Based On Your Votes
Thanks for your votes on the next novel in the Corps Justice series. Based on your feedback, National Burden is in the works. Tentative release date will be sometime in May 2014.
What Did You Think?
Hopefully you've had time to read Presidential Shift by now. I've gotten great feedback from some of you. Thank you.
If you haven't written a review yet, I'd love one. Here's the direct link for you: http://amzn.com/B00IFTSTTC
I've had some great conversations with Student Veterans of America, United States War Dog Association and Adventuro-us. Check out the interviews and spread the word about these awesome organizations run by fellow veterans.
With The Editor
Adrift survived Round 1 of proofing and is now with my editor. If all goes to plan, you'll have the new Daniel "Snake Eyes" Briggs installment at the end of March. Here's the first chapter:
Chapter 1 (Unedited)
Your fault. The accusation floated along the edges of my subconscious, teasing me, blaming me, haunting me. I moved to swat the thought away, but my hand smacked into something hard. Wincing, I tried to open my eyes. They felt caked closed, rebelling from the night before.
The smell of must and dirt made their way into my muted senses. Finally cracking my lids open, I saw that I was lying on my side, facing a hay bale. I tried to rise, my stomach lurching at the movement. I closed my eyes again, willing the nausea to subside even as the spike headache stabbed painfully. Where was I?
After a few deep breaths, I eased to my feet, clutching a moldy wood railing for support. Tongue scraping along my parched lips, I looked around, squinting at the bright rays of sunshine streaming in through a crack near the door.
“He’s around here somewhere,” came the shout from the sunlit morning.
“Let’s check in the barn.”
I ducked behind two stacked hay bales just as three figures stepped into the barn, cautiously peering into the relative darkness. As my vision adjusted, I saw that one of the guys, a hulking figure in overalls, had a bandage covering his nose, the next one, almost a twin to his buddy, had his arm wrapped in a sling. The others looking healthy, one sporting a baseball bat, the other a long crowbar. By their appearance, they looked like brothers, or at least cousins.
“You two look behind the hay, I’ll take a look up in the loft,” Mr. Busted Nose whispered harshly.
They’d find me in a second, and I didn’t want to hide.
“You guys looking for me?” I asked innocently, standing up, stretching with a yawn.
Their eyes whipped around at the sound of my voice. “You’ve got some payback coming, boy,” said the leader.
“I’m sure we can talk about this, fellas. Why don’t…” I started as the farmboys cut off my lanes of retreat.
“Ain’t gonna be that easy. You broke my nose and busted Honey’s shoulder. There’s…”
“Wait, his name is Honey?”
Honey’s face turned beet red. “Let me take him, Johnny. I swear he’s…”
“I told you he’s mine,” said Johnny, slowly pulling an old revolver out of his pocket. “Now, it’s up to you whether you just lose your pecker or I fucking kill you.”
I raised my hands, not wanting a fight, wondering if my weakened body would respond to commands. “I don’t want any trouble, why don’t I just walk away before we do something stupid.”
“You shoulda thought of that last night, faggot. Tell you what, I’ll give you a chance. You take my cousins and win, then maybe I’ll let you walk away.”
I looked over at his cousins, noticing the bulbous nose of one and the cauliflower ears of the other. They were fighters. “Let me guess, boxer and wrestler?”
The cousins both smiled wickedly, showing off their yellowed teeth. Surprising they still had them all.
“Doesn’t seem fair to me,” I said. “I’d be happy to pay for…”
Without warning, the boxer cousin charged, swinging his baseball bat, aimed straight at my pounding head. Click.
My mind switched and reflexes took over. Crouching under the lumbering swing, my fist smashed into his groin, his momentum taking him over my right shoulder. One down.
Cousin #2 roared, but came on more tentatively, sobered by the easy takedown of #1. Thwap. Thunk, thwap, came the swings, hitting the elevated hay bales and railing, narrowly missing my dodging body. He was methodical, slowly corralling me into a corner.
The chop came, and I stepped into it, catching his hands overhead, a dribble of tobacco juice seeping out of his grimacing mouth. We struggled there for a moment, knowing that in a straight up strength contest, #2 would win. Not a possibility. I stepped wide with my left foot, swung my right leg behind him, and kicked back, pulled forward with my arms, flipping him over my right hip.
He landed with a thud, barely stunned, but I was on top. Take out the threat, came the order. #2 looked up, eyes wide, seeing the demon in my eyes, hand cocked, ready to deliver the death blow.
“I think that’s enough,” came a deep voice, followed by the rack of a shotgun shell.
I didn’t lift my eyes, still poised to strike, seething.
“Let him go, son,” came the order from whoever had entered the fray.
It took an extended moment. Inside, I uncoiled, easing off my opponent.
“Now look here, Mr. Herndon, this guy attacked us…”
“Let me guess. This happened at Pappy’s last night?”
“Yes, sir. Sent me to the hospital with a broken nose, and Honey with a bum shoulder.”
“Seems like I already heard the story, Johnny. A little bird told me you boys were harassing that pretty little waitress and this kid stepped in. Now, you gonna tell me that didn’t happen?”
“That’s what I thought. Why don’t you take your cousins on out of here. Enough fun for one day.”
“I said, get your tails off my property. I could just as easily call the sheriff for trespassing and assault. Your choice.”
The leader of the redneck band grumbled, but ended up gathering the wounded and headed out the barn door...