Friday, November 30, 2012

Scriostóir - 16



Cerdic was relieved, as always, to be off the plane and on solid ground again. Even though the air was heavy and the heat stupefying, he would take that any day over the canned air he’d been breathing for the last twenty-four hours.

As he stood at the exit to the airport, his bags at his feet, a man hurried over to him.

“Masa el-kheir. Esmi—“

“I know who you are, and I’ve been told you speak English, undoubtedly better than I speak Arabic. I would suggest we get on our way. There is much we need to do, and only a few days to accomplish it.”

The man gave a small bow before beckoning to another man, pointing to Cerdic’s luggage. A few minutes later they were on their way from the airport to one of the larger hotels in the city. As they drove, Cerdic and the man discussed the troubles in the city and how to keep it edging towards full out chaos.

“We have the police and armed gangs attacking the dissidents,” the man told him, “which is forcing them to fight back. Their pages on some of the social sites have been blocked since they began using them to protest the death of a popular university professor at the hands of the police.”

Cerdic nodded, smiling slyly. “Now it the time to step up the activities. Do so.”

Six hours later he was seated in a hotel suite half way across the city from where he was officially staying. The man responsible for keeping the dissidents working towards their attempt to overthrow the government sat in another chair, sipping a glass of tea while he talked. As Cerdic listened to that man’s plans he occasionally interjected suggestions of his own. When the discussion was finished, Cerdic went into another room, returning to hand the man a small carry-on bag. The man opened it, his eyes widening when he saw that it was full of bills in the local currency. He thanked Cerdic profusely and then, at Cerdic’s command, left the suite after making certain no one was watching. Five minutes later Cerdic did the same.

The following afternoon, Cerdic was having a late lunch in a good restaurant in the heart of the city. He watched with interest through the large plate-glass window at the front of the restaurant as a squad of policemen in riot gear started to break up a large group of protestors. The protestors fought back and soon the street was a bloody battleground. He lifted his glass in a sardonic toast to the man sitting opposite him. The other Scriostóir, a recent newcomer to the ranks, returned the toast. And then they got back to the business of what the younger man would do to keep things at a fever pitch within the city and the outlaying countryside.

“With good planning,” Cerdic murmured when they were ready to leave, “there will be an all out civil war here by the end of the month.”

“You words to—“ The young Scriostóir chuckled. “I don’t know quite whose ears they should go to.”

Cerdic smiled. “To those of the one who brought both of us back to do his will.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Scriostóir - 15



“It’s unfortunate that they are probably aware by now of what was taken,” Cerdic commented somewhat acerbically. “Still, you two did well. You seem to make a good pair if today is any indication. Off with you now, I have work to do.” He tapped the folder and the other items Manny had gotten from the suite.

“So he’s alright with the fact that you had to save my ass?” Godric asked, once he and Manny were well clear of the office.

“Yeah. He likes it when we look out for each other. Says it makes us more of a team. He’s good people, if a bit rough at times if we fuck up but he deals out punishments to fit the crime as they say.”

“Does he ever deliver them himself?” Godric was thinking that that could be one way to be alone with the Scriostóir and thus end his existence.

“Nope, never. If it’s physical he has Gebhard take care of it. Otherwise it’s more homework, more chores, more anything that will make us think twice the next time.”

“Whew,” Godric replied, putting a strong measure of relief he didn’t feel into his voice. “I don’t think I’d want him whipping my ass.”

“I’m with you on that one,” Manny agreed as they arrived at the kitchen. Checking the refrigerator, he found that their meals had been saved for them.

While they ate, Godric asked, “Does Mr. Wyndham have a wife or a girlfriend somewhere?”

“Nope. No girlfriend, no boyfriend as far as that goes. I swear the man is celibate. But he doesn’t mind if we have one, as long as he gets to meet and vet them first.”

Godric frowned. “What if he doesn’t like them, or think they’re right for you?”

“Then you drop them and move on. Not like we’re ever likely to meet someone anyway, but it happens. A guy who used to live here met this chick about three years ago while he was working a job. They hit it off and he brought her home to meet Mr. Wyndham. They’re married now.” Manny paused then laughed. “The guy and the girl, not the guy and Mr. Wyndham.”

“He still works for him?”

Manny nodded, giving Godric a serious look. “Once you start, you don’t leave.”

“Hey, you never told me that and neither did he. What if I decide I want to move on?”

“Don’t,” Manny said succinctly as he finished his lunch and took his plate to the sink to rinse it before putting it in the dishwasher.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Scriostóir - 14



The moment the hotel room door closed behind him Godric knew he could be in trouble. The man looked him over like he was a prime slice of beef, his for the eating.

“Looks like someone screwed up,” the man said, his eyes dark with lust.

“Screwed up?” Godric moved the service cart to the table and began setting out the meal. He was stopped by strong hands on his shoulders as the man twisted him around to face him.

“The hotel has orders to send only females with my lunch. I have—a reputation.”

Godric looked up at him from under lowered eyelashes. “A reputation, sir?”

“I like boys, the younger the better. You are just perfect.” He chuckled low as he started walking Godric backwards towards a door leading to one of the bedrooms. “I wonder if my boss arranged this as a reward for a job well done.”

