Monday, September 17, 2018

Author Jennifer Harlow



Starving artist is a real thing. For years I was lucky to write full time. I’d saved my pennies, invested well, and learned to stretch a dollar. However, there were spates of time where I was literally starving. Ramen, dollar menu, and water were my diet. So forget a vacation. I haven’t been anywhere beyond visiting my parents in Northern Virginia in years. So when it came time for a break…staycation it was.




I know what you’re probably thinking: there are a million places better than a living room in suburban Atlanta. Disney World. Manhattan. Miami. And you’re right. I’d lived in Orlando so I’d been to Disney and Universal Studios more times than I could remember. In my twenties I went places: New York, Los Angeles, South Florida, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Canada, London. (Okay, didn’t mean to turn this into a Johnny Cash song. Sorry) I was a traveling fool, but be it getting older or just lazier I think I can say I think I actually prefer staycations to vacations. Air travel has become a nightmare, even when you don’t have stomach problems like me. I can’t sit still long enough to relax on a beach. I’d just be reading or watching a movie on my phone there anyway. I can do that from my couch without all the people around On my staycation I have access to Netflix, Hulu, almost every movie ever made, video games that can last a whole week, . Plus, I wouldn’t have this beautiful beast to keep me company in a museum.



And I didn’t have to wear pants or a bra if I so chose. (I so chose).

Sometimes you just have to make the best of things. We’re not all lucky enough to have high paying jobs or friends with private jets. I’d still like to see Paris or Venice, not the Vegas versions of them, but for now I’m more than content to vacation in the house my books helped purchase.

And to do it without pants? Mores the better.

What about you? Do you have a favorite staycation ritual? What did you do before Amazon and Netflix? Sound off in the comments below. And if you’re planning a vacation or staycation don’t forget to take my latest, Crimson Vale with you.

***


 Crimson Vale: A Modern Gothic Love Story by Jennifer Harlow


Crimson Vale: A Modern Gothic Love Story
Jennifer Harlow


Genre: Horror, Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Devil on the Left Books

Date of Publication: September 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-7326854-0-6 
ISBN: 978-1-7326854-1-3
ASIN: B07GD4QTC3

Number of pages: 300
Word Count: 99,000

Cover Artist: Jennifer Dowis

Tagline: Lust…Murder…Madness. Welcome to Crimson Vale.

Book Description:

Lust…Murder…Madness…

Welcome to Crimson Vale.

It’s a dream come true. A vast inheritance. A beautiful mansion in the heart of the small town South. A seductive, mysterious, literal man of her dreams offering true, pure love. Ravaged in both body and mind, Jane Harrow leaps into that living dream with abandon.

Despite the voices.

Despite the visions.

Despite the warnings from both the living and the dead.

Because what Jane doesn’t know is nothing and no one are what they seem.
Because demons from the past are patient. Because dreams can quickly turn into living nightmares, especially in…Crimson Vale

