Aeromancist Book Cover Reveal Event Today!

About The Book

Title:  Aeromancist

Book 3: Seven Forbidden Arts Series

Author: Charmaine Pauls
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Publisher:  Mélange Books
Publication Date: July 6, 2015

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Book Description:

Passion always comes with a price.

All he could offer was thirty days of passion.

He condemned her to a terrible fate instead.

Now he’ll do everything in his power to save her.

He is known as the Weatherman. Lann Dréan is the last of his kind. A price on his head, chased for a power he should not possess, he can’t promise any woman forever. All he can offer Katherine White is thirty days of passion. But his uncontainable desire comes with an unforeseen price. Lann’s lust will cost Kat everything. Now he’ll do anything to save her from the fate he has brought upon her.

* This book contains adult content with explicit language and frequent, consummated love scenes, including light bondage, sex toys and breath play. Reader discretion is advised.


About The Author

Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communications, photography, graphic design, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.

After relocating to France with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write creatively full-time. Charmaine has published six novels since 2011, as well as several short stories and articles.

When she is not writing, she likes to travel, read, and rescue cats. Charmaine currently lives in Chile with her husband and children. Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.

Read more about Charmaine’s romance novels and psychological short stories here on

Contact Charmaine at:









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About The Book
Title: Two Princes: The Biker and The Billionaire
Author: Victoria Danann
Series: Book 1 – Sons of Sanctuary MC
Publisher: dba7th House Publishing, Imprint of Andromeda LLC
Publication Date: June 16, 2015

Format: eBook – 49 pages

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Preorder Book Buy Links:
Book Description:
Two brothers, one a player, one a playboy, are on a collision course with destiny and a woman who thought she won a prize when she was allowed a look inside the Sons of Sanctuary MC.
Brigid Roan is a graduate student at the University of Texas. She had no trouble getting her thesis approved, but finding a Hill Country motorcycle club willing to give her access to their lifestyle was looking impossible. Then she got a lead. A friend of a friend had a cousin with family ties to The Sons of Sanctuary. What Brigid wanted was information to prove a proposition. The last thing she had in mind was falling for one of the members of the club. Especially since she was a feminist academic out to prove that motorcycle clubs are organized according to the same structure as primitive tribal society.
Brash Fornight was standing in line at the H.E.B. Market when his world tipped on its axis. While waiting his turn to check out, his gaze had wandered to the magazine display and settled on the new issue of “NOW”. The image on the cover, although GQ’d up in an insanely urbane way, was… him. After reading the article, Brash threw some stuff in a duffle and left his only home, a room at The Sons of Sanctuary clubhouse, with a vague explanation about needing a couple of days away. He left his truck at the Austin airport and caught a plane for New York, on a mission to find a mysterious guy walking around with his face.

Book Excerpt:

“Sir?” Brash Fornight gradually became aware that someone behind him in the grocery checkout line was trying to get his attention. “Sir?” He refocused and glanced behind him. The woman leaning on a cart overflowing with chip bags and cookie boxes nodded toward the cashier indicating that it was his turn to move forward. Brash looked her in the eye and had to give her props. Most people wouldn’t have the balls to try to herd a guy wearing Sons of Sanctuary MC leather.

The club employed a woman who cooked and did grocery shopping several times a week as part of her job description, but Brash didn’t like to explain his relentless craving for peanuts and he liked being teased about it even less. He didn’t know whether it was the Vitamin B or the fat or just because he liked the taste, but he couldn’t imagine going a day without them.

That’s how he came to be standing statue still In the grocery checkout line, being prompted by some woman with more nerve than sense. While he was waiting, his eyes drifted over the magazine display and settled on the cover of “NOW”, on the Most Eligible Bachelor edition no less. The debonair figure staring back was wearing Brash’s own face and body. He looked different with short hair and a four thousand dollar suit with the shirt fashionably open at the neckline, but the similarity was inescapable.

On impulse he grabbed the magazine and tossed it onto the conveyor belt with his week’s stash of peanuts.
He stuffed the bags into the saddlebags of his bike and roared toward home, nervously tapping his fingers on handlebars at red lights, riding on shoulders to keep from slowing down. He was anxious to get to the privacy of his own room and read about Branach St. Germaine.
Two beers, one jar of peanuts, and one “NOW” article later, Brash was sitting on the edge of his bed looking at the wall, seeing nothing but his own heavy thoughts. He pulled out his phone, looked up a website, and waited on hold for ten minutes to hear the time of the next flight from Austin to New York.
There was a flight to Newark in a little over three hours. He looked at his watch and calculated the time it would take to drive from Dripping Springs at that time of day. As he booked the flight, he stood up, walked to the small closet, grabbed a duffel bag, and began shoving stuff into it. Ten minutes later, he closed his door and locked it, threw the duffel over his shoulder, and headed straight for the office downstairs. He dropped the duffel on the hallway floor beside the closed door and knocked.

“Yeah?” Brash looked inside, glad that his dad was by himself, and stepped in. “What’s up?”

“I’m takin’ personal time, Pop. Gonna be gone for a couple of days.”

“What the hell is ‘personal time’?”

The gruffness made Brash smile. “It means I’m not gonna be here if you call and I’m not tellin’ you why.”

The Sons of Sanctuary President looked up at Brash, over the top of his readers, and narrowed his eyes. “You got a secret?”

“Everybody’s got secrets.”

Brandon Fornight studied his son for a minute. “True enough. Is it the kind of secret that could affect this club?”

Brash shook his head. “Don’t see how.”

“Well, then. See you… When did you say you’d be back?”

“I didn’t.”

“Bein’ purposefully vague, are you?”

Brash grinned. “That’s why they call it personal time. But I expect to be back Friday.”

“You gonna have your phone with you?” When Brash nodded, Bran looked back down at his ledger in a deliberately dismissive gesture. “Well, get outta here then.”

Brash parked his bike in the airplane hangar. The structure had already been on the property when the club had bought it and turned it into a compound twenty years earlier. They used part of it for vehicle maintenance and repair and part for parking.

Some of the guys who were working looked over and shot curious glances his way when Brash threw his duffel into his pickup and started it up, but it wasn’t their way to ask questions. The Sons figured that if somebody wanted you to know something, they’d tell you.

Brash took a cab to a midtown hotel, wondering all the way why human beings would choose to live in such a place. As he slid his credit card across the hotel counter to the agent on duty, he glanced at the name, Brandon Fornight. It seemed unlikely that it was a coincidence that that the mysterious look-alike’s first name began with the same four letters. He ordered room service and pulled out his laptop.

Getting intel on the guy didn’t take advanced ops. Within an hour Brash knew where Brannach St. Germaine worked, what kind of car he drove, what kind of women he dated, who his tailor was, and where he liked to dine. There was no shortage of photos online, but the one that grabbed his attention wasn’t one of the many with starlets or debutantes on his arm. It was the one taken with his arm around his mother as they were arriving together for some red carpet fundraiser. Brash had an almost irresistible compulsion to reach up and touch her face on the screen in front of him.

The knock on the door signaled that room service had arrived. It cost a fortune, but looked and tasted like shit. So he closed the computer and went out for a walk to clear his head and find something edible.
About The Author

Victoria Danann is the USA TODAY Bestselling Author of The Knights of Black Swan, which has won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES TWO YEARS IN A ROW (2013, 2014). Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild.

Victoria writes cross-genre with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. She is making her debut into contemporary romance with publication of the SUMMER FIRE ultimate romance collection anthology. It contains a novella intro to the Sons of Sanctuary MC series. The first full novel of the series will be released June 16, 2015.

Contact Victoria at:





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Book Spotlight: From New York to the Smokies by Wayne Zurl


About The Anthology Collection



Title: From New York To The Smokies
Author: Wayne Zurl
Series: 5 Book Anthology Collection from the Sam Jenkins Mystery Series
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC
Publication Date: April 16, 2015
Format: Paperback – 163 pages / eBook  / PDF
ISBN: 978-1680460780
Genre: Mystery / Police Procedural
Buy The Anthology Collection (Preorder – Pub Date: April 16, 2015)
Book Description:
Author Wayne Zurl is back with his popular Sam Jenkins Mysteries SeriesFrom New York To The Smokies is a 5 book anthology collection from the Sam Jenkins Mysteries Series!

Seventeen-year-old Sam Jenkins is busy fishing and falling in love with a girl named Kate. But with a father involved with the union and a divorced mother, Sam often finds himself acting like the adult of the family. During a fishing trip off Long Island, Sam overhears a conversation involving dangerous plans that can land his dad in jail.To keep his father out of prison, Sam teams up with detectives from the county’s rackets bureau and enlists the help of two friends to pull off an operation far beyond their usual high school curriculum.


Police community Service Aide Liz Lopez should be in fine spirits—she’s in line for a promotion to police officer and a raise. But her sullen demeanor tells her boss, Lieutenant Sam Jenkins, that Liz is anything but happy.Jenkins begins an unofficial investigation to find out what’s going on. The detective learns of a bizarre home life and a dark secret Liz keeps under wraps.

FAVORS is a story of how the police take care of their own—in an honest and compassionate way.


A killer is on the loose in Prospect, Tennessee. He strikes repeatedly, each time leaving a cryptic message for the police to find. By the time a fifth body turns up, Police Chief Sam Jenkins is under pressure—either solve the murders or bring in outside help.But the chief’s ego won’t allow others to work his cases. And at the eleventh hour he tracks down a prime suspect, but death is only seconds away for the next victim.


A misunderstanding between hunters rapidly escalates into a battle not seen in Southern Appalachia since the Hatfield and McCoy feud.As bodies pile up faster than evidence, Sam Jenkins and the officers of Prospect PD scour the remote hills and valleys of East Tennessee and North Carolina to solve a case that reads more like an old west adventure than a modern police drama.

Prospect, Tennessee Police Chief Sam Jenkins receives two reports of UFO sightings in three days. The gritty ex-New York detective doesn’t believe in coincidence…or space aliens, but he can’t find anything to explain a glowing spaceship and little green men—until he sends Sergeant Stan Rose and Officer Junior Huskey to Campbell’s Woods. They call in a startling discovery, and the investigation begins.



