Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Discussion of a Decent Dream by E. Curtis


Discussion of a Decent Dream
by E. Curtis



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GENRE: Dark Fantasy

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BLURB:

In the fall of 1789, on the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales, a dense, persistent fog enshrouds the village of Ingleton. Shadowed spirits hide in the mist and bedevil the townsfolk, heralding a tragedy that has befallen one of their own.

Edmond continues to search for Alexandra, his fiancée, who disappeared the same night that the mist set upon their town. Presumed dead by all others, he visits Alexandra's empty grave, desperate for any hint of what has become of her. Weary from the sleepless nights on his quest, no longer able to stay awake, Edmond falls into a dream before her headstone and there obtains clues from Alexandra as to her whereabouts.

Haunted all the while by a malevolent spirit, Edmond follows the trail that Alexandra left for him and enters the underworld, only to learn that he has been there before, and in fact, quite often. But more, he discovers how he is to blame for Alexandra's disappearance.

A dark literary novel rich in imagery, Discussion of a Decent Dream unearths the consequences of a child's decision to surrender his heart in exchange for unholy power and transcendent knowledge.

Discussion of a Decent Dream is a Finalist in Britain's Wishing Self Book Awards in the Adult category.

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EXCERPT
I had seen in dream that which appeared before me, a gloriously lined whirlwind of black. It exhibited itself as odd, twitchy, yet with cohesion, both beautiful and horrible at once, as if the core of this being eclipsed an otherwise unseen dawn. The vapor then solidified and took the form of a man, though its feet made no impression in the sand.

It warmed to me, expressing in that charred face such familiarity and delight. Even for my instinctive recoil, I made no real retreat, for I again wanted to hear it speak.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

E. Curtis draws on personal experiences of the otherworldly for his writing. Through dreams, visions, and waking encounters, his exposure to darkness has motivated him to detail what he has come to know of the preternatural. While a few short pieces have been published on an online literary magazine, Discussion of a Decent Dream is his first novel.

Website: http://discussthedream.com/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/ECurtisBooks/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/discussthedream
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/discussthedream/

The book is on sale for $0.99 during the tour.


Buy link: www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07BTHW1SY/

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Murder by Munchausen, by M.T. Bass


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.
A police procedural sci fi thriller ripped from future headlines!

After Jake shoots and kills a murder suspect who turns out to be the son of a powerful city councilman, he finds himself demoted to the Artificial Crimes Unit, tracking down androids hacked and programmed to be hit men.

When his case of an “extra-judicial” divorce settlement takes a nasty turn with DNA from a hundred-year-old murder in Boston and a signature that harkens back to the very first serial killer ever in London, Jake finds himself tangled up in the brutal slayings of prostitutes being investigated by his former Robbery/Homicide partner, Maddie–who is now his lover.

But a madman, The Baron, is just getting started with his AI recreations of Jack the Ripper's brutal crimes. And Maddie and Jake are teamed up again to stop the carnage as the Baron's army of human replicants imitate history's most notorious serial killers.

"It might not make sense, but the beloved Media tags it 'Murder by Munchausen.' For a price, there are hackers out there who will reprogram a synthoid to do your dirty work. The bad news: no fingerprints or DNA left at the crime scene. The good news—at least for us—is that they’re like missiles: once they hit their target, they’re usually as harmless as empty brass. The trick is to get them before they melt down their core OS data, so you can get the unit into forensics for analysis and, hopefully, an arrest." [excerpt from Murder by Munchausen]

Artificial Intelligence? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Artificial Evil has a name…Munchausen.

Read an Excerpt

From The Invisible Mind (#3)

It sat on a bench outside the dormitory of nursing students, waiting with its kind’s infinite patience. Originally acquired and programmed for landscaping at the Cleveland Clinic, the synthoid was one of a brigade of units which had been hacked and Munchausened, then returned to their menial daily services to mankind to await the Baron’s call.

