From disbelief. “Something happened. It… it’s your dad.”

* * * * *

Linda Yoshida, aka Kaylin McFarren, is a rare bird indeed. Not a migratory sort, she prefers to hug the West Coast and keep family within visiting range. Although she has virtually been around the world, she was born in California, relocated with her family to Washington, and nested with her husband in Oregon. In addition to playing an active role in his business endeavors, she has been involved in all aspects of their three daughters' lives - taxi duties, cheerleading coaching, script rehearsals, and relationship counseling, to name but a few. Now she enjoys spending undisciplined time with her two young grandsons and hopes to have many more.

Although Kaylin wasn't born with a pen in hand like so many of her talented fellow authors, she has been actively involved in both business and personal writing projects for many years. As the director of a fine art gallery, she assisted in furthering the careers of numerous visual artists who under her guidance gained recognition through promotional opportunities and in national publications. Eager to spread her own creative wings, she has since steered her energy toward writing novels. As a result, she has earned more than a dozen literary awards and was a 2008 finalist in the prestigious RWA® Golden Heart contest.

Kaylin is a member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers. She received her AA in Literature at Highline Community College, which originally sparked her passion for writing. In her free time, she also enjoys giving back to the community through participation and support of various charitable and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest.
Contact Links:

Book Review:

            The worst day of Rachel’s life she had a huge fight with her father in the morning and he died while scuba diving that afternoon.  She also lost the love of her life.  Four years later, he unexpectedly walked back into her life and turned it upside down.

            A sweet love story about fixing something that was broken and true love that won’t die.  Rachel has more than her fair share of trouble when he arrives.  But as in all good romance stories, the girl gets the guy in the end (or vice versa).

            I enjoyed reading this story and getting a peak at what goes into salvage diving.  I’m not sure I would want to live that way or have to worry about how to get money to live that way, but it was exciting to read about it.

            I give this story 4 out of 5 clouds.

This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

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