29 January 2021

Taming Wild Horses by Mila Nicks

 

 

Book 2 of Wild Horse Ranch Series

Contemporary Romance

Date Published: January 29th, 2021


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He’s ready to be a better man…

Chase Collins started the summer a brooding, broken man. He was content keeping to Wild Horse Ranch, where he could tend to horses and stew in peace. When Samara Grant reentered his life, she changed everything, and now he wants to prove to her—and himself—he can be the good guy he always hoped to be. What he doesn’t know is that it’s darkest before the dawn…

She’s done running from the past…

Only a summer in Lutton, Texas. That’s what Samara Grant told herself when she arrived. Now months into living in the small town, she’s carved out a life for herself managing her grandma’s B&B, riding horses and falling in love for the first real time in her life. After so many years spent running, she wants happiness, but unfortunately her tragic past is back to haunt her…

He’s not letting things go that easily…

Reed Ward is supposed to be the guy who has it all. He comes from the most prestigious family in Lutton. He’s handsome. He’s charming. He always gets the girl—so why is it that he’s on the sidelines watching his life go up in smoke? His family’s torn apart, his ranch is no longer his, and the woman that’s supposed to be his wants his best friend. One things for sure: he’s not going down without a fight…

 


About the Author

Mila Nicks is on a mission to pen heartfelt and entertaining love stories featuring women of color.

When she isn’t writing diverse love stories, you can find her globetrotting, sampling new cuisines, and spending quality time with her spunky pet Chihuahua, Zayden.

For more on Mila, including news on upcoming releases and story freebies, check out her website and subscribe to her newsletter: https://www.milanickswrites.com/

 

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25 January 2021

Takakush by Raine Reiter

 


When Professor Elena Lukas returns to her cozy Pacific Northwest hometown with a broken heart, she’s plunged back into the fate she tried to escape. Like her mother and grandmother before her, Elena must now dedicate her life to a powerful ancient Lithuanian goddess. Although she is prepared to live as a priestess hiding in a contemporary tourist town, she arrives to find that a series of so-called animal attacks have terrorized her forest.With the help of a handsome detective from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Elena uses her expertise in invasive and endangered species to identify that these are no normal animal attacks. The woods are stalked by a dark, mystical creature bent on ravaging the area in an attempt to quell its insatiable hunger. When her little sister goes missing, Elena realizes that the beast can only be vanquished if she is brave enough to face it in-person, embrace her identity as a high priestess, and expose her powers to the man she is growing feelings for.Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson.


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Reviews for Takakush!


“A fantastic tale that weaves a spell of ancient mysticism and modern charm."
-- Tim Marquitz, Author of the Demon Squad series, The Enemy of My Enemy series, and more.

“Vibrant, unique fantasy set in the Pacific Northwest. Compelling smart characters, snappy pacing, and Lithuanian mythology make this a hit.”
-- Reviewer, Reedsy Discover
 
”Takakush is a richly evocative tale that will enchant and terrify."
-- Johanna Wittenberg, Author of The Norse Queen
“A fantastic tale that weaves a spell of ancient mysticism and modern charm."
-- Tim Marquitz, Author of the Demon Squad series, The Enemy of My Enemy series and others


Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson.

A fifth generation Washingtonian, Raine lives in the gloomy Pacific Northwest and wanders the rainforest with her silly spaniel, Luke.


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Giveaway:
1st Prize - $10 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize - Paperback Copy of Takakush & a T-shirt
3rd Prize - An eBook Copy of Takakush


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Enter your answers to the following questions in the Rafflecopter below:

Where did the Lukas family originally come from?

  • Zimbabwe
  • Jupiter
  • Lithuania
  • Antarctica

What is our hero, Elena Lukas’ occupation?

  • Butcher
  • Baker
  • Candlestick Maker
  • College Professor
 

The novel Takakush takes place in what region of the US?