There was no adrenalin surge behind the extremely life-like facade of humanity when that call came. Data packets, sent scatter-shot through the Atlas Grid, coalesced at the location outside the Cole Eye Institute, where it methodically trimmed and shaped the immaculate shrubbery around the building. To avoid Q’s metadata sniffing algorithms from detecting a download spike in the grid, the information came in digital sprinkles over the course of its human handler’s work shift, slowly building a malevolent intent to be executed that night. In the middle of the afternoon, it left the topiary unfinished to melt into the hospital shift change and disappeared.

Personality modules were a Gen-3 feature upgrade, which is why the earlier models were initially preferred. Swapping out a few IC chips and uploading hacked firmware was a relatively easy way to turn a quick buck with an automated contract killing. But evil innovates, too, and the same features that made synthoids even more human-like in their behavior also helped create robotic assassins which could better camouflage their malicious intents and evade the reach of the Artificial Crimes Unit by melting into and moving undetected through the humanity that surrounded them. For the Baron, it allowed for a greater measure of artistic expression in programming the synthoid’s behavior to not only recreate infamous crimes of the past, but to mimic the behavior of their perpetrators, which intensified the thrill of watching the video feed through the eyes of Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy or, this particular evening, Richard Speck. Jake wasn’t the only history buff and it amused Jamal that London police had photographed the eyes of Jack the Ripper’s victims, hoping to capture the last thing they ever saw: their killer’s face. If only Scotland Yard could have imagined the future.

The Gen-3 personality modules also supported the ANSI Adaptive Artificial Intelligence Protocol #9 to enhance the artificial human experience of real men and women who interacted with synthoids. The constant writing and rewriting of code in the personality/experience loop formed unique individual synthoid consciousnesses, which manufacturers uploaded to their servers for product improvement teams to study. In Munchausened units, that feed was hijacked and routed to another portal in the Darknet to build a collective id of evil.

At eleven PM, it rose from the bench and entered the dormitory. The bodies of nine women would be found the next day, having been strangled and stabbed to death. Unlike 1966, no eyewitness was left alive, though the phrase "Born to Raise Hell" was written on the wall in blood.

About the Author:
M.T. Bass is a scribbler of fiction who holds fast to the notion that while victors may get to write history, novelists get to write/right reality. He lives, writes, flies and makes music in Mudcat Falls, USA.

Born in Athens, Ohio, M.T. Bass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in English and Philosophy, then worked in the private sector (where they expect “results”) mainly in the Aerospace & Defense manufacturing market. During those years, Bass continued to write fiction. He is the author of eight novels: My Brother’s Keeper, Crossroads, In the Black, Somethin’ for Nothin’, Murder by Munchausen, The Darknet (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #2), The Invisible Mind (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #3) and Article 15. His writing spans various genres, including Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Black Comedy and TechnoThrillers. A Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, airplanes and pilots are featured in many of his stories. Bass currently lives on the shores of Lake Erie near Lorain, Ohio.

Website: https://www.mtbass.net
Blog: https://www.owl-works.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlworks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Owlworks
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/mtbass
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5270962.M_T_Bass

Murder by Munchausen Trilogy Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Munchausen-Trilogy-Future-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07QDGHYZ6
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/murder-by-munchausen-trilogy-books-1-3/id1458934052?mt=11
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131145794?ean=2940156040681
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/murder-by-munchausen-trilogy
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/932579

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Son of the Moon


Original post by Radzy 



http://www.vainradical.co.uk/blogs/son-of-the-moon-blog-blitz/
Thank you, Em, for a wonderful review and blog post!

Em's Review (c) Radzy

Son of the Moon is the third book in the Legends of Persia series. If you haven’t read the previous two, then I encourage you to start there. This should not be read as a standalone, but I will give you a quick review on that first book as well, and then tell you when to go grab yourself a copy:

The Legends of Persia series begins with Road to Alexander, where Ashley, one of the luckiest journalists in the 30thcentury. She’s been chosen out of many as the one that year who will travel back to her selected time to interview a great figure from time. She’s chosen Alexander the Great, a lifelong passion of hers. She only gets 24 hours, and in that time cannot say who she is, or alter history in any way, shape, or form, else she’ll be erased from time.

