The Opening to Blind Faith

He hunched his shoulders and picked up his pace. The man had followed this path home through this tiny park hundreds of times. He knew it better than he knew his own hand. So why on this night was his pulse racing? His hands sweating?

The word nerves came to mind, and he cursed himself for giving way to them.

He shook his head. Stephanie had threatened him. Had told him she would never forgive him. He had never seen such anger, but what could she actually do? She had no power, no contacts.

He tightened his coat collar and cast his gaze over the glistening snow. It was a frigid night. A night better spent driving home instead of wandering home through a deserted park.

He sighed and lifted his head. Dumping Stephanie had sounded so simple. It was the perfect solution, probably the only solution really. How could he know she would take his decision so hard? He had never promised her forever. Still, he could hardly believe the trauma his decision had cost him.

He stepped past a string of pine trees. A punishing north wind pushed him sideways. He danced through a couple of quick steps, arms flailing, to avoid plunging to the frigid ground.

Recovering, he swore softly and shoved his coat sleeve back, and glanced at his watch. Late now. The street lights were on. But it was the puddle of blackness between lights that made him shiver.

He needed to think. Needed to come up with an excuse for missing dinner.

He paused, cast a glance backwards. Had he heard something? He squinted., peered around bushes.  Shook his head. “Nothing there,” he reassured himself.

He set out again, his thoughts shifting now to Angela. Beautiful, faithful, boring Angela. The perfect wife. The woman who would one day morph into an exceptional mother.

He inwardly cringed. What had he been thinking? He was lucky to have her.

Had it been old habits or the siren song of a first love that had driven him back into Stephanie’s arms? That woman was like a fine wine. Difficult to put down. But so what? He needed to stay focused on what he wanted. A respectable life. An organized home. A family.

He rounded a corner. A figure stepped in front of him, blocking his way.  She held a knife in front of her. Lamplight glinted off the hard steel of the blade just before it found his beating heart.

“Angela,” he cried as his breath failed him, but his prayer was lost to the roar of the wind.

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Confessions of a French-Fried-Onions Addict

Okay, I confess, when it comes to onions I have no self control. I love them in everything, even when they’re simply sauteed in butter and seasoned with a few fennel seeds.  But doctored up in batter and flour and then fried to golden goodness?  Oh, my stars, get out of my way before I knock you down to get to them.

I’ve bought containers of them to use in recipes before, but I’ve never bought any to just sit and nibble on,,, before yesterday. Oh, man, so long potato chips. I assure you yesterday is not the last time I will be buying containers of those little onion-y delights for snacking again.

Speaking of delights. I like reading legal thrillers. Including these two specifically. So along with a bag of French fried onions, may I recommend to you: Dark Moon and The Death of Distant Stars. They’re both written by Deborah Hawkins. All I can tell you is  I enjoyed them very much.

Also work progresses on my new venture at writing short romantic suspense fiction. Wish me luck. And be sure to check the book out once it’s finished. The working title is: Blind Faith. Be sure to watch for it.

Happy reading, happy writing,

Anna Drake

On Naked Writing: an Update

 

blind-faith“So how’s it going,” you ask.

“Ah…. some wins, some losses,” I reply.

I’m speaking, of course of my first efforts at live writing. At putting each chapter up at Wattpad as it falls from my fingers. As far as how it is going,.. well, I’m posting more revisions than not.

I’m not all that surprised. It’s my usual modus operandi. I’ve never been a “first done, most won,” kind of writer. Which was my fear to begin with on this effort.

One section so far, the prologue, I have managed not to rewrite.

So here, in honor of my one suspected perfectly fetching scene, I share it.

(And if you want to disagree with me, that’s fine. Post your comments below.)

~~~~~~~~~

“He’d followed this path home hundreds of times. He knew it better than he knew his own hand. So why on this night was his pulse racing? His hands sweating? He hunched his shoulders and picked up his pace.

Nerves. He shoved his hands deeper into his coat pockets and cast his gaze over the glistening snow, He sighed and watched his breath freeze into an white cloud before before him.

Nuts, dumping Tyler had had been so difficult. How could he know she’d take it so hard?

He relived her fury as though she were standing here beside him. “How dare you,” she’d screamed as the tumbler tore past his ear. Her face red. A vein in her throat throbbing. “You don’t get to do this to me a second time. I won’t have it.”

He stepped past a string of pine trees. A punishing north wind slammed into him, Pushed him sideways He took a couple quick, dancer-like steps, arms flailing to avoid plunging into the frigid snow. He recovered, swore softly, pulled his coat collar tighter Sighing, he glanced down at his watch.

Late now. The street lights were on. But it was the pockets of blackness between lights that made the man shiver.

He needed to think. Needed to come up with an excuse for missing dinner.

He paused, cast a glance backwards. Had he heard something? Squinted. Shook his head. “Nothing there,” he muttered.

He set out again, his thoughts shifting to Angela. Faithful, beautiful, boring Angela. The perfect wife, who would one day morph into an exceptional mother. What had he been thinking? He was lucky to have her,

Had it been old habits or the siren song of a first love that had driven him back into Tyler’s arms? The woman was like a fine wine. Difficult for him to put down. But so what? He needed to stay focused on what he wanted. A respectable life. A nice home. A family.

Well, the affair was over, he thought with a grunt. He’d finished it this afternoon. He’d never slip up again.

He rounded a corner. A figure stepped out before him. He saw the glint of the knife just before it plowed through his thick coat and pierced his soft flesh.

“Angela,” he called out, but his cry was lost on the wind.”