  • The Pacific Northwest
  • The South
  • The Midwest
  • The Northeast





23 January 2021

Dark Secrets of the Bayou by Kim Carter

 

 


Mystery, Suspense

Date Published: November 2020

Publisher: Raven South Publishing



Catherine “Tink” Mabrey, an up and coming attorney, is shocked by her recent inheritance from her estranged family on the bayou. After her mother died during childbirth, Tink’s father had quickly relocated them to the big city of Atlanta, Georgia. With no memory of her mother, she is determined to learn more about her lineage and decides to visit the bayou town of Kane, Louisiana. Candace, Tink's co-worker and best friend, agrees to make the trip with her.

Before she has time to explore her family’s history, or decide what to do with the declining property, local murders plague Tink’s homecoming. She quickly finds herself caught in the middle of a multiple murder investigation – and quite possibly, the prime suspect. When Candace retreats back to Atlanta, Tink, with the support of an unlikely cast of characters, sets out to discover clues that have haunted and tormented her family for generations.

Could a concealed crime from the 1800’s, or the family's estate itself, harbor keys to unlocking the past? The more they learn, the more they question whether some secrets are best left buried.


Other Books By Kim Carter:


Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle (2017)

Murder Among The Tombstones (2017)

No Second Chances (2017)

Deadly Odds (2018)

And The Forecast Called For Rain (2018)

When Dawn Never Comes (2018)

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About The Author

Kim Carter is an author of suspense, mystery and thriller novels. She was a finalist in the 2018 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award and recipient of the 2017 Readers’ Choice Award for her book Murder Among The Tombstones. This is the first book in her Clara and Iris Mystery series. The characters in this series are a couple of overly curious widows who become private investigators and were inspired by Kim’s mother and her mom’s best friend.

Her other titles include: When Dawn Never Comes, Deadly Odds, No Second Chances, And The Forecast Called For Rain, and Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle.

Kim’s writing career started after she suffered an illness that made her housebound for a couple of years. An avid reader of mystery novels, she embarked on writing as a means of filling her time. Kim shared those early writings with friends and family who encouraged her to pursue writing professionally. Her health struggles and successes have been chronicled on The Lifetime Television in early 2000, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Women’s Day Magazine, and Guideposts.

Prior to her illness, Kim worked in many different capacities in county government ranging from Park Director with Parks and Recreation to the Grant Department with Human Services. But, ultimately, it was her job as a correctional officer that provided her the opportunity to interact with a variety of people from all walks of life. Her experiences ran the gamete of inspiring success stories to tragic endings, much like her mysteries.

She self-published her first book No Second Chances. One of the guest speakers at the launch party she had at the Performing Arts Center in Newnan, Georgia included her close friend retired Atlanta Police chief Eldrin Bell. This connection would become helpful as she started doing more research for other books, this time working with a small publishing house.

Kim started networking and made connections with the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office. Her research has taken her many places including morgues, death row and the occasional midnight visit to cemeteries.

She is a college graduate of Saint Leo University, has a Bachelor Degree of Arts in Sociology. Kim and her husband have three grown children and live just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.


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22 January 2021

The Last Book by Nowick Gray

 

 


Sci-Fi, Time Travel

Publisher: Cougar WebWorks



The Last Book departs from Thomas Mann’s last, unfinished novel and propels its hero into the speculative waters of time travel, alternative history, and a dystopian future.

When precocious 19th-century con-man Felix Krull is recruited by an astral-traveling presidential candidate, Sophie Vaughan, he embarks on a quest across time to find her and prove his mettle on a world stage. His daredevil joyride through ’70s middle America tests his powers of persuasion and faith in a charmed destiny.

Fast-forwarded to 2036, Felix discovers Sophie caught in a multidimensional struggle between the controlling Hierarchy and the dissident Panarchists. First grappling with a new identity, then tested in his loyalty to Sophie, Felix faces a final showdown for the fate of the world.


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Nowick Gray began writing The Last Book upon finishing Thomas Mann’s last, unfinished novel The Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man—determined to follow where the precocious con-man led. Nowick has published over dozen books of genre-bending fiction and creative nonfiction, exploring the edges of reality and illusion, choice and manifestation. He makes his home on Salt Spring Island, BC, where he also works as a copyeditor and enjoys hiking, kayaking, and playing African drums.


