ALL ABOUT THE #RRBC SPONSORS BLOG HOP!

Welcome to the first ever ALL ABOUT THE SPONSORS BLOG HOP! These kind members of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB (RRBC) donated their support during the 2017 conference, in the way of gift card and Kindle e-book donations for our Gift Basket Raffle. They supported us and now we are showing our support of them by pushing their book(s).
We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed and after reading it, leave a review. There are several books on tour today, so please visit the HOP’S main page to follow along.
Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the HOP’S main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!
Blurb:
How do you choose when both options have dire consequences?

Sofia is a 17 year old who is quite content with her life. She has a caring boyfriend who also just happens to be her best friend since birth. She has a loving mother. She is successfully completing her last year of high school and enjoys her part-time job. She can’t imagine wanting more from her life…until Ar’ch (pronounced Ar-rick) enters her dreams, sparking a burning flame inside of her that she can’t seem to extinguish nor does she want to.

Ar’ch is a Diasodz (Die-ah-sodz), a species created by the Goddess back when God created humans. Diasodz were made to heal and protect humans, but when the Diasodz turned their backs on helping humans and left Earth to live in their own world, the Goddess abandoned them. Since then, their powers and their very lives have been fading. A prophecy foretold that a young girl born on Earth would be the Diasodz’s savior. Ar’ch and his brother, Angel, travel to Earth to retrieve her and bring her back to their world before her death day in order to save their kind. Ar’ch knows the drill: find the target, capture her, and safely bring her home. But what happens when the target captures his dormant heart?

Choices create action. Actions have consequences. When faced with the truth, what choice will Sofia make? Will she be able to accept the consequences that follow?

* * *

Author:

Yvette Calleiro

This blog hop sponsored by: 4WillsPublishing
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Please Welcome Patricia Guthrie

Today, it gives me great pleasure to welcome #RRBC author, Patricia Gthrie to my blog. I hope you enjoy reading a little bit about her and her work.

Patricia Guthrie

“ALL ABOUT ELENA DKANY”

“Do not speak badly of the devil, because you cannot know to whom you will belong.”

If you’d just inherited a castle in Romania, wouldn’t you expect to visit? So does young Elena Dkany, last member of an ancient, noble Romanian family. But, somebody doesn’t want her to reach her destination, and of the two people who can keep her safe, one is the ghost of her deceased husband, and the other the very live presence of the one man she wants to avoid at all costs.

As they make their way into the mountainous regions of the Carpathian Mountains, deadly accidents, explosions and murder follow them wherever they go. Someone seems to know their every move.

An abandoned castle, a damsel in distress, international hitmen, ghosts, a little boy in a dream a priceless, silver cross and an ex-boyfriend. What do they all have in common with Elena Dakany? And, why does someone want her dead?

And so, lies the brief blub of Legacy of Danger. I’d like to give you and your reading audience a treat and meet the heroine of the story, Elena Dkany. I hope you can get some insight as to what makes her tick, without giving away the story. Elena sat with me this morning and gave me facts she could release, but unfortunately wouldn’t give out everything. A little secret—I wrote a “tell all” book. She’s non-too-pleased.

Elena says hi to everyone and has settled down and is ready to answer my traditional interviewer to interviewee questions. We’re sitting outside the cottage enjoying the Dkany Rivers and the Carpathians in the background. She told me she’s willing to answer many questions, but nothing that will “give away” her story. So, I promised.

Elena is twenty-seven years old college student, who’s about to start her doctorate in European language. If you were here looking at her, she has long, almost black hair, white skin and eyes that sometimes shine blue and at others, you could swear they were violet. Does Elena act twenty-seven? Sometimes yes, sometimes no, just like the rest of us. Sometimes she acts like she had the wisdom of the ages banged into her head and she’s mentally one-hundred, at others she can throw temper tantrums that make her seem more like a teen-ager. I have to say, she could be me.

