Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Thief and the White Knight - 15

"Afternoon, Pia, if you'd have a seat please." Harry nodded to the chair next to the desk.

It had taken a lot of discussion and a few short but tense arguments, but Tito had finally convinced Harry to help with his plan. Still uncertain that is was the best way to approach things, Harry had ultimately agreed.

"So what's up, Harry," Pia asked.

"Information gathering, you're forté." 

She grinned. "Where, when, who do I have to kill? Kidding about the last."

'Let's hope, once you find out who else is involved,' Harry thought. Aloud he said, "It's really a fairly simple job, for you anyway. The problem is getting you inside to do it. This is not a place you can break in to, trust me on that."

Pia's eyebrows shot up. "Are you demeaning my abilities?" she asked.

"Have you ever broken into a bank?"

"Well—no. When I was a kid I thought I'd figured out a few ways to do it, but then I grew up, and grew smarter. If I were already inside I could probably get through any of the locks, given enough time. It's the getting inside after hours, or remaining inside when they're closing, that's the trick."

"Exactly, and the bank isn't going to let us place you inside to do what we need without a warrant, and we have no legal grounds to get one. We have however been able to get someone on the inside, a security guard."

Pia nodded. "So what's the plan, I go in during regular hours and he stashes me somewhere until the bank is closed?"

"Pretty much. It will be a bit more difficult than that. There are always two guards even after hours, manning the security including a very sophisticated camera system."

"He'll be one of the two?" Harry nodded. "And he can get me into the monitoring room?"

"He can."

"So what am I after, something in one of the safety deposit boxes I presume?"

"Yes, which means you have to get into the vault and then the box in question."

Pia tapped her lips, thinking, and then said, "There's information I'll need that you or your man inside can probably get for me." She picked up a pen and he handed her a pad of paper. When she finished the list, she gave it to him. "Call me when you have it?"

"Will do," he replied.

* * * *

"I want to meet with your man before we do this," Pia said into the phone as she reached for another fry on Tito's plate, grinning when he batted her hand away. She listened for a moment before nodding. "That would work. Oh, your boy is here, do you want to talk to him?"

"I'm not his 'boy'," Tito muttered as she handed him the phone and then headed to the kitchen to give them some privacy.

Ten minutes later Tito joined her, bringing in the empty plates. As he set them in the sink, flipping her off when she commented that he was 'well trained', he said, "Do you know how to get to the park?"

"Gee, I don't know," she replied with a snort, tapping his forehead. "Memory loss setting in already? We used to spend hours there as kids, I think I can get around in there without getting lost."

"Just making sure, monello." He tapped the tip of her nose, dancing out of reach when she took a swipe at him.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Thief and the White Knight - 14

With coffee sitting in front of them and the waitress gone, Kerry looked at Tito with solemn eyes. "Say what you need to say."

"Do you love her, or are you just upset because you betrayed her trust?"

"Doesn't one go with the other?"

"Not necessarily. If you just felt guilty for betraying her you'd probably be over it by now and have moved on." Tito took a drink of coffee, studying Kelly over the rim of the cup. "Excuse my honesty but you look like hell. I'd be willing to bet you often have trouble sleeping because even now you're still going over everything, wondering how you could have done it differently. You dream about her. I know I did."

"What?" Kerry growled.

"Oh, not her." Tito smiled slightly. "I dreamed about the man whose trust I blew. Don't worry; Pia and I are just friends, nothing more. So, back to what I was saying, you do love her. You didn't know her long enough, or get to know her well enough, to be able to say you're in love with her, but you do love her."

"For whatever good it does, yes I do. If I could go back and change things I would in a heartbeat." Kerry started to pick up his coffee cup then put it back down. "Did you—manage to make things right with that man?"

"You could say so, since we're living together now," Tito replied with a wide smile.

"How did you--?" Kerry asked hesitantly.

"To be honest it took time, and it might not have happened if we hadn't been forced to work together."

Kerry nodded. "So you didn't just face him down and apologize."

"No, and I had two years when I could have tried, and didn't, because I was that sure he wouldn't have believed it. Or, more that he wouldn't have believed that since I betrayed his trust once I wouldn't do it again."

"It's a loose/loose situation, isn't it? At least it is for me because she has no reason to trust me. As you pointed out, we hardly know each other when it comes right down to it."

"Is it worth it to you to try to change that? I'm only asking because despite the fact that she won't admit it, even to me, I know she cares about you. I'm not sure she doesn’t still hate you on one level, but she also loves you. I can see that in her eyes."

"She talks about me?" Hope flashed across Kerry's face.

"Not so much any more, and let me tell you when she was I picked up a few new swear words to add to my vocabulary. That woman has a mouth on her. She's swearing less now. Now she looks sad when you're name is mentioned, even obliquely. I think she misses her 'White Knight'."

Kerry looked at him in surprise. "She told you about that?"

"She did."

"Wow," Kerry said softly.