“Please sir—“ Godric put just the right amount of fear and trembling into his voice, some of it very real.

“Don’t tell me you don’t let men do you?” There was an evil, anticipatory look on the man’s face as he spun Godric around, putting one hand over his mouth while wrapping his arm around his waist, half carrying him into the bedroom, kicking the door closed behind him.

As soon as the man released him, Godric shook his head. “I’ve been with lots of men. I just prefer to have a choice in the matter, not have it sprung on me like this,” he said, standing as tall as his five foot eight would allow. If he was going to do this, and it seemed that he had little choice at the moment, it was going to be on his own terms. Swiftly he dropped to his knees, reaching for the waistband of the man’s slacks, undoing the fastening and sliding the zipper down in one smooth movement. If he played it right, he could give Manny enough time to do his part of the job and then get out of there before the man reamed his ass.

As he took the man’s thick shaft into his mouth, he heard what the normal human couldn’t, the slight sound of the outside door opening and closing. Manny was in.

It was a while later when the man abruptly pulled out of Godric’s mouth, yanking him to his feet, throwing him bodily onto the bed, face down. Godric let out a shout of surprise, fighting against the man’s grip as he tried to roll over.

The loud slam of a door from the other room broke the man’s concentration. He leapt off the bed, grabbed his slacks and pulled them. Then, after taking a small pistol from the dresser drawer, he flung open the bedroom door.

Godric was beside him seconds later, shoving past him into the living room of the suite. As he raced for the exit the man ordered him to stop. He ignored him, flinging the door open and dashing into the hall. He saw the elevator door open a few yards away and raced to it. After Manny pulled him inside the doors closed as he pressed the button for the lobby.

“Heard you shout, figured you were in trouble,” Manny explained, leaning back against the elevator wall.

“Thanks. I could have dealt but—Yeah, thanks. You get what you needed?”

Manny nodded, patting his backpack. “Let’s blow this hole and go home.”

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Scriostóir - 13



“Keep a good eye on him,” Cerdic ordered Manny once Rick had been dismissed.

Manny frowned. “Don’t you trust him?”

“So far I have no reason not to, but still there is something about him that worries me. I just cannot put my finger on what.”

Manny smiled a bit. “You say that about everyone, sir, and then they prove you wrong.”

With a chuckle, Cerdic nodded in agreement. “I suppose so. It’s the nature of what I do.”

“Being deep undercover has to be hard,” Manny replied, wondering as he always did if this time Cerdic would use the comment as a way to confirm the supposition all the boys had that that was exactly what the man was, a government agent gathering information for his superiors.

Cerdic just smiled, knowing what Manny was trying to do. “Just watch him. If he carries through with the plan then perhaps we have found a replacement for Hamlin. If that turns out to be the case you will be amply rewarded for discovering him.”

Manny grinned ear to ear. He knew what that meant, a chance to get out of the city for a while and stay at Cerdic’s private retreat up north. “He’ll come through, I know he will. Now,” he inched forward in his chair, resting his elbows on his knees, “what exactly am I looking for while Rick is entertaining that man in the bedroom?”

A few minutes later Manny left the office to look for Rick so that they could make their plans for tomorrow’s job.

Cerdic turned back to the desk with a small feeling of foreboding. Yes, Manny was correct, he never quite trusted a new boy until he had performed several jobs satisfactorily. This time however there was something more that bothered him. He wished he could figure out what it was. Something about Rick niggled at the back of Cerdic’s mind. With a sigh he pushed that thought away. He knew he was probably just overly stressed what with all the irons he had in the fire.

And if there really was something more to Rick than what he seemed to be on the surface, Cerdic knew that he would find it out eventually. He hadn’t lived as long as he had by being careless. For now though he had work to do. With that thought in mind he set to it, an evil smile gracing his lips as he plotted out the next step in the most important of the schemes he was in the midst of setting up.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Scriostóir - 12



Cerdic kept careful track of the new boy for the next two weeks. He seemed to fit in well although he kept his distance from the others to an extent. But that was how they had all been when they’d first arrived, wary of forming any sort of alliance for fear it would come back to bite them at a later date.

At the start of the third week Cerdic decided it was time to put Rick to his first real test. He called him into his office, telling Manny to come too as what he had in mind would require both boys services.

“Sit,” he ordered them after the boys arrived. When they had, Cerdic said to Rick, “You seem to be doing well here, all told. But now it’s time for you to start earning your keep just as the other boys do.”

“Who do I have to fuck?” he replied seriously, though there was a slight uplift to the corners of his lips.

“Someone close to a person who had information that I need.” When Rick started to reply, Cerdic held up a hand to silence him. “Why I need it is no business of yours. I do, and you and Manny will retrieve it. Normally this would be a one-man job but I want Manny there just in case. The person we’re dealing with rarely travels alone and always leaves someone in their suite when they’re not there.”

“So I get to seduce this—woman, man?—and while I’m screwing them Manny comes in and lifts this info you need?”

Cerdic smiled. “Very good, that’s exactly what I had in mind.”

