Category: Author

PICT Presents: THE EBOLA GAME by Glenn Shepard

The Ebola Game

by Glenn Shepard

on Tour April 2016

The Ebola Game by Glenn Shepard

ISIS terrorists are trying to start an Ebola epidemic in America.

Only Scott James is immune.

The Ebola Game just keeps coming at you and at you. Incredible.” -John Haslett


A bomb explodes at a local hospital.


Dr. Scott James must race through twists and turns to find a cure for a deadly biological weapon.


A quarantined group of people await Dr. James’ help.


Sanfia is the most powerful Vodoun priestess in Haiti. She may have the cure.


Beautiful Elizabeth is one of the most notorious freelance operatives in the world. Scott James will need her unique genius to stop the epidemic.

“Scott, a biological weapon just exploded on your doorstep. We don’t know what we’re dealing with here.”

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Medical Fiction, Action & Adventure

Published by: Mystery House

Publication Date: Jan 2016

Number of Pages: 205

ISBN: 0997134917 (ISBN-13: 978-0997134919)

Series: The Dr. Scott James Thriller Series, 3rd (Each is a Stand Alone Novel)

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Conference Room
Hospital Administrator’s Offices
9:30 a.m.

Dr. Reed called and said that he wanted to update hospital leaders on his team’s findings and give further instructions. I called the operator and had her contact the Executive Committee, a governing body comprised of the department heads, committee chairmen, and all the assistant hospital administrators quarantined in the hospital. The group assembled within fifteen minutes. The two from the CDC were the only ones in the room in hazmat suits and helmets.

Dr. Reed gave his report: “Ebola virus was definitively diagnosed by electron microscopy.”

Everyone groaned, even though they knew before this report came in that it was Ebola. Then, he gave what he called the “good news.” The vast majority of the patients who had been in the hospital at the time of the explosion, as well as most of the doctors, nurses, and people in maintenance and facilities, were not exposed and could be released from quarantine to return to their homes. I began to applaud and the other members of the executive committee followed.

Reed was resuming his talk when my telephone rang. I looked to see that the caller was the Mayor’s Office. I answered in a quiet voice, “Dr. James.”

It was Mayor LaShaun Washington. “I know you are in a meeting with Dr. Reed and your staff. I’m going to call back in a minute on Skype so I can teleconference with your entire group.”

I paused for a moment to comprehend his demand, and hung up. I opened Skype on my computer. The large screen at the end of conference room went from black to a picture of Mayor Washington and a group of people sitting at a conference table.

The Mayor spoke: “Dr. James, you will recognize everyone in my panel, the Jackson City City Council, and of course the City Attorney, Ms. Marks.

“Dr. James. This conference is called into emergency session. Now, let’s get right to the point: Dr. James, did you receive a message from a terrorist group that mentioned ‘Ebola?’”


“Dr. James: Did you, or did you not, receive a message from a known terrorist organization in the last twenty-four hours? The Jackson City Police have the article in their possession. You are a terrorist. You affiliate with terrorists, you’ve been the center of multiple attacks, and why the FBI has allowed you to carry on, purely in the interest of having another informant—”

“I am not a terrorist, sir!”

“Dr. James—you are out of order here. This is an emergency meeting. Let’s get to the second point, of which this body has just been informed: You are immune to Ebola. Is that correct?”


Reed stepped forward and said through his mask, “We have not informed Dr. James of that yet. We just got the results. Frankly I’m a little shocked that you know.”

“I assure you Dr. Reed, this body will be involved in every aspect of this ongoing tragedy. Dr. James, we find it all just a little too convenient that the epidemic you have created here in the United States is something that you also just happen to be immune to—”

“I didn’t create anything!” I screamed. “What are you talking about! It’s Omar Farok! He’s doing all this!”

“Dr. James! That’s enough! That is enough! That is enough! Now … The FBI will be taking you into custody shortly. We are cooperating thoroughly in their investigation. This body is going to make sure that the federal authorities do the right thing and indict you for conspiracy. You are directly responsible for a number of terrorist attacks and your connection with certain cults is well known. The City Council has passed a binding resolution that relieves you of your position at The Jackson City Hospital. Permanently. We are also considering civil action against you and your group.”

“Why don’t you just banish me from the city! You’re a dictator, right?”

“Dr. James.”

“Just throw me out of my own home! You are a dictator, right?”

“Dr. James. That’s enough.”

I turned and looked at the scornful stares of my hospital staff. Many of these doctors had been my friends for many years. I had grown up with so many of them. But no one spoke a word in my defense.


Author Bio:

Glenn Shepard - authorGlenn Shepard’s first novel, Surge, was written while he was still a surgical resident at Vanderbilt. In the following years he wrote The Hart Virus, a one-thousand-page epic about the AIDS crisis, as well as three other novels. In 2012, he created “Dr. Scott James,” his Fugitive-like action-hero, and began publishing a series. The first volume of the Dr. Scott James series was The Missile Game, followed shortly afterward by The Zombie Game. The third of the series, The Ebola Game, is due out in December, 2015. Though the books contain many of the same characters, they don’t have to be read in order. Each can be read as a stand-alone.

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Glenn Shepard. There will be 2 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Ebola Game by Glenn Shepard. The giveaway begins on April 1st and runs through April 30th, 2016.

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PICT Presents: DECEIVED by ASHLEE MALLORY Blast & giveaway


by Ashlee Mallory

Book Blast on April 18, 2016

Deceived He took everything. Now it’s her turn…

Former foster kid Olivia Michaels is finally about to have it all. She’s recently engaged, and on the cusp of earning a big promotion at a job she loves. But her perfect life is ripped apart by accusations of insider trading and fraud, and ultimately the murder of her best friend. Faced with the possibility of life in prison—or worst, death—she accepts a deal. A plea of guilty for something she didn’t do, in exchange for three years in prison.

Olivia’s lost everything. The only thing she has left now is time. Time to remember what she’s lost. Time to realize who had the most to gain. Time to plan exactly how she’s going to exact her revenge. When she leaves those prison walls, she’ll have more than just a new family of friends who’ll have her back; she’ll have a plan. And he’ll never see her coming.

Grab hold for this fast-paced, high-stakes caper that won’t let go!

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: April 18, 2016
Number of Pages: 299
Series: A Final Justice Thriller, #1
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

The hammering pain in my head finally brought me into consciousness, although I couldn’t yet bring myself to open my eyes. I lay there, trying to remember what happened. Someone had struck me. But Charlotte had been next to me and the blow…

I was wet, cold, and there was a strange smell in the air, an earthier smell, like copper, like…

I opened my eyes and managed to turn my head.


I sat up and winced as pain and nausea hit me over the sudden movement. Why was I wet? Why was there blood on my hands? My shirt? Had my head been bleeding? And where was Charlotte?

I couldn’t rise, not just yet, and came to my knees, crawling to the coffee table and my cell phone. This wasn’t right. Something was wrong.

Someone might still be here.

Where was Charlotte?

There was pounding again, only not from my head and voices called out. Police? Then there were officers swarming in.

Relieved, I sat back on the carpet, dropping my head to my hands. What had just happened? There was so much talking, someone asked me if I was okay, who I was, if anyone else was in the house. I shook my head as I tried to make sense of their questions.

“We have a body,” a female officer called out.

I turned to the officer, who was looking down at something behind the couch, already calling it in.

“What do you mean?” I stumbled to my feet, but wavered instantly. Before I could buckle back down, arms were around me.

“Olivia? Are you okay?” It was Ethan. He’d arrived and was holding me up. “Oh my God, what happened? Is that your blood? Are you bleeding?”

But I was barely listening. They’d said a body and I threw myself forward, trying to see something, anything.

Her feet were the first thing I spotted. She’d been wearing her black Jimmy Choos that we’d picked up on her birthday four months before, but one had fallen off and was next to her now bare foot.

Still, so still.

Another officer came over, stepping around the bod—around Charlotte. “I think we have a weapon.”

I’d reached the area where Charlotte was lying, her eyes glassy as they looked up, lifeless. Her pretty blonde hair streaked with fresh blood. The carpet underneath her deep crimson. Sure enough, by her side was something. The lamplight made the surface of the long scissors almost glisten—except where the dark color that could only be blood covered them.

The female officer squatted down along with the male officer to look at her, neither of them touching anything. The eggshell blouse she’d been wearing was now mostly red and it was apparent from the wound and the blood pooled underneath that she’d been stabbed in the throat.

I couldn’t stop the sob this time as I screamed her name. Over and over.

And then there was a prick in my arm and I was floating, adrift. And darkness again took me.

Author Bio:

Ashlee MalloryAshlee Mallory is a USA Today Bestselling author of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Thrillers. A recovering attorney, she currently resides in Utah with her husband and two kids. She aspires to one day include running, hiking and traveling to exotic destinations in her list of things she enjoys, but currently settles for enjoying a good book and a glass of wine from the comfort of her couch.

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Ashlee Mallory. There will be 6 US winners. One There will be SIX (6) winners for this tour. One winner will receive one $25 gift card from (US Only) the other 5 winners will each receive eBook copy of Deceived by Ashlee Mallory. This giveaway is for **US residents only**. The giveaway begins on April 18th and runs through April 30th, 2016.

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It’s Time for a Book Blast | Chimeras & Mosaics

Track Presius Series, Books 1 & 2

by E.E. Giorgi

Book Blast



Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Quemazon Publishing
Publication Date: April 5 2014
Number of Pages: 406
ISBN: 978-0996045100

Purchase Links:


Haunted by the girl he couldn’t save in his youth, and the murder he committed to avenge her, Detective Track Presius has a unique gift: the vision and sense of smell of a predator. When a series of apparently unrelated murders reel him into the depths of genetic research, Track feels more than a call to duty. Children are dying — children who, like himself, could have been healthy, and yet something, at some point, went terribly wrong. For Track, saving the innocent becomes a quest for redemption. The only way he can come to terms with his dark past is to understand his true nature.



Chimeras is now a Reader’s Favorite 2014 Book Award Finalist!! Check it out here: Reader’s Favorite.


Read an excerpt:


It was one of those hot summer afternoons, with air made of cobwebs and a glare as sharp as pencils.

