10 #Books for #Christmas #Gifts from my #Reviews this year.

Looking for a last minute present for Christmas?

Want a great book?

Need a gift to put you into that FREE Shipping range?

Here are my suggestions from my reviews this year. Click the links for the reviews. Or click the book image to go to Amazon.

10 Book Ideas for Christmas

Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire FullertonLiterary Fiction, Ireland, Contemporary

#Book Review of Dancing to an Irish Reel by @cfullerton3

“You might at times want to hit Liam over the head with something, like his accordion, but then, he is a man, it’s love, and he’s young, so what else would you expect? And that is one thing that makes this book real and allows the reader to connect with it. No one is perfect in the book. “

The Judas Apocalypse by Dan McNeilHistorical Fiction, Adventure, Archaeology, WWII

The Judas Apocalypse by @DanMcNeil888 “At times his encounters are humorous, deadly, and explosive.”

“He’s been referred to as the new Dan on the block of historical fiction conspiracy theories. I don’t agree. Dan McNeil handles his subject with a better hand than Brown ever has. Yeah, sure, you want to knock him across the room at times but who doesn’t want to read something that gets them on an emotional level at times? If you want a fluff read, skip this review. McNeil isn’t about fluff.”

Sex and Samosas book cover by Author Jasmine AzizMarriage, Relationships, Humor, Self Discovery

#Book Review by @RonovanWrites of Sex & Samosas by Author @JasmineAziz

“Nothing is perfect. Sex isn’t perfect like a scripted movie. Things happen, and man, I am still dying over the what I call ‘on fire’ part of the book.”

Jesus vs. Santa: Christmas Misunderstood by Jason E. RoyleChristian, Inspiration, and Parenting.

Jesus vs. Santa: Christmas Misunderstood by @JERoyle #Book Review by @RonovanWrites

“You’ll learn where the answer to how we handle the issue of Santa with our kids begins. A great deal of what you find in Jesus vs. Santa you can use in everyday life with not only your children, but yourself as well.”

jason royle

Judas: Hero Misunderstood by @JERoyle

“The style he chose to use is contemporary in the use of language and symbolism in order for anyone today to relate and connect to the story. Unlike many other takes that are similar to what Royle has done you don’t get a preachy style. At the very end, after the story is all done and over with, you receive a look at passages from the Bible to show you what may or may not bring credence to what Royle has written.”

alesha escobarFantasy, Vampires, WWII, Magic, Wizards, Adult

#Book #Review of The Tower’s Alchemist The Gray Tower Trilogy Book 1 by Alesha Escobar @The_GrayTower

“Isabella George is not your typical spy. For one she’s a female spy in WWII sneaking in to German occupied France. Yes, there were female spies but not the norm in literature of this type. And for another thing, she’s a wizard. Her mission in this first book of the Gray Tower Trilogy is to find and bring home the wizard creating a chemical weapon for the Nazis. But would it be a book worth a Trilogy if it were that simple?”

Levant Mirage by Oliver F. ChaseAction, Adventure, Terroists

Levant Mirage by @OliverFChase “It’s so possible, it’s scary.” #Book Review

“Levant Mirage takes snapshots from the headlines of the past few years to build a character and combines it with frighteningly realistic possibilities to give a story you pray never happens.”

Close Up on Murder by Linda TownsdinMystery, Suspense

Close Up on Murder by Linda Townsdin @ltownsdin. A #BookReview.

“Levant Mirage takes snapshots from the headlines of the past few years to build a character and combines it with frighteningly realistic possibilities to give a story you pray never happens.”

ali isaac jane doughertyIrish Mythology, Folklore, Short Story Collection

#BookWorm @RonovanWrites Review Grá mo Chroí Love Stories from Irish Myth @aliisaac_ & @MJDougherty33

“The stories are of love and tragedy and more. I felt while reading the stories I was reading not about people in a book, or about love between two people and what befalls them but the love of a people for their homeland and their culture and the tragedies they faced throughout the ages. Yes, it hit me where it hurt, or it felt. Got me in the heart. “

A Haiku Perspective by Annette Rochelle AbenPoetry, Haiku

New Book! A Haiku Perspective by Annette Rochelle Aben @YouAreTheExpert

“Welcome to my haiku perspective on life. It is easy to enjoy this book because haiku flows, which means it can be experienced effortlessly. Perhaps reading this book will open up some creative energy within you and if so, you will share your haiku as well. Those who live to express themselves with words, craft a world using the alphabet, are giving life to imagination and thought.”

© Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.com 2015

A beauty so high.

Stoneworth didn’t give a fig about life. As far as he was concerned it could end in a breath and that would be just fine with him. He had lived long enough and life was a bunch of bull. Every step he took he stepped in a big pile of a reminder of it.

“Mr. Stoneworth, may I have your autograph, please,” said the young girl.

Stoneworth looked at the book and pen offered. Gritting his teeth he put on his best fake grin and signed one of his somehow formulaic but popular mysteries. If he thought it all was crap then why did he care if the girl was happy or not? Perhaps he didn’t want it to be all bad, maybe he wanted a sign of something good. Or maybe he wanted to pay bills until the crap buried him.

He left the tip on the table and then the cafe behind. His burger was not even half eaten. It was not a normal bull day.

It was worse. It was like rodeo week and he was the head scooper.

He should have stayed home and eaten the frozen Chinese dinner. It would match the frozen ears he had from the early winter wind. His work was now going to suck the rest of the day and night and he was going to be hungry. Any flow of plot he had was gone. And he had a deadline. Ten days or death would be knocking at his door. Either death or his agent. They looked about the same.

His apartment smelled like burnt hot chocolate, not coffee. He had tried the stuff but couldn’t drink it until it had enough milk, sugar and chocolate syrup in it to taste like hot chocolate. Why waste the time and the money? Just cut out the middle men.

He looked at the wall thermostat and the screwed on lock box. Freaking landlord. 65 degrees. He left his coat on and turned the small electric heater on. He let it oscillate just to have some noise in the place.

Even though he knew his purpose of the day was ruined he sat down at the laptop anyway. The 1 appeared at the top of one tab of the many opened in his browser for research on ancient Central American civilizations. His thoughts improved with hope.

He had mail. The list of songs were long and not quite his usual fare but he listened. She had sent them. He didn’t listen to much music. It caused headaches. But from her, the headaches didn’t happen. They inspired him.

My beauty has given a gift to me

One I don’t often have time to take

It could not be more sweet and dear

Unless the music her own fingers did make

How is one so beautiful

How is she in my life

If by chance life did change

“Stoneworth!”

He looked up at the ghastly form approaching. He stared through it. Why would it not leave him be? The ghost of a past that was no longer his. All he wanted was the now, the reality of what is.

He did not need what was the never was. He closed his eyes and pressed his hands together until his fingers turned white. The music started again in his ears.

“Worthless! Invalid!”