Tito nodded. "You're still that to her, somewhere deep in her heart. So now, you have to do something about it. I'm selfish. I want to see her happy again. She's back to smiling on the outside, finally, but it's only on her lips, rarely in her eyes." Tito shook his head, grumbling, "I don't usually wax so—poetic."

Kerry chuckled. "Yeah, the leathers would have clued me in about that." He sobered, running a hand through his hair. "I need to get some more time off."

"That would probably be a good start. This isn't something you can do by phone or email."

"No shit," Kerry said fervently.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thank you to everyone who participated...

Thanks to everyone who participated by commenting during my Featured Author 'Weekends Blog Hop'. The winners from each of the blogs have been chosen and their prize has been emailed. 

Once again, thanks both to the wonderful people who allowed me to stop by their blogs and to those visited and commented.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Thief and the White Knight - 13

"Kerry? Yeah, I think I saw him come in about forty-five minutes ago. He might be in the poolroom," the bartender told Tito, pointing him in the right direction. "That’s where he usually hangs out."

It had taken Tito a couple of days once he'd arrived in the city to track down where to find Kerry. While the station house he worked out of was the obvious starting point, Tito discovered after talking to the officer at the front desk that Kerry had taken a few days of his vacation time.

"I don't think he left the city," the man had confided, thinking that Tito was a police officer himself after Tito mentioned having been involved in a case with Kerry a few months earlier. A misapprehension Tito did nothing to dispel. "I can't give out his home address, even to a fellow officer, but I do know a couple or three of the bars where he sometimes hangs out."

The first bar had been a wash. No one there had seen Kerry in weeks. The bartender at the second one told Tito that Kerry had been in a couple of days ago but not tonight.

So now, Tito was at the third bar, and so it seemed was Kerry. Tito strolled to the archway separating the poolroom from the bar itself. The room was full, every table in use with hanger's-on watching and, Tito suspected, making bets on the games. It took him a minute to spot Kerry. He was sitting on a stool against the back wall nursing a beer as he watched the players at the table nearest him.

The man looked haggard, though it could just have been the lighting Tito though as he started around to edge of the room towards Kerry. When he got closer, he realized it wasn't. For a man on vacation, Kerry didn't look the least bit rested. He looked as if he'd been working hard and not getting any sleep.

Tito took the vacant stool next to Kerry's. Resting his back against the wall, he asked, "Who's going to win?" nodding to the table when Kerry turned to look at him.

"Stripes, that's a no-brainer," Kerry replied, frowning slightly. "You look familiar, but not from here," he said moments later.

"First time in this particular bar. I'm from out of town." Tito waited a beat before adding, "Winterfield."

Kerry sucked in a breath. "Never heard of the place."

"That's funny, because I could have sworn I saw you there. You saved my life, and Pia's."

* * * *

Kerry felt his heart stutter at the mention of Pia's name but he replied with as much calm as he could muster, "Oh yeah. That was you, huh? What brings you into my neck of the woods?"

"I never got a chance to thank you."

"So three months later you decide it's time to track me down?"

"Guess you could put it that way. I've been watching my best friend go through six kinds of hell and figured it was time to do something about it."

"Pia?" Kerry barely got her name out.


"I don't want to talk about it—about her."

"I'm not leaving until you do. Take it from someone who been in the same place you are now, I'm not giving up until we at least talk about your problem."

"If you're not leaving then I am because there's nothing to talk about." Kerry stood abruptly, shooting Tito an angry look before striding away.

"I'm not that easy to loose," Tito muttered, following Kerry out of the bar.

"Back off—Fontana, right?"

"Right. Guess she mentioned me?"

"Sorry to burst your bubble but no, not by name anyway. I learned it the next morning before I left town."

"Without even saying good-bye to Pia."

Kerry winced. "Look, she hated—hates me. If I'd even tried to contact her she'd have shut me down so fast my head would have been spinning."

"Funny, that. I don't get the impression she hates you. Well, not any more. I'm not sure what she's feeling right now, but for damned sure I know how you feel. Been there, done that."

"I don't think you could have come close to betraying anyone as badly as I betrayed her, so no you don't." Kerry started walking, head bowed, hoping the man would vanish if he ignored him.

As if reading his thoughts, Tito chuckled low as he caught up with Kerry. "I'm your shadow now. You need to talk to someone, and it might as well be me."

Kerry continued walking, not acknowledging that Tito had said anything. So, with as shrug, Tito kept pace with him, remaining silent.

After ten minutes of that, Kerry sighed. "You're not going to give up, are you?"

"I'm tenacious."

"So if we go somewhere and I let you talk at me you'll go away and leave me alone?"

"That's the plan."

Kerry looked around. Spotting an all-night diner in the next block, he headed toward it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Thief and the White Knight - 12

"Hey, sexy," Tito said as Pia appeared from the back hall of the restaurant. "Sneaking in again?"

"I don't sneak, and how would you know if I'm sexy or not?" she replied with a grin.

"Well someone's in a good mood today." He gave her a hug. "And I may not be a connoisseur of beautiful women but I still know what constitutes sexy in a straight man's eyes and you're definitely it."