“Something’s wrong today,” I said.

“It’s L.A.,” my partner replied. “Something’s always wrong in L.A.”

A few hours later Johnny Carmelo was dead, his brains skewered by the whistling path of one of my bullets. He collapsed on the pavement, a red trickle of blood weeping down his face. They told me they weren’t going to clear me back to duty until the investigation was over. I left the next day. I drove up to the Sierras, camped in my truck, and hunted at night.

There are days I long to disappear in the wild, go back to the predator life I was meant to have. Kill the prey or be killed: it’s in my genes.

A chimera, that’s what I am. And this is my story.





Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Quemazon Publishing
Publication Date: 9/2014
Number of Pages: ~410
ISBN: 978-0-9960451-1-7

PreOrder Today:



Dubbed the Byzantine Strangler because of the mysterious mosaic tiles he leaves at the crime scene, a new serial killer is stalking the streets of Los Angeles. Racing to decipher the code encrypted in the tiles before the killer strikes again, Detective Track Presius faces a new challenge: the “awakened” genes that make his vision and olfactory sense so sharp are now taking a toll on his life. When a new set of tiles appears in his own backyard, Track makes a chilling realization: those very same genes that are threatening his life are drawing the Byzantine Strangler closer and closer. The line between hunter and hunted has suddenly blurred. Will Track be the next piece of the mosaic puzzle?


Read an excerpt:

MOSAICS – excerpt

A dark hallway with no windows opened to the right of the foyer. The smells changed—the staleness of a vacant place and the victim’s scent—feminine, ambitious, seductive. The wall displayed wrought iron sconces and a collection of photos of Amy—Amy in her graduation gown, Amy with friends, Amy with her cat. A pretty face, I noticed, whose beauty didn’t distract from an underlining drive for determination.

Her bedroom was orderly. There was a half-empty birth control kit in her nightstand drawer, but no boyfriend in her life, according to the friends and relatives interviewed, only an ex-husband who now lived in Oregon. Toiletries on her vanity table, regular clothes in her closet, a few garments in her drawers that told me she was no nun, but no distinctive masculine scent anywhere. If she shared her bed with somebody, she’d done a good job at hiding it. The sheets smelled clean and freshly washed.

The next door let to her home office, a small carpeted room with a couple of white bookcases, a table with a desktop and printer, a metal chair, and, on the opposite side, a futon, a laundry basket, and an ironing table folded against the wall. Through the window, the hills of Montecito glowed against the evening sky, a wavy fabric of glimmering lights.

I inhaled. The bookshelves were crammed with medical books, the desk buried under stacks of papers.

The sweet, foul smell of the tiles…

I sat at the desk, opened the drawers, sniffed the keyboard, then the computer screen.

Not here. Close, though.

The papers. He went through the pile of papers.

I rummaged through the folders not knowing what to look for, just tailgating a smell. Gloved fingers had brushed through printouts and graphs, tables, essays, research proposals…

Did he find what he was looking for? And if so, what?

Article after article of scientific jargon, each title some random permutation of the words immunodeficiency, vaccine, study design, therapy, antiretroviral.

“What are you gonna see in the dark?” By the office door, Satish flipped the light switch.


“On paper?”

“Yeah. And patterns, too,” I said. I sniffed the top right corner. I could follow the gloved fingers searching through the pile of papers, most likely a left thumb holding up the top ones so he could read the titles, and a right index flipping through. Until the trace stopped.

He found what he was looking for. Probably took it with him.

I inhaled and gave one last look around. Everything else seemed untouched.

“What did Gomez have to say?”

Satish shook his head sideways. “Autopsy’s scheduled for Thursday morning. Just got an invitation. Wanna join the party?” He smiled. Waited.

Amy Liu smiled too, from a silver frame on her desk, a man’s hand draping her shoulder, and a strand of black hair blowing over her face.

“Fine,” I said, walking past him out of the room. “I’ll keep you company on Thursday, but—”
He switched the lights off and followed me back to the foyer. “Uh-uh, Track. First things first. Tomorrow you pee in a cup and get your LAPD badge back.”

“I pee in a what?”

We locked the house, replaced the yellow crime scene tape. The air was tainted with a hint of humidity and the scent of jacaranda blooms. A handful of pale stars dotted the sky, the glow of downtown beneath them like a disoriented dawn. A broken streetlight strobed from farther down the street. The Latino music persisted. Yo sufrí mucho por ti, mi corazon…
Satish unlocked the car and slid behind the wheel. “Union mandated drug test. Your leave of absence from the department was longer than ninety days. Welcome back to regulations, Detective Presius.”

I made a face.

“Look at it this way. Whoever handles those cups has it way worse than you.” He started the engine and backed out of the driveway. “Shit happens, Track. Never forget that.”

“Hard to forget on days like this.”

I rolled down the window and let cool air blow in my face. The freeway droned in the distance, as another night descended upon L.A. Another murder, another killer on the loose.

It was June 2009, the beginning of summer.

Killing season had just started.



What Readers Think:



Author Bio:

E.E. Giorgi is a scientist, a writer, and a photographer. She spends her days analyzing genetic data, her evenings chasing sunsets, and her nights pretending she’s somebody else. On her blog, E.E. discusses science for the inquiring mind, especially the kind that sparks fantastic premises and engaging stories. Her detective thriller CHIMERAS, a hard-boiled police procedural with a genetic twist, is now available on Amazon.

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Guest Author JAC WRIGHT showcase & giveaway ENDED



Jac Wright is a poet published in literary magazines, a published author, and an electronics engineer educated at Stanford, University College London, and Cambridge who lives and works in England. Jac studied English literature from the early age of three, developing an intense love for poetry, drama, and writing in Trinity College Speech & Drama classes taken afternoons and Saturdays for fourteen years, and in subsequent creative writing classes taken during the university years. A published poet, Jac’s first passion was for literary fiction and poetry writing as well as for the dramatic arts. You will find these influences in the poetic imagery and prose, the dramatic scene setting, and the deep character creation.
These passions – for poetry, drama, literary fiction, and electronic engineering – have all been lovingly combined to create the first book in the literary suspense series, The Reckless Engineer. There are millions of professionals in high tech corporate environments who work in thousands of cities in the US, the UK, and the world such as engineers, technicians, technical managers, investment bankers, and corporate lawyers. High drama, power struggles, and human interest stories play out in the arena every day. Yet there are hardly any books that tell their stories; there are not many books that they can identify with. Jac feels compelled to tell their stories in The Reckless Engineer series.
Jac also writes the literary short fiction series, Summerset Tales, in which he explores characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances in the semi-fictional region of contemporary England called Summerset, partly the region that Thomas Hardy called Wessex. Some of the tales have an added element of suspense similar to Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. The collection is published as individual tales in the tradition of Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers and Thomas Hardy’s Wessex Tales. The first tale, The Closet, accompanies the author’s first full-length literary suspense title, The Reckless Engineer.
Connect with Jac at these sites:


Q&A with Jac Wright

-Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Quite a bit of my experiences make their way into my writing, but not in a direct way. Bits of different experiences are mixed together with a lot of imaginary and fictitious characters and events.  A character might have the looks of a stranger I might have spotted on the train, certain mannerisms of a friend, and a completely imaginary personality. It is so mixed together that the end result is fictitious.

I have not used events in the news for my books published so far.  However, I use parts of the Northern Bank Robbery which happened in Belfast in December 2004 as an event to fictitiously model some action in my next book, “Buy, Sell, Murder”.  I also use the Barclays Libor fixing scandal somewhat carefully in it.

-Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and
see where the story line brings you?
Oh, no.  I start with a core idea central to the plot that would have come to me in a moment of inspiration, almost like a dream or a segment of a movie. The main characters are inextricably interwoven into this segment.  I then build the other characters around this, give each character a psychology, and let the characters drive the story forward by keeping each one true to his or her psychology.

For example, I woke up late on a warm summer day this June with an image of a fugitive escaping and running away from an overturned van transporting him to court from prison that had met with an accident. Prisoners wear normal clothing in England, not orange jumpsuits, and they are not in chains.  He runs into the crowds and a bus parked behind a mall to hide among the people only to find that it is a film set.  The actor playing a main character of the movie and the director are having a fight. The actor suddenly punches the director in the face who falls backward. My protagonist fugitive hiding among the supporting film crew catches him and breaks the fall.  The director gets up, wipes the blood off his nose, fires the main actor loudly, and asks him to get out of his movie set.  He turns to my protagonist and asks: ‘You there, what’s your name?’  ‘Art Miller,’ he gives a fake name.  ‘Art, you are playing Michael Fallon. His trailer is yours now. Go with my crew and get dressed.’  And there I have the plot, the main characters, and the first chapter of my standalone book, In Plain Sight.

-Your routine when writing?  Any idiosyncrasies?
My only routine is I have none. I write when time allows me and inspiration hits me. I usually prefer to write at my desk on my big-screen server I do my engineering work on, but sometimes I might move to a different spot or go outside with my laptop.  To make it easy I keep my writing on a USB drive and back up onto my 3 computers about once a week.

-Is writing your full time job?  If not, may I ask what you do by day?
I am an electronics and software engineer by day. However, I have recently left full-time nine-to-five work to start an engineering firm with a friend and I take on engineering subcontracts that allow me more flexibility to write when I want and do the engineering work when I want.

-Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love most of the classics. Out of the authors in my genre I really like Patricia Highsmith, Roald Dahl, Ian Rankin, and Benjamin Black.

-What are you reading now?
I am re-reading Wuthering Heights. I grew up reading a lot of mystery and suspense fiction and writing in the suspense genre comes easily to me.  However, I need to hone my skills in writing the romances that run as sub-plots in my work, and what other way is there to do that than read the greatest romances ever written? I read Wuthering Heights in my mid-twenties, but I have forgotten the details; and this time I am really absorbing the work.

I am also reading this time’s Mann Booker prize winner, The Luminaries.

-Are you working on your next novel?  Can you tell us a little about it?
One of them is In Plain Sight that I described above.  The second in The Reckless engineer series – Buy, Sell, Murder – and Summerset Tales #2 – The Bank Job– are also half written.  I hope to publish two of these in 2014.

-Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast?
Daniel Craig would be good to play the series lead, Jeremy Aiden Stone, though he would have to look a decade younger.
A great alternative would be Scott Eastwood (Clint Eastwood Junior) if his acting abilities are anything like his dad’s, but they would have to age him a decade which I not hard.
Richard Armitage would be absolutely perfect to play Harry Stavers, the defence counsel.
Desmond Harrington (from Dexter) could play the mess that is Jack Connor really well.
Jessica Biel had the right looks for Caitlin McAllen-Connor, Jack Connor’s wife, with a shorter haircut; and she would have to play the character a stronger personality than she is used to.
Jeremy Irons for Douglas McAllen, Caitlin’s father.
I know Otter looks like Lenny Kravitz.  So they will have to cast a new actor in the role.

-Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
Keyboard.  It is too hard to do re-writes and corrections with handwritten.  Having said that, I admit that I wrote chapters 28 through 44 (to the end) with a black ballpoint pen, doing correction with a blue ballpoint pen first and typed it up later.

-Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Writing. LOL. Other than that I love kittens and puppies.

-Favorite meal?
Authentic Spanish enchiladas with a shredded beef filling; with a Margarita to sip.

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.


Can you forgive betrayal?

The aftershocks of an affair reverberate out to those in the lives of the lovers, who will NOT take it lying down.

Jack Connor lives an idyllic life by the Portsmouth seaside married to Caitlin McAllen, a stunning billionaire heiress, and working at his two jobs as the Head of Radar Engineering of Marine Electronics and as the Director of Engineering of McAllen BlackGold, his powerful father-in-law’s extreme engineering company in oil & gas. He loves his two sons from his first marriage and is amicably divorced from his beautiful first wife, Marianne Connor. Their delicately balanced lives are shattered when the alluring Michelle Williams, with whom Jack is having a secret affair, is found dead and Jack is arrested on suspicion for the murder.
Jeremy Stone brings in a top London defence attorney, Harry Stavers, to handle his best friend’s defence.

Who is the bald man with the tattoo of a skull seen entering the victim’s house? Who is the “KC” that Caitlin makes secret calls to from a disposable mobile? Has the powerful Douglas McAllen already killed his daughter’s first partner, and is he capable of killing again? Is Caitlin’s brother’s power struggle with Jack for the control of McAllen Industries so intense that he is prepared to kill and frame him? Is the divorce from his first wife as amicable on her part as they believe it to be? Are his sons prepared to kill for their vast inheritance? Who are the ghosts from Caitlin’s past haunting the marriage? What is the involvement of Jack’s manager at Marine Electronics?

While Jack is charged and his murder trial proceeds in the Crown Court under barrister Harry Stavers’ expert care, Jeremy runs a race against time to find the real killer and save his friend’s life, if he is in fact innocent, in a tense tale of love, friendship, power, and ambition.

Read an excerpt

Despite the comfort and luxury all around him Jeremy was woken from a night of disturbed sleep by the sound of the dogs barking. It was 8:20 Saturday morning. There were voices downstairs in anxious chatter. His room (huh, he thought of this as his room now, did he?) was a first-floor en-suite with a bath. Actually it had a shared bathroom separating two twin rooms, but the second one had never been occupied whenever he had been here.

Jeremy washed his face quickly and hurried to the cupboard. Caitlin had laid out some clean clothes. He set his oversized laptop case, in which he carried a sleek laptop he had enhanced to pack in massive processing and memory power, so compact it hardly took any space, on the bed. Into the remaining space he generally packed various gadgets and electronics equipment he needed at client sites, including some “emergency” underwear and socks.

He pulled on a pair of black slacks and a blue Polo T-shirt from the cupboard. They must be Ronnie’s. Being slightly over 6 feet tall and having a wider frame, he did not fit so well into Jack’s clothes. He stepped out of his room and followed the voices downstairs.

One of the boys who worked in the stables and on the land, a brown lad in muddy Wellington boots, was talking animatedly to Caitlin, who was still in her dressing gown, in the kitchen.

‘There is police again at the front gate, sénora,’ he said with a heavy Spanish accent. ‘I put Molly and Max in the stables, ha?’

Caitlin and Jeremy hurried to the front reception with little Bubbles the puppy Lab running circles around them. There were two police cars at the gates.

‘If you could open the gates, Caitlin, I shall handle this,’ he said, thinking how lovely and vulnerable she looked with no makeup on and with tousled dark brown hair some length between short and medium. Something about a damsel-in-distress in silks stirred a man’s loins.

Jeremy went back to his room, splashed his face with icy cold water, and put on his shoes. He stepped out as the police cars pulled up outside the front door.


Genre: Mystery, Legal Thriller, Suspense
Print Length: 340 pages
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication Date: November 3, 2013
ISBN-10: 1619353210
ISBN-13: 978-1619353213



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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


Guest Author PAUL ROBERTS showcase & giveaway ENDED


Paul Roberts

I fell in love with reading and writing at an early age, and knew by age 12 that I wanted to tell stories I could share with the entire world–stories that transcend culture, race and ethnicity, and are timeless. My work has been described by some as “provocative and entertaining international tales of intrigue that also inspire.” But most importantly, I strive to bring my readers unique tales that are lightning-fast, packed with action, loaded with suspense and surprises, and deals the reader an intensely deep emotional blow that’s unforgettable. While I use the Freedom of Expression quite judiciously, there have been instances where I’ve had to kick self-censorship in the butt in favor of “creativity originale”. I am thriller novelist and filmmaker, Paul Roberts. Thank you for delving into my world.
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Disguised as “Humanitarian aid,” a fraternity of corrupt U.S. politicians is using American tax dollars to fund ethnic cleansing in a fictional African republic, in return for millions of dollars in kickbacks. An unsuspecting U.S. President authorizes a covert mission to end the genocide by taking out leading war criminals, who repeatedly blocked the United Nations’ peace efforts. In order to protect their kickback scheme with the war criminals, the ruthless U.S. officials promptly betray the mission, and hire an army of foreign mercenaries to ambush and destroy American commandos sent to carry out the assassinations. Barely surviving a bloodbath in the jungle, leader of the commando unit, Brett Collins finds out about the shocking conspiracy, rogue CIA agents, and high-ranking UN diplomats who accept bribes to vote down UN military intervention while thousands of innocent and defenseless men, women and children are slaughtered daily. Forming an alliance with a stunningly beautiful British Intelligence agent, Agatha Cornwell, and an idealistic African soldier, Major Danka, whose wife and children were burned alive as punishment for challenging the war criminals, Brett would take on the transcontinental network of powerful men and their assassins in order to liberate, avenge, and also prevent a sure-fire nuclear “dirty-bomb” attack on two million Americans by angry, surviving victims of the genocide.
Inspired by actual, true-life events, Permanent Enemy is a bullet-fast, action-packed international thriller, filled with nail-biting suspense and stunning surprises. It’s the first novel in a series.

Read an excerpt

Chapter 1

AUGUST 27, 2004

BRETT COLLINS AND his commando unit had no idea that his covert mission would turn into a bloodbath. It was eleven minutes past midnight in sub-Sahara Africa. The vast and remote tropical jungles of the Republic of Dargombi lay in semi- darkness about 15,000 feet below as a camouflage- painted MC-130H special operations transport aircraft snuck toward the drop zone. A smiley half- moon cast an eerie illumination from a clear, stark- naked sky.

Inside the cockpit that was jam-packed with electronic indicators, the pilot made a scrambled radio transmission: “Bravo-Alpha approaching drop zone. Over!”

A raspy and commanding voice belonging to a middle-aged man filtered through the pilot’s earphones.

“We copy Bravo-Alpha! All clear on LZ. Proceed to next phase. Over!”

In the partial-darkness of the aircraft cabin, the heavily-armed twelve-man commando team in jungle camouflage fatigues and face paints was now making final preparations, checking and re-checking their weapons and gears—M4 assault rifles, Glock 9mm pistols, pineapple grenades, rocket launchers, commando fighting knives, Night Vision goggles…

Brett Collins casually glanced at the eleven camo-painted faces in black berets and headsets, and reminded himself once again that these were men he could depend on, specialists who knew more than a dozen ways to kill with their bare hands, let alone with a gun, knife, explosives or an improvised weapon.

He also knew they were all aware that they could depend on him. They would follow him into a hellhole if he asked. Brett felt a sense of pride, mixed with an unusually deep feeling of apprehension, which nobody around him could detect. A premonition of danger was manifesting itself far too early in the mission. Brett knew that his sharp and well-developed survival instincts rarely sent a false alarm. Something’s very wrong, he thought to himself. He wondered what it might be.

IN THE DENSE tropical jungle below, under barely perceptible streaks of light from the half moon, about 100 heavily-armed men in black private army uniforms were maneuvering secretly through the bushes with AK-47 assault rifles at the ready. Led by a sinister-looking, 51-year-old, American mercenary notoriously known as The Colonel, the army of foreign mercenaries slowly and cautiously inched their way toward a field in the middle of the jungle. The Colonel wore an olive green sabotage uniform without an insignia, a dark-green beret, and a black eye patch that covered his right eye. Spread out over a large area in the jungle, the advancing army scrambled for deeper cover as the unsuspecting American aircraft flew past overhead.

Less than two minutes later, the Colonel, who hid behind a mahogany tree, whispered instructions into the mouthpiece of his headset:

“All units, this is the Colonel. Maintain radio silence from here on. Hold your fire until the enemy is at treetop level.”

IN THE NIGHT sky above the jungle, the aircraft’s rear ramp door opened, causing a gush of warm tropical wind to surge into the cabin as Brett Collins and his commando team shuffled forward and began jumping out in the semi-darkness. Less than a minute later, all twelve warriors were freefalling toward the jungle below. Their Black Spider parachutes began opening up shortly thereafter, filling the foreboding night sky. The MC- 130H transport aircraft banked and made a wide, 180-degree turn, and departed from the area. The twelve unsuspecting CIA contract operatives slowly drifted downward…

Far beneath them in the jungle, the Colonel and his foreign fighters began maneuvering hastily to have the landing zone surrounded.