Stoneworth moved his hands to his ears and pressed hard. Forcing the music in. Driving the hate away.

The pain seared through his brain and down his spine. Cackling laughter reached his now unprotected ears. He slowly sank to the floor unable to control his movements. His body arched as spasms began.

Laughter.

Music.

Laughter.

He shut his eyes tight. Focus on her eyes, those brown eyes, focus. The cackling continued. The pain continued. But suddenly he did not care. He felt warmth touch his skin. A smile crossed his face. It didn’t matter. There was a light he could see now for the first time. And music. He was climbing higher and higher. His dream was there, higher than he had ever been before. A beauty like he would never witness again.

**

“What happened?”

“I don’t know officer. I came in when he missed his deadline for a book he was writing and found him.”

“Did you turn that heater on?”

“No officer. It was already going. I moved it away from his face though. It was really close.”

“Well, it looks like a heart attack.”

“He always said that’s how he would go.”

“Well, this looks like another case he solved before he ever got a chance to write it.”

stoneworth

Ronovan

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© Copyright-All rights reserved by ronovanwrites.wordpress.com 2014

Hugh is Disappearing! What does Ronovan Do?: The LAW comes to town.

To come in at the beginning, although it’s not a must you might want to start with:

When Ronovan Met Miss Maple (On Skype) Part 1 – A Response to Ronovan at Ronovan Writes

By Hugh Roberts of Hugh’s Views & News

And then my part in response to him:

Extra! Extra! Rose & Ghun Bust Hugh Roberts For Letter Hoarding!

I was rubbing my eyes from lack of sleep when Miss Maypole blurted out we were losing Hugh. When I looked back to the screen they had disconnected. I guess they were getting in touch with that Eloise Mellow person.

 

Losing Hugh was not really a pleasing idea. I still had his different hats he sent me for my son B’s school project. Hugh had seemed very fond of the Native American war bonnet. Sometimes I just didn’t ask. I had already seen Hugh dancing and the imagery was too vivid to go there. I had seen his anxious look when he saw the hats earlier.

Hugh Loaded

Plus I had to admit, Hugh was a sexy man. (Did I say that out loud or was that a thought? It’s fine, I’m in touch with my masculinity and that other side of me. Brad Pitt’s hot and so is that Robert Downey Iron Man dude in a Weird Science kind of way.)

 

I did what I had to do, I flipped open my battered blue cased cell and hit the last number dialed. (Yes, I said flipped opened.)

 

“Ron, we’re already out of town,” said Rose.

 

“I know but things are getting worse. They tell me my h’s are missing now and if something isn’t done Hugh will disappear.”

 

There was silence for a moment on the other end of the line. Then I heard a lot of noise, a few screams, and possibly what I would have sworn was a grown man begging. “Ron, sorry but we can’t help you this time. We’re kind of busy. Call the LAW,” said Rose.

 

“LAW?” I asked. “The police?”

 

“No, the LAW, League of Awesome Women and they should be able to handle this. Listen, I’ll give them a call and they’ll be in contact with y . . . Ghun! Get him! Nooo not on the leather seats. Blood gets in the seams. Aw . . . man.” The phone went silent.

 

I held the phone frozen in place, wondering what I was getting into. LAW, Grammar Black Market, and I had to worry about sending Hugh back his Village People props, he had said something about doing a mix called Rocky Horror Village Show. I didn’t ask. I had seen his concern about the hats though. They had come in handy for the History of America project B had at school. I still wonder where he got the Native American headdress from. I was 1/8 Native American and didn’t have any Native American things.

 

The knock on the door about made me jump as I was wondering if Rose and Ghun would ever get married. Yes, I really am that random with thoughts. Since they had only known each other a few months I wasn’t sure where it would go, what with her aunt having been his old girlfriend . . . I barely had the door open when the group of hair and perfume shoved their way into my house. Okay actually not so much hair, but someone smelled of vanilla.

 

Amira Loaded1

 

“Ummupload_vu41pgvlebvp4ufulvjufjr1p5228595.JPG-final(1), yeah,” I managed. The presence of actual women skeered me something fierce. At least Rose had been here with Ghun.

Kate Loaded1
Elena Loaded1
Amira Loaded 2

Before I knew it upload_vu41pgvlebvp4ufulvjufjr1p5228595.JPG-finalwomen were rummaging through my drawers everywhere. Then it suddenly dawned on me that these were some of my online Blog World friends.

 

Amira & Elena Makansi the Authors of The Sowing, Kate of Dazzling Whimsy, Cat of Obscured Dreamer, and Jenna of Jen’s Pen Den. It was major freak out time for me.

 

They were secretly part of some super smarticles group. Oh, no. They now knew how I lived. My secrets were out. The would know I blogged in underwear and ate Pringles by the cans each day along with 2 liter bottles of grape soda.

 

Wait, that’s not me. That must be some other blogger.

 

Kate Loaded2
Cat Loaded1
Elena Loaded2Amira Loaded 3
Jenna Loaded 1
Amira Loaded 4

“Oh and it looks like they have it out for Hugh. The letters in his name are Jenna Loaded 1the ones that are missing,” I said. I couldn’t look at their faces and Jenna was still red. I was trying to remember what was in my room. Then I upload_vu41pgvlebvp4ufulvjufjr1p5228595.JPG-finalremembered my laptop and the screen saver. I died a little bit more.

 

Kate Loaded 3

That’s when it hit me, and I saw a look cross Elena’s face as well.

 

Elena Loaded 3

Could we both be thinking of the same person? . . .  to be continued.

 

bloglovin

2014 © Copyright-All rights reserved by ronovanwrites.wordpress.com

Next Stop:

When Ronovan Met Miss Maple (on Skype) – Part 3

By Hugh Roberts of Hugh’s Views & News

 

Confusion of not knowing the Known

Confusion of not knowing the Known

by: Ronovan

 

Twisted Confused Metal Sculpture

 

Is not knowing

Better than never having

Or is it better to have and know

And to have lost it while still knowing

Than to not know if you never have

 

 

The experience is a sensation

Of heart and of mind and of soul

But what if you don’t remember

What if you just had to be told

You still don’t know

 

 

But you realize it was so

Now you must think on this

To love and lost or not at all

What if you loved and lost

And did not know at all

 

 

Which is more painful

Knowing and knowing

Never knowing the known

Or realizing but not knowing

That what you know you don’t know

 

 

gettyimages © Original Photo by Marie Hickman

© Copyright-All rights reserved-RonovanWrites.wordpress.com-July 01, 2014.

How Long Should Your Chapters Be?

How Long Should Your Chapters Be?

by: Ronovan

 

Pick up any two books you have and you’ll likely find they vary in chapter length. Each author has their own style and preference.

 

To be honest this article isn’t about telling you which length is best. The story itself tells you where the cut off points are for a chapter. Don’t listen to a teacher or whoever about that. Sure an editor can help but when you are writing, get out of the way of the story.

