A sharp pain jabbed Rebecca Kincaid’s side, and she sucked in a breath. Her hand fell to the hard swell of her belly, rubbing gently. Round ligament pain, she figured, just one of the many joys of being pregnant.
“Chillax, kiddo,” she said to the baby dancing inside her as the pain subsided.
Smiling to herself, she glanced around to see if anyone else was close enough to hear. Some people called you crazy for talking to yourself in public. She caught the eye of a redhead standing beside a stack of Diaper Genies. Dressed in blue jeans and a red flannel coat, the woman smiled. She looked to be in her mid-twenties, older than Becky, but not as old as some of the women in her prenatal classes. The woman’s gaze strayed to the strained buttons around Becky’s baby bump.
“When are you due?”
“Two more weeks and counting.” She grimaced. Being this big, nothing was comfortable. Her back ached, her hips hurt, and even sleeping was hard.
The woman smiled sympathetically. “I know, right? I felt the same way when I was pregnant, like I was Sigourney Weaver in that Alien movie with a little monster just dying to get out.”
“I know what you mean,” Becky said, breaking eye contact.
Truthfully, she hated that movie. Violent and gory. Comparing a baby to a bloodthirsty alien tearing its way out of its mother’s womb, well, that was kind of sick. She was much more of a romantic-comedy kind of girl.
“I have a toddler at home,” the woman said. “Seems like just yesterday I was in maternity clothes, though.”
Becky faked a laugh and turned down an aisle, away from the stranger.
"Patchell perfectly captures the complexity of human nature." ~ Quiet Fury Books
"Another pulse-pounding thrill ride to save innocents while chasing bad guys. I love these characters, they are continuing to change and grow in believable ways." Amazon Reviewer
"This is an excellent story about murder, deception, and mental illness. The characters are interesting, believable, and well developed." ~ Amazon Reviewer
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At first, Simon thought he was dreaming, but as the banging became louder and more persistent he realised it was coming from the door to his flat. He fumbled at his bedside table, knocked over his alarm clock, and when he had righted it the luminous green dial told him it was two o’clock in the morning.
“All right!” he shouted, pulling on his dressing gown as he went through the sitting room. He yanked open the door to see Clive, the articled clerk who occupied the rooms on the ground floor. He, too, was attired in a dressing gown, this of a radiant green silk, which he modestly held tight at the neck in a bony fist against his bird-like throat. “Yes?” Simon said perfunctorily.
Clive rolled his eyes and said in a deliberate voice, “Mr Trevanion, there’s a telephone call for you. I think it’s a woman. Very upset.”
Simon pushed his hair out of his eyes. “Right,” he said, making towards the stairs.
“It is the early hours of the morning, Mr Trevanion,” complained Clive levelly as he followed him down. Simon didn’t respond.
When he reached the ground floor he picked up the telephone and said, “Hello? Simon Trevanion here.”
Clive swept past his turned back towards his quarters. “Well, really!” he said as he closed the door.
There was near silence on the end of the line but for a soft sobbing. All he could identify was that it was the sound of a woman. “Hello,” he repeated.
“Oh, Simon!” came the instantly recognisable voice of Sybil Buxton.
“Sybil? What’s happened? Are you hurt? Is Perry all right?”
Ocean views. Exquisite beaches. Phenomenal food. Jubilant vacationers. Grisly murder. Welcome to Stone Harbor.
Calvin and Sophie have been married for over a decade. Residing in the idyllic beachfront town of Stone Harbor, the couple live a charmed, pleasant, and quiet life.That is until, one carefree morning, a S.W.A.T team bombards their home and arrests Calvin — for Sophie’s murder.
Sophie is alive, but an identical body on the beach causes chaos for a seasoned detective on the case, a diligent reporter looking to reignite her career, and a couple facing a crossroads they could never have imagined.
Over the next twenty-four hours, the upscale town deals with the ramifications of this incident. All the while, uncertainty and menace lurks around every corner for the residents of Stone Harbor, as they discover the brutality hidden within themselves.
“One night in February 1932, they saw a boy leaving the shop late after the other workers had left. They had noticed that the lights in the shop had not been turned off by the last man they saw leave before the boy came out, and had decided to keep watch on the place. When they spotted the boy with a box, the boy saw them, and ducked behind a corner of the street. When they fired a warning shot to stop him, the boy ran through an alleyway and they gave chase. They lost sight of him for a while and then one of the men saw the boy with the box under his arm. The moon silhouetted him crouching by a corner beam on a first story platform in a building site. They moved to a position that would afford them a shot at the boy and fired several shots. They all saw the boy fall with the box.”
“As they ran to the lot where the boy fell, they saw people were already coming out of some of the neighboring buildings to see what the noise was.