~~~~~~~~~

If you want to follow along as I post additional chapters at Wattpad, here’s the link. WATTPAD

And don’t forget my other published stories. Links to those cozie mysteries can be found on my other pages here.

Thanks for reading.

Anna Drake

An Older Child Gets a Facelift as I Undertake a New Genre

mrnewThe first book I published has gotten a new face. Murderous Relations, my very first published novel, now has a new cover. First reactions seem promising.

This is not only my first book, but it is also my best selling book. It enjoyed a good run when first published at one retail outlet but languished at others. There is even one outlet where the book only sold two copies throughout  the many years it’s been on the market. But since slapping on a new cover, I’m up to 13 sales in one month on that particular site. Could one cover really make that much a difference?

Of course, I REALLY like the new cover.  I hope you  like it, too.

Murderous Relations was awfully close to being a romantic suspense story. But to reach that level, I’d have had to increase the percent of the story that was dedicated to romance. It’s in there. And is a lovely bit of matchmaking if I may say so. But  I would have had to cut back on the mystery and suspense elements to fulfill the romantic suspense genre expectations.

 

blind-faithNow, I’m working on a true romantic suspense story. During  my writing of what is a new genre for me, I’ve been playing around with covers for the story, which I have titled: Blind Faith. Here’s my latest effort at a cover for my first romantic suspense book. I think I like it. And I’d be thrilled if you did too:

 

Weekend Excerpt, I

Happy weekend. I’ve decided to post little tidbits on the weekends. Excerpts from my works in progress or even from some of my published works. Hopefully, they’ll give you a glimpse into my style of storytelling and provide you with a feel if were a match as to readers and writers. Today’s offering comes from a work-in-progress. It’s the opening scene from what I hope is a new series for me. So far the book isn’t even titled, yet.