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Excerpt:
This must be where it happened. My uncle lay in this room for close to forty years with my grandmother by his side, apparently knitting as the tubes and respirator kept him…I wouldn’t call that alive. Undead.  What on earth was she thinking? Waiting one year sure, but thirty-plus? Giving up her own life to watch over a comatose man? Insanity. It really must run in the blood. I only hope—
Creaking in the hallway startles me out of my dark thoughts. Darn it, I guess he didn’t leave. I’m not sure how much longer I can handle social niceties. I’m exhausted from the drive, not to mention out of practice with people, and would derive great satisfaction from smacking that letch with my purse should he glimpse down my shirt again. I just want to take a shower, get into my pajamas, and sleep for a week. Have to get him out of here first. I walk into the hallway.
Everything stops.
My lungs, my heart, even my ability to blink stops the moment I set eyes on him. If it were storming outside I would swear I’d just been hit by a bolt of lightning. Time stands as still as we do, just staring at one another with the same awestruck expression. The stranger my age is a few inches over six foot with a lean body encased in an expensive gray suit with matching tie and vest. He could grace the pages of a magazine with that suit, wavy dirty blonde hair with a lock brushing his forehead and coiffed to appear slightly disheveled, big blue eyes, feminine lips, straight nose, and strong jaw ending at a pointed chin. He’s around my age, but as our eyes meet and another wave of whatever this is jolts through me, he seems a century older and I’ve known him every moment, every millisecond of that time. I’m scared, exhilarated, unnerved all at once. But deep down there’s a …recognition peeking through the strum and drang.
I never believed in love at first sight, and I don’t know if that’s what this is, but every atom of mine senses, every atom of his calling to me, screaming for me to sprint over to this stranger, tear off our clothes, and have him rut me like a beast right on the hardwood floor. To feel him stretching me, thrusting inside me. My most sacred place pulsates and grows wet just from the mere thought. What the heck is happening to me? This stranger must be suffering the same torment because those blue eyes grow ravenous like an anorexic faced with prime rib. No one’s ever gazed at me like this, with pure unadulterated, hot, wild, salivating lust. The same way I’m gazing at him. My resolve to remain on my side of the hall cracks with each passing moment. His fails. He lets out a soft grunt and takes a stride toward me. Thank God.
“Mrs. Harrow?”
Those two words break whatever enchantment engulfed me. I somehow pry my eyes away from the stranger toward the creaky stairs. Suddenly I’m freezing and trembling as if in shock. At least I can breathe again, though only in short bursts. D.J. takes the final step up into the hallway. “Oh, good, you found her,” he says to the stranger.
“Yes,” the man says, quiet voice cracking a tad, “I did.”
“Mrs. Harrow, may I present my son, Bram. He’s the one who tracked you down.” D.J. glances from his son to me, eyes narrowing in confusion. “What the hell is the matter with you two? Y’all look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“We’re fine, sir,” Bram says with only a faint trace of a Southern accent. “Just got a chill. Old house and all.”
“Oh. Well, you can get someone to fix that, I guess. Bram can give you the handyman’s name and number. He’s been the one taking care of things. Hey,” he says to his son, “I’ve been meaning to ask. What happened to all those weird looking creatures and symbols that used to be on all the walls and tables? The gargoyles and such? There were still a ton of them even after the renovation.”
“I, uh, had them removed.” Bram turns to me. “I hope you don’t think I overstepped my bounds. I had them remove the medical equipment too and clean up. I just…wanted to cheer the place up for your arrival.”
“Um, thank you. For thinking of me.”
“Your grandmother would have wanted me to, um, make things as comfortable for you as possible.”
“You’re very kind,” I say, blushing. I’m sure as red as a fire engine. I look over at D.J. “Both of you.”
“So, have you decided what you’re going to do with the place?” D.J. asks me.
“I haven’t really thought that far ahead.”
“But you’re planning on staying, right?” Bram asks with urgency. “At least for a while?”
I meet his eyes again, instantly overpowered by the intense fear in them. I can stand it for only a millisecond. “Um, I-I guess.”
“Well, you are welcome to stay here while the will’s in probate. Or the Cypress Hotel is lovely. There’s also the Crimson Vale Motel, but it’s a tad low rent.”
“Um…” Do I really want to spend the night alone in this house? Two people died here, and those are just the ones I know of. I don’t believe in ghosts—your soul either enters heaven or hell—but this house feels as if it’s under an enchantment. Frozen in time by an evil witch. But it’s mine. I came all this way, and if I don’t stay in this house tonight, I never will. “No, I’ll be staying here. The letter said everything was still turned on?”
“It is,” Bram says. “I-we kept the utilities up to date for when you finally arrived.”
“Thank you. Both.”
We stand in silence for a few awkward moments. I sense Bram staring at me, waiting for something, but I can’t return his gaze. My eyes remain glued to the floor. “Well,” D.J. says, “we’ll get out of your hair. You’re probably tired from your trip. Bram?” The son follows the father down the hall and stairs with me three steps behind to show them out. Bram glances back, each time his mouth opens to say something, but he thinks better of it each time. “You have my card if you have any questions,” D.J. continues. “Don’t hesitate to call, even if it’s just for the name of a good restaurant.”
“Thank you.”
The men step out onto the porch, but I wait at the threshold. “Remember. Anything,” D.J. adds as he ambles to his BMW.
All I want is for you to leave now. “I will. Thank you.”
His son moves toward his own BMW SUV, but halfway there Bram suddenly stops, doesn’t move for a moment, then spins around to face me. For some reason my stomach clenches from nerves as he does. I grip the door handle in case he’s about to finish what he started in the hall, whatever that was. “I, um, I…” he says. His mouth clamps shut again to find the right words. If possible, he’s as unnerved as I am. He shakes his head to clear it and smiles. “Welcome home, Jane.”
Those words send a cascade of warmth through my body like warn rain just washed over me. I haven’t a clue what to say back. All I can manage is a weak smile before retreating inside like a mouse into a hole. The moment the door shuts, I turn my back to it and rest against the wood with a sigh. What is the matter with me? Have I replaced voices and seeing invisible people with nymphomania? I remain pressed against the door until I hear both men drive away, the tension waning as the sounds fade, leaving nothing but glorious silence. The house is still. My house. Mine.
Home.

