About the Author
The Amazon purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 2 Escape.
The Amazon purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 2 Escape.
I awoke cold on the shoulder of a highway. I had no idea how I got there. As the song goes, I found my mind in a brown paper bag—only this wasn’t the sixties, and the bag was clear, not brown. My life felt like a cliché as I found myself in this shoulder—this ditch. I slowly stood up. A semi-truck whirled by sending up a dirt cloud. I choked. To complete the cliché, I held out a thumb: the one that had been broken the year before when I fell out of a bar. The cars flew by and filled the air with exhaust. I smiled beside myself. Beside my life. I smiled at all the self-destruction, the missed opportunities, the lust, and the indulgences… All the indulgences. The thought carried as the wind blew. Finding my sunglasses in the high grass, I put them on hiding my bloodshot eyes and, hopefully, the haggard sketchiness that those eyes contained. As I looked at the empty eyes of drivers
passingng me on their way to work, my sympathy was with them. What day was this? What month? What year? When did the bender start? When would it finish? Finally, a car slowed as I gazed up at the sun just showing itself.
Running to the car on the shoulder, I attempted to piece together what happened the night before. Did my run-in with the Afeller boys go amiss? Their punk rock band was becoming so big—and with it, lots of new characters were on the scene. Did I offend some white-top? Something about his mother, I’m sure. The car put on its hazards as the driver opened his window and gestured me over. I ran my hands over my patched black jeans. I guess they didn’t offend; nor did my red and blond Mohawk that I never wore up.
I opened the door and peered in. The man was fortyish. He looked like a family man in his suit and tie. I smiled, knowing I was everything he wouldn’t want his children to become. And yet he offered me a ride.
“Hey there. You from the city, or some drifter?”
“Neither. I’m not from this city, nor a drifter. I’m a man of the land with nothing but my good sense to guide me through waters deep and quick.”
“Son, I’m not some girl at the bar, I’m the man driving you back to the city. So save the bullshit. Do you want some coffee? I have a thermos. You must drink coffee?” The man smiled as he passed over a thermos and a small brown disposable cup.
“Thanks. I know you’re not a girl at the bar, so I will put away my charm—and yes, I drink coffee, but only when I smoke. And I seem to be out,” I said as I lazily checked my black leather jacket and found nothing but an empty pack.
“You’re a drifter then; smoking’s a dying pastime. A losing battle.”
“Then you don’t partake?”
“Lucky for you, son, I’m also a dying breed.” He pulled out a silver case full of long cigarettes.
“Thanks,” I said as he passed me the case.
“You have a name? A real name? I offered you my smokes and my coffee; least you can do is give me a name.” I lit the cigarette and sipped the coffee.
“A real name, eh?” I took a long drag. “Clark. Clark Kent,” I smiled at him.
“Superman, eh? Fully able to fly, but stuck in an ‘85 Toyota, smoking my cigarettes, drinking my coffee and dressed in a fashion that I take it Lois Lane picked out?”
“Yeah, she’s a great dame.” I kept trying to remember what had happened last night.
“Humph. Where in the city are you going? Or should I just shoot for the downtown homeless shelter?”
“Mid-city would be good. I just need to get to my bike. It’s in a garage I rent with the money I make saving the world and all.”
“What were you doing on the side of the road? Good old Lex Luthor leave you high and dry?”
“If you must know, he attacked me with kryptonite and took my cape. I wouldn’t need the lift if I had the cape. You should know that.”
“Good point. Have some more coffee. A bike guy, eh?”
“Harley guy. It was my father’s,” I replied.
“A gift for your law school graduation?”
I could see the city approaching, the skyscrapers visible with an early morning summer haze around them.
“And what do you do for work there, Clark?”
“Me? The usual philanthropy, human projects, building churches, and feeding the poor.”
“Ah, a fine job for Superman.”
“Fine job for any man. You wouldn’t happen to have anything… I could put in this coffee?” I asked.
“I’m a family man myself—but like I said, a dying breed. Look inside the glove compartment.”
I opened it, and inside was a small bottle of bourbon. This was a man after my own heart. I poured a healthy amount into my mug.
“And for you?”
“No thanks; not before lunch.” As he shoulder-checked, I slipped the bottle into my inside jacket pocket.
“Let me guess,” I said. “You were a ‘60s hippy into the drug scene who got some flower child knocked up and started looking at things seriously. Your college degree wouldn’t get you far, so you got into sales. You don’t work in the office, hence the road drinks and the engraved cigarette holder: a gift for being with the company maybe fifteen years. You have children in their teens and you wish for nothing more than for them to go to college, get good jobs, and become nothing like you used to be—and definitely nothing like me.”
