Welcome to my blog for my stop on the Rave Reviews Book Club’s Back-To-School Book & Blog Block Party. I’m so glad you decided to join me today in beautiful Tacoma, WA. I have some great stuff to give away, and if you leave a comment at the end of this post you’ll be entered into a drawing and might win something. Everyone is eligible, you don’t need to be a member of Rave Reviews to win.
What I’m giving away:
One $5.00 Amazon gift card
Three Kindle copies of Shadow of the Drill
One signed paperback copy of Shadow of the Drill \
One set of coffee cups with pictures of the covers of Shadow and Winter, and a signed 1st edition cover of Shadow. (Not as impressive as it sounds, although there was a limited number of 1st editions printed so the covers are kind of rare.)
There is a total of 6 winners at this stop. I apologize, but postal rates prevent me from sending anything that has to be mailed outside of the USA.
I’m so happy to announce that the winners of my giveaway are: Shirley Harris-Slaughter, Gorden Bickerstaff, Cassidy Salem, C. S. Boyack, Bette Stevens, & J. B. Hawker. It was a fantastic day here at my blog, and I can’t wait to do it again next year!
Today, I’m going to share one of my favorite parts of Shadow, and then give you a peek at two upcoming novels. I hope you enjoy.
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Shadow of the Drill is the first in a series of books about Decker, an unrepentant enforcer known as the Drill, and the violent life that he leads. It follows Decker as he finally encounters the men whose brutal assault of a woman changed his life. The following passage happens after an encounter with those men, when Decker is faced with the possibility that he might not be able to save his injured partner
“Char, you gotta hold him!” Decker spoke louder than usual, his words coming with the crispness of a cracking whip. “Don’t let him move! I need to finish, and I can’t if he’s not layin’ still!”
Charlene tossed her head in exasperation. “I’m doing the best I can, but he’s a lot stronger than me!”
Decker softened, giving her an understanding smile while selecting a different scalpel from the tray. “I know, babe. But you gotta try harder.” He waited for her to agree, but her expression clearly stated that she had more to say.
“Deck, can we give him a break?” She laid her hands on Rudy’s heaving chest, caressing his skin in an effort to soothe him. “I know there’s only the one piece left, but I think he needs a minute before you start cutting again. Maybe I can find something more to give him, so he won’t feel it as much.”
Decker hesitated, torn between his desire to do as she asked and the knowledge that there was no more time to spare. The job would have already been done had the bullet remained intact, but they had not been that fortunate. Removing the fragments and repairing the damage had been a precise and exhausting task, and Decker would have welcomed a chance to rest his hands and regroup in general. But then a strangled groan from Rudy settled the issue for him. “We can’t stop now. I wish we could but we just don’t have time.”
Charlene sighed, knowing that he was right. She moved to the head of the table, reaching down to stroke Rudy’s shoulders.
“I know where it is,” Decker said with a passing frown. “I just can’t get to it when he’s movin’ around so much. And I sure as hell can’t fix anything. If we could just keep him still, I could grab it and fix whatever it broke. But he’s gotta be still!”
His gloved fingers probed the Betadine-stained area above the wound as he prepared to make another incision, but he stopped when Rudy moaned in response. “Char,” he said without looking up, “he’s too close to the top. We need to put him back down. I know the pills are gone, but is there any more booze?”
The woman clenched her hands together, unable to hide her stricken expression. “No. I gave him the last of it just before you started. There might be more somewhere, but I don’t know how much.” Her voice broke in a frustrated sob. “Or where it would be.”
Decker frowned again, thinking of and weighing the options. “Well,” he said, swallowing hard against the dread that threatened the strength and accuracy of his hands, “I guess we’ll just go ahead and finish it. Hopefully, he’ll pass out before we get too far.”
Another sentence followed, too softly for Charlene to hear. “What did you say?”
“I said if there’s a God in Heaven, he will.”
The bloodstained gloves hit the floor, and Decker’s hands cupped Rudy’s face, one finger tracing the clenched jaw with a lover’s smooth touch. His lips tightened at the thought of what his friend would still have to suffer at his hands, but then he straightened, all emotion locked safely away until the job was done. “Ready?” The sound of fresh gloves snapping around his wrists accented the word.
Charlene caught her breath, but managed to keep her voice from shaking too badly. “As ready as I’m gonna be.” She pressed her palms against Rudy’s shoulders, leaning her weight forward while bracing her feet against the base of the wall behind her.
“Are you sure?” Decker’s voice was steady, almost as if his fright had never been. She bobbed her head in reply, and he poised his hands over Rudy’s abdomen. “Okay then,” he said, forcing his eyes away from Rudy’s face. “Here we go.”
The scalpel slid into the skin, forcing a throaty groan from Rudy’s lips. Blood flowed, causing Charlene’s heart to skip a beat. There’s so much!
Rudy’s legs thrashed while Charlene fought to hold his upper body against the table and she dug the heels of her palms into the front of his shoulders. “I can’t hold him,” she cried, struggling against Rudy’s greater strength. “Deck, I’m losing him!”
“I’m almost there,” he replied as the scalpel went deeper. “Just a little more, and I’ll have it!”
He tossed the blood-covered instrument onto the tray before picking up the forceps. “Okay,” he said, more to himself than to Charlene. “Okay, steady now. Easy . . . Easy . . .”