“So how am I supposed to do this? I can’t just knock on the door and throw myself at this person.”

“Room service. The person, the man who’s left there, always orders lunch which arrives at precisely noon. You will be the one delivering it. From there, well you’re on your own but I’m quite certain that you can handle it if you’re a good as you’ve claimed.”

*****

“Better,” Godric replied, smirking slightly to cover the feeling of panic that hit him. What he had told Cerdic, and what Manny had seen for himself, had been a ruse to gain him entry into Cerdic’s life. One he’d set up with the help of people Ealdgyđ brought into the game. He hadn’t actually considered that Cerdic would use him in quite that capacity.

If the truth were told, he hadn’t figured doing that would have played into the picture at all. He had thought that by now he would have dealt with Cerdic. Would have ended his existence and moved on. But that had been impossible to achieve. He was never alone with the Scriostóir and, he had quickly discovered, the man’s personal quarters were so well secured that even a flea couldn’t have gotten in without being discovered and destroyed.

It was times like this he again wished that he had gained more than just immortality when he chose to live again. Yes, he’d heard of a few who had for some reason gotten some extra ability to help with their work. He was not one of them. Probably, he’d decided long ago, because in the grand scheme of things his sin, while a deadly one, was close to the bottom of the ranking. Now if he’d murdered someone—He shook his head, bringing his thoughts back to the present.

“When are we going to do this, sir?” he asked Cerdic, dreading the answer.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Scriostóir - 11



Cerdic’s inquisition continued for another fifteen minutes, Godric replying as he knew a boy in his present position would, sometimes truthfully, sometimes defiantly refusing to answer as if wanting to keep some part of his past life secret.

Finally, Cerdic leaned back, staring thoughtfully at the ceiling for long moments. Then he said, “Would you like to get off the streets and move in here?”

“Depends. I mean yeah, sure, but what’s the catch?”

Cerdic chuckled. “No ‘catch’. You live here with me and six other boys. You’ll share a room with Manny, share the chores with everyone, attend classes, and work out in the gym daily. If you accept, the first thing that will happen is that you’ll be taken to get new clothes and whatever else you need in the way of sundries.”

“Sounds—okay I guess.” Godric glanced at Manny. “You okay with my invading your space?”

“He has no say in the matter,” Cerdic said sharply before Manny could reply. “This is not a democracy. What I say goes. Until you get the hang of things you’ll need a mentor and since Manny found you, he gets you.”

“Yeah, and if I don’t want to obey your orders?”

“You will be punished.”

Godric jumped to his feet. “That’s why I ran in the first place. I’m not going to let myself in for more beating. So thanks, but I’ll pass.” He watched Cerdic’s face, hoping he hadn’t just thrown his chances away, even though he knew it was the sort of response the kid he was supposed to be would have made to what the man had just said.

Cerdic smiled, turning his attention to Manny. “Take him upstairs, show him around.”

“I just said I’m not sticking around,” Godric said defiantly.

“Then you’d be passing up a good opportunity, Rick,” Cerdic told him. “You’ve passed all my tests, I think you’ve got what it takes, and for your information, and you can ask the others, I never beat any of them. There are more ways to punish than that, ways that teach the lesson much better.”

“Truth?” Godric looked at Manny for confirmation.

“Yeah, truth. So you sticking around?”

Godric nodded. “Yeah, sure. At least for now.”

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Scriostóir - 10



Cerdic listened as Manny talked, tapping his pen on the desk. When the boy finished, Cerdic asked, “What makes you think he’d be interested, and if he were that we can trust him?”

“You should have seen him, sir. He looks like he hasn’t eaten in forever and while his clothes are clean they’re more than worn in places. I’m betting they’re the only good ones he has, for when he’s letting someone pick him up. If he wasn’t so cute he’d probably be shit out of luck trying to make what money he does the way he does.” Manny paced the office, turning to say, “He reminds me a bit of Hamlin. And he does the same thing only for a hell of a lot less.”

“You’re sure he’s telling you the truth?”

“I’ve been watching him big time. He goes into a room with who ever. Sometimes he comes out a few minutes later and splits fast, but sometimes he’s in for a while. So yeah, I think so.”

“Interesting. You can find him again?”

“Yeah. I told him I might have a proposition for him. He said he’d hang around.”

“Good. Go get him.”

* * * * *

“Damn,” Godric said as he looked at the outside of the house. “You live here?”

“Yeah. Me and some other guys and my boss I guess you’d call him.”

“Sweet.” Godric waited for Manny to open the door and then followed him into an entry foyer. From there, Manny led him up a flight of stairs to the living room. It was modern and bright, a window taking up the entire far wall with sliding doors leading to a terrace.

A man sat watching them. He looked Godric over carefully before standing, coming over to offer his hand. “I am Cerdic Wyndham,” he said by way of introduction.

“Rick Ward,” Godric replied, hesitantly shaking Cerdic hand. It took everything within his power not to react to his first view of the man he’d been searching for for the last thirteen centuries.

Cerdic nodded, eyeing the young man thoughtfully. “Tell me a bit about yourself, Rick,” he said, going back to sofa, indicating Godric should take a seat in the chair opposite it. “Manny, you may stay as well,” he said when the boy seemed about to leave the room.