The man with the rifle hid it and the rest of the men split up to search the dark lot. They found the boy but, before they could take the box, the neighborhood men were coming into the building site. They pulled the boy’s body out of view to a dirt berm built up around a hole dug by a support beam.
One of the men grabbed the box from the boy’s grasp. A policeman approached them, the beam of his flashlight moving back and forth scanning the lot. The leader of the killers quickly moved toward the cop to distract him. He stepped around the cop to make him turn away from the other men. Hidden from the cop’s view the other men dropped the box and pushed it along with the body into the hole. One of the men kicked dirt from the pile around the hole to cover the body. The policeman asked what they were doing. The leader of the men said, in a thick German accent, that they had heard shots and were looking to see what was going on.
The policeman turned and ran the beam of his flashlight over the other men. He wanted to know why the man was kicking the dirt. The leader replied that one of the men had just taken a leak there. The policeman walked over and looked at the men, glanced at the dark hole and then told them to go home. He said he would do the investigating.
When they cautiously returned to the site the next night, they discovered the whole area around where they had left the boy, covered in concrete. A policeman also stood guard at the entrance gate.”
“It seems that not only justice is blind.”
They dragged him from the boot of the car, down an embankment to the shore; gagged, bound and blindfolded. His feet scraped grass and stones; a shoe came off and was left behind. At the jetty, Kevin Rafferty waited in the boat. In a long career of violent persuasion this guy had been the hardest to break. But it wouldn’t last. When the blindfold came off he’d realise the loch was to be his grave. Then the begging would begin because pain and death weren’t the same. And he’d tell. Everything. It never failed. Plastic ties fastened the victim’s wrists to hooks hammered into either side of the gun-wale, holding him upright. His head moved, blindly drawn to every sound. With what he’d been through – the beating, the burns, the loss of blood – it was a miracle he was still breathing.
Rafferty turned up his collar, dipped the oars in the water and started to row.
After a while he stopped. Late afternoon drizzle falling from a grey sky stippled the calm surface, they would drift, but not much. He released the blindfold. They stared at each other. Rafferty broke the spell. He opened a canvas bag that lay across his knees, slowly, so the man could see the knives, the screwdrivers, the pliers: his tools. On top he placed a bolt cutter and patted it as he would a faithful dog. The thief moaned and fought against the restraints, wild terror in his eyes. The cutter trapped the first finger of his right hand between the blades. He began to cry.
‘Last chance,’ Rafferty said.
The blades tightened, a muffled wail came from behind the gag.
A thin red line appeared at the joint. Rafferty sighed fake regret.
‘This little piggy went to market...’
An opal moon hung above the loch, it had stopped raining and the night sky was clear. The thief was slumped forward, passed out. They’d been at it for hours - or five fingers - he should be pleading for his life. Better yet he should be dead. In Glasgow, Rafferty understood it wasn’t going to be easy. Something wasn’t right about this guy. He didn’t get it. Kevin’s job was to make him get it.
He peeled the sock from the shoeless foot, bleached like a corpse in the moonlight, and lifted it into position. For the moment the gag was unnecessary, he ripped it away and waited for his victim to come round; when he did it would continue. A noise took him by surprise. He tensed. At the other end of the boat the head came up, eyes blazed in the gloom and the madman grinned at him through broken teeth.
‘I’m starving,’ he said.
‘Could murder a curry.’
Rafferty’s voice cracked with desperation. ‘What did you do with the money?’
This was insane.
‘The money! Where is it?’
The thief spat blood and sniggered. ‘Fuck off.’
Rafferty snapped. He grabbed a knife and buried it in the crazy bastard’s heart.
No,’ he said, ‘you fuck off.’
The body rolled over the side and disappeared into the dark water, Rafferty gathered the severed fingers and threw them after it; food for the fish. At the jetty, he got out and stood for a long time watching the untethered boat float away. He had been so confident, so sure. But it hadn’t worked out. He was going back with nothing. The thought of telling his father made Rafferty sick with fear – more afraid than the man he had just killed had ever been.
Jimmy would go mental.
WINNER! MILITARY HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR. Book 3 of the Historical Documentary Series on the Cold War. Order Now!
The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separates North and South Korea and is the most defended border in the world.
Both sides have dug their heels in and fortified the DMZ with defensive positions, mines and booby traps, missiles, and soldiers as they remain vigilant for the recommencement of a war that never ended.
˃˃˃ READ ABOUT THE DANGEROUS JOB OF OUR SOLDIERS IN KOREA ON THE DMZ!
The soldiers were responsible for enforcing the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War. The North Koreans violated it almost daily sending spies, marauders, hit squads, and ambush patrols into the southern controlled portion of the DMZ in their never-ending effort to destabilize South Korea and cause its collapse. Their blatant violations of the agreement has left a bloody trail of dead bodies that includes many American soldiers. This book takes the reader on a journey through the history of the Cold War and the defense of the DMZ from the perspective of nine American veterans, and eleven tours, who served in different capacities in South Korea from 1962 through 1991.