She smiled up at him. "Thanks, amico. As for my mood, I figured after inflicting my bad one on you for the last three months it was about time I took hold of myself and got over—things."

"I'm glad. I missed the 'you' I know and love. So, you want to eat and tell me what's in the works with you these days?"

"The same old same old," she replied, pulling out a chair and sitting. "I have another job."

Tito cocked an eyebrow, spinning another chair around, straddling it with his arms crossed on the back as he looked at her. "Day job or otherwise?"

"Otherwise, and legit. Well as legit as working for the cops can be."

"That was some trade-off," he said with a chuckle.

"Keeps my ass out of jail and still lets me do what I'm good at. And," she grinned, "they turn a blind eye when I do one on my own as long as the victim is insured up the ass."

"You need any help?"

Pia shook her head. "I might have a pass in case of trouble; I don't think that would apply to you though. Besides, Harry would kill me if I took you along."

"That I would," Harry said, coming up behind Tito. When his lover looked up at him, he got a kiss that curled his toes.

"Break it up, boys, virgin eyes here," Pia said with a laugh.

"Hey, that's not my fault. You need to find your own knight in shining armor," Tito joked without thinking. He regretted it instantly when Pia immediately sobered. "I'm sorry," he said softly.

"Nothing to be sorry about," she told him with an decent attempt at a smile. "Now what was it you said about feeding me? I'm starving."

* * * *

"Harry?" Tito said, rolling on his side to look at his lover.


"Do you know where to find him?"

"I'm presuming you mean Detective Reede, considering what happened earlier tonight. Pia's got it bad even if she won't admit it."

"She doesn't, not even to herself I think. So, do you?"

"No, but I can find out." Harry rubbed his knuckles along Tito's jaw. "First though you have to tell me why, not that I can't guess."

"I want to talk to him. I may be way off base since I've never really even seen the man except for those few seconds between the time he shot Demarco and when he left the room afterwards but—"

"Go on," Harry said when Tito went quiet.

"The look on his face, Harry, when Pia saw him, then swore at him before telling the cop in charge she'd rather go to jail rather than stay in the same room with him. I know that look, Harry. It was just like the one I had on my face when you left because I betrayed your trust. He betrayed her, and he knew it, and he hated himself because he loves her."

"So you go out there and talk to him, then what? Just because he loves her, if he does, isn't going to change how she's feeling. It's not easy learning to trust again, and quite honestly, my love, what he did was much worse than what you did, from what I understand of the situation. He knew he was using her, manipulating her into doing what the police wanted as part of the whole setup. The moment he figured out that something was developing between them he should have stepped away. And then that stunt he pulled at the end, it could have gotten both you and Pia killed."

"But it didn't. He probably saved our lives!" Tito told him emphatically before he said quietly. "I understand what you're saying, but damn it Harry, she's hurting. Other than you, she's my best friend in the world. I have to do something."

Wrapping his arms around Tito, Harry kissed his temple. "Alright, I'll find out where he is."

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Thief and the White Knight - 11

Tito stood with his back pressed against the entry door to the attorney's suite while Pia worked on the safe in one of the large offices to his right. He smiled slightly as he heard a string of curses in vitriolic Italian. Then he glanced at his watch, debating whether to tell her that there was less than five minutes left before the security guard was due to check this floor. The fact that they had relocked the door once they were inside would probably mean that the guard would just test its handle and move on, but Pia hadn't been willing to count on that happening.

"Ottenuto voi, figlio di una cagna," Pia exclaimed sotto voce a moment later, swinging the door to the safe open.

Tito came over, taking the thick folder that she handed him. Curious, he opened it, wondering what Civil War documents looked like in their original form. "We've been set-up," he growled angrily seconds later. She looked up at him in surprise, and then quickly stood up, grabbing the folder out of his hands.

"Wait until I get my hands on that—that bastardo."

"I do not like my parentage maligned," a steely voice commented from the doorway.

Tito swung around to find himself facing two men, both holding guns. The taller, dark-haired man held out his free hand. "I'll take that if you don't mind, Ms. Lupo." The other man, one of the security guards from his uniform, used his gun to indicate that Tito should move away just enough to separate him from Pia.

With great reluctance, Pia held out the folder.

"Thank you, Ms. Lupo. Now if you would also move to one side there is something else in that safe that I want back." Demarco waited for her to step aside before kneeling, reaching into the safe. A second later he was holding a heavy canvas bag which he opened. With a smile of success, he stood again.

Tito watched, his eyes flicking from one man to the other, estimating his chances of taking on one of them without getting shot in the process. Pia took the decision out of his hands when she brought the heel of her boot down on Demarco's instep. It would have been a good move if she's stepped out of his reach immediately afterwards. She didn't though and the man, calling her several less than flattering names despite, or because of being in pain, grabbed her arm tightly, dragging her to him.

Angrily, Tito sprang forward, only to find himself falling forward when the guard kicked the back of his knee. Seconds later, the guard pulled him to his feet, pressing his gun to Tito's temple.