Chapter 2

CLUTCHING HIS M4 rifle at the ready as he drifted downward under the wide parachute canopy, Brett’s sharp eyes scanned the jungle below through his Night Vision. He quickly detected movements— several armed men darting through the bushes.

“Mission is compromised!” he yelled into his headset mouthpiece, “Hostiles on LZ!”

His M4 was already blazing away with ferocious intensity. The floor of the jungle suddenly lit up with spectacular and deadly muzzle flashes and tracer bullets from out-going gunfire as some fighters began dropping dead from in-coming volleys. Firing and taking hits while still airborne, the commando unit blazed its way down into the hell below, crash-landing under fire.

In the field that served as the landing zone, half of Brett’s men, six, lay dead still attached to their parachutes. Three others had multiple gunshot wounds in the lower parts of their bodies but were still in the fight, engaging enemies on their flank with fierce gunfire, and rocket attack, killing, and forcing some of the fighters into a momentary retreat. Brett and two commandos survived the landing safe and sound; they were now busy cutting down anything that moved outside the perimeter.

Brett sprang to his feet with hellish fire, going on the offensive, and cutting retreating men to pieces. Some of the enemy fighters scrambled up tree branches as others, who were laying cover fire, began dropping to the forest floor like flies under fast and furious slaughter fire from Brett. He directed his fire upward cutting men from tree branches and treetops, splintering wood and foliage. A few yards ahead of him in the semi-darkness, a fighter threw a grenade. It landed on the forest floor about two feet in front of Brett, who saw it, dove at it in a flash, and, in one swift motion, grabbed and hurled it at the fleeing group of fighters. Half a dozen men flew to pieces in a blinding fireball explosion. Already flat on the forest floor, keeping his head low behind the cover of a tree trunk, Brett quickly reloaded his M4 rifle as he yelled into his headset mouthpiece while heavy firefights raged around him.

“Intruder Romeo to Control Delta: ambush on LZ! Fifty percent KIA! Mission aborted! Requesting immediate extraction! Over!” A throaty voice quickly came through his headset. “Control Delta to Intruder Romeo: negative! Extraction not possible! You must cease transmission immediately. It’s an order! Godspeed, Intruder Romeo! Over and out!” “Control Delta! Fuck you!” Brett Collins cursed into his headset mouthpiece. Then, he sprang to his feet with fearsome rapid-fire, running through the forest with maddening rage, killing, dodging, knifing, blasting, terminating… And then, he ran out of ammunition for his M4. He quickly pulled his sidearm, a Glock 9mm, and kept shooting and dodging as enemy fighters relentlessly popped up from behind every tree in front of him, and from his left, and right flanks as he pursued them, killing with precision single shots and two-shots. Then a bullet hit him in the back, just below his bulletproof vest. He lurched forward and fell…

Chapter 3

AS HIS BODY met the forest floor in the semi- darkness, his left hand pulled a pineapple grenade from his waist belt. He pulled off the grenade pin with his teeth as he was struck again, this time in the buttocks. A group of enemy fighters surged out of hiding a few yards ahead of him to finish him off.

Brett threw the grenade at them, the Glock pistol still in his right hand. He buried his face in the forest bed as the explosive detonated in a thunder blast killing several of them.

Brett winced with pain as he quickly dragged himself up, but fell again as an AK-47 stuttered from his left flank, putting three bullets in his left arm, just above the elbow. The shooter started sneaking closer to Brett’s position. Brett fired a single shot through the foliage, hitting the shooter dead-on between the eyes. The man dropped to his knees and collapsed to the forest bed.

There was a momentary lull in the firefight around Brett, but sporadic gunfire still echoed through the forest from the landing zone area. Painfully, he dragged himself up with a grunt. He was in a bad shape—his back and buttocks were now drenched with his blood. The bullet holes in his left arm furiously dripped blood. He turned and began to limp agonizingly through the forest, heading back in the direction of the distant, weak, but on-going firefight at the landing zone.

He came upon a dying enemy fighter in his path, who roused slightly on the jungle floor. Brett raised his Glock and pulled the trigger to finish him off, but heard a familiar click sound.

“Fuck!” he cursed. “Now, I’m totally out of ammo. Good grief.” He re-holstered the pistol, and pulled his commando fighting knife from a scabbard on his waist belt as he limped along wincing with pain.

THE LANDING ZONE was being overrun. Dead bodies of Brett’s men and those of enemy fighters littered the clearing as the last two commandos left standing—and wounded—lunged at the enemies with fighting knives, having run out of ammo and grenades. The Colonel and his remaining fighters, about twenty men opened fire at almost pointblank killing the two men. They crumpled to the ground in the overkill.

And then, all was quiet…

The American mercenary and his foreign hired guns began slowly inspecting the eleven fallen CIA commandos, at times, using their feet to turn the bodies over and make certain they were dead. Standing over a body, a fighter called out in a heavy foreign accent, “Colonel! I think this one is pretending.”

At this moment, hiding in thick foliage outside the perimeter, Brett Collins flung his commando knife at the fighter. The cold steel blade darted through the air and buried itself deep in the fighter’s throat. He staggered backward, dropping his AK-47, and fell dead. The Colonel and his men reacted quickly; they turned and opened furious fire. Brett Collins was already tearing through the bushes in a painful, life-and-death zigzagging. He tripped over a stump and fell. Bullets puffed off dirt and foliage around him and zipped past his head in close calls as he rolled onto his feet in the semi-darkness. Wincing and grunting with pain, he tore through the jungle growth. Several yards behind him, the Colonel and his fighters mounted a hot pursuit; some of the men reloaded their rifles without stopping as they gave chase.

Brett made a sharp turn in the jungle, disturbing a swarm of fireflies; he tore through with unbearable pain and suddenly came upon a swamp river infested with over-grown crocodiles. He stopped abruptly at the river’s edge, almost falling over headlong. “Fuck!” he cursed. Six of the large crocs scuttled toward him with lightning speed. Two of them rushed out of the water as Brett leapt into the air with a grunt and caught a tree branch high enough, as both crocs swung their open jaws to bite off his legs. More of the crocs rushed out of the river excitedly, and began gathering under the tree. Perched precariously on the tree branch, Brett glanced over his shoulder in the semi darkness. He could see his pursuers closing in.

He was trapped.

Chapter 4

DRAGGING HIMSELF HIGH up the tree limb as fast as he could, and at about 12 feet above the crocodile-invested river, Brett began painstakingly crossing by leaping from one connecting tree branch to another in a heart-stopping high-wire act. Not far behind him, his pursuers stopped dead in their tracks as they came upon the crocodiles. They opened fire on the reptiles.

AT SUNRISE, THE sub-Saharan tropical jungle brightened up as rays of sunshine streaked through the jungle canopy and penetrated all the way to the forest bed. The cries of wildlife harmonized with the gushing resonance of a magnificent waterfall crashing down the side of a 200-foot, vertical cliff that was covered with lush, evergreen foliage. Soaking wet from head to toe, and barely alive, Brett Collins found himself at the foot of the waterfall. He’d been drifting in and out of consciousness for some time now. He’d lost too much blood. Extremely weak and dying, he crawled with difficulty, inching away toward dry land. He had struggled and stumbled through the wilderness for several miles through the night, successfully evading his pursuers. But now, he was lost in the middle of nowhere, and was quickly losing his cognition. No search-and- rescue aircraft was hovering overhead. No sign of an approaching and friendly search party beating through the jungle either. I’m fucked! From jungle treetops around him, colorful birds and a school of baboons observing him cried animatedly.

An adult leopard napping on a nearby tree branch became alerted. The big cat turned its head in Brett’s direction, saw him, and promptly descended from the tree, leaping into nearby foliage. Dazed and shivering from head to toe, Brett Collins was vaguely aware of the predator. By now, he’d managed to drag himself to dry land, but was too sick and exhausted to continue.

The leopard started moving very slowly through thick foliage that framed the open clearing, stalking him in a semi-circle. Brett lay face down in the undergrowth and fought desperately to stay awake, but he lost consciousness again.

Suddenly, the leopard was standing directly behind him, only about two yards away in the clearing. The hungry cat glanced around. Then, in self-assured strides, it began to close in…

Chapter 5

THE DEAFENING RIFLE shot scored a bull’s eye hit that crashed a high-caliber bullet deep into the brain of the leopard. The big cat was flung to the ground by the deadly impact. It lay motionless as blood oozed from the hole between its eyes. It was excellent marksmanship by the stunningly gorgeous woman in safari outfit emerging from the bushes, and accompanied by two middle-aged armed men, who carried powerful hunting rifles as well. Agatha Cornwell and her companions were British. She was an impressive 29-year-old with blond hair, full bosoms, and wide, curvy pelvis. As she moved toward Brett’s body, she could tell he was a tall, handsome Caucasian with blond hair like hers, although he was covered with dirt and blood.

THE MEDEVAC HELICOPTER with International Red Cross markings flew out of the jungle less than a half hour later, and headed North toward the sprawling refugee camp along Dargombi’s northeastern borders with the smaller African republic of Sudini. Inside the short, narrow cabin, Brett Collins lay unconscious on a gurney with intravenous drips from IV bags as Agatha desperately performed a CPR—he’d gone into a cardiac arrest. Two Red Cross medics—a young Frenchman and a Dutchwoman—were assisting in the urgent efforts to revive him. “Come on, bloody stranger!” Agatha yelled in a heavy British accent, “Don’t you die on me!”

“Dr. Cornwell, he’s flat lining,” said the young Frenchman as he monitored an EKG machine. “We’re losing him—” Then, he quickly added, “Disregard, he’s pulsing again.”

Agatha heard the familiar electronic beeping sound from the EKG machine and stopped CPR. She quickly grabbed a two-way handset, “Unit B, this is Dr. Agatha Cornwell. Surgical Theatre Four is expecting me,” she transmitted. “I have a high trauma patient with multiple gunshot wounds. Vital organs may have been damaged. I need to operate immediately. Trauma Team Four is already on standby. Over!”

The chopper landed on a wide helipad at the center of the massive refugee camp, its noisy rotor blades kicking up a cloud of red dust. Nearby, three long lines of about 700 African refugees waiting to obtain food and medicine curled around large Red Cross tent structures. Thousands of smaller tent structures dotted the landscape as far as the eye could see in every direction, occasionally punctuated by unpaved access roads with relief truck convoys coming and going.