Did she have a happy childhood? I’d say—as would Elena, yes. A very happy childhood. She lost her parents at an early age. Her mother died of pneumonia and her father died, shortly thereafter of a broken heart. Elena was brought up by her grandmother, Magda Dkany in Evanston, Illinois. The family is highly Romanian Orthodox; with a patriarchal—turned matriarchal family structure. Despite the age differences Magda and Elena adored each other. When Magda was killed by a hit-and-run driver, Elena was devastated, and when her grandmother’s ghost appears at her own funeral, Elena couldn’t believe her eyes or, for that matter, any of her senses. (first chapter)

Her relationships have been, for the most part, pretty happy. The Dkany family has strong ties to the Brancusi family (the families had close ties since the 1300’s—pretty unusual for these days) Marina Brancusi is Elena’s best friend and Marina’s brother Alex was a childhood friend turned sweetheart, then estranged, but Elena said I couldn’t tell you why. The rest of Elena’s relationships have been happy and successful with many college friends and acquaintances turned friends along the way. Her past relationship that weren’t so successful was Alex Brancusi, but that shall wait for another day. She had a close relationship with her brother Frederick Dkany, until he died from a heroin overdose. There’s the family solicitor Gregory Balough and Sandor Inn keeper Stephan Baklanov and his grandson Mikhail. Then there’s Elena’s deceased husband, Janek Ivanov. As you will see, some relationships never die. They just seem to pop up at the nick of time.

What does Elena care about? Elena cares about her grandmother’s death. Ah, you say, you thought she was killed by a hit and run driver? Yes, she was. It’s just, Elena doesn’t think it was an accident. She thinks it was done on purpose. Elena wants to uncover the truth. She also cares about getting to her family’s castle in Dkany, Romania in the heart of Transylvania and possibly the reason so many of her family have died. Her grandmother was supposed to have taken her there, just before she was killed. Now, Elena wants to go and see if she can fulfill her grandmother’s dream—turning the castle into a school. Such a simple goal for such a complicated plot.

In fact, this dream has become somewhat of an obsession, until Magda’s ghost tells her to find her son. Son? Elena’s son was killed in a home invasion in Bucharest when he wasn’t even a year old. Elena lost her husband, Jan at the same time. The obsession? Go to Romania, Investigate the castle. Investigate her son and Jan’s death. And, keep herself alive.

This obsession has now turned into Elena’s biggest fear. She’s attacked by an international hit man and more follow. Now, her ex-boyfriend Alexander escorts her to Romania. Is her biggest fear an attack from some outside source or from him? If he only knew the extent of her fear and what she doesn’t want him to know.

Alex was the best thing that ever happened to Elena. This was high school love—puppy love or a crush? Or, the real thing? After nine-years, Elena is still not over him. It appears he’s not over her either.

But there’s a secret that Elena’s not willing to share with Alex or anybody. And, like Elena, Alex is tenacious. When he decides to find something out, he sticks to and doesn’t let go. Elena is equally stubborn, she can clamp her lips together like a two-year-old and not divulge anything. She’s also inquisitive and when cornered she’ll walk out of a conversation or a situation. That can be annoying, it can also be deadly.

* * *

Legacy of Danger by Patricia Guthrie

LEGACY OF DANGER – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M1024Y8/

Book Blurb:

Inheriting a castle, Elena Dkany travels to Romania, a land dipped in Myths, Folklore, and as legend has it, the Walking Dead.

From the onset of her arrival, hearing a local proverb: “Do not speak badly of the Devil, because you cannot know to whom you will belong,” she soon understands the importance of adhering to this warning in this mysterious land.

* * *

Author Bio:

Patricia A. Guthrie is the author of romantic suspense novels, mysteries and short stories. She resides in the Chicago area and has taught in the Chicago Public School system.

Guthrie’s current published novels ‘In the Arms of the Enemy,’ ‘Waterlilies Over My Grave’ and ‘Legacy of Danger’ are available in online bookstores such as Amazon.com. She also has short stories published in Amazon.com, Skyline Magazine and Affaire de Coeur and non-fiction articles in the Collie Cassette and the online ‘Nature Journal.’ She’s currently working on a mystery novel that she hopes to have published in 2018.

Guthrie is an accomplished musician: opera singer, church soloist and music teacher. After leaving the opera, Guthrie became a music therapist in a school for children with special needs and then went on to teach music in the Chicago Public School system.