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21 January 2021

The Journalist by R.N.Crane

 

 

Crime, Mystery

Published: August 2020



Favor Bosworth, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Paper, investigates murders in the Loch Raven reservoir and the Las Vegas wash feeding Lake Mead. The murdered girls went to Law School at UNLV along with Dan Brock who left school early to pursue a career in investing. Favor interviewed many of the girl’s classmates but only a few seemed to have the means, opportunity, and motive for murder.

Favor is also tasked to evaluate Brock Investments for reporting false investment returns. She is assisted by two Private Investigators, Flint Osborne and Lauren Scott. The investigators and the reporter are led around Big Bear Lake, and through Long Beach, and Orange County looking for evidence. Favor finds that, in the end, no one is who they appear to be.



About The Author


R.N. Crane lives in Orange, California. He is a retired engineering consultant writing romantic suspense and detective crime novels. The Journalist is his newest novel. He is a member of Orange County Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Mystery Writers of America.


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20 January 2021

Carlos Crosses the Line by Edward D. Webster

 

 

Historical Fiction

Published: August 2020

Publisher: Casa de los Sueños Publishing


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A Tale of Immigration, Temptation, and Betrayal in the Sixties 

Most Americans don't understand or respect the importance of Mexican migrant workers to the American economy. They have provided a workforce that accepts the difficult jobs most refuse to do, and accept extremely low wages. Carlos Crosses the Line is a novel that is set against a 60's background that reveals abuse, cruelty, and racism.

Carlos Montoya crossed one line by forsaking his culture’s unquestioning faith. He leaped past another as he entered California illegally during the free-love irreligious 1960s. There, three women tempted him to abandon more of his limits.

 

—One sought to comfort him.

—One used him against her husband—his employer—in marital combat.

—One demanded everything.

That summer of 1968 he fled California, falsely accused, beaten, and terrified.

 

Twenty-six years later, in Michocán Mexico, the beautiful Lilia Gomez arrives on Carlos’s doorstep, challenging him to recall those days and to question his old transgressions. And lurking in his background, what must never be revealed, is the major crime that haunts his past.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Edward D. Webster’s wide-ranging interests have led him to diverse careers from teaching Navajo students to managing regulatory compliance to helping establish a center for abused children.

He is the author of an eclectic collection of books as well as articles appearing in publications from The Boston Globe to Your Cat magazine. His writing has been honored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association, the Foreword Indies, the Boomer Times, and Ed’s favorite: Hackwriters.com, among others.

Ed admits to a fascination with unique, quirky, and bizarre human behavior, and he doesn’t exempt himself from the mix. His acclaimed memoir, A Year of Sundays (Taking the Plunge and our Cat to Explore Europe) shares the eccentric tale of his yearlong adventure in Europe with his spirited, blind wife, Marguerite, and their headstrong, deaf, elderly cat, Felicia.

In his historical novel, Soul of Toledo, about Spain in the 1440s, the diabolical nature of mankind stands out as madmen take over the city of Toledo and torture suspected Jews thirty years before the Spanish Inquisition.

Webster also likes to tinker by putting strange characters together to see what they’ll do with/to each other. In his novel The Gentle Bomber’s Melody, a nutty woman, bearing a stolen baby, lands on the doorstep of a fugitive bomber hiding from the FBI. The result: irresistible insanity.

From the happily unusual of A Year of Sundays to the cruelly perverse in Soul of Toledo, Webster shines a light on offbeat aspects of human nature.

In his latest novel, Carlos Crosses the Line, Webster casts his eye in new directions: the 1960s, the immigration quagmire, free love, the validity of borders between people and countries, the question of what to believe if you don’t accept your culture’s traditional values. 

Webster lives in Southern California with his divine wife and two amazing cats.