"Feisty pair, to bad you have to eliminate them," Demarco said to the guard. "Caught in the act, what a pity."

There was a slight noise from one side of the room as a door opened. Two men stepped into sight, each carrying guns. "It's you who are caught in the act," one of them said. "Now I suggest you and your accomplice drop your weapons. I have no qualms about shooting either of you. If the man and woman get hurt in the process, so be it."

Before Demarco could say anything in response, two more police officers appeared through the other door to the office, also carrying drawn guns. The guard hesitated only a fraction of a second before lowering his hand, dropping his weapon. Tito moved away quickly.

Demarco was less willing to cede defeat. Keeping Pia pressed to his body he backed away, the barrel of his gun resting just under her chin. "I really don't believe you'd shoot her to get to me," he said savagely. "Now, if one of you would hand her friend that bag and the file we'll be leaving."

The officers all glanced at their superior. He growled angrily as he pointed to one of them. "Do it." The officer picked up the items, handing them to Tito who took them reluctantly.

"Move away from the door now," Demarco ordered. The two officers complied and Demarco stepped next to Tito, still holding Pia, telling her to cease her wriggling. "It's been fun," Demarco said with a malicious laugh before telling Tito it was time to get out of there.

* * * *

Kerry stood, his back pressed to the wall beside the office door, his pistol held in a two-handed grip against his shoulder. He knew from what he'd overheard of the conversation that he'd have one chance and one chance only if he wanted to keep Demarco from killing Pia.

He held his breath. A slender, dark-haired man stepped into view, hesitated, and then moved forward. Then came Demarco, holding Pia tightly.

Without a second thought, Kerry aimed his gun and fired. The bullet tore through Demarco's head, spattering blood and brain matter as it exited.

Pia yelped in shock when her captor's body fell, taking her with it. Tito spun around, casting a shocked look at the scene in front of him before pulling Pia free. Seconds later three of the policemen surrounded them.

"Are you alright, Ms. Lupo" the one in charge asked solicitously.

Pia shuddered as she finally comprehended what had happened. "I—I think so," she murmured. As she looked up at the man, she saw Kerry still standing next to the wall. "What the hell is he doing here?"

Kerry winced at the anger in her voice. "I'm working with the local police," he said before the man could reply.

"Tu madre cazzo, figlio di una cagna." Pia turned away, using Tito's shoulder to help her get to her feet. Then she looked at the cop, totally ignoring Kerry. "Get me out of here. I don't care if you arrest me; just get me away from that—that bastardo."

"Pia, calm down," Tito said, putting an arm around her waist.

"Calm down? Calm down!" she almost shouted in reply.

Kerry glanced at his superior who nodded towards the office. Gratefully, Kerry slipped through the door, crossing quickly to the window where he stood, staring out into the dark night.

He was still standing there much later when the police finally finished up. Pia and Tito had been taken to the station house to make statements, having been assured that they were not going to be arrested.

"Kerry, it's time to go," the man he'd been working with said quietly.

Kerry turned to look at him, sighing deeply. "Yeah, I know. I'll stop by the station in the morning to write up my report and then head home."

"Give her time to process it all. Then, hell, come back and talk to her."

"That wouldn't do any good. This kind of betrayal isn't something she'll forgive. Besides, she probably never saw me as more than a possible friend in the first place. No, I'll just fold up my tent and vanish into the sunset. It's best that way." He headed to the door. "I'll see you in the morning."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Seven more days...

For those who were wondering, there is still time to comment on any of the blogs I hopped to for my 'Weekends Blog Hop'. I'll pick the individual winners next Saturday and send them an email with their 'prize'. Just click on the 'Featured Author' picture at the top right of my page to find out where I was.

The same holds true for the contest here on my blog. So if you haven't already commented, with your email address, please do. Just scroll down, and down, and down to find it. LOL.

Thanks again to everyone who has participated so far. - E.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fantastic review for 'Forbidden Fruit'

Samhain Queene’s Review:
Forbidden Fruit by Edward Kendrick is a really sweet and beautiful told romance between Sam and Jamie. Find the rest at - Dark Divas Reviews - http://www.darkdivasreviews.com/?p=8445

Rated 5 Delightful Divas and a Recommended Read by Samhain Queene!

The Thief and the White Knight - 10

"So far, so good," said the man in charge. He stood in a darkened room directly across the street from the building Pia had just entered. "Now she and her friend have to make it down two floors, avoiding the security guards in the process, and get into the attorney's office."

Kerry scrubbed a hand over his face. "Sometimes you take this reality thing a bit too far. Would it have hurt anything to let the guards know what the hell's going on?"

"Yes, Kerry, it would have because one of them is on Demarco's payroll. And before you ask, we don't know which one it is. Our informant didn't have a name."

"Well you could figure it was the man responsible for checking the fourth floor."

"They use a rotating system so that no one guard covers a specific floor."

Kerry nodded. "Excellent idea from a security stand point, lousy as far as we're concerned. But if one works for Demarco he'll be certain to check that floor even if it takes him off rotation for a few minutes."