As Brett was being transferred from the chopper to a makeshift hospital on the enormous camp, a scrawny-looking old man, who wore a load of graying and unkempt beard, watched the flurry of activity from a discreet distance as he swept rubbish from a pathway. The old African knew right away that he had to report this incident to his handlers— the soldiers who came across the border in plainclothes and paid him for information at discreet meetings outside the camp. The government in Dargombi needed to know what went on in these camps, particularly amongst the White men and women who operated them. The old man watched and noted that it was a severely wounded White soldier, who was being rushed into the camp’s hospital. He knew that was enough information to earn him money for a keg of palm wine. He could not wait to contact his handlers using the secret cellular phone they had provided him.

UNDER ANESTHESIA A few crucial minutes later, Brett Collins was fighting for his life as Agatha, assisted by a surgical team, carefully began extracting bullet fragments from his body. As she worked painstakingly, she had serious doubts that Brett would survive.

Chapter 6

FIELD MARSHALL HASSAN Itabuna had been a war criminal long before the United Nations declared him one. Forty years earlier, in a different “war”, he had been initiated as a child soldier at the age of ten by being forced to murder his own mother and father in cold blood with a machete while they were tied up and pleaded for their lives. Having lost his soul after that harrowing incident, like a zombie, he followed the rebel “army” that had stolen his innocence on a five-year killing rampage, where he took innocent human lives on a daily basis. At 15, after the “war” ended and the rebels lost, he found himself in a Catholic orphanage which expended all efforts to rehabilitate him.

But Hassan Itabuna and four of his fellow former child soldiers were beyond salvage. Three years later, at 18, and with minimal education and zero job skills, they joined the government army as another armed conflict was breaking out in sub- Sahara Africa’s perpetual retaliatory conflicts often stemming from tribal and religious differences. Soon, they became known in the army as the Gang of Five for their ruthlessness and efficient brutality.

Decades later, they had all risen through the ranks. And after mounting a bloody and successful military coup, they gained control of the army. And, in the Republic of Dargombi, the army controlled everything else. Itabuna proclaimed himself a Field Marshall and Head of State. He appointed his four cronies as Defense Minister, Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, and Military Intelligence Chief.

A mineral-rich former British colony sandwiched between Egypt, in the East and Sudan, in the West, Dargombi gained its independence in 1965 and became a republic three years later. It had since been embroiled in intermittent armed struggles. The latest conflict had begun about ten years earlier, as soon as Itabuna and his Gang of Five seized power and declared that the ethnic minority group, the Yandes, would be exterminated. The Yandes represented about 10% of Dargombi’s population of roughly 30 million, but accounted for almost 90% of the wealth. They were simply far better educated and more industrious than the dominant ethnic tribe, the Katumus, to which Hassan Itabuna and 97% of Dargombi”s armed forces belonged.

Overwhelmingly outnumbered, the Yandes tribal members of the armed forces put up a futile resistance and were quickly crushed.

Then the horror began.

Chapter 7

THE ENORMOUS GOVERNMENT building in the capital city of Zuma in Dargombi was heavily guarded by Katumu army troops as the Dargombi
national flag flew high on the well-manicured front lawn. A sign identifying the building as the Supreme Military Headquarters was erected outside the gated entrance in bold colors and graphics.

The coldblooded American mercenary known as the Colonel had already arrived. Now in a civilian outfit, a dark two-piece suit and a grey open-collar shirt, his face was masked with a pair of dark sunglasses as he strutted down a high-floor hallway leading to Field Marshall Itabuna’s office, briefcase in hand. Escorted by two machine-gun toting Katumu soldiers, the American could easily pass for a highly regarded international businessman. Come to think of it, he was a highly regarded merchant of death. The door to the office he was approaching was guarded by two sentries who quickly saluted him. His reputation had already preceded him.

Inside the ostentatious office, two army bodyguards kept watch, as Hassan Itabuna—a tall, slender, 50-ish man with ebony black skin and wicked brown eyes—sat behind his power desk, loading an open briefcase on the desk with bundles of fresh US 100-dollar bills. He was grabbing the money from an open top drawer. Itabuna glanced at a closed-circuit TV monitor in the room and saw the Colonel at the door. He pushed a button under his desk that caused the double doors to swing open inwards, admitting the visitor. Itabuna rose from his chair with a mischievous grin as the Colonel walked in with an equally roguish smirk.

“Good morning, Colonel!” He greeted with a firm handshake. “And thank you!”

“You’re welcome, Field Marshall! They’ve all been wiped out. I lost eighty percent of my men, but don’t shed any tears for them. They knew what they’d signed up for.”

Itabuna motioned to a chair at his desk, “Please, have a seat, Colonel. I was just preparing your care package.” He waved to the open briefcase full of money.

“It sure looks good,” said the Colonel, eyeing the money. “I love doing business in Africa. But I can’t hang around here too long.”

“I perfectly understand.” Itabuna took his seat.

Once the Colonel was seated, he said, “I’ve advised your men to go out there right away, and clean up—before the next fly over by American spy satellites.”

“They’re already on their way,” Itabuna replied. He pushed the open briefcase toward the Colonel. “We cannot compensate you enough, Colonel.”

“Thanks!” The Colonel closed the lid on the briefcase.

“I’m already being well compensated by the senator and his associates.” “I’m quite aware of that, Colonel. This is merely a token of our appreciation. We’re a very gracious people. It’s quite unfortunate that the United Nations, and the rest of the world, including other African nations, see us as bloodthirsty. They’re calling this civil war a genocide campaign—an ethnic cleansing. How absurd?”

The Colonel grinned mischievously under the dark sunglasses masking his face.

“I’m a straight shooter, Field Marshall,” said the Colonel. “You’re using an organized army to kill thousands of innocent and defenseless men, women and children per day cuz they belong to a tribe that’s better educated and has more economic power. If that isn’t ethnic cleansing, Field Marshall, you ought to have your fucking head examined.”

“I beg your pardon?” Itabuna was incensed.

“How fucking dare you insult my intelligence?” The Colonel queried. “I have just killed my fellow Americans in order to keep them from overthrowing your ass, and put an end to your madness.”

“This is uncalled for, Colonel,” Itabuna was furious. “You may leave now! This meeting is over!”

“It’s not over until I say it’s over!” The Colonel fired back. “The only reason you’re still in power is because crooked-ass senators in Washington are funneling humanitarian aid into your crackerjack government in exchange for kickbacks! American tax dollars is funding your fucking army. The same army you’re using to commit genocide! I got caught up in all these cuz I’m totally fucked up! That’s why I got kicked out of United States Army. You do not want to fuck with me, Field Marshall.”

The tension between both killers was palpable as they regarded each other in foreboding silence.


Genre: Thriller, Action & Adventure
Publisher: ACTION-PAK MEDIA INC.; First Edition
Publication Date: June 3, 2009
Number of Pages: 248
ISBN-10: 061529510X
ISBN-13: 978-0615295107




a Rafflecopter giveaway


I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


Guest Author JESSICA SANKIEWICZ Showcase & giveaway ENDED



Jessica is the 28 year old author of IF ONLY WE, a YA contemporary coming out in October 2013. You can often find her either reading or marathon watching TV on DVD, her favorites being Castle and Veronica Mars. She frequently mismatches her clothes and giggles uncontrollably. She knows almost every Billy Joel song by heart. She collects books and toys, and she has an intense love of cats and lemurs. Currently in the midst of her quarter-life-crisis, she is still takin’ names and getting very close to reaching an epiphany.
Connect with Jessica at these sites:


Q&A with Jessica Sankiewicz
Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
~~A lot of my writing comes from personal experience. Some of the feelings Adrienne has in If Only We are feelings I’ve had, and a couple of the scenes were similar to things that happened in real life. Many writers inadvertently write characters that are similar to themselves, and I think Adrienne is a lot like me in certain ways.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
~~If Only We started with the opening scene between Adrienne and Chevy. The original premise didn’t make much sense, but after I worked out the details to what it became now, I could really picture the beginning and the end. The middle was harder to fill in. With other story ideas, I come up with a plot and then try to figure out where it can start and where I want it to finish.
Your routine when writing?  Any idiosyncrasies?
~~I usually just sit down, put on some background music, and write. I almost always have to have music playing but sometimes if I’m having trouble with a scene I’ll pause it for a couple minutes so I can work it out without my brain being distracted by lyrics. I usually have to have some sort of snack at hand for writing fuel, often chocolate or chocolate related.
Is writing your full time job?  If not, may I ask what you do by day?
~~Nope, but I would love it to be someday. Right now I’m working full-time as a pharmacy technician in a retail store but I’m starting a new job (same field) that is all data entry and no retail soon.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
~~Oh, let’s see if I can narrow it down. Gayle Forman, Ellen Hopkins, Sonya Sones, Kirsten Hubbard, Kody Kepplinger, Jennifer Echols, and Marie Landry. There are so many more but I chose these since I’ve read more than one book by them and continue to be amazed.
What are you reading now?
~~I’m in the middle of four books right now… To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones, Smoke by Ellen Hopkins, Wicked Heat by Nicola Marsh, and Becoming Bryn by Angela Carling.
Are you working on your next novel?  Can you tell us a little about it?
~~Yes! I’m working on a couple things. My next full-length novel is called With One Glance. It will be New Adult Contemporary with coming of age feel and a forbidden romance. I also have a novella in the works called Our Chances Are that centers around the theme of serendipity.
Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast?
~~Oh wow. I never really put much thought into this. You’d think I would since so many authors do! I would cast Felicity Jones as Adrienne, Jason Dohring as Chevy, Amanda Bynes as Lyndsay, AnnaSophia Robb as Kaitlin, Jennifer Connelly as Joy, and Evangeline Lilly as Faith.
Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
~~Both! If I come up with a scene idea, I write it on paper in a notebook. Sometimes, if I’m on the run, it gets written as a note on my phone, then copied into the notebook later. When I’m actually writing the story, I have to do it on the computer. I type a lot faster than I write. Well, I can write fast, it’s just not legible enough.
Favorite leisure activity/hobby? 
~~I love to crochet. I kinda just wing it since I have no idea how to follow patterns. I’ve made stuff like catnip mice and a couple plushies.
Favorite meal?
~~Stuffing. Otherwise, I’m not picky. Give me a nice heaping serving of stuffing by the main course and I’m happy!