Book Excerpt:
The rain never stopped. From early
June through late August, it poured or drizzled almost every day. I thought if
I stood still too long I might begin to mold. It reminded me of the monsoons in
Southeast Asia.
Drops of rain falling from the brim
of my cap were exceeded only by the young woman’s tears.
“When did you see the boy last?” I
“Right after breakfast. He went
into the living room to watch TV, and I started doing laundry in the basement.”
“And when you came upstairs he was
More tears rolled over her cheeks
as she stood there, wringing her hands. “Yes.”
“Was your door locked?”
“Lord have mercy, no.”
“Is your son’s rain jacket here?”
She shrugged and cried a little
“Let’s look,” I suggested.
We walked to the mud room off the
kitchen. A small hooded jacket hung on one of the five pegs over an antique
wooden chair not six feet from the back door. A small pair of bright blue
rubber Wellingtons sat on the floor.
“You call for him outside?”
“Of course. I ran all around.”
Without the puffy eyes and fear
scarring her face, Emily Suttles would have been an attractive brunette.
“And then you called 9-1-1?”
“What was he watching?”
“I don’t know. He knows how to work
the TV.”
“You turn it off?”
“One of the policemen did.”
“Let’s take a look.”
She stared at me as if I had two
heads. “Why?”
“Indulge me.”
Back in the living room, Emily
picked up the remote control and turned on a flat screen about the size of a
stretch van. The American Movie Classics channel came on playing a scene from Halloween 4.
“Did you or the cops look through
the house?” I asked.
“Yes, of course.”
“All over?”
“Every room.”
“Slowly or quick?”
“Quick. I was frantic.”
“Let’s try again. Where’s Elijah’s
“Upstairs.” Emily began to look
impatient. “I know he’s not there.”
We walked upstairs anyway. I looked
under the bed. Nothing. The boy’s mother called his name. More nothing. I
opened the closet. Huddled in the left corner, leaning against the wall, four-year-old
Elijah Suttles slept peacefully, a small flashlight in his right hand. I shook
his knee.
“Hey, partner, you doing okay in
He opened his eyes, blinked
rapidly, and looked frightened.
“Take it easy, son. I’m a
policeman. Your mom couldn’t find you and asked for some help.”
“Jesus have mercy, Elijah,” his
mother said, “you ‘bout scared me half ta death. You come out here right now,
young man.”
“Go slow, Mrs. Suttles. He probably
had a good reason to hide in here. Didn’t you, son?”
The little boy nodded, but still
looked scared.
“Something happen on the TV?”
Another nod.
“Ready to come out now?”
The boy stuck out a hand, and I
pulled. Once on his feet, he scrambled to his mother and locked onto her leg,
mumbling an apology.
“Some of these slasher movies scare
me, too,” I said. “He just ran from the killer on the screen. Wasn’t a bad
Emily Suttles hugged her son,
looked at me, and said, “Thank you.”
“I’ll call the three officers and
let them know your son’s safe.”
I switched on the ignition in my
unmarked Crown Victoria and keyed the microphone. “Prospect-one to headquarters
and all units. The missing child has been found. Resume patrol. Five-twelve,
close out the call at 1015 hours.”
PO Johnny Rutledge acknowledged. “10-4,
“Five-oh-nine, I copy that,” Billy
Puckett said.
After a long moment of silence,
Sergeant Bettye Lambert, our desk officer, broke in. “Unit 513, five-one-three,
do you copy?”
No answer.
“Anyone know 513’s 10-35?” I asked.
“Joey was goin’ house ta house,
east end o’ the street,” Puckett said.
“I’m probably the closest,” I said.
“I’ll check.”
Just as I shifted into reverse, PO
Joey Gillespie spoke on the radio.
“513 ta Prospect-one. Boss, ya
gonna need ta see this. 1175 Benny Stillwell Road, obvious 10-5.”
10-5 is our brevity code for a
* * * *
Two men lay face down on the
kitchen floor. One with a shaved head made it easy to see the small caliber
bullet hole at the base of his skull—a .25 perhaps or more likely a .22. Blood
trickled from the wound down past his right ear, over a thick neck, and onto
the Mexican tile floor. The other victim’s blood oozed to his left. Funny, the
little details you notice at the scene of a murder.
“You call crime scene and the ME?”
I asked.
“Yessir, had Miss Bettye do it
right after I called ya.”
I nodded and looked around the
kitchen of a relatively new and expensive home. “Big house.”
Joey Gillespie nodded.
“At least 4,000 square feet,” I
guessed. “And quality. These guys had bucks.”
He nodded again and looked a little
“The air hasn’t come on recently.
In this humidity blood tends to stink quicker. Smell bother you?”
“Yessir, I ain’t used ta this.”
“Nobody gets used to it, kid. You
just learn to ignore it.”
“I guess.”
“You search the rest of the house?”
“Jest looked on the first floor ta
see if there was anybody here.”
“Nosir. On a slab.”
“Let’s go upstairs.”
I drew my old Smith & Wesson
from the holster on my right hip, and Joey pulled out his .40 caliber Glock.
“Look around, and pay attention.
Don’t watch me. There’s probably no one here, but we’ll do this by the
“Yessir. I’m right behind ya.”
We made a quick sweep of the first
floor, opening all the closets before ascending the stairs. The landing above
left us in a hallway with what looked like four bedrooms, two baths and two
closet doors. We found nothing in the guest johns or closets. A lack of
personal property in three of the bedrooms led me to believe they were set also
aside for guests. We looked further in the master suite and discovered two
closets holding clothing for two different people.
“I guess the two guys slept
t’gether,” Joey said.
“Strange, huh?”
“Not strange, just a minority.”
Two car doors slammed out front.
“Let’s see who’s here,” I
Jackie Shuman and David Sparks,
crime scene investigators from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, had arrived
and stood in the foyer holding cameras and forensic kits. Moments later, Deputy
Medical Examiner Morris Rappaport and his assistant Earl Ogle pulled up in the
morgue wagon.
“How’d ya find these two?” Jackie
asked of no one in particular.
“I’s checkin’ the neighborhood for
a missin’ child,” Joey said. “Got no answer here, but there was two cars in the
driveway and the garage was closed. Figgered someone’s home, so I walked ‘round
back and seen them layin’ here on the floor.”
“Nice wheels out there,” David said.
“Audi S7 and an F-Type Jag,” I
said. “Pushing a hundred grand apiece.”
“And they’re relatively new,
right?” Morris asked.
“The Jag’s new, and the Audi’s not
far behind.”
“With these two sporty drivers, why
do you suppose there’s an oil spot on the concrete driveway?”
“Good question, Mo,” I said.
“Something for our ace evidence technicians to explore.”
“We’ll git’er done,” Jackie said.
“And take pictures of this table
top. Someone ruined a nice antique.”
Jackie looked closer at the numbers
someone crudely scratched into the mellow wood finish.
“Thirteen thirteen,” he said.
“Wonder what that means?”
“Two unlucky numbers,” Morris said.
“Two unlucky guys,” I said. “Has to
mean something. Finding out will keep me from playing in the traffic.”

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

About The Author



Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara. 

Twenty (20) of his Sam Jenkins msyteries have been published as eBooks and many produced as audio books.Zurl has won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. His full-length novels are: A NEW PROSPECT, A LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT, HEROES & LOVERS, and PIGEON RIVER BLUES.

The all new FROM NEW YORK TO THE SMOKIES, an anthology of five Sam Jenkins mysteries is available in print and eBook, published by Melange Books, LLC.
For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see You may read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.
Connect with Wayne Zurl:


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Book Spotlight: Notorious P-Man Sam by Thomas Barr., Jr.

Notorious P-Man Sam


TitleNotorious P-Man Sam: Miami’s Urban Chronicles Vol. 1 

Vol. 1: Miami’s Urban Chronicles

Author: Thomas Barr., Jr.

Publisher: VIP INK Publishing Group, Inc. / Printhouse Books

Publication Date: April 1, 2015

Format: Paperback – 88 pages / eBook


Genre: Urban Fiction

Purchase The Book:


Barnes & Noble


Book Description:

This book is about the struggle of African American men as they traverse the perils of 20th and twenty first century life in the professional realms of the work place atmosphere. The differences in opportunities are often overlooked in comparison to other classes and among the races.

The American dream is the realization of success in the face of struggle and hard work. Is it relevant that one’s struggle is harder than the other in accomplishment of this goal? P-Man Sam is a hard look at the road to self-empowerment and what it takes to make it in the American society. The entrepreneurial spirit is one of the main roads traveled in realization of the American dream.

It takes knowledge and a fearlessness to take a chance in the ruthless world of business in this society. It’s also important to be able to effectively communicate with the modern diverse society of today through effective people skills.

The P-Man Sam story brings an awareness of how to navigate negative experiences and transform them into motivational learning blocks. Learning from experiences and moving forward is essential in life. One’s eyes must be open and naïve thought processes must be conquered in attaining the ultimate prize. The following are useful for application:

• Mentorship

• Net working

• Coalition building

• Broad-mindedness

This book is a good source for inspiration and having hope is a major force in your journey through life. Situations and circumstances should not be viewed as a hindrance, but instead a hurdle in step to the finish line. There are many instances in this story that relay the struggle against forces that present obstacles. Willpower and dedication are true factors that assist the main character in winning out against such forces.

In conclusion, the power of love and support are sustaining factors in the realization of goals in life. The act of goal-setting itself is an important factor in accomplishing anything in pursuant of ambitious dreams. This novel is sprinkled with kernels of knowledge and inspirational wording designed to give the reader insight into the motivations of the main character that can be transcending to experience.

It is beneficial and intended to identify and acquire these gems of knowledge to retain as progressive career tools.