About the Author:

Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator. Currently she calls Atlanta home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills. She is the author of the Amazon best-selling F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad, Midnight Magic Mystery series, The Galilee Falls Trilogy, and won the Independent Publisher’s Award for Best Mystery Novel.

For the soundtrack to her books and other goodies visit her at www.jenniferharlowbooks.com




Mailing List: https://bit.ly/2MPt2iY

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Author Kay Phoenix



One of the things I've learned is that it's possible to have a little Midweek Escape or mini vacation in just a few hours, and make memories that will last a long time. 

A few weeks ago, I decided to go on a hike up at nearby Mt. Charleston.  The trail we attacked is called the Bristlecone trail because it leads you through a grove of these ancient trees (some Bristlecones are thousands of years old, older than the Redwoods). 



My favorite part of this particular hike (I've done this trail a few times) was the impromptu HAIL storm we got stuck in.  We learned how quickly the weather can change in the mountains. We started the hike, it was warm out and there were a few clouds dotting the sky.  Somewhere around the mid-way section though, it got quite dark and started to rain. That was bad enough, but then it started to hail.

We took shelter under a tree for a bit, but when the thunder started, we knew that a tree wasn't the  smartest place to be. So, we decided to just let the storm hit us and continued walking on the path. Hail pelted down on us, and believe me, it stung! These were small bits, probably about the size of a tic tac, but they sting when they're flying at you from the sky.



The hike wasn't ruined though. Not at all.  I found it pretty exciting and funny, and something that I won't soon forget. We were wet, freezing cold and exhausted by the end from walking as fast as we could. 

I'd do it again. Even with the hail.  I love being in the presence of those ancient trees.  I wonder how many storms they have seen.



***

Title: Steele and Stone
Series: The Daring Hearts series, Book 1
Author:  Kay Phoenix

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication:  November 2, 2016

ASIN:  B01LYUQ75N

Number of pages: 133

Word Count:  42,000

Blurb:

Elle Thompson was raised in Denver. She paints. She hikes. She knows how to avoid cougar attacks.



The only cougars Michael Williams usually worries about are the ones that wear leopard print leggings on 5th Avenue.

But, when his acquisition firm sets its sights on Elle's family business, his tidy life goes awry. As things unravel, so do all his preconceived notions of love and what makes a perfect partner.




Buy link:



Excerpt:

     “So, how are you feeling today?” a familiar voice asked behind him. He didn’t have to turn to know who it was, but he turned anyway, temporarily forgetting about his sunburn until he saw the shocked expression on her face.
     “Whoa! No sunblock either? I had some, you could have asked,” she giggled. “That’ll peel for sure.”
     Blue! Brilliant, shimmering blue eyes. He hadn’t seen her eyes during their hike, as they’d been hidden behind sunglasses the whole time, and he’d always been a sucker for blue eyes. Her blonde hair hung long, loose and wavy as she leaned casually against the door frame.
     “I see you’ve already made yourself quite at home,” she said. “Randall told me he let you use the conference room.”
     “What are you doing here?” he asked in a tone that sounded a bit too firm.
     “Oh, no ‘How are you?’ or ‘Nice to see you?’” She tilted her head to the side, causing a loose curl to graze her breast.
     He turned back to the coffee. “I didn’t mean to sound rude. You just surprised me.”

Author bio:

Ms. Phoenix is a rare bird herself...a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, Nevada. She belongs to Las Vegas Romance Writers and has served on the board for several years. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America with PAN status.

Prior to writing, Kay was a Graphic Artist for fifteen years in the casino industry and holds degrees in both Graphic Arts and Psychology. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, traveling and photography. She is also involved in several Las Vegas non-profits, and is the current Chairman of a popular, long-running, local art show.

Kay has been blessed to be able to travel many places, which inspired her to host a weekly author spotlight called “Midweek Escapes” on her blog. It features guest author’s favorite vacation destinations, their travel tips, and, of course, information about their book releases and occasional giveaways.



Author website and social media links:

Website:
Facebook:
Twitter:

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Author Kay Phoenix

At the end of July, my guy and I took a Southern Caribbean cruise to celebrate 5 years. I'd been on this route before, 20 years ago, but he had not.  

