A Victim’s Advocate Story; Who save’s the hero?

My release this week of book #2 in my DENVER AFTER DARK Suspense Series, CRIES IN THE NIGHT, followed several years of plotting and character development in my mind.  This is my 29th book overall and was easily took longest in my thought process.  Literally a dozen books and several film screenplays came to mind and got written since I first experienced the situations described in this compelling and provocative novel.  Chapter one is at the end of this blog.  The entire book is now available on Amazon at  http://www.amazon.com/CRIES-NIGHT-DENVER-AFTER-ebook/dp/B00FDRYCIQ/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
In the 1990’s I volunteered to become a Victim’s Advocate for the Northglenn / Thornton Colorado Police Departments.  Victim advocates are professionals trained to support victims of crime or calamity in their greatest time of need.  Sometimes the perpetrator was still not captured or the traffic accident still blocking the road.  Advocates offer victims information, emotional support, and help finding resources.  Clothes, food and even a safe place to stay were all part of the routine.  When I did this vital task my time was on the front lines in your neighborhood where citizens learned of the death of a loved one, a spouse, usually a wife and even girlfriends who had received yet another beating by their lover and family members learn someone close to them had been shot, maybe even killed.  It was a gutsy raw and tough environment.  Victims learned they did have a place to turn.
That experience caused me to put some of these stories to paper in CRIES IN THE NIGHT.  The back story of the relationship between the heroine and hero is what happens when two people are thrust into high risk hard work situations.  I think the reason why the story took so long be written is that the characters took a long time to step up and unveil their feelings, aspirations and goals.  They have spoken.
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Julie Lawrence is a Victim’s Advocate for the Denver PD.  Her job is to respond to domestic violence incidents, fires, car accidents and other tragic events where people need help dealing with their darkest moments.   She has had her own share of tragedies in the past which gives her empathy and a unique insight into victims and what they need to heal and move on with their lives.  But she is better at giving advice than taking it and has closed herself off from sharing her life with anyone or anything except a stray tiger-striped gray cat.

Rusty Wilson is a firefighter with a reputation for working hard and playing harder.  He meets Julie while he is trying to save a burning house and she is protecting a battered wife and an unborn child.  He is attracted to her, but not ready to settle down.  To his surprise, she resists even his most platonic attempts at developing a relationship.  One day a typical call turns into a hostage situation, and Julie rushes to the scene, partly in her role of Victim’s Advocate and partly because Rusty is involved.
She finally accepts his offer of friendship, and as they get to know each other better, they realize they have a lot in common.  When a stalker starts playing a cat-and-mouse game with Julie, she and Rusty work together, trying to figure out which of her past domestic violence cases has created a psycho who wants revenge.  In her line of work, there are a lot of people who want her dead.
Julie has no idea who is trying to kill her.  The warnings had started out as just creepy, but gradually turn into genuine threats on her life.  Rusty provides the emotional and moral support she hadn’t realized she needed until the danger increases.  Their love affair starts in the heat of passion and ends when he finds out her secrets.
Someone is watching . . . and waiting.  Julie has dedicated herself to saving other people.  Who’s going to save her?  Find out on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/CRIES-NIGHT-DENVER-AFTER-ebook/dp/B00FDRYCIQ/
AFTER MIDNIGHT REVISED
CRIES IN THE NIGHT is Book #2 in the Denver After Dark series.  AFTER MIDNIGHT is Book #1 of the series and –
  • Won 1st place in The Best Indie Suspense Novel of 2013 and
  • 3rd place in the Readers’ Favorite Suspense Novel Award of 2013.

Kathy Clark also is writing a New Adult Romantic Suspense series (Scandals) and Young Adult Romantic Mystery series with the CUL8R series under the pen name of Bob Kat.

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Find out more about Kathy’s 29 books on her website at http://www.nightwriter93.com

CAUTION: Beta Reviewers have advised this chapter is hard to read but even harder to put down.

CRIES IN THE NIGHT

 CHAPTER ONE

 

The back door slammed with such force that the small house shuddered.  In the back bedroom the woman froze in front of the ironing board, the iron paused in mid-air.  Steam poured out of the holes with a hiss, but she didn’t notice.  Instead, her gaze raced across the room and met the wide eyes of her son who had been playing with a boxful of Matchbox cars.

He dropped the tiny red Ferrari he had been holding and scuttled backward, disappearing under the bed.  No words had been spoken, but he knew the drill.  This wasn’t his first rodeo.  He had learned early that out of sight also meant out of the line of fire.

The woman wasn’t so lucky.

Heavy, quick footsteps signaled the man’s approach down the hallway.  Her heart pounded in her chest, and she realized she hadn’t taken a breath since he had entered the house.  She exhaled slowly, trying to calm her nerves and steel herself for the battle ahead.  Even before she saw his face, she knew he was angry . . . at her, at his son, at his boss, at his life.  It didn’t really matter.  He always came home to share his dissatisfaction with her.

“Where the hell is he?”  The man wasn’t large, but when he was in one of his moods, he seemed to expand in size until his presence filled the doorway.

“Who?” she managed to ask, struggling to keep her expression under control.  For some reason, it made him angrier if she showed fear even though her legs were trembling.

He threw his car keys at her.  She tried to dodge, but the unexpected movement and her own swollen bulk slowed her.  The keys smashed into her left cheek, then fell to the floor with a clatter.

“You know who.  That piece of shit kid.  He left his goddamn sled in the driveway and I ran over it.  Twenty bucks.  Trashed.  I work hard and get paid shit.  And he just throws his toys around like they were nothing.”

“He’s usually really careful . . .”

He cut her off.   “Didn’t he go to school today?”

“They had a teacher’s workday.”

“Then he has no excuse for not bringing in the garbage cans.”

“It was snowing too hard.”

“Not too hard for him to play.”  He kicked the basket of laundry against the wall.  “You fuckin’ baby him too much.”

“He’s only six.”  She knew that arguing only made him angrier, but her motherly instinct was to defend her young.

The man’s dark gaze raked the room before focusing on the abandoned Matchbox cars.  His nostrils flared and he moved toward the bed, knowing it was the most likely hiding place.

“No!” the woman cried.  “Leave him alone.”  She reached out to grab him, but he swung his arm to fend her off as if he was swatting away an annoying insect.  She reacted by striking back.  Unfortunately, the iron was still clenched in her hand.  The hot surface landed flat against his forearm and the back of his hand.  Steam oozed out of the holes as the skin sizzled.

With a guttural roar, he jerked back as quickly as possible and looked down at the arced-shaped blisters that had already bubbled up.  Like an enraged bull in the ring distracted by the matador’s cape, he turned his attention back to her.

“What the fuck?”  He knocked the iron out of her hand, grabbed the front of her sweater in his meaty fist and pulled her forward, over the ironing board which clattered to the floor.  Her feet scrambled to keep upright as he dragged her over the metal legs.

“I . . . I’m . . . sorry, Carlos.  I didn’t mean to . . .”

He silenced her with a punch so hard that her teeth rattled.  Momentarily dazed, she didn’t struggle as he slammed her back against the door frame.  Her head cracked against the wood and she could feel the sharp edges biting into her shoulders.  She didn’t fight back as he hit her again and again.  She knew she deserved this.  If she hadn’t hit him with the iron, he wouldn’t have come at her like this.  The skin over her eye slit under his knuckles, and she could feel the warm flow of blood pour down her face.  But as bad as it hurt, she knew it was nothing like the pain he was feeling from the burn.  So she let him take it out on her.  She owed him that.

It wasn’t until his blows moved lower that her defense mechanism got its second wind.  His fist buried into her breast.  Swollen from the imminent birth of her baby, the pain shot through her like a lightning bolt.  He drew back and would have landed a blow in her expanded abdomen, but she collapsed, trying in the only way she knew how to defend her unborn baby.  He released his hold on her sweater, but instead of stepping away, he kicked her.

She curled her body in a protective shell, putting all the flesh and bone she could between his steel-toed boot and her stomach.  He kicked her again and again, cursing her with words that burned her soul as much as her ears.  Finally, she blacked out.

A child’s scream woke her.  She struggled to open her eyes, but one was swollen shut.

“Mama, mama!” the little boy cried.

Her hands slid in the puddles of blood on the floor as she struggled to push into a sitting position.  Her blood.  She could see it staining the white yarn of her sweater.  In the back of her mind came the random thought that that was her favorite sweater, and now it was probably ruined.  She had so few clothes that still fit.

Her son’s small hands wrapped around her wrist and she stifled a scream as he pulled.   Pains shot up and down her arm telling her it was probably either broken or badly bruised.  Her brain struggled through the fog as she tried to remember where she was and why she was bleeding and aching all over.

Carlos!  She straightened and tried to look around.  Was he hurting Danny?  Her son seemed to sense her fears and with a maturity well beyond his years, he comforted her.

“He’s gone.  But he hurt you,” Danny told her.

“I’m okay,” she lied, trying, as always, to protect him from the truth.  But this was worse than the last time which had been worse than the time before that which had been worse than the time before.  She could remember them all.  In a twisted measure of days, months and years, each marked a new ending and a new beginning of sorts.  She had never doubted that she had done something wrong to deserve his anger, and she had never doubted she would survive.  This time, she wasn’t so sure.

A searing pain, much deeper than all the others pierced through her, starting deep in her stomach and radiating out.  She heard another scream and was surprised that it had come from her mouth.

“Mama . . .?”  Danny’s voice was terrified.

The room began to swirl around her, and her vision blurred.  Another pain doubled her over and she slid back to the floor.

 

 

Julie’s cell phone began ringing as she juggled a bag of groceries in one arm and inserted the key into her backdoor lock.

“Hold on, hold on, hold on . . .,” she chanted as she hurried inside, dropped the bag on the table and pulled her phone out of her purse.

“This is Julie,” she spoke into the small receiver.

“We’ve got a domestic and fire at 238 W. Maple Ave.,” the voice recited crisply.

“I heard it on my scanner.”  As she spoke, Julie held the phone against her ear with her shoulder and jotted down the address on a piece of unopened mail.  “I’m on my way.”

“I’ll notify the officers on-scene.  What’s your ETA?” 

“I’m pretty close.  I’ll be there in ten.”