 

I’ve written chapters 19 pages long and there wasn’t a place to break it up because everything needed to continue in order to flow properly. But then I’ve written chapters three pages long . . . maybe even less.

 

How do you pick a length? I mean there has to be some idea, right, some method?

 

As I’ve been writing for over 20 years now, I won’t mention that includes three different decades . . . uh oh, almost four, I’ve discovered methods are like opinions, and to paraphrase an old saying; “Methods are like belly buttons, everyone’s got one.” Okay, so there is another version of that old saying but I went with this one.

 

Let’s discuss briefly how you would approach determining chapter lengths before you begin writing.

 

The way I look at it, I would say this, if the action is fast, the short ‘em. If not and perhaps a lot of emotion and all that lovey-dovey stuff, then long ‘em.

 

The thing is, you’re going to have some of both in a novel. And that is what you really want. Chapter lengths that are uniform throughout a book can lead to boredom. It’s kind of like when you write an essay, or if you write a blog, keep the lengths varied, but not too long.

 

This doesn’t mean to intentionally alternate between the two, just let the story dictate it. That would be like sing-songing it. Don’t get pitchy dog. Word.

 

In conclusion?

 

Action-Short Chapters for me. This keeps the pace quick and exciting.

Suspense/Horror-Longer Chapters to bring in all the nuances that you need to pull a person into the scene. Chapters can be shorter once you’ve established character and made the reader comfortable.

Romance and Mystery-It all depends on what you have going on in the scene. Often times you may want to pull at the heartstrings with Romance more so you may need longer chapters at times. A good writer may not need to do it, but don’t short cut it. Mystery has a lot of examination involved thus longer chapters as well.

Ultimately, the story will tell me when to stop a chapter. It almost jumps on you and says STOP! You just have to learn how to listen.

What’s my personal preference? Good question. But the real question is this; What’s your belly button on the chapter length debate? Share.

 

© Copyright-All rights reserved-RonovanWrites©.wordpress.com-June 25, 2014.

Holloway Part One

Holloway

by: Ronovan

Part One

French Boarding School

The lightening was high up in the clouds, threatening of the coming storm. It was the only light in the cloud covered night. The boys face was drenched and his forehead was plastered with his brown hair, not from the first drops of rain but with the sweat of anxiety of what he was facing. Hundreds of feet below lay trees and rocks and a river.

The boy’s chest was heaving as his breaths became quicker and quicker. He looked over his shoulder. His eyes suddenly became clear and void of the panic that had filled them moments before. He looked back out over the scene below him, closed his eyes, and leaped outward.

 

That’s where I wake up each time, and have every day for the past week. I could follow Eric all the way down, just like I did that first time, but I can’t, I won’t ever do that again. His funeral had been a week ago. After that my parents had given me something to make me sleep.

I stopped taking the pills when I couldn’t wake up from that first dream. Falling through trees and feeling them and hearing them as they snapped and tore at Eric and then the impact of his landing, never again.

At Ridgeline Lake we had all been at the cabins like we did every year. I was there with Emily and Abbie in one cabin, and Eric had been there with Jessie and Milo in another. Our parents had their own cabins. It was a tradition before school started back. We had to make it a week earlier than usual because of football practice for Eric and Jessie who were starting quarterback and tight end, Milo was team…well I don’t know exactly what he does, but it’s not water boy or anything like that, he does something with the electronics for the stadium and things like that.

It had been the best summer yet, with Eric and I having just started dating during the spring. He was a year older, which was fine, and the brother of Emily, which was weird because that almost made him my brother too. Emily, Abbie, and I had been best friends since Kindergarten so our families were each other’s families.

Early that Thursday morning, way before dawn I had sat up in bed. Everyone had put it down to a clap of thunder as the storm finally broke over the cabins. All I knew was something was wrong. I woke Emily and she came with me to my parents’ cabin. I told Dad that I was worried about something, that I just felt something was not right. Over the years he had learned to listen to my feelings.

We knew that Abbie was okay, so we went to the boys’ cabin. Eric wasn’t there. Milo, Abbie’s boyfriend, said he had heard something earlier but thought it was just one of the guys going to the bathroom. Dad ran to Eric’s parents’ cabin and a search began. They wouldn’t let the girls go because of the rain and lightening. But the fathers and boys went.

Jessie, Emily’s boyfriend and Eric’s best friend and Eric’s dad were the ones that found the note on the tree. It was too dark to tell what had happened. My Mom had already called the sheriff and as soon as it became light enough the storm had passed and they said they could see broken limbs down below where the note was found stuck to the tree with Eric’s pocket knife.

The river was up and moving fast so they couldn’t find Eric. The note said he was tired of trying to be perfect all the time and was just ready to rest. Wednesday they had a funeral to at least mark a spot for him to rest in. Everyone from school was there. I had noticed a lot of people staring at me, but I just thought it was out of curiosity. Yeah, they were curious.

 

 ~~*~~

“McKenna, hurry up, you’re going to make everyone late the first day of school!” Mom called up the stairs…again. This was supposed to be a big day, the biggest day yet for me and my girls. No, we’re not a gang or anything, but we had been looking forward to high school for two long years. The school had a history to it and you just knew when you walked through those doors you were an adult. Okay, so on your WAY to finally being an adult.

But things had changed. Mom had not listened when I said I didn’t want to go yet, that I wasn’t ready. Emily had said the same thing about her mom too. Abbie…well she was always ready for school. She got bored during the summer and wanted the challenge of seeing if a teacher could teach her something new. For her high school would be like a candy store full of new things she had never tried.

I looked in the mirror. I hated what I saw. Holloway High was not a private school but it had followed the trend of a dress code to keep everyone equal. I liked skirts, real skirts, but the gray pleated skirt and white blouse were just not real to me. But it was better than the khaki pants that I could have chosen. I’m sorry, but I am not in the army or like in my thirties. Give me jeans and a t-shirt or even a real dress and I am fine.

Glancing down out of my window I saw the top of a head of dark hair parted down the middle and tied off into two pigtails. It was hovering over a book and moving ever so slightly as the reader moved back and forth from word to word.

I grabbed my bag and thumped down the stairs. “Good luck, sis,” called a voice from an open doorway at the top of the stairs. I ran back up and through the door. The tall boy braced himself as I leaped at him. I felt the bear hug as my brother, a freshman in college showed me he loved me best.

“You too, bro,” I said as I punched him in the stomach. “And no sorority girls until junior year, remember, you promised.” I ran out without waiting for a reply.

Throwing open the front door I had barely opened my mouth when I heard, “Hiya, Mac.”

I looked at the back of the pigtailed head still reading the book. “And just how do you know it’s me?”

“I doubt your mother would resemble a thundering herd of rhinos coming down the stairs like that…twice,” Abbie said. “I take it Ken begins college today.”

