Category: Excerpts


(Releasing June 15th – Available for pre-order at Amazon)

CHAPTER  ONE

SARD LOPED ALONG BESIDE THE MOUNTAIN stream before angling away to start across the forest clearing that it tumbled through.

His hope that he’d finally lost the three men who’d chased him for a mile went unfulfilled but good instincts, great eyesight, marvelous reflexes, and a good deal of luck, saved him.

His instincts made him look toward the nearby trees on his left where he saw one of the followers step into the clearing and hurl a spear in his direction.

As the missile split the air on its path toward him, he avoided it by dancing to his right. With a practiced motion, he slid his knife from its sheath and snapped his wrist, propelling the honed weapon toward the spear-thrower catching him in the throat. The man collapsed without a sound.

At the same time, another assailant emerged from the trees at a run, axe upraised as he covered the twenty feet or so to where Sard crouched, but Sard had already pulled his own axe from its holder, and he dodged the blow of the fast moving figure. He swung at the attacker but only hit his weapon which sent it flying from his hand.

The man howled and snatched at Sard’s axe trying to wrest it away, but Sard doggedly held on and swept his legs, causing the assailant to fall, still howling. However, he clung to the axe handle and as he went crashing to the ground he dragged Sard down with him.

Sard landed on top knocking the wind out of his attacker, and the man lost his grip on the axe. He sucked in a breath and screamed, his eyes going wide as Sard brought the sharp-edged weapon down hard, silencing him mid-howl as his forehead split open from the force of the blow.

That’s when the third man who’d been trailing the other two ran from the forest shrieking, and cast his spear. Sard saw it coming and flattened himself against the dead man. The spear sailed over him and came to rest somewhere to his rear. Tugging his axe free and rolling away from the motionless body, he was scrambling to get to his feet and was still on one knee when, knife in hand and yelling, the wild-eyed assailant tackled and bowled him over causing him to lose his grip on the axe which flew from his hand and went skidding across the ground.

Stones dug into Sard’s back as he caught the hand that held the knife, preventing a slash to his throat. They went rolling over the blood-spattered terrain, the man hanging on to his knife, Sard trying to gain possession of it. One more roll and the man was on top of him, but Sard gave a forceful heave and tossed him over his head. He quickly scrambled to his feet, but so did the attacker who still had a grip on the knife.

Sard noted that the man seemed inexpert, holding the knife awkwardly, but he knew that wouldn’t matter in the end if he didn’t stay alert. He was tiring with sweat stinging his eyes but he watched his opponent’s hand, preparing to avoid the knife if he threw it. He was good at dodging and that would give him an even chance since the man didn’t appear to have another weapon. He could still get out of the struggle alive.

However, the man hung on to his knife and glaring at Sard, crouched as if preparing to spring. As Sard stared back bracing himself for the attack, his foot bumped something in the grass, and a quick flick of his eyes showed him his axe. Straining to keep his mind clear, he watched for his chance to grab it.

The man suddenly yelled and rushed him, knife upraised. Sard, acting fast, scooped up the axe and danced aside while swinging the weapon. It was a maneuver that might’ve worked better if his foot hadn’t hit a patch of the blood-slickened grass causing the axe to whiz past his intended mark as he slipped awkwardly to one knee. He grasped his axe tightly and hung on to it.

Swaying backward as the man clumsily thrust the knife toward his chest, Sard grabbed his hand forcing it down and away, a move that saved his heart but the assailant punched him on the side of the head making his ears ring, and he lost his grip on the man’s knife hand. Though he managed to hang on to his axe, he was unable to keep the knife blade from continuing its downward plunge and penetrating his left thigh.

He shoved his attacker away hard and retaliated, swinging his axe out and opening up his belly. The man gave a harsh gasp and fell to his knees clutching his middle as intestines came sliding out in a rush of gore, and Sard, his energy nearly depleted, used both hands and put all the muscle he could into it as he swung again, this time across the man’s neck nearly decapitating him.

A bright plume of red sprayed forth as he dropped to the ground with his head at an unnatural angle and lay still, his eyes already glazing over as he stared into eternity. Sard, covered in blood and gulping in deep breaths of air, went over on his hands and knees.

He tried to stand but realized the knife was still embedded in his thigh, sticking out like some sudden obscene growth. He’d felt it go in but oddly, it had only felt as if he’d taken a hard punch. He grasped it and pulled it out. Blood spurted bringing with it a blast of the pain he hadn’t felt before. He clutched his thigh and fell back, overcome with dizziness.