They say all it takes is one wrong move and you lose the game. One false step and you’re trapped. One slip-up in your choice of words and you ruin a friendship forever. That is what they say. They say I lost.

I do not believe them.

At the end of the summer after graduation, Adrienne wonders what happened to cause her life to be in ruins. She isn’t getting along with her mom, her stepsister isn’t talking to her, and, to top it off, the boy she’s been in love with doesn’t want anything to do with her. She believes the turning point was a choice she made at graduation. When she wakes up the next day, she has been transported back three months to that moment, the one where everything started to fall apart.

Adrienne realizes she has been given a second chance—and this time she doesn’t want to mess anything up. Reliving the entire summer, though, turns out to be a lot harder than she thought. As the same days and weeks go by, she starts to see how simple decisions can make a huge impact on the world around her. Despite knowing some of what lies ahead, there are some things she didn’t anticipate. She thought she knew what mistake led her to where she ended up the first time. She was wrong.

And by the time summer is over, she discovers what was really at stake.


Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Published by: Smashwords
Publication date: October 27th 2013
Pages: 126
ISBN: 9781301918249



a Rafflecopter giveaway


I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


Guest Author CAROL E. WYER showcase & giveaway ENDED




After completing a degree in French and English at Keele University, Carol Wyer became a language teacher in Casablanca, Morocco. She ran the EFL department at a private UK school (a non-magical Hogwarts), set up Language 2000 Ltd, teaching a variety of languages, including basic Japanese, and translated documents. Recurring medical problems forced her to give up teaching and become a fitness instructor. Thanks to older age, she now writes novels, articles and books that poke fun at getting older. Known for her light-hearted take on life, Carol has written two award-winning novels and now also tours giving talks on how to age disgracefully.
Connect with Carol at these sites:

WEBSITE          TWITTER    


Is your Grumpy Old Man getting under your feet? Is he wrestling with retirement? Are you wondering if you should bundle him up and entrust him to basket-weaving classes? Then this book could be the answer to your prayers. This light hearted guide is packed full of lively ideas, anecdotes and quips. Not only does it set out to provide laughs, but offers over 700 ideas and ways to keep a Grumpy Old Man occupied. From collecting airline sick bags to zorbing, you will be sure to find an absorbing pastime for your beloved curmudgeon. There are examples of those who have faced extraordinary challenges in older age, fascinating facts to interest a reluctant partner and innovative ideas drizzled, of course, with a large dollop of humor. Written tongue-in-cheek, this book succeeds in proving that getting older doesn’t mean the end of life or having fun. It provides amusing answers to the question, “How on Earth will my husband fill in his time in his retirement?” It offers suggestions on what might, or most certainly might not, amuse him. Ideal for trivia buffs, those approaching retirement, (or just at a loose end) and frustrated women who have an irritable male on their hands, this book will lighten any mood and may even prevent the odd murder.
Read my review here.

Read an excerpt
Without further ado, let’s look at the abundance of activities that your Grumpy can enjoy beginning with the letter A.
Introduce your Grumpy to the absorbing and completely time-consuming hobby of aviation, particularly aeroplanes.
First, get him a copy of Top Gun (or any good film about flying) to whet his appetite. Next, purchase a trial flying lesson. He’ll love it. Honestly, he will. Don’t be mean though, and get him an aerobatic flight. He’ll come home a horrible pasty shade of grey, and you’ll never get him to agree to that holiday to Alicante you hoped you could take next year.
Once he has “the flying bug”, ensure he signs up for flying lessons. Now, you’ll have to make some serious economies to fund this new hobby, and you’ll have to forget that holiday to Alicante for a while, but it’ll be worth it. He’ll soon transform into a new man, and which one of us wouldn’t fancy a Tom Cruise-a-like coming home after a long day up in the clouds?
Flying doesn’t just keep these Grumpy Old Men out of the house for an hour or two. Oh no, they have to get to the airfield early to set up, have a pre-flight briefing, a couple of cups of coffee and some cake, chat to their mates and ensure they have planned a route. Then, there is the actual flying, followed by a debrief, and the obligatory drink at the pub to recap the entire flight.
There are exams to be taken and much studying to be done. Many a night will be spent sitting at the dining table with pencils in their mouths, as they attempt to learn the principles of aviation law or meteorology. You’ll be able to relax on the settee and watch all those soaps without any dark muttering coming from the other end.
You may find that you will need to learn the phonetic alphabet though, just to show willingness and give him a hand. Let me assist you by starting with: Golf, Romeo, Uniform, Mike, Papa, Yankee.
If you can’t interest him in this particular hobby, then you could try him with a remote-controlled aircraft. This is the best of both worlds.
He can fly his aeroplane without taking examinations, wherever he fancies, and it won’t cost a fortune. There will be more about remote-controlled vehicles later.
Last but not least, you could offer him the chance to do some plane spotting. This is obviously the cheapest option, and can be enjoyed at the airport or in your back garden if you are fortunate enough to live under the flight path.
If he decides on the latter, you’ll be able to book that trip to Alicante. After all, he’ll see plenty of aeroplanes.
What do William Tell, Robin Hood, and Cupid have in common? The answer is archery or toxophily as it is also called. (You might need that piece of information for a pub quiz.)
Archery is one of the most ancient sports known to mankind. In ancient times and the medieval period, this activity was used for protecting people from enemies and for hunting wild animals. Today, it is regarded as a recreational activity or sport, and is looked upon as a way to improve concentration, mental strength, and precision … where was I?
Oh yes, sorry, I was thinking about Kevin Costner in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and got distracted. Today, two forms of archery are prevalent: target archery and field archery.
Sign your fractious man up for lessons and watch him improve, along with his game. Word of warning: don’t let him place an apple on your head “for practice”.
Question: What did the lustful maiden say to the handsome archer?
Answer: You make me quiver.

Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor
Published by: Safkhet Publising
Publication Date: 1st June 2013
Number of Pages: 106




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Guest Author GLENN SHEPARD, M.D. showcase & giveaway ENDED




Dr. Glenn Shepard was raised on a farm in eastern Virginia.  He attended the University of Virginia on an academic scholarship and majored in psychology. As an undergraduate, he lettered in wrestling for three years in a row. Then, he went on to become the only person in UVA history to letter in wrestling again in his sophomore year in medical school.

After completion of med school at UVA, he went to Vanderbilt where he completed his residency in general and cardiovascular surgery. He spent two years in the Army at the Ft. Gordon Army Hospital in Augusta, Georgia and The Second Surgical Hospital in An Khe, Vietnam.

While in Vietnam, he wrote his first work of fiction, Surge, which is on his back burner of works to dig out of the attic and publish, with major revisions, in the future.

He trained in plastic surgery at Duke University, becoming board certified in General Surgery and Plastic surgery. He opened his own Surgery Center in Eastern Virginia, where he worked for 23 years, mostly in a solo practice, before joining a large, plastic surgery group.

For 28 years, he founded and directed The Peninsula Cranio-Facial deformities clinic that was staffed by volunteer medical, dental, social services, psychology, and speech pathology experts. The group treated over five hundred patients with cleft lips and palates, as well as a variety of deformities of the face and hand.

Shepard founded, funded, and directed the Riverside Microvascular Research Lab, in which he studied the basic science of wound healing, the development of of cleft palates, new techniques in palatal repair, and the regeneration of injured fingernails. He published numerous scientific publications on his work in the lab and clinic.

After the massive Earthquake in Haiti in January, 2010, Dr. Shepard emerged from retirement and joined the Notre Dame Hospital unit in Leogane, Haiti for a 10 day rotation. His empathy for the people and their problems as well as his admiration for the contributions of time and talent from medical personnel from all over the world greatly inspired his second novel, Relief Aid, Haiti.

All his adult life, he has studied and collected American Art of the Hudson River genre. Also, he collects paintings of the prominent Virginia artist, Barclay Sheaks. Currently, he’s writing the authorized biography of the artist.

For six years, he worked with two high school wrestling programs, one that was a perpetual state champion, and the other, a perpetual runner-up in the state meet.  He wisely quit after a heavy weight wrestler broke three of his ribs.

Apart from gaining pleasure from writing as his primary hobby for the past twelve years, he is an avid fly fisherman, spending much of his free time fishing on the Chesapeake Bay and at his farm near Williamsburg. There he enjoys nature hikes, observing and photographing the abundant deer population, and always searching for new bird species that might wander off their migratory paths into his view.

Dr. Shepard has also become involved in aquaculture and raises hybrid rock fish, rainbow trout, and fresh water shrimp.  While this is not yet a profitable enterprise, it provides a delicious seafood addition to his annual Bluegrass and Barbecue Party.  While he has been known to play a mean banjo, he prefers to provide himself as an audience for the many and more talented singers and pickers in his area.

Connect with Dr. Shepard at these sites:


1.   Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Very much from both. Not For Profit combines my personal experiences fighting the spiraling price of hospital care, fired in part by many of our hospitals’ practices of expanding into fields of investments  unrelated to health care delivery, and the current and exciting drone warfare that has dominated our nation’s headlines for the past couple years. The hospitals are creating billion dollar corporations that compete with consumer products offered by independent dealers, and winning the market because they don’t pay taxes on their profits. In the eastern part of Virginia, my home, are numerous military bases and ship building yards and I have a unique opportunity to talk to members of the Army, Air Force, Navy as well as the people that construct our nations largest aircraft carriers, destroyers, and submarines. I never broach any subject of classified material, but learning first hand of the new developments in military material and logistics is a strong stimulant to my researching the direction of our terrorist tactics and use of the newest weaponry.

2.   Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
An outline of the direction and objectives of the book is essential before my books can begin.  What happens after the first chapter depends on where the main characters decide to take the book. I never can outline the twists and turns the protagonists will take.  They have a mind of their own, and I just turn them loose. This has been true for all my fiction writing, starting in 1986.