She’s an avid animal lover and advocate.

You can find her books on Amazon.com, as well as other online booksellers.

Follow Patricia on Social Media:

Blogspot –www.paguthrie.blogspot.com

Facebook – https:///facebook.com?LegacyOfDanger

Twitter – @paguthrie1

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“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

Super Easy Fruit Cobbler

I’m sorry this post is a couple of days late, but I’ve been sick and just haven’t wanted to do anything more than I absolutely had to. Lol

I don’t know about you, but I love cobbler. Especially blackberry or apple cobbler. I also love this recipe because it gives me my cobbler without a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong, I love to bake. I just never seem to have the time to do much of it.

* * *

Start by melting 1 stick of butter and pouring it into a baking pan. I use the standard cake pan, but you can divide it between two square pans, if you want to make two different kinds.

In a bowl, stir together 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Add 1 tsp baking powder, and a little bit of salt. Once it’s all mixed up, pour it into the pan on top of the butter.

Now comes the fun part. Dump 3 or 4 cups of sweetened fruit, whatever kind you like, evenly over the top of the batter without stirring it in. If I’m doing apple cobbler, I like to throw some oatmeal and brown sugar on top of the apples.

Bake for about an hour at 350 degrees. Top with ice cream or whipped cream. I like it warm, but it’s also good right out of the fridge.

* * *

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. I will be back on Sunday with another peek into the Drill series.

Books

Shadow of the Drill
Born of Circumstance, Bred for Revenge.
https://t.co/QzD2ODjvKk

A Perilous Thirst
A different kind of vampire story.
http://goo.gl/4HSpxu

One Dyke Cozy
“HAVE A NICE DAY”
Mr. Happy
goo.gl/QTS6Xq

Contact Info

Email: rhanidchae@gmail.com

Twitter: @rhanidchae @rhanidchaaebooks

Super Easy Fruit Cobbler

I’m sorry this post is a couple of days late, but I’ve been sick and just haven’t wanted to do anything more than I absolutely had to. Lol

I don’t know about you, but I love cobbler. Especially blackberry or apple cobbler. I also love this recipe because it gives me my cobbler without a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong, I love to bake. I just never seem to have the time to do much of it.

* * *

Start by melting 1 stick of butter and pouring it into a baking pan. I use the standard cake pan, but you can divide it between two square pans, if you want to make two different kinds.

In a bowl, stir together 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Add 1 tsp baking powder, and a little bit of salt. Once it’s all mixed up, pour it into the pan on top of the butter.

Now comes the fun part. Dump 3 or 4 cups of sweetened fruit, whatever kind you like, evenly over the top of the batter without stirring it in. If I’m doing apple cobbler, I like to throw some oatmeal and brown sugar on top of the apples.

Bake for about an hour at 350 degrees. Top with ice cream or whipped cream. I like it warm, but it’s also good right out of the fridge.

* * *

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. I will be back on Sunday with another peek into the Drill series.

Books

Shadow of the Drill
Born of Circumstance, Bred for Revenge.
https://t.co/QzD2ODjvKk

A Perilous Thirst
A different kind of vampire story.
http://goo.gl/4HSpxu

One Dyke Cozy
“HAVE A NICE DAY”
Mr. Happy
goo.gl/QTS6Xq

Contact Info

Email: rhanidchae@gmail.com

Twitter: @rhanidchae @rhanidchaaebooks

#WinterIsComing – Charlene

If you’ve read Shadow of the Drill, you’re familiar with the character of Charlene. Decker’s long suffering lover, her loyalty is unwavering, and there’s nothing she won’t do for her man.

Aside from being the resident fixer-upper, she rarely gets involved in Decker’s work. This is by her choice as much as his.

But, things change in Winter of the Drill. Once Duncan Malone learns of her closeness to Rudy Valdez, he decides to use her to force Rudy to sign over ownership of the Toybox. After arranging her kidnapping, he has her taken to one of his “adult entertainment” studios, turns on the cameras and starts filming.

