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Blog Tour: Between Love and Murder by Chris Bedell @ChrisBedell @RRBookTours1 @btwnthelinespub #LGBTQ+ #YABooks #Thriller #YoungAdult #Books

Love, betrayal, and murder. The perfect trifecta for a great thriller!

Welcome to the blog tour for Between Love and Murder by Chris Bedell! Read on for an excerpt from the book and a chance to win a digital copy!

Between Love and Murder by Chris Bedell
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Genre: YA Thriller/ LGBTQ+
Publisher: Willow River Press
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September 2018. 17-year-old Chad becomes intrigued by the new kid—Archie—when they flirt during their first interaction. But Chad’s best friend, Mallory, asks Archie out first. Pursuing Archie allows Mallory to get revenge against Chad who recently rejected her. Except Chad refuses to lose Archie to Mallory. Not when he might have a real chance at love—Archie identifies as bisexual like Chad. Although if Chad wants Archie, then he must eliminate Mallory as the competition. Even if doing so means proving she was involved in the disappearance of her ex-boyfriend, Tommy.

Three months later—December 2018. Tommy resurfaces, and Mallory accidently kills him while Archie and Chad are witnesses. Mallory, Archie, and Chad can’t go to the police, though. Mallory blackmailed Tommy to leave town last Fourth of July with a sex-tape after discovering Tommy cheating on her. And Archie, Chad, and Mallory must unite if they don’t wanna go down for murder. Except Chad is even more threatened of Mallory now that he and Archie are dating—Chad remains uncertain if Mallory harbors lingering resentment for rejecting her. If Chad wants Mallory gone, then he must continue making difficult choices. Even if destroying Mallory means Chad pretending to be Mallory’s friend while finding a way to implicate Mallory in Tommy’s death without him and Archie getting in trouble.

If you like the nonlinear storytelling of ABC’s HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER and the toxic love triangle of WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT, then BETWEEN LOVE AND MURDER is the book for you.

BEFORE

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2018

Expecting complete honesty was pointless.

Like with Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, or when a friend got a questionable haircut. Both the kid and friend could discover the truth without anyone playing the villain. Or like right now while I stood next to my locker in the school hallway. My best friend, Mallory, couldn’t have said what she had. Yet I didn’t have an ear wax problem, so the chances of her comment being misheard were slimmer than time travel happening.

I blinked. “Come again?”

She tugged at her backpack strap. “I’m sorry, Chad; I’m not trying to be awkward. I just couldn’t lie anymore.”

“Don’t apologize for your feelings.”

Telling her not to feel bad shouldn’t have been the best response I came up with. Doing so only prolonged the inevitable: deciding about whether honesty or a fib was best. However, there was no right reaction to finding out Mallory had a crush on me. Some events—such as her revelation—couldn’t be anticipated no matter how many A’s I earned in school.

Mallory bit her lip. “We’ve been spending a lot of time together since July.”

I chuckled. “We’ve always been close.”

“Not since I started dating Tommy.”

I scratched the side of my head. “What’d you expect to happen?”

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My previous publishing credits include Thought Catalog, Entropy Magazine, Chicago Literati, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, among others. My debut YA Fantasy novel IN THE NAME OF MAGIC was published by NineStar Press in 2018.

My 2019 novels include NA Thriller BURNING BRIDGES (BLKDOG Publishing), YA Paranormal Romance DEATHLY DESIRES (DEEP HEARTS YA), and YA Thriller COUSIN DEAREST (BLKDOG Publishing). My 2020 novels include my YA Thriller I KNOW WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED (BLKDOG Publishing), YA Contemporary I’LL SEE YOU AGAIN (Deep Hearts YA),  YA Thriller BETWEEN LOVE AND MURDER (Between The Lines Publishing), YA Sci-fi DYING BEFORE LIVING (Deep Hearts YA), and YA Thriller LOVE HIM/HATE HIM (Between The Lines Publishing). I also graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2016.

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New Releases

Blog Tour: Blood of the Assassin by Bill Brewer @BrewerBooks @RRBookTours1 @KeriBarnum #Thriller #Adventure #Books #AmReading

Blood of Assassin copy

Welcome to blog tour for Blood of the Assassin by Bill Brewer! We’ve got an excerpt to read and a fantastic giveaway — A $25 Amazon Gift Card (Open Internationally), so be sure too read on!