He laughed. “The world is a cruel place and not for the faint. Don’t doubt that you’re heading down a bad path: one where your super powers won’t be enough to save you. One day you’ll need redemption, but no one will show you any mercy. You’ll cry out, and no one will answer.” He stared at me, no longer watching the road. I looked back at him.
“Let me tell you something, man. I’ve cried out already. I’ve cried to the world, and you know what the world said back? It said no, just like you’re saying it would. But you know why that makes me better than a day driver—a day salesman whose life lost its lustre over the years?” I pulled the bottle out of my jacket and took a long swig, looking at him as I did. “The world has also cried out to me. And I was the one saying no, just the same. I fight the good fight and walk down the road walked by so many others, but I will never falter. I will never cave. I will seek out a life all want, but none have the courage to live.”
“Keep the bottle, then, and let your destruction swallow you whole. And if you come out alive, the tie and jacket will welcome you on the other side—and there will be someone like me, bailing you out.”
We drove into the city.
“Drop me off by Manulife Place.” I was feeling the kind of clarity the drink will give, as I put my hangover aside. “Alright.” He slowed. The sun was just barely up; it must have been about 6 in the morning when we reached the mall’s entrance. I opened the door.
“I never got your name, oh wise one,” I said as I stepped onto the sidewalk.
“Why do you care? You’ll forget me as soon as you light another smoke.” He handed me another one. “The name is… Ivan. Ivan the terrible.”
“Ha. Good day, sir. Watch out for that looming mid-life crisis,” I said as I closed the door.
I watch my roommate Rob’s cheeks turn from a shade of deep pink to a dark crimson red. “A.J.! He’s getting worse!” I yell to my other roommate in the driver’s seat. He rolls his eyes then turns around.
“Calm down, Jo!” he exclaims. “I can’t think when you’re yelling like this!”
Drew, our other roommate, and usually the voice of reason, says nothing as he quickly jumps out of the Range Rover and runs into the hospital entrance.
“Can’t. Breathe,” Rob manages to force out of his mouth, then before I know it, his body falls limp and his head somehow ends up on my lap. His eyes roll to the back of his head.
“I think he’s dying!” I whine and suddenly I’m losing my breath.
Releasing a loud groan, A.J. climbs out of the SUV and casually walks into the hospital as if nothing is wrong.
Why is he so calm and I’m flipping the hell out?
I begin to shake Rob’s shoulders but he doesn’t respond and I’m almost positive that he’s not breathing at all now.
I killed my roommate.
Okay, maybe he’s not dead yet, but if death was a road, he just made a left turn for the worse then ran over a few annoying potholes and some week old roadkill…and probably drove off a cliff or something…
Ugh! I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore! I feel guilty for doing this to him and I feel even more guilty because I kinda hate his arrogant, smug ass, but just because someone is an asshole doesn’t mean that they deserve to die, does it?
The back door opens and I see A.J. and Drew standing outside with a wheelchair. A.J. roughly wraps his arms around Rob’s body and begins to pull him out of the car. “Fuck! He’s like the size of an ogre,” he complains as he struggles to get Rob into the wheelchair. The fact that Rob is as useless as a wet noodle right now makes it difficult for A.J. to adjust Rob’s body in the chair. I cringe just watching it.
“I knew this was going to happen one day,” Drew says shaking his head. “The inevitable always happens.”
Shooting Drew a snarling glare, A.J. grits his teeth. “Just roll the goddamn chair into the hospital,” he instructs. Drew turns the chair around and begins to jog into the emergency room with Rob’s body leaning to one side. A.J. looks at me in the SUV, annoyed. “Well, are you coming?” he asks and I just freeze.
Do I stay? Do I go? I don’t know what to do with myself!
Taking a quick yet deep breath, I climb out of the SUV, shut the door and join A.J. on the other side of the vehicle.
“I’m horrible,” I blurt out and I can feel wetness welling in my eyes. “I’m a horrible person.”
“Dammit, Jo! I hate it when girls cry,” he complains as he shuts the other back door and begins to walk into the hospital. He pauses in his tracks when he notices that I’m not following him.
Gabby Cosette smoothed her hand down the simple baby blue sundress she meticulously picked out for this evening and tried not to look too eager. Or throw up. That wouldn’t do either.