You may wonder why I didn’t have Decker find Charlene before the camera started rolling. I think it’s because, in reality, the girl usually doesn’t get rescued before something unpleasant happens. This is one of those times.

Charlene is a strong woman, both physically and emotionally, and it’s her emotional strength that is on display in the following excerpt.

* * *

Charlene glared at the man who stood at the foot of the bed, her expression one of disgust. She had been beaten, abused, and humiliated in front of the camera for longer than she wanted to think about, and she was in no mood to deal with the idiot in the Armani jeans who fiddled with the camera and avoided eye contact.

Then, a tilt of his head of his head triggered a memory, and recognition dawned.

” I know you,” she informed him in an icy tone of voice. ” I’ve seen you at the club. Rum & Coke, and champagne splits for the girls.”

She paused, searching her memory. “Jack. You go by Jack, but that’s not your name.”

“What?” He was clearly startled.

“Oh please.” Her disdain was unmistakable. “Give me a little credit. Life can be educational if you let it, and in my time or two around the block, I’ve learned to spot a phony. And I don’t mean IDs.”

Jax shifted his weight uncomfortably, caught off guard by her perceptiveness.

“Look…” he began, but Charlene was just getting started.

“So, you work for Malone. How stupid are you? He’s a killer, and if you work for him you must be okay with that. Hell, you’re probably a killer too.”

Something in his face changed, and her eyes widened. ” you are, aren’t you? That’s what you do for him. You’re a killer.”

Jax gave his head an emphatic shake. “No, it’s not like that.” He wanted her to understand that he was not like Malone, though he did not know why it mattered.

” I handle some of his business, that’s all. I find information for him. I run interference between him and…well, everyone. I schedule his crews when he needs something done. And okay, sometimes the business that I handle is a little rough, but I’m no killer!”

She studied his face, paying particular attention to his eyes. “So, did any of that rough business involve Rudy’s car?”

To respond would be to admit what was, at that point, his greatest shame, so he said nothing. Charlene, however, was not done talking.

“I’m sure Malone’s kept you busy, so let me jog your memory. Think BMW, a rainy night, and River Road. Oh, and three screaming women who’d done absolutely nothing to you.”

Her voice hardened, the memory of that night still much too fresh. “Ring any bells?”

He shrugged, averting his eyes again while shifting the paper that he held to his other hand. “Not really. Okay, here’s the deal. Malone took you to prove a point, and he plans to prove it. What they’ve done to you so far is just the beginning. But the good news is, you’ll walk out when it’s done. He doesn’t want you dead, he just wants your friend to cooperate.”

His voice took on a note of profound sadness that Charlene immediately understood. “And I want it too.”

“You’re not on board with this, are you?” A slight glimmer of hope touched her eyes. “I’m not saying you’re a nice guy, cuz you’re not. But you didn’t sign up for where he’s taking this.”

She paused, hearing agreement in his silence. “I’m sure the plan is to send Rudy the film, and hope he’ll do whatever Malone wants to get me back, but that’s not gonna happen.”

“Of course it will.” Jax could not hide his surprise. “If he’s even half the friend I think he is, he won’t wait a minute longer than he has to. No, he’ll jump as soon as he gets the disc. He’d never leave you here, knowing what’s going on.”

“Oh, you’re right about that,” Charlene agreed. “But it’s not gonna go like you think it’s gonna go. He’s not gonna grab a notary by the hand and trot down to the club to wait for your boss, so he can sign his life away.”

She laughed, finding the thought of Rudy kneeling to Duncan Malone hilarious. “I’m gonna give you some advice, and if I was you, I’d pay very close attention.”

Curious, he moved closer. “I’m listening.”

“Rudy doesn’t bow to anyone, and that’s a fact. He’s probably already looking for me and he’ll find us sooner or later. Most likely sooner.”

She paused, accurately reading his expression. “You’re thinking, ‘he’s one man, what can he do?’ But you’re wrong. He won’t come alone. He’ll bring friends, and by the time they’re done, this place’ll be knee-deep in blood. So you can stay and die with whoever’s on-site when Rudy gets here, or you can go now and save yourself a lot of pain later.”