The line clicked off and Julie let the phone slide off her shoulder and into her hand.  She grabbed the perishable items out of the bag and tossed them into the freezer or onto a shelf in the refrigerator and left the rest of the items to be put away later.   She picked up her keys, checked to make sure her thin billfold was still in her pocket and left without bothering to take the address with her.  She knew it by heart.  She had been there before.

Less than ten minutes later, she found a parking space.  It had been snowing off and on all day, and it had picked up again just before she arrived.  Julie looped her scarf around her neck, buttoned her coat up, pulled on her gloves and got out of her car.  A white ladder truck and an engine with the familiar DPD logo painted on it were parked directly in front of the house, their hoses snaked across the snow.  The generators rumbled, spotlights focused their harsh beams on the action, radios crackled with sporadic chatter and firefighters shouted back and forth to each other as they focused a steady stream of water on the blaze that had gobbled up the left side of the house.

Julie quickened her pace as much as she dared on the icy sidewalk made worse by the steady flow of water that was draining from the house.   An ambulance was at the end of the driveway.  The backdoors were open and the stretcher was out.

“Hey Julie.  Sorry to get you out on a night like this,” one of the cops said as he approached her.  He flipped his little spiral notebook closed and tucked it into the breast pocket of his jacket.

“Is she alive?”  Julie held her breath, afraid of the answer.

“Barely.  He beat the shit out of her . . . again.”

“No surprise there.  Why can’t you guys put him away for good?”

The cop shrugged.  “She always bails him out.”

“I thought she had a restraining order against him.”

“She does.  But an RO is only paper.  It doesn’t stop fists.”

Two paramedics pushed the stretcher down the driveway from the house.  A thin blanket covered the woman’s prone body.  Her young son walked beside it, his hand on his mom’s arm, a gesture that was probably reassuring for both of them.  It wasn’t until she got closer that Julie noticed the rounded mound showing the woman was pregnant.

“Oh my God,” Julie cried and hurried over to the stretcher.

The woman looked up at her . . . or tried to.  Her swollen and battered eyes clearly hampered her vision, but she was able to recognize Julie.  An expression flashed across her face, one that was part embarrassment and part happiness to see someone she knew.  “Julie . . . I know what you’re thinking . . . don’t be mad at me,” she said in a voice that shook with pain.

“Gloria, you don’t have to apologize to me . . . or to him,” Julie rushed to calm her.  She gently took the woman’s hand and walked next to the stretcher as the two paramedics struggled pushing it through several inches of unshoveled snow and over the shattered remains of a sled.

“He didn’t mean to hurt me,” the woman told her.

Like hell he didn’t, Julie thought, but aloud she said, “How do you feel?”

Gloria lifted her other hand that already had an IV attached and rubbed her belly.  “Not so good, but I’m most worried about my baby.”

Julie looked up at one of the paramedics and he shrugged.  “They’re going to do everything they can to help you both,” she told the woman.

“I burned him with the iron.  That’s why he got so mad,” Gloria continued, anxious that Julie know why the event had happened.

“You need to focus on yourself and your baby,” Julie spoke soothingly.  “I’ll stay with Danny until someone comes.  Have you called your mother?”

Gloria turned her head as if afraid of being overheard.  “No, would you do that for me?  Her number is in my phone . . . you know, the one you gave me.  It’s hidden in the laundry room.  Danny will show you.”  She tried to give her son a smile, but she could manage only a stiff grimace.

The little boy looked at Julie and nodded shyly.

“We’ve got to go,” the female paramedic said as the stretcher reached the ambulance.  She and her partner prepared the stretcher for loading and Julie reached out for Danny’s hand.

“Only my mother,” Gloria pleaded, twisting around and leaning toward Julie.  “Don’t let him go with anyone else.  Promise me.”

“Don’t worry about him.  I promise I won’t leave him until your mother comes for him,” Julie assured her, and Gloria relaxed back against the cushion.  The two women weren’t long-time friends or even acquaintances.  Their relationship had started almost two years ago when Julie had responded to a domestic call.  That one hadn’t resulted in hospitalization.  But it had been the first in several similar events that had created a trust great enough that Gloria knew she could leave Danny in Julie’s care.

Danny trembled but didn’t pull his hand away as he watched his mother being loaded into the ambulance.  The red and blue lights bounced off the surrounding trees and houses, magnified by the stark whiteness of the snow and turning the still-falling snowflakes into confetti.  Julie looked down at the little boy whose gaze followed the twinkling lights as they disappeared down the street.  She realized he wasn’t wearing a coat.  She unbuttoned her own, took it off and knelt down in front of Danny.  Even though it was much too large and drug on the ground, he burrowed gratefully into the warmth of the wool.  Shivers of cold and lingering fear shook his tiny body.  “They’re going to take good care of your mama.  But right now we need to call your grandma.  Can you tell me your mom’s secret hiding place?”

“It’s in the house,” he told her, then lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper.  “In the smelly things.”

Smelly things?  Her mind scrambled for what that might mean.  “Dirty clothes?” she asked.

“No, the good smelly things.  You know, the ones with the little bear on the box,” he whispered back.

“Dryer sheets?”

He nodded.

Good choice.  Men like Carlos never did laundry, so it would be unlikely he would stumble on it there.  Julie looked around.  Apparently the fire was out.  Smoke no longer billowed from the roof, and the firefighters were straightening out the hoses in preparation of rolling them back up.  One of the firefighters walked out of the house with an axe swung over his shoulder.  She lifted her hand and waved at him.  She recognized him from several other fires she had been called out to.

He noticed and walked toward them.  He was tall, well over six feet.  Dressed in full firefighting uniform, he looked big and menacing, sort of like an urban alien.  Steam radiated from his long black coat with its yellow reflective stripe and the top of his red helmet.  He had an air canister strapped on his back, but he had unfastened his respirator and it hung off to one side.  His face was smudged with a layer of carbon, marked with paths where sweat and water had streaked down.  After giving Julie a crooked grin, he swung the axe to the ground and knelt in front of Danny, as if he knew what an imposing sight he must be.

“You must be Daniel,” he said to him.  “I saw some amazing drawings on the refrigerator.  I was hoping I would get to meet the artist.  Were those yours?”

Danny nodded solemnly, but Julie could see that he was flattered.

“And that must have been your room with the race car posters.”

Again Danny nodded.  “Did my room burn up?”

“No, we were able to stop the fire before it got to your room.  But I’m afraid some of your things got a little wet and are going to smell like smoke.”

“How about my baseball cap?  The doctor people made me and my mom leave so fast I didn’t get it.”

The firefighter said, “Oh yeah, I remember seeing a couple caps in there.  They’ll be fine.”  He took off his helmet and held it out to Danny.  “Maybe you’d like to wear my hat.”

Danny’s brown eyes stretched wide.  “Oh yes, sir.”

The man set the hat on the boy’s much smaller head and it settled down to cover his ears and his face all the way down to his nose.  Instead of taking it off, Danny lifted his chin and looked out from underneath it.  But most noticeable was the twitch of a smile that had softened his tense lips.

The firefighter stood and turned his attention to Julie.  He pushed the heavy cloth hood off his head, revealing rumpled dark brown hair.  As he looked at her, she was struck by the clarity of his bright blue eyes.

“You’re Julie, aren’t you?” he asked.

She was a little surprised that he knew her name because they had never actually spoken.  But she wasn’t exactly a stranger to any of the public responders because she or one of her volunteers showed up at all of the more serious crime, fire or accident scenes.  “Yes, I am.  And you’re . . .?”

“Rusty,” he answered and pointed toward his last name that was printed on his jacket as he added, “Wilson.  I’m sure you know my younger brothers.”

“Oh, so you’re that Wilson,” Julie teased.  She was very well acquainted with his brothers.  Sam was a Denver cop who she worked with often, and Chris, the youngest, was a paramedic out of Denver Health.  He wasn’t one of the ones on scene tonight, but their paths had crossed often in the course of their jobs.

Rusty held up his hands.  “Whoa, you can’t believe everything you hear about me.”

“Why do you assume it’s all bad?” she asked.

“Because some of it is true.  I’m the first to admit that I enjoy life.  But my brothers like to exaggerate my . . .,” he grinned, “. . . transgressions.”

Julie shrugged.  This was not a point she wanted to debate in the middle of a snowy night when she was without a coat.  “I was just wondering if someone could take me inside for a minute.  I need to get Danny’s things and . . . well, something else.”

“Sure, I’ll take you in, but he needs to stay out here.”  Rusty called over one of the other firefighters.  “Jackson, would you hang with my friend Daniel for a few minutes?”

Jackson, a middle-aged black firefighter who had just finished shutting off the hydrant and screwing the cap back on, nodded and knelt down next to Danny.  “Hey buddy.  My name is Jackson.  Do you mind keeping me company while they go get some of your clothes?”

Danny nodded, solemn again.  He stayed, but his gaze moved back to Julie.

“Don’t let anyone take him away, okay?” she asked Jackson.

“Got cha,” Jackson confirmed.

After giving Danny a reassuring pat on the head, she turned to follow Rusty.

“Don’t forget my cap,” Danny called after her.

“I won’t,” she called back.

“Watch your step,” Rusty cautioned.  He took a flashlight out of his utility belt and turned it on.

Apparently, the electricity was off and the spotlights didn’t penetrate past the front door.  The dark house took on a sinister spook-house sort of feeling as they stepped over the threshold and into the smoldering interior.

“The fire didn’t make it to this part of the house, but the back two bedrooms are pretty much gone,” he added as they made their way around pieces of furniture that had been knocked over or tossed out of the way.

“Any idea what caused it?” she asked as she followed directly behind him, keeping her hand on his back because she couldn’t see anything outside the beam of his light.

“Looks like an iron on the carpet.  But the investigators will find out for sure.”

They picked their way along the soggy carpet of the hallway.  Even though the flames hadn’t made it into the hallway, the sheetrock was damp and there was a heavy, acrid smell that burned her lungs.  When they arrived at Danny’s room, she hurried to collect his jacket and a few items of clothing, including his Little League baseball cap that was sitting on his chest of drawers.  She also scooped up the stuffed monkey that held an obvious position of importance on his pillow and stuffed it all into his Cars backpack.

“We need to get out of here,” Rusty reminded her.

