Dark MC romance 18+ due to graphic and explicit scenes. Book 4 of the OUTLAW series (stand-alone)
Expect murder, mischief, and mayhem.
Beautiful and yet scarred, Gem works in a supermarket living the safe life she has chosen after surviving a violent past running with an outlaw motorcycle club. Excitement beckons in the form of a handsome biker named Shep, who introduces her to the rest of his legit racing club, Rage. However, members of Rage won’t accept Gem until she’s proven herself, and Shep sees her as no more than a trophy for his drugged up ego. Gem then makes the mistake of getting involved in Rage’s illegal activities, which then lands her back in the arms of an outlaw motorcycle club and a deadly conclusion.
“West has called you out. You’re racing tonight. Be at the pub by nine.”
This is what the club had been waiting for. My race against West was gonna bring in some big bucks, and I wasn’t about to lose. I had a name, street cred, and a reputation as a winner, and now West wanted a piece of me. I’d know how much Blade put on me when I got my ten percent, I thought hungrily. I wanted this. I could already taste the victory.
I met up with Blade in the bar and he pulled me to one side.
“You’ve won four out of four races,” he said. “Now I want you to lose.”
I stared at him. “You want me to lose?” I repeated.
“How much you putting on this race?” I asked.
“Enough. Listen, this is between us, understand?”
“Yes and no,” I answered.
“Don’t make it look too easy. I don’t want Rage accused of fixing the race. It’s got to be a close call. Here’s five hundred,” he whispered and put a roll of money in my fist. No one saw the exchange. “And you still get your ten percent, okay?”
“Okay,” I said.
I didn’t know where Blade was going with this. I wanted to keep up my winning record, but he was the president and, as a member of Rage, I had to follow his orders.
Although there were other members racing that night, mine was the one everyone was talking about and would continue talking about, after I lost the race. I was not looking forward to it. Everyone was rooting for me, and I was about to let them all down, apart from Blade. Five hundred pounds. Five hundred pounds, I kept repeating in my head.
There were loads of spectators already waiting when we got to the rendezvous point. Word must have gotten out.
West was sitting on his Ducati with a big grin on his face and two blondes standing on either side of him. I wished I could wipe that smile off his face, but I knew he’d be shouting about his win for weeks, months even. I turned my sight back to the bike in front and followed the convoy through the deluge of spectators.
I was first up. It was such an anticipated race that no one was willing to wait or interested in watching other racers. I saw a lot of money exchange hands as I suited up. Sitting on my bike, waiting for the flag to drop, my heart was racing. Adrenaline was pumping, but this time it wasn’t because of the coming rush. Inside, I was furious. I could take West. There’d be no contest.
While I was trying to get into the ‘zone’, I pictured another race with West; this time, I won, and as I had lost the last, the stakes had been raised. I pictured myself with a helmet full of notes. A thought occurred. Blade was a smart man; maybe this was just the beginning of the hustle.
As soon as the flag dropped, my bike flew. I was already in the lead, and, from my mirror, I saw West closing the gap. The blur of spectators passed, and then it was just me and the road ahead. I allowed him to come alongside me. It was best if it looked like a dead heat. Man, I was so close, I could taste the victory. I needed to ease off slowly, but my body had other ideas. My grip was frozen.
I could see the finish line. My heart was pounding. My breath stuck in my chest. I managed to move my fingers, and that’s when West’s front tyre overtook mine and crossed the line first.
I slammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop.
“—-, —-!” I yelled, banging my fists on the tank. I wanted to throw my bike down in disgust, but it wasn’t her fault. Instead, I rode over to the side and parked the bike before taking my helmet off and throwing it on the ground. For good measure, I kicked it across the road. Anyone in the vicinity could hear my verbal abuse. They kept their distance. It was obvious I was upset, but not for the reason they thought.
Blade found me leaning against a wall, my arms crossed tight against my chest.
“I know that must have been hard,” he said.
“You’ve no —— idea,” I spat, and then walked away from him.
Doc then came jogging over. “What happened, Gem?”
“He had a better bike,” I said.
I saw the look in his eyes. He knew the truth.
“Come on,” he said, nudging my shoulder. “I’m racing next, and I need your support.”
I smiled. He didn’t need me. He had enough support. However, I stood at the starting line to watch him and even put a small bet on him. I knew he’d win for me. Out of elation, I ran up to him and planted a hard kiss on his lips. Doc pulled me to him. His mouth opened, and we kissed fervently. I had never felt anything like it. My stomach turned in a good way. It went right down to my —-. The hairs on my arms stood up, and I swear I saw a spark. I loved the taste of him, and I wanted more. I had never felt so much passion from one kiss. Whistles from our audience broke the special moment. We stepped away but couldn’t take our eyes off one another.