Jax swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry. The memory of his encounter with the cowboy was still vivid, and if that was the kind of friends Valdez would be bringing, he knew that he most definitely did not want to be around when they arrived.

* * *

I’m so glad you decided to stop by today for Charlene’s moment in the spotlight. I hope to be back on Wednesday with a super easy cobbler recipe that I happened upon. I hope you had a great weekend, and I also hope that Monday is kind. 😀

Books

Shadow of the Drill
Born of Circumstance, Bred for Revenge.
https://t.co/QzD2ODjvKk

A Perilous Thirst
A different kind of vampire story.
http://goo.gl/4HSpxu

One Dyke Cozy
“HAVE A NICE DAY”
Mr. Happy
goo.gl/QTS6Xq

Contact Info

Email: rhanidchae@gmail.com

Twitter: @rhanidchae @rhanidchaaebooks

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/rhanidchaeauthor/

Crockpot parmesan chicken

We really like chicken. So I like being able to post easy chicken recipes that also taste good. And if stuff can just get tossed in a Crock-Pot, that’s even better. 😁

For this recipe, you will need:

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

2 sticks of butter or margarine

Parmesan cheese – the original recipe said one cup, but we like cheese so I generally use more. I’ve also been known to mix in some ricotta, from time to time.

1 cp of mayonnaise

1 tsp each of whatever seasonings you want to add. (Salt, basil, pepper,ect)

You can also throw in a few finely chopped garlic cloves. We aren’t really garlic people, so I tend to omit oh meant this step.

Put the chicken in the Crock-Pot, and cook on high for 3 hours, or low for 6 hours.

When you’ve reached the end of whatever time you are cooking at, drain the liquid from the pot.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and mix it all together. Pour it over the chicken, put the lid back on, and cook it for another half hour or so.

This is a great recipe, and one of our favorites. If you try it, I would love to hear how it works for you.

Thanks for stopping by today. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate each and everyone of you. 😀 Hopefully, I’ll be back on Sunday with something new from my upcoming novel, Winter of the Drill.

* * *

Books

Shadow of the Drill
Born of Circumstance, Bred for Revenge.
https://t.co/QzD2ODjvKk

A Perilous Thirst
A different kind of vampire story.
http://goo.gl/4HSpxu

One Dyke Cozy
“HAVE A NICE DAY”
Mr. Happy
goo.gl/QTS6Xq

Contact Info

Email: rhanidchae@gmail.com

Twitter: @rhanidchae @rhanidchaaebooks

Drillbooks – A minute with Davis

If you read Shadow of the Drill, then you are familiar with the character of Davis. Decker’s investigator, he collects information, follows leads to ensure that they are valid, and keeps his ear to the streets. He prefers to keep his hands clean, so he does not usually participate in the more violent aspects of Decker’s work.

However, he has reason to rethink this when Decker’s most recent nemesis, Duncan Malone, strikes a little too close to home.

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming novel, Winter of the Drill. I hope you enjoy it.

Davis’ eyes clouded as he replayed the scene in his mind. The two dancers, huddled together and sobbing hysterically. The car, nose down and slowly settling in the muddy water. And Rudy, frantically diving again and again, surfacing just long enough to grab a quick breath before going back down to rescue a girl who was surely past any help that he could give. He had no light, and a crunched door that would not open hampered his efforts, but he continued to try.

Holding his chin above the murky water, Davis had paddled out to the submerged vehicle, catching Rudy by the arm and trying to bring him back to shore. The stronger swimmer, Rudy had pulled away and gone back to the car, clutching a large rock that he had been using to pound the window glass.

Davis remained where he was, knowing that the younger man was tiring and would probably need his help when he came up for air.

You did your best, he thought with a melancholy sigh. She’s in God’s hands, now.

It was not long before Rudy broke the surface, gasping as he filled his lungs for another journey downward.

“That’s enough,” Davis muttered. Rudy had done all that he could possibly do, and he was going to have to accept it. To continue on would risk his own safety, and Davis would not allow that.

“Let go!” Rudy ordered when Davis grabbed a wrist and reeled him in. He beat at a soggy sleeve with his free hand, but Davis held firm, refusing to release him until he had half-carried, half-dragged his struggling burden up onto the roadside.