“I have one more thing,” she told him.  “Did you happen to notice a laundry room?”

“Not in this part of the house.  Maybe off the kitchen?”  He led the way back down the hall and across the small living room to the kitchen.  Sure enough, in the mud room that led outside was a small stackable washer and dryer that had probably been one of Gloria’s prized possessions.  But Julie had eyes only for the box of Snuggle dryer sheets on the shelf next to it.

“Really?” Rusty asked when he saw her pick it up.

She didn’t answer, but pulled out the sheets until she reached the bottom of the box.  Nestled there, just as Danny had told her was the emergency cell phone she had given Gloria the last time Julie had been called out to this house.  It was something she often gave to victims of domestic abuse because their controlling spouse or partner often refused to let them have any contact with the outside world.  She was glad to see that Gloria had listened to her cautions to hide the phone in a safe place where Carlos wouldn’t find it because Gloria clearly hadn’t paid any attention to Julie’s other advice to not let him back in her life.  Julie held up the phone so Rusty could see it, then followed him out the backdoor and to the driveway.

Once back outside, she took deep, cleansing breathes of the crisp cold air.  “I don’t know how you guys do it,” she admitted to Rusty.

He flashed her a grin, his teeth looking incredibly white against his soot-blackened face.  “Are you kidding?  I’d do this even if they didn’t pay me.  But don’t tell anyone.”

Julie flipped open the phone, turned it on and watched as it booted up.  “Hey thanks,” she told him.

“No problem.”  His expression sobered.  “You do good work, you know.  They need someone like you to help them after all this.”  He motioned around them at the devastation.  Yes, they had saved most of the house, but the smoke and the water had ruined much of what the flames hadn’t consumed.  These people had lost a lot, if not everything, and they would need all the help they could get.

“Hey Wilson.  We’re ready to roll,” the captain called and gave Julie a wave of acknowledgement.

She and Rusty walked back to where Danny and Jackson waited.  Rusty reached down and lifted his heavy helmet off of the boy’s head.  “Thank you for taking care of my helmet for me.  It looks good on you, but I’m going to need it in case I have to go to another fire tonight.”

“Sure,” Danny said with pride at having accomplished something so apparently important.

“Maybe you can get your mom to bring you by the fire station sometime when she feels better,” Rusty suggested.  “I’ll give you a tour and let you sit in a fire truck.”

“Really?  Wow, okay,” Danny agreed.

Rusty looked back at Julie.  “And I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah, we seem to hang out at the same places.”  She smiled.  “Thanks again.”  She nodded her head toward Danny, indicating that his kindness toward the little boy hadn’t gone unnoticed.

Rusty dismissed it with a shrug, but he gave her another grin as he put his helmet back on and headed toward the waiting fire truck.

“Julie, we’re finished, too,” the police officer who had been standing nearby talking to the captain told her.

“We can sit in my car and wait for his grandmother,” she suggested, but the officer shook his head.

“I can’t leave you here.  It’s still a hot scene.”

Julie glanced around, suddenly nervous.  “You mean he’s not in custody?” she asked while being careful to keep the conversation as neutral as possible.

“He was gone when we arrived, but you can bet he’ll come back.”

She shivered, not just because of the cold that was penetrating her heavy sweater.  She had never actually met Carlos, but she had seen his handiwork on at least three occasions.  “Let me make a quick call to Danny’s grandmother so she can be on her way.”  She went to the Contacts’ list.  There were only two numbers in it.  Gloria’s mother and Julie’s cell phone.  Even though she had encouraged Gloria to call her if Carlos came back, it was now clear that that hadn’t happened.  She clicked on the word “Mom” and put the phone to her ear.

It rang five times before a sleepy voice answered, “Hello.”

Julie turned away so Danny couldn’t hear the conversation as she gave Gloria’s mother a quick summary of the evening’s events.  “I’m taking Danny to the police station.  We’ll wait for you there.”  She gave the woman the address, and after getting her confirmation, Julie hung up.

“Okay, Danny, we’re going to get to ride in a police car.  Have you ever done that before?”

He shook his head, but there was a spark of excitement in his eyes.

“But first, I’m going to trade you coats,” she told him.  She released his parka from his backpack where she had clipped it and handed it to him.  He took off her coat, and they exchanged outerwear.  She welcomed the warmth as she slipped her arms into the sleeves and buttoned it up.  Danny had a little trouble with his zipper, so she helped him get it started, then reached into the backpack and pulled out his cap.  The first genuine smile of the night spread across his face as he put it on and tugged it into position.  She didn’t even need a voiced “thanks” because his expression said it all.

The police officer unlocked the doors of his cruiser and opened the backdoor for them.  Julie glanced back at her white Kia that was parked down the street.  She knew it was city policy that she couldn’t carry civilians in her personal vehicle and she had promised not to leave Danny’s side until his grandmother arrived.  That left her no choice but to ride with him in the patrol car to the station.  She would worry about getting a ride back to pick it up later.  Since Danny’s grandmother lived in Fort Collins, it would take her several hours to get dressed and drive to the station.

The spotlights that had illuminated the scene switched off as the fire trucks prepared to leave.  With only the red and blue emergency lights still flashing, the night seemed darker and the shadows deeper.  Julie glanced around.  She had the uncomfortable feeling that Carlos was there, out of sight, but watching as she took his son away from him, hopefully forever.  She shivered again and silently urged Danny to hurry up.  She wanted to be inside the safety of the cruiser.

As soon as he was inside, she climbed in after him and tried not to notice the telltale smell of urine and vomit that usually clung in the air of the back seats of all the patrol cars.  It had been a long day and was turning out to be a long night.  But she, like Rusty, loved her job and would rather be here than any place she’d ever been.  Only she knew how desperate she was to never go back.

READERS’ FAVORITE about LIFE’S WHAT HAPPENS

The Readers’ Favorite organization provides a very credible and professional service for readers and authors by conducting reviews of books.  You can find them on the web at http://www.readersfavorite.com.

For 2013 we submitted two books for award consideration and in the past we have also received reviews outside the competitive process.

One such book was LIFE’S WHAT HAPPENS.readers favorite award

You can find LIFE’S WHAT HAPPENS on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/LIFES-WHAT-HAPPENS-ebook/dp/B00A14STPS/ and for the Nook on Barnes & Noble at

First, here’s the blurb for LIFE’S WHAT HAPPENS  and then some of the fine FIVE STAR reviews from the reviewers at READERS’ FAVORITE.

FINALIST – BEST INDIE BOOK OF 2013.

He is too young to drink (legally) but not too young to die. Don Williams is a senior at Kent State University and lives in an off-campus fraternity house. He and his girlfriend Lisa are making plans for their future after graduation when suddenly, it’s all taken away. His career, his freedom of choice and even his frat brothers who have become his family.

Life’s What Happens when you mix the hormone-fueled emotions of youth who have left home to experience the mind, mood and physical freedoms of college life with the cultural and political changes of the late 1960’s. For the brothers of Phi Psi Kappa fraternity their biggest worries should have been how to pass their classes with the least amount of studying and the greatest amount of partying and girls. Instead, they are faced with the life-and-death decision of whether they should face their fates head-on, change their plans or just run away.

It is about the year they turned from boys to men, and where their choices took them.

Life's What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

Life’s What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

Here are some of the 5 STAR comments received by reviewers of this organization.

Life’s What Happens is the well-written and very poignant retelling of the days leading up to the notorious Kent State debacle. It tells of the lives of real people like Don and his fraternity brothers as they are drawn into the Vietnam conflict from the safety of their college days. Colored pictures of the fraternity men and the girls they are dating are shown at the book’s beginning along with a map of the campus at that time. The characters of Ben, Don, Frank, Fred, Barry, Jeff, Alonzo, Ted and all their fraternity brothers and the incoming pledge class are totally believable and the building of suspense and tension as Kent State’s campus is infiltrated with protesters is done well but without partiality. “Life’s What Happens” is a book that everyone will want to read, especially those who remember the tumultuous times of the late 1960’s. Names of popular songs of the era at the head of each chapter lend a feeling of authenticity. [Alice DiNizo]

I will never look at the Vietnam war the same way again. This book will open your eyes to the intensity of life during this dream altering time. I didn’t think I would actually enjoy reading a book like this but it moved me in so many ways. From characters that still your heart to writing styles that will captivate you, this is one awesome read. Thank you Kathy and Alex for an incredible read!! [Molly Edwards]

The author has done an amazing job of bringing the era to life on the pages of this book. Too often such events are looked back on, shoulders shrugged and no more thought given. However, they remind readers of the dreadful day students were senselessly shot and killed. They paint a different view of the event with carefully crafted characters. Baby boomers and those interested in history will want to soak up the knowledge found within these pages. This is a tale you will not want to miss. [Anne Boling]

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

Here’s a few additional thought about the Readers’ Favorite organization.

Readers’ Favorite is the recipient of the “Honoring Excellence” and “Best Websites for Authors” awards by the Association of Independent Authors, and are members of the National Book Critics Circle and the National Education Association.

Awards and Logos

Readers’ Favorite has been awarded the Association
of Independent Authors Honoring Excellence award, which
recognizes businesses and organizations that offer exceptional
products and services for independent authors.
Association of Independent Authors
Readers’ Favorite donates many of the books we review to the following charities, along with annual financial donations. We make sure your book and some of the money you spend on our site is used to bring comfort and aid to those in need.

Donation Partners

On behalf of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,
and especially on behalf of the children and their
families, we want to thank Readers’ Favorite and its
authors for your kindness and generosity.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Change The Past, Save The Future…now it cost less!

That sums up the first three books in the see you later CUL8R Time Travel Mystery Series.  The series continues to garner first place and finalists awards from many of the world’s book competitions and over 95% of the people who have left reviews gave the book a 5 STAR rating out of 5.

I have now combined all three books into a single eBook, unabridged of course.  The linkis on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/TRAVEL-MYSTERY-Collection-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00ECNTS1S/

Here’s the cover followed by each book’s blurb.

COLLECTION CUL8R 080513 amazon
Book #1, OMG [Oh My God]

WINNER OF BEST INDIE BOOK OF 2013! Finalist in the 2013 Beverly Hills Book Awards! This is book #1 of the series. Book #2, BRB published in April, 2013.