"Undoubtedly, and he'll notify Demarco when Pia and her friend are on it, which should be right about now unless they run into trouble on the way down."

* * * *

"Someone should tell the maintenance crew to rinse their mops better," Tito whispered under his breath.

Pia clapped a hand over his mouth as she pressed the stethoscope to the door. A moment later she cracked the door open a fraction of an inch, then enough to slip into the hallway. Tito was behind her a second later. She pointed to the exit at the far end of the hall. He nodded, followed in her footsteps, and then waited, every sense on alert, as she disarmed the alarm so that they could get into the fire exit stairwell.

"Any more security we have to worry about between here and our destination?" he asked quietly.

"The door to hall when we get down there, and of course any more guards." She gave him a pointed look. "You, il mio dolce, get to deal with them if we do."

Tito cocked an eyebrow. "Won't that sort of give the game away?"

"Hopefully there won't be a problem. They're on a half hour rotation schedule, which should give us time to get in and out unless I run into any more surprises."

"I'll take your word for it."

* * * *

"Demarco's here, let the games begin," Kerry's superior said as he headed to the door. When Kerry started to follow, the man shook his head. "I'm afraid you're too personally involved at this point. You stay here."

"Like hell," Kerry growled.

The man sighed. "It's here or I have one of my men escort you to the station house and sit on you until this is over. You're choice."

"Here," Kerry replied shortly, not intending to do that.

"Watch him," the man said succinctly to one of the officers before leaving the room with the rest of his men in tow.

"Sorry, Kerry," the officer said, leaning against the door, arms crossed.

"Not your fault. Now move please."

"No can do."

Kerry shrugged. "Shit happens." He crossed to the side door of the room and was through it before the officer realized what he was doing. In no time at all he was heading up the fire stairs to the next floor and then out of the building via the fire escape.

Rounding the corner out of the alley moments later, he watched from the shadows as a man stepped out of a dark car and strode to the entrance of the attorney's building. Because he knew they were there, he was able to spot the cops who were on surveillance. He hoped Demarco hadn't.

Friday, July 20, 2012

One more day until the weekend and 'Weekends'

Coming this Saturday, July 21st from Silver Publishing


Marcus Hampton is a staid forty-year-old bookkeeper and a confirmed bachelor. When Demitri Costas, a young photographer, asks if he can take some pictures of Marcus, the older man is surprised but reluctantly agrees.

Demitri becomes infatuated with Marcus, despite the fact he believes the man is straight and married.

Slowly they become friends until each realizes the other is gay, at which point Marcus begins to pull away, certain he is too old for Demitri.

It will take everything within Demitri's power to convince Marcus he's wrong. If he can, and he is determined he will, one way or another, they just might find a future together.

The Weekend Before Thanksgiving

Marcus stretched, checking the time before getting back to what he was doing. His fingers flew across the keyboard, his eyes following the scrolling information on the screen in front of him. It was all rote. Add this, subtract that, make certain part one equaled part two when he'd finished. He was sometimes tempted to move some of it to his own account just to see if he'd get away with it, but he was too honest to even try.
Honest as the day is long, and today seems very long.
He checked the time again.
Why the hell do I care? It's not like I've got anywhere to go other than home.
Running a hand over his short, graying blond hair, he sighed.
I'm a creature of habit and boring as hell, the stereotypical bookkeeper.
An hour later he jumped when someone tapped his shoulder.
"Hey, you planning on spending the weekend here?" one of his coworkers asked.
"Not if I can help it," Marcus told him with a small smile. He closed out the spreadsheet he'd been working on, shut down the file, and logged off. Grabbing his coat from the hook on one wall of his cubicle, he made it to the elevator just in time for the doors to close in his face.
He shook his head, pressed the 'down' button and waited, thinking, The perfect end to a perfect day, week, month, lifetime, then snorted softly. Not.

* * * *

Marcus arrived at his small house on the outskirts of the city to be greeted by a very petulant "Meow" from Daisy. She looked up at him with her full fluffy tail standing straight up and, stalked to the kitchen. When he joined her, she looked disdainfully at her empty food bowl then glared at him.
"Okay, sorry," he told her. Opening the cupboard he took out a can of her favorite cat food, popped the top off, and spooned it into her bowl.
"Now for my supper," he muttered, checking the refrigerator to see what was available, if anything.
Leftover lasagna or second-day stew, decisions, decisions.
The stew won out so he dumped it into a pan, set it on the stove to heat, and grabbed a beer before going to turn on the TV. The news was wrapping up, the weather report said it would be cold and snowy for the next few days, and his favorite team had just lost their best player to an injury.
So much for making the end of my day any better than the rest of it.
The smell of something burning had him rushing back to the kitchen. The stew was boiling over, the hot liquid hitting the burner. He rescued it, dumped the stew into a bowl and set the pan in the sink to soak with the hope he'd be able to scrape the burned residue off the bottom eventually.
As he sat down to eat he felt something soft brush his leg and seconds later Daisy had jumped up onto the other chair. She watched him avidly; meowing piteously as if she hadn't just eaten a whole bowl of her own food.
"I'm such a sucker for a pair of golden eyes," he grumbled, setting a small sliver of meat in front of her. She batted at it, sniffed it and then delicately ate it before looking at him beseechingly.
The game continued through the rest of his meal. When the bowl was empty he got up to take it to the sink, at which point Daisy knew she'd had all she was going to get and jumped down, walking sedately into the living room.
Marcus got there a few minutes later to find her curled up in her corner of the sofa grooming herself. He sat down at the other end, picked up the remote and flicked through the TV channels until he found something that might be worth watching.