“Listen to me!” He shouted the words, grabbing Rudy’s other wrist. “It’s done, do you hear me? It’s done!”

Blood dripped onto his hand, and he shook his head sadly when he saw how the rock had ripped into Rudy’s fingers and palm. Rudy raised his head, his haunted eyes staring back at the pond. Davis pulled him close, holding him while he sobbed in heart-rending agony.

Malone, Davis thought. It had to be Malone. Of course, knowing and proving were two very different things, but that was where Decker’s inner circle came in. They would find the truth and handle things accordingly. But this time,Davis decided, they would have some extra help when the crap hit the fan.

The thought brought with it a momentary chill, for with very few exceptions, the fastidious investigator avoided that part of Decker’s business. But, as he knelt in the dirt with his arms around the man who was the closest he had to a friend, he decided that this time he would not stay away. This time would be different. This time, it was personal.

* * *

Thanks so much for stopping by on this beautiful Sunday, and taking a look into Winter of the Drill. Please leave a comment and tell me what you think. 😀

I plan to be back on Wednesday, with another great recipe for you to try.

* * *

Books

Shadow of the Drill
Born of Circumstance, Bred for Revenge.
https://t.co/QzD2ODjvKk

A Perilous Thirst
A different kind of vampire story.
http://goo.gl/4HSpxu

One Dyke Cozy
“HAVE A NICE DAY”
Mr. Happy
goo.gl/QTS6Xq

Contact Info

Email: rhanidchae@gmail.com

Twitter: @rhanidchae @rhanidchaaebooks

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/rhanidchaeauthor/

#WinterIsComing – Meet Jax Weston

In a previous post, I introduced you to Duncan Malone, who will quickly soar to the top of Decker’s to-do list in the upcoming Winter of the Drill.

Malone has set his sights on the Toybox, which is the strip club co-owned by Decker and his business partner, Rudy Valdez. And he’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

Jax Weston is Malone’s right-hand man, and oversees most of Malone’s dirty work. However, the ruthless things that Malone plans to do to force Rudy’s hand go far beyond his comfort level.

In this excerpt, Jax has taken a break in a quiet bar to think about things, and has a conversation that shakes him up quite a bit.

I hope you enjoy this look at Jax Weston.

* * *

Jax Westen nodded to the bartender, gazing morosely at his empty glass until it was replaced with a full one. He wondered if the glass was clean, given the seediness of the establishment, but then decided that it really made no difference. He had stopped by Louie’s Pub & Grub because he needed to think about his current situation in a place where Malone could not find him, and he wanted to be less than sober while he did it.

A cockroach scurried busily across the bar not far from his hand, and he watched it with disgusted fascination. The bartender, a gray haired man with tattooed arms who had introduced himself as Tinker, followed his gaze, sweeping the roach onto the floor with a quick flick of his towel.

Tinker grinned, showing yellowed teeth beneath his untrimmed moustache. “I haven’t seen you in here before. We usually get the boys from the docks, and a few wayward truckers looking for action on the strip. You don’t fit either category so I guess you’re part of our third group.”

Jax looked up, curious in spite of himself. “What group is that?”

Tinker chuckled, his eyes reading Jax’s with the insight gained from thirty years of watching people come and go through assorted tavern doors.

“Trouble,” he said simply. “You’re trouble. But somehow…I think you’re mostly trouble for yourself. And no amount of booze is gonna change that.”

Jax stared back, his interest rapidly giving way to irritation. “You don’t know me.” His voice took on an unpleasant edge that Tinker did not seem to notice. “You don’t know anything about me. So what gives you the right to judge me?”

Tinker studied his face for a moment, then shook his head with jaded recognition. “I ain’t judgin’ you, boy. Hell, I was you, back in the day. I lived your life ’til I wised up and got the f out. So I don’t have to know you to know you.”

Jax picked up his glass and scowled at the liquid inside, disliking the man intensely. He had come for a few drinks, not a lecture, and he deeply resented the bartender’s intrusion into his personal space.