“Whoa!” I spoke.
“My sentiment exactly,” Doc replied breathlessly.
“About bloody time,” Blade shouted.
I don’t know about Doc, but I had a huge grin on my face and was red from embarrassment.
“Come back to my place,” Doc whispered. I nodded and boy, did my heart race.
If you love dystopian fiction, and you’ve yet to read any books by Sam J Fires, then keep reading.
Not only do Sam’s books hit the Amazon New Release title on EVERY new release. Yes, you can get one of these elusive orange tags before the book is officially out. On release day the orange tag changed to Best Seller on every one of her newly released books.
In fact, the first book of the series, which is priced at just 99c has been a bestseller since its release in April 2022. And to sweeten the deal, you can read the prologue of this fantastic adventure for free.
Let’s take a closer look at End of Days
So, let’s start at the beginning, the prequel End Of Days.
When ordinary life transforms into a fight for survival, can a young woman keep the chaos from pulling her under?
Go-getting twenty-six-year-old investigative journalist Cassandra Drews just wants her miserable day to end. And desperate to put her breakup behind her, she agrees to one last face-to-face to return belongings to her ex. But when they’re nearly killed by an out-of-control car, she’s horrified when the nightmare of her relationship takes a backseat to an eruption of violence. In the blink of an eye, an EMP attack wipes out the nation’s power and the world grinds to a stop. Surrounded by chaos, Cass is torn between tending to the injured or escaping her seething ex. It doesn’t take long before panic and violence erupt on the streets of Portland. Out of options, Cass has no choice but to race home, hoping to outrun a looming ice storm. Can she make it to safety before experiencing the wrath of the bitter winter storm? Or will she find herself the victim of far more than the elements in a town thrust into bedlam? From Sam J Fires comes the brand-new End of Days series, a post-apocalyptic EMP survival thriller featuring flawed, complex characters and adrenaline-fueled action adventure. Perfect for fans of Ryan Schow, Grace Hamilton, Kyla Stone, and Jack Hunt.
“Surviving Chaos: End of Days Prequel” by Sam J. Fires This is a short fast-moving glimpse of how quickly society can disintegrate. Under stress the thin veneer of civility disappears very quickly. As soon as I completed it, I began “End of Days Book 1” and look forward to reading the whole series.
Picked this prequel as a free book and really enjoyed it. I became invested in the main character, and will definitely be ordering the next book in this series.
You can download #1 Amazon bestseller for just 99c. Right HERE
No lights. No power. No help.
During the coldest winter on record, an EMP attack wipes out the nation’s power and cripples the country.
As the city spirals into lawless chaos, investigative journalist, twenty-six-year-old Cassandra Drews is forced onto the dangerous streets of Portland to begin the long walk to her parents’ home in Oregon.
But hypothermia and starvation aren’t the only dangers Cass and her rescue dog, Daisy, face on their perilous trek. Danger is stalking them, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Help comes in the form of troubled ex-marine Isaac Winters, who slips back into soldier mode with the city’s collapse.
Now, the trio must work together in a fight for survival as they race to escape the city before violence, or the bitter wintry storm can claim them. Do they have what it takes to make it out alive? Or will they be crushed by the brutality of the unforgiving cold?
Grip of Fear is book 1 in this enthralling post-apocalyptic EMP survival thriller. If you enjoy tales of ordinary folk thrown into harrowing situations, you’ll love the End of Days series!
“Grip of Fear: End of Days Book 1” by Sam J. Fires I enjoyed the author’s style of writing. The scenarios are credible, and everything just makes sense. I have already begun Book 2 in this series. Good reading!’
‘Great reading!!! Lots of action and emotion! A great read. Can’t wait to read the follow-up books!!! Outstanding author!!! Superb!!!!!!!’
‘I was so absorbed in this book I lost track of time. I love the underdog hero and the post apocalyptic genre. It’s always great when I run across an author I haven’t read before. It’s a real treat.’
All of Sam’s books can be found on Amazon and they are all on Kindle Unlimited. The first book is free 2nd book is only 99c. No excuse to not read this fabulous dystopian series that is taking over the Amazon charts.
It’s very simple. You buy a book and you get one entry into the prize draw to win this awesome reading light from Amazon. That’s it. So here are some links for you to check out my books. Or click the links on the books on the righthand side of the blog.
There are so many amazing children’s books, that entertain the kids and many carry life lessons within the story. Micki Wescotts’s book is the same apart from one detail. Micki writes these cute stories in a way that will start a conversation with your child.