* * * *

Halfway across the city Demitri Costas slammed his book shut, startling his roommate.
"Problems?" Jack asked.
"Yeah, no, I have no clue, which is actually the problem," Demitri replied. "I'm never going to understand this."
"Then drop the class. You still can, you know."
"And face the wrath of my father? Umm, no."
"Damn it, Mitri, you're twenty-three. It's time you got out from under his thumb."
"He's footing the bill."
"Do you really want to be an engineer?"
Demitri shot him a disgusted look. "What do you think?"
"I know you don't, so drop the class. Hell, drop out of school completely. You're too talented to spend your life slaving away for him." Jack pointed to the photos, which lined one wall of their living room. "Any one of those, sold to a gallery, could pay half the rent and then some and you know it."
Demitri scrubbed a hand through his dark, curly hair. "You keep saying that but…" He shook his head.
"But nothing. So help me if you don't do it, I will. Lacey knows several gallery owners, she can steer us to the right one."
A glance at the book he'd been studying made Demitri wonder if Jack had a point. "All right, I guess I can at least try. Find out from her which one would be the best and I'll see what happens."
Jack grinned. "They'll love them, you'll become rich and famous, and I'll be able to say 'I knew him when'."
"That or 'Yeah, he's the fool who thought he could make it' as you and your friends pass by me while I'm panhandling on a street corner," Demitri replied with a laugh.
"Not going to happen, Mitri. So, when do you want to do this?"
"As soon as possible before I lose my nerve."
"I'll call her and we'll go tomorrow."

The final stop on my 'Weekends' blog hop...

Please stop by Amara's Place http://amaras-place.blogspot.com/ for a behind the scenes look at the making of 'Weekends'. And another chance to enter the contest as well.

And by the way, 'Weekends' will be available tomorrow 
from Silver Publishing.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quick FYI

The last stop on my blog hop, at Amara's Place, http://amaras-place.blogspot.com/has been postponed until tomorrow, July 20th.

The Thief and the White Knight - 9

"This is our best bet for getting inside," Pia said, tapping the plans she'd gotten for the building. It had taken a day to obtain them, and the security information for the building and the office they were interested in. Then she'd gone over everything with a fine-toothed comb to find the best ways to enter. After doing that, she'd paid a personal visit to confirm her plans.

"Damn, this place is more secure than Fort Knox," Tito muttered.

"Not too surprising, it houses a lot of high-priced legal firms and there are pricey jewelry shops on the second floor. The office we're hitting belongs to an attorney who works for some very dubious people according to what I found out. He's also a noted collector of Civil War memorabilia, including the papers we're looking for, my contact said."

"Why keep them there?"

Pia shrugged. "Who knows? Maybe he feels they're safer there just because of the security on the place. Maybe someone's tried to steal them before, even the man who hired me: actually, if that's the case, probably the man who hired me."

Tito continued to study the plans then shook his head. "Damned good thing it's you leading this expedition, not me. I'd end up in jail before I got past the first level and I don't think that would sit too well with Harry."

"So you haven't told him."

"He'd chain me up and throw away the key if he even had an inkling about this," Tito replied with a snort of amusement.

"If it was to the bed—" Pia grinned.

"Not our thing, thank you very much Ms. Kinky."

"Not mine either," she admitted as she went back to gathering up what she needed to take with her.

"Question," Tito said, turning to watch her. "When you do get the papers you're still not going to know who wants them because you'll just be handing them over to your contact."

"That's not a question, that's a statement." She chuckled when he flipped her off. "And technically that would be the case, but I'm going to tell my contact that I want to be in on the delivery and he'll get the papers then, not before."

"Pia, that's asking for trouble."

"I'm not planning of being visible, just there so I can follow whoever picks them up."

"You like living dangerously, don't you? I think we need to discuss that idea further but not until later. We should get going now."

Pia cocked an eyebrow then nodded.

* * * *

"Whoever invented fire escapes should get the thieves medal of honor," Tito whispered.

"Quit chattering and get the first steps down," Pia grumbled as she handed him a telescoping rod with a hook on the end.

"Clever. Much easier that climbing on a dumpster, assuming that was even a possibility in this case." He extended the rod, snagged the bottom step and pulled. The section slid down with barely a sound, much to his relief. "Dopo voi, la mia signora," he said with a bow.

Pia rolled her eyes as she started up the fire escape, stopping just before she reached to first landing to disarm an alarm that would have alerted the security people that they were there. Three stories up, she took care of another one and the last one just before they reached the roof.