From a back booth, she glanced around the only Italian restaurant in Redwood Ridge, comforted by the fact it was still early yet for the dinner rush. The place was a good choice. Right? Not as casual as Shooters—the bar she and her friends frequented—but not as formal as one of the seafood restaurants that dotted their Oregon coastal town. A step above grabbing coffee or a beer, yet it didn’t scream desperation.
Was a booth in the back too obvious? Had she overdone it with her makeup? Maybe she should’ve put her hair up instead of down?
No, no. She went for light and natural on purpose. The patrons of Redwood Ridge had known her all her life. It wasn’t far out of the realm of ordinary for her to wear a dress and light cosmetics. She was being a basket case.
It’s just… Well, she hadn’t had a date in a year. A year!
To calm her nerves, she drew in a deep breath and focused on the red checkered tablecloth. A votive candle flickered on the windowsill to her right, the flame reflecting off the tinted glass. The parking lot stretched beyond, where her date’s car was not in one of the available spots.
It was silly to get this worked up over a first date, especially with Tom.
She’d gone to elementary and high school with him. His parents still lived down the street from hers. Strange how he’d never shown any interest in her romantically, yet out of the blue, he’d asked her out this week. Continue reading
The Amazon purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 2 Escape.
Self-Help / Motivational
Date Published: May 23, 2017
Squash Self-Doubt and Worry
Self-doubt can hold you prisoner and leave you wondering if anyone can set you free. In reality, the only person who can unlock your self-doubt cell is you.
Of course this doesn’t mean you must go through the process alone. With Kristi Patrice Carter as your guide in her newest book, Reprogram Yourself for UNSTOPPABLE Self-Confidence, you can learn how to squash self-doubt and worry to become a more self-confident version of you.
Purchase Link: Amazon
Kristi Patrice Carter’s mission is to help people live their best lives—one self-help book at a time. She is driven by her passion for sharing her knowledge and a hope for inspiring and empowering people around the world to achieve their life goals.
A force to be reckoned with, Kristi Patrice Carter has a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Juris Doctorate from Chicago-Kent College of Law, and over eighteen years of writing and marketing experience. She’s also a wife, mother, author, and serial entrepreneur.
Title: DESERT MELODY
Author: Laura Evans Serna
Publisher: New Land Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
For generations the Ahn, Voyan, and Humans have thrived living side by side. The ambitious Ahn need solitude. The communal Voyan thought share and hear the voices of the sacred dead around them. Now Humans are becoming more like the Ahn, and the Voyan are struggling.
Teagan is a single Voyan mother and wet nurse. She lost the ability to thought share. Though she spends hours walking in the desert searching for the voices she once heard, she embraces her new found intellectual focus and is drawn into the Human world of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Teagan plans to go into hiding to avoid being forced back to a Voyan community where her daughter would be an outcast. However she meets Josh, a generous and handsome man who understands her better than anyone. She loves him, and Josh takes an active role in parenting Teagan’s daughter.
Teagan discovers that her behavior is more Human than Voyan because she has been unknowingly medicated. She is part of a secret and manipulative eugenics program designed by Josh’s best friend. Teagan questions her faith in Josh while needing him in her life more than ever. Once off the medication, Teagan loses her focus, and her dream of helping her people through research slips away.
Teagan is kidnapped by the Voyan and put into a lucid trance for months. During this time she feels the desperation of her people. But Teagan hears the call of the Kokopelli’s flute. She knows she is called for a purpose, and she escapes back to Human society. At this point, though, Teagan can no longer speak verbally. She asks the Ahn to continue providing her the medication so she can live as a Human and stay with her daughter and Josh. She knows she is called to help her people.
I lay in bed, enjoying the morning quiet as I watched my sleeping daughter. Her jet-black hair fanned out across our pillow. Thin white drapes over the window swelled gently as the cool morning air washed over us.
I traced the scars up and down my arms and chest, my hand stopping as usual on the jagged scar across my lower back. Would I ever forget? Did I want to? Thankfully, my Brianna stirred just then, bringing me back to the present. She opened her chocolate-brown eyes and melted my heart with her smile. I sent her off into the kitchen with my aunt Eva so that I could begin my morning ritual. I pulled out my electric breast pump and set it on the dresser.
My milk has Factor K, a protein known to significantly improve survivability for weak Voyan newborns. Only about 10 percent of Voyan women produce Factor K. Even without this protein, though, Voyan milk is invaluable because many postpartum Voyan have found they can no longer produce milk. Despite the efforts of a handful of dedicated Human biochemists, no suitable formula has been developed for Voyan babies. Donors save babies from starvation.