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Blood of the Assassin
by Bill Brewer
(David Diegert #2)
*Can be read as a standalone
Publication Date: March 10, 2020
Genre: Thriller/ Action-Adventure

David Diegert is ensnared into serving Crepusculous, a secret society that controls the economy. In spite of his reluctance, Diegert is coerced into completing deadly missions in which the stakes keep getting higher.

Set up to take the fall for killing a target of immense importance, his fragile world falls apart. Betrayed by Crepusculous, he becomes a fugitive sought after from all sides.

With fast-paced writing and intense action, this installment of the David Diegert series is ready to blow you away.

Available on Amazon!

Excerpt

“The target’s name is Hans Klemmler. He’s an executive at Zeidler-Roche, a company that contracts with the US Department of Defense to handle communications. He’s selling encryption codes on the black market. Posing as the front person for a Pakistani customer, I’ll be meeting him to pay him in cash. I’ll be dressed in traditional Pakistani attire, covered head to toe in order to facilitate infiltration. The hit will take place in the meeting room, and then I must be extracted.”

“We’ll dupe them. We’ll leave that counterstrike team with no idea how they lost us.”

Handing Diegert a sheet of photos, Fatima continued, “Blevinsky’s mole in the CIA provided us with these photos of operatives who are tasked with being active in Frankfurt tomorrow.”

Reviewing the photos, Diegert noted two women and three men. The women both looked to be in their twenties, one blonde, the other brunette. The guys were a wider range of ages. The oldest looked to be in his fifties, with gray hair and a beard. The other two were in their twenties or thirties. One had dark-black hair and dark features. The last guy had a thick, athletic neck, shoulder-length blond hair, and a very piercing gaze for an ID headshot.

Diegert folded the photos, tucking them away. He felt even more confident now that he could identify the CIA by sight.

Author Bio

image-asset

 

Bill Brewer is a member of the Faculty of the College of Health Sciences and Technology at RIT where he serves as the Director of Exercise Science within the Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition. His areas of instruction include Anatomy & Physiology as well as numerous courses in Exercise Science.

Bill is a family man, happily married and the proud father of a son and two daughters. He lives in the South Wedge of Rochester NY. and loves to find outdoor adventure in the Adirondacks and in the Frontenac region of Ontario, Canada.

Bill Brewer Books

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New Releases

Blog Tour: Mink Eyes by Dan Flanigan @KeriBarnum @RRBookTours1 #MinkEyes #RRBookTours #BlogTour #CrimeFiction #Thriller

MinkEye

Welcome to the blog tour for noir thriller, Mink Eyes by Dan Flanigan! Read on for a sneak peek and an amazing giveaway — A print copy of the book PLUS a $25 Amazon gift card (U.S. Only), or a $25 Amazon gift card for international entries!

Mink Eyes Updated Front Cover
Mink Eyes
by Dan Flanigan
Genre: Thriller/ Noir/ Crime Fiction
Publication Date: March 10, 2019

The year is 1986–the tarnished heart of the decade of greed.

Private detective Peter O’Keefe, a physically scarred and emotionally battered Vietnam vet, is hired by childhood friend and attorney Mike Harrigan to investigate what appears to be a petty mink farm Ponzi scheme in the Ozarks. Quickly O’Keefe finds himself snared in a vicious web of money laundering, cocaine smuggling, and murder–all at the behest of a mysterious mobster only referred to as Mr. Canada. Also caught up in Mr. Canada’s illicit network is the exquisite Tag Parker, who seems to dance between roles as the woman of O’Keefe’s dreams–and his nightmares.

From start to finish Mink Eyes delivers classic noir crime fiction at its finest. In a category filled with formulaic and predictable characters and plot lines, reviewers are calling Mink Eyes absolutely “unique and unexpected.”

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

As he always did when he wasn’t hung over, O’Keefe forced himself into his gym shorts, tee-shirt, socks, and tennis shoes. He moved through the dark apartment toward his exercise room, believing that this was yet another decision, however small and seemingly insignificant, in favor of life and against death, like the times in Vietnam when he had fought off sleep on guard duty. The little men in the black pajamas, the little men who never slept, were just waiting for you to doze off so they could creep into your hole and quietly, and ever so gently, cut your throat.
The apartment occupied the entire bottom floor of an old Victorian house in a re-gentrifying neighborhood in Kansas City. He could sense, though he could not see, Kelly sleeping on the fold-out couch in the living room. She was spending the weekend with him—she under his care, he under hers. The child will save you, he thought.