Tito followed silently, watching for signs of anyone entering the alley.

Once on the roof, Pia crossed to the small structure housing an entrance to the building. "Relax, have a smoke, this is going to take a while," she told Tito.

"Don't smoke, not sure I can relax, but I'll go over there and twiddle my thumbs."

"Clown," she said with a small smile before setting to work.

It took a bit longer than Pia had planned to breach the security on the door. The information she'd obtained had neglected to mention a couple of items but that wasn't surprising. Unless the people working for the company responsible for setting up security were rank amateurs, they never let everything be known. No website was totally secure as even the government had discovered a time or two, much to their regret. She always used what she found out as a guideline, nothing more.

"We're in," she said finally after beckoning Tito to join her. "There are security guards patrolling the building and they don't do it on any planned schedule so that will be our next hurdle." She passed him the plans for the building. "I marked storage and maintenance rooms with an 'X'. Undoubtedly they're all locked but getting through those will be a no-brainer. Just stay close, keep your ears open for footsteps and the elevators, tap my shoulder if you hear something and above all be quiet."

Tito nodded. "I can do that, and unlock the doors if you need me to."

She smiled at him. "I know, I trained you well, grasshopper."

"You did, Mistress Po," he replied, pressing his right fist to his left palm as he bowed.

"Idiota," she muttered as she opened the door and stepped onto the flight of stairs leading down.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Please give a hearty welcome to Freddy MacKay

Hello everyone! I am Freddy MacKay.

Edward has been kind enough to let me stop by today and share with you.

I’ve answered some questions, included some links, blurbs and an excerpt of my upcoming release, Incubation: Finding Peace 2, for you.

At the end of it all is some info about a contest Edward and I are having, so stick around and let us know what you think! J

Q1: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am the middle of three children and have basically lived most of my life in the Midwest except for a short stay in France and a couple stays in Thailand. I love all things science and geocaching. *Nods*

Q2: Could you tell us about the Finding Peace series?

It centers on a group of friends on the fictional campus of Capstone Ridge University and covers all their ups and downs as they grow, and ultimately, find peace with themselves, who they and their choices in life. I wanted a series that explored reality and how real-life can affect a group of people. Let’s just say not much is off limits in this series.

The first few books center around David McCourt, who is a transfer student and has had a lot of tough knocks. He is basically the piece of a puzzle that sets everything in motion, including resolving an incident 28 years before.

The book being released this weekend is the second book of the series, called Incubation.

Q3: If we were to look on your bookshelf, who would we find?

Mostly Simon R Green and Richard Dawkins, then a bunch of historical books. *Shrugs* I am a card carrying nerd. I won’t deny it.

Q4: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

Walk, hike, or swim, depending on where I am.

Q5: Can you share any projects that you are currently working on with us?

I am writing the third book to the Finding Peace series as well as working on several other stories. I try to alternate what I’m writing – sweet vs serious – so I don’t develop cavities or weight myself down. 

How to Find Freddy

For my FREE flash fiction pieces, if you would like a taste, you can go to: http://freddymackaysshorts.blogspot.com

Short Blurb

David McCourt settles into his new family, one surrounding and protecting him. He should open up and let go of his past. But even with everyone cheering for his recovery, David feels too close to the edge of losing everything.

Long Blurb

David McCourt's makeshift family moves in together and forms a protective cocoon around him. But they don't know David's whole story and he finds the constant noise a distraction instead of a help.

Bobby, Chris, and Austin want to help David however possible—but he needs to open up.

Jackson crossed a line he never thought he would. He wants to take a chance with David, even if his dreams of a normal life are firmly rooted with Alyssa.

The group has the makings of a rag tag family, but secrets—old and new—threaten their fragile bond. The community takes sides and David ends up where he doesn't want to be: the center of everything.

Content Advisories: This has references to rape or near rape, and has MF and MM scenes.