If your child is quiet and shy, this book could finally get them to open up and get them to talk with you. This isn’t just a storybook for foster children, it’s for all children. These tales will stay with them and may start up a conversation the next day about the story.
You will meet Sara who didn’t go to kindergarten regularly and wanted to make sure her baby brother was safe.
Kittens who learned to forgive.
Billy bear who benefited from therapy.
10 little bugs who took care of moma and popa.
And a flower who realized it’s not so bad to live somewhere else.
And what makes Micki Wescott qualified to write these special books?
With over 22yrs + experience with foster care, wrap around services, mentoring, IEP navigation, trauma- based- behavior, abuse/neglect, holding a Master Life/Master Mindset certificate as well as Para-Social work/ Sign La proficiencies, the author desires to create that safe conversation space so the child can discuss openly what’s on their mind and heart.
This is my personal journey as a sufferer of Covid. It will be updated every day so make sure to follow the blog and come back
We managed to keep Covid away from our house for two years. I knew as soon as I heard the neighbour’s household was affected, I knew there was nowhere to run.
I live in a small Greek village, where the older generation is ignorant when it comes to Covid or doesn’t understand how serious the virus is. Safe to say MIL brought it in the house and my youngest caught it first. I knew I would get it from her especially as I was the one looking after her trying to get her 105 fever down. I wore a mask, sanitised my hands wore gloves, but there was no way of escaping it.
My youngest and I have not been vaccinated. That was our choice. I’m what you would call high risk as I have serious health problems, which is why it’s dangerous for me to have Covid. I’m hoping this is a weak strain and I recover quickly.
Right now, I have a sore throat I’m coughing and my chest is tight. My body feels so heavy I can hardly move. I don’t want to move as every bone in my body aches. I have paracetamol for the aches and pains, and to help when my temperature rises and syrup for my throat, plus a vitamin C supplement. So I’m eating, and resting, but I work online, for now I’m still available to help my clients and do my everyday work.
When my husband did the home test on me and it showed one line, but I was feeling ill, so I knew the reading was wrong. When hubby was up after his siesta, he saw there were two lines, and not one.
So that’s day one. Make sure to come back tomorrow for Day Two: A Diary of A Covid Suffer.
Today has not been a good day. I’ve been in so much pain, that my body doesn’t feel like my own. I can’t move, I can’t walk without my body feeling like I’m an 80-year-old. Now I know that Covid builts up fluid in the lungs, and that stops the lungs from working properly. So you’re probably asking why is my body in so much pain then. I have underlining medical conditions which makes me getting Covid, dangerous. I suffer from Fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, thyroid disease and type 1 diabetes. Fibromyalgia comes with many symptoms including depression, chronic insomnia, restless leg syndrome, chronic pain 24/7 and memory problems. Fibromyalgia affects the muscles and the nerves of the body, causing chronic pain everywhere.
I’m on 20+ pills every day, plus 3 injections for my diabetes, I take around 5 supplements. So imagine having all of that to deal with and then throwing Covid on top.
I was in so much pain today, that I could hardly concentrate on work and even closed down the computer and went to sleep. I cried a lot today, not just feeling sorry for myself but, being in so much pain and not being able to step out of this body that just doesn’t feel like it should belong to me.
So a bad day today. It’s now 2 am and I’m gonna read for a bit. Tomorrow is going to be a challenge as I have meetings set up with clients. Join me for the next instalment of The Diary of A Covid Sufferer, tomorrow.
Got most of the pain under control by taking the paracetamol before my body was aching too much. The chest is no better, but no worse, which is good. And it’s certainly the weak strain I caught, which is another good thing. Today I lost my tastebuds, sense of smell and appetite.
I’ve had a bad stomach all day and felt sick many times. I kept myself busy, but then paid the price of total exhaustion. Unable to keep my eyes open.
No idea what day four will bring.
So day four and it’s a Saturday. I don’t work weekends so every time my eyes wanted to close I let them. So I’ve been sleeping on and off all day. My coughing is getting worse, ending up in choking bouts. Day one. It was like a cold and I was able to blow it out. I must have gone through one box of tissues in two days. But now nothing which means the fluid stays in the chest. which doesn’t sound like that’s a good thing to happen. I hope that one of my choking fits will have me puking it all out.