I hope you’ll enjoy.

~~~~

I was on my way to visit a client that night when I heard the crash. The sound came rattling down the hall. The noise set my teeth on edge and propelled the jailer onto the balls of his feet.

Ed Bracken, glanced around the hallway, wild-eyed. He looked like he was about to take off in a sprint. His interest obviously focused on the jail and his duties.

My thoughts remained firmly fixed on mine. I was here to visit a client, Gary Gravers. He was charged with assault. I’d represented him in court before. And now it appeared I would be doing so again.

The cops had told me Gravers had gotten himself into a bar fight and had threatened his opponent with a broken beer bottle. The state was unlikely to take kindly to such an act. I refuse to tell you the rest of his story. For one thing there’s the confidentiality part of our relationship. Plus, he, and others like him, help me pay my rent. A fact I don’t take lightly.

I’m Mickey Carter, a spot on criminal defense attorney here in Beaver County, a nondescript bit of land located near Illinois’ western border, somewhere close to where the state bulges out into Iowa and Missouri.

So it wasn’t until I returned from Gravers’ jail cell that I learned the story behind the incredible crash.

“Have I got a customer for you,” Bracken said with a chuckle when I reached his post. “This woman, she drove her car straight into the front of the jail. Can you imagine?”

“Not a bright move,” I said with a shake of my head.

“Yeah,” Bracken said. “Not to mention she probably totaled her car.”

“Anyone hurt?”

“The ambulance hauled one woman away.”

“The driver?”

“Nah. Passenger.”

“I suppose the driver was drunk, then?” Drunk drivers always seem to come out of collisions unscathed.

“Not according to the breathalyzer test.”

“Heart attack? Drug overdose?” Something had to explain the bizarre behavior.

“None of the above. She’s down in the holding cell. You should go take a look.”

What can I say? I’d had a slow month, and a client was a client. Drunk, drugged, or insane. Since the woman had driven her car into the front of the county jail, it seemed likely one of those three choices had to have triggered her incredible act.

So my first glimpse of Angela Clark came as she was sitting in the holding cell of the county jail. She was huddled up in the far corner. Arms wrapped about herself. Glazed eyes focused on the far wall. Face tear-stained and grim.

“I understand you’ve gotten yourself into a little trouble?”

Her gaze shifted. She stared at me without speaking. It was as though she’d heard my words but had failed to grasp their meaning.

“You rammed your car into the building?” I said, making a rounding motion with my right hand. My attempt to engage her mind.

“Oh, that,” she replied, dismissively. “Yes. I was the one..”

“You totaled your car?”

She shrugged. “The front of it. Probably. Do you know anything about Gayle Maiter?” Her eyes registered the first hint of concern I’d seen from the woman. “Is she going to be okay?”

“Sorry. I don’t know. I’m an attorney. I’m here to see if you want legal help.”

“Are the police going to charge me?”

“I would think so. You drove a car into the front of their building. Police tend to take a dim view of people who do engage in such behavior.”

“So I need a lawyer?”

“Yes. I’d say so. Do you know one? If you do, you should give him or her a ring.”

“No,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest. “Well, I know one, but he does wills and such. I’m not sure he’d want me to call him under these circumstances. Or at this time of night, either.”

“Well, I just happen to be on hand,” I offered, “and I specialize in criminal law.”

“My lucky day, then?”

I shook my head. “I wouldn’t go there, no.”

She took a minute to look around the place, as though she were evaluating her options. Then she pulled her gaze back to mine. “I guess as long as you’re here, you’ll do.”

I’d had better offers, but given the circumstances, I decided to cut her some slack. “You’re hiring me to represent you. Right?”

“Yes.”

Then I wondered what kind of a deal I’d made. I spent a moment assessing this new client of mine. Allowing for the circumstances, she didn’t look too far out of whack. In fact, at that moment, she looked rather fetching. Probably middle twenties. Large brown eyes. Tear-stained cheeks. Disheveled blonde hair. Rather like a stray and helpless puppy in need of a good home.

I sighed. Have I mentioned I’m a sucker for puppies?

“Look,” I said, “maybe we should start by you telling me what happened?”

“It’s a long story.”

“Ed,” I yelled.

The jail keeper popped his head into the doorway at the far end of the hall.

“We need a room. Someplace we can be alone.”

“Sure thing. Follow me.”

“The lady, Ed. She needs to come, too.”

“Oh, right.” He waddled down the hall and unlocked the cell door. The woman rose from the cot and took a few tentative steps toward me.

“It’s okay,” I said, encouraging her.

She nodded, straightened, and stepped through the doorway. Together we followed Ed to a small interview room.

“You got twenty minutes,” he said, swinging the door wide.

I thanked him and waved the woman inside.

The place was your traditional, small, county-jail space. Cinder block walls, a table, a couple of chairs, a stained poster on the far wall advertising sobriety. Dusty, and grimy, but serviceable.

“So,” I said, as she sat, “what is this long story of yours?”

I took the seat opposite her.

She lifted her chin.

Defensive right off, I thought. Never a good sign in a client.

“My name,” she said, “is Angela Clark. Maybe you know of me? I’ve been in the news recently.”

“The wife of Jeffery Clark?” I asked. “The guy who was stabbed to death in the park?”

“Bingo.”

“So how did you go from being a grieving widow to becoming a crazy lady who drives her car headfirst into a building? And not just any building, either, but the county jail, no less?”

“Truthfully?”

“Yes, when you’re speaking with me. As far as other people go, we’ll chew that one over later.”

She pulled a shuddering breath. “I was trying to save my life.”

“Okay,” I said sitting back in my chair. A nutter, I thought. No doubt about it. “What made you believe your life was in danger?”

“I didn’t imagine the threat,” she said, leaning toward me. “Gayle Maiter told me she was going to kill me. She had a knife in her hand.”

“While she was in the car with you?”

Angela nodded. “I’m probably in a lot of trouble, huh?”

“Minimum, I’d guess you’re looking at a felony charge of criminal damage to property.”

“Is the charge serious?” She studied her hands in her lap.

“It can be, yes.”

“That’s not fair,” she said with a flash of hot anger. “I was only trying to defend myself.”

I opened my brief case and pulled out a legal pad. Slipping a pen from the pocket of my suit coat, I said, “How about you tell me this long story of yours?”

She gave me an undecipherable look, then did as instructed, with me transcribing her statement as fast as I could.