“There’s not much to tell, sir,” Godric replied. “I ran away when I was thirteen, learned how to survive on the streets.” He shrugged, being careful not to meet Cerdic’s eyes.

“Using your body from what Manny has said,” Cerdic commented.

Again Godric shrugged. “When you need money—“

“I understand. How old are you, Rick?”

“Almost seventeen, sir.”

“Why did you run away?”

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Available today! - 'A Time to Gain, A Time to Lose'

A Time to Gain, A Time to Lose


From Silver Publishing
Blurb:

When PI Zane Turner needs help tracking down a stalker he turns to Axel Hayward, a blind profiler. Axel agrees, in exchange for Zane helping to protect him against the man who was the cause of his blindness, a man who has suddenly reappeared in his life.
As the two men, plus Rex Turner, Zane's cousin and business partner, work to find the person stalking several of the Turners' new clients Axel and Zane find themselves drawn together in more than the case.
Then Axel is targeted and they must decide is it the stalker or the man from his past who is responsible?

Excerpt:
"Get that animal out of here!"

Axel tilted his head to locate the person speaking and then turned to face him. "What part of 'service animals allowed' don't you understand?" he replied scathingly.

"This is a restaurant. I don't want no dirty animal around my food."

"The feeling's mutual, so why don't you leave?"

"Fuck you. You're the one impeding on my rights to sit here and enjoy my meal. Bet you ain't even blind."

"It's 'infringing', and you'd lose the bet." Axel tightened his grip on the harness when Jazz growled softly. "It's okay, boy, some people 'ain't got no couth', to quote Betty."

At that point, the hostess came over, hugging Axel. "Did I hear my name used in vain?"

"Always," he replied with a smile. "Do you have any empty tables, preferably on the other side of the room from the animal lover here?"

"For you, you bet." She placed his hand on her arm as he'd taught her, leading him across the half-filled restaurant to a table set for one. After he sat down with Jazz lying beside his chair, Betty beckoned one of the waiters over.

"Axel, this is Brandon, he's new but he's trained up pretty good, for a male." She winked at the young man.

He chuckled in response. "I even know how to say, Good evening, Sir. I'll be your waiter for tonight. The specials are..."

Axel laughed. "I probably know the menu better than even Betty here. I'll start with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. I think, for the entrée, blackened swordfish, and crème brûlée with fresh berries for dessert."

"And for your companion? Perhaps a bowl of sparkling water?"

"Plain water," Axel told him with a chuckle. "Jazz is a plebeian when it comes to his tastes in liquids, water or occasionally beer, that's his limits."

"Beer?" Brandon's voice was full of surprise.

"He's developed a taste for it so I sometimes let him share mine when we're at home--watered down, of course. An inebriated guide dog is not something I really want."

Brandon nodded, realized Axel couldn't see that, and said, "I understand. That does give me an umm, interesting mental image."

"Does, doesn't it? A potentially catastrophic one at that." Axel grinned, reaching down to pat Jazz's head.

With a laugh, Brandon went to get Axel's wine and place his dinner order.

"Trying to set me up again, Bets?" Axel asked with a chuckle after Brandon had left.

"Now would I do that?"

"In a heartbeat. You've done it before."

Betty glanced around to make certain no one needed her attention at the moment and then sat down. "Axel, I've known you forever. You can't go through life living like a hermit except for work."

"Hey, I'm here, aren't I?"

"That's not what I meant and you know it," she huffed in response.

He gave her a tense smile. "I know. I just... I'm not ready for a relationship. You know how badly the last one ended."

"He was an idiot!" she declared adamantly, "Worse than an idiot. He should have ended up in jail if you want my opinion."

"Yes, and no, and most men are idiots according to you." Axel grinned then. "Maybe you and I should hook up."

Betty swatted his arm. "I have a feeling Nell might have something to say about that, and not something positive." Patting his arm now, she said, "I'm not giving up on you, not yet."

"If you did I'd think you didn't love me anymore." He paused when he heard the sound of his glass of wine being set on the table, reaching for it just as Brandon told him where it was. He thanked him and took a sip. "Excellent," he declared.

"Of course it is," Betty replied and the sound of her chair moving told him she was getting up.

"That, my dear friend, is why I continue to frequent this fine establishment." His face was quite serious until a small grin quirked his lips. "That and your pseudo-matchmaking skills."

"Axel Hayward, I swear, what am I going to do with you?"

He laughed. "Not a damned thing except love me for what I am."

Kissing his cheek, she told him seriously, "Always."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Scriostóir - 9



“Hey, man, you alright?”

Godric looked up and nodded. “Better than alright, dude. Got what I went after. Just needed to take a breather for a sec.”

Manny stayed where he was, watching Godric. “Sounds like maybe you didn’t come by whatever it was legit.”

“Maybe, maybe not. What’s it to you?”

“Nothing,” Manny replied with a shrug. “Just that I’ve been keeping an eye on you for the last couple of days, whenever you were around. You’re sorta in my territory.”

Godric grinned. “Yeah, I know. Gonna do something about it?”