My voice is non-existence which isn’t good considering I’m hosting a panel of authors live tomorrow. I have zero taste, which makes everything I try to eat and drink taste awful. So 2nd day no food. I can see me losing some kilos when this is over. That and I still have a stomach sickness, which makes the thought of eating anything, disgusting,
Even so, I still have to remember my other health conditions and keep testing my blood sugars, blood pressure, and make sure I take my meds on time. Right now I have a headache, so I’ve turned all the lights off and will shut down and rest my eyes.
Tomorrow will be an interesting day.
I’m not sure how long Covid lasts in a person with good health, so I have no idea how long my illness will go on.
Today I had the live author panel. I didn’t want to cancel. I felt well enough to get dressed, put some make-up on and host the panel for an hour which was fun. But then once it finished all strength seemed to leave my body and I was exhausted. So I slept, and even though it was a quick nap, it was enough.
Last night after I did the diary blog, I was sick. I had a choking fit and my throat filled up and I couldn’t breathe, my body automatically continued to retch until my throat was clear of fluids. So that was a good thing, getting rid of some chest fluids. I haven’t been sick since and my cough is just as bad as it was.
Still no taste, not even water, which has no taste. Anything I try to eat or drink tastes wrong. But I have tried to eat even though I’ve had no appetite. No fever, no aches and pains and no upset stomach. However, I do feel the phleme stuck in my throat, waiting to be coughed out. I just hope I don’t have to wait too long.
Tomorrow is back to work, week and I need to remind myself that although I have work, I need to rest, don’t do too much, and take care of myself. Pulling away from the computer will be hard. But if I want to get back on my feet at full power, I have to rest. Which I’ve been told multiple times is the best medicine for Covid.
Today has been spent sleeping and working. I’ve managed to get a lot done until fibro fog set in and things started becoming confusing. My naps, although plenty, were short ones, like 10 /15 minutes.
Still, no taste, smell or appetite but I did eat actual food today, for the first time in 3 days. I’m still taking my syrup as my throat is still sore, I’m coughing but not choking. But my throat is dry and I think I may be sick again later tonight. I’ve been light-headed for a while this afternoon. my ears are blocked as well. But my hearing is fine.
I’m so eager for all this to be over and I can go back outside for fresh air, get my nails done, go for a ride on my bike. everyday things that have been taken away from me. My youngest will go for a PCR test tomorrow to see if she’s free of the virus. I don’t know how long my illness will continue. When things are looking like they might get better, by the end of the day, I’m feeling exhausted and coughing again, Guess you can’t rush a process like this, no matter how much you want to.
Tomorrow I have nothing scheduled so the day will be split between sleeping and working.
Has it already been a week?
I think most healthy people get better after a week in isolation. Alexia got tested today and was cleared. I got tested and still two very strong lines.
I’ve noticed I have a lot of juice in the morning and by late afternoon I’m exhausted and can hardly keep my eyes open.
I’m coughing more today than any other day, still have a bad stomach but no sickness. I thought I was going to be sick yesterday, but no. I have been feeling dizzy and lightheaded for two days now. Could be because I’m not eating well. I can’t. I eat to take my injections, but I still have no appetite and no sense of smell or taste. My chest is tight and I can feel the phleme in my throat, I just can’t get it out. Only one choking /coughing fit today.
If I thought I felt isolated before, I really am now, with Alexia not being able to go near me. I’m truly alone in my room. Mood swings are out of control. I feel anger, next I’m crying over an advert. No pain, no breathing problems. But hurt my rib coughing so violently earlier. Fell asleep a couple of times, but been busy working and I’m happy to say, keeping up with the workload.
I have a podcast interview tomorrow, where we discuss my favourite film and why it means so much and after that, I have a zoom meeting with a client. Both are later in the day when I’m weak and can hardly keep my eyes open. So that will be fun.
It started at 4.30 am. I started to cough and it became worse. It soon turned into me choking and then being sick. I thought I would feel better after I was sick but the coughing continued until the phleme was stuck in my throat, in a way that stopped me from breathing properly. No matter how I tried to cough it up, it was stuck, which then pulled me into like a panic attack. I was crying, shaking, still coughing and choking. I must have woke up Alexia with all the crying. She stood at the door and asked if I was okay if I wanted something. I knew she wanted to come to hug me and I wanted and needed it so badly right then. But there was nothing she could do for me. I think that’s the worst part of isolation, is not being able to have that physical contact with someone. Especially when you need it so desperately. Eventually, I had worn myself out and fell to sleep until 1 am this afternoon.
I told my husband what happened and he got me some new syrup for my throat. I’ve eaten a little today, but still no appetite or taste bubs. I haven’t coughed as much since I started the new syrup. I only slept once and apart from getting the dates mixed up, my head has been clear enough to be able to work.