We knew we would be off the boat a lot, so we opted for a value cruise line (Carnival). Our embarkation and debarkation port was San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the islands we visited were St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Maarten. 


On St. Thomas, we went to Magen's Bay, which always turns up on top 10 lists for being one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  I can't argue. The water was clear and perfect, and while we were swimming, a wild dolphin came into the bay to frolic.  Colorful little fish swam along with us too. 
overlooking Magen's Bay

Like walking into bathwater
We chose to go to Harrison's Cave on Barbados, and then sample some local beer at bar (we happen to be beer snobs, haha). 

St. Lucia was my favorite island on my previous trip and I knew I wanted to travel to the Pitons and the little town of Soufriere again.  We went on a guided tour of a rain forest and saw a waterfall of mineral water that leeches out of the volcanic peaks. The geology nerd in me loves that stuff.

Soufriere, St. Lucia


Mineral waterfall (not allowed to go in the water because of the varying mineral content).
St. Kitts was a test of my will. See, the boyfriend had his heart set on paddle boarding, which I begrudgingly agreed to (I'm not the best swimmer and I had visions of falling off the board directly into Jaw's mouth).  The good news is, I actually loved it and am looking forward to going again.  Lesson learned: don't let fear keep you from trying new things. 

On St. Maarten, we went on the "world's steepest zipline" The Flying Dutchman. Silly me, I was excited for this and had no fear, but I'd been afraid to paddle board. Go figure. If you are ever on St. Maarten, you must do this zipline tour. The employees are fun and the experience and view will take your breath away. And, it's entirely safe. Plus, I noted that once you take off on the "the" high zipline (there are 7 total), the brakes are on all the way down. So, you won't be going as fast as you think you will, and the views are fantastic!


I love adventuring, and our next cruise is set for December, again on Carnival.  Cruising can be very affordable, and if you google you can find so many last minute deals. I love unpacking once and being able to see so many unique places.  

We take crap selfies. 

***
(((NOW in AUDIO)))

Title: Steele and Stone
Series: The Daring Hearts series, Book 1
Author:  Kay Phoenix

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication:  November 2, 2016

ASIN:  B01LYUQ75N

Number of pages: 133

Word Count:  42,000

Blurb:

Elle Thompson was raised in Denver. She paints. She hikes. She knows how to avoid cougar attacks.



The only cougars Michael Williams usually worries about are the ones that wear leopard print leggings on 5th Avenue.

But, when his acquisition firm sets its sights on Elle's family business, his tidy life goes awry. As things unravel, so do all his preconceived notions of love and what makes a perfect partner.




Buy link:



Excerpt:

     “So, how are you feeling today?” a familiar voice asked behind him. He didn’t have to turn to know who it was, but he turned anyway, temporarily forgetting about his sunburn until he saw the shocked expression on her face.
     “Whoa! No sunblock either? I had some, you could have asked,” she giggled. “That’ll peel for sure.”
     Blue! Brilliant, shimmering blue eyes. He hadn’t seen her eyes during their hike, as they’d been hidden behind sunglasses the whole time, and he’d always been a sucker for blue eyes. Her blonde hair hung long, loose and wavy as she leaned casually against the door frame.
     “I see you’ve already made yourself quite at home,” she said. “Randall told me he let you use the conference room.”
     “What are you doing here?” he asked in a tone that sounded a bit too firm.
     “Oh, no ‘How are you?’ or ‘Nice to see you?’” She tilted her head to the side, causing a loose curl to graze her breast.
     He turned back to the coffee. “I didn’t mean to sound rude. You just surprised me.”

Author bio:

Ms. Phoenix is a rare bird herself...a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, Nevada. She belongs to Las Vegas Romance Writers and has served on the board for several years. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America with PAN status.

Prior to writing, Kay was a Graphic Artist for fifteen years in the casino industry and holds degrees in both Graphic Arts and Psychology. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, traveling and photography. She is also involved in several Las Vegas non-profits, and is the current Chairman of a popular, long-running, local art show.

Kay has been blessed to be able to travel many places, which inspired her to host a weekly author spotlight called “Midweek Escapes” on her blog. It features guest author’s favorite vacation destinations, their travel tips, and, of course, information about their book releases and occasional giveaways.