“Depends what you’re going after, and where.”

“Mostly whatever cash I can get my hands on. A guy’s gotta eat you know.”

Manny moved closer to the loading dock. “From hotel rooms? Cause I saw you going into a couple. Those are off limits.”

“Says who?”

“Says me. Like I said, my territory.”

“You seen me, you know I don’t go in alone.”

“Yeah, noticed that too. They pay, or you just steal from them? Or both?”

“With luck, and stupidity on their part, I make it out of the room with their cash and cards, and my ‘innocence’ intact. Sometimes I gotta put out.  Either way I got lunch money.”

“Ever get caught?” Manny was now within touching distance of Godric.

“Nope, not by the cops, not by someone thinking of jacking me off either.” Godric balled his fists, ready to fight if necessary.

“Hey, relax, I’m not interested in what you got on you. I probably pick up twice what you do on any given day, and I don’t have to fuck someone to do it.”

Dropping his hands, but keeping an eye on Manny just in case, Godric nodded. “You just break in? How the hell you manage that?”

“That’s my skill, just like yours is seducing your target.”

Leaning back on his hands now, Godric studied Manny. “Ever find anything real interesting, since you don’t have to worry bout someone being in there with you?”

“Interesting how?”

“Don’t know. Was just thinking. I found some pics once. Coulda used them for blackmail I bet.”

“You keep them?”

“Naw. Like what would I do? Say ‘Hey, bring me cash to the third dumpster on the left down such and such alley.’?” He laughed. “All what woulda got me was a visit from the cops at my classy domicile.”

Manny nodded, quite obviously thinking about something. When he stayed silent, Godric jumped down from the loading dock. “It’s been fun,” he said, a bit caustically, “but I gotta get moving. Got some cash, got an empty stomach. Gonna use A to fill B.”

“Hang on. I got a proposition for you. Maybe.”

Godric paused. “Like?”

“I gotta talk to someone first. You gonna be in the neighborhood for a while longer?”

“Eh, I was thinking of going downtown, getting dinner at Delmonicos.” Godric laughed at his own joke. “Yeah, I’ll be around and about.”

“Good. I’ll be back, one way or the other.” Manny turned on his heel and walked out of the alley.

“Hope so,” Godric muttered softly. “You’re my in.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Scriostóir - 8



Ealdgyđ looked at the man standing at attention in front of her. As she did, she tapped one black nail against her lips pensively, eventually breaking the silence by saying, “You are aware of what you are asking?”

Godric nodded. “I am. It is time for me to face my demon and deal with him. When he slew his family in his bid for power he also murdered my sister. It has taken me this long to find him. I have no intention of letting him wander free any longer.”

Shaking her head so that her thick black hair spread for a moment like the wings of the raven she was in her other form, she said, “He is quite powerful, a formidable Scriostóir.”

“I am not without power of my own, as I am certain min campealdor, excuse me, mo ceannasaí has told you.”

“Either one works, I speak Old English as well as Gaelic,” Ealdgyđ told him with a smile. “And yes, you come quite highly recommended. I suppose the question is how you will ingratiate yourself into his life. He must know who you are and may recognize you even after thirteen centuries.”

Godric shook his head. “When we last saw each other I was a mere boy of fourteen years.”

“I see. You don’t look all that much older now. What on earth was your sin?” Ealdgyđ knew the answer but wanted to hear it from the young man’s lips.

“A lying tongue,” Godric admitted. “I was young, a callow youth of three and twenty then , and allowed myself to be influenced by those who were bent on using me to entrap their enemies. One of the enemies caught me in a lie that would have been the cause of his death had he believed it. He slew me even as I persisted in saying it was the truth. Therefore,” he smiled, “I was given the choice all of us are. I had no interest in suffering eternally for my stupidity.”

“A wise choice, in my estimation, but then I am prejudiced.” Pointing to the chair on the other side of her desk, Ealdgyđ waited for Godric to be seated before saying, “The question still remains as to what trick you are going to use to get close to Cerdic. The man is no fool. He has no friends and few weaknesses. He’s asexual or at least has no known sexual contacts, lives in a private home in the West Village in New York City, travels often, always alone, is extremely manipulative, and has, believe it or not, never killed anyone by his own hand that we are aware of.”

“He does have one weakness, young people. He uses them for much of his information gathering and they are always kids who are throwaways.”

“I’m not quite certain if that would be considered a weakness or an asset. Everyone of them that we know of, both past and present, adores him and would do anything for him despite the fact that he can be very severe in his punishments should they foul up in any way.”

“As it should be. A boy does not become a man by being coddled.”

Ealdgyđ lifted an eyebrow at that comment but refrained from saying anything. “Are you thinking of trying to become one of his boys?”

Godric nodded. “That’s my intention. He has lost, well not lost but sent one of his boys off for the long term, and presumably might need someone to replace him. I have skills that he could use, and I can pass for sixteen if necessary, one of the perks as they say of being smaller in height than most men of today.”

“You have given this some thought I see.”

“I’ve had many centuries to do that.”

“Very well, I shall give you whatever help is necessary. I would presume you will not be using your given name. It is a bit distinctive.”