Book Excerpt: 
In the tenth year
of the millennium, on the major Interstate of I-95 cars sped up the roadway and
zinged pass construction barriers.  Many
of the vehicles just barely swipe distressed vehicles’ parked roadside.  Sam Silvasteen drove with his windows down
taking in the South Florida breeze as his car cruised at a comfortable
speed.  A black car with a high
performance sounding engine screeched up next to Sam’s car.  The sound of gunfire erupted and peppered the
passenger’s side of Sam’s car with silver dollar sized bullet holes.  Sam jerked the steering wheel in an attempt
to dodge the spray of bullets.  The men
in the car continued to pace Sam’s car firing ruthlessly into the frame of the
automobile.  Hot lead ripped through
Sam’s flesh as he was hit with a volley of bullets.
Sam slammed into
the median and the men sped off as his car coasted to a halt along the concrete
rail.  Sam could hear the screaming
brakes of other cars on the road and smell the scent of twisted metal as he
faded out.  The Entrepreneurial President
of Bandstand Magazine lay shot along the Miami corridor among twisted metal.  His life flashed before his eyes and he
thought back on the events that led him to his current predicament.
Sam was a street
wise entrepreneur who had escaped the shadows of the crime filled eighties drug
environment of Miami.  Cocaine was the
major drug that circulated thru the community of Dade County.  He transformed his life into a respectable
businessman and attempted to help other urban youth in becoming productive
community citizens.  Within the blink of
an eye his life was turned upside down and the phantoms of his past attempted
to snatch his mortal essence from existence.
Sam was initially
raised in a single parent home.  When Sam
turned ten in the year 1977, he was placed in an orphanage by his grandparents
due to his mother’s early dementia among her other mental illness related problems.  Sam’s grandparents had six adult kids living
in their home and couldn’t afford a proper home for young Sam.
“Who turned the
damn T.V.,” yelled a burly kid his
hair dripped with Gerri curl juice.  His
voice echoed through the bare white walled dayroom of the orphanage.  Sam sat motionless as the other kids looked
around not saying a word in response to the question.  The scarcely decorated room remained silent.  Most of the juveniles were Cuban exiles and
spoke little English.  The burly kid steaming
with rage yanked the plug out of the wall and kicked the T.V. over.  The loud crash and sound of breaking glass
alerted the nearby sisters from the hallway entrance.
“What happened to
the T.V.?”  Asked Sister Alice, she was
new to Saint Joseph and relocated from Nicaragua to assist with the influx of
prospective exiled children of political patriots.  She wore the traditional long flowing robes
of her profession.  She was a looker and
it could be speculated that she had her pick of the litter before being
“Jose kicked it
over,” said the burly kid as he pointed at Jose Marti a skinny pale Cuban
teen.  Jose possessed long limbs but his
skinny frame made him look a bit goofy in appearance.
“Jose is this
true?”  Replied Sister Alice, as she
wheeled in his direction.  Jose remained
silent as Sister Alice waited for him to respond.
“Jose didn’t do it
Sister Alice,” Sam exclaimed.  His voice
was firm and controlled.  “Well it didn’t
happen on its on Sam,” replied Sister Alice in a sarcastic tone.  The burly kid cut his eyes at Sam and gave
him a hard look.
She now turned to
the burly kid, “Trey Brownlee if you’re fibbing you get twenty lashes,” She
swear….,” replied Trey before he could finish his sentence Sister Alice smacked
him in the chest with a ruler.  In a
heavy Spanish accent she sentenced Trey to spend the rest of the day in time
“Sam get
this mess cleaned up,” she said as she escorted Trey from the room.
immediately grabbed a garbage can to pick up the shards of glass that covered
the floor.  Jose found a broom and swept
some of the glass in a pile for Sam to scoop into the garbage.  The other kids resumed their activities as
the hype died down.
Sam made a friend
in Jose from the day of the T.V. incident with Trey.  They began their friendship working as
partners at anything they did together.
Sam was a husky twelve year old and Jose was three years his senior.  The two got along quite well with no regards
to their respective ages.  Lucky Barnes
was a younger kid who hung around Burt Ramos the only Puerto Rican kid at the
orphanage.  Lucky was a portly black kid
with big hands.  Burt often used little
Lucky when he was trying to hustle the other boys in marbles.
“Hey Sam,” said
Burt.  “Trey is going to be pissed that
you stuck your nose in his business.”
“Forget Trey,”
responded Sam.  “If you’re down with Trey
than forget you too,” said Sam as he flopped down onto a sofa in the dayroom of
the orphanage.  A group of boys congregated
at the corner of the day room and shot a game of marbles.
“Oh I’m down for
myself and I was just making sure you knew what time it was,” said Burt as he
made his way to the marbles game.  Lucky
gave Sam thumbs up as he shuffled close behind Burt.
Jose pulled up a
chair alongside Sam and said, “Now we have nothing to watch because of
Trey.”  The boys protested loudly in the
corner of the room while Burt tried to convince them he was not cheating.  “Hey I got ya back don’t let them get to you
about that Trey stuff,” he said.
Sam sat straight
up and replied, “I’m not worried about a thing.”  He extended his hand and slapped Jose
five.  Jose watched a lot of T.V. and was
hip to the street ways of black culture.
He understood the gesture and was happy to have made a friend in a place
where watching out for self was paramount.
Sam was also careful in not being labeled a rat while sticking up for
Jose.  He knew in befriending an older
kid his chances of survival had increased tenfold.
The females were
housed in an entirely different dorm wing as compared with the males.  The only times the two would mingle was
during mealtimes and that was usually three times a day.  All the kids in the orphanage were supervised
by nuns and the Mon Senior had final call on all activities.  Sam had his eye on this one pigtailed hair
girl named Vivian Smart.  She was a
beautiful vivacious teen who was present at the orphanage upon Sam’s arrival.
“Hi Sam,” she said
as she sat down with her lunch at Sam’s table.
“I heard what you did for that Cuban kid the other day and I think it
was courageous.”  Sam shifted in his
“No big thing,” he
replied.  “The kid looked as if he needed
help and I stepped in.”  Sam dropped his
head and continued to munch on his sandwich.
Vivian took a cookie from her tray and placed it on a napkin in front of
Sam’s tray.  Sam didn’t raise his head
but his heart quickened its pace.
“This is for your
bravery,” she replied as she slid the napkin in Sam’s direction.  Sam was at a loss of words, and before he
uttered his faint thank you Vivian had strode off and rejoined her
The cafeteria was
a bustle with kids and they were being closely monitored by the nuns for any
improprieties.  Sam sat brooding as he
finished his meal.  He missed he mother
and siblings, while the orphanage provided a vibrant surrounding it lacked
genuine personal connections.  Before his
mother’s unfortunate problems Sam was often doted on by his family.  He was the youngest and the last born of his
mother’s children.  His siblings were
years older than he was and were all away trying to establish a life for
themselves.  Sam hated being poor but
what else could he do he thought to himself.
Sam made his way
to the day room after lunch and sat looking at one of the day room
windows.  He had a second period of
classes in which he contemplated cutting.
Jose walked up to him and slapped him on the back, “What up Sam!”  He said in his best English.
“What’s up Jose,”
replied Sam.  I got a couple of classes
for second period and I do not feel like going,” said Sam with a sigh.
Jose was only a
grade higher than Sam although he was fifteen.
His problems with the language barrier relegated him to grades lower
than his normal level in Cuba.  “Let’s
hangout in the courtyard or sneak over to the girl’s dorm,” replied Jose.
“Cool,” replied
Sam.  He stashed his books under a nearby
sofa and was out the door along with Jose.
The girl’s wing
was well kept and immaculate in comparison to the facilities the boys
maintained.  When not in class the girls
milled around outside and played dodge ball on the cement courts.  The males and females rarely participated in
physical activities except when there was a yearly festival occurring.  Jose and Sam hid behind a dumpster near the
courts of the girl’s dormitory.  “Hey
there’s Vivian,” said Sam as he ducked so he wouldn’t be seen by her.
“Who is Vivian?”
Jose inquired.
“Nobody,” replied
The girls walked
on a nearby court and began their ritual jump rope Double Dutch game.  Jose whistled trying to get one of the girls’
attention, Sam nudged him in the side.
“Are you trying to
get us busted,” exclaimed Sam.
“No, just trying
to get us some trim,” replied Jose.
One of the girls
heard the commotion and walked over to where Sam and Jose were held up.  She saw them crouched behind the dumpster and
immediately began screaming.  The boys
tore out of their hiding place and ran for the nearest place to hide for
cover.  Jose laughed hysterically as he
tried to catch his breath from the sprint to the dormitory.
“You’re crazy,”
remarked Sam bending over in exhaustion.
“That was a rush,”
said Jose.
The two boys
walked back to the day room and talked about the look on the girls’ faces when
they realized they were being spied upon.
Classes were ending for the day and the dayroom was filled with
students.  Music appreciation seminars
were usually held by Sister Alice after dinner and Sam really enjoyed the
sessions.  He profiled the different
types of music genre as well as the musicians of past and contemporary
times.  “I’m going to my room before
dinner,” said Jose.
“See you later,”
remarked Sam.
Sam remained in
the dayroom leafing through his school books as he sat on a bench in the back
of the room.  Sister Alice entered the
dayroom recruiting groups to complete chores.
Sister Alice mentioned that the females were also participating and Sam
decided to volunteer.  One group of males
and one group of females were directed to the gymnasium area of the
compound.  The two groups were instructed
to scrub the floors and wash the walls.
Sam joined the chore group hoping to get a chance to be around
Vivian.  Sam began scrubbing and to his
dismay saw no sign of Vivian in the other group.
Sam continued to volunteer his services
for the chores squad of Sister Alice in hopes of seeing Vivian.  On this one particular day the squad was
tasked to clean the main administrative offices of parish officials.  Vivian was assigned to the task and Sam was
delighted his persistence had finally paid off.
Sam decided he would work closely with Vivian and learn more about her
“Hey what are you doing here?” said
Sam.  Vivian stopped what she was doing
and put her hands on his hips.
“The same thing you’re doing,” She
said.  The girls giggled as Vivian smiled
at Sam.
Sam thought to himself that was a dumb
question to ask.  He never knew the right
words to say to the members of the opposite sex.  She looked so beautiful standing there with a
twinkle in her eyes and sass in her voice thought Sam.
“Well I was offering to help but I see
you’re good,” Sam replied with a smirk.
“You’re such a good guy,” said Vivian
with a wink.
Sam continued to work while the girls
chatted about what guys they thought were cute in the boys’ dormitory.  Sam pondered his next move on how to get
Vivian’s attention without her friends being around.  He thought he would have a better chance at
an honest conversation on a one on one basis.
Sam would have to covertly recruit individuals to help with his plan and
a major part of his plan would be Sister Alice.
Sam was exhausted after his chores and
he lounged in the dayroom and watched the boys roll marbles.  A couple of maintenance men coordinated the
installment of a new T.V. in place of the damaged one.  Jose walked in and made his way over to a nearby
by sofa avoiding the guys on the floor as they shot marbles.
“So you were doing chores,” remarked
Jose.  “Did you see your sweetheart
Vivian,” he remarked with a laugh.  Sam
ignored Jose’s remark and continued to watch the boys argue over taking a turn
to roll marbles.
“When are you going to volunteer to
help out around here?” asked Sam.  “Maybe
you’ll meet a nice female.”  Sam
“My uncles say the best way to get a
fine girl is with a lot of money,” said Jose.
“Yeah that works too,” said Sam with a
Sam was intent on wining the heart of
Vivian and he assured himself that love was his reason for his
persistence.  Sam had not really known
the love of a woman outside of his mother but he could not resist the emotion
he felt when he was around Vivian.  Sam
would be careful about revealing his feelings around the people he interacted
with daily, because in his environment this could be a source of perceived
Trey entered the dayroom and stomped
through the circled marbles on the floor where the boys were shooting
marbles.  The sound of grinding glass
against the floor could be heard as Trey twisted his foot on each stomp.  Marbles shot out from under Trey’s foot
hitting the sides of nearby chairs, tables and walls.   The boys scuttled out of Trey’s path dodging
flying marbles.
“Man why’d you do that!”  One of the enraged boys responded.
“Shut your trap,” retorted Trey.
Sam knew Trey was pissed he had
challenged his rule in standing up for Jose.
Sam was ready for whatever retaliation Trey would seek to impose.  Sam continued to lounge nonchalantly on the
sofa as Trey marauded around the dayroom.
Jose remained silent as he sat on the other sofa.  Sam could see Jose was tense and his demeanor
had drastically shifted in relation to his earlier mood.  Sister Alice stuck her head through the
doorway of the day room.
“We will have no trouble out of you
today Trey,” She said as she disappeared down the hallway.
Sam sat at the breakfast table alone
and ate his bowl of oatmeal in silence.
He soon felt a hand on his shoulder.
It was Sister Alice standing over him smiling with her black nun’s head
dress draped over her hair.
“Sam don’t mind Trey much,” she
said.  “Both his parents died of aids
when he was just a toddler.”  She pulled
up a chair and sat next to Sam.  Sam
paused between spoons full of oatmeal as she continued to talk.
“He was raised by his grandmother until
she died a couple of months ago and he seems to have a hard time
adjusting.”  She said.
Sam thought to himself he was not
having an easy time here either and why is she telling this story to someone
who loathes Trey.  Sam began to fidget
with his silverware as Sister Alice told Trey’s life story.  He desperately wished Jose would appear and
interrupt her oration.  Sam could
appreciate the concern Sister Alice felt for the kids of the orphanage.  He wondered if she spoke of his situation and
issues with others as she did of Trey.
                Sam’s own home situation was what led to his current
occupancy and he felt little empathy for Trey’s story.  Sam had few adult role models; however Sister
Alice influenced the good in him.  Sam
dreamed of the day when he could stand on his own without the need of the
orphanage.  He was tired of being a kid
and was ready to venture out into the world.
Sam was in his own thoughts now and subconsciously caught bits and
pieces of Sister Alice’s conversation.
“You know Sam Saint Joseph will seek to be a solid base for your
upbringing when you grow up,” she said.
Her voice seemed to trail off as her last comment reverberated in his
                Sam desired to
make a good impression to others by making himself who they thought he should
be.  He would do tasks that made other
people happy and would go all out to fit in with others.  Sam felt uneasy in the aftermath when he
thought of this act of self repression.
His true nature was to be himself and explore who the real Sam was as an
                Sam viewed Trey
as a bully and an enemy to the free spirit of those around him.  Trey’s bully tactics blunted the freewill of
others stunting their growth.  Sam in an
attempt to be ordinary like everyone else downplayed his true abilities.  He had no desire to be recognized as
exceptional in comparison to his colleagues.
The Trey types sought to bring out such exceptional abilities which made
Sam hate him even more.
                Sam’s perceived
abandonment issues stoked his desires for the camaraderie of others and he
highly valued friendship.  Trey bullying
tampered with that concept which in turn was a source for instability in Sam’s
world.  Sam would mesh out any
instability that threatened his contentment.
Trey would be met with the harsh retaliation whenever he threatened to
disrupt Sam’s reality.
                Sister Alice
realized Sam was not soaking in her words and stopped speaking.  She looked at Sam as he sat gazing into the
distance.  She raised herself from her
seated position and stood with her hands on her hips.  She shook her head and walked away from Sam
as he continued his gaze.