 

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19 January 2021

Friday Nightmares by Corey Edward

 

 

YA Urban Fantasy

Date Published: January 19, 2021

Publisher: FyreSyde Publishing



For generations, the wizards of Candle Paranormal Investigations have helped the people of Boston with everything from garden-variety poltergeists to Eldritch abominations. Sixteen-year-old Henry Candle, however, has no interest in taking over the family business and would much rather spend time hanging out in cafes with his human friends. But when his father is brutally murdered while working on a case, Candle Paranormal Investigations magically falls into Henry’s possession — and so does a warning: “BEWARE, HENRY. HE’LL COME FOR YOU, TOO.”

Henry does some digging and discovers that two other wizards have been killed in the past month, both of their bodies found with the same symbol scrawled into their chest as his father. He decides to reopen the case so he can discover who (or what) is murdering Boston’s wizards before he's next. Aided by his pug familiar, a witch and a group of human friends, Henry must stop a supernatural serial killer and find an evil spell book that could end the world.


Author Share Link


Corey Edward is a lifelong lover of books, learning, and coffee. Although he is easily spooked, he lives for a good scary story, so perhaps it is fitting that he finally decided to start writing them. He lives in Ohio, where he works as a ninth grade English teacher.

He received his BA in Integrated Language Arts from Youngstown State University and went on to later receive his MA in English.


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18 January 2021

Sins in Sunlight by Rachel Hailey

 

 


Of Courts and Desire, Book 2

Dark Paranormal Romance

Date Published: January 18, 2021

Publisher: FyreSyde Publishing



The Sunfire Queen, Sierra, has waited for her chance to rule, thinking life would be better with her mother dead. She was wrong. The Court of Light is in Shambles. Her people are terrified and despise her. She has no friends, no love, and no hope. When a new war hovers on the horizon, Sierra must find the lost beastkyn Mikhail or her court will perish, and she'll lose her shot at redemption.

Quick to grin and quicker to kill, Mikhail has made his share of mistakes–being imprisoned has given him time to ponder each poor decision. But when Sierra frees him, he earns the opportunity to make some more. She's gorgeous and despite her fiery nature, as cold as the snow-capped mountains of Russia. He can't wait to see how fast he can make her melt.


About The Author

Rachel Hailey was born and raised in the South. She's all about that nerd life and in between writing she's dedicated herself to raising the next generation of nerds.If she's not online or staring at a book she can usually be found at the local game store rolling dice, shuffling cards, or planning her next cosplay.

Her childhood was most prominently shaped by the works of R.L. Stine, Stephen King, Anne Rice and the Brothers Grimm.


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15 January 2021

The Right Kind Of Wrong by Shilpa Suraj

 


He's dangerous, damaged and doomed but he's hers...

With no name, no medical history, multiple gunshot wounds and enough security to rival the Prime Minister’s, Dr Aria Dubey’s new patient is something more than she asked for. And everything she might just need.

Intelligence Officer Karan Bhatnagar has only vengeance on his mind. Nothing will stop him from seeking justice for his murdered parents. 

Not even almost losing his own life. And certainly not the doctor who healed but couldn’t save him. The woman he can’t afford to fall for. And the killer's next target.

There's only one thing left to do...find the killer and end him before he ends them. Will Karan and Aria risk everything for a love that is all kinds of wrong? And yet, is the right kind of wrong.


Releasing on 26th January!


About the Author:



Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.





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07 January 2021

Caffeine & Nicotine by Eric Weule

 

 

Mystery/Supernatural
Date Published: 11/10/2020
Publisher: Darkstroke


Kelly Jenks knows the dead boy is going to show him something awful. Jonathan is seven. He never wears shoes, and his feet are always clean. He cruises between this world and the next in a 1967 Cougar XR7. Jonathan has a message for Kelly: There is a faceless man preying on the city’s homeless.

Jackie Carmichael hires Kelly to find an employee who has vanished. The case appears simple at first, but Kelly soon discovers that the missing girl is not who she seems. As Kelly attempts to separate the facts from the lies, Jonathan brings him another message: Jackie Carmichael is hiding something.