“No. I will become Rick Ward. I sincerely doubt he will associate that with Godric Aylward.”

Monday, November 12, 2012

Scriostóir - 7



As Cerdic walked into the room the two men sitting in deep discussion at a table looked up. One of them nodded slightly before returning to what he had been talking about with his companion.

“Trouble in paradise?” Cerdic asked, lifting an eyebrow as he joined them.

“We have the plans in place, however my esteemed colleague here seems to be having second thoughts on the wisdom of implementing them at this time,” the man who had nodded when Cerdic arrived explained, his accent thickening as he spoke.

Cerdic turned to the other man, letting a trace of an Irish brogue color his speech. “If we are to accomplish our aims we must strike while the iron is hot. To put it off, even for a week, will weaken what we are trying to accomplish.”

“Aye, that’s the truth, I know, but my people—“

“Need your strong hand at the helm to make them move. If you waver they will know you are not the man they think you are. Is that what you want? Think of the power you will have once this has been done.”

The man nodded pensively, fingering the lapel of his well-cut suit. Finally he said, “I must leave, now. There is a flight out soon that I need to be on.” He smiled tightly as he stood, raising his hand in salute. “Watch the news tomorrow,” he stated firmly before walking quickly from the room.

Once he’d left, the other man shook his head. “I don’t know how you managed that, Donall. I have been arguing with him for the last hour to no avail.”

Cerdic gave him a knowing smile. “It’s all in the tone of voice I think. I brook no argument when it comes to accomplishing our aims. Now,” his voice hardened, “you are to go after him to be certain he makes his flight. If he does not you are to eliminate him and if possible make it seem as if the Brits are responsible.”

“Then what, if that happens?” the man asked even as he headed to the door.

“You will meet with his people and make quite certain things move forward as planned.”

The man nodded sharply before leaving. Cerdic’s smile was vicious as he stepped across the room to the window, arriving just in time to see the first man step into a car that was sitting at the curb. As it pulled away, the second man came into view. He got into a car parked a few yards from the front door of the building. Seconds later he was skillfully following the other car.

“Perfect,” Cerdic murmured to himself as he made a phone call that would send the first man off on a wild goose chase, thus setting into motion Cerdic’s secondary plan, the killing, apparently by British Intelligent forces, of a known RIRA agent in the country on a peaceful mission. “And that should keep the pot boiling,” he remarked as he hung up and strode purposefully from the room.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Out on Nov. 17th

A Time to Gain, A Time to Lose




Blurb:

When PI Zane Turner needs help tracking down a stalker he turns to Axel Hayward, a blind profiler. Axel agrees, in exchange for Zane helping to protect him against the man who was the cause of his blindness, a man who has suddenly reappeared in his life.
As the two men, plus Rex Turner, Zane's cousin and business partner, work to find the person stalking several of the Turners' new clients Axel and Zane find themselves drawn together in more than the case.
Then Axel is targeted and they must decide is it the stalker or the man from his past who is responsible?

Excerpt:
"Get that animal out of here!"

Axel tilted his head to locate the person speaking and then turned to face him. "What part of 'service animals allowed' don't you understand?" he replied scathingly.


"This is a restaurant. I don't want no dirty animal around my food."


"The feeling's mutual, so why don't you leave?"


"Fuck you. You're the one impeding on my rights to sit here and enjoy my meal. Bet you ain't even blind."


"It's 'infringing', and you'd lose the bet." Axel tightened his grip on the harness when Jazz growled softly. "It's okay, boy, some people 'ain't got no couth', to quote Betty."


At that point, the hostess came over, hugging Axel. "Did I hear my name used in vain?"


"Always," he replied with a smile. "Do you have any empty tables, preferably on the other side of the room from the animal lover here?"


"For you, you bet." She placed his hand on her arm as he'd taught her, leading him across the half-filled restaurant to a table set for one. After he sat down with Jazz lying beside his chair, Betty beckoned one of the waiters over.


"Axel, this is Brandon, he's new but he's trained up pretty good, for a male." She winked at the young man.


He chuckled in response. "I even know how to say,
Good evening, Sir. I'll be your waiter for tonight. The specials are..."

Axel laughed. "I probably know the menu better than even Betty here. I'll start with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. I think, for the entrée, blackened swordfish, and crème brûlée with fresh berries for dessert."


"And for your companion? Perhaps a bowl of sparkling water?"


"Plain water," Axel told him with a chuckle. "Jazz is a plebeian when it comes to his tastes in liquids, water or occasionally beer, that's his limits."


"Beer?" Brandon's voice was full of surprise.


"He's developed a taste for it so I sometimes let him share mine when we're at home--watered down, of course. An inebriated guide dog is not something I really want."


Brandon nodded, realized Axel couldn't see that, and said, "I understand. That does give me an umm, interesting mental image."


"Does, doesn't it? A potentially catastrophic one at that." Axel grinned, reaching down to pat Jazz's head.


With a laugh, Brandon went to get Axel's wine and place his dinner order.


"Trying to set me up again, Bets?" Axel asked with a chuckle after Brandon had left.


"Now would I do that?"