Kelly, a teenager from Texas has recently been orphaned and sent to live in Florida with her aunt Jane, a busy lawyer. Right away Kelly meets her tall, nerdy neighbor Scott, and they bond over a shared love of a video games and a mysterious gadget they find in Aunt Jane’s garage.

The gadget turns out to be a lost invention of Thomas Edison’s called the “Telephone to the Dead”. The mystery begins when Scott gets the Spirit Radio to work and a girl named Wendy comes through, pleading for help . . . from beyond the grave. Is Wendy a ghost? And if she didn’t kill herself, who did? Kelly, Scott and his best friend Austin must find a way to go back to 1966 to help her . . . without getting killed.

Book #2 BRB [Be Right Back]

One of three finalists in the 2013 Reader’s Favorite being awarded 9//13

“It’s difficult to investigate a crime that hasn’t happened yet.”

Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey have just returned from changing a girl’s life in 1966 and are a little battered and bruised from their adventure. But when a small voice pleads for their help to save her family from a murderer, they know they must respond.

They research the story, but there is very little information to be found. All they know is that it takes place on Crystal Key, a small private island off the Florida Keys. Since it appears to be deserted, they decide to pop in, gather clues, then pop back. It was a good excuse to spend a lazy day on a beautiful beach.
But from the first step, their journey back to 1980 goes horribly wrong. The area is crawling with drug traffickers and tens of thousands of refugees fleeing Cuba. They meet the young girl and her family, but their intervention puts them in the direct path of the killer.

Can they find out who he is in time to save the girl, her family . . . and themselves? Or are they destined to be a madman’s latest victims?

Book #3 BION [Believe It Or Not]

Can she give up everything she has in the present for true love in the past?

Believe it or Not . . . “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls …welcome to the best entertainment money can buy, the Maxwell Brothers Circus!”

Four high school friends are able to do two things no one else on the planet can do . . . talk with dead people and time travel to that past.

As they slowly turn the dial of their Spirit Radio Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey hear hundreds of sad, lonely voices of souls that have passed but apparently never moved on, pleading for help.

A young woman asks them to find her twin brother Jesse who had run away to the circus in 1927, then disappeared and was never heard from again. Going back and living with a circus sounds like fun. Plus an old book provides a glimpse into the past . . . as well as a photo of Jesse.

They discover that circus life is not all glamour and fun; it’s a lot of hard work. As usual, they jump in and quickly find jobs, places to sleep and new friends. But most importantly, they find Jesse. Now all they have to do is keep him alive.

For Zoey, it’s love at first sight. If they are successful and save his life, will she be able to let him go?

A Writer Looks Back On July, What’s Up In August, What’s Free And What’s Coming

Actually not just “a” writer but me!  BIG difference.

The highlight this month was the release on the 25th of book #3 of the Time Travel Mystery series CUL8R [Please be cool and pronounce it see you later…not CUL8R].  Book #3 is title BION so call it Believe It Or Not and not BION…please.  Our time travelers slip back to 1927 where the challenges of solving a mystery are greatly expanded  when you’re only 16 years old.  Here’s the blurb for BION:

BION 071613 Amazon final

Can she give up everything she has in the present for true love in the past?

Believe it or Not . . . “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls …welcome to the best entertainment money can buy, the Maxwell Brothers Circus!”  

Four high school friends are able to do two things no one else on the planet can do . . . talk with dead people and time travel to that past. 

As they slowly turn the dial of their Spirit Radio Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey hear hundreds of sad, lonely voices of souls that have passed but apparently never moved on, pleading for help. 

A young woman asks them to find her twin brother Jesse who had run away to the circus in 1927, then disappeared and was never heard from again.  Going back and living with a circus sounds like fun.  Plus an old book provides a glimpse into the past . . . as well as a photo of Jesse.

They discover that circus life is not all glamour and fun; it’s a lot of hard work.  As usual, they jump in and quickly find jobs, places to sleep and new friends.  But most importantly, they find Jesse.  Now all they have to do is keep him alive.

For Zoey, it’s love at first sight.  If they are successful and save his life, will she be able to let him go?  

The major awards won by book #1, OMG [Oh My God] and #2, BRB [Be Right Back] really bolstered my to turn out a great time travel mystery with book #3.  Here’s a sample of some of the five star reviews [all 5 stars so far] on BION [Check them out on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Believe-Travel-Mystery-Romance-ebook/dp/B00E5141ZK/

REVIEW SAMPLE #1

Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey are back again, and the spirit radio is still connecting them with the past. This time it’s the 1920’s. The Golden Era. But not Gatsby’s Golden Era, the kids travel back to the site of a traveling circus and embroil themselves in the fun and danger of the Show folk’s scene. This book in the CUL8R series is as vibrant and interesting as the other I have read. The characters are regular kids, well fleshed out and realistic. I’m reminded of the Trixie Bell series of my childhood, but the kids in THIS series are fresh and updated for today’s generation. You will love reading this book to it’s exciting conclusion. All the kids came through their last adventure with bruises and scrapes and indeed, Kelly got shot!I wasn’t let down in the drama department with this installment either! These are no wimpy kids stories, but fast paced and well written adventure stories for everybody! I love them!

REVIEW SAMPLE #2

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Well, I liked it so much, I’m going to buy and read the first two books in the series! My 13 year old will also enjoy reading these as well.
The story was well written, with very likeable characters, and the whole theme of normal, everyday people using their heads to solve problems, and overcome danger was great! Its a good message to put out there for our young generation, and a good read.

REVIEW SAMPLE #3

I have read all three of the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery Series by Bob Kat and I absolutely love the latest book BION -Believe it or Not. Follow Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey on another adventure, 1927 Maxwell Brother’s Circus. Bob Kat delivers yet another great piece with fully developed characters, enchanting storyline and unsurpassed description. I read the entire book in one setting – I simply couldn’t put it down!

REVIEW SAMPLE #4
Even if you have not read the two previous titles in this series, you will love the storyline of BION. The author has a knack for writing captivating stories. Sci-fi fans and young adults will love the series. I was captivated from the first paragraph on. I can’t wait to read the next book in this fantastic series!

REVIEW SAMPLE #5

I love a good book with some heavy emphasis on time travel themes and this one definitely satisfied all my needs with it’s own unique twists. The writing is very high quality and stays at a consistent and entertaining approach from start to finish. The characters are very original and all have just the right amount of substance with a solid background, this combined with the great writing really ended up making this book of my favorites that I have read in the genre. There are some classical elements that can be compared to some other books but they all have their own unique style to them, the book is refreshingly new and the author has managed to successfully keep up a captivating pace from front to back.

…and there are more!

I also gave away in July copies of several books so I could introduce readers to my writing.  And I love how readers respond to a well written book.  AFter every giveaway comes orders to buy the book.

Here’s what I gave away in July…

ANGEL OF MERCY 062913 amazon

BION 071613 Amazon final

CODY'S LAST STAND 062913 amazon

Count Your Blessings 062913 amazon

TEACHERS PET 062913 amazon

and the last one, Teacher’s Pet, is free through the end of the day today, 7/31/13!

Planned for August are 7 titles...6 back list hard to find romances that sold 100,000s of copies globally.  Thank you Harlequin for the opportunity to write for you and for my digital rights back!  And a New Adult Romance based on a true story. Millions were impacted by this story and that is probably an understatement. 

August is a vacation opportunity with our very best friends in the world and chance to see our five boys [actually young men].

Writing wise working on …

  • book #2 in the Denver After Dark suspense series with Cries In The Night and
  • Bob is writing the first draft of the first book in the New Adult Romantic Suspense series, Scandals.

We’ll chat later.  Catch book #1 in the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery Series, OMG, on sale on Amazon for 8/2 – 8/8 for $0.99 for the ebook and the paperback version will be dropped in price to $10.99 US.

Adios from Austin…where it’s cooling down to 100!  NOT.

Day #1 Of The Release Of Believe It Or Not {BION} #3 in the Time Travel Mystery Series! Book #1 Voted Best in 2013 & Book #2 Reader’s Favorite Top 3 in 2013!

The first day of the week long book release for BION [Believe It Or Not], book #3 in the CUL8R [See you later] Time TRavel Mystery Series went really well.

BION 071613 Amazon final

I’ve just got some awesome favs and readers!.  Thanks to the emails, the Facebook lIkes and comments on Google + .

As a part of the BION launch I ran a free two days on a backlist book, Count Your Blessings and it hit the top 10 on Amazon earlier this week.

Count Your Blessings 062913 amazon

For added attention to the release Friday and Saturday will see Angel Of Mercy.  This is one of Kathy’s best selling trilogies from her Romance era.

ANGEL OF MERCY 062913 amazon

Book #2, BRB, shot up to top 50 on Amazon today and OMG is picking up sales tonight.

BRB eBook Cover 2OMG eBook 3

Friday is a special pricing day for BION so check it out.  I’d love to hear your comment and reviews too.  Here’s the logline to ponder…

Can she give up everything she has in the present for true love in the past?

Believe it or Not . . . “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls …welcome to the best entertainment money can buy, the Maxwell Brothers Circus!”  

 Four high school friends are able to do two things no one else on the planet can do . . . talk with dead people and time travel to that past. 

 As they slowly turn the dial of their Spirit Radio Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey hear hundreds of sad, lonely voices of souls that have passed but apparently never moved on, pleading for help. 

 A young woman asks them to find her twin brother Jesse who had run away to the circus in 1927, then disappeared and was never heard from again.  Going back and living with a circus sounds like fun.  Plus an old book provides a glimpse into the past . . . as well as a photo of Jesse.

 They discover that circus life is not all glamour and fun; it’s a lot of hard work.  As usual, they jump in and quickly find jobs, places to sleep and new friends.  But most importantly, they find Jesse.  Now all they have to do is keep him alive.

 For Zoey, it’s love at first sight.  If they are successful and save his life, will she be able to let him go?  

I’ll see you in the world’s largest Virtual eBook Fair this weekend I’m sure.  Many thanks for making this launch so great.