He lay there for a moment before rising up on shaky elbows, and through the sweat running into his eyes, he strained to see the wound. The pain was horrible but the blood had ceased spurting and the flow was ebbing to a trickle. It was an indication that the wound might not be as bad as it felt. But his body was leaden and his stomach roiled, and with a sudden rush of nausea he rolled over and vomited in the grass. Head swimming, his strength drained, he crawled unsteadily over to the nearby stream and tumbled in.

He barely felt the shock of the cold water as the bright day grayed out around him.

Three stories in one…

 

Trilogy of Quiet SW

A Short Trilogy of Quiet – contains the three stories of the Cady and Sam series – Only 2.19! Or buy them separately (see below)

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Excerpt from chapter 2 of  “Interruptions” (FREE as a single at Smashwords, no coupon needed. Also free at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple iBooks)

 

“I recognize that car, Cadence.  It was parked beside mine at the Harris-Teeter,” she whispered in that breathless voice.  She had her cell ‘phone out and was turning it around trying to detect a signal.

I looked at the car, and could see why it would be recognizable.  Damned thing was a real rust bucket with flaking green paint, and the grill looked as if it had tangled with a pole or a tree at some point and then pulled back out into some half-assed semblance of straight.  Eloise had probably been relieved that whoever owned it hadn’t slammed the door into her Mercedes.

The door opened, and a big, burly guy stepped out.  “You ladies need some help?” he asked, languidly.  I could see two other heads in the car and the door opened out on the other side.

Uh-oh.  I smelled them and knew.  In my mind I said: Sam, we got a problem.

How many?  he asked the same way.  He knew I wouldn’t call him without a good reason.  I could handle three regular human guys.  These guys were not human.  I surreptitiously sniffed again, to be sure of exactly what they were.  Ghouls.  I wondered, absently, why the hell they were bothering Eloise.

Three big ghouls, SamGet here fast.  “Eloise,” I said quietly, “Get behind me.  Don’t say anything.  Let me do the talking.  I don’t think they’re here to help.”  They were probably the ones who’d put the antifreeze in her tank.

Taking Annamae next door, Babes, then I’m on my way.  Hang tough, he said.  Good daddy.  He wasn’t about to leave our kid in the house alone even though it would delay him a few minutes.

The big guy walked over to us swaggering a little.  I could see the two others coming around the car to start across the road.  They were nearly as big as the first one.  They were confident they had this.  Ghouls can’t smell worth a crap so no way they knew what I was.  Some paras  can tell even if they can’t smell, but ghouls can’t.

I’m small as a human, though even then I’m stronger than I look.  When I’m outside my neighborhood, I often pretend to struggle with heavy objects, just so I don’t get strange looks.  I’m a not-so-small wolf, and even stronger then.  I could probably take on three little ones though it wouldn’t be easy, but three big ghouls was a whole different bucket of bolts.  I could have taken one of them, maybe even two, but three this size especially with Eloise to look out for – not so much.  And I knew I’d have to change.  I hoped it wouldn’t scare the bejeezus out of Eloise.  Maybe she’d just faint and roll under the car or something.  Still, I wasn’t changing until I had to.  Even though it’s fast, it hurts like a sonofabitch.

“We’re fine, sir,” I said as if I didn’t know what he was.  “My husband is on his way.”

They looked at each other and grinned – horribly.  Behind me, I heard Eloise gasp.  Yeah, razor sharp teeth.  She hadn’t seen yet, that they also had very long claws.

“Oh, we’ll just wait right here with you, then,” he drawled, “just to make sure you’re…safe.”  The other two snickered.  I could see their pointed teeth gleaming in the faint light from the far off street lamp.

They were trying to get us rattled to heighten our fear.  They got off on it.  I backed into Eloise as they came closer, and I could feel her shaking.  I could smell her fear, too.  Damn.  That was just going to excite them even more.  “If you don’t mind, sir, please stop right there,” I requested politely.

I’m on my way, dear, keep ‘em talking if you can, sent Sam.

Trying, but I think they’re about to attack, I sent back just as the big one abruptly moved fast, coming at me like a suddenly unleashed pit-bull, claws extended.

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Excerpt from chapter 3 of  “Living in the Moment” (.99 at Smashwords as a single)

 

I bounded forward and went through the broken door after the ghoul.  Very faintly, I could hear Eloise screaming.  She was in a safe room.  Too bad she didn’t have sense enough to be quiet so that the ghoul would have to hunt for her instead of just going up and starting to rip at the wall.