With the beaches, mansions, and dive bars of Orange County, CA as the backdrop, Caffeine & Nicotine is a dark and brutal look at what happens when the dead pass sentence.


Excerpt

Chapter One


Oliver Trunk: the proverbial rock in my shoe.

I had spent the last week looking under every overpass and dumpster I could think of. I talked to a bunch of people who said, “Yeah, I saw Oliver last night down at . . .” Insert the name of some bar, or strip club, or parking lot. I was a step behind from the word go. It was making me cranky.

Oliver thought of himself as an entrepreneur, which meant he dealt a little meth and coke, and beat the shit out of his girlfriend if she held back any of her tips. Oliver’s girlfriend was a stripper at a low-level club. In the beginning, Tina Mullins had thought he was charming and kind of cute in a white-trash, Joe Dirt, kind of way. Those days passed quickly, however. Oliver’s newest business plan was to pimp her out on her nights off from the club.

Which is where I came in. Find Mr. Trunk and serve him a restraining order.

***

I had put out a number of feelers with my fellow down and outs. A hundred bucks for the guy or gal who got me a current line on Trunk. Not where he was yesterday or last week, but where he was that very minute.

The winner was Judy, an old gal who sang the blues at some of the seedier joints in the city. Judy was in her sixties. She only wore blue jeans, green T-shirts, jean jackets, and cowboy boots. I’m not sure about her choice of underwear or bras, but I’d bet she doesn’t wear either of them. She sounded like Janis Joplin when she sang. I’d caught her show a few times. They were generally free, and there was plenty of booze in the places she played, so it was a win-win.

Judy called around midnight and said, “Kelly, you owe me a hundred.” She sounded like Bob Hoskins.

I was kind of inebriated when she called. I had been experimenting with perfecting a Pink Vodka Lemonade all night. It had taken a few rounds before I had an epiphany about adding a little Malibu to the cocktail. Damn, I nailed it after that.

My ability to walk and talk might have been affected.

Why tonight?” I felt like my enunciation was spot on.

What? Totally mumbling, Kelly.”

I enunciated harder with a softer word. “Where?”

Down at Spinnakers. I gotta go. We’re starting our next set.”

Keep him there.” It came out as “ee im air,” or something close to that.

Dude, I can’t understand you.”

I tried again. She hung up.

I weighed the pros and cons.

In true drunken fashion, the pros won out. I was over this rock in my shoe.

I made a pot of coffee with double the coffee. I hopped in the shower with water that was too hot. I was hoping the steam would do something. I’m not exactly sure what, but I was determined to erase the effects of the six Pink Vodka Lemonades I had ingested over the last three hours. I toweled off without falling over and counted it as a clear sign that I was no longer falling down drunk. I put on some cargo shorts and a T-shirt, then pulled on some ankle socks and a pair of Nikes. I filled two thermoses with coffee that was slightly thinner than tar. I added them to my trusty backpack, which contained all the tools of my trade: pack of cigarettes, lighter, .45 Beretta px4 Storm, couple Snickers bars, and a bottle of water.

Forty-five minutes after Judy hung up on me, I stepped out of my Airstream trailer and stumbled down the two steps. They’re tricky in the dark, even when I’m sober, so I didn’t count it against myself. My trailer is parked underneath a thirty-foot oak tree. Its trunk has a seven-foot radius. The tree is massive. I don’t know how old it is, or how it is still standing in the middle of the city, but it’s proof that the world isn’t completely screwed up. The leaves whispered in the late-night breeze blowing in from the Pacific: You can do this, Kelly.

My yard was surrounded by an eight-foot corrugated metal wall. I managed to get the latch open, and a five-foot section swung out and away from me. I stepped through the opening, promptly tripped on the bottom lip and went down face-first into the alley.

Fuck.” I laid there for a few moments with my face pressed against the cool asphalt. I weighed the pros and cons again. The pros still won, although the cons had more of a say this time. I took it as further evidence that I was sobering up rapidly. I regained my feet.