Author website and social media links:

Website:
Facebook:
Twitter:

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Author Linda Pennell


Fountains Abbey

The English countryside holds so many wonderful historical sites it would take months, maybe years, to visit them all.  Although I long for another trip to take in the ones I've missed, my husband and I have been fortunate in seeing our fair share of ancient places. On our last trip to the UK, we landed at Gatwick, went straight to Hertz, drove north, and didn't slow down until we reached Yorkshire, a place of great natural beauty (in red on map). Driving through the area is an experience to be sought in and of itself.

In addition to the tourist trade attracted by the wonderful scenery, Yorkshire boasts other industries including a thriving agricultural tradition. While English food has a less than stellar reputation, we found that once you're away from London, the cooking improves with every mile traveled. In Yorkshire, it is plain country fare that will remind anyone from the American South of home. I hate being disloyal to Texas's own Blue Bell, but the best ice cream I have ever tasted was found in a village High Street tea shop on the outskirts of Yorkshire Dales National Park. The only flavor offered was sweet cream. It was simple, rich, and completely delicious. When I asked for the brand name, the girl behind the counter looked puzzled, then said she guessed there wasn't one. A local dairy farmer hand-churned the ice cream for their shop and brought it in daily. SIGH! I still dream about that ice cream.

After enjoying a post-lunch scenic drive, we found our B&B located in a tiny village not too far from York. The B&B was run by a charming gentleman in a home his family had occupied for over two hundred years. A portrait of an early 18th century military officer hanging over the drawing room mantle bore this out as it revealed a striking family resemblance to our host. Over a generous country breakfast of scrambled eggs, English style bacon, broiled tomatoes, and mushrooms, we enjoyed chatting with him and his twenty-something son, who happened to be home for the weekend. I mentioned noticing that the village church seemed abandoned. The young man chuckled and hesitated before explaining that the majority of the village and surrounding area residents were witches. I guess my eyes must have flared in surprise because he went on to explain that there was a resurgence of witchcraft in that part of England. Hmmm...perhaps he was referring to the Wicca movement or maybe he was just enjoying a jest at my expense; however, he did appear quite in earnest. Sadly, the passage of time has erased the names of the village and the B&B from my memory, but if you search the major route going west out of York you may find them nestled slightly south of the highway down a quite lane. The village is about 30-40 minutes from York and about 30-40 minutes from the focus of today's post, Fountains Abbey.



Cistercian Coat of Arms

In 1132, 13 Benedictine monks from St. Mary's in York went into the wilds of Yorkshire seeking a simpler way of life. Their goal was to establish a monastery where they might live a harsher, reformed, more devout life away from the hustle and bustle of York, a major city even at that time with all that city life entails. In order to achieve their purpose, within three years the monks were admitted to the Cistercian Order, known for its austere lifestyle through strict adherence to the simplicity of the Rule of St. Benedict (more about Cistercian history here and about a monk's daily life at Fountains Abbey here).


While the  monks at Fountains Abbey lived out their lives to the toning of bells announcing the daily offices and spent much of their time in prayer, devotion, reading, meditation, and attending to all matters spiritual, the abbey came to depend on its lay brothers for the financial means to support all within its walls.[1]  Through the efforts of those lay brothers, Fountains grew to be the largest and richest monastery in northern England with affiliated houses spread as far as Norway.[2] The Abbey's wealth came from its ventures in wool production, lead mining, cattle rearing, horse breeding and stone quarrying. While its fortunes waxed and waned with those of the periods in which it existed, the Abbey didn't survive Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1539, it ceased to function as a religious community and the abbot, prior, and monks were sent away with pensions. The estate was sold by the Crown to a merchant, Sir Richard Gresham, and stayed in private hands until 1960's. West Riding County Council sold it to the National Trust in 1983. Since that time, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, located on the edge of Yorkshire Dales National Park, have become major tourist sites.[3]


Yorkshire Dales

The Abbey ruins and Study Royal are approached by car from either Ripon, a short distance north of the entrance, or Harrogate from the south. Either route provides scenes of rolling dales and small villages. It is quintessential northern English countryside. Visions of James Herriot bumping over rough lanes to attend the birth of a lamb or Mary and Dicken entering their secret garden come to mind.

Not exactly as I remember it, but close enough.

Once inside the park with tickets in hand, we proceeded through a stand of trees, emerging on the other side to a scene that took my breath away. My memory is of standing on a slight rise above the Skell River Valley with a view of the ruins fairly close by rising up in the morning mists seemingly as if by magic. The scene was magnificent. One can only imagine what the Abbey must have been in its heyday. Looking at the present park brochure map (here), I am wondering if we entered through what is labeled the West Gate. Regardless of the direction from which one approaches, the first glimpse of the ruins will not disappoint. A walk through the grounds will reveal much about abbey life as it was long ago.