"In a heartbeat. You've done it before."


Betty glanced around to make certain no one needed her attention at the moment and then sat down. "Axel, I've known you forever. You can't go through life living like a hermit except for work."


"Hey, I'm here, aren't I?"


"That's not what I meant and you know it," she huffed in response.


He gave her a tense smile. "I know. I just... I'm not ready for a relationship. You know how badly the last one ended."


"He was an idiot!" she declared adamantly, "Worse than an idiot. He should have ended up in jail if you want my opinion."


"Yes, and no, and most men are idiots according to you." Axel grinned then. "Maybe you and I should hook up."


Betty swatted his arm. "I have a feeling Nell might have something to say about that, and not something positive." Patting his arm now, she said, "I'm not giving up on you, not yet."


"If you did I'd think you didn't love me anymore." He paused when he heard the sound of his glass of wine being set on the table, reaching for it just as Brandon told him where it was. He thanked him and took a sip. "Excellent," he declared.


"Of course it is," Betty replied and the sound of her chair moving told him she was getting up.


"That, my dear friend, is why I continue to frequent this fine establishment." His face was quite serious until a small grin quirked his lips. "That and your pseudo-matchmaking skills."


"Axel Hayward, I swear, what am I going to do with you?"


He laughed. "Not a damned thing except love me for what I am."


Kissing his cheek, she told him seriously, "Always."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Scriostóir - 6



By the end of his week in London Cerdic had narrowed down his plans to the point that he only had to make the decision on which person he would manipulate into augmenting them. To that end, his next instructions to Hamlin were to continue what he had been doing, using all of his contacts in the city to his best advantage, but concentrating only on the two people in question.

Now, as he finished packing for his return flight back to New York, he watched Hamlin who was sitting at the table going over the notes he’d given him. Eventually the young man looked up with a taut smile on his face.

“It won’t be easy, but I’ll get what you need.”

“Of course you will. I wouldn’t have chosen you for the job if I didn’t have implicit faith in your abilities. I shall expect daily reports from you, whether you find anything or not. I want to be kept appraised.” Cerdic handed Hamlin a cell phone. “Keep this in a very safe place, but not on your person, perhaps somewhere here in the hotel.”

“I know just the place. I’m assuming this is a safe phone?”

“Extremely.” Cerdic spent a few minutes showing him exactly how to use it and then Hamlin stood, gathering up the papers he’d been studying. Cerdic stopped him, putting one hand on his shoulder. “Be safe, stay safe. There are few in this world I care about, you are one of them.”

Hamlin nodded, surprised that Cerdic had let down his walls enough to say that. “I’ll be careful. I’d really like to be around to see you accomplish your agenda.”

Cerdic smiled in reply, for a brief second wishing he could explain everything to Hamlin. That however was not an option; it never had been in all his long life, it never would be. Scriostóir were by the very description of their responsibilities, loners. The fact that Hamlin had even figured out as much as he had was somewhat worrying, but Cerdic hadn’t lied when he said he trusted him. If ever the young man betrayed him, Cerdic would personally put the knife to his heart and plunge it in.

Reverting now to his duties as an employee of the hotel, Hamlin picked up Cerdic’s bags, standing by the door as his mentor made one final check of the room to be certain he’d forgotten nothing. Then the two men left, walking down the hall to the elevator. When they reached the lobby, Cerdic stopped at the front desk to sign out while Hamlin went to get him a cab.

“Sir,” the desk clerk said, “this message came for you just moments ago.” The desk clerk handed Cerdic a slip of paper.

After reading it, a frown deeply creasing his forehead, Cerdic thanked her. Taking a deep breath to regain his composure, Cerdic went to join Hamlin. “I shall expect to hear from you tomorrow,” he told the young man quietly.

“And every day thereafter, I won’t forget.” Hamlin held the cab door open for Cerdic. “Have a safe trip home, sir”

“Thank, I shall,” Cerdic replied, not telling him that his plans had suddenly changed. After Hamlin closed the cab door, Cerdic gave the driver the address of his new destination.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Whoot......

Just signed a contract with Silver Pub. for 'Moving On'

Unedited description: When his husband Darrin in murdered right in front of him and the killer vanishes into the darkness, Mitch Cavanaugh must learn to move on. As he tries to gather up the shattered pieces of his life, and the police search for the murderer, he’s approached by a stranger who claims to know why Darrin was killed. Then the man disappears.

Six months later, and with the police no closer to finding the murderer, Mitch suddenly finds he may now be the man’s next target. It will take the combined efforts of Mitch, the police and a new friend, Chad, to stop the killer before he strikes again.

Scriostóir - 5



A light rap on the door to the suite announced the arrival of room service. Cerdic smiled as he allowed the man, pushing a cart laden with food, to enter.

“Hamlin, it has been a while,” Cerdic said, clapping the young man on the shoulder.

“Indeed it has, sir,” Hamlin replied, he face lighting up with pleasure.

“Please call me Cerdic.”

“I—alright but it’ll seem strange.” He started setting the meal out on the table, then stood back at attention when he’d finished, a quirky grin on his face. “Will there be anything else?”