Upon arriving, she tells the guards in Alexander’s camp she’s been sent to analyse the king’s dreams, taking advantage of the fact he is fascinated by dreams, and she gets in with ease. Her interview, however, turns from mostly unsuccessful, to catastrophic when after she leaves to return to her own time, Alexander ‘rescues her’: under the guise she’s truly Persephone, daughter of Demeter and goddess of Spring, being captured by her husband Hades. For Ashley, this is both devastating and awakening. She’s in love with her saviour, and doesn’t belong in her time, but like the King Damocles, there’s a sword over her head. One step out of line, one mention of her in a history book, and she’s erased from existence.

From that moment, the novel takes place over the first year to two years of Ashley’s time in the ancient world and her newfound relationship with the King of Heaven and Earth. While giving the reader a vivid sense of the time, the people, the author is also meticulously careful to ensure the reader is aware of both the hardships of living in a time pre modern medicine or acceptance the earth is round, as well as the difficulties of feeling out of place. There are stunning moments where both Ashley and Alexander must learn to be around one another. He’s short tempered, loves hard, and never says anything he doesn’t mean, but through that is deeply dedicated to those he cares for. She’s a product of her time, quick to speak, but fearlessly in love with both Alexander and his cause… a recipe for a deep, passionate romance that is only hindered by her secrets. Most of the population believes wholeheartedly she’s a goddess however… which makes life interesting but allows Ashley to hide under the rouse and protect herself from her time.

The novel is written in first person, with Ashley narrating. Everything is from her perspective, without deviation. Typically, I gravitate towards third person, but it’s obvious this work wouldn’t be as captivating in anything other than first, or with a different narrator. Ashley is a scholar, and a journalist, and how she perceives the world is true to that background.

I’d also like to point out here that this is not a fantasy novel. It doesn’t claim to be, but it’d be easy to assume in a time of gods and goddesses that there might be aspects. This is a sci-fi in the most honest sense of the genre, but it’s also a well curated historical fiction. It’s a romance as well, I suppose, but I’d take that term loosely as far as the genre as a whole is concerned. There isn’t the painfully predictable plot line, and while there is a lot of sex, that is a product of the time, not to get your rocks off.

Another thing I’d like to point out is that it’s obvious a lot of work has gone into this novel. From the very minute details, to the world as a whole. An example of this is when Ashley first arrives, she greedily sucks in the fresh, unpolluted air. That spoke volumes to me.

Something I truly adored about this novel, and the series as a whole, is that while Ashley keeps her truth secret, the genuine love in all senses between the characters is honest. This is a time where modern ideologies mean nothing, and comradery and what the heart yearns for is all that matters. It’s a surprisingly more peaceful, truthful time, and the author captures this effortlessly.

This novel, and series as a whole, is for those people who grew up with a passion for the ancient world, and always wondered what it’d be like to be given the opportunity to go back. It’s for those of us with a yearning for a simpler time, but then takes that nostalgia and emphasises the comfort of our modern world has made us both soft, and indifferent to pain.

If you’re interested in reading this novel, I highly recommend you do.

Now, if you’re new to the series, head off now, as I’m going to get into my review for the third novel.



Son of the Moon takes place directly after the events of the second novel, as the army have arrived in the Valley of the Gods on the search for Paul, before they head into India for the final stretch of Alexander’s campaign. Ashley is counting down the months she has left with her king and must make some painful decisions over the course of this novel, the most heart wrenching being whether she can live in a world without Alexander. What she’ll do, only she can decide, but in the meantime, she must exist, love, and be the valiant goddess her people believe she is.