Rudy cried out when Decker reached in for the elusive piece of metal. His head rolled from side to side while his hands flailed, even though Decker tried to hold the closest one against the edge of the table with his body. His expressive brown eyes were wide and pain-crazed, but beneath the pain was something else. Something that, to their dismay, both Charlene and Decker recognized.
Rudy should have been beyond all feeling, but instead he remained awake. Awake and aware.
* * *
Duncan Malone sets his sights on the adult entertainment club owned by Decker and his partner, Rudy Valdez. What begins as a simple club war quickly escalates to murder when Malone sends his men after the people in Rudy’s circle. The following passage tells of one such encounter.
Lena giggled uncontrollably when Rudy finished the story he was telling with a flourish. The two girls in the back seat leaned forward to hear, sharing the humor and enjoying the moment.
“Oh Rudy,” Lena gasped, wiping tears from her eyes. “Decker would kill you if he knew you’d told us that. He’d absolutely kill you!”
“Are you planning to tell him?” Rudy asked with mock concern. “I sure hope not.”
“No way,” she replied, resting her hand on his shoulder. “This is prime blackmail stuff.”
“Oh, so that’s it,” he said, keeping his tone serious with effort. “Well, I can see how it’s gonna be from now on. I guess there’s no other choice. I’ll have to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep you three quiet.” His deep brown eyes twinkled merrily in the rearview mirror. “I’ll do it. I’ll be your sex slave.”
His words were met with shocked silence, and then all three women were laughing in unison, blushing at the thought of being serviced by such a strikingly handsome man.
The comment had been made in fun, but Rudy allowed himself a brief fantasy as he watched them in the mirror. It would never happen, of course, but that was what made the teasing so much fun.
All in all, it was an enjoyable drive. The moon was full, the rain had stopped, and as Rudy began to round the curve ahead of him there was nothing on his mind other than pleasure at his companions’ conversation.
He saw the headlights approaching, but thought nothing of it until a pair of lights flared brightly in his rearview mirror as well. Then a sixth sense came into play and he locked his seat belt, pulling the strap snugly across his chest. He contemplated calling Decker, but decided against it. Whatever was going to happen would occur long before help could arrive; there was no point in dragging anyone out of bed just yet.
The headlights flashed into high beam and he tightened his hands on the wheel, bracing his shoulders against the back of the seat. “Ladies,” he said mildly, “put your belts on, please. We might have a bit of a problem.”
“What’s up?” Nikki asked while she obediently buckled herself in, but before Rudy could answer the other car was upon them and there was no time to talk.
He studied the driver’s face while the sedan roared toward him in the other lane, watching the man’s shoulders shift when the vehicle’s nose swung toward him. Swearing loudly, he pulled the wheel sharply to the left in an attempt to beat the other car to the bash.
The steering wheel bucked in his hands when the vehicles slammed together. The impact threw his body forward, wrenching his neck and back when the seatbelt locked and almost making him wish that his air bag had not been disabled. He could hear the girls screaming as they clung to each other in the back seat, and he shouted at them to keep their heads down.
There was no sound from Lena, and when he shot a glance in her direction he saw why. Her head lolled back against the headrest, eyes closed and mouth slightly open. Blood smeared the glass to her right, and Rudy knew that she needed medical help immediately.
“Shit,” he muttered, still fighting the wheel while the car shot out of the curve. He thought for a moment that he had it under control, but then the car that had been following slammed into his vehicle from behind.
“Hang on,” he yelled as loudly as he could, hoping that the two in the back could hear his voice over their own. “Here we go!”
The car slid, turning as the tires lost traction on the wet pavement. Rudy managed to keep all four wheels on the ground, reacting with cool precision when the back end fishtailed from one side to the other. He knew that the second car was still behind him, its driver no doubt waiting for a chance to ram him again. And though Rudy’s first choice would have been to face his pursuers, beating the other drivers at their own game, he had the girls to consider. Their presence in the car meant that a round of bumper cars on the narrow stretch of road was out of the question. Therefore, his only option was to hit the gas and hope that he was the better driver.
The lights in the mirror grew brighter, a second pair of eyes joining the first when the car that had passed him hung a U-turn and fell in behind the other. Seeing this, Rudy adjusted his seatbelt and squared his shoulders. A quick word to the girls in the back, and then a look of fierce determination settled onto his face. Eyes focused, right foot steadily pressing the gas pedal toward the floor, Rudy began to run.
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Letters From My Father is my first non-fiction novel, and centers around the letters that my mother received while my father was away during World War II. I was supplied with scrapbooks that contained a wealth of history, and I’m hoping that other people will find this collection to be as interesting as I do. I don’t have a cover to show you yet, but here is one of my favorite entries.
Connie Velarde, 18-year-old beautician, was the overwhelming choice of servicemen on the island for the title of “Miss Guam, 1946” in the WXLI-sponsored contest to select the queen of Guamanian beauties. Connie’s working address is IsCom Beauty shop, her home, Agana.
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Both Winter of the Drill and Letters From My Father are scheduled for a December release, and while the books in the Drill series are not intended for young or easily offended readers, Letters is completely family friendly.
Thank you again for visiting with me today. Don’t forget to leave a comment so that you can be entered into the drawing, and remember – you don’t need to be an #RRBC member to win!
Purchase link for Shadow of the Drill