                “Kids,” she said.


About The Author




Hailing from Miami Florida; Author Thomas Barr was born in Lake City, South Carolina home of the 2nd African American astronaut, killed on the Challenger space mission, Dr. Ronald E. McNair.  He is the grandson of a share cropper whom taught him the value of hard work and education.  At age 17 he began college at Bethune-Cookman University and graduated Cum Laude with honors.  While in college he was inspired to write when he read the novel, Black Boy by Richard Wright.  He began writing short stories for campus publications and won a $500 dollar publication contest in a local campus circular.  He entered the Air Force after college and spent two tours of duty in the gulf during the Persian Gulf War.  Upon leaving the Military he went back to school and completed graduate school at the University of Akron in Ohio earning a master of public administration.  He began a career in government as an Intern with the Ohio legislature and later became employed with the Florida Senate as a legislative assistant.  His current works were inspired by his work with the City of Miami as a civil servant in administration.Thomas Barr’s writings reflect the everyday struggle of the average individual trying to make something of life.  Every person has a story to tell and the job of an inspirational writer is to bring those stories to life for the good of all.  As an author Thomas Barr desires to be the chronicler of inspirational stories designed to assist dreamers in achieving.

Connect with Thomas:

Author Website: 

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Summer Fire: Love When It’s Hot Book Blast Event

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About The Boxed Set
Summer Fire
Title: Summer Fire: Love When It’s Hot (Boxed Set)
Author: Gennita Low, Stacey Mosteller, R.J. Lewis. L. Wilder, Victoria Danann, Kym Grosso, Cat Miller, Mimi Barbour, Clarissa Wild, Teresa Gabelman, Linda Barlow, Helen Scott Taylor, Victoria James, Mona Risk, Patrice Wilton, Joan Reeves, Danielle Jamie, Terri Marie, Lorhainne Eckhart, Brandy L. Rivers, Nicole Blanchard
Publisher: dba 7th House Publishing, Imprint of Andromeda LLC
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
ISBN: 978-1507060469
Format: eBook
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Twitter Hashtag: #SUMMERFIRE
Summer Fire 3DCover

Book Description:

21 ALL NEW contemporary romance stories by New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling authors.

Limited Time Only!

Love when it’s hot? So do we.
Especially when we’re writing about gritty alphas, angsty bad boys, sizzling attraction, and unrequited passion. Turn the fan to oscillate, loosen your buttons, and join us for this groundbreaking bundle of summer tales that are hot hot hot.
1. Gennita Low – Sizzle

2. Stacey Mosteller – Just One Summer

3. R.J. Lewis – Sinful
4. L. Wilder – Summer Storm

5. Victoria Danann – A Season in Gemini

6. Kym Grosso – Solstice Burn
7. Cat Miller – Sun Burnt
8. Mimi Barbour – Big Girls Don’t Cry
9. Clarissa Wild – Killer
10. Teresa Gabelman – Rodeo Romance
11. Helen Scott Taylor – Irish Kisses

12. Victoria James – Sweet Surrender

13. Mona Risk – Husband for a Week

14. Patrice Wilton – A Man for Hire
15. Linda Barlow – My Mile-High Mistake
16. Joan Reeves – Heat Lightning
17. Danielle Jamie – Tan Lines and Salty Kisses
18. Terri Marie – Someone Exactly Like You
19. Lorhainne Eckhart – His Promise
20. Brandy L Rivers – Summer Rhythm
21. Nicole Blanchard – Anchor

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May 24 – 27, 2015
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Summer Fire Book Blast Event

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Summer Fire: Love When It’s Hot book blast!

Summer Fire Banner
About The Boxed Set
Summer Fire
Title:  Summer Fire: Love When It’s Hot (Boxed Set)
Author: Gennita Low, Stacey Mosteller, R.J. Lewis. L. Wilder, Victoria Danann, Kym Grosso, Cat Miller, Mimi Barbour, Clarissa Wild, Teresa Gabelman, Linda Barlow, Helen Scott Taylor, Victoria James, Mona Risk, Patrice Wilton, Joan Reeves, Danielle Jamie, Terri Marie, Lorhainne Eckhart, Brandy L. Rivers, Nicole Blanchard
Publisher:  dba 7th House Publishing, Imprint of Andromeda LLC
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
ISBN: 978-1507060469
Format: eBook
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Twitter Hashtag: #SUMMERFIRE
Summer Fire 3DCover

Book Description:

21 ALL NEW contemporary romance stories by New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling authors.

Limited Time Only!