So apart from what happened at 4.30 am this morning. The rest of the day and evening has been good.
I’m not sleeping well which then causes fibro fog and feeling sick most of the day. No appetite, but I managed to each a small plate of rice, chicken and veg Chinese, even though I couldn’t taste it.
Not coughing much at all today, but still chesty and I can still feel the phleme in my throat. The medicine I’m taking is called Prospan and tastes like sweet fig syrup, but it’s sugar-free. It’s certainly done a better job that the first one I took.
Tomorrow, day ten, is testing day. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’m clear, even if I am, it is still going to be a while before II get rid of this throat problem. I’m crossing my fingers and toes. I can’t wait to get back on my bike again.
Well, I did a test and it still showed 2 lines. So even though I’m not coughing that much, I still have the virus. I really do miss my singing and being out on my bike. Still no tastebuds and no appetite. I sound much better now. The croak in my voice has nearly gone. Still not breathing deeply, as that stats me coughing again. Made me sad knowing I still couldn’t hug my two girls and Alexia is anxious to spend time together.
Feeling so much more like myself. Although I did cough a bit today and slept on and off most of the day. I had a shower and eat dinner, which I could even taste this time. Still no appetite, but the bacon salad, Sofi, my eldest made, was delicious. Alexia wanted me to see if she could catch Covid again, so quickly after having it. She really wants to spend time with me.
I couldn’t find any answers to her questions. What I did learn about is Post-Covid 19 and Long Covid, which are the aftereffects some sufferers can get up to three months after being free of the virus. These are effects and not the virus, so no one can catch Post-Covid. Symptoms could be a chesty cough again, fever, memory problems and feeling weak. So even if I get the all-clear, my voice still might not be ready for singing and all I have in my head right now is going away to Norway and having a fabulous – once in a lifetime experience with Sofi. I will be doing another test tomorrow to see if I’m free of this virus. Keeping my fingers crossed this time.
As I’m feeling more like myself I did another test. The second line was still there but very faint. I’m taking that as a good sign. I could taste most of my dinner, Sofi made tonight. Still no appetite, so unlike me, I left some food on my plate. I was even singing earlier, which was nice to hear. Tomorrow, I’m thinking of getting dressed and going for a ride on my biker. I won’t stop anywhere. I just need fresh air. My cough is still there, and I continue to take my syrup 3 times a day.
I’m happy and surprised that Covid never messed up my Diabetes at all. I was doing 3/4 blood tests a day, and nothing was too high to too low. And apart from two days where I couldn’t move from Fibro pain, it hasn’t caused too many problems with Fibromyalgia.
The one thing I’m extremely happy about and was worried about all these years was ending up in hospital. I’m thankful that I got Covid on the tail end of it and not earlier on. That Alexia and I who are NOT vaccinated got the weak strain of the virus and didn’t have to suffer too bad. I think my Covid is hanging on longer than healthy people because of my health condition. Still, it could be worse.
My cough is the only thing that proved I have Covid. Yep, you read that correctly. I’m Free of COVID. Finally one line, not even a blur of a second line. I’m still isolating myself for another day
I feel good in myself. Got lots of sleep today, which is definitely the best medicine.
I’ve nearly finished the bottle of cough syrup and although I’m still coughing, it’s nowhere near as bad as it was.
I ate today and again, I could taste most of it. Still no appetite though. I didn’t end up going out on my bike, as it’s far too warm out there. I’m best staying in my air-conditioned house. Waiting for it to cool down. I can’t wait to get back on my bike and hit the road.
So that’s my journey. I’m so thankful that it was the weak strain. I know I would have been in hospital if I have the full strain. I’m thankful full I only had three bad days out of the 13. What a ride though. I hope never to go through that again. Thank you for reading and for your comments. They mean so much.
I was a guest on Dr Sandi Webster’s, podcast. Available on video MP4 and MP3.
I talk about my writing, my books and then about Author Assist. What I do for my clients. I answer the questions, why it works, and why authors are anxious about hiring someone who can help with marketing or promoting, such as VA or PA? And I talk about my own experience when hiring a ‘professional.’
Sandi then asks my honest opinion about her book cover and I give it to her straight. As I normally would. I’m very open and honest when I talk about my work, experience and how I can help authors out there.
Watch or listen to this very engaging interview with tips and advice throughout.
She’s there again. Just like clockwork, her and her dog. Every Thursday, ten o’clock in the morning on the dot, she arrives, coffee in hand. I wonder what she does or where she goes when it’s raining? Why every Thursday? Why always this park, this spot, this blue stone bench?