For those that don’t know me here’s a little about me.  I am Kathy Clark, a.k.a. Bob Kat has written romance, young adult, romantic suspense and new adult romance for 25 years.  She’s had 23 books traditionally published through Harlequin and others with sales over 3.25 million in total and has indie published her most recent 4 books.  She will release 3 more books in 2013, book #2 in the Romantic Suspense series Denver After Dark, book #3 in the Young Adult Time Travel Mystery Series and book #1 in the New Adult romantic suspense series.  She has been a NY Times Best Selling author, a USA Today recommended author, an RWA RITA award winner and her indie books have won two Best Indie Book of 2013 Awards, a finalist in that competition, a finalist in the Beverly Hills Book Awards and two books are in the finals of the Reader’s Choice 2013 book awards being issued on 9/1/13.

My website is at http://www.nightwriter93.com

The time travel mystery series website is http://www.cul8rseries.com

My blog site is at https://kathyclarkauthor.wordpress.com/

All of my books on Amazon including the Romance Collections is at http://astore.amazon.com/nightwriter93-20

TWITTER: @93nightwriter

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/kelly.welch.cul8r

Night all….

New Book Release…an opportunity to become a part of it and save money

Well the long process of launching my new book will be over in just more eleven days.  This started a month before the book was actually completed but probably should have started earlier.

Before I get too far…if you want a free, pre-release ARC of the book the last week of the month please leave you email address in your comments.  Let me know if a PDF would work okay for you.  All I ask in exchange for a free book is you review on Amazon on or after July 31st of my latest book.

The Book is BION, for believe it or not, and is book #3 in the CUL8R [See you later] Time Travel Mystery Series.  BION will be released on July 31, 2013.

BION 071613 Amazon final

The series was developed to change the young adult – new adult market book, film and TV markets away from books being zombie, magician, comic book and super-hero driven.  Instead everyday men/boys and women/girls, ages 15 to 19, who can through their own energy and talent, outwit, out work and outlast the forces of evil to solve the problems of their time and age.  The heroes of the stories are so everyday teens they could be the readers and vice-versa. The placement of the problem to be solved in another time in the past adds to the risk, humor and learning that had to take place.

The first book, OMG, was released in late 2012, and was named The Best Indie Book of 2013 for Young Adult Fiction and was a Finalist in the Beverly Hills Book Awards.  The initial time travel tip was back to 1966 to investigate and right the wrongs of adult who was involved in the reported suicide of the high school student Wendy. The Amazon link is http://www.amazon.com/CUL8R-Time-Travel-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00AF2Q30E/ The current ranking for 27 reviews is a 4.9 out of 5 stars!

OMG eBook 3

BLURB-

WINNER OF BEST INDIE BOOK OF 2013! Finalist in the 2013 Beverly Hills Book Awards! This is book #1 of the series. Book #2, BRB published in April, 2013.

Kelly, a teenager from Texas has recently been orphaned and sent to live in Florida with her aunt Jane, a busy lawyer. Right away Kelly meets her tall, nerdy neighbor Scott, and they bond over a shared love of a video games and a mysterious gadget they find in Aunt Jane’s garage.

The gadget turns out to be a lost invention of Thomas Edison’s called the “Telephone to the Dead”.  The mystery begins when Scott gets the Spirit Radio to work and a girl named Wendy comes through, pleading for help . . . from beyond the grave. Is Wendy a ghost? And if she didn’t kill herself, who did? Kelly, Scott and his best friend Austin must find a way to go back to 1966 to help her . . . without getting killed.

The second book, BRB [Be Right Back], was released in April, 2013 and is one of three finalists in the Reader’s Choice Awards for 2013.  The awards will be given out on 9/1/13.  Their second trip to the past was to 1980 and they get caught up in the Cuban refugee and South Florida drug wars as they attempt to help out a young girl and her family. The Amazon link is http://www.amazon.com/CUL8R-Time-Travel-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00C8SK9JO/ The current ranking for 14 reviews is a 5.0 out of 5 stars!

BRB eBook Cover 2

BLURB-

Book #2 in the award winning CUL8R series! Book #1 OMG was named the Best Indie Book of 2013.

“It’s difficult to investigate a crime that hasn’t happened yet.”

Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey have just returned from changing a girl’s life in 1966 and are a little battered and bruised from their adventure. But when a small voice pleads for their help to save her family from a murderer, they know they must respond.

They research the story, but there is very little information to be found. All they know is that it takes place on Crystal Key, a small private island off the Florida Keys. Since it appears to be deserted, they decide to pop in, gather clues, then pop back. It was a good excuse to spend a lazy day on a beautiful beach.
But from the first step, their journey back to 1980 goes horribly wrong. The area is crawling with drug traffickers and tens of thousands of refugees fleeing Cuba. They meet the young girl and her family, but their intervention puts them in the direct path of the killer.

Can they find out who he is in time to save the girl, her family . . . and themselves? Or are they destined to be a madman’s latest victims?

If you buy the book please leave a review.  Nothing helps promote a new book on line more than good honest reviews.

The book is titled BION [Believe It Or Not] and is book #3 in the Time Travel Mystery Series CUL8R {See you later].  It is tagged as young adult fiction but the vast majority of reviews are adults, age 20 to 60.  The log line of this book is the last line of the blurb. Can she give up everything she has in the present for true love in the past?

BION 071613 Amazon final

BLURB-

Believe it or Not . . . “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls …welcome to the best entertainment money can buy, the Maxwell Brothers Circus!”

Four high school friends are able to do two things no one else on the planet can do . . . talk with dead people and time travel to that past. 

As they slowly turn the dial of their Sprit Radio Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey hear hundreds of sad, lonely voices of souls that have passed but apparently never moved on, pleading for help.

A young woman asks them to find her twin brother Jesse who had run away to the circus in 1927, then disappeared and was never heard from again.  Going back and living with a circus sounds like fun.  Plus an old book provides a glimpse into the past . . . as well as a photo of Jesse.

They discover that circus life is not all glamour and fun; it’s a lot of hard work.  As usual, they jump in and quickly find jobs, places to sleep and new friends.  But most importantly, they find Jesse.  Now all they have to do is keep him alive.

For Zoey, it’s love at first sight.  If they are successful and save his life, will she be able to let him go?  Can she give up everything she has in the present for true love in the past?

And before I tell you about me here is the dedication to BION that would not have happened had it not been for Jackie…

Each book in the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery Series challenges our main characters in different ways and to solve different types of problems.  Some teenagers find themselves as a threat to another person and depending on the situation; could be at risk.  With nothing familiar around them but their friends, their challenge is to take control in order to handle the problem.

 

We set this story in the roaring twenties in the middle of Texas and on the road with the circus playing two shows a day and traveling in luxury by train in converted hospital cars, to the next town.  It is the author’s job to bring the plight of teenage troubles into the light and create a positive role for doing the right thing in their life and for themselves and those around them.

 

This book is dedicated to Showfolks everywhere, especially The Showfolks of Sarasota, an International Alliance of Circus Artists and Executives.  Their generosity and friendliness made us feel like family.   Showfolks are amazing, interesting and talented people and the statement on their website sums it up.  “From performing artists, to office staff, from concessionaires and riggers, to promoters, from circus fans, to local friends, Showfolks members can honestly be proud when they exclaim “This Is What We Accomplished Together.”

 A special thanks to the world’s greatest clown and an adorable gentleman, Jackie LeClaire.  Without his wonderful stories and extreme kindness, this book wouldn’t have the authenticity that we wanted.  It would have been easy to just go on line and research the circus in 1927, but without Jackie, it wouldn’t have had a soul or a heart.  Much love and thanks to you, Jackie.

 

Here’s a little about me.  I am Kathy Clark, a.k.a. Bob Kat has written romance, young adult, romantic suspense and new adult romance for 25 years.  She’s had 23 books traditionally published through Harlequin and others with sales over 3.25 million in total and has indie published her most recent 4 books.  She will release 3 more books in 2013, book #2 in the Romantic Suspense series Denver After Dark, book #3 in the Young Adult Time Travel Mystery Series and book #1 in the New Adult romantic suspense series.  She has been a NY Times Best Selling author, a USA Today recommended author, an RWA RITA award winner and her indie books have won two Best Indie Book of 2013 Awards, a finalist in that competition, a finalist in the Beverly Hills Book Awards and two books are in the finals of the Reader’s Choice 2013 book awards being issued on 9/1/13.

Her website is at http://www.nightwriter93.com

The time travel mystery series website is http://www.cul8rseries.com

Her blog site is at https://kathyclarkauthor.wordpress.com/

All of Kathy’s books on Amazon including the Romance Collections is at http://astore.amazon.com/nightwriter93-20

TWITTER: @93nightwriter

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/kelly.welch.cul8r

Its’ Time To Add another Excerpt to my Romance Back List…CODY’S LAST STAND

Hello…I’m Kathy Clark, author.  Welcome back to my blog site.

Some of you may remember me from long ago…like last century…when traditional publishers such Harlequin published my romance novels and printed them on paper and sold them through bookstores! No?  Maybe you have purchased one of my more recent novels that were released in 2012 and 2013.  No doubt my over 3 million in sales worldwide in paperback were one measure and one cause of the popularity of my new books.  And yes, they’re digital and trade paperback.

Today, I write my Romantic Suspense series, Denver After Dark under my name Kathy Clark and the young adult mystery series, CUL8RTM [See you later] under the pseudonym of Bob Kat.  CUL8RTM is co-written with my husband Bob Wernly.  Starting this fall, the New Adult Romantic Suspense series, Scandals, will be under Kathy Clark.

I am going to take space in this blog to publish excerpts from my romance novel back list to provide as they say, a deeper cut, into the stories beyond the samples provided by Amazon.  I did this last weekend at the virtual eBook Fair and I got great feedback to do more of this. So I will.  Readers rule!

Thank you for stopping…each blog post will have-

  • The summary of the featured book
  • The excerpt from that book
  • A summary of my recent books
  • All the links needed  to find additional information including how to order any of the books

Best wishes,

Kathy Clark

                                              Bob Kat tile


CODY'S LAST STAND 062913 amazon

HERE’S THE SUMMARY OF CODY…

e had the wildness of the prairie in his eyes…the gentleness of a lover in his lips. And on that fateful day at Little Big Horn, Cody took Elizabeth Lawrence captive without firing a shot.

Elizabeth searched high and low for the raven-haired stranger after their timeless encounter. When she met him by chance, she almost wished he was the ghost she’d believed him to be.