There are powerful moments within this novel, the one which comes to mind being the aftermath of the fortress Alexander and his men conquer before they leave the valley. I won’t get into exacts, but the scene, the pain, and the hopelessness left me hollow. I had to close the book to come to terms with the events before I could continue. I’m an emotional person, and the author creates vivid, all-encompassing moments, where as a reader, all you can do is experience. This series is for people who want to feel things, to learn, and to walk away with a new outlook on the world. Yes the 330BC’s are tough, but they’re also pure, and it becomes more apparent as the series continues that the author wants us to be aware of our indifference to others and our environment. That scene hurt, but there are so many other exquisite moments where one or two lines will make you stop and think, hurt, or feel true joy. And though these novels take place over great swathes of time, each scene is captivating and meaningful.

Truly, and I don’t say this often, I’m madly in love with this series, and the testaments to that are the very real tears I shed after the valley, the weight I felt knowing alongside Ashley the end was coming, and the fact I had sleepless nights reading this series. I’ve seen more dawns reading these books than I ever have with someone else’s work, and as soon as I can, I will be getting paperback copies for my collection.

But let me get into some thoughts on the style, as my love doesn’t always mean you’ll be as captivated.

The novel, exactly as the first and second, is written in first person, exclusively narrated by Ashley as if she’s telling you the story after everything’s done and said. She’s not a reliable narrator, but she’s fair, honest, and depicts everything as she experienced it. There are moments where it’s obvious we’re being told the story, such as in moments where she’s asleep but finishes the scene without being able to know that’s what happened, but as a whole, it’s easy to get sucked into the moments.

Every character is vivid, with unique personalities true to their upbringings, time, and beliefs. The author has clearly devoted time to research and development, and this especially rings true with characters such as Plexis. He’s a free spirit, but over the course of the plot, grows and changes. They all do. From the second novel, continuing in this one, there’s a comfortable eb and flow amongst the characters. Their relationships and how they interact are established but change as anything would. For the third in a series, this is satisfying, and actually more enjoyable than perhaps the third, as there is that set-in stone background we have to build from.

There are unsatisfying moments as well, as there is with anything, but I can’t get into them without spoiling the plot. I will tell you this though – everything is done with reason and explained well. There aren’t loose ends here, which is all we can ask for as readers.

If you’ve read the first two books, and are considering getting this as well, please do. This series is getting better and better as it goes on.

The Blurb

Son of the Moon

Alexander the Great journeys to India, where he and Ashley are welcomed with feasts and treachery.

With their son, Paul, being worshiped as the Son of the Moon, and Alexander’s looming death, Ashley considers the unthinkable: how to save them and whether she dares to cheat Fate?

Purchase Link:

http://getbook.at/SonOfTheMoon

https://accentpressbooks.com/collections/historical-romance/products/son-of-the-moon


Sunday, May 12, 2019

Son of the Moon


Son of the Moon tour -
Review by Rae Reads - Review

We are now on book three of The Time for Alexander Series and in a way I do think you can read it as a standalone because Jennifer Macaire has managed to weave the characters back stories into this book. However to get the best understanding of the characters and what has happened so far I would suggest reading them in order.
In Son of the Moon we catch up with Ashley as she travels with Alexander and his army through India. Jennifer Macaire really did bring the story to life with all the wonderful descriptions of the setting, the food and the people. In a way I think this is probably my favourite book so far just because everything seemed to fall into place. I know the characters pretty well by now and the story had an extra bit of depth to it especially as we see Ashley find something she has been searching for since book one (I’m trying to keep it as vague as I can in case you do want to start the series from the beginning)
Then add in the drama of treacherous characters and Ashley really has to watch her back! I also started to feel Ashley’s apprehension as time begins to be marching even more quickly towards when Alexander will die. Ashley and Alexander’s romance is passionate and fiery but they work so well together! I loved all of the myths that were included I knew some but it was great to hear new ones and this is one of the things that I enjoy most about not only this book but the series.
Son of the Moon is told with historical detail showing legendary battles, snippets of mythology along with putting the author’s own spin on things. This has created a brilliant mix of fun, light and dark times with happiness, sadness and danger throughout. I can’t wait to see what will happen next!

Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire @jennifermacaire @rararesources #BlogBlitz #Giveaway #Review


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Cursing ~ Angie Faust Series Book 1 by Lynne Murray


Cursing
Angie Faust Series Book 1
by Lynne Murray
Genre: Urban Fantasy 

The day she killed her boss...


Everything changed.

She never laid a hand on him to take his life. She didn’t have to.

As her boss lies on the floor with a dozen witnesses staring and paramedics working in a futile effort to save him, a mysterious stranger approaches Angie with a bizarre offer.

It’s a job with the ExtraTerrestrial Protection Agency, a secret organization. Can Angie trust a group whose very existence is ultra classified?

She has to decide in a hurry because her newly released power starts drawing attention from life-draining, telepathic, Mindworms and alien scientists obsessed with abducting humans. Most terrifying of all, she’s stalked by one of the most fearsome predators in the galaxy.


If you loved Men in Black or Ilona Andrews’ Innkeeper Chronicles series, buckle up for a wild ride with Angie Faust in Cursing. Get it now!



Lynne Murray was born in Illinois, but she grew up in transit due to her father's work with the military. She's lived in Texas, Alaska, Florida, Washington state, and Southern California, before landing and staying in San Francisco.


Lynne writes the kind of books she loves to read. Those usually feature a lot of action, quirky characters and supernatural attitude. She just might read anything that isn't tied down, but some of the books that have to be restrained also make it onto her list. Her favorite authors include Illona Andrews, Faith Hunter, Patricia Briggs, Kim Hamilton, Terry Pratchett and T.H. White.

She now lives and writes and stares out the window at the ocean with a group of rescue cats, who rescue her right back with heroic feats of purring.


Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!
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Read the first chapter of this exciting new book! 