Grrr…she knew everything. “Yeah,” I said as I leaped around and in front of her. Ken was short for McKenzie, just as Mac was short for McKenna. Are we Scottish or Irish? I have no idea.

Abbie looked up from her book and scrunched her nose to adjust her glasses. She looked me up and down in my uniform, which she was wearing the exact same version of. She nodded and stood up. When I said she wore the exact same version I meant even the size, although she was smaller than me by a little. She never wore clothes that fit her.

“Did you eat breakfast, or are you sticking with tradition?” She asked me as we began walking to the Japanese but made in America SUV parked in the driveway. It was Mom’s turn for carpool. We could ride the bus but we didn’t. I have no idea why not, the mom’s had just decided it years ago.

The doors clicked and I jumped in the front while Abbie slid into the back and across to behind the driver’s seat. Mom walked around the front with the keys in her hand. “Always stick with tradition,” I said.

“Good, because Em has a new yogurt she wants me to try and some kind of bagel with like all sorts of things in it for you,” said Abbie. “She said she forgot to ask you last night before you two hung up.”

“I didn’t even think about it,” I said. Last night the thought of breakfast had been as far from my mind as…as…hmm…as anything else. “Em always comes through though.” Emily always had something for us for breakfast, just a little something. Okay something little for her and Abbie, and something crazy for me. I liked to eat but I worked out a lot so I could handle it.

We all lived on the same street, although it was a long street. Abbie always walked to my house because she wasn’t far away and she liked to read along the way. Then either Mom or Emily’s mom would take us to school. Abbie’s mom was the pickup mom after school. Emily lived a little further along the street at the very end. The gates were just shutting as she was attempting to hold a bag of our food, a holder of drinks, and wondering what to do with her book bag.

Mom saw the situation, sped up just a little and came to a quick stop. I jumped out and grabbed the drinks. “You seriously need to have like someone out here and help you or have them put a table by the mailbox,” I said as she hugged me. I stood back and looked at her.

We wore the same thing but she still looked like a million dollars. I looked like just the average girl who just…didn’t…care? I cared how I looked. It’s just that there wasn’t anyone at school I cared to impress enough to take the time. Not that Emily really took much time. She was just naturally gorgeous.

Even though we all had to wear the same brand and colors of clothing, shoes and accessories were different. And accessories made the difference. Don’t ask me the name of her shoes or the cut of the diamonds in her ears. But she made them both work, not that she needed them.

She jumped in behind my seat and I got in with the drinks. I handed Mom her coffee, and passed Abbie her juice, and Emily her smoothie. I had a big bottle of milk. I liked milk. When we were all little people thought we were sisters because we all had dark hair and dark eyes, and we might as well be. But we had always been very different in a lot of ways.

The bagel was loaded with roasted veggies and some white cheese, amazing. Before I took my second bite, I asked a question. “Hey, Abbie?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you have your locker planned yet?” I heard an almost snort from Emily.

There was a muffled noise from Abbie and I glanced back. She was nodding with one hand slightly up to her mouth as she was swallowing her yogurt quickly. “Yes. I was able to get the list of books and find out the sizes. I have the perfect plan for what I want to do.”

I didn’t dare look in the mirror. One of the last things Emily and I had talked about was Abbie’s tradition of planning out the most efficient locker. It was a thing she did and it actually always worked out best. Our lockers were never that neat and we always had to hunt for things.

I caught the raised eyebrow from Mom. I gave her my toothy innocent grin and she just shook her head and took a sip of the gourmet coffee from Emily’s housekeeper.

“What class do you have first, Mac?” Emily asked.

“I have English with Ms. Trask. “How about you?”

“P.E. with Coach Tompkins, can you believe it? First period?” I could see her eyes rolling in the visor mirror. “What do you have Abbie?”

“Honor’s Algebra with Mr. Mason.” We all got kind of quiet as we realized that we weren’t going to be in the same classes any more. Emily and I might luck into some, but Abbie was going to be in a whole different world than us. I mean Emily and I are good in some classes but who knows if schedules will let all three of us be in those together.

Mom joined the line of cars dropping off students. I guess if every student rode the bus then they would need a lot more busses.

“There he is!” Emily shouted in my ear. She had leaned forward and for some reason was looking over my shoulder at exactly the same view she could have seen from her window.

“Might as well let us out here, Mrs. Lark,” said Abbie.

“Yeah,” I said, as I gathered up my bag. “She’s spotted Jessiekins. Bleck.”

I felt the tap on the top of my head. “Oh, hush,” said Emily. But Mom stopped and before Emily could even touch the handle the door was promptly opened by the muscular blonde boy wearing khaki pants and pale blue polo, of course covered by the Holloway High crimson and white letterman’s jacket.

“About time you showed up, princess,” said Jessie. Some might almost hurl at hearing his nickname for her but the truth was he treated her like one. It wasn’t a cheap name every boy in school called their girlfriend. You could see it in his ice blue eyes that he really adored her.

Abbie scooted around the oblivious duo and slipped her hand into Milo’s. Their adoration was less obvious but no less real. “Call me if you need me, McKenna,” said Mom. “I have to meet a client about a catering assignment but it’s okay to call.”

“Will do,” I said smiling. Mom was her own boss. She ran a catering company that didn’t just handle business in Holloway but pretty much anywhere. She even had assignments several states away. She was good. She pulled away and I turned back to look at my new school.

Holloway High was at one time the home of an exiled member of French royalty. He had this huge palace built out here in the middle of nowhere that was now a school. There were a lot of stories about from when the guy lived there.

The walkway to the main doors was wide and designed with tiles. There were tall trees everywhere and flowers of all kinds. It was really an odd place for a school and had even appeared in magazines and on TV several times. Movie companies used it during the summer sometimes.

“Don’t be too impressed,” said Jessie, who had finally stopped hugging Emily. He nodded at the high school. “It looks impressive, sure, but once inside and in classes, it doesn’t take long to just think of it as a school.”

“Very true,” said Milo.

Before we could even take a step toward the school four figures stepped in front of us blocking our way.

 

© Copyright-All rights reserved-RonovanWrites.wordpress.com-June 05, 2014.

Rose & Ghun in Simply Murder-Episode Nine: I’ll search all night for you. Sigh.

Rose&Ghun Cover.jpg
gettyimages © Original Photo by Paul LoveKing

Rose & Ghun in Simply Murder-Episode Nine: I’ll search all night for you. Sigh.

by: Ronovan

“Jacob, tell me you can do it,” I said.

Computer GeekThe 19 year old college freaky genius was staring open mouthed at Monika…again. He slowly turned toward me and blinked. “Umm, yeah, I can do it,” he said weakly. “I just need the number.”

Monika leaned past him and using a pen on his desk wrote a number down. I could see his face flush at her closeness and her scent. I had become more and more immune as the hours and ticked by. “How long will it take?” I asked. She was Lori’s niece. Any other thoughts had pretty much left the building.