Descended from the great chief Sitting Bull, John Cody was as ferociously proud of his Indian heritage as Elizabeth was of her ancestor, George Custer.

A hundred years after the most famous battle of the West, was there any hope that the descendants of two bitter enemies could at last make peace?

In this modern-day Romeo & Juliet tale, Cody and Elizabeth must defy generations of bad blood and families who cannot accept the possibility of their romance. Can the star-crossed lovers survive a war that still rages?

EXCERPT Of CODY…ENJOY!

The friction that had been building during their conversation immediately dispersed, neutralized by her unexpected capitulation and the concentrated power of her smile. Cody rolled onto his side. With his elbow planted on the rock, he propped his head up on his hand. His move had closed the distance between them until he was near enough to see the black spikes radiating from the pupils of her eyes, piercing through the cornflower-blue irises. They were the eyes of a seductress, yet he could see a vulnerability in their depths.

She had removed her hat and left it on the ground next to the rock. A gentle breeze whispered through the pine needles and sent the large, floppy leaves of the cottonwoods into motion. It also feathered through her hair, lifting the strands that had strayed from her ponytail and depositing them across her cheek.

Automatically his free hand moved to brush them away. But as soon as his fingers touched her skin, his control wavered. She was too close and he wanted to taste her lips, lips he knew would be as sweet as honey. Suddenly the differences between Elizabeth’s life and his didn’t seem so important. The fact that she was white and he was Native American was irrelevant when weighed against the overwhelming desire he had to kiss her.

If she had made even the slightest protest, if she had made any move to turn away, he could have stopped. But encouraged by the expectant look in her eyes, he leaned closer. His attention was drawn to the pink tip of her tongue as it raced around her slightly parted lips, leaving behind a moist, shiny trail he could no longer resist.

His fingers tunneled into the hair at her temple, sweeping it off her face and out of his way as his lips touched hers. He meant the contact to be brief. All he wanted was to satisfy his curiosity whether or not anyone or anything could taste as good as she looked.

But once he felt her full mouth beneath his, he knew one kiss would never be enough. His mouth moved over hers, memorizing the shape, savoring the texture and never wanting to leave. How many kisses would it take to satisfy him? Ten? Twenty? Fifty million?

Elizabeth was not remaining passive beneath his caress. There was a passion that rivaled his in the way she returned his kiss. Her hands had found their way to his body, her fingers stroking the tensed muscles of his back. He inched over until his body partially covered hers.

If he thought that would make him more comfortable, he was wrong. The sensation of her firm breasts pressing against his chest made the pressure in his groin almost unbearable. He could not keep from pushing against her, feeling his hardness nuzzle into her softness, even if there were several layers of clothing in between.

Cody didn’t know how much more of this torture he could take. There was a limit to a man’s ability to resist temptation, even a man who prided himself on self-control.

It was time he faced the truth. Cody wanted more than to sample Elizabeth’s lips. Whether it was wrong or right…whether it was temporary or permanent…he had to make love to this most desirable, most inappropriate woman.

The rock was hot and hard beneath her back. The man lying partially on top of her was almost as hot and hard. The excitement of the latter made her forget the discomfort of the former.

His kisses were as wild and passionate as she’d imagined. They were awakening in her sensations that she hadn’t known existed. She’d thought all those stories of being swept away, beyond all control were pure fiction. Until this moment…with this man.

His tongue teased the tender skin of her lips, slipping deeper until it met and mated with her own tongue in seductive strokes. His breath swirled into her open mouth as he refused to break the contact even for the necessary act of breathing.

Elizabeth’s own breaths were coming in shallow gasps. She could have blamed the pressure of his chest on hers, but she knew it was more than that. This was what she had been waiting for from the first time she had seen him, standing before her.

When it came to pure sexuality, her attraction to him was as primitive and unrestrained as the savage she had originally thought him to be. Now that she knew better, she knew how wrong the “savage” moniker was. The man was more intelligent and better educated than most of her very civilized friends.

The memory of his near-naked body glistening in the sunlight heated her from the inside out. Anxious to feel that flesh beneath her fingers, her hands tugged at his shirt until she freed it from his pants. The snaps popped open, leaving his broad chest accessible to her exploratory touch.

As her fingers splayed over the muscled ridges of his rib cage, she could feel the immediacy of his reaction. Lifting his head, he peered down at her, searching her eyes for the depth of her feelings.

“Lady, do you know what you’re doing to me?” he moaned.

Instead of directly answering his question, she demanded in a fervent whisper, “Kiss me….”

I hope you enjoyed this sample from my book.  All of my romance novels are available individually as eBooks on amazon and they have also been republished as Romance Collections with similar books in their original full length and unabridged.  The Romance Collections are at a reduced price and available by going to http://astore.amazon.com/nightwriter93-20 .

Here are a few important links for your use.  Have a great rest of your day.  Again…thanks for stopping.

My author’s website is at http://www.nightwriter93.com

To order any book on Amazon go to http://astore.amazon.com/nightwriter93-20

To contact me my email address is info@nightwriter93.com

Recent books:


AFTER MIDNIGHT REVISED

Romantic Suspense series:           After Midnight, a Denver After Dark Suspense      Book #1

What started as a routine contact stop turned into a brutal double homicide.  Hooker to lover or low-life to no-life. It’s all in his hands.

OMG eBook 3

Young Adult Mystery series:          OMG, A CUL8RTM Time Travel Mystery      Book #1

Albert Einstein said about time travel “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

BRB eBook Cover 2

Young Adult Mystery series:         BRB, A CUL8RTM Time Travel Mystery     Book #2

It’s difficult to investigate a crime that hasn’t happened yet.

 

Life's What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

Life’s What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

New Adult Romance:                   LIFE’S WHAT HAPPENS

How did one night change over a million lives of new adults forever?

TUTORIAL: OMG = Oh My God, BRB = BE Right Back

All four books are available on Amazon at http://astore.amazon.com/nightwriter93-20

Additional details on the CUL8RTM time travel series is at http://www.cul8rseries.com

 

2013 Awards

After Midnight, a Denver After Dark Suspense

First place in the Best Indie Book of 2013 for suspense

Finalist in the Reader’s Choice 2013 Award  for young adult [9/1 final decision]

OMG, A C CUL8RTM Time Travel Mystery

First place in the Best Indie Book of 2013 for young adult

Finalist in the Beverly Hills Book 2013 Awards for young adult

BRB, A CUL8RTM Time Travel Mystery

Named finalist in the Reader’s Choice 2013 Award  [9/1 final decision]

Life’s What Happens

Finalist in the Best Indie Book of 2013 for literature

TUTORIAL: BION =Believe It Or Not

CURRENT PROJECTS


BION eBook 1

BION, A CUL8RTM Time Travel Mystery [Bob Kat]

Estimate a July 28, 2013 release

Cries In The Night, a Denver After Dark Suspense [Kathy Clark]

Estimate a October 1, 2013 release

Scandals, a New Adult Romantic Suspense [Kathy Clark]

Set in Austin, Texas

Estimate a December 1, 2013 release

Check the progress on this blog or Kathy’s website at http://www.nightwriter93.com

Paying It Forward…an excerpt from ANOTHER SUNNY DAY

Hello…I’m Kathy Clark, author.  Welcome back to my blog site.

Some of you may remember me from long ago…like last century…when traditional publishers such Harlequin published my romance novels and printed them on paper and sold them through bookstores! No?  Maybe you have purchased one of my more recent novels that were released in 2012 and 2013.  No doubt my over 3 million in sales worldwide in paperback were one measure and one cause of the popularity of my new books.  And yes, they’re digital and trade paperback.

Today, I write my Romantic Suspense series, Denver After Dark under my name Kathy Clark and the young adult mystery series, CUL8RTM [See you later] under the pseudonym of Bob Kat.  CUL8RTM is co-written with my husband Bob Wernly.  Starting this fall, the New Adult Romantic Suspense series, Scandals, will be under Kathy Clark.

I am going to take space in this blog to publish excerpts from my romance novel back list to provide as they say, a deeper cut, into the stories beyond the samples provided by Amazon.  I did this last weekend at the virtual eBook Fair and I got great feedback to do more of this. So I will.  Readers rule!

Thank you for stopping…each blog post will have-

  • The summary of the featured book
  • The excerpt from that book
  • A summary of my recent books
  • All the links needed  to find additional information including how to order any of the books

Best wishes,

Kathy Clark

Bob Kat tile

Another Sunny Day Cover

SUMMARY

Sarah and Sunny – the Day sisters – identical twins, a dazzling mirror image. It was Sunny who had all the talent and success as a singer. Sarah preferred to work behind the scenes as her sister’s tour assistant. But Sarah is ready to stop touring and make a life of her own. When Sunny commits to a publicity stunt of riding on a trail ride, she begs her sister to take her place, and Sarah reluctantly agrees. Sarah loves horses, and it sounds like a fun adventure.

How could Sarah know that the moment she landed in Houston bewigged, made-up, dressed in Sunny’s typical over-the-top country siren’s costume, a craggy knight in Levi’s and a cowboy hat would hand her a challenge. Tyler Ross dared the “spoiled superstar” to survive the ordeal. How could he know that horses and ranching were more Sarah’s style than star trips? How could she tell him without giving away the masquerade and ruining her sister’s career?

Read Sunny’s story in the sequel GOLDEN DAYS.

ANOTHER SUNNY DAY appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List and reached #3 on Waldenbooks Best Seller List of all paperbacks. When originally published, it sold over 100,000 copies worldwide.

Another Sunny Day 

“I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any pictures of you au naturel.

“I beg your pardon?” she asked, shocked. “I would never agree to do nude photos,” She glared indignantly at him.

“No, wait. I meant without that wig. You really do have beautiful hair.” His approving gaze swept the long, loose length of spun gold that tumbled down around her breasts. “I wonder how many people know what you’ve been hiding all these years,” he speculated, his tone suggesting a more complex curiosity than his words would indicate.

Indirectly he was asking her how many people she had been intimate enough with to share this secret. If only she could get up enough courage to tell him what other secrets were hidden beneath that artificial hairpiece. Not that it was really any of his business, but she couldn’t blame him for asking. If she’d had the nerve to ask, she would have loved to find out the same information about him. Instead “Sunny Day” stayed in character. “Not as many as you might think. Other than my family and my manager, Mack, no one ever sees me without my wig,”

“That makes me special, then, doesn’t it?” he teased lightly, but the joke backfired as her eyes darkened seriously.