The digital dial of the clock sitting on the fireplace mantel read 5:12 a.m., 10-4-86. He passed through the living room and into the spare bedroom that he had converted into an exercise room and small home office, flipped on the light, and turned on the TV. The all-news channel headlined a statement from President Reagan concerning the shooting down of a plane over Nicaragua, loaded with supplies for the rebel Contras. The Nicaraguan government claimed that the CIA had sponsored the plane. The U.S. ambassador and CIA denied the charge. In Palm Springs, Florida, the FBI had accomplished the largest drug bust in U.S. history, seizing 4,620 pounds of cocaine, worth$41 million.
. . .
He thought of all the changes he had lived through in the twenty years since 1965 when he had met Kelly’s mother. Big changes, small changes. In ’65, he and his friends would not even say “damn” in front of a girl. By ’69, they would say “fuck” without thinking, and so would most of the girls. In ’65, girls wore brassieres and tried to protect their virginity. By ’69,you could see their bare breasts through their tank tops all up and down the block, and people were fucking in the streets. In ’65, he believed in God and all the other teachings of the Catholic Church. By ’69, he believed in nothing. In ’65, twelve thousand dollars a year put you in the upper middle class. By ’69, it put you in the lower middle class. By now, in 1986, it put you near the poverty line. Everything had exploded in the ’60s, most of all the money supply, and in the ’70s everybody had started chasing all that money. You could buy goods and services in 1975 that you would never have dreamed of being able to buy in 1965, and you were not yet even thirty years old. All you had to do was play the game, help keep the chain letter going. You paid more than you could afford to and sold your life for the income to pay the debt.”

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Author Bio

Author Pic

Dan Flanigan is a novelist, poet, and playwright, as well as a practicing lawyer. His novel, Mink Eyes, is set in 1986 and explores the “greed is good” dynamic and the cultural tensions and gender complexities of that era. It is a modern hero’s quest in mystery-detective form. In addition to developing a screenplay version of Mink Eyes, he has published a book of verse and prose poetry, Tenebrae: A Memoir Of Love And Death, and Dewdrops, a collection of his shorter fiction. He has also written the full-length plays–Secrets (based on the life of Eleanor Marx) and Moondog’s Progress (based on the life of Alan Freed). He can be found online at DanFlaniganBooks.com.

Dan Flanigan Books

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Mercy by Stephen Bentley @StephenBentley8 and @Shalini_G26

ResizerImage360X540Mercy by Stephen Bentley
Detective Matt Deal Thrillers, #1
Genre: crime fiction (noir)/thriller/urban fiction with some graphic scenes and language.
Publication Date:  November 30, 2019

His daughter was taken. He’ll never get her back.

Set in the near future, Matt Deal is a British businessman married into a wealthy Florida family.

Mercy, his fifteen-year-old daughter, is the glue in his rocky marriage to Lorey. His life is changed forever after Mercy is brutally sexually assaulted on a Destin beach leaving her in a persistent vegetative state.

Trusting the local detectives to bring the rapists to justice, mixed martial arts expert Deal concentrates in vain on his Florida gym business, only to have his world further explode on learning the men responsible for his daughter’s injuries may escape justice. Deal is isolated and at his wit’s end after his rich father-in-law sends death threats blaming him for all these ills.

Who can he turn to? Where can he go? What will he do? Who can he trust?

Will he return to a post-Brexit Britain or ultimately will he seek revenge?

Fans of Jack Reacher, Barry Eisler, and any vigilante justice novel will love this book.

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Excerpt

As much as he tried to hide it, Deal felt nervous as he knocked on the door of Internal Affairs.

The voice resonated in his head. “Enter.”

It was the tone, the command, the authority in the voice that reminded him why he was nervous. One false word, one false move and I’m fired, he thought.

Reading the open file, Emily Breen looked up through heavy-rimmed glasses before speaking again. “We meet again, Detective Deal. Sit.”

Breen pointed to a regular-looking seat on the opposite side of the desk from her high-backed executive chair. She continued reading. Deal sat watching her in silence.

Peering over her glasses, Breen said, “Remind me. When was the first time we met?”

“I think you know. It’s all there in my file. Larry Etchwell, Coroner’s Court. I was still with the Human Trafficking Department.”

Breen was silent. She appeared to be deep in thought.

Her next words broke the silence. “The psych evaluation is all good. Says you are fit to remain on active duty.”

“Good. I knew that but it’s good to hear the experts say it too.” Deal emphasised experts. The sarcasm wasn’t missed by Breen.