Chapter 1


Things changed the day I killed my boss. I was trying so hard not to.
He died quickly from cardiac arrest in front of a dozen witnesses in the glassed-in fishbowl of a conference room at Wolfe, Savage and Steele, the law firm where we worked. I never touched him physically. I didn’t have to. His name was Carroll Caine.
The Office Manager’s death interrupted an extended yelling session aimed at me. Caine was a short, square-built man with small bulging, blue eyes, a permanently red face and silver hair, cut brush short. For some reason, he had singled me out for verbal abuse almost from his first day on the job. He retired from the Navy as a Warrant Officer. Law firms like to hire former non-coms on the theory that they work well with a formal chain of command. But for Caine, taking orders from civilian lawyers he didn’t respect chafed him like a sandpaper jockstrap.
He took it out on his subordinates. I was a favorite target.
Understanding why Caine attacked me so often didn’t protect me when he did.
My other co-workers looked away in embarrassment or relief that, at least for the moment, Caine wasn’t singling them out. Not Francine, the woman sitting next to me in the conference room. She was petite, blonde and eager to score points with Caine by digging up the slightest hint of an error on my part.
Caine picked a bad day to stand over me and settle in for an extended rant. My Aunt Bess had simply disappeared six months earlier and without her, I had no one. The pain of her loss had retreated to a dull ache most days, but sometimes it flared up into a sharp pain of grief and confusion.
I focused all my attention on breathing slowly and letting his word roll over me.
I huddled in my chair, trying to make myself invisible, staring down at the pad of paper in front of me, a pencil gripped in my hand.
Caine paused for breath as if savoring looking down at me. He leaned in close. “You’d already be out of here if I didn’t suspect you might have a hidden disability and you’d sue all our asses. Is that it, Angie?”
“Look at me!”
I slowly looked up and met his eyes. Bad idea. The urge to let loose the anger that built in every cell of my body. I blinked when a cloud of black dots like a swarm of tiny insects filled my vision, swirling between Caine and Francine. I glanced around. Most people stared at the table or Caine. No one else gave any sign of seeing the whirling dots.
Great Angie, you’re hallucinating, just what I need.
“Keeping something up your sleeve, Angie? Maybe you lied on your employment application?” His spit landed on my face. Droplets hit my glasses. I wanted to wipe them off, but I didn’t move a muscle.
I could smell Caine’s rage under the Bay Rum aftershave and lingering cigar smoke on his breath.
Something inside me settled. Everything seemed sharper, clearer and despite the black cloud of dots passing between Francine and Caine. It couldn’t be real. A voice somewhere in the mists of early life echoed in my head.
Stop the heart.
Deadly calm washed over me. I felt myself starting to shake as if there was an earthquake. There was not. Yet an inner vibration shook me physically like the roars I heard when my aunt took me to the Lion House at the San Francisco Zoo at feeding time.
I focused on Caine. Not on his face, on his chest. Every sound in the room fell away. I found his heart. I raised my hand to point at him, still holding the pencil.
He straightened up. A slow smile on his face told me he was hoping he had made me mad enough to do something stupid. He had.
“Ya gonna hit me, Angie?” he asked.
“No.” I couldn’t remember ever feeling so calm.
Now.
I snapped my arm a few inches back as if I meant to throw the pencil at him. Caine instinctively rocked back on his heels, but there was no escape for him. Energy tore through me. My fingers tingled as I completed the short gesture toward his chest. I sensed the familiar but unknown force piercing him like a tool. It reached for his heart and grabbed it. And squeezed.
The pencil broke in half. The eraser end bounced off the table and fell on the rug. I lowered my arm, feeling his heart, frozen in a spasm as if my hand really was squeezing it. The inner shaking stopped and I took a deep breath, suddenly, oddly at peace.
Caine’s knees gave way and he crumpled to the floor. He twitched a few times. I don’t know how, but I could feel his life leave his body. He wasn’t coming back.
I stood up and backed away as two co-workers rushed past me to attempt CPR. They knelt beside him, but I knew they wouldn’t be able to revive him. I jammed my hands into my pockets and finally let go of the top half of the pencil. I kept my head down because I couldn’t help myself from smiling. The roaring inside me was gone. The swarm of black particles was gone too.
I took my hands out of my pockets and saw a couple of wood slivers had pierced my skin. I was bleeding. It didn’t even hurt. I didn’t feel anything but relief at the sudden quiet when Caine shut up.
Then the fear hit.
Everything I learned growing up told me I should go home, grab my getaway pack and leave town. It would be hard to run without my aunt organizing our escape.
I didn’t want to move again. I loved San Francisco. The rent-controlled apartment was my true refuge with my grandfather’s books lining almost every wall.
Maybe I wouldn’t have to run. Maybe no one noticed how Caine had died. People drew back to the edges of the room while efforts to revive him got more frantic. No one paid the slightest bit of attention to me. It wasn’t as if I’d physically touched the old man. Maybe no one would blame me.
Scratch that.
As I surreptitiously dabbed Caine’s saliva off my face and glasses with the cuff of my long-sleeved blouse, I raised my head and looked straight into the eyes of the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen. He twirled a pair of sunglasses in his hand and continued to stare right at me.
He had a tousled mop of sun-streaked light brown hair. He wore a tan suit about the same shade as his hair and a light blue shirt and gold and darker blue striped tie. His angelic face, even features and sensual lips seemed familiar. Maybe I’d seen him in one of those semi-porn underwear ads—the kind where you don’t look closely at the model’s face because you’re too busy checking out that impossibly lithe and muscular body. He leaned against the receptionist’s desk as if he owned it, as if he owned any place he stood simply by standing there.
He stowed his glasses in his jacket pocket and raised a blond eyebrow at me as if asking a question with luminous blue eyes.
The receptionist, a sixty-something retired airline stewardess with a British accent, had already called 911. Now she leaned over her counter at the perfect angle to check out Underwear Model Man’s ass at the same time that she watched the drama around our co-workers struggling to revive Caine.
Underwear Model Man held my gaze and nodded at me. I flinched in surprise. He didn’t quite smile, but his eyes crinkled as if we had a secret understanding. A deep feeling of dread settled like lead in my gut. This couldn’t be good.
I made it past the reception desk and nearly to the elevator when Underwear Model Man fell into step beside me. He was taller than me. I’m five ten, he must have been around six feet.
“Meet me for coffee after work,” he whispered, leaning close. He smelled of Irish Spring soap. “There’s someone you need to talk to. Someone you have a lot in common with. You won’t regret it.”
I kept moving without answering. Every woman in the place stared at this guy. He was that magnetic. The last thing I wanted at this particular moment was anyone paying attention to me.
But the stranger followed me and held the elevator door while I got in. “Seriously, you owe it to yourself to listen to an offer that would get you out of this...place.” He didn’t have to say “This hellhole,” it was implicit in his tone. I couldn’t disagree with him. The only thing I liked about Wolfe, Savage and Steele was the paycheck.
“An offer I can’t refuse, huh?” I snapped at him. “That turned out so well for the guy who found the horse’s head in his bed.”
The man chuckled. “No dead horses, I promise. But your skills deserve better.”
“You know nothing about my skills,” I kept my voice low.
“Don’t I?”
Francine and three other women slipped past Underwear Model Man into the elevator with me. They all stared at and me, then back at him again.
He let go of the door and it closed before I could say another word.
An older woman whose name I didn’t know commented on how fine that young man was. Then the elevator bell dinged for our floor and we all filed out in silence. No one mentioned Caine.