Branimir emerges from the Netherworld as a living legend and learns the Ash Tree is still in danger from the cursed dagger, kaelandur. An old friend compels Branimir to finish what they started at Melkorka. Once again, the former slave must keep kaelandur out of uncertain hands, while struggling to separate heroes from villains and friends from foes.
Early morning fog shrouds the Brooklands race track as Jack takes a new pair of goggles from his track bag. He breaks a cigarette in half and shreds the tobacco. He spits in the goggles and rubs the tobacco around the inside of the lenses.
The fog lifts a little, and Jack signals Carl to crank over the car. He pulls on his cloth helmet and grins at Carl. The engine temperature comes up and he pulls out.
The whole track is still not visible. Some of the men Jack sees on his way to the banking are making the slashing sign across their necks.
They mean cut the run, do not go out. Jack waves back to them.
Out on the track, Jack pulls around the cars that are running to keep the line dry. He motions them to pull in. Two more laps to check and make sure everyone else is off the track. Then comes the boom from the exhaust, Jack is hard on it down the straights. For two more laps, he takes a long lift off the throttle going into the turns.
The men watching are looking at each other as if to say I told you. Then Jack flashes by, a rolling fog envelops the racetrack, and just as suddenly lifts. The throttle lifts are getting shorter each lap. Then the exhaust note does not change. The same men look at each other and solemnly shake their heads. To themselves they think, the Yank just does not learn.
The next lap the car is like a ghost in the mist. Another lap with the engine screaming, the car flashes by like an apparition. Out of the mist, and then swallowed up by it. The engine’s scream does not die this time.
The loudspeaker system barks to life. “Ladies and gentlemen, a new Brooklands outright record,” the announcer says. “The speed is One hundred and forty two point five miles an hour. Brooklands presents another amazing performance. The Yank has done it!”
Jack brings the car down the finishing straight. The people that have braved the weather are clapping their hands above their heads for him to see. Others are cheering and waving, their thumbs raised.
The car stops in front of Carl who makes a wiping motion across his brow. Jack bounds from the car, he is clearly jubilant. He returns the waves, grabs Carl’s hand, and pumps it vigorously.
“I heard the loud speaker system when I shut the engine off. One forty two and change eh, not bad. The engine was turning 83 hundred, she was haulin’ freight.”
“Jack, you’re one crazy bastard, I don’t know how you did it. Hell, I don’t know why you did it.”
When Garry’s mother dies, he’s devastated. It’s not only her death, but her last words to him. He embarks on a search to uncover the truth. What follows is a dangerous journey. A journey full of unforeseen pitfalls, which could ultimately put both his life, and the lives of his whole family in jeopardy.
Now, at close to 70 miles an hour, Rian sees more red taillights in the distance. Closing fast on the traffic, Rian makes up his mind to blow by the vehicles ahead as fast as he can. The Pontiac jounces over another hump. Too late, Rian realizes the traffic is a line of military trucks that are waiting to turn on to Skaggs Island Road.
He yanks the wheel hard left, the Pontiac slews to the tall berm on the road’s edge, then rockets off the road, soaring out into San Pablo Bay. Crashing down nose first into the water, the impact sends Rian’s head smashing into the steering wheel. Bloody and disoriented, he frantically struggles against the Bay’s water pressure in a losing battle to get the door open.
Freezing water pours in from the smashed hidden compartments, quickly climbing up his body. Completely panicked, Rian pushes himself up to gulp a bubble of air. The black water swirls past his chin, cold darkness envelopes him. Screaming, he claws at the headliner to find another bubble.
Keys’ jeep screeches to a halt; he and Larry jump out to stand at edge of the road. They can hear Rian’s muffled scream as the car goes under water. The Pontiac’s lights glow eerily in the murky water before fading from view.
Larry stands by Keys in the cold rain watching the Bay’s water consume the Pontiac. “I got the license number, Keys.”
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As a boy I read Somerset Maugham... I imagined myself on a hill in the Mediterranean writing a great novel... I do write on a...
I was an awkward, lonely, little girl. Books were my company. I started reading early, and began making up fantastical stories when I was quite...
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Welcome to this edition of Words For Thought , the blog on wordrefiner.com . Like many of the previous blogs we are looking at homophones.
https://www.gofundme.com/teamfistbump Note: All underlined words are links to the sites I am currently discussing. Team Fist Bump (#teamfistbump) is on a mission: These journals are
Periodically, ForeignCorrespondent participates in virtual book tours that allow authors to showcase their books to a broader audience. Today I am hosting fellow RRBC/RWISA author