“Deal. You know the score. Why do you make things difficult for yourself?”

Deal ignored caution. “I always do things the hard way. Haven’t you heard?”

Breen ignored him. “What is this thing with the stutter?”

“How do you mean?”

“You’ve seen the report. What you told the shrink.”

“Remind me. What did I say?”

“If you were a rattlesnake, the stutter would be your rattle.”

Deal smiled at the thought of that meeting with the shrink. “Yeah. That’s what I said. It’s a fact.”

“But why? Why a stutter?”

“I don’t fucking know why. Why does a rattlesnake have a rattle?”

“There you go again, Detective Deal.”

“What?”

“Not helping yourself.”

“Are we done?”

“No. We are not. I have to tell you, one more loss of control. One more death, self-defence or not, you are finished. Do you hear me?”

“I hear you.”

“Good. Is there anything else you wish to say?”

“Can I ask a question?”

“You may.”

“Why does a bird fly?”

“What do you mean?”

“Asking me why I stutter if threatened is like asking a bird why it flies. Why an elephant has big ears. It’s just so. And one other thing – ask these guys what they were going to do to me.”

“I can’t. You killed them.”

“Too right. Before they killed me.”

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Author Bio

STEPHEN AUTHOR PIC

 

Stephen Bentley is a former UK Detective Sergeant, barrister, and author of a bestselling undercover cop memoir. He also writes crime fiction.

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Book Blitz: The Tracker by Leslie Georgeson

Book 1.Tracker.with.topshelf
The Tracker
 by Leslie Georgeson
The Dregs #1
Thriller, Romance
Publication Date: February 16, 2018

THE DREGS: 

Feared by most. Hated by others. Envied by none.
Always hunted, they live in the shadows.
Once powerful warriors, they are now the dregs.

In a city overrun by gang violence, can these former soldiers overcome their violent pasts, dispel the stigma surrounding them, and learn to fall in love?

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Get your copy today!!

 

Blurb

I’m a trained killer. An expert tracker.

I’ve done despicable things. My soul is damaged. My body impaired. That’s what happens when you are a soldier for The Company. I was discharged a year ago. Now I am a dreg. Worthless. With a bounty on my head. I’ve become a creature of the night, hiding in an underground maze during the day. Because I’m not ready to die yet.

She comes to me one night, needing my help to find her sister. The moment I see her, I want her. Her goodness calls to me, makes me yearn for the impossible. She brings life back to the deadness inside me. I’m no good for her. I will do nothing but corrupt her. But I’m a callous bastard. I can’t resist her.

I try not to care for her, but somehow she slips under my skin. She makes me weak. And there is only one thing in this world I am afraid of. Weakness.

I’ll never be good enough for her, so I have to finish this job and send her on her way.

Before she destroys me.

Excerpt

“Where are we? Why am I here? My head’s a little fuzzy.”

Gordon nodded. “It’s the drugs they gave you. You’ll get used to it eventually. Before long, you won’t even remember your own name. They’ll give you a new one, depending on your skills. That is, if you survive long enough to learn some skills.”

Liam’s heart pounded harder. That didn’t make sense. The last thing he remembered was…he searched hard for a memory of some kind, but only came up blank. He couldn’t remember anything except his name, and that had barely come to him. He clung to that memory, not wanting to forget his name.

Liam. My name’s Liam. Don’t forget it. Don’t forget.

My name is Liam. Liam.

I’m Liam.

Liam who?

No last name came forward. No middle name. Just Liam.

It would have to be good enough.

Liam.   

How old am I?

He glanced down at himself. Faded jeans. Black hoodie. Converse sneakers. Wiry build.  Not as old as Gordon.

He stared blankly at the big, redheaded kid.

How old am I?

Twelve.

He glanced back down at himself.

Yeah. I’m twelve. I think.

Panic gripped him again. He couldn’t be sure. What was going on? Why couldn’t he remember anything?

Gordon’s words finally sank home: It’s the drugs they gave you.

Liam’s heart rate kicked up even more, galloping in place like a tethered thoroughbred. Drugs? Who were they? What had they done to him? He shouldn’t be here. He should be home with…who? His family? Did he even have a family?

His head hurt, a fierce pounding that made him want to scream in agony. He clutched his head in his hands and groaned softly. “Why am I here? Why? I don’t understand.”

Gordon shrugged. “Why are any of us here? Because we’re expendable. I just hope you last longer than my last roommate did.”