“Yes, it does,” she answered softly. Several seconds passed, their gazes locked, with neither daring to say what was foremost in their minds. Sarah moved first, scooting her chair away from the table noisily and walking over, to the sink to rinse out her mug. “It’s setting late. I guess we had better turn in for the night, so if you’ll just go on into the bedroom—”

“The bedroom?” he interrupted, one dark eyebrow arched eloquently.

“Yes, you’ll sleep in the bedroom, and I’ll sleep on the sofa,” she finished hastily.

“Oh.” He tried to hide his disappointment in the sleeping arrangements. “I believe you’ve got it backward, though,” he argued.

“No, I don’t. It’s your camper, and you’re too tall for the sofa, so it’s just common sense for me to sleep on the sofa and let you have the bed.”

“You bullied me into spending the night in this camper, but I refuse to let you give up the bed, and I, as a man, will rough it on the sofa.” His deep voice demanded obedience. ‘”Either that or I’ll sleep in the truck. Then you can sleep in whichever bed you want.”

“Male chauvinist!” she accused.

“Superstar!” he countered.

“All right, take the sofa,” she acquiesced, knowing that if she didn’t, he would make good his threat to go back outside into the bitter cold, sleep in the truck and probably catch the flu—a fate he deserved, but one which she couldn’t wish on him. With a defiant toss of her golden head she flounced gracefully from the room.

An hour later she lay on her back on the big bed, staring into the dark. Her only excuse for her childish behavior was that it had effectively disguised her real feelings. She had narrowly escaped from a very tense sexual confrontation. So why was she still awake, feeling every emotion but satisfaction? Hadn’t she been acting in Sunny’s best interests? Or was she just afraid to admit that her whole body ached for a fulfillment that only this man could provide? She had never been stirred so deeply and passionately, which made her doubly vulnerable. If she overreacted to what she thought was a sexual overture but wasn’t, then he would think she was as loose and forward as her sister had a reputation for being. She tried to remember anything he might have said or done that could give her a clue as to how he felt, but other than their few kisses, his behavior had always been that of a perfect gentleman . . . unfortunately.

From the other room came the sound of Tyler turning over and bumping loudly into the wooden arms at either the head or foot of his too short bed and uttering a most ungentlemanly curse. It served him right, she thought. Apparently he wasn’t getting any more sleep than she was, but it was all his fault. If he had listened to reason, he’d be able to stretch his long frame out on this bed, and she would have been quite comfortable on the smaller sofa.

Maybe now he would be a little more open-minded, she told herself as she got out of bed and flicked on the overhead light. Maybe she could talk him into playing musical beds. That was her only reason for going to see him now, in the middle of the night, wasn’t it? Sarah opened the bedroom door but paused on the threshold.

Tyler saw her immediately and sat up, leaning on one elbow. Shafts of light broke around her body, piercing through the thin gown, making it virtually invisible. Her hair fell around her shoulders and down almost to her elbows in glorious disarray; highlighted from behind like a frothy halo. Her face was in shadow, making it impossible to read her expression, but he sensed a tense indecision. She was like a shy doe, poised for flight at the first sign of danger. He wasn’t sure why she was here, but a wave of passion surged through his body with the power and fierceness of the wild north wind that had shown them no mercy earlier in the day, just as she was showing him no mercy now.

“I couldn’t sleep. I wondered if you . . .” She faltered, all coherent thoughts driven from her mind at the sight of him. The light from her bedroom invaded the dark room, softly illuminating his tanned nude torso in sharp contrast to the whiteness or the sheets.

All his well-planned resolutions flew out the window. His eyes, burning with desire, never left her face as he reached out and pulled back the covers to expose the empty space next to him. “Come here, darlin’,” he invited, his voice deep and gentle as he held out his hand toward her.

Still Sarah hesitated, weighing the possible results against the depth of her desire. What would happen if he should expect the real Sunny, to pick up where they left off after the trail ride was over? Or what if he let something slip to the press that might hurt Sunny’s career? Or what if . . . Suddenly she realized that for this one night she didn’t really care about anything else but Tyler. Regardless of the repercussions, this was her one chance to be where she most wanted to be . . . in his arms. Tonight was their night; she would worry about everything else tomorrow.

With a soft heartfelt sigh she floated across the room and sank into his waiting arms.

His body shuddered with suppressed longing as he looked deeply into her apprehensive eyes. “Are you sure?” he asked tenderly.

“Shh,” she whispered against his lips, her body melting against his warmth. She had gone this far, and she didn’t want to be talked out of it now. This was not the moment for rational thoughts. For once sensible Sarah was going to let her heart rule her head.

Tentatively, not wanting to overwhelm her with the strength of his feelings, Tyler gently kissed her mouth while his hands slowly stroked her body.

But Sarah wanted more. She had been waiting for this moment since she had first been attracted to him at the airport. Boldly her fingertips slid down the hard curve of his side and up the ridge of his hipbone. She savored the rippling waves of muscles in his back and shoulders before her long fingers nested in the thick silken hair at the back of his neck. Her lips pulled him deeper into the kiss, demanding everything he had to give.

“Take it easy. We’ve got all night,” he murmured against her mouth as his hands eased under the hem of her gown, drawing it up and with her help pulling it over her head before tossing it on the floor.

I hope you enjoyed this sample from my book.  All of my romance novels are available individually as eBooks on amazon and they have also been republished as Romance Collections with similar books in their original full length and unabridged.  The Romance Collections are at a reduced price and available by going to http://astore.amazon.com/nightwriter93-20 .

Here are a few important links for your use.  Have a great rest of your day.  Again…thanks for stopping.

My author’s website is at http://www.nightwriter93.com

To order any book on Amazon go to http://astore.amazon.com/nightwriter93-20

To contact me my email address is info@nightwriter93.com

Recent books:

AFTER MIDNIGHT REVISED

Romantic Suspense series:           After Midnight, a Denver After Dark Suspense      Book #1

What started as a routine contact stop turned into a brutal double homicide.  Hooker to lover or low-life to no-life. It’s all in his hands.

OMG eBook 3

Young Adult Mystery series:          OMG, A CUL8RTM Time Travel Mystery      Book #1

Albert Einstein said about time travel “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

BRB eBook Cover 2

Young Adult Mystery series:         BRB, A CUL8RTM Time Travel Mystery     Book #2

It’s difficult to investigate a crime that hasn’t happened yet.

 

Life's What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

Life’s What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

New Adult Romance:                   LIFE’S WHAT HAPPENS

How did one night change over a million lives of new adults forever?

TUTORIAL: OMG = Oh My God, BRB = BE Right Back

All four books are available on Amazon at http://astore.amazon.com/nightwriter93-20

Additional details on the CUL8RTM time travel series is at http://www.cul8rseries.com

 

2013 Awards

After Midnight, a Denver After Dark Suspense

First place in the Best Indie Book of 2013 for suspense

Finalist in the Reader’s Choice 2013 Award  for young adult [9/1 final decision]

OMG, A C CUL8RTM Time Travel Mystery

First place in the Best Indie Book of 2013 for young adult

Finalist in the Beverly Hills Book 2013 Awards for young adult

BRB, A CUL8RTM Time Travel Mystery

Named finalist in the Reader’s Choice 2013 Award  [9/1 final decision]

Life’s What Happens

Finalist in the Best Indie Book of 2013 for literature

TUTORIAL: BION =Believe It Or Not

CURRENT PROJECTS

BION eBook 1

BION, A CUL8RTM Time Travel Mystery [Bob Kat]

Estimate a July 28, 2013 release

Cries In The Night, a Denver After Dark Suspense [Kathy Clark]

Estimate a October 1, 2013 release

Scandals, a New Adult Romantic Suspense [Kathy Clark]

Set in Austin, Texas

Estimate a December 1, 2013 release

Check the progress on this blog or Kathy’s website at http://www.nightwriter93.com

Wowee! We’re Finalists In Two Categories of the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards for 2013!

TAKEN FROM THE PR WEB PRESS RELEASE OF JULY 1, 2013

AFTER MIDNIGHT REVISED

Life on Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado where the story begins.

BRB eBook Cover 2

Time Travel can be murder.

2013 Reader’s Choice Award Finalists announced for Kathy Clark’s After Midnight, a romantic suspense novel and is book #1 in her Denver After Dark series. Kathy co-writes with her husband under the pen name Bob Kat and their second book in their CUL8R [See you later] teen time travel mystery BRB [Be Right Back] was also named a finalist in the Young Adult Mystery category.

“Awards from a professional competition are a great way to help establish credibility
with potential readers,” Kathy said when contacted. “We have been so fortunate to have won or placed as a finalist in all of the contests we have entered this year.”

“We are thrilled to announce two of our books are finalists in the Reader’s Choice Awards for 2013,” Bob added. “These awards give readers an independent recommendation that the books contain a good story, well-told, compared to the other books in the genre. I, too, am very grateful as it validates our work…our creativity.”

BRB [Be Right Back] has been named a finalist in the Young Adult Mystery category and After Midnight in the fiction Adult Suspense in the Readers’ Choice Awards for 2013. The final awards will be announced September 1st.

BRB is the second book in the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery series and joins OMG, book #1, which was a first place winner in The Best Indie Book of 2013 in the Young Adult mystery category. OMG was also a finalist in the Beverly Hills Books Awards in 2013. Book #3, BION [Believe It Or Not] will be released in July, 2013. “This series has been awesome to write and we have several new books plotted and researched,” Kathy noted.
After Midnight had won first place in The Best Indie Book of 2013 earlier in the year. The second book in the Denver After Dark series, Cries In The Night, will be released in late 2013.

All these books can be seen on the author’s website at http://www.nightwriter93.com/ .

The CUL8R Teen Mystery series has its own website at http://www.cul8rseries.com.

All books can be acquired through Amazon at http://astore.amazon.com/nightwriter93-20

Kathy Clark’s first 23 romance / women’s fiction novels were published by several publishers, including Harlequin and Dell and sold more than 3.2 million copies globally in at least 11 different languages. Her books have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today Recommended lists and have received numerous industry awards including Romantic Times Readers’ Choice Awards and numerous regional and state awards.