Jacob picked up the piece of paper as if it was fragile. “As fast as I can. I’ll call you when I get a location fix.” He turned and began to work.

I nodded to Monika and we slipped out the door. The dorm hallway was empty and we made it outside without meeting anyone. We were lucky no one was on duty at that time of night. We were lucky it hadn’t been a woman we were using. Linda would have been my next stop across campus if Jacob hadn’t been awake.

“You’ve been very quiet since the Romeo and Juliet reveal,” said Monika. We were both scanning the trees and bushes along the sidewalks as we neared the parking lot.

“Just thinking what to do next,” I said.Mini Cooper Inverted

“Lori told me about the two of you,” she said.

I slipped in behind the wheel of my emerald green Mini Cooper. “There really wasn’t much to tell.”

“Maybe not much but it was a lot,” said Monika. She clicked the seat belt. “If things hadn’t been the way they were, you two might have been different.”

“Maybe, but I always just look at things as happening the way they do and move ahead. No reason to look back, no reason to moan and groan.”

I knew she was looking at me. In a Mini you couldn’t help but know what the other person was doing, but when you were alone you didn’t think about needing extra room for other people. I just waited, but not for long. “Good.”

That wasn’t what I was expecting. She settled back in the seat and looked ahead and hummed a song. “Good? That’s it?”

“Yeah, what, do you want a sobbing moment of begging you to be all pain and anguished or something?”

“Well, no, but…”

“This isn’t a movie, Rose, this is real. I want you focused on getting my sister’s killer. If we can get him then we might stop this war,” said Monika. She started humming again.

I drove for several seconds before talking. “Now that I know what is really going on we can go to another place that might help us out.”

“Where?”

“Down Under Mike’s,” I said.

She turned quickly in her seat. “Are you crazy? You’ll get killed in there.”

“They won’t lay a finger on me. Not unless they are wearing gloves like you do all the time,” I said.

She looked at her leather covered hands and then my face. There was a bit of disappointment there for her to see. I didn’t blame her.

The car was quiet. Had I damaged things beyond repair? Sometimes it was better that way even if it wasn’t what I wanted. Down Under Mike’s appeared before us. We both looked around before getting out of the car. Then we slowly made our way along the cobblestone street to the ancient dive bar.

Dark BarMonika walked in first with no apparent problem. I followed and could hear the sizzle. The alarm had gone off. Every eye looked toward me. Gloves went on. The demon possessed didn’t like to get burned when they punched me.

Rose & Ghun in Simply Murder-Episode Eight: Juliet is…Poison me now, please.

Rose & Ghun in Simply Murder-Episode Eight:Poison Goblet

And Juliet is the …oh poison me now,

please.

by: Ronovan

 

“I thought you were a pacifist,” shouted Monika.

I dodged another tackle from another thug. “I am. I haven’t touched a single one of them,” I said. The words were barely out of my mouth before the sound of the thug crashing into window drowned out everything else.

            Bells went off as the burglar alarm was triggered in the electronics store. The two men battling Monika turned and fled leaving my opponent staggering to pull himself free of the shattered glass.

            I didn’t waste anyMan crashing through window time either. I ran.

Monika ran easily beside me. “I may take up the pacifist art of fighting. Less pain and more gain,” she said and smiled.

I couldn’t smile, I was breathing too hard. But then I wasn’t what Monika was. Still, even after our constant work since leaving her family home she could at least pretend to be tired. Finally we slowed down as the bells faded away.

I leaned against a brick wall and put my hands on my knees. “Carry me to wherever we go next,” I panted.

“Where do we go next?”

“Well,” I began. “As long as we don’t get jumped by the Hatfield’s anymore we’re heading to a techie I know who can get us the location of Mile’s phone.”

“Hatfield’s?” Monika looked confused. It was a bit of a happy moment then made me feel much older than her.

“As in Hatfields and McCoys, the old hillbilly feud,” I said.

“Oh, I get it,” she nodded. “I guess you could say that.

“Kind of a Romeo and Juliet thing without the Romeo and Juliet.”

“This one has that though,” she said.

“What do you mean?”

            Monika stared at me for a moment. I could see her thinking. “Carl Stratford is medieval dagger skull and bonesRomeo and…Aunt Lori is Juliet.”

            I held my breath. Then I realized I didn’t have any breath to hold. What was I, the poison or the dagger?

gettyimages © Original Photo by studyoritim

Rose & Ghun in Simply Murder-Episode Seven: Not Like Old Times

Rose&Ghun Cover.jpg
gettyimages © Original Photo by Paul LoveKing

“What’s so important about Miles Stratford?” I asked.

Lori leaned forward on the step beside me. “We have to find him and settle things,” she said.

“You mean kill him.”

“He killed one of ours.”

“How can you be sure it really wasn’t an accident? He could have just been driving that fast,” I said.

“There was no accident,” said Lori. “There was a battle. Miles and Phyllis were in the same nightclub when things became uncomfortable. She left, he followed and then he forced her car into a spin. When she stopped he and another man jumped out and went after her.”

“Two on one, not very gentlemanly,” I said.

“It was two on two,” said Lori. “But the other was pinned for too long. Phyllis was dead and the sirens were sounding so Miles and his friend ran.”

“And the pinned friend?”

“She freed herself and made it home. But some witnesses had seen Miles speeding away and it was assumed that it was a hit and run,” said Lori.

I looked at Monika. She was staring at the ground and her fists were clenched. She was holding anger inside, she was shaking that much.

“We can handle this, Lori,” said Martin.

“No we cannot, not the way Trevor can,” said Lori. “This is what he does. We are simply fighters. He is as a detective who avoids fighting. He will think our way out of this and if not he can fight it out.”

“He needs her to protect him,” said Martin. “Look at him, he is broken already. A man that does not fight is not a man.”

Monika was in Martin’s face before any of us blinked. “He took down Marcos Li in a matter of seconds, could have killed him. He had a pistol shoved down the throat of Stratford. What have you done?”

“Not be trapped in a car,” said Martin. His eyes betrayed his regret at the words before his lips closed over the last syllable. It was as I thought. Monika was the trapped friend who had watched as her sister had been decapitated.

“Well, either Carl Stratford was lying or he really doesn’t know where his son is. Either way it’s time to get started,” I said. I stretched slightly to disguise the need to get rid of the numbness in my butt from sitting on the steps so long.

“Where to start?” Lori asked.

I smiled. “Miles is a child of this generation. Kid can’t go without a cell phone and I imagine he has a high priced one. I’m going to see if I can track it down.”

They all looked at me with blank looks. “What?” I asked.

Monika shook her head. “That is the simplest thing I have ever heard of. Why we did not think of it is beyond me.”

Lori smiled. “Because we were not thinking like a detective. Why do you think I sent you to him?”