But the silence that followed Tinker’s last sentence soared quickly from uncomfortable to unpleasant, hovering there until Jax’s already frayed nerves could take it no more.

“Okay,” he snapped crossly. “You know me so well, tell me why I’m trouble.”

Tinker shrugged, his expression saying that he was only stating the obvious. “You’ve got a good build, and the scars on your hands tell me you didn’t put in the gym time just to get girls. But your face is clean. Your nose was never broken, and you’ve never had a cut deeper than a surface scratch. This tells me that you don’t fight anyone who’s in a position to fight back. So…you’re not a boxer, a cager, or any other kind of ring fighter. And you’re not a guy who fights just for fun ‘cuz if you were, you’d have the scars. That leaves hired muscle for one of the shitbirds that think they own the streets around here.”

He shrugged again, eyeing Jax appraisingly. “You’re dressed nice so whoever pays you has some green behind him. That leaves out Deaf Tony, Carl Dawes, Len Morgan, or the Mason twins. It also leaves out the popcorn pimps like Dark Daddy, King, and Ricky Roy. So…process of elimination tells me you answer to one of the big guns like Duncan Malone or Dane Kinney. Maybe even the Drill, though I’d be surprised if you did. He treats his people pretty damn good, but you look like you’re hatin’ life and everyone in it. It’s usually girl trouble what drives a man to drink, but I see somethin’ in you that goes way deeper than that.”

He paused to pull out a battered comb and make a quick pass through his thinning hair. “Boy, if you’re tied up with Kinney I’d say be careful and leave it at that. But if you’re one of Malone’s dogs then all I can say is watch your back and sleep with your eyes open. ‘Cuz life with Malone means you’ll always have to be choosin’ between what he tells you to do and what you’re willin’ to do. And no matter how you play it, sooner or later you’ll choose wrong and, then I’ll see your blood on the sidewalk right next to Milo VanDiepen’s.”

The mention of the notorious enforcer who had died in a hail of bullets, not far from the bar in which he sat, brought a frown to Jax’s face. A frown that did not go unnoticed by the man who had read him with such disturbing accuracy.

“You’re still young, boy,” Tinker continued. “Watch your step, and you might live to get old.” He paused, giving the bar an unnecessary swipe with his towel

“Don’t mind me,” he continued. “Sometimes I talk too much for m’own good. Seems whenever I see a younger version of me, I feel the need to impart a little sage wisdom. But I don’t mean nothin’ by it.”

A disarming grin followed the words, and then he stepped away, leaving Jax to ponder both the conversation and the truths that had been woven throughout.

Milo scwed up, he told himself reassuringly while he sipped his drink through the narrow black cocktail straw. He was way too cocky, and he turned his back on the wrong guy. That won’t be me. I won’t let it be me.

He jiggled the glass, watching the alcohol swirl around the ice cubes, and wondered how many more he would have to drink to dull the misery that threatened to take him down to some emotional hell from which there was no escape.

I could drink a gallon and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, he thought dismally as he swallowed the liquid and signaled for yet another refill. He’s right about Malone. I gotta get away before he changes me completely. Before he kills everything I am.

A long sigh slipped from between his lips when he recalled the things that he had done at Malone’s request. Things that even a year ago he would have considered beyond his willingness to do, no matter what the payoff.

He remembered the girl, trapped in the sinking car. Her death had been a tragedy, but it was the fact that it had been no accident that kept him awake at night. Malone had wanted to make a statement that could not be misunderstood, and he had achieved his goal, exactly as planned.

I was his weapon, Jax admitted with no small degree of shame. I let him load me like a gun and aim me right between her eyes. I killed her just as if I’d walked up and shot her.

His vision blurred, and he blinked rapidly, hoping that none of the burly men seated at the nearby tables could see the tears that lingered on his lashes.

No more crying, he told himself sternly. You just did your job. Doesn’t matter how it turned out.

But even as the thought formed, he knew it was wrong. That it did matter how things had turned out. A girl’s life had been taken in a soulless act, and that mattered very much.