The buzz in my head grew stronger. Unintelligible whispers sneaked in to taunt me, to remind me of my damaged state. I could no longer pick up the thoughts of my family, and they couldn’t pick up mine.
I stepped into the shower, letting the thrum of water on my head chase the mumblings away. As I got dressed, Eva peeked her head in. In the light of the morning sun, the delicate scars across her chest looked like fine lace.
“Teagan, I made cinnamon rolls. Brianna’s favorite.” Her voice was slow and sweet.
“Everyone’s favorite,” I said, winking at Eva. She turned to go but remembered something.
Eva couldn’t understand my desire to get away from my Voyan family. With the Voyan, I was deaf and mute. I was disabled. Out in the city, I could pretend to be Human.
“I was, unless you need me here.”
“Just a few moments?” she asked nervously. I knew exactly what she meant. Eva wanted me to spend time with our ancestors. Picking up Brianna, I headed to the tiny golden room behind the kitchen.
Brianna was mesmerized by the candles that lit up the small ancestor room. A few silver and gold urns sat together in a corner. I could tell that at one time the urns had engraved designs, but now they were worn from years of being touched and rubbed. They held the ashes of my ancestors as well as those of many other Voyan my family happened to meet.
I closed my eyes, listening for something I knew I could no longer hear. The air was thick, and not just from smoke. I could almost feel the voices of the dead around me, but not quite. And the more I tried to feel them, the harder it was.
Laura Evans Serna grew up in Albuquerque wandering the Sandia mountains and enjoying magnificent sunsets each night. She was spoiled by the mountain and desert wilderness and the freedom it offered. Now that she’s lived in Oxford, Washington, DC, and Tokyo, she knows how rare and precious that kind of experience is.
As a teenager Laura would lie on her concrete driveway with her siblings and friends, watching Hale Bopp slowly cross the sky. She discussed science and theology with no reservation. What are the laws of physics, and where did they come from? What do they mean? Where do humans fit into all of this? What binds society together? Laura believes that these are the questions that make us human. They don’t belong to the scientists, philosophers, or theologians. Everyone has a right to make them their own.
Laura started her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of New Mexico. At the time, she was tired of Albuquerque. Until she left she didn’t appreciate the unique mix of cultures or the abundance of intellectual activity of her home town. She married a man in the Air Force and followed him to Colorado, where she spent her time teaching English with Catholic Charities and finishing up a degree in math at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Next Laura moved to the UK where she had the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford. She earned an MSc in Mathematical Modelling while pregnant and experiencing motherhood for the first time. (It was a struggle, to be sure!) Laura found Oxford to be a fantastic, walkable city perfect for pushing a newborn around in a pram. Although they only spent three years in Oxford, she will always feel as if it is a home of sorts for them.
Laura spent periods of time teaching math and doing technical editing, but motherhood suits her more than any other hat she’s worn. Her three daughters are a constant joy. She has come to the conclusion that the world over needs more, not less, of the maternal touch, and she wants to write stories featuring strong, intelligent mothers.
It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Yolanda Renée’s THE SNOWMAN Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.◊ THE SNOWMAN
◊ by Yolanda Renée
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: TRACE Enterprises
◊ Series: Detective Quaid Mystery
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ Contains explicit sex & violence
This is a prequel to the author’s Detective Steven Quaid Mysteries. This story tells of Steven’s first case as a rookie detective. It takes place 10 years before the events in MURDER, MADNESS & LOVE, the first book in the series.
The author is offering a tour-wide giveaway featuring both print and eBook copies from her series. More information on the giveaway is listed below.
It takes a true artist to pursue his victims in the art of seduction, and Stowy Jenkins is no exception, especially with blood as his medium.
Stowy Jenkins, aka, Stone, and as Alaskans refer to him, the Snowman, is a true artist. His muse, Gigi, is the ultimate inspiration for his painting. Her rejection inspires him to use a very unusual medium…blood.
While art may be his passion, the taste for blood is his obsession, and multiple murders, the result.
Rookie, Detective Steven Quaid, is no fan of the Snowman’s murderous exhibitions. A twisted and deadly relationship bond the two men and neither knows who will come out of it alive.
A heavy snow is falling, exciting his murderous passion. With trembling fingers, Stone prepares for his greatest work of art. He tears open a package of duct tape, caressing the dull, gray roll before placing it onto the clean, white towels. A leather sports bag lies open. “Just a few more necessary items,” he mutters as he steps over to a rack on the wall.