“Because you still think he’s cute,” said Monika.

I blushed.

Martin stood taller. “She’s a married woman, little one. Be mindful.”

It was my turn for a facial reaction.

Lori frowned slightly and turned away.

The memories of the pressure from the greeting burned away.

Rose & Ghun in Simply Murder-Episode Six: Say What?

Rose&Ghun Cover.jpg
gettyimages © Original Photo by Paul LoveKing

 Rose & Ghun in Simply Murder-Episode Six: Say What?

By: Ronovan

The house was a long rambling one story structure set up on stilts. Like I said we had passed through almost swampy marsh type land before, well we were even deeper now. Moss hung from the trees surrounding the house in a veil that hid it from day and night.

It had been a long time since I had been here, been welcomed here. “You sure they know I’m coming?” I asked.

“What do you think?” Monika asked as she nodded to the railing above. We stood and stared up at the line of people. It wasn’t the happiest gathering I had ever seen. I recognized a lot of faces…with the same unhappy looks I had last seen years ago.

“I’m not dead, so I guess that’s a yes.”

Monika moved first and headed toward the wide stairs leading up to the house. I followed close behind. I didn’t want any space between us in case a family member got jumpy. They would have to hit her if they went after me.

“Walking might close to her, boy,” said a deep voice. I looked around but the voice could have come from anyone.

Most of the people seemed to be glancing toward an older man, a big man. I would say ugly man but I don’t want to be mean. Okay, he was ugly too. But I don’t mean that in a bad way. “She’s been my protector the past 12 hours or so and been doing a good job. I see no reason to interfere with her record,” I said. I voiced it to the crowd as I looked at everyone.

I had guessed right. The big man slowly nodded. “Smarter than you look then,” he rumbled. “Looks like she didn’t do too good a job with that face.” I touched my left eye and lip. “No, I mean the other side.”

My mouth dropped a little and the crowd laughed. I smiled with relief. But I wasn’t going to let my guard down yet. Monika had stayed close to me and she wasn’t relaxed at all. “No sir, she was a bit late for that one.”

“Trevor, are you going to give me a hug or stand there like an idiot?” I looked in the direction of the question. There was Lori looking as young as ever. I climbed the step two at a time and she met me near the top. The hug was sincere and long. The feel was familiar and wanting. And the fingers pressed with more than a welcome.

“Get off of her!” The voice was closer than I would have thought. I was thrown back against the rail and toppled over. I twisted in the air and landed lightly on my feet as my knees bent slightly to adjust for the impact.

“Martin, no!” The shout from Lori was a bit too late as a figure flew down toward me. He didn’t make it.

A much smaller figure blurred across and slammed into the man, knocking him clear of me. Monika landed and crouched down between the two of us. “I’m his protector. Didn’t you hear the man?”

Martin stood up. He was the biggest man I had ever seen, while I was standing up and not bleeding. “He’s not welcomed here. Then he touches my sister.”

“She sent me for him,” said Monika.

“And I told him to touch me,” said Lori. “And I touched him back.” She landed beside Monika.

Martin stared through clenched eyes toward me. “You letting women fight for you?”

“Dang right,” I said. “I would rather women fight for me than men.”

There was silence for several moments. I heard mosquitoes, frogs, and maybe an alligator. Then I heard salvation. A slightly muffled giggle came from above. Then others joined in. Martin’s face began to twitch. Then his lips spread into a toothy smile that gleamed in the shadows of the mossy trees. He nodded his head. “Okay, I agree,” he said as he moved forward.

I relaxed slightly as he passed by me. “But no touching my sister,” he said and jabbed me with a finger.

“I don’t go where not invited. I’ll just say that,” I said.

He glared at me and then slowly began walking up the stairs. I looked at Monika and Lori. Monika was watching Martin and Lori was watching me. “Same sense of humor and bravado,” she said. “But you’ve picked up some moves.”

“Move or die,” I said.

“He would have lost,” she said.

“If I lasted long enough.”

“You would have. You’ve always been a fighter, in will if not in ways,” she said.

“Big enough hit and my will would have no say.”

She looked at me and concern spread through her eyes. “You’ve survived all these years, barely. If he even grazed your skin he would have burned.”

“You don’t,” I said.

She smiled. “We shared a moment before it all changed.”

I looked at her and the feelings swirled and the turmoil began again that I had fought for so many years. “Why did you send her to me?” I asked and looked away.

She could tell the pain I was in. I could hear it in her voice as she spoke. “A war has started. Our clan against another. Not of our doing but we have to fight. We need you to help stop it.”

“You saying help you I’m your only hope?” I asked as I channeled one of my favorite movies.

She slowly nodded. “Yes, that’s what I’m saying.”

I looked away and Monika caught my eye. There was a touch of pleading there. I sat down on the steps of the house and hung my head in my hands. “What demons do I have to fight?” I asked.

“It’s not which ones you have to worry about,” said Lori.

I looked up.

“It’s how many,” said Monika.

God, what are you doing up there?

Rose & Ghun in Simply Murder-Episode Five: Close the window!

 

Rose&Ghun Cover.jpg
gettyimages © Original Photo by Paul LoveKing

“Haven’t been this way in years,” I said.

Monika simply nodded. Her focus was on the rutted dirt road with three foot ditches on either side. One wrong weave and we were stuck. If we met a wide car we were done for. My nerves were showing. “Are you sure it’s okay for me to come out here? Things are a bit different than last time.”

“I was sent to you for help, so I imagine you should be welcomed,” she said.

“Should be?”

“Should be.”

“You know how to make a man feel at ease, don’t you?” I said.

A closed lipped smile crossed her face. Even from the side I could see that mind reading expression come to her eyes. She somehow dug deeper down into my meanings than I even knew were there. Monika wasn’t a model beauty, but she was an exotic mix of whatever she was and it fit together to make for a pleasant work of art.

I keep mentioning her looks because at this point she hadn’t said much. I knew there was intelligence there, and humor, but she had kept herself close so far. Lori Jackson was an African American woman I had grown up with, but I had no idea what Ghun came from. My best guess from Monika’s features was the Far East somewhere.

“Well, I was told I wasn’t welcomed after things changed,” I said staring ahead.

I could see her glance at me out of the corner of my eye. “Things change, Rose. People change and situations change. Needs change.”

“So I’m needed so now I am accepted?” I asked.

“Don’t question it, just take advantage of it,” she said. Like I said, intelligent.

“If you….” The tree fell right in front of us. Monika didn’t have time to come to a complete stop and we tapped the tree turned log hard.

Monika was out and on the hood of the Jeep before I was even able to lift my head up. Her stance said this wasn’t an accident. I opened the door and stood beside the Jeep with both guns out. I was going to at least look helpful.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Rose, you don’t want to do this,” said a voice from nowhere.

“Well I can’t exactly go anywhere,” I said. I had an auto reply set in my mind. Sometimes I couldn’t control it.