Love when it’s hot? So do we.
Especially when we’re writing about gritty alphas, angsty bad boys, sizzling attraction, and unrequited passion. Turn the fan to oscillate, loosen your buttons,  and join us for this groundbreaking bundle of summer tales that are hot hot hot.
1. Gennita Low – Sizzle

2. Stacey Mosteller – Just One Summer

3. R.J. Lewis – Sinful
4. L. Wilder – Summer Storm

5. Victoria Danann – A Season in Gemini

6. Kym Grosso – Solstice Burn
7. Cat Miller – Sun Burnt
8. Mimi Barbour – Big Girls Don’t Cry
9. Clarissa Wild – Killer
10. Teresa Gabelman – Rodeo Romance
11. Helen Scott Taylor – Irish Kisses

12. Victoria James – Sweet Surrender

13. Mona Risk – Husband for a Week

14. Patrice Wilton – A Man for Hire
15. Linda Barlow – My Mile-High Mistake
16. Joan Reeves – Heat Lightning
17. Danielle Jamie – Tan Lines and Salty Kisses
18. Terri Marie – Someone Exactly Like You
19. Lorhainne Eckhart – His Promise
20. Brandy L Rivers – Summer Rhythm
21. Nicole Blanchard – Anchor


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Testimony Book Blast Event

A Young Girl's TestimonyAbout The Book


A Young Girl's Testimony 

Title: A Young Girl’s Testimony: From Disastrous To Evangelist

Author: Shana Joseph

Publisher:   Xulon Press

Pubication Date: September 23, 2013

Format: Paperback – 110 pages / eBook

ISBN: 978-1628396867

Genre: Christian / Non Fiction / Autobiography

Book Description:

In this book is a powerful message that rises out of a true-life story woven in sadness, heartache, pain, joy and God working miracles. You will see lessons learned, wisdom gained, and experiences to share. It’s revealing unforgettable moments all in unforgettable testimonies.

Book Excerpt: 

From Page 30:

At the age of fourteen I got tattoos and some piercings.  People always said that I was a beautiful girl.  However, when I looked in the mirror I didn’t see what they saw at all.  When I looked in the mirror, I only saw my painful past and my mother.  I saw people I hurt and someone I hated.  I saw a disastrous person looking back at me.  I got a piercing in my eyebrow and two on the right side of my nose because I thought if I changed how I looked on the outside, then maybe I would like myself.  I had to deal with people labeling me as a conceited person because all they saw was a pretty girl with a nice complexion who had long hair, and who all the boys liked.  I never saw any of that.  Maybe if I did, I wouldn’t have gotten into so many fights and had my long hair pulled and I would’ve been full of myself.  Maybe I wouldn’t have the marks on my face from fights or the bite mark left on my shoulder from a girl whose head I was banging on a car window while fighting her.  I was never into myself because I always thought I was a worthless person.  I thought I would always be a street prisoner, is what I called it.  Would you believe a pretty girl like me pointed a gun at someone and sold drugs for a while? Well, I did.  At times I thought I would end up like my mother.

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About The Author


Shana Joseph


Shana Joseph is a young, anointed Evangelist who preaches the undiluted word of God without fear. Surrending her life to the Lord at age 16, she has been preaching for many years and has a passion for the young people, as well as those who have yet to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. Shepherded and molded under the leadership of Bishop Dr. K.D. Collins, founding vessel of The Harvest Army Church International, headquarted in the Bronx, New York, Shana has grown from an ordinary Christian to a powerful warrior for Jesus.

Shana is happily married to her husband, Stephan Joseph and together they have three children, Marland, Giovonni, and Vanise.


Contact Shana at:



Contest Giveaway




Pump Up Your Book and Author Shana Joseph are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on May 30, 2015.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on June 1, 2015.
  • Winner has 72 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


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Book Blast! Getting It Right by A.M. Arthur

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We’re thrilled to be hosting A.M. Arthur and her GETTING IT RIGHT Book Blast today!  Check out her book at Amazon or other retailers listed below!

About the Book:

Getting It Right 3Title: Getting It Right (Book one of the Restoration series)
Author: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)
Pages: 249
Genre: Contemporary Romance / M/M
Format: Kindle/Nook

For a dramatic male/male read, look no further than Getting It Right by A.M. Arthur. This contemporary romance is full of heart-wrenching moments guaranteed to draw you in and leave you wanting more.

Detective Nathan Wolf might just be a junior detective, but he tackles every case with the passion that he lacks in his personal life. A series of failed relationships with women has left him still single at thirty-four–because he’s too scared to admit to his longtime crush on his best friend James.

Dr. James Taggert likes to keep his profession as a psychiatrist separate from his party-animal persona. Known around the gay clubs as Tag, he’s the guy who screws them, leaves them, and never looks back. But James’s drinking is getting heavier, and when bad memories from the past resurface, he’s close to becoming the worst version of himself.

After a drunken blackout ends in a hot and heavy make-out session with his very straight best friend, James has no memory of the steamy affair. But Nathan isn’t sorry for the kisses that James can’t remember. Nathan finally musters the courage to tell James how he really feels, but a life-altering event might force them apart before they can ever be together.

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Book Excerpt:

He smoked his way through two more cigarettes before Nathan’s beat-up Ram pickup pulled alongside the curb. For a city cop, he was still adorably country. Nathan leaned across the console to shove open the passenger side door, and James gratefully slid inside. The simple, familiar presence of Nathan nearby made James’s nerves unfurl a little bit more. Nathan was the one thing in James’s life that had always made sense. Had always been easy.

Weariness settled into his bones, turning his drunken daze into extreme fatigue. He wanted to pass out and soon.

Nathan shoved a bottle of water at him, then eased the truck back into the street. He cracked both of the front windows, probably because James reeked of smoke. Nathan had never been shy about telling him how gross his habit was. Nathan was also smart enough not to engage in conversation until they were shuffling up the short sidewalk to Nathan’s half of a two-story duplex. Nathan slung an arm around James’s waist, and the heat of the other man’s body so close felt amazing. Real. Not like the fake closeness of dancing with strangers in a crowded bar.

He finally got a good look at his friend as Nathan crossed the narrow living room to the kitchen in the rear. Flannel pajama pants and a spring coat. James had woken him up.

Yeah, I’m a douche bag.

“You hungry?” Nathan shouted from the kitchen.

“No.” In the familiar, somewhat cluttered warmth of Nathan’s home, he had a safe place to wallow in the shame still burning in his gut.

Nathan’s place was the definition of a straight bachelor’s pad—which worked since Nathan was a straight bachelor. Dark leather furniture right out of a magazine’s page, decorated exactly the same because he couldn’t be bothered. A monster, sixty-inch flat screen mounted on the wall over an entertainment console boasted two gaming systems, alongside a Blu-ray player and hundreds of movies. Only a handful of photos hung on the wall, mostly of his rather large extended family that lived in southern Delaware.

James paused to stare at a familiar photo of himself with Nathan, taken right after Nathan had graduated from the police academy. They were both grinning, arms slung around each other’s shoulder. Nathan so handsome in his uniform, James in a gray suit that hadn’t been stylish in a decade. Because that’s how long it had been. Nathan had made detective last year, so he didn’t wear his uniform anymore. James sort of missed it.

Nathan came back into the living room sans coat, a white wifebeater showing off his muscled arms and flat stomach. He was one-eighth Nanticoke Indian on his mother’s side, which gave his skin a lovely golden hue. His short hair was shiny black, and was always soft on the rare occasion James had a reason to touch it. His dark brown eyes often seemed to be smiling at him, even when things were serious, like right now.

He was carrying a bamboo tray loaded down with two shot glasses, a bottle of Kentucky bourbon and a bag of barbecue potato chips. He settled the tray on his magazine-covered coffee table, then poured them each a shot.

James sank onto the couch next to Nathan and accepted the glass. After a silent toast, he threw it back. The harsh, smoky liquid burned its way into his stomach.

Nathan refilled both glasses. “Does your mom know?”

About the Author:

No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long. She credits an early fascination with male friendships and “bromance” (and “The Young Riders”) with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories. When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

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In the Spotlight: Super Steve by Doug Cudmore

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About The Book
Super Steve
TitleSuper Steve 

Author: Doug Cudmore

Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 5, 2015
Pages: 328
ISBN: 978-0993993527
Genre: Action / Crime / Thriller

Format: eBook ( ePub / .mobi – Kindle), Paperback


Book Description:
It starts like just another in long string of Friday nights: Steve Janson again fools himself into thinking he’ll go for a stress-busting, head-clearing run, only to end up at the local Sav-N-Lo picking up a pack of Doritos. But when he ends up bleeding on the floor after a robbery gone wrong, and a mysterious stranger saves his life, he finds himself living every man’s dream. Or is that nightmare? In either case, he’s a superhero.
The darkly comic Super Steve asks: what if a regular person suddenly found himself stronger, faster, smarter than his fellow mortals? If nothing else (and, increasingly, there is nothing else), Steve is that average man, someone who clings to his sense of stand-up-guyness. He still puts in the overtime, even as the desks around him empty at the soon-to-be-extinct Metroburgh Green Pages. He makes sure his deeply pregnant wife and his baby-to-be live comfortably, even as his mountain of debt grows Himalayan. Sure, being the calm face that keeps everything alright gnaws at his slowly expanding gut some days, but it’s nothing a couple of MetroLagers can’t numb. 

And at first, saving school busses and pulling kittens from trees suits Steve perfectly. But as crime grips the city – an agitated former Occupier freeing the people’s money; a disgruntled ex-geologist with a knife to grind; a military man determined to keep the streets safe, no matter how unsafe they get in the process –the demands grow unbearable. As Steve’s wife grows suspicious of his late-night activities, as his boss threatens his job if the absenteeism doesn’t end, as his finances spin out of control after a gadget-buying spree, he is forced to ask himself: Must he sacrifice Steve Janson to be a hero? Or does he have to sacrifice the city in order to live with himself? 