Underwear Model Man was leaning against the building waiting for me when I went out the front door. He’d taken off his tie and it was hard not to look at the tanned skin and a curl of golden chest hair showing where the top button of his shirt was open.
“Hi, I’m Chad Falconer.”
At least I didn’t have to keep calling him Underwear Model Man. Automatically, I responded, “Angie Faust.” I instantly regretted that. Now he knew my name.
I needed to get away fast. Men like him don’t follow women like me home from work without some agenda. Whatever his reason it didn’t involve flowers, dinner dates and happy endings. Maybe he sensed how desperately I missed my aunt. Predators can read body language and track wounded animals.
“Whatever it is you’re selling, I can’t afford it.”
He grinned as if I’d said something terribly witty. “Fair enough,” he said, falling into an easy pace beside me. Chad persisted, walking closer and tilting his head down to get my attention.
“Whoever you are and whatever you want, I don’t trust you,” I said.
“The only reason you should listen to me at all is that you and I seem to be the only two people who understood what was going on this morning.”
I stopped so fast he almost ran into me.
“My boss had a stroke or heart attack while he was yelling at me. He was an old man. He had a strenuous day of verbally abusing people. His heart just gave out.”
“It doesn’t usually happen that way though, does it?” Chad said. “I don’t know about you, but the people I want to see die usually go on to live a disgustingly healthy life of making everyone miserable and die peacefully in bed at 95.”
“You can’t blame me for what happened,” I concluded, my voice wavering a little.
He seemed to understand because he stepped away a foot or so. “Believe me, Angie, blame is the last word I would use to describe you or anything you do.” He stepped in front of me to stop for a moment but he held out his hands out with palms up. “Would you do me a favor?”
“Maybe. Will you let me alone if I do?”
“Absolutely. The only thing I ask is that you come with me to a coffee shop and meet someone who understands your great gift.”
“Gift?” I snorted a small burst of laughter at that thought.
“Seriously, it’s a public place, a café not far from here. No pressure.”
I stared at him. I never admitted that I was responsible for the violent things that happened around me. My aunt and I rarely spoke about it. “Where is this place?”
“It’s an easy walk. Come on, it will only take half an hour of your time.”
I admit I was curious and absurdly relieved that he didn’t seem to be selling anything or whipping out a chloroformed rag and forcing me into a car. But mainly I agreed because of a vain hope that there might actually be a way to cope with whatever the hell it was that I had been fighting my whole life.





Discussion of a Decent Dream by E. Curtis

Discussion of a Decent Dream by E. Curtis ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GENRE : Dark Fantasy ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ BLURB: In the fal...