Something big came up and over the log at Monika. She fell flat onto the hood and the body slammed into the windshield. It was a large man, way large. I spun as I heard crackling behind me. Both barrels came up and settled on another form, tall and thin this time. Why couldn’t I get the big ones to shoot? I could hit a big one.

“Now, now, Mr. Rose, let’s not do that,” said the stick. “We just don’t want you getting involved in anything that’s not your business.”

“I stubbed my toe when we hit the tree. It’s my business now.” I hated my mind setting.

“Your corpse,” he said. He was fast but Monika was faster. She landed on his head. And I literally mean his head. She drove it down into the dirt and there was a sick sound that I didn’t want an explanation of.

“More are out there, we have to go,” she said. She slid through my side of the Jeep and I followed.

It was only seconds and we were speeding back the way we came. I saw Monika searching the side of the road. “Looking for something?”

“Side road, barely, but it can get us home,” she said. The wheel jerked suddenly and I fell against her, but it didn’t bother her steering. She was hard as a rock. Soft looking but all muscle. We bounced through the woods which were really almost swamp. Monika didn’t bother looking behind, she stayed focused on ahead.

She should have been looking to the side as well. “Whoa!” I couldn’t help but yell as the arm reached through the window. There had been a thump as if something had fallen on us.

“Shoot him,” she said calmly.

“But I might kill him,” I yelled.

“You or him,” she said and kept steering.

I grasped for a solution. My fingers found the window button and the glass began to rise. The face on the other side was not ugly but it was mean and it almost laughed at the thought of a window stopping him. But that was all the distraction I needed. I slammed the gun in my hand through the glass at the face. He reacted the way I had hoped. He flinched.

Then he fell.

“Should have killed him,” she said.

“I know.”
“He’ll just keep coming.”

“I know.”

“You know a lot for someone who doesn’t do anything with it,” she said.

“I know.” I was silent as she drove. No matter what he was I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t kill. It just wasn’t in me. I couldn’t pull the trigger to wound him in case I accidently hit him wrong. I may have failed the Bible but I wasn’t going to fail God.

“We’re here,” she said.

God don’t fail me.

Rose & Ghun in Simply Murder-Episode Four: Why didn’t you say so in the first place?

Rose&Ghun Cover.jpg
gettyimages © Original Photo by Paul LoveKing

“Hello Jimmy,” I said as I slid into the booth across from him.

He started to slide out but was stopped. “Meet my…partner for the day,” I said as Monika sat down next to him.

“Trevor, I ain’t got nothin’ to do with nothin’, I swear,” said Jimmy.

“Eat your breakfast, Jimmy,” I said. “I just have a few questions then we’re out of here.”

Jimmy found it difficult returning to his pancakes. I wasn’t sure if it was me staring at him through sunglasses at 6:30 in the morning or having Monika sitting that close to him. My money would be safe on a bet.

“What do you want to know?”

“Miles Stratford, where is he?” I asked.

“No idea,” said Jimmy as he stuffed a big bite in his mouth. Monika and I exchanged a look. Somehow I felt she could see through the tint and past the swelled eye and actually make eye contact.

“Then you can help me find him,” I said.

“No way, man. I heard you are an untouchable now, man. I don’t want to end up dead.” Bits of pancake flew out as he sputtered out the words.

“I’m right here, Jimmy, touchable as ever. Look at this face. Does it look like it hasn’t been touched?”

“Money’s after you man. I don’t want to be in the way when it finds you,” said Jimmy as he looked out the window as if someone might see him with me.

“Who’s money?”

“Everyone knows you wronged the media man last night about something. You might as well run for it. No one’s going to help you now.”

“And how does everyone know about anything about last night?” I asked.

“Trevor, I’m not talking, man.”

Monika moved a little closer to Jimmy. Under normal circumstances Jimmy would have been nervous just by the fact a girl was near him at all, but there was something that Monika was giving off that just told you that if you messed with her she was going to rip your face off and stick it down your shorts. The sad part is I think Jimmy would have liked it under other circumstances.

Jimmy put his fork down and stared out the window. “I don’t know what you did but word got around that you’re not on his good list right now. No one wants to be near you. I’m serious, Trevor. You got to get out of town.”

I could tell he was serious. Jimmy cared about Jimmy first but I could see in his face that he really thought I was as good as dead. “I can’t go anywhere, Jimmy. I have a job to do and I need your help to do it.”

“No, man,” he said and tried to climb out of the booth over the back of his seat. Monika’s hand on his knee stopped him. Not that she was being seductive or anything but her nails had torn through the denim like talons and snatched him back down.

Jimmy whimpered. Jimmy never screamed, at least not anymore. He knew that usually meant more pain would follow to shut him up, not from me. He had been an information guy for so long that he knew the tricks and the rules. The fact that he wasn’t giving me information just proved how bad things really were for me.

I gave Monika a look. Hurting Jimmy hadn’t been part of the plan. It wasn’t my style, but then I didn’t know what hers was but I had a feeling it could get rougher. “Jimmy, promise on your momma’s grave that you don’t know anything and I’ll leave you alone,” I said.

Jimmy stared into my glasses and I knew he saw the warped reflection of his face looking back at him. “I swear, Trevor.”

I threw down some cash to cover his breakfast and slid out. “Thanks, Jimmy. Sorry about the knee, wasn’t part of the plan.”

“I know,” said Jimmy as he looked at Monika. I saw forgiveness come to his eyes as he took in all of her for the first time. I wasn’t sure what cultural crossroads Monika was from but it had done its job well in the looks department, but I was becoming immune to it. There was an intelligence and a fierceness there that I was coming to respect. Even with her toughness I pushed my arm ahead of her to swing the door out so she could go through first and then made for her Jeep.

I sat back into the leather seat. “What was with the claw routine?” I asked.

“You weren’t going to stop him,” she said as she turned the key.

“Anything he was going to give us would have been a lie just to get rid of us, so I knew stopping him would do no good. Besides violence isn’t my thing,” I said.

The engine went quiet. She looked at me and laughed. “After what you did last night, stomping Marcos Li and then shoving a gun down Stratford’s throat, you are actually going to say you aren’t into violence?”

“I was defending myself against Little Man, or Li or whatever, and the gun for Stratford was for show. I have to put on a show or people will walk all over me,” I finished.

“You did a pretty good acting job,” she said cranking the Jeep again.

“That’s what it is, acting. I am a pacifist at heart. Don’t get me wrong. I will defend myself or others, but I am not going to seek out conflict.”

She became quiet. “I know.”

“You know what?” I asked.

“You’re a good man. That’s why I was sent to you.”

I looked at her. “Sent to me?”

“Yes. Lori Jackson is my aunt.”

“Then that means…what exactly have you gotten me into?” I asked. “And how young are you?” I wasn’t really sure which was the more pressing question.