3.  Your routine in writing?
I begin writing after coffee and cereal at 7 am and goes until my ideas are depleted, anywhere from 7 pm ’til 3 am. After my many years of surgery, when I became conditioned to the long hours of operating and patient care, my endurance is strong. When I sleep, the ideas come to me and I frequently have to awaken enough to jot down my sleep revelations. And I awake the next day full of new ideas, ready to write again.

4.  Is your writing a full time job?
Yes. Since retirement, I write all the time.  Apart from time spent with my hobbies of aquaculture, maintaining my small farm in Charles City County, and doing plays, opera, and movies with Barbara, writing is all I do.

5.  Who are some of your favorite authors?
My favorite authors are Hemingway, Dickens, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but their styles, so great in the past, would not (in my opinion) make it to todays best seller list. Dan Brown, John Grisham, Tom Clancy  are my favorites of current writers, with my all time favorite novel being The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. 

6.  What are you reading now?
Currently, I have two books by Layton Green and two by Matt Iden that I read between writing breaks. All, very good reads, by the way.

7.  Are you working on your next novel?
Relief Aid Haiti will be ready for publication in a couple months.  Dr. Scott James, the plastic surgeon protagonist of Not For Profit, goes to Haiti to help a colleague with his backlog of surgery that followed the 2010 earthquake only to find that Haiti’s Minister of Finance has been kidnapped and the $5 billion Relief Aid Fund has been stolen.  His arch enemy, Omar Farok the terrorist leader, is behind all this and spends the Haitian money to buy nuclear weapons for use against the United States. He is aided by his former nurse and computer geek, Ethel Keyes, and a group of Voodoo worshipers.

8.  Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast? 
Scott James: Matt Damon: Ethel Keyes: Halle Berry (though I can picture Angelina Jolie, even with her recent surgery, as being the sex-pot the role calls for); Herb Waters: Daniel Craig (Craig generally plays the hero, but he is such an incredible character actor, he would be a great villain) ; Detective Pete Harris: Morgan Freeman (a kind, but strong man who could play the role in an outstanding manner).

9.  Would you rather read or watch TV/movie?
For the many years as a surgeon, I’d spend an hour or so of free time watching TV.  That was  an escape from the volumes of professional reading I continually had to do to stay abreast of Plastic Surgery.  Since retiring for  surgery, I’ve become an avid reader of fiction to stay up to date with current styles of writing. My good friend, Barclay Sheaks (a well known artist that died of Parkinson’s and is the subject of a biography I’m currently writing that concerns his battle with the disease), told me frequently that I could never be an author because I never read anything but surgery texts.  I’d love for him to have lived long enough to read my books. I always told him, if a person can learn surgery, he can also learn to write. Of course, my rough learning experience gave grey hairs to my editor and mentor, Rich Krevolin.

10.  Favorite food?
Seafood. Having lived in coastal Virginia, I have experienced the best seafood in the world.  With my schooling in inland cities (Charlottesville, Nashville, Durham, and Augusta) before shipping of fresh fish from coastal cities was possible, the only fish available was catfish. Not good if you’re used to flounder, trout, rockfish, and tuna.  When I returned home after 17 years away in school and the Army,  I fully appreciated the salt water fish and shellfish. Three weeks ago I travelled to Seattle for an interview concerning Howard Behran, a famous artist, like Sheaks, whose art deteriorated after Parkinson’s.  The fresh Copper River Salmon and Dungeness crabs were fabulous. I ate that 3 meals a day for the two days I was there.

11.  Favorite beverage?
Jack Daniels on the rocks.  A taste I acquired in my years in Tennessee.


Renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Scott James is charged with murder after two bodies are found at his surgery center. Just weeks before the start of his capital murder trial, Dr. James is approached by a beautiful woman claiming she can help him gain information that would prove his innocence.

As James hunts down the evidence that might free him, he faces a barrage of threats to his life and liberty—and makes one chilling discovery after another: Corporate corruption. A conspiracy to frame him for murder and for terrorist acts. A secret drone-control operation that takes out targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The true identity and intent of his beautiful ally. And a plot to blow up the local hospital and surrounding community.


Genre: Medical Thriller
Published by: Mystery House Publishing
Publication Date: June 12, 2013
Number of Pages: 248
ISBN: 9780615765525



Chapter 1

Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, 6 a.m., Three Months Earlier

            “Alpha Charlie, Alpha Charlie, get ready for action!  The target’s on the move!”

The words vibrated in Charlie’s earpiece as he sat bolt upright, and flexed his 220 pound, 6 foot 2-inch frame.  He had spent the last four days glued to the monitors, never leaving the control center, even as the other eight members of the Air Force forensics team took brief meal and sleep breaks.  Alpha Charlie was a CIA-hired civilian contractor whose mission in Afghanistan was to control pilotless aircraft and destroy enemy targets.  Ninety six hours ago, he was scheduled to return to his civilian job in America, when forensics identified the Al-Qaeda leader, Muhamed Bin Garza, only 230 miles away in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan.  He cancelled his flight home.

It had been two years since they had a positive ID on Bin Garza.  And Charlie wanted blood.

The notorious Al-Qaeda leader was responsible for the suicide bombing in Mumbai, Amman, London, and Somalia, and had connections to the World Trade Center attack in New York.  Now he was a sitting duck.  He had been spotted while entering a complex of tents and adobe houses adjacent to the mountains and caves.  He would be leaving any moment now.  This was the one and only chance Alpha Charlie would ever have to eliminate Bin Garza.  Bin Garza’s death would be the ultimate notch in his gun barrel.  His job back home could wait.  He had taken out terrorists before, but Bin Garza was the trophy he had been training and waiting his whole life for.

Alpha Charlie was stationed in one of two identical Quonset huts on the base, both sitting within 50 meters of each other.  In the first hut, the US Air Force forensics team was housed.  Their function was to make the drones airborne, to locate and identify targets, and to land the vehicles when their missions were completed.  Alpha Charlie sat in a single chair in the second hut.

But this was no ordinary chair.  It was a one-of-a-kind control chair loaded with hundreds of computer systems that required delicate manipulations.  At the end of each armrest were two joysticks, one for each hand. Both were equipped with a dozen buttons, some black and others red, all with separate and distinct functionalities.  Ever since he was 12 years old, Charlie played video arcade games.  He had mastered the games almost immediately, having innately good reflexes and hand-eye coordination.  He also lacked moral qualms… about anything.  After winning several gaming competitions in his late 20s, he was contacted by the CIA and accepted their offer to move from murdering virtual foes to slaughtering real ones.

The CIA granted him access to a new program which involved piloting drones.  Very quickly, Charlie had learned to operate them as well as the Air Force’s best pilots.  His penchant for video games made his skills acute, and these gaming skills readily transferred to drone operation.  His immediate mastery of the pilotless aircraft meant an underlying talent that many of the professional pilots lacked.  They were readily trainable, but not one had the innate ability to pick up the controls of an aircraft with which they had no experience and so quickly be able to operate it with such a sharp degree of precision.  Charlie had even proven himself to be brilliant under pressure and once he tasted actual combat, he gained a voracious appetite for it.  The thrill of killing a virtual terrorist couldn’t compare to the rush of killing one made of flesh and blood.

Air Force Colonel Ben Edwards, the director of the operation, ran into Charlie’s hut.  He glanced at Alpha Charlie’s hands as they moved the joysticks.  Edwards marveled at how Charlie’s fingers glided over the controls and easily performed maneuvers that his other “pilots” struggled with.

Suddenly Edwards saw it – the blinking red light on the fuel gauge.  One hundred pounds of fuel left.  Seventy two miles of “life” left in the fuel tank, not enough to get the aircraft halfway back to Kandahar.  He screamed, “Charlie!  You’re running out of fuel!”

Alpha Charlie pretended not to hear.  He had already extended the flight time five hours using the updrafts of the mountains to conserve fuel and lowering the speed to 320 MPH, but he was concerned.  An hour ago, he ordered his Global Hawk fuel carrier, yet it was not on his radar screen.  Well, that’s a problem he didn’t have time for.

His focus remained locked on the three monitors in front of him.  Screen A showed a scurry of activity in the small, peaceful Haqqui tribal village.  Bin Garza was going for a ride.  That was it!   Charlie’s waiting was over.  He leaned forward and watched carefully.

In the center of the village, a 1960s Mercedes sedan and a 1980s Chrysler New Yorker were parked in front of an adobe house.  Alongside the two cars, a small entourage surrounded three men who had just left the house and were walking to the vehicles.  A dozen cheering villagers reached to touch the men as guards pushed them aside.  On Screen B, the forensics experts focused on the faces of the men and enlarged them.  Screen C showed a broad view of the 5 square mile area surrounding the target.

Screen A showed the men getting into the two cars, while screen B flipped through stills of the faces.  Then the camera fine-tuned portrait quality images.  Charlie heard excitement build from the other hut, “That’s definitely Bin Garza!”

“And that’s his number two, Shakel, with him!  We can get two for the price of one, if we hit ’em now!”  The third man on the screen kept his shumag pulled over his face and was not able to be identified.

Colonel Edwards shouted across the room, “Alpha Charlie, we have Al-Qaeda’s two top men together.  Targets confirmed!  It’s now or never.  Get ’em!”

Alpha Charlie turned to Screen A, the target monitor showing live pictures from the MQ-4A Global Hawk drone he controlled.  This model was the largest and best equipped drone in his fleet, but it was brand new and untested.  It had been airborne for nearly 48 hours and circled the area at 50,000 feet, filming the area where Pakistani intelligence had said these men were staying.  Sweat dripped down Charlie’s brow as he saw the plummeting fuel gauge now reading empty.

Time was running out.  Charlie focused the camera, centering it on the now moving car.

A pissed off Edwards looked at Screen C.  “Fuck!  There’s a hill!  They’ll disappear behind it in 20 seconds!  Charlie, you gotta strike NOW!”

Alpha Charlie did not respond, but he heard Edwards.  He had one shot and didn’t want to fuck it up.  His mental clock ticked down – 20, 19, 18; he remained calm and showed no signs of tension.  His left hand guided a blinking red target square over the car.  With the image of the square fixed to the target, Charlie centered the X.