After several years of writing screenplays she came back to the novel-author role with new skills, insight and storytelling capacity. Kathy Clark still writes adult books but now they are focused on romantic suspense. Book #1 in the Denver After Dark suspense series, After Midnight is about one of three brothers, a cop, and takes place in Denver. The next two books will be about the fireman and the paramedic, all public servants in Denver and will be released during 2013 and early 2014. After Midnight won The Best Indie Book of 2013 award and is a finalist in the Reader’s Choice awards in 2013.

Under the name of Bob Kat, Kathy now writes with husband, Bob Wernly. OMG was first in their new young adult-centered CUL8R Time Travel Mystery series and was recognized as The Best Indie Book.

OMG eBook 3

Book #1 in the CUL8R Teen Time Travel Mystery series, voted best Indie Book in 2013 for young adult / teens

Also in late 2012, Bob Kat published a New Adult Romance that takes place in 1969 – 70.  Every New Adult Romance criteria is fully met and Life’s What Happens is unique in that it is one of the few to not be set in today but is contemporary is very respect.  The story centers on the tumultuous times of 1969 and 1970 at Kent State University and how the New Adults then dealt with the issues and changes of the times.

Life's What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

Life’s What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

2013 is a busy year with third CUL8R young adult mystery time travel series being released in April and book #2 in the Denver After Dark series, Cries In The Night   being worked on daily for an end of year release.  A prolific writer, Kathy, with Bob in a research role, will be releasing a New Adult age novel in a new series SCANDALS  in the fall.

It’s Time To Share; An excerpt from book #1

Hello readers and fans,

With book #3 in the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery series [that’s see you later…] coming out in July we thought it important to share with you excerpts of earlier books.  Today, we’ve updated our author website http://www.nightwriter93.com.  The really big change the announcement of a new series in the fall, 2013.  SCANDALS is a New Adult Romantic Suspense and after 60 pages of writing we can share with you that the millennials are amazing.  A peak at that page is at SCANDALS BABY DADDY

Now, to the first excerpt from book #1, OMG and the reason for the blog this week…

OMG eBook 3

CHAPTER SIX

 THURSDAY

It took every ounce of her resolve, fueled by another look in the mirror at her chubby waistline for Kelly to force herself to do laps.  She had been so tired, that she had slept through her macaw alarm, if he had shown up today.  Aunt Jane was long gone by the time Kelly made it downstairs.  The muscles in her shoulders and legs ached so much, it hurt to reach into the cabinet for a cereal bowl.

But, oddly, after about ten laps, the cool water and the exercise worked out the worst of her soreness.  In spite of her late start, she was still the second to arrive at Scott’s lab shortly before 10 a.m.  Figuring she was expected and after being there the two prior days in a row she went through the gate and opened the lab door rather than knocking.

“Hey Kelly.”

“Sorry I’m late.”

“Are you limping?”  He studied her curiously.

“Austin’s Kon Tiki adventure nearly killed me.”  Kelly grabbed and rubbed her left thigh.  “I know why you stayed back.”

“Kon Tiki?  Isn’t that a little dramatic even for a girl?  How far did you go?”

“We started at the Point Park on the northern end and paddled to the Fishing Pier, then back.”

Scott looked impressed.  “That’s about a mile each way.  How was it?”

“The boarding wasn’t all that hard.  I fell only twice, which I think was pretty good.  It’s a lot different than surfing.”

“Sounds like a lot of work.”

“I used muscles I didn’t know I had.  But don’t say anything to Austin about that.  I don’t want him to think it was too hardcore my first day out.”

“So, you’re going to go back?”

“Yeah, I enjoyed it.  I’ve just got to get into better shape, I guess.”

The door opened and Austin entered.  “Hey guys.  Man, I was sore last night stocking shelves.  I thought I was in shape to board a couple of miles.  How about you, Kel?”

“I thought that football players were tough guys.”  Kelly smiled and winked at Scott.

Austin gave her a suspicious look.  “Are you telling me that you aren’t sore today?”

She laughed.  “I’d be lying if I did.  But it was a lot of fun.  I want to do it again . . . just not today . . . or tomorrow.”

Scott had lost patience with the discussion.  “When you old folks can stop talking about your aches and pains, I’m ready to get to work.  I was at the antenna thing until midnight.”

“What did you do?” Austin asked.

“I redid the antenna on the roof of the shop and made it exactly the length needed to match the radio’s tuner.”

Kelly noticed Austin wasn’t following Scott’s explanation.  “He meant the three to five kilohertz frequency band that Edison figured spirits communicated on,” she tried to clarify, although she only knew the facts, not the science behind them.

Scott looked at Kelly and raised his eyebrows and nodded.  “That’s right.  I think we’re all set.  The tubes are hot.”

“I think Kelly should do the talking,” Austin commented.  “That girl or whatever she was seemed to respond well to her.”

“Okay.”  Kelly sat down near the microphone.

As the Spirit Radio tubes glowed red, Kelly could feel the heat radiate from the vacuum tubes.  Just like before, the static and whistles and scores of voices began to fade in and out as conversations began and ended mid-sentence.  It was like walking through Grand Central Station at rush hour and trying to pick up on a single voice from the crowd.

Kelly depressed the microphone button.  “Wendy . . . Wendy can you hear me?  This is Kelly, Wendy, are you there?”  She released the button.

Austin, Scott and Kelly waited patiently for Wendy to answer back.  Kelly tried again and again.  Austin began to pace around the small room and Scott checked and double-checked his antenna connections.

Suddenly a voice separated from the rest.  “Kelly . . . Kelly?”  The voice faded, then surged again.  “Kelly . . . this is Wendy . . . I’m sorry . . .”  Her voice was overtaken by a younger man’s voice who sounded as if he was crying and apologizing for something.

“Is there anything you can do, Scott?” Austin asked.

“Kelly, ask her where she lived and when,” Scott prompted.

“Wendy, are you dead?” Kelly asked, needing to have some sort of conformation.  She still wasn’t sure she believed this whole talking to the dead premise.

“I died in . . . 66.”  The static swelled, crackling from the speakers.  Wendy’s voice pushed its way through, “. . . South Beach . . .”

“Wendy, was that in Fort Myers?”

More voices, then Wendy’s surged, stronger than ever. “. . . I couldn’t graduate . . . I thought he loved . . .”   Wendy’s voice fades.

“Was that South Beach High in Fort Myers?  Did you live here?  Wendy . . . please answer me!”  Kelly let her head fall against her hand, exhausted emotionally and physically.

A burst of static and the voices ebbed.  Wendy’s voice came forward. “South Beach . . . . Fort Myers . . . help me.”

In unison Scott, Austin and Kelly turned and faced each another. Their eyes were wide and mirrored their shock and confusion.

“Is it possible?” Kelly asked.  “How can we check this out?”

Austin threw his hands up in exasperation.  “It could be 1966 or 1866 or 1766.  Or that might have been some sort of address.  Where do we start?”

“It’s probably not 1866 or earlier because Fort Myers wasn’t established until around 1886.  The original South Beach High School was built in 1926.  All grades from kindergarten through high school were all in the same building.  They separated into separate campuses in 1959, so it has to be 1966.”

Austin and Kelly stared at Scott.  “How do you know all that stuff?” Austin asked incredulously.

Scott didn’t appear to hear the question.  He was deep in thought and trying to mull through the mystery.  “If we could get a whole name, we could look it up on the internet.”  Suddenly, his expression brightened.  “1966, South Beach High?  Kelly, weren’t there some old yearbooks in your garage?  Your grandmother would have been about that age.”

“This is sick,” Austin said with growing excitement. Even he was beginning to buy in to the possibility that they had been talking to a dead girl.

Like ants to sugar Scott and Austin followed Kelly as they paraded out of Scott’s lab, down the drive, across Aunt Jane’s grass and to the garage doors.  Her aunt had given her the combination to the keypad outside, and she punched in the code.  They waited anxiously as the door slowly rose in front of them.

Scott walked straight to the exact row and box holding the South Beach yearbooks.  “It’s the third one from the top in that stack.”

“Mind like a steel trap,” Austin muttered, but he was clearly impressed with his friend.

Austin ignored his sore muscles as he removed the top two boxes and set them aside.  He picked up the third box and placed it on the floor where Kelly had made a space.  They all three crowded around as Kelly opened the lid off the storage box.

“1964 . . . 1965 . . . here it is, 1966.”  She handed one of the earlier ones to Austin and the other one to Scott, and she took the one from 1966.  They unfolded three lawn chairs, sat down and started the tedious task of looking through every class for someone named Wendy.

“I found her,” Kelly exclaimed.  “Look, here’s a whole page in memoriam to a Wendy Summers.”

Austin and Scott leaned over to see the page.

“It doesn’t say why she died,” Scott noted.

“She was hot,” Austin said.  Kelly and Scott frowned at him.  He picked up his yearbook and started looking for her in it.

Kelly flipped to the appendix in the back of the book and looked down the columns of names for Wendy Summers’ name. “She was pretty active in school.  She’s on five other pages.”  Kelly searched for the pages listed.  “Cheerleader.”  A couple pages forward.  “Homecoming queen.”  Kelly found the third page.  “President of the drama club.”  She found the fourth page.  “Debate team.”  Kelly leafed through to where her senior picture was.  “And her senior picture.”

“She was on the homecoming court when she was a sophomore,” Scott said as he pointed to a picture of a smiling young woman being presented with a bouquet on the football field at half time.”

“She was junior prom queen in May, 1966,” Austin said.  “That means she died in the fall of her senior year.”

Kelly had turned back to the memoriam page and read aloud, “In Memoriam, Wendy Summers, 1949 to 1966.  We will never forget her life and the joy she brought to all of us every day.  She will remain in our thoughts and prayers forever.”

They sat there in silence.  The warm South Florida sun now angled into the garage and they were all lost in their own thoughts.

“Don’t you wonder why she died so young?  What happened?  Why did she keep asking for help and saying she didn’t do it?”  Kelly asked.

Check back and an excerpt to book #2, BRB [Be right back] will be up…and look for BION [Believe It Or Not] in July.