‘Running’ Excerpt

Lying in his hospital bed after everyone's visit, David stared at the ceiling, wondering what to do and where to go. He had been in the hospital for two weeks already and was well on the path to recovery. The afternoon had been an enlightening experience. To have Austin yelling at him, telling him that his attack hurt everyone and not just him… the open emotions on Austin's face had David in awe. His friend, everyone who had been there, wanted David to be well, to be happy, and had mourned what had happened. It didn't look like they were going to leave him. Bobby, Austin, Chris… everybody planned on sticking around even after he had kept secrets about his sexuality and had been attacked.
David's fingers twitched and his breathing quickened. Memories of his… incident resurfaced, playing vividly in his mind's eye. Fighting the images, David's arms flew out in front of him, meeting nothing but air. Confusion swamped David when nothing hit back. His heart pumped hard; his temples pounded with his ragged breathing.
Fuck. David forced air into his lungs. What the hell is happening to me?
Damn, he really needed to get a grip. David had no reason to be feeling so out-of-sorts. The hospital would keep him safe and taken care of, and it seemed his friends would be sticking around. At least for now. David wasn't sure how long everything would last. It scared him to think about what would happen if they got fed up with everything and rejected him. They were refusing to back down and insisting to be a part of his life. David didn't know how he felt about them staying.
He jerked, frightened, before he realized who was in the doorway. Nancy, his favorite nurse, stood just inside the room, one hand on her hip.
Nancy's concerned green eyes bore into him.
David cleared his throat. "Yes?"
Her warm hand touched his sweaty face.
When did I start sweating?
"You okay, David?"
He nodded. "Yeah, I just—"
Nancy smiled. "You had a lot of commotion today, didn't you? Way more than you're used to right now."
"Yeah." David gulped, trying to get his dry throat working. "It was… I dunno."
"Overwhelming?" offered Nancy, no censure or pity in her voice.
David did a shake-nod.
"You didn't expect them to be so worried about you, did you?"
"I… I guess not."
Nancy arched an eyebrow at him but said nothing, just patting David's cheek instead. She looked at his dinner tray and sighed. She pointed down at his not-even-half-eaten plate. He shrugged.
"Is the food hurting your throat?" Nancy poked at some of the items on the tray.
"Sort of," lied David. He didn't want to say his appetite was nonexistent. The omission would open up all sorts of questions, and David hadn't gotten his own thoughts straightened out enough.
Sighing, Nancy picked up the food with one hand. "I'll try and find something soft for you to eat."
David gave Nancy a smile.
She squeezed his arm then turned, leaving him alone in the room and back to his own thoughts. She was right. Having everyone in the room had been overwhelming. Nancy pegged that one on the nose.
Bobby, Chris, Austin, Jackson, Eddie, Jon, Becca, and Ito had made it more than clear they wouldn't let him go. How was he supposed to keep everyone safe? All of them had their own lives. What if one of the attackers or friends of the gang who… hurt me… decided to go after the boys or Jon and Becca? David knew he never wanted to step another foot in his dorm room again. He would bet the bathroom had bloodstains, and even if it didn't, David would feel like the blood was still there.
How could he go back to the dorms? David shook his head, his hands clenching the bed sheets, the fabric rubbing between his fingers. No, he knew there was no way. He wouldn't feel or be safe, and worse, the boys would be in danger.
David needed a safe place to go, but on a campus like CRU, would there be one? His heart sank the more he thought about what life on campus would be like. David had wanted anonymity and peace, to just move on. After being attacked, he wasn't sure he would have either.
Maybe I should consider transferring.
Cringing, David remembered the hassle he went through to get into CRU. David sighed and rubbed his eyes. He didn't want to have to deal with all that shit again. Not to mention he was in the middle of the semester. He couldn't just leave… could he? He had to finish the fall semester out at least… but… David groaned. Finishing the semester meant the dorms, and he couldn't go back to there. The whole thing turned into one nasty circle and he didn't see a way of getting out of the circus his life had become.
His head pounded. Frustration made his chest tight and his breathing sharp and quick. He wouldn't be safe in the dorms. Who knew about campus? But to David, that didn't really matter. What really worried David? How Bobby, Chris, and Austin would face everyone. They didn't need crap getting thrown on them for having been associated with him.
Austin said they'd get through everything together. Even Dr Ito, Jon, Becca… everyone wanted to work through David's attack and the fallout together. David just didn't see how.
The attack had been on him. He had to deal with it. Not them. They would be caught in one giant mess of political posturing, and David didn't want that kind of life for his friends. Things could get ugly. From what Eddie said, Mike grew up locally, on one of the ranches.
No, they definitely hadn't heard the end of this. The ranchers would regroup and come back at him, retaliate somehow. Somebody would get hurt.
Wincing, David's hand went to his chest. A sharp pain seared into his heart. Panic infused every cell.
Fuck it all.
Rubbing at the tightness, different images flashed through David's mind. Some were of his friends. Others, ones he didn't want to deal with, were of him. The agony of his attack, the expressions of pure hatred on those boys' faces—everything came to a screaming halt in front of him.
His friends may want to stick around, but David wouldn't let them get hurt because of him. He had to look for his own place. He'd get an apartment somewhere off campus. It would give him… his friends… some room and keep them out of harm's way.
David's free hand went to the call button on his headboard. Pressing it, he tried to figure out what he would say when one of the nurses responded. He also tried to settle his frazzled nerves and stomach. He didn't know what was going on, but he needed to get himself under control.
Damn, it wasn't Nancy. "Um, would it be possible to get a newspaper or a local listing? I need to start apartment hunting."
"Sure thing, David."
The crackle from the speakers went silent, and David inhaled a shaky breath. His mind screamed to get the hell out of the room, but he had nowhere to go and didn't understand why he felt such an innate need to run from everything, especially after everyone had been so understanding and supportive.

Excerpt End


Edward and I are both giving away a copy of our releases this weekend.

Leave a comment and email address below and you’ll be entered to win a copy of
Incubation: Finding Peace 2.

If you would like a chance at winning a copy of Edward’s Weekends, then hop on over to my blog, read and do the same!