CLICK!  The Hellfire missile locked on the Mercedes.  Twelve, 11, 10…

Charlie quickly touched the red trigger button with his thumb and fired the 5 foot long missile which carried over 30 pounds of explosives.  At a speed of 950 MPH, the missile would be paying the Mercedes a surprise visit within 3 seconds.

But would it get there in time?


The Mir Ali Village, 6:04 a.m.

            A high-pitched WHIRRR, like that of a model airplane, filled the sky above the village.  The driver of the Mercedes looked up and saw the silvery flash of reflected sunlight emerging from the obscurity of the mountain behind.

As the driver accelerated, he saw the 5 foot long Hellfire missile speeding towards them.  Bin Garza screamed in terror as he gripped the seat of the car and braced himself.  The explosion was tremendous, ripping the men and car to pieces.

A hundred feet away, the unidentified man in the shumag, Omar Farok, felt his Chrysler bounce around like a toy ball.  The concussion of the impact nearly deafened him.  He watched from the Chrysler as a fireball swallowed up the Mercedes; then, there was only a blinding cloud of smoke and dirt.

Fortunately for Farok, his driver was familiar with the terrain of this village and the Chrysler instantly turned left onto a mountain path dodging around three trees.  As the Chrysler slammed to a halt, a petrified Farok dove out of the car and ran into a mountain cave.  He sat trembling in the cave as he watched another Hellfire missile devour the Chrysler in a ball of red flames, engulfing his driver as he tried to escape.

Farok’s voice echoed inside the cave, “American pigs, I swear on Allah’s blessed name, you will pay for this!”


The Kandahar Drone Control Center, 6:05 a.m.

            Col. Edwards and his forensics team cheered!

But Alpha Charlie did not celebrate, even as the refueling aircraft in the sky above saved his drone from sputtering to the earth on its last pound of fuel.  Sure, Charlie was pleased about the millions that he had made from this kill.  This extra money would allow him to shift his drone control station and missiles back home and continue his missions from there, but still, he wasn’t about to jump up and down and cheer.  He’d done his job.

He stood as bottles of Dom Perignon were uncorked.  Without fanfare, Charlie grabbed a drink and downed it.  Then, he poured himself another.

As he swallowed, he thought to himself, ‘All in a day’s work’. 

Chapter 2

The Surgery Center, Jackson City, N.C., 7 p.m., Three Months Later

If you were to walk into my cosmetic surgery office, you’d see that I designed a space that is healing, orderly and serene.  There are no crystals or there is no new age music playing, but there’s a little waterfall and many of the walls and open spaces feature my favorite flower – the orchid.

My orchids are always resplendent with gorgeous colored blooms – hot pink, deep magenta, white with mauve spots.  I care for all the plants myself by watering them, limiting the amount of sunlight, and constantly measuring and altering the composition of the soil.  In my office, you’ll always find a colorful Doritaenopsis.

My favorite is the pure white Phalaenopsis to the left of the waterfall.  When I first opened my office, a patient sent that to me, but it was solid blue — an unnatural color for an orchid.  I sensed that someone blue-inked the roots, like the blue roses in Kipling’s poems.  Saturating a flower in ink always seemed wrong and angered me in the same way that a bad facelift did.  In my mind, there were absolute rights and wrongs in this world.  A person’s face shouldn’t be stretched so tight that their eyes and lips get distorted, and a white orchid should remain pure white.

I became obsessed with that Phalaenopsis, nurturing it (in a back room, of course) until it bloomed again and this time, it was the purest white of any orchid I ever had.  I look at the broken pieces of Orchis sitting in my waiting room every day and I try my best to put her back together.  And most of the time, I succeed.  Except today.  Today was not going so well…

“Why’s it taking her so long to recover from the anesthetic?” I asked as I removed my surgical gown and gloves.  I arched my back, stiff from bending over so much.  After 12 hours of surgery, I was exhausted.  I’d just hit 40 and I was really starting to feel it.

I smiled at my anesthesiologist, Dr. Boyd Carey.  “Two face lifts, two liposuctions and three augmentation mammoplasties is enough for one day.”

Dr. Carey did not return the smile.  He looked over his half-frame glasses and shrugged.  “If you hadn’t bowed to Keyes’ ridiculous demand to keep her privacy by sending your two nurses home early, her “auggie” would have only taken 45 minutes.”  Carey was a thin vegan who would’ve probably been happier if he ate a burger once and awhile.  Fine wrinkles in his 45-year-old dark skin made him look 60.

I took off my surgical cap and finger-combed my hair.  “Come on now, Boyd.  Relax.  Hey, at least we aren’t working in the tobacco fields.”

“Oh God, you’re not going to start in again on your childhood stories of slaving away in the fields to pay for college—”

“I could if—”

“Please, spare me.”

Carey turned to the patient for a minute and then tilted his head back and faced me again.  “No.  She’s still sound asleep.  And that’s another thing, Scott.  We should have given her Propaphol, like we do on all our patients.  She’d be awake by now.  But no! You always grant all your patient’s every wish and kiss their surgically-raised asses.”

Ethel Keyes had been my office manager for the past two months.  She was a hard worker with a sweet personality; everyone who came in contact with her liked her.  I had never before employed anyone who so quickly endeared herself to everyone.  And it probably didn’t hurt that she was a 32-year-old blonde who looked like a high fashion model.

Just a few days ago, Keyes had confided to me that she always felt uncomfortable with her body as she thought her breasts were too small.  She had done such a great job in the office, revamping my billing system, changing the office health insurance to a less expensive and more comprehensive plan, and computerized all my office records, that I offered to do a breast auggie surgery for her – pro bono.

However, it was a mistake.  Beyond the ethical issues involved in operating on employees, she proved to be a difficult patient from the beginning: refusing Propaphol as her anesthetic because it killed Michael Jackson; forbidding the use of the second best medication, intravenous Versed, because she didn’t like its amnesic properties, and insisting on an older style of anesthesia, Valium and Demerol, but in reduced doses.

She argued that she was sensitive to all sedatives.  Sure enough, it took only 2 mg of Valium and 50 mg of Demerol to knock her completely out.  Most people required 10 mg of Valium and 100 mg of Demerol with touch-up medications given as the patients got “light”.  No additional drugs were needed today as she slept soundly.  And kept on sleeping even after the procedure ended and Dr. Carey and I waited … and waited for her to wake up.

I leaned over the OR table and tapped her cheeks lightly.  “Ms. Keyes, Ms. Keyes, can you hear me?”

Her response was a snore.

I clasped my hands behind my back, pressing on my tired paraspinal muscles.  My perpetual smile turned to a frown.

Dr. Carey growled, “She hasn’t had enough sedation to hurt a fly.  You should just go home.  I’ll watch her until she wakes up.  At least one of us should be able to enjoy this evening.”

“No.  I’m not leaving until she’s awake.”

“Fine.  Go into your office.”  Carey reached out, cupped her left breast and with a smirk uttered, “I’ll keep you abreast of everything here.”

“Jesus, Boyd, get your hands off of her.  She’s under for Christ’s sake!”

“Alright, Sir Galahad, guardian of fair maidens.  Go get some coffee and I’ll call you when she’s awake enough for discharge.  It shouldn’t be long.”

I hesitated before leaving the room.  “I’ll be in the waiting room.  Call me and I’ll be back in a second it there’s a problem.”

As I left the OR, I pulled out my IPhone and called my wife, Alicia.  I told her of the situation with Keyes.

She answered, “Alright, do what you have to.  But there’s always something to keep you there late.  The boys wanted to see you and— I’ll put the boys to sleep and keep your tuna casserole hot in the oven,” she sighed as she continued, “Again!”

I walked to my waiting room to talk to Anna Duke, the friend that was to pick up Keyes after surgery.  But when I got there, she wasn’t there so I sat down on the sofa and relaxed.

This room is my favorite part of the office.  It’s got a huge skylight, custom stereo, a waterfall with a 4 foot drop, and a dozen blooming orchids.  I turned on a Miles Davis CD and flicked on the multi-colored lights that glowed behind the flowing water.  When my architect had told me that it was impossible to put everything I wanted in this room without knocking down all the walls, I paid him his fee and let him go.

Then I went online, did my research, and installed it all myself.  I’m sure I could have hired someone else to do it faster, but I found that I really enjoyed learning about plumbing and wiring.  In fact, I’d had so much fun doing it, next on my agenda is to buy and fix up an old Victorian house in the low country of the Carolinas one day.  The operative word being “one day” since these days I really couldn’t imagine doing much of anything else with my 80-hour work schedule.

I sat back, smelled the sweet fragrance of his cymbidium and zygopetalum orchids, closed my eyes, and dictated the seven operations I performed that day.

* * * * *

Meanwhile in the operating room only 30 feet away,  a shadow caught Dr. Boyd Carey’s eye.  Carey quickly turned and saw a light reflect off of something in the air, something swinging at him.

It hit him hard in the neck, almost knocking him over.  Immediately, he reached towards his neck and felt a painful jab and a burning sensation.

He tried to turn to face his attacker, but his body wouldn’t move.  Again, the hand slammed him with the sharp object.  Carey wanted to lift his arms to protect himself, but they dropped limply at his side.  His legs grew weak.  His muscles quivered uncontrollably.

His mouth opened to scream, but he couldn’t make a sound.  Both knees buckled and his body dropped to the floor.

* * * * *

I heard a THUMP!  I ran to the OR, opened the door and saw Dr. Carey lying there!

I looked over at the OR table.  Keyes was still sleeping with the monitors showing a normal blood pressure, pulse, and EKG.

I dropped to my knees beside Carey.  There was no pulse.  Jerking the stethoscope from his white lab coat, I listened to his chest.  There was only a faint bump…bump…bump.  I pounded my fist on Carey’s chest and listened again.  Placing the heel of my hand on his lower sternum, I compressed the chest six times before blowing into Carey’s mouth.  His heart sounds were slow and distant.

For the first time in my surgical career, I felt panic-stricken.  What had happened?  I’d only been gone a few minutes.

 Quickly, I dialed 911.  “A man’s been stabbed.  He’s dying!  I need help.  Please send an ambulance STAT!”


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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.