Every time, I say I’m going to go over and introduce myself and talk to her. But every week my feet say glued to the ground. My mouth goes dry and my heart feels like it is about to jump out of my chest.
It’s her big brown eyes and the smile she gives to her dog. I swear she casts a spell that leaves me frozen.
Again, another week was wasted. Again, she bewitched me, and I knew at eleven o’clock she would stand up and leave the park. And I would have to wait another week before I see her again.
But fate had another plan!
“Benji, no!” I yelled as my small, patched Jack Russell scarpered off. I watched his little legs and the lead disappear around the corner before I registered what happened and started running after him.
I chased after him, but I’m not what you would call an athletic man. Don’t get me wrong. I’m tall and slim. You just won’t find me in a gym. That was made obvious as I had just completed a lap of the park, yelling for Jack (yes, I know, very original.)
And guess where I found him? Sitting beside her dog. I threw myself on the bench and held out my finger to her, hoping she would let me get my breath back, before she started up a conversation. I hoped she didn’t see my shaky legs that felt like they had turned into jelly and would have caved in on me if it wasn’t for the blue bench that became my rock.
The gorgeous lady looked at me. Her eyes twinkled with laughter.
I smiled, even though I hadn’t got my breath completely back. The lady held out her coffee to me. I shook my head.
“Please take it. You look like you need it more than me.” Her voice sang to me; smooth, clear and left me with goose-pimples.
She held the coffee out, and so I took it.
“Thank you.” I sipped the cooling dark, strong coffee. Umm just how I like it. A took a couple more sips when I turned to face her, intent on talking normal English words that would come out of a human, but instead, I just looked at her, with a half-open mouth and nothing coming out of it. Thankfully, she shot the embarrassment down and spoke first.
“I wondered how long it would take you to get the nerve to come over and say hi.”
Now my mouth opened wider in shock.
“I see. A man of few words.” There was laughter again twinkling in her eyes. “I’ve seen you and Jack a few times around the park.”
I knew I had to say something before she accused me of being a creepy stalker or something, which, okay I was watching her, a lot, but not stalking, and now it seemed my stealth wasn’t as good as I thought.
I sat the cup on the blue stone in between us and then held my hands up in defence and hopefully gave her my winning smile.
“Yes, we come here regularly and if you don’t mind me asking–Oh, shoot, my manners. Hi, I’m Mark.” I held my hand out to her, and she fitted her soft small hand into mine.
“Hi Mark. I’m Jessie.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Jessie.” I must have looked like an idiot just staring with this huge smile on my face. “Thanks for the coffee, by the way.”
She laughed. “You’re welcome.” She looked down at her dog and then looked up at me. “Maybe you can return the favour sometime.”
She looked so shy. I guess it wasn’t often a woman ask a man out for coffee. Well, I wasn’t about to leave her hanging. “Yes. That’s a definite IOU.”
Jeez, her smile warmed my chest. I could just stare at Jessie all day.
“Umm, you were saying before you introduced yourself to me something about if I don’t mind you asking. I don’t, so go ahead.”
Her hand reached over and touched my arm. No, electricity didn’t occur, but when she moved her hand away I felt the warmth leave with it.
“So, umm. I see you and your dog sitting here every Thursday at around the same time.” I saw her smile vanish, and she had a faraway look in her eyes. Gosh, did I just put my foot in it and ruin this chat? “I’m sorry. It’s none of my business. Just pretend I didn’t ask.” I turned my head away while trying to think of something smart to say to her.
She shifted away from me, and my stomach dropped, knowing I had messed things up, and it didn’t look like I was going to get a second chance.
“Grace was my sister,” she said with a sigh. I looked to where she was pointing and saw a silver metal plaque with the words ‘In memory of my loving sister Grace,’ and two dates and then underneath was the line, ’Sing with the angels.’
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Jessie. I should never have asked.”
“No, it’s okay. It must have seemed strange seeing me here at 10 am every Thursday. My sister lost her fight with cancer on a Thursday at 10 am. She loved this park and used to come and sing. She had a wonderful voice, and people stopped to listen.”
“Then I can understand why this place and spot means so much to you. That was a beautiful thing you did for your sister, and I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you, Mark.” She smiled, and my heart lifted.
“I hope this is not too forward of me. But it’s coming up to 11 am when you normally leave. I don’t suppose you would like to go for a coffee with me?”
“I would love to.” She answered and held my hand as we walked out of the park with our dogs following behind us.
I manage the group Children’s book and illustrations, on Facebook. This is where authors and illustrators of children’s books can promote their work. When I saw the above illustration I immediately wanted to write flash fiction about it. The illustrator Gabriel Martin was very excited about the idea. And so above is the story I wrote using this wonderful Illustration as inspiration.