Even his minor role in the shooting of Valdez’s bouncer had to matter, if he allowed himself to think about it with any degree of honesty. The boy had done nothing to deserve such a fate, aside from being a target whose injury would hit Valdez hard enough to hopefully force his hand. It had been a nasty piece of work, and even though Jax had been well paid for helping Rhegan find the boy, there was still a nagging voice in his head that told him what he had done was wrong.

It has to matter. The voice pounded into his mind with incessant force. At least a little. ‘Cuz maybe I’ve done some pretty stupid things for Malone, but I’m not like him. I never hurt anyone that didn’t have it coming, and I always said I never would.

He lifted his head to look for the bartender, but paused when he saw his own image in the mirror behind the bar. Haunted eyes stared back at him from over a twisted grimace of a mouth. Shocked, he whimpered softly, gripping his glass even tighter.

It was an ugly visage, beaded with sweat and devoid of color, and he averted his eyes rather than face the reality of what he was becoming.

I’m not him. At least, not yet. There’s still time to get away, if I really want to. But that’s the question, isn’t it? Do I really want to? Do I want it enough to give up the money and the power that being with him brings? And if I leave, chances are he’ll find me and rip out my lungs. What good is it to break away if I’m too fucking dead to enjoy it? There’s so many things to look at. I guess it all boils down to the million-dollar question. What matters the most?

The dim barroom light glinted on the heavy gold chain around his wrist when he lifted his glass to signal for a refill, and he studied it with resigned certainty. Because at that moment, loaded with alcohol and forcing himself to look honestly into his deepest heart, he knew exactly what the answer to that question would have to be.

* * *

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I will be back on Wednesday with another great recipe.

Books

Shadow of the Drill
Born of Circumstance, Bred for Revenge.
https://t.co/QzD2ODjvKk

A Perilous Thirst
A different kind of vampire story.
http://goo.gl/4HSpxu

One Dyke Cozy
“HAVE A NICE DAY”
Mr. Happy
goo.gl/QTS6Xq

Contact Info

Email: rhanidchae@gmail.com

Twitter: @rhanidchae @rhanidchaaebooks

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/rhanidchaeauthoror/

Chocolate Tofu Mousse

This may make you laugh, but I’m not kidding when I say that this tastes fabulous! And this is one of those recipes that has no rules, so you can do anything you want with it.

My favorite mousse is chocolate, so that’s the recipe I’m going to share with you.

Start with a box of tofu. I like firm tofu, but there’s no reason you can’t use soft, if that’s what you like.

I put the tofu in my blender and add a banana. I use the bananas that are closer to green, because they make my sugar spike less then a riper banana will.

Next, I add chocolate. There’s a couple of ways you can do this, depending on your personal taste. Before I was diagnosed diabetic, I used to melt a cup or so of chocolate chips and pour that in. Nowadays, I usually dump in a cup of sugar free Nestle’s Quik, or a box of sugar free instant chocolate pudding.

Blend it together, and add more chocolate a little bit at a time, if needed. I do a lot of taste testing during this phase, until the chocolate flavor is right for me.

And that’s pretty much it. This is a simple recipe, and one that gives endless possibilities. If you want to put strawberries or raspberries in with your chocolate, go right ahead. Try spooning in a little peanut butter, or go crazy and add some Kahlua. The sky’s the limit! Depending on what kind of blender you have, you can also throw some nuts or peppermint candies in with your mousse to add a little extra flavor.

Not a chocolate fan? No worries with this dessert. Tofu will adapt to almost any flavor, so feel free to experiment.

This mousse is easy, quick to make, and no one will know that the main ingredient is tofu. Give it a try, I think you’ll be surprised at how good it really is.

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope you’re having a great week so far, and I hope you’ll be able to stop by again on Sunday.

* * *

Shadow of the Drill
Born of Circumstance, Bred for Revenge.
https://t.co/QzD2ODjvKk

A Perilous Thirst
A different kind of vampire story.
http://goo.gl/4HSpxu

One Dyke Cozy
“HAVE A NICE DAY”
Mr. Happy
goo.gl/QTS6Xq

Contact Info

Email: rhanidchae@gmail.com

Twitter: @rhanidchae @rhanidchaaebooks

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/rhanidchaeauthor/