Book Excerpt:

You would even, on your own time,
write a report, “How the Green Pages can cash in on geographic technology,”
which had been sitting for three months in Bryce’s office.
You would be a man trapped on a
small, sandy career island that was eroding away; your only options would be
dive into the ocean and hope there was another, larger island somewhere just
past the horizon. Or to stay and hope the waves stopped rising. And you were
the type to grab a palm tree and pray.
You’d work away at your desk this
Friday, save for a sneak next door for a foot-long Tuna Supreme from Senor Sub,
with a Coke and Doritos to aid the gentle expansion of your midsection. And
finally, after the last AAAA Auto Service ad was laid down, you’d take the
commute in reverse, back to your semi-slice of heaven.
Key in the door.
Yes, if you did that, you’d be
deep, deep inside the brain of Steve Janson.
Once you turned that key and opened
that door, though, you could try Steve’s heart. Because, like usual, you’d see
Sally Janson sitting at your little dinner table. She would be sipping a diet
iced tea and battling an iPad Sudoku in her pale green scrubs, but as you
crossed the threshold she’d get up to meet you in your home’s tiny entryway.
She would have had one hell of a day – hauling the kicking person inside her
was enough for any woman in this late-summer heat, but she, god bless her,
would have found the time to hit Target, grab another carful of unidentified
baby gear for you to assemble, and then, as her feet swelled, would have got
groceries and done the dishes. And still, when you arrived, she’d rock herself
up, walk over and give that kiss. You’d kiss her back and ask, “How was your
day?”, smell the clean of her sandy brown hair and, lately, feel the growing
bulge of her six-month belly as she pressed against you. Then you’d gulp down
the night’s meal together before it was time for her night shift as a
paediatrics nurse at Metroburgh West General. You’d give her another good,
solid kiss goodbye, not just lips this time, and she would head out the door.
If you took in those 60 minutes,
plus the off-nights together and holidays as they came, you’d get inside the
heart of Steve Janson.
Then you’d be back on your own
until 6:30 crashed down again.
But if you wanted to get into
Steve’s lower intestine, gall bladder and fist-sized chunk of the liver, you’d
need to be that bullet.
Steve Janson would have the idea –
actually Sally Janson would have the idea, which she would repeat so often that
it became Steve’s idea, as well – that he was going to be around for a long,
long time, if not for himself then for her and your son or daughter. And so, to
battle his days of inactivity broken by short bursts of glucose and cheese,
Steve would have to exercise.
That early-August Friday at 9:16
p.m., Steve would slam his home’s ill-fitting front door and perform a quick
succession of knee bends and hamstring stretches. He would feel fresh, strong –
he liked the idea, if not the practice, of late-night summertime runs – so he
would take the three porch stairs in one leap, tune into Songza and take the
first, too-fast strides of the evening. “The Sign” would blast through the
headphones; Sally had left the playlist set on “Early ‘90s Bubblegum”. He would
stop, scroll quickly to something more masculine before his ears were hooked,
but by the time he found “Jock Anthems”, Ace of Base would have taken over.
He’d head down the block to “Life is demanding/without understanding.”
After the first four dozen power
strides, Steve’s body would, per usual, start to despise him, a hatred that
only grew for the first 10 minutes of each work-out. One of two things always
happened after he warmed up: Either he would be ready to push, and his legs
would kick, his heart would settle into its familiar pace and the world would
float by; or he would not, at which point a pallid film would form across his
forehead, his legs would sputter, and he would use the emergency $5 in his
pocket to hunt for snacks.
No matter how brilliant he felt at
the start, option two was the almost guaranteed winner on Friday nights,
leaving him searching for something salty at the local Sav-N-Lo.
That would be the scenario tonight.
He would walk through automatic sliding doors, and the sweat he’d worked up
would evaporate as the heat was replaced by perfume-laced mid-sized-box air.
Steve would walk down Aisle 4, Oral Care and Shaving Supplies, until he reached
the pharmacist’s counter at the back. He’d turn right, passing a thick-bearded
man with an ER’s worth of home medical supplies crammed into his shopping cart.
He’d arrive at the snack aisle, pause in front of the Doritos, trying to decide
between Cool Ranch and Zesty Cheese.
That is all he’d have to do.
And hollow-point you? You’d have to
coil silently in a handgun, tucked inside a windbreaker pocket, hung on the
frame of a more drunk than angry young man riding shotgun in a Black 2001 Honda
Accord pulling into the Sav-N-Lo parking lot. You and your gun would sit cozy
as your owner and his two associates hopped from the car, threw black
balaclavas over their heads and strutted through those sliding doors. Then
you’d be running and, as you approached the check-outs, you’d be thrust toward
the ceiling, shining in the fluorescent light as your owner yelled:
“This is a robbery! Everybody be
cool, nobody gets hurt.”
Back at the chips, Steve would
freeze, and slow-motion-drop the fiery orange package he’d selected. He’d
think, “What the hell am I supposed to do in this situation?”
“Empty your fuckin’ registers,
gimme your fuckin’ wallets and purses, ahright? Quick-Quick-QUICK!” your
owner’s friend Jack would yell, pulling out canvas bags and tossing them on the
treadmills of the two storefront checkouts. “Get with the fuckin’ program!” The
panicked clutch of customers nearby, and the two dowdy checkout ladies in their
pale blue Sav-N-Lo pinnies, would start to comply.
Then some woman, a decade past
middle age, with large round bifocals and shining burgundy hair, the one
clutching an InStyle, would not get with the fuckin’ program. She would
defiantly refuse to release her floral-print handbag. There were pictures of
loved ones in there. They weren’t going anywhere.
So Jack – and his temper – would
whip out a pistol and get involved.
“I said give me your purse, bitch.
Your purse,” he’d yell.
“No, please, no, please. My
grandkids … ”
“Give me your fuckin’ ” and his
pistol would make solid, fleshy contact with her skull. “I said give me your purse, bitch.” Jack would laugh, stoop
over her unconscious body, grab the handbag, toss it in his sack.
As the woman lay on the floor, your
owner would aim you down for a second. The plan was, as had been discussed at
length during the drive here, that the guns were for show. Taking out old
ladies was not part of the plan. But your owner couldn’t argue niceties when
the shit was going down.
Burgundy Hair’s friend Henrietta
would start to scream, looking at the small pool of blood, but – “Shut the fuck
up!” – her screams would turn to panicked whimpers. “Anybody else get any
ideas, this is what we got for y’all. Now give us our money!”
The loot bags would fill up, from
the tills and the pockets of those standing nearby. And then you and your gun
would wave at the onlookers, make sure no one got close as your owner and his
other accomplice, the non-angry one who was high as hell and just there for the
laughs, backed toward the exit. But that pistolwhipping would have riled Jack
up. He would be an aisle into the store now, well within sight of the
still-frozen Steve, yelling and demanding more money.
And Jack would have the car keys.
“What the fuck you lookin’ at, old
dude?” he would yell at the homeless man. Jack would smash the shopping cart
over, sending gauze, syringes, ibuprofen everywhere; a roll of medical tape
would scoot past Steve’s running shoes. “I said what. The fuck. You lookin’ at.
Old dude.”
The homeless man would stand
straighter, taller, and calmly ask, “What are you doing?”
“What did you say, motherfucker?”
“I said what are you doing? Coming
in here, terrorizing people? Do you know how violence ends, my good man? Do
you? Because it doesn’t end well.” Then the old man would grab a clutch of
bills from inside his jacket pocket, toss them at Lou. “There, sir, is your
Jack would stand speechless for a
half-second. He’d flinch toward the old man with his gun, stop, move to pick up
the scattered tens and twenties at his feet. But just as quickly his anger
would trump his greed, and he’d slam the butt of his gun into the side of
another head. “Fuck you,” he’d yell,
as blood splayed off the temple of the old man, who crumpled to his knees. “Fuck you.” And the robber would raise
his pistol for one last smack.
But before he would connect
Steve would bolt. If you asked him
later, he wouldn’t be able to tell you why, exactly, against three armed men.
But he sprinted to his right, in an impossible attempt to save a life.
And this is where you would shoot
into action.
Your owner would have almost backed
out the front door by now, on his way to freedom, hoping his damn accomplice
inside would be out in the 60 seconds left before the police likely arrived.
But then he would see some guy, 5’10” or so, black hair and running gear that
only drew attention to his small mound of belly, bursting toward your
associate. And your trigger would be pulled.
And you’d be flying through the
air, spinning at a speed imperceptible to the jaw-dropped cashiers. You’d shoot
past the magazine covers (People had “Teen Moms of Denver star shares exclusive
baby pics”; the Star went with “Darren left me: Teen Mom Post-Partum
Heartache”); past the Archie Double Digests; past the salted and unsalted nuts;
you’d pass down the aisle, burst into the back of a package of Classic Lays,
shatter through dozens of greasy chips, and at almost the same instant explode
through the front of the yellow bag.
And then you’d be inside the lower
intestine, gall bladder and a baseball-sized chunk of the liver of Steve Janson.
That’s how you’d do it.
And, as you lay there, torn to
shrapnel, you’d hear “Oh fuck, oh fuck bro” and the sound of sneakers running,
and the rev of the black Accord disappearing into the Metroburgh night.
Steve would grab his bleeding belly
and, through the thick haze of shock, would rasp the words to nobody nearby:
“Tell Sally I love her.” And he would start to feel the warmth of the death’s
Then the crazy old man would right
his toppled cart, his smooth hands would hoist the fading Steve Janson into its
basket, and the two of them, and you, would sprint into the darkness of the
Sav-N-Lo Mart parking lot.
As the
squeal of tires and the flash of headlights shoved him back into consciousness,
Steve bolted upright.
He grabbed
for his shredded belly, to stanch the deadly flow of blood, to reach in, search
for the bullet, dig it out. But he couldn’t free his hands; they were pinned to
his body, tightly wound in something. He couldn’t tell.
As his
mind battled to make sense of the situation, his eyes struggled into focus.
Everything was black, save one piercing white light overhead. Its glow flipped
left to right as Steve rocked in a bid to free his arms and stop the life from
pouring from his gunshot wound.
In the
kind of few seconds that seem like forever, he worked both arms free and shot
his hands to the bullet hole just above his navel. His fingers prepared to
grope intestine and organ; instead, they hit skin. Soft, nacho-fed, lightly
haired skin. His digits looked for that fatal gap that must be somewhere …
there … on his torso … up … left … right … but found nothing unusual except
for a thin, inch-long cut just below his bottom left rib.
He was
certain he had just been shot. Or fairly sure, though he now lacked evidence.
Maybe that was just something that had entered his heat-stroked brain after too
many wind sprints … no. He didn’t do those anymore. And he was bound, by
something, left in the dark. If that much had happened, he had likely been
shot. Probably. He concluded that, if he didn’t want to get probably shot or
bound again, he’d need to get out of here.
another big hit of air – the oxygen blended with sinus-pinching taste of
anaesthetic and a rusty hint of blood, making him nauseous even as it cleared
his brain. He gasped again – each one tasted better – and looked at that light.
Its glow turned from formless orb to floating ball to the familiar form of
Metroburgh municipal streetlight. Steve followed its pole to the ground – his
stare caught onto a string of decorative porch lights as they disappeared down
a street in the background – and to the black ground below.
So there
was a streetlight here, he thought. What else? His eyes couldn’t make that out
yet, and his legs didn’t have the strength to explore.
instead, his eyes teamed with his fingers to determine the identity of the
restraint: A simple cotton sheet, soft, warming but industrially rough, like
you’d find on a low-rent hospital bed, light yellow with pink and white stripes
across the top. It had been swaddled around his torso and upper legs; it still
bound his calves tight. It felt fresh, clean, except for the part that had once
been around his belly but now drooped to the side. That was crusted with
something dark, like a giant scab. Blood? His fingernails scraped; he brought a
sample up to his nose. Yes, blood. Dried. A lot. Steve’s brain panicked again
and his hand shot back to his belly; no, still just soft pink flesh and tiny
And then
Steve’s brain provided a fresh reason for concern – why was his hand hitting