Their hearts will never forget… But the approaching danger may take away their forever.
Possessing vital information that could bring down a crime cartel, Arely Bernal flees to Orlando, taking a job as far under the radar as she can get—bartending at a BDSM club. Where she encounters the man she’s never forgotten.
Wracked with post-Afghanistan PTSD, Kurt Allendorf limps through his days, barely taking an interest in his Club Nexus anymore. Until he’s stunned to spot a face, he hasn’t seen in twelve years. Arely has grown into a seductive beauty who awakens his inner Dom like no other woman, ever. But he’s too broken to be worthy of her trust, much less her submission.
When the danger Arely’s running from tracks her down, there’s no place safe to hide. And both Arely and Kurt will have to rise above their demons to survive…
Stand-alone strictly 18+
Kurt planned to arrive at the club fifteen minutes after the trial began. He wanted to slink into the cocktail lounge as unseen and unheard as possible. It was crucial to watch the applicant’s behavior from a distance. He had nothing against women working jobs usually associated with men. He was all about equality and qualifications. If she knew her stuff and Ross approved her abilities, great. His suspicions rested elsewhere. The faint flash of vulnerability Ethan had showed last night was concerning. He hadn’t been this way since the debacle with Joyce; a predator with a great act. Before the wedding, Ethan discovered she was after his money. After that he closed himself off to anything meaningful. Missing the initial interview pissed Kurt off. That would’ve been the perfect opportunity to assess the woman’s intentions and nip any ulterior motives in the bud. But no, he’d been socializing instead.
Whatever, he still had enough time to remedy the situation. The position hadn’t been offered yet. Pete wasn’t around, and that avoided undesired conversation. He slipped inside the lounge, grateful for the rubber soles of his shoes, moved to a back table, and sat down to watch the activity in the bar.
The trial was underway.
Perched on a stool, Ethan had his back turned to Kurt. His friend was focused on the applicant and few words were spoken. Kurt couldn’t see the woman working in front of Ethan. He did hear ice and liquid jiggling quickly inside a metal shaker.
“Delicious.” Ethan’s remark reached him.
The woman shifted to the side…
Kurt’s world imploded.
Not caring if he made a racket, he jumped out of his chair. Arely Bernal was here, now, and in his club. How could this be?
Ethan swiveled toward him and frowned. Ross stared at him.
Arely mouthed, Kurt.
Suddenly aware of his stiff knee and awkward gait, he leaned on his cane, attempting to move as nimbly as he could. He had to confirm this wasn’t a figment of his imagination, an uncanny lookalike, or a cruel joke from the creator above.
“Kurt, what’s wrong?” Ethan asked.
He ignored his friend. His gaze was fixed on the girl’s golden eyes as he took in her stunning beauty. After a frozen moment, he managed to speak. “Arely?”
She blinked; her full lips trembled, and the room tilted. Recognition struck him deep in his chest. Except for some tiny lines at the corners of her eyes, this was the Arely Bernal of College Park and his youth.
Kurt frowned. Circumstances and events clicked in rapid succession. A strange pattern emerged. Could Arely’s presence here be more than chance? Especially on the heels of Abelard’s visit? He didn’t believe in coincidences. The connection, however buried, vibrated in his bones.
On the other hand, the Arely he knew would never be part of an evil conspiracy. She’d always been good and honest. A feisty straight shooter who hated violence. Had been, he reminded himself, and long years had passed since. He’d witnessed the most upstanding individuals falter under the weight of hard times. What did he know about Arely and her life?
Something darker, even nefarious, lurked at the bottom of this seemingly innocent development. Until he had a long conversation with her, he’d keep his suspicions private.
“Kurt, you’re staring.” Ethan snapped him back.
Arely’s expressive eyes had gone from surprise and delight to doubt and concern. She knew him too.
He forced a smile. “I think I left my manners in the truck. I’m shocked. Stunned, really. Arely and I used to be neighbors. We actually lived two houses apart. I’ve known her since she was yay high.” He stretched out his palm, illustrating the height of the cute girl he remembered. “Her brother was one my best buds.”
He let that bit of history slip out for Ethan’s enlightenment. His eyelids flickered. Good. His friend noted the odd coincidence.
“Wow, Arely. I can’t believe it,” Kurt murmured. “You’re here. How long has it been?”
“Twelve years, Kurt. I thought I’d never see you again.”
Why did he pretend forgetfulness when he knew down to the day how many years had passed? In that span of time, her voice had turned smoky, seductive. And… Did he hear a hint of reproach in her words?
