Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Already Gone by John Rector

In college I was dating this really great guy named Justin... or was it Jake? Hmmm - could have been a Jason. Anyway, I thought he was the man of my dreams, the man I would marry. Then one day I borrowed his car to run some errands and noticed I was being followed by some guys in an unmarked patrol car.  When I stopped at the little convenient store to pick up a snack... they approached me, showed me some identification, told me it would be in my best interest to return the car to my boyfriend as soon as possible, and return to my own apartment.  I think I was home a little more than two hours when I learned that Justin, Jake, or Jason was busted for selling drugs on campus, and that I had been running errands in a car with a few pounds of marijuana in it, some drug money... and "other" things.  Well, those were the rumors, anyway.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time I made the wrong decision with regards to the dating scene. Shortly after high school I dated this guy named... it doesn't matter what his name was. What does matter is he set up a plan to steal a cool fifty grand from another drug guy in town... and to cover it up he had an individual claim to find it in a paper bag in the middle of the road. His idea was to turn it into the police and wait- knowing that after it sat for a certain amount of time "unclaimed" he would get it back. According to the rumors, he did. And when we broke up shortly after this "incident" some people made it perfectly clear what would happen to me if I said anything.

A few slashed tires later... I found myself moving back home to Oregon where I prepared for that lovely eighteen month mission I served in Vegas.  Good times... good times. But I've always wondered if Sh... that guy I dated after high school was ever ratted on. Did his group of drug dealing friends turn him over to the other guy 'cause they didn't get their "share" of the funds?  I wonder how long the money lasted?  Did he buy something cool,  or did he use it to purchase more drugs in order to turn a profit? Better yet... I wonder if he ever worries about his past biting him in the butt now that he's older?  Is he even still alive? Hmmm...

I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that we all have a past. And you just never know when your past, or the past of someone you know... will make an appearance in your life.

Such is the case with Jake Reese, a handsome university professor that left his gangster-living past behind and made a new life with his beautiful, art dealing wife, Diane, in Already Gone by John Rector. Life seems pretty much perfect for Jake until two guys attack him outside a bar, rough him up, and chop off his ring finger. Devastated by the loss of his wedding ring, Jake spends some serious time contemplating his past and the person, or persons that might be out seeking revenge. Then, just when Jake is about to write this all off as a random act of violence, his finger, with the wedding ring still attached, shows up in the mail... with a message attached? A few days later his wife goes missing, and Jake finds himself identifying her body in the morgue after she's been mysteriously killed in a "car accident." Still not sure what part of his past is sneaking up on him, and wanting answers that he's unable to find on his own, Jake enlists the help of his father-figure, mobster-friend, Gabby. 

In this story you'll read about Jake's past, his father's past, Gabby's past, and the jaw-dropping past of Jake's wife, Diane. I'm just happy to report that the Jake in this story isn't the Jake, Justin, or Jason I remember from my past. Yeah, the past doesn't just bite a few butts in this page turning novel- it riddles most of them with bullet holes, and leaves one lonely soul... drifting out to sea.

John Rector is a prize winning short story writer and author of the novels THE COLD KISS (optioned for a feature film now in development), and THE GROVE. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska. You can read more about him on his blog HERE.

You can purchase your copy of Already Gone by John Rector at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Turning by Dawn Kirby

Alana’s Gamble

“You can’t stay mad at me forever. You love me and you know it,” Ben said to Alana. She adjusted the phone, careful not to let him hear her exhausted sigh. Her only goal here was to get Matt and hopefully Carly back safely. Now that she’d managed to talk Nicholas into leaving the house for a few groceries she had her chance. “The only reason you’re even with that son of a bitch is because he’s got hold of your mind.”
“If he had that he’d have already made me forget all this,” she said coolly.   
“Or he’s just trying to make you think that.” He looked down at his latest victim and smiled. She’d been particularly easy to talk into coming back to his place. Amazing what a wad of cash can do for a guy. “We can be pretty manipulative you know.”
“No, Ben, Nicholas truly cares. He doesn’t want to own me the way you do. He wants a companion, not a slave.”
“He wants a donor,” he snorted. He tossed the sheet over the dead girl’s naked body and rolled off the bed. “If you think he wants more you’re crazy.”
“Look, I’m not talking to you to debate the foundation of my relationship with him.” She didn’t see a point in reminding him what Nicholas’s ultimate intentions were. The decision on whether or not she’d let him turn her had become a thorn in both their sides. “I want you to let Matt go. And Carly.” Alana waited for an objection but it didn’t come. “They don’t have anything to do with this. You shouldn’t have involved either one.”
“I can’t do anything about the Reader,” he said calmly. In fact, Carly was already long gone. She had a war to predict. “But Matt. He’s a free man if I get what I want."
“Which is me.”
“Very good,” he said sarcastically. “I want your lover, too. He needs to pay for taking you from me.”
“He didn’t take me from you. I was never yours to begin with.”
“Alana, you’ve been mine all your life, you just can’t see it. I’m your man. Always have been. Always will be. Why fight it?”
“Because I don’t love you,” she answered. “I don’t even like you, Ben.” Even after finding the strength she needed to fight him, she was still terrified of him.
“You can learn to,” he said. “I have everything you could ever want now, Alana. Money. A huge house. Nice cars. Anything you want, it’s yours. Just let me make up the bad.”
“There is nothing on this earth you could do to make up for that,” she said flatly. “If Paul’s death hadn’t ended that, Jennifer’s definitely would have.”
Anger filled him. How dare she throw them in his face! “That was your fault,” he growled. “If you hadn’t been playing hard to get I wouldn’t have had to kill them. Their blood is on your hands.”
“My hands?” She was stunned. She hadn’t done a thing but try to move on with her life. “You’re the one who couldn’t let go, not me.”
“You had no right to move on.” Ben was so angry his hands were shaking. “None!”
Suddenly the phone was ripped from Alana’s hand. Nicholas looked at the number on the screen and shook his head. He calmly hung up the phone and tossed it on the couch. Still stunned, Alana looked from her open hand to him.
Nicholas brushed past her and into the kitchen to put away the things she’d asked for. He knew before he left what she’d had planned. He knew when he got back she’d still be trying to bargain for Matt’s safe return. He also knew she would fail. The fact is he didn’t care about any of it. Matt would live. Alana was his and nothing Ben could do would change that. Things may be strained between them, but he could still see inside her mind. Every day her resolve to stay human lessened a little more.   