Notes
2.     http://cistercians.shef.ac.uk/fountains/, Retrieved April 11, 2016.

***

Title:  Miami Days, Havana Nights

Series and Book #: sequel to Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel

Genre:  dual timelines of historical fiction/contemporary women’s fiction

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Date of Publication:  July 18, 2018



Number of pages: 556
Word Count:  103,000

Blurb:

Sometimes our biggest debts have nothing to do with money.

1926. When seventeen-year-old Sam Ackerman witnesses a mob hit, he is hustled out of New York under the protection of Moshe Toblinsky, A.K.A., the mob’s bookkeeper. Arriving in Miami with no money, no friends, and no place to hide, Sam’s only choice is to do as the gangster demands. Forced into bootlegging, Sam’s misery is compounded when he falls in love. Amazingly, the beautiful, devout Rebecca wants only him, but he cannot give her the life she deserves. When Prohibition ends, Sam begs the mobster to set him free. The price? A debt, as Toblinsky puts it, of friendship. A debt that will one day come due.

Present Day. History of American Crime professor Liz Reams has it all - early success, a tantalizing lead on new info about Moshe Toblinsky, and a wonderful man to love. Life is perfect. So what’s keeping her from accepting her guy’s marriage proposals? Confronting a long-standing personal debt sets her on a journey of self-discovery. While she delves ever deeper into Sam’s and Toblinsky’s relationship, her understanding of her own relationships increases as well, but the revelations come at a price. The emotional and physical dangers of her dual journeys may prove too big to handle.

A follow up to Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel, Miami Days Havana Nights tells the story of 1920-1960's gangsters and the young female history professor determined to suss out their secrets.



Excerpt:

Chapter 1
May 18, 1926
105 South Street
New York City

Knocking - sharp, loud, rapid - echoed through the empty speakeasy. Sam froze, the notes of a tune stuck in the roof of his mouth. He glanced at the entrance and leaned the handle of his push broom against his shoulder. Puffs of dust settled on the floor boards around his feet while he remained motionless.
It was late, too late, to be admitting customers, even for the city's illegal watering holes and gambling joints. Although a thick crossbar and several stout locks protected the heavy iron door, an uneasy feeling crawled down Sam's spine. Growing tension over control of the Fulton Fish Market, in fact the entire South Street area, was making a lot of people jumpy, including him.
Several seconds passed without noise from the other side of the door. Sam let out his breath and laughed at himself. Working at the fish market in the afternoon then staying up half the night at the speakeasy didn't leave much time for sleep. It kept him on edge. All the rumors and threats floating around these days weren't helping either. Inclining his ear and hearing nothing, he relaxed and gave his broom a shove.
Bam, bam, bam.
Sam's heart jumped into his throat.
"Open up, Monza. I know you're in there." The shout, colored by an Irish lilt, came from the second floor landing accompanied by renewed pounding. "I come to talk with ya. We need to settle this business. I got a proposition for ya."
Sam's breathing kicked up a notch as he looked over his shoulder toward the office. The boss didn't like to be disturbed when he was meeting with his guys. The pounding from outside in the hall returned in earnest, but the office door remained fixed.
"You gonna open this damned door or do I break it down?" The doorknob rattled and jerked.
 Behind Sam, the office door clicked open an inch. He watched in the mirror over the bar as the muzzle of a .38 Special emerged from the opening, its nickel-plated barrel glittering in the overhead lights. One of the gangsters stepped into the room, met Sam's eye in the mirror, and jerked his head, then the room went dark. Sam dropped his broom and backed into an alcove next to the bar. The office door opened wider. Several shadows scurried across the floor. Metal locks and bolts snapped and clanked, then the entrance door swung inward.

Author bio:



As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, "Let's pretend." 

I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.

History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up. Voltaire  

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel Soul Mate Publishing http://amzn.to/16qq3k5

Confederado do Norte Soul Mate Publishing http://amzn.com/B00LMN5OMI

When War Came Home  Real Cypress Press  http://amzn.com/B010RXNZRO

Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn The Wild Rose Press http://amzn.com/B0121Q6S88

Miami Days, Havana Nights Soul Mate Publishing July 18, 2018  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F7NFD8K



Twitter:  @LindaPennell