My Cougar was waiting for me in its parking spot. I popped the lock, climbed in, and started her up.

You got this, my magic car,” I whispered to her. She had never let me down in those types of moments. And there have been plenty. “OK, let’s go.” I dropped her into reverse, hit the gas, and ten minutes later, I was parked in the lot behind Spinnakers. I rubbed the steering wheel and told her I loved her. I fished out a thermos and took a long drink. The coffee bordered on undrinkable, but I choked it down. I lit a cigarette and put my right earbud in, started up the shuffle on my phone and waited.

***

The moon had taken the night off. I couldn’t see any stars because of the sodium-vapor lights in the parking lot. The handful of cars around me all looked black or white. A dirty white cinder block building squatted at the edge of the lot. The air was washed-out yellow. All in all, a very ugly place.

I was parked next to a ‘95 Mustang. It could have been brown, purple, green, or blue, but it just looked black. That production model of Mustang is probably one of the worst cars ever manufactured, along with its distant cousin, the Pinto. This particular automotive tragedy belonged to Mr. Trunk.

Trunk was the last one out of the bar. He had some assistance from a none too happy bouncer who went by the handle of Axe. The man was a monster. He was six nine, and easily three hundred pounds. He had a spiderweb tattooed on his shaved head. He only worked the Spinnaker on Monday and Tuesday. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday he worked up in LA. He lived local. We’ve had a few friendly conversations over the years. He’s a nice enough guy if you can look past his numerous assault charges and the one attempted murder. I can, so we’re good. I gave myself a mental head slap for not reaching out to him about Trunk.

I checked my phone. 2:13 A.M. Sarah McLachlan was singing in my ear about monsters.

Axe shoved him into the parking lot, and said, “Don’t come back.”

Fuck off, you overgrown piece of shit.”

Axe laughed, then went back into the bar. I imagine Zeus laughed the same way when mere mortals got snippy with him for bedding their wives.

Fucking dick,” Trunk yelled, as he weaved over to his Mustang. I was parked next to him. Driver side to driver side. I watched him dig his keys out of his jeans. He dropped them. He bent to pick them up. He fell over. Things were looking up. Trunk was more intoxicated than I was.

He staggered back up, swore, and laughed to himself. Then he crossed the remaining space to our cars. He was an average idiot in an average idiot’s body. Beating up women didn’t require much of a workout. His drug clientele were mostly strung out junkies or high school rich kids. Trunk was trying to restart the white leather high-top fashion craze. I didn’t see it catching on too soon, but stranger things have happened.

He ignored me as I sat in my car smoking a cigarette. As he struggled to get the key into the car door, I said, “What’s up, Oliver?”

He turned around, and said, “I don’t know you, longhair.” He turned back around and began fighting with the keyhole again.

I popped my door open and climbed out. “Longhair? You say it like it’s a bad thing.”

He turned back around. I hit him with a straight right to the nose. It wasn’t my best punch, but he was drunk, and it did the job. He dropped his keys. He fell back against his car. As he started to right himself, I kicked him in the balls. I connected a lot better that time. Might have popped one of them. He was on the ground, moaning. I gave him a nice solid kick to the face.

Done.

I threw my hands up in the air and spun a circle. And the crowd goes wild! I felt so much better. The rock was out of my shoe.

I dragged him over to the back of the Cougar. I popped the trunk, then piled him in. I might have hit his head on the bumper a couple of times in the process. These things happen. I pulled his arms behind him and wrapped duct tape around them. I taped his ankles together. I slapped a piece of duct tape across his nose and mouth. He wouldn’t be able to scream or breathe, so it was a classic two-for-one.