After selecting three razor sharp knives, he unlocks the closet door. He gathers three syringes, and a vial of anesthetic, carefully wrapping them in a soft cloth. He places each one into the inside pocket of the bag.
A coil of twisted rope is snatched from the floor. Stone carefully measures and cuts the cord exactly fifteen inches. One by one he places each item into the bag. “Excellent…now for the final piece.”
Housed in a leather case, he lovingly places his new Nikon camera on top of the other items. “Now we are ready—so ready.”
This is a prequel to the author Yolanda Renée’s Detective Quaid Mysteries. This story tells of Steven’s first case as a rookie detective. It takes place 10 years before the events in MURDER, MADNESS & LOVE, the first book in the series.
At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I’ve traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.
Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!
You can connect with me here:
“You’re kidding, right?” Eden Wilde dropped her fork on her plate and glanced around the dinner table. Had her parents lost their collective minds? “I’m afraid not.” Her father’s determined blue gaze, a mirror image of her own, met hers. “We signed the agreement this afternoon.”
Her mother reached over to pat her arm. “Think of it as an adventure.”
More like a nightmare.
“Grandpa, I can’t believe you agreed to this insanity?”
Jasper Wilde shrugged then dug into the pile of mashed potatoes on his plate. When he glanced up, his gray eyes twinkled beneath a thatch of snow-white hair. “Your dad says the ranch needs the income, and I think filming a movie here will be quite an experience. Maybe we’ll all get to be extras. Wouldn’t that be a kick?”
“Fun? Really?” Eden snorted. “From what you’ve told me, this isn’t some little documentary. It’s a major motion picture. Our lives will be in complete chaos for… How long?”
Her father laid down his steak knife as a frown knit his forehead. “The producer told me they hope to finish in four weeks. A huge chunk of the action is set outdoors, and the majority of those scenes will be shot on the ranch.”
She gripped the edge of the table. “A month?” The reality was worse than she’d imagined. “And you waited until now to tell me because…”
Her mom let out a worried sigh. “Nothing was finalized until today since the production company was considering several different ranches here in Wyoming, as well as a couple in Montana. There was no point in upsetting you if the deal for our property fell through.”
“So, you knew I wouldn’t be on board with the plan, but you still went ahead with such a major decision without discussing it with me?” Eden’s voice rose. “What am I, a child to be placated? I can’t believe this.”
“Honey, we aren’t ganging up on you. We’re just doing what needs to be done.” Her grandpa cleared his throat. “Boyd, what did that producer say he’d pay us?”
“Fifty grand.” Her dad took a swallow of his iced tea. “After two years of severe drought, we’ve dug into our reserves for cattle feed. The barn needs a coat of paint and there are a lot of costs associated with throwing a double wedding for your brothers. That check is going to help me sleep nights.” Eden opened her mouth then closed it. She didn’t have a reasonable counterargument that didn’t make her sound petty and selfish. She let out a slow breath. “I didn’t know the ranch was having cash flow problems.
I’m sure Griff and Sawyer would be happy to chip in for wedding expenses if they knew.”
“Your brothers already have.” Her mother tucked a strand of short brown hair behind one ear. “But we’d like to lay down new gravel on the driveway and put in an irrigation system for the back lawn where the ceremony will take place so the grass will be nice and green.” She waved a hand. “Generally spruce the place up so the ranch looks its best in June.” “Dahlia’s right.” Her grandpa forked up another bite of potatoes. “We
want to impress the future in-laws.”
“Not to mention the barn is so faded it’s closer to pink than red.” Her dad winced. “We’ll have to paint it before they start shooting the movie. Our vintage barn is one of the main reasons the producers went with our spread.”
Eden let out a sigh as resignation set in. “Why’s that?”
Her grandpa reached for a roll from the basket in the center of the table. “Settlers painted their barns red, and this movie is an old-fashioned Western.” His smile stretched. “You know, the type John Wayne used to star in with cowboys and Indians.”
“Native Americans, Grandpa, not Indians.” When her parents exchanged a long moment of wordless communication, tension banded across Eden’s chest and squeezed. “Oh, now I get it. They want my wild horses.”
“They intend to use them in background shots.” Her father leaned forward to plant his elbows on the table. “I made sure the contract stipulates you have final say over anything to do with your horses.”
“Well, thank God for that.” “Within reason.”
She scowled. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Continue reading