Friday, January 20, 2012

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane...

If there was one thing I learned from my last minute trip to New York to stalk Lee Child at two different book signings in the same day... it was to plan an entire weekend stalking multiple people all at the same time!  It's like killing two birds with one pebble... only with hugs, instead.

I'm headed off to Los Angeles this weekend to hang with friends, meet new people and attend this....

I'll be staying with my favorite taxi riding - finger guy, Josh Stallings, and his beautiful wife, Erika. I'll be taking photos, eating good food with good friends, getting a look at the locations from the Moses McGuire series (lap dances NOT included), and hanging out in a bar with some really cool people that'll have me blushing with their story telling. Oh, yeah... and I'll be getting multiple copies of CITY OF THE LOST signed by Stephen Blackmoore. Hmmm... I see a book give away in the near future.

Anywho... if you're in the area and want to have a good time then stop by Noir at the Bar! I'm sure the friendly folks there would LOVE to meet you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Turning by Dawn Kirby

Lock Up

Carly leaned against the heavy door, listening to the voices on the other side. So far they’d kept her and Matt locked up, but she knew sooner or later they’d be separated. That’s when the real danger comes into play.
“Anything new?”  Matt asked, whispering as softly as he possibly could.
Carly shook her head and collapsed on the bed beside him. She looked at him and smiled weakly. He’d taken the news of werewolves being real so easily, she really hated to tell him why they’d both been brought here. Ben’s involvement was a given. The weres motives however would make no sense to him at all. They barely made sense to her.
“I hope Nicholas has a solid plan,” he said lacing his fingers through hers. “I don’t know about you, but bait is the last thing I wanna be.”
“No, it’s not a good position to be in,” she said. “I just hope Nicholas handles this whole situation as tactfully as possible. These guys aren’t in the mood for dramatics.”
“Seems to me violence is the only thing they’re in the mood for.” He rubbed the knot on the back of his head. One of them had kicked him while he was out. Another had planted a fist in Carly’s gut.
“They’re desperate.” He raised an eyebrow and snorted. She sighed and turned to face him. Better to get it out now than wait. “Listen to me, Matt. They never wanted you. The only reason they agreed to take you was so they could have me.”
“I don’t follow.”
“Obviously Ben wants you to get to Alana. But why take me, too?”
“To sweeten the pot?”
“Hardly,” she mumbled. “Alana may like me, but not enough to fight for me. Not yet.”
“You’re wrong, but for argument’s sake we’ll say you’re not. Why’d they bring you here with me?”
“Payment?” Matt glanced at the door and back at her. “Last I checked people aren’t currency.”
“They are when they can see the future,” she clarified. “I may not be able to read the people they need to know about right now, but it doesn’t matter. The fact that I can is enough.”
“Why would you need to? Do they even have any natural enemies?”
“Of course they do. They have all kinds just like any other creature. In this case, it’s a rival pack. They don’t want to lose. I’m the only one who can tell them whether they will or not.”
“Tell them their great,” he said, standing up abruptly. He began to pace the floor furiously. “It’s not like they’ll know the difference anyway.”
“It doesn’t work that way.” Carly rubbed her temples, preparing to try to explain her gift. “I don’t read that way. I see what’s in the immediate future. Actions, circumstances, anything can change what I see at any time. What may be predicted one day may not be possible the next. Whether they know this or not, I don’t know. But I’m not willing to knowingly tangle with edgy werewolves. It’s neither safe nor smart.”
“What about Nicholas? Can’t he just whisk us out of here the way he did Alana?”
“He could,” she said lowering her head. He wasn’t going to like the rest of her answer. “But why would he? He has who he wants. She’s right there with him; safe. All he has to do is make her believe we are too.”
“Wait. No way he’d do that.” Matt shook his head and dropped to his knees to look at Carly. The truth was always in her eyes.
She looked back at him. “He would, Matt. They don’t get this old by sticking their necks out for people.”
“Then we have to do something,” he growled. Carly’s eyes said more than just that. There was more he couldn’t read yet. “What else aren’t you telling me?”
“Nothing you don’t already know.”
“He’s gonna try to turn her now, isn’t he?” He stood up and hit the wall; hard. his knuckles started to bleed. “Dammit!!”
“Alana won’t let him,” she assured him. “Nicholas will try to persuade her, but she wants life. Real life.”