“Yes. Join me for supper. I need to know everything you’ve managed to find out. If staying is going to be a problem I shall call down and let them know that I ordered you to.”

Hamlin shook his head. “I’ve been assigned to you for the week, as per orders from the hotel’s higher-ups.”

“Then sit, damn it.” Cerdic sat himself, waiting for Hamlin and then filling two plates with food, sliding one to his underling. “Eat, and then we’ll talk.”

Eat they did, Cerdic passing on messages from the boys and telling Hamlin how they were faring. Hamlin was especially happy to know that Jakie was doing so well. He had been the one who had recruited the boy into the group. He’d found Jakie, half-starving on the streets, just two months before he’d been sent to London and had taken him under his wing like the younger brother he’d never had.

Once they were finished and coffee was poured, Hamlin filled Cerdic in on the information he’d gathered. When he’d wrapped up his report Cerdic nodded, reading over the papers in the file Hamlin had handed him.

“You have done an excellent job, young man. I knew I was correct, placing my faith in you.”

Hamlin thanked him before saying, “May I ask just what you’re going to do with all this information?”

Cerdic lifted one eyebrow as he studied him. Then, having made a decision, he asked in turn, “Given what you brought me, what would you think it would be used for?”

“Well,” Hamlin said slowly, “there is a royal wedding coming up. If something were to happen to disrupt that, and said something was caused by one of the persons on that list, all of whom will be in the city at that point,” he tapped on of the papers spread out on the table in front of them, “it would certainly increase tensions between the British and the home country of whichever person is involved.”

“A very logical conclusion.” Again Cerdic studied Hamlin before saying, “If, and it is only ‘if’ that was the reason I had you collect this information, how would you feel about it?”

Hamlin shrugged. “I’ve been with you long enough that I have no illusions about you. You are not some super spy trying to save the world. On the other hand, you’re not a terrorist in the usual sense of the word. Best guess, you like manipulating people so that they cause problems that increase local or world tensions. It’s almost as if you were trying to throw the world into turmoil, one country at a time.”

“That still begs the question of how you feel about it.”

Resting his elbows on the table, Hamlin looked at his mentor. “I have no reason to care what you do one way or the other. I’ve got no love for people in general. I was used and abused from day one by everyone around me. Until you found me I didn’t believe that anyone gave a damn about me or anyone else for that matter. In general, I know that’s the truth of the world. Kill or be killed, use or be used, rule or be ruled, every man for himself. Even you use, but at least what we, the boys and I, get in return makes it worth it; a home, three squares a day, friendship among us which none of us had before.”

Hamlin paused, chuckling low. “Sorry, didn’t mean to go off on a rant like that. Anyway, bottom line, if you want to try to set people on each other until the world explodes and countries wipe each other out, have at it. It’s no skin off my nose.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Scriostóir - 4



Cerdic was quite relieved when the plane touched down on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport. He abhorred long flights even though he knew they were a necessary evil. There were times when he wondered why one of the benefits of being a Scriostóir hadn’t been the ability to teleport from place to place. The only time that perk was allowed was when traveling through the veil, going from one time to another, something he hadn’t had to do since the seventeen-hundreds when he’d been permanently assigned to what eventually would become the United States of America.

Unlike Caomhnóir, the Scriostóir were kept in one place once they had proven their worth. That way each one knew his or her territory and was able to respond at an instant’s notice when something occurred that they could use to their advantage. In Cerdic’s case, it was the US, primarily New York City with its international community. He was devoutly glad that he had not drawn Washington, DC. Having to deal with the politicians there would have driven him crazy, even though manipulating them was very easy, according to his colleague there.

Now, he was in London, or would be once he found a taxi to take him to the heart of the city and the Savoy, where he would be staying for the duration. The cabdriver, when Cerdic finally got one, was a taciturn man, much to Cerdic’s delight. He hated chatty cabbies; they distracted him from his contemplation of the drive into or through a city.

Upon his arrival at the Savoy, he was greeted warmly by the doorman then quite effusively by the woman at the check-in desk.

“Mr. Wyndham, it’s a pleasure to see you again,” she said. “Your usual suite has been prepared just as you like it. I’m afraid Minnie is no longer with us, but we have a new young man who took her place. I’m certain you will find he is very well trained and he will take care of all your needs.”

Cerdic chuckled, replying, “To anyone overhearing you, one would think you were setting me up with someone from an escort service, not one of your excellent room service persons.”

“Oh my, yes, I suppose it did sound like that. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s nothing to worry about. We know, and what others think is of small importance.”

After that, he finished with the business of signing in, paid her, and then with the bellhop in tow, went to his suite. It was just as the woman had promised, perfection with all as he expected. Once he had unpacked, he sat down in the wingchair in the living room and placed a call to room service to order a late supper. With that taken care of, he rose again, crossing to stand at the window and look out over the Thames. He was in his homeland now, and the only place forbidden to him was the town where he had died. That was the one law that both Caomhnóir and Scriostóir had in common. There was no return to the place of their demise. 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

A bit of promoting



'You Can't Change the Past - Phoenix Rising Book 3'
is now available from Silver Publishing.