I started for him, but suddenly smelled one of the vampires.  I needed to take it out first.  I hoped the ghoul wouldn’t get into Eloise’s safe room, and turned to find the vampire.

I couldn’t see it, well, actually it was a “her”, but I knew where she was, and jumped at what appeared to be thin air, hitting Miss Fang and knocking her against the wall, which jarred her back to visibility.

She screeched and grabbed me around the neck, trying to pull my head off.  I did my twist and slipped out of her grip, and bit her right leg off.  I felt something rush past me as the vampire jumped up balancing on her remaining leg.  Boy was she pissed.  Those take a while to grow back.

She changed into that huge bat-thingy with three-inch fangs they can become, and came at me.  That was a bad move on her part.  Not enough room to stretch those wings out.  She must have been relatively young or she wouldn’t have tried something like that in an enclosed area, anyway.  It was the last change she ever made.

She fell forward, and we went tumbling through the living room, she trying to sink her fangs into me as we rolled, me trying to avoid that and get mine into her.  We bumped and crashed into just about everything in that poor room, each trying to get the upper hand.  Eloise’s stuff was taking an awful beating.

We separated, and she immediately hopped at me on her one leg, missed, and skidded into the crushed coffee table.  I jumped on her back, grabbing the back of her neck in my fangs, and bit her head off.  I batted the head farther into the living room and plunged my claws into her chest.  Taking her head off would kill her, but I wanted to be sure.  She started crumbling into a pile of dust.  Okay, beg pardon.  That was the last change she ever made.

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Excerpt from chapter 2 of  “A Blankie for Baby” (1.99 at Smashwords as a single)

 

“Fight’s in the woods to the left!” I yelled, turning and running the few feet to the tree line.

As soon as we passed the first trees, I shucked my clothes and changed on the run, and from the grunts I heard, so did the other three.  The transformation is always instantaneous and painful.  You get used to it after a while but it can still wring a groan or two from you sometimes.

As a wolf, I was just as large as the male and a lot bigger than the females.  I could tell they were surprised but we all kept running toward the sound of the fighting.

We burst through the trees and into a clearing to see three werewolves surrounded by a slew of ghouls and several…things.  From the shriveled remains on the ground in various places, there had been more ghouls, and from the ugly sulfurous smell lingering in the air, the things were demons.

I jumped on the back of a big bruiser of a ghoul, extended my claws and ripped his back open.  My claws shredded his heart, and I quickly flipped the remains away and whipped around to find myself facing one of the demon thingies.  Shit. Shit. Shit.  I abhorred demons.

My face and head had been ripped open by a demon during that battle over eleven years ago, and my scar was now throbbing as if in memory of it.  We circled, each looking for an opening, some kind of weakness.

Cady, they’re minor demonsI dispatched one by hamstringing it.  Go for its legs!  Sam sent urgently.

Trying, I sent.

I darted in snapping at its ankles and dodged away just as it grew rapier sharp blades from its fingers and swiped at me.  Yikes.  Shades of Wolverine!  Fucking copy-cat!  I rushed back in between its legs and it stumbled.  Yes!  I twisted around and grabbed its scabrous looking calf in my jaws and bit down – yuck it tasted awful – it screeched out in a high pitched whistle and brought those blades down again but I was already moving and it only managed to clip some of the fur on the left side of my head.  Damn.

If I survived this, I was going to have to even up my hair on the other side.  Good thing I wore it short.

I saw the smoky fumes coming from the holes I’d put in its calf and I did a roll and wriggle and grabbed the other leg and bit through its ankle.  Its foot came off amid more reeking fumes and the demon vanished, dispatched back to Hell.  Whew.

Something smacked me in the top of the head and though I was seeing stars, I pushed off and twisted around to see a ghoul drawing back his ham fist to have another try at busting my head open.  He must not have been too experienced at this.  Everybody knew you couldn’t bash a werewolf’s head open that way.  Skull’s too hard.

I whipped around and extended my claws and the ghoul looked at me in shock.  That claw-extension thing of mine takes ‘em by surprise, sometimes.

The dumb-shit goon yelled, with indignation: “You ain’t no damned cat! How th’ hell…!” He didn’t get any further with that thought as my not-supposed-to-be-able-to-be-extended claws took his head off just then, as I leaped high and swiped hard.  Then I opened his chest up and pulled his heart out and tossed it into the trees.  The ghoul immediately began that shriveling thing they do when killed.

Stupid-ass.  Who the hell stops to get outraged during a fight to the death?

 

 

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