skin? Why not the sweat-wicking runwear Sally bought him last birthday? He
looked quickly down, making his head swim again; once he recovered, he got an
eyeful of his full, naked self, upper thigh straight on up. He grabbed the
folds of blanket off the bench and covered his shame.
So now his
panic had a thick overlay of creepy. Steve’s mind shot back through the last
few items in his memory. Running. Snack food. Yelling. Gunshot. No “getting
naked” on the list. Dear god, what had he, or somebody, done in the interim, he
As he
wrapped the blanket folds around him, ensuring all important bits were covered,
Steve forced himself to concentrate. He was shot. Or not. But most likely. Just
not wounded. But wrapped. In something bloody. And he was naked. Where?
Horizontal brown boards. A bench a park most likely. He looked to the horizon
again and objects finally started to clarify … the sturdy steel A of a
swingset… a couple of baby swings hanging down … a big red corkscrew slide
… by his bare feet, which he now determined were sitting on sand, a broken
pink Fisher-Price play kitchen, stacked high with filthy toy pots and pans,
buckets and shovels … a worn yellow Tonka truck … a couple of Frisbees that
had been converted into digging devices.
Steve knew
this spot. Bryan W. McCain, Sr. Urban Play Parkette, tucked away two blocks
from his semi. He was close to home. Thank god. Still, he was in a playground.
At night. Naked. Except, of course, for a blanket covered in dry blood.
give me another pull, asshole.”
down, man … … … alright, here you go.”
that’s the shit. Got this from some hopped-up Moldovan dude downtown, bro.”
jumped to his feet, momentarily dropping his blanket. The mumbled conversation
of two hoodied just-past-teens hit his ears; it sounded as though they were
right next to him. He swung his stuttering gaze 360 degrees, until he spotted
them approaching; they were still a good quarter-block away, though, passing
under the last streetlight before the parkette. Their smoke wafted up, hung in
the humidity.
Steve made
himself an impromptu diaper, bunching the blanket around his groin, and darted
for the hedge at the parkette’s south end. He crouched between its evergreen prickles
and the seven-foot security fence behind, tied the blanket in place. Then he
crouched further, into a ball, and waited.
Stumph, just off his shift at GasMart, and his cousin Nick DeBergh, not
currently working nor interested in the concept, slouched into the parkette and
dropped onto the bench Steve had occupied just seconds ago. They enjoyed a
nice, long joint and the inane conversation that it brought – cars they’d never
drive, lingerie models they’d never screw. After five minutes, Nick, his 259
pounds living on the border between husky and obese, was taking one long last
pull when something caught his eye.
The park
light glimmered off a big, light yellow form behind the bushes.
nudged Lucas, whose sallow cheeks and sunken eyes gave an outpatient
impression, nearly knocking him onto the ground. “Bro,” he said, pointing,
“What is that?”
the bushes, bro.” Nick got up, pulled down the bottom of his Area 51 t-shirt so
his belly was covered. “Check it out. Looks like … a dude in a diaper!”
“Oh fuck,
yeah,” Lucas said, laughing a deep, ganja-laced laugh. “Hey Diaper Dude!” he
called. “What’s in the bushes?”
could now see he was hardly hidden. He was cornered, though; the two men stood
between him and the parkette’s gate, and as they strolled toward him his escape
route was slowly, stumblingly cut off.
Diaper Dude!” Nick called, delighted at his discovery. “What you doin’ in
there, man?”
“Yeah, uh,
hey guys,” Steve responded with an understated wave. “How’s it going?”
Lucas was curious. “Are you one of those dudes who dresses up like a baby and
have some chick change your diaper?”
“Yeah, you
a perv?”
“Hey, it’s
nothing like that —”
Lucas’s face turned angry. “Yeah, what the fuck, bro. Doesn’t your niece play
at this park?”
The two
not-quite-teens now walked more quickly toward Steve’s failed hideout.
“Yeah, fuck, dude, Brytney plays here all the time. Hey, get the fuck out
here, pervy Diaper Dude!” Nick demanded.
stood, put his hands out to the side in a plea. “Look guys, I –” But there was
no point in trying to reason. Lucas ran the last 10 steps left between himself
and Steve, pulling out a small pocket knife as he did and saying, “Let’s fuck
this dude up.”
Steve was
out of options; couldn’t reason, couldn’t run, couldn’t do much damage against
a loser with knife. But in the last millisecond before his torso took its
second blow of the night, an electric surge shot through Steve’s legs, while
another hit his brain. And he jumped, up, back and, with unknown energy
exploding from his quads, he cleared the fence behind him with room to spare,
just as the knife sliced the space where he had stood a half-second before.
Steve came
down in the ankle-deep sod of the unkempt backyard behind the fence and, in
disbelief, stared Lucas in the eye, this time with the safety of a seven-foot
sheet of metal diamonds between them. “What the fuck?” Lucas said.
And just
as fast as he’d cleared the fence, Steve came to his senses, turned, ran. He
needed to get home, back to safety, he couldn’t take the streets and risk the
neighbours spotting him. But with this bizarre new strength coursing through
his legs, apparently allowing him to clear fences in single leaps, he could
take the back route. So he sprinted across the first, dark, 24-foot-wide back
yard and hurdled with ease over the five-foot privacy fence at the other side.
Stuck the landing. Good, he thought, now there were two fences between himself
and the stoners. He could take time to gather his thoughts. Until the motion-sensor
light snapped on and the Chihuahua
in the rear window began a piercing yip.
hurled himself over the next fence, again with ease, but this time crashed down
on an above-ground pool; the sound of his body hitting the water was loud
enough, but coupled with the clatter of the now-collapsing structure, and the
whoosh as gallons of water poured into the yard, it was enough to stir more
neighbours. Backyard lights flicked on almost instantly up and down the block;
any second now, annoyed homeowners would come out with their dogs or cats or
baseball bats.
As Steve
cut through the rushing water, he realized he just needed to cross one more
yard and he would hit the back alley that dissected his block, leading straight
to his backyard. As the demolished-pool owner slid his screen door open, Steve
cleared another fence. And again he stuck the landing, onto an upturned rake.
yelled the pool owner as Steve disappeared.
yelled the owner of the final yard, who was sitting on his candlelit deck,
enjoying a glass of chilled Cabernet with his wife’s best friend.
yelled the wife’s best friend.
And “Damn
it,” yelled Steve as two rake prongs shot into his bare right foot. He leapt
over the last fence with such force that he topped it with five feet to spare,
and, with the alley on the other side being blessedly empty, he turned right,
toward home, and broke into sprint, a dead sprint, faster than he’d ever
sprinted before. Then it occurred to him that his bleeding right foot would
leave a track leading to his own backyard. So he broke into a hop, a dead hop,
faster than he’d ever hopped before, to the safety of his own gate.
As he
arrived at the back of his house, Steve realized his key was exactly wherever
his running clothes now resided. So he picked up a fist-sized rock from Sally’s
decorative garden and, as quietly as possible, punched it through a glass pane
on his door. He reached through the resulting hole, slicing the side of his
hand in the process, and turned the knob from the inside. Then he pushed the
door open and allowed himself the sweet, agony-filled relief of a collapse on
his kitchen’s cold tile floor. He lay there for 10 minutes at least, panting
and seething with the sharp pains in his foot and hand, and flinching,
convinced he’d be caught, as he heard a smatter of neighbours searching the
But they
never came knocking. And so, when his will returned, Steve sat up to survey his
damaged body, slid over to the cupboards and pulled out tea towels, wrapping
them around his wounds. After a minute or two of applying pressure, he
staggered to his feet and, leaning on the faux-marble countertop, tried to
think of what he could possibly do next. As he looked around the room, trying
to settle on a course of action, he noticed the voicemail light flashing on the
kitchen phone; he grabbed the cordless receiver, thinking maybe an answer
resided there, in the receiver.
The robot
voice told him he had four. Unheard. Messages.
#1 was
Sally. “Hey, hon. Just heard from downstairs that some guy was shot at the
Sav-N-Lo. I know you were being a good boy and running, but give me a call back
at the desk, okay?”
#2 was
Sally, a touch more panicked. “Hon, just thought I’d hear back from you by now.
Guess you’ve gone for a long one. Good for you. Call back, okay?”
#3 was
Sally, really scared. “Steve, please call, okay? Someone just said they heard
some runner might have got hurt, but they didn’t bring anyone in. Why don’t you
take your stupid phone with you? Call me right now, okay?”
#4 was
Sally, on the edge of tears, five minutes ago. “Steve, I’m really scared, okay?
I was asking around now, no-one knows anything … call me, okay? C-” Steve
deleted the last message before it played out and dialled the maternity ward.
He stood,
the rumpled sheet half-clinging to his waistline, and stared at the wreck of
himself in the mirror above the kitchen sink. As the rings progressed, so did
this thought process – from “Poor Sally” to “Maybe she’ll know someone who can
help me” to “What am I going to tell her? That I woke up naked in a park and
just ran through our neighbours’ yards?”
West Maternity.” A too-familiar nurse spoke on the other end of the line.
“Could I
speak to Sally Janson, please.”
“Yes, hi
“Oh, thank
god. Sally’s worried sick,” his wife’s best work friend replied with her usual
agitation. “She was just heading home to check on you, I’ll see if I can catch
her.” The line clicked, then filled with Latin-tinged classical guitar.
waited, watching his reflection as the flamenco magic filled his right ear, and
discovered the line he had felt on his abdomen just minutes ago was gone.
Steve, is that you?”
hon-” and he noted, just above the non-cutline, a scrap of paper, safetypinned
to the top of the blanket near the top of his left thigh, something he’d missed
in the madness of the night.
“Are you
“Yeah, I’m
fine –” on the paper, the hand-scrawled message read “Call me. 701-565-7232.”
701 … North Dakota.
buzzed in the background. “Oh, I was so worried. Where were you?” she accused
with just-relieved terror. “I called and called. The police said that some
runner had been shot, and you never answered the phone, and I …”
North Dakota. A disappearing wound. Naked in a park, a
children’s park, with him blacked out and maybe eyewitnesses, to
something or anything …
“… but
they never found anyone, and I thought maybe you’d just crawled off somewhere,
and …” sobs.
wasn’t a lying man, at least not with the people that counted. Once the lies
started in a relationship, they never stopped, he’d learned from a rather nasty
college girlfriend. But there wasn’t another choice right now. He just needed a
small one; he’d figure a way back to the truth later on.
“Oh hon,
I’m sorry. I am so sorry. I just bailed on the run and crashed upstairs. I must
have slept through all your calls. Really, are you okay?”
“Yes,” she
said in a smaller voice now. “Don’t ever do that again. Okay? You sleep with a
phone on the pillow.”
“Oh god,
I’m so embarrassed,” she said, wiping a mix of tears and eyeliner from her
cheek with the back of her hand.
“Don’t be,
hon. Do you need me to come over? Get you a decaf?”
“No, no.
Really, don’t come down here. I just need to get back to work. Be up when I get
home, okay?”
“You got
it. Love you.”
“Love you,
too. And keep that phone on your pillow. Asshole.” Vulgarity meant the fear was
pancakes for when you get home.”
They hung
“How you
doin’, honey?” Martina asked.
really,” Sally replied, grabbing a tissue from the nursing station. “I feel so
Sal. He needs to grow up and treat you right.”
“Oh, he’s
just a man,” Sally replied. She let out a sigh and forced herself to her feet,
headed out for a night of towelling down birthing mothers and soothing birthing
And Steve
looked back at himself. God, he would need a better story by the end of Sally’s
shift. First, he’d have to explain the wounds … speaking of which, the pain
was gone now, all praise endorphins. He unwrapped the tea towel from his hand –
not only was the pain gone, the gash was, too. He unwrapped the towel from his
foot. No rake holes, either.
His shot,
skewered, sliced body was fine. Not just fine. Perfect. He glanced around the
kitchen to make sure the wounds had been real, that this wasn’t just a
hallucination formed by the leftover vapours of whatever had left him
unconscious. But there were still the bloody towels, the bloody sheet, the
broken window. Those were real. And, if he was going to keep Sally from asking
any more questions, he would have to dispose of them.
But before
the sweaty, blood-crusted blanket was trashbagged, he unpinned the note, walked
the strange message upstairs, slipped into his pyjamas, and tucked it amidst
the nail clippers and spare change and unread novels in his bedside table.
And he
pulled it out for one last look. 701. North Dakota. Add that to
the top of the night’s pile of what-the-hells.
The Book:



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About The Author
Douglas Cudmore
Doug Cudmore is a veteran journalist who has worked in business, entertainment, and urban affairs and crime. He is also a long-time comic-book lover. You can visit his web site at

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In the Spotlight: Paul Flower, author of ‘The Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery’

The Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery
About The Book
The Redeeeming Power of Brain Surgery

TitleThe Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery: A Suspense Novel 

Author: Paul Flower

Publisher: Scribe Publishing Company

Publication Date: June 1, 2013

Pages: 250

ISBN: 978-0985956271

Genre: Susepense

Format: Paperback, eBook (.mobi / Kindle), PDF
Book Description:

Jesse Tieter, M.D. has carefully constructed the ideal life. But lately, neither his Chicago-based neurology practice nor his wife and son are enough to suppress the memories that have haunted him since he was a little boy. He can’t stop thinking about that summer day in 1967 when his father died.

So Jesse is heading back. Back to the town and the place where a long-repressed horror occurred. Back to make sure his twin keeps the family’s secret buried.

But what will he uncover along the way?

Book Excerpt:

His son’s hand felt like a lie. Lately, to him,
everything felt this way. The look of sadness on his wife’s face, the burn of a
drink in his throat, the whine of a saw in the O.R.; nothing seemed true. Nothing
was real anymore. He felt out of balance, too. Even now, the school building,
the flag slapping against the heavy fall sky¬¬—everything was tipping away from
him. It was as though he’d gotten up that morning and screwed on his head
carelessly, as though he hadn’t threaded it good and tight. While shaving, he’d
cut himself, a discrete, semi-intentional knick just under the curve of his
chin. He’d stood there like an idiot, eyes feeding the message “blood” to his
brain, nerve endings responding with “pain” and the logic center unable to
formulate a response.
“Dad? Daddy?”
“Uh? Wha’?”
“Pick up the pace. Chop chop. Move out.”
Now, as he snaked through the crush of other
parents and children, he had to look down to convince himself the boy was
there, attached to the hand, flesh and bone. The red hair, “his mother’s hair”
everyone called it, was sliced by a crisp white part; his head bounced in beat
with his sneakered feet. The child was so painfully real he couldn’t be a lie.
It amazed him that his son looked so much like his
wife, especially the tiny mouth, the way it was set in a crooked, determined
line. He was a kid who liked to have fun, but he could be fierce. Today, the
challenge of a new school year, of third grade, had brought out the determined
streak. This was good. They would need that streak, he and his mother would.
“Whoa.”  The
tiny hand now was a road sign, white-pink flesh facing him, commanding him. Far
enough. He obeyed. Squatting, arms out for the anticipated embrace, he suddenly
wanted to tell everything. Tears swam. His throat thickened. The earth tilted
and threatened to send him skittering over its edge. There was the slightest of
hugs, the brush of lips on his cheek then the boy was off, skipping toward the
steps as though third grade challenged nothing, caused no fear, as though the
world was in perfect balance.
He walked back to his Lincoln Navigator with the
exaggerated care of a drunk who didn’t want anyone to know his condition. He
got behind the wheel and suddenly was no longer in his 50s; he felt 16 and too
small, too skinny and insignificant to handle the giant SUV.
He nosed the vehicle toward home, alternately
trembling and gripping the wheel as he merged with the morning traffic. The
plan struck him now as odd and silly, the challenges too great. His hands,
already red and scaly, itched fiercely. Get a grip, he told himself. Get a
His tired mind—when was the last time he’d really
slept well?—jumped from one stone of thought to another. Was everything covered
at work? The bills—had he paid them all? Did his wife suspect anything? Yes.
No. Absolutely. Of course not. Relax. Relax. He left the expressway at the exit
that took him past their church and wondered if the church, too, was a lie.
What of the wedding there so many years ago?
Through a stoplight and past a Dunkin’ Donuts, his
gaze floated around a corner. A flash of inspiration—hit the gas. Let the tires
slide and the back-end arc around. Let physics have its way until the big
vehicle broke free from the grip of gravity and danced head over end, coming to
a stop with him bleeding and mercifully, gratefully dead inside.
No. He had something to do. Had he figured the
angles right? Gotten the plan tight enough?
A horn jabbed through his reverie. He had drifted
into the turn lane of the five-lane street. He jerked the wheel and cut across
traffic into the right lane. Tires screeched, horns screamed. A black Toyota
streaked past on his left, the driver’s fist, middle finger erect, thrust out
the window.
Rage, sharp and bitter, bubbled in his throat. He
hesitated, then jammed his foot on the accelerator, cut the wheel hard, and
sent the Navigator careening into the left lane.
A staccato barrage of profanity pounded the inside
of his skull. He bit his tongue to keep the words in. His heart hammered and a
familiar, dizzying pressure filled his ears. The SUV roared ahead, past one
car, past a semi then another car, quickly closing the gap on the speeding
Toyota. He couldn’t see the car’s driver but he could imagine him, some stupid,
simple-minded schmuck, eyes locked on the rear-view mirror as the lumbering
Lincoln grew larger, larger, larger. The instant before he would slam into the
smaller vehicle, he jabbed his brake and turned again to the left. There was a squeal
of tires and more horns bleating behind him; the semi rig’s air horn bellowed
angrily past. Ramrod straight, eyes fixed ahead on the now-slow-moving car
disappearing tentatively around a curve, he brought the Navigator to a
shuddering stop in the center lane. He tensed and waited for the resounding
WHUMP of a crash from behind. None came. Face flushed and eyes gleaming,
suddenly rejuvenated, he accelerated quickly then eased the Navigator back into
the flow of traffic—no looking back.
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About The Author
Paul Flower




Paul Flower is an author, advertising copywriter/creative director and a journalist.He has written and produced award-winning advertising for print, radio, television, outdoor, the Web––really, just about every medium––for business-to-consumer and business-to-business accounts.

His news features have appeared in regional and national magazines. His first novel, “The Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery,” was published in June 2013 by Scribe Publishing. Visit Paul’s website at


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