“Should anyone be interested,” Ross cut in, “Arely passed with flying colors. Her Bobby Burns and cosmo were outstanding. I approve. Hire her.”
“Okay,” Ethan said. “Since Kurt is here, he should be involved in the decision. Maybe he’d like to ask Arely a few questions.”
Ethan moved to a club chair and gestured for the others to join him.
As Arely came around the bar, Kurt watched her, overwhelmed by the changes. She’d grown about half a foot or so and had developed into a gorgeous, long-legged creature.
Slow down. This is little Arely! His brain commanded, but faced with the reality, his libido rebelled. Yes, the little girl was gone. A glorious woman stood in her place. Her golden eyes glittered brighter than he remembered, and his fingers shook with the desire to caress and explore her luscious curves. Was her dark hair as silky as it seemed? And her tan skin, was it soft and perfumed? He wanted to know just like he wanted to taste her, feel her full lips under his…
Fuck! He wondered what had happened to the tedium and general disinterest with everything in life that had sent him to Key West.
Available for pre-order now at a very special price.
Award-winning, prolific author Victoria Saccenti writes romantic women’s fiction, contemporary romance, and paranormal romance. Not one for heart and flower stories, she explores the strengths and weaknesses of the human spirit and the twists and turns of intimate interactions. Impossible, against-all-the-odds love is her preferred trope. Flawed characters seeking redemption are her central figures.
After thirty years of traveling the world, she’s settled in Central Florida. She splits her busy schedule between family and her active muse at Essence Publishing. However, if she could convince her husband to sell their home, she would pack up her computer and move to Scotland, a land she adores. On a side note, in one form or another, she mentions Scotland in most of her stories.
Other Works by Victoria:
Noémie’s Journey Central Florida Stories:
The Last Danann
You can find all Victoria’s links to her books, social media, website and online presence here.
Can you recount the tales of selling your first home? The excitement beforehand, the anticipation, as you anxiously await for that momentous day to arrive…SOLD! Well, as Mr. Grake can attest, the first time selling your home can be an experience, unlike anything imaginable.
Have you ever had something happen to you, so ridiculous, so mind boggling, so unbelievable that it makes you think to yourself…WTF!All Mr. Grake wants to do is sell the family home. What could be simpler?Along the way he encounters 2 lunatic assassins (realtors) that take advantage of his family and their kindness.One assassin flies the coup while another constructs a sinister plan to reveal Mr. Grake’s “true” identity. As things go from bad to worse, to something else entirely…as Mr. Grake is accused of murdering one of his children and stuffing their lifeless corpse under the bed. But that’s not all, as they’d lead you to believe Mr. Grake is cooking meth in his garage a la Heisenberg from Breaking Bad. So he fires them. Deciding, “Hey, we should tell the news about this.”
An interview with the news turns into “the fallout” from hell; with the end of Amazon, to The Grake’s navigating a bomb on a severely turbulent flight. The madness rages on during a 6 month journey filled with misadventure as The Grake’s attempt to sell their home and move far, far away.
‘Meth Murder and Amazon by G. S. Gerry is an unusual book, written in an extremely unique style only GS could conceive. Its a stream of consciousness, but with absurd character and place names, strange little rhymes, and wonky but delightful descriptors. I have never read a book quite like it. Admittedly I am still confused about what was real and what was fantasy. Was GS a meth dealer, à la Walter White? Or was that another story of fancy? Was there even a murder? Or was that a misunderstanding? What secrets are these normal middle-class people hiding? But I enjoyed it! How could I not like it? It was cleverly written and had emojis and pictures! I admit that I didn’t get all the puns or cultural references, but I got enough of them, and that was half fun of reading Meth Murder and Amazon — when I figured out one of the spoonerisms it was almost like Bam! I get it!! The story revolves around a family, the Grakes, trying to sell their home, and the trials and tribulations that ensue. They just want to sell their home, that’s it. Sounds like the most normal thing in the world, right? Millions of people do this exact thing every year. It should be almost rote by now. Every homeowner has done it at least once — list house, take an offer, haggle, sold. You’d think it would be just that easy. Not for the Grake family… yikes it is crazy what happens! They plow through three real estate agents in the Sky Scrapin’ State where they live, with the ensuing mayhem. This should be simple in a sellers’ market. But it’s not. No one — and I mean no one — is interested in buying their house. Why? I have no idea. Add to that gut punch, accusations of murder and meth manufacture — all of it trumped up. Or was it? The weather even conspires against the Grakes. These people cannot catch a break.’