Liam snapped his head up, the headache screeching to a sudden halt. “What happened to your last roommate?”

Gordon eyed him with a seriousness that made Liam flinch. “He didn’t survive the first round of tests.”

Tests? What tests? What was this guy talking about?

“This is freaking me out.” Liam jumped up from the bed. He paced across the cell to the bars. Staring out into the corridor, he shouted, “Help! Let me out of here! There’s been a mistake!”

A big hand gripped his shoulder. “Won’t do you any good, Liam. You can scream and cry until you’re hoarse. They won’t free you. You’re not a human being anymore. You’re a test subject. A lab rat.”

Liam spun his head around, his gaze locking on Gordon’s. “What do you mean? Who are they?”

Gordon sighed. “They are The Company. They own us now. From this point forward, you just need to concentrate on staying alive, because you can’t run, and you can’t hide. You’ll never escape.”

He gave Liam a sympathetic pat on the back and turned away.

“Welcome to hell, roomie.”

Author Bio

Author.photo
Leslie Georgeson is the author of the standalone mystery/drama NO SON OF MINE, the UNLIKELY HEROES romantic suspense series, the paranormal/sci-fi romance series UNDERNEATH, and the newly released THE DREGS, a military romantic suspense series.

Leslie lives with her husband and daughter on a quiet country acreage in Idaho. She is currently working on The Extractor, the seventh book in The Dregs series, and anticipates an August 1, 2019 release.

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Reviews

Review: European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

Book Review

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman


European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman

by Theodora Goss
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Synopsis
In the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Mary Jekyll and the rest of the daughters of literature’s mad scientists embark on a madcap adventure across Europe to rescue another monstrous girl and stop the Alchemical Society’s nefarious plans once and for all.

Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the Whitechapel Murders. Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Mary’s sister Diana Hyde have settled into the Jekyll household in London, and although they sometimes quarrel, the members of the Athena Club get along as well as any five young women with very different personalities. At least they can always rely on Mrs. Poole.

But when Mary receives a telegram that Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, the Athena Club must travel to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rescue yet another young woman who has been subjected to horrific experimentation. Where is Lucinda, and what has Professor Van Helsing been doing to his daughter? Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, and Justine reach her in time?

Racing against the clock to save Lucinda from certain doom, the Athena Club embarks on a madcap journey across Europe. From Paris to Vienna to Budapest, Mary and her friends must make new allies, face old enemies, and finally confront the fearsome, secretive Alchemical Society. It’s time for these monstrous gentlewomen to overcome the past and create their own destinies.

What I thought
This is the second book in The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club the first book being The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter (see my thoughts here). Let me start by saying that this book is very long and it took me much longer to read than I thought it would. Now with that said I really enjoyed the ride that this book gave me. I love the friendship between these characters. It feels like a real friend group. They talk about how they do get on one anothers nerves, and how that also makes them all fit together.  Everyone brings there own uniqueness to the group and life is not rainbows and butterflies.

In this installment, they are traveling across Europe to rescue Lucinda Van Helsing. So I am going to say that you should know that last name and that it means vampires. I really like how this author can continue to add new characters to this series and it does not get overwhelming for the reader. I really like how the characters stay themselves, they do have growth however they are never magically changed to where you no longer recognize them.

If you have read the first one you know that there is a going commentary between the characters in the story on the manuscript.  I am always surprised by how much I enjoy this. It feels like you are seeing the characters not just how they are portrayed but how they think and feel about what is being said about them.  To me this makes them feel more real and I love it.

Could this book have been trimmed down some and not been over 700 pages and still been good? I think so and I have noticed that this is an ongoing complaint from a lot of the readers.  So here is to hoping that the next installment will be a little shorter.

My Rating: /55 Stars

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Derrick by Russell

Derrick
Russell
Publication date: November 27th, 2018
Genres: Adult, Thriller

In Hyde Park, a movie theater erupts in flames on a bitterly cold November evening.

It seems like a job for the fire department, but under Captain Creighton’s direct orders, Detective Gavin Nolan and his partner, Derrick Williamson, must investigate. Arriving on the chaotic scene, they find multiple fatalities—but one of the victims is most peculiar…

Gavin soon discovers that this fire wasn’t the first of its kind. The arsonist has set ablaze other buildings around Chicago, and more female victims left in the same gruesome state have been discovered.

Gavin and Derrick determine that the arsonist is not an arsonist at all—but a sinister serial killer with an agenda.