I shut the trunk, found his keys on the ground, and took a moment to unlock his car and put the key into the ignition. I shut the door. The car wouldn’t have lasted the night in this neighborhood, but I didn’t want the thieves to break anything when they stole the car. I climbed back into the Cougar and sat there for a minute. I lit a cigarette and drank some coffee. I replayed it in my head. The people that had come out between my arrival and Trunk coming out hadn’t paid any attention to me. They were all your standard Tuesday night drinkers. I thought I was clean. I never saw Judy. I finished the cigarette, pulled two pieces of gum out of my backpack and popped them in my mouth.

I felt fairly sober. I was probably walking the legal line as far as blood alcohol content was concerned, but I’d have much bigger problems if I got pulled over for something. I started the Cougar up, then pulled out of the lot, and headed out to the desert.

***

I got to my disposal site a couple minutes before four A.M.

I took my time. Speed limit all the way. Windows down. Wind throwing my hair all over the place. I sipped my second thermos of sludge, smoked, and listened to music that bounced all over the musical genre map. I like the drive out the 15 in the middle of the night. It’s peaceful. I like the way the sodium-vapor lights look from the freeway. Everything is still that washed-out yellow, but you can see the stars and the mountains looming up in front of you.

I jumped on the 395 for thirty minutes. The lights of passing cars filled the interior of the Cougar for brief moments. A glance in the rear view during these moments revealed what might have been a beautiful young woman. Her blond hair did not move in the wind. She was smiling. Then the interior would go dark, and she would be no more. The sound of happy laughter drifted beneath the road noise. And a smell like a field of wildflowers in full bloom lingered all around me.

I left the last high desert city behind. I turned onto a dirt road with no marker. I cruised slowly. I knew the spots that would give the Cougar and her low-slung body trouble. It took about five minutes to cover the mile from the highway to the gate.

My headlights lit up the iron bars. It was a fancy gate out in the middle of the desert. The designer probably envisioned it blocking the end of a Beverly Hills driveway. There were ornate spikes all along the curved top. Two silhouettes of horses rearing up on their hind legs. It might work in the Texas wastelands, but there weren’t any horses around these parts. Scorpions, tarantulas, and rattlesnakes, but no wild stallions running free.

The gate was mostly decorative. Three lines of barbed wire ran to the north and south. The property was five hundred acres of useless scrub brush and the aforementioned poisonous things. If somebody wanted to get to the house beyond the gate, they wouldn’t have to try very hard.

I came to a stop, leaned out the window and punched in the code. The gate rolled away to my left. I drove through and the gate closed behind me.

Fifty yards in was a one-story log cabin. It was one of those kits you can buy online. They ship the materials to the building site along with all the nuts and bolts. An enthusiastic person could probably put one together in a couple weeks. The owner of the property had paid ten guys from the Home Depot parking lot to throw this one up in a day.

I liked it. There was a cozy bed inside. I wanted nothing more than to go climb into that bed and sleep. I had one more thing to do before I could call it a day.

I drove past the cabin another hundred yards. The road ended in a wide spot where I could flip the Cougar around. I turned the car off and climbed out. Big stretch. My body ached from the drive. My brain felt mushy because of the alcohol still in my system and a lack of sleep.

I popped the trunk. I don’t know if he ever regained consciousness. Don’t know if he struggled as his lungs ran out of oxygen. Didn’t much matter either way. He was dead.

I pulled the body out of the trunk. It hit the ground hard. I grabbed the feet and dragged the body into the desert for a few feet. There was a lid somewhere. I just had to find it. I felt like I was in the right spot, but I didn’t see it.

I relented and pulled my phone out, used the flashlight and searched the ground. I was about ten feet too far north. I pulled the bone bag over to a brown plastic lid set into the ground. I took a moment to light a cigarette in preparation. I filled my lungs with smoke and held it in as I pulled the lid upward. The smell that drifted up out of the hole was still godawful. I worked as quickly as I could. I got the feet into the hole, then lifted the body by the shoulders until it just kind of slid in. A second later, I was rewarded with a thick splash.

Restraining order served.


About The Author


Eric Weule is the author of several novels. He lives in Southern California. Caffeine & Nicotine is a stand-alone novel, which features Kelly Jenks from The Interview.


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