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Short Stories and Stuff

I'm probably the only girl in the world that can't figure out how to sign in to a website. I signed up to read 365 short stories this year, one every single day throughout 2012.  I'm actually off to a good start, but I'm supposed to be logging my reads over at this website... http://shortstory365.wordpress.com/. It's a great place to find short stories published online and in short story collections and anthologies. I suggest you check it out.

Speaking of short story collections...

Last year I accumulated a ton of short story collections and anthologies for my Kindle, but with the way  my reading schedule was set up I didn't have a chance to get to as many as I had hoped. So... I'll be reading them this year and logging my short story reads on my blog... and at the shortsory365 website once I figure out how to get inside.  For now, you can find my list of short story reads at the Short Story 365 link above. If I've read the story online I'll make sure to link it so you can have access to it.

I started the year off by reading A Portrait by Jerry Bloomfield. You can read that >>>>>> HERE!

Now, I'm making my way through Pulp Modern - Autumn 2011. Excellent, excellent stuff.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Turning by Dawn Kirby

Ben’s Move

Grabbing Matt hadn’t been a problem. Lance and his crew of four had simply waited for the poor, unsuspecting guy to fall asleep. After he’d been tied up and secured in the trunk of the car they went inside to wait for Carly. As a reader she’d be harder to catch and knew it. She’d sense trouble the second she walked through the door.

He posted one of his men by the front window and another behind the bushes outside. The other three hid in separate rooms just in case she managed to make it past Lance. Not likely, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

As they waited Carly cautiously made her way up the street, doing her best to reach out to Nicholas. She’d picked up on the unwelcome presence from three blocks away and wanted to make damn sure he knew Ben had decided to make his move. If she was going to allow herself to be taken she wanted assurance somebody would be coming to get them both. After seeing what they had planned for her, she was determined to spend as little time in their presence as possible.

“Who?” Nicholas demanded.

“I don’t know yet,” Carly thought back. “I haven’t got to the house yet. All I know is they are Weres and I’m payment.”  

“Trouble between packs?” he queried.

“Big trouble. I don’t see many surviving this one.”

“Wonderful.” Nicholas had heard there were two packs fighting over territory. The last thing he expected was to be thrown in the thick of it. Then again, this little twist could work out to be a good thing. “Go with them. Do not fight. Let them think you are meek.”

“Nicholas, I can’t just roll over like that. They’d suspect trouble in a heartbeat.”

After contemplating her statement a moment he decided she may very well be right. “Very well. Be yourself, but don’t do it so well you end up getting hurt in the process. I do not want your blood on my hands.”

He sensed her agreement and let his mind disconnect from hers. She’d seek him out later to clue them in on who was holding them. Until then, there was simply nothing he could do. That included making Alana worry about something she couldn’t change.

“Hey, everything okay?” Alana asked wrapping her arms around his waist. “You look like something’s wrong.”

Nicholas kissed the top of her head and smiled. “Everything’s fine, love. I was just thinking.”


“You. Me. Our future.” He turned her chin up and looked her dead in the eye. “Why do you resist so? I could give you so much.”

“Give it to me now,” she told him. “I don’t have to change what I am to enjoy my life with you.”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

She dropped her arms to her side and sighed. “Nicholas, let’s not do this, Not now. Ben is still out there. Matt’s still in danger-”

“Ben’s already made his move,” he said cutting her off. Her eyes grew wide. Her shoulders dropped.

“When? How?” She was so shocked she didn’t really know which question she wanted answered first.

“It’s happening as we speak. Ben has enlisted the help of the Weres. Getting them back won’t be easy.”

“The weres? Them? Wait.” Tears stung her eyes. Anger started to bubble to the surface. How long had he known? “When were you gonna tell me?”

He looked down at her, hurt by the trace of anger he saw in her eyes. “Werewolves, Alana. They have taken Matt as bait and Carly as payment. There is a feud between packs brewing. Her unique ability would serve them well. I did not tell you because there is nothing I can do to stop it. I am one man. A vampire I may be; invincible I am not. Not alone anyway.” His hand cupped her cheek gently. “I could be if I have you by my side.”

“Me you have,” she said through clenched teeth. “My trust is another story.”