Juggling the unexpected events in his personal life, Gavin digs into the locations of the explosions. At the same time, Derrick probes into the victims’ lives, searching for any possible connection.

However, when the next explosion occurs, the killer leaves behind a significant object, and Derrick becomes noticeably reserved. Gavin soon uncovers an enigmatic link, one that points to Derrick’s military past. A time that his partner had wished to forget. Yet, to catch the vicious maniac, Derrick must tell Gavin everything.

In a suspenseful, gripping ride to the end, it is up to Gavin to rescue his partner from the clutches of a killer. But will he make it in time?

WARNING: This book contains graphic scenes, explicit language, and violent sexual situations.

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EXCERPT:

Alarmed, the woman’s eyes opened. Her nerves twitched slightly, as if an electric shock rattled her body.

Instantly, an eerie darkness consumed her, and an unusual stillness blanketed her surroundings.

Where am I? the woman wondered.

With her instinctual medical training, she began immediately diagnosing her own condition: blurry vision, raspy breath, citrus acidic taste at the back of her throat, and weak muscles. The signs were a tell-all. She had been drugged. Most likely either clonazepam or estazolam.

As her thick braids fell in front of her eyes, she realized that her body was hanging in midair. Above her, a rope bound her hands. The burning strain in her deltoids ached deep into her lower back.

The air was unusually frigid. Her entire body was trembling. She looked down and realized she was completely naked.

Who took off my clothes? she thought, her mind racing with a fresh wave of panic.

All she could remember was getting home from a run in the cold rain of a late November day that had chilled her to the core. Since the presentation of her dissertation was only days away, she relieved the building stress with those exhilarating runs. They were especially liberating knowing that she had to head back to the university lab. Entering the darkened house, she had sworn she’d left the light on. She recalled a quick shadow slipping just behind her in her peripheral vision. She’d felt a sudden blow to head, had fallen against the wooden banister—

What day is it? The presentation was on Saturday. Did she miss it? A sense of dread engulfed her, then fear. All the seemingly endless months and years of planning her project, all the meetings with that arrogant, dimwitted professor, all those countless hours in the lab…it would all be for nothing. Most importantly, all the sacrifices she’d made with her family, spending so much time away from her daughter—and well, her husband too— would be just a waste.

In the inky darkness, a slight shift of movement awakened her senses.

She was not alone. Attempting to say something, nothing came out except a low groan from her lips. The large figure—a man, no doubt—stopped for a moment. Did he hear her? See her?

Tilting her head slightly, more of her thick dark braids fell to the right side of her face. As her eyes were adjusting to the murkiness, she detected a figure near a square object. A red light blinked incessantly, and with her cloudy vision, it seemed like a floating, pulsating blob. Turning away, a sudden surge of vertigo overwhelmed her and she forced her eyes shut.

As she opened her eyes again, the woman saw a faint light seeping from under the cracks of a doorway on the other side of the space. It looked like long skeletal fingers creeping closer to her.

Footsteps approached her. Suddenly, a smooth gloved hand aggressively grabbed her ankle.

“Hey,” she attempted weakly. Instead it sounded more like “Haammph.”

Below her, the figure worked quickly, tying a rope tightly around first her left ankle, then the right. She wanted nothing more than to kick him as hard as she could, but the drug inhibited her, and her noodle-like legs hung uselessly. As the man worked rapidly, his broad shoulders made him look bulky next to her thin legs. His jerking movements triggered the scent of sour urine that rose from her own skin and stung her nose, and a tear dripped from her eye. Once he finished, he scooted back and moved his head to and fro. Was he on his knees? She couldn’t tell from her angle.

The sound of stone scraped along the floor.

The woman concluded that escape was improbable, and her heart began to race despite the coma-inducing toxin pumping through her bloodstream. A mumbled whimper came to her lips.

Standing up, the man straightened to his full height. His dark clothing constricted tighter against his fit frame, and she could feel his gaze upon her. Was he admiring her? Shaking a braid out of her left eye, she saw that his face seemed unusually dark, but his white skin was visible around the perimeter of his oval face. His chin was rough, scruffy with hair. Was that a beard? Either way, his face was covered in…makeup? She wasn’t sure. Suddenly, he turned away from her and disappeared farther into the shadows.

 

Author Bio:

Russell has been writing for the majority of his life. Slipping into alternative universes allows him to enjoy the process of creativity from the novel’s conception to its final draft. Currently, he lives in South Texas with his wife, two kids and several cats.

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