“Aunt Lori is the youngest of her generation and I belong to the oldest, so we are more like sisters than aunt and niece,” she said with a smile. She knew what had been going through my mind. “As for what you are in, well, it’s exactly what I told you, I want to get Miles Stratford for killing my sister.”

“And she was killed in a car accident?”

“Yes.”

“Impossible,” I said. No one in Lori’s family would die that easily.

“She was decapitated, supposedly by the windshield,” said Monika as she gripped the wheel. I looked more closely at the steering wheel and noticed slight bends here and there that were not factory. Monika had anger issues. I wasn’t frightened. For some reason passion came to mind.

“Li was sniffing around my office,” I said.

“Yes.”

“This is just great. I’m right in the middle of your war.”

“Dead center,” she said.

Dead kept ringing in my ears.

Rose & Ghun-Simply Murder-Episode Three: Pistols for Pacifiers

Image
gettyimages © Original Photo by Paul LoveKing

“Mr. Rose, I need you to find my son,” said Carl Stratford.

That had been the fourth time he had said those same words since sitting down across from me. You ever had those moments where you just don’t believe they are real? Like when that foul ball at a baseball game is coming right at you, right into your hands, and you left your glove at home? You get your hands ready, you know it’s going to hurt, and you know you are going to drop the ball, but you still try anyway, while the whole time hating yourself for not being prepared?

Yeah, that was me facing Carl Stratford, media mogul and father of the bail jumping hit and run murderer. The only difference was, I had already had one foul ball of the night hit me in the face…and ribs…repeatedly and I was too numb to even bother lifting my hands up to fend this one off.

“Face looks like an autopsy, Mr. Stratford,” said the small man standing beside the chair. “Perhaps there is some sort of synaptic shortage that has taken place.”

I smiled and slightly chuckled. “I like that, ‘synaptic shortage’, good one.”

The man nodded.

“Now that you are alert, perhaps you would like to hear my offer,” said Stratford.

“Well I just recently agreed to a job that might take a lot of my time,” I said. The little guy began slowly walking around my office, his head almost leading the way. I saw his nostrils quivering. Yes, nostrils quiver.

“I assure you that I can compensate you beyond whatever your other client is offering,” said Stratford. “I need you to find my son.”

Now for a moment I almost laughed because I thought about how I could make money two ways, then I thought about how dead I would be for flimflamming someone like Stratford. The little man was at the window, the one Monika must have gone through. Was she on the ledge outside? Why did I have the feeling those quivering nostrils had led him there?

“I really can’t help you, Mr. Stratford. Like I said, I already have a client and I wouldn’t be able to give your case the attention it requires. I know of a few others that would be happy to take you up on the offer though,” I said picking up my phone to look for a number.

“No, Mr. Rose, I need your particular services for this case.”

I put the phone down. “What particular services are those?” I asked.

“I’ve had you researched, Mr. Rose. I know all about you and I know of the mumblings in certain circles of society,” said Stratford. “The research backs up those mumblings.”

“And let’s say those mumblings were true, what use would I be in this case?”

Stratford stared at me for a moment. Little man moved back to his boss’ side and nodded. Stratford must’ve had great peripheral vision because he simply smiled. “There is a certain element that is after my son. You see there have been recent events that have placed my son in an awkward position, one that he is not responsible for, but this element is not listening to reason. I need you to find my son before they do to protect him.”

“I’m not exactly good at bodyguard cases or finder missions,” I tried.

My back was against the wall with the heel of a patent leather shoe against my throat before I even knew little man had moved. He had slid over my desk and his legs were so powerful that I and my chair were like shoving marshmallows to him.

“Mr. Rose,” said Stratford. “This doesn’t have to be this way, and you can still perform both cases. Just in the end you will let me know when you find my son and everything else will be taken care of. Your hands will be clean.”

I graduated from one of the finest universities in the nation with a very decent average, modesty prevents me from mentioning that it was a 4.0. I know a lot of things and have a good reputation for honesty and integrity. My ability to take punishment is legendary…among those who deal it out. I’ve never been called intelligent. But I have been called slippery.

The click was heard in the room as if thunder had suddenly erupted after the mother of all lightning strikes. Little man froze even more so than before. Cold metal against your inheritance will do that. The foot at my throat eased slightly.

One other thing about me, when outnumbered and outclassed in a fight…I cheat. My foot kicked the inside of his knee and he crumbled. The gun slammed against his temple and he was out.

I looked at Stratford who had stopped in the middle of reaching into his suit jacket. The reason for the stop was the second gun in my left hand aiming at his heart. “I told you I couldn’t take the case. I won’t interfere with your efforts on it either, but I won’t be threatened.”

“Mr. Rose,” said Stratford smiling as he relaxed in the chair. “This is a great error you are making. If word got out about your treatment of a potential client…or your other peculiarities things would become very difficult for you I am sure.”

I kicked little man one more time for insurance and then pressed the barrel of the gun closer toward Stratford. “Life’s difficult all over, and temporary. I’m broke, dateless, and even my cat ran away. I’m so unpopular the mail man delivers my newspaper to my neighbor instead of letting the neighbor steal it.”

“You would become a joke, and there are other things that could happen as well.”

Now I am not a rough type or a gritty detective that you read about in old books, but I have moments of insanity at times. Being beaten and left in the street qualifies as reasons for insanity. So when I climbed over the desk and put the barrel of my gun in Stratford’s mouth, the most powerful media mogul in the state and most of the region, you will have to give me a little break. “There aren’t many things I can be threatened with, and that’s on purpose,” I whispered, not for affect but because I was so angry and scared that my voice wouldn’t work right.

“Do what you want,” I said. “But remember this; I don’t have anything to lose in this life. Just remember that when picking on someone you think is weaker than you are. If they have nothing, they have nothing to lose.” I slowly pulled the gun out of his mouth.

“If you help the girl, you will be dead,” he said.

Threats and warnings weren’t working. That was the world he lived in. He shouldn’t have smiled. I barely moved to the side as little man’s foot flew through the hole in the air where my head had been.

I rolled across the floor and up to my knees with both guns aimed at Stratford and Little Man, but they were both gone. The door to my office was wide open and I could hear footsteps rapidly retreating, Stratford’s. Little Man wouldn’t have made a sound.

I sagged on the floor and let the guns rest on my thighs.

“Don’t pull those triggers or you might lose something you’ll need later,” said Monika.

I looked at the window and there she stood. “Thanks for the help,” I said. “Now if you’ll leave so I can figure out what next disaster will enter my life and how I am going to live another day with the most powerful jerk of humanity hating me, I would greatly appreciate it.”

She looked hurt at my words, but I didn’t care. I knew there was something more going on about this whole thing than either had told me but I just didn’t care at the moment.

Monika eased to the door and looked out. “Wait,” I said. I slumped back against the wall and sat.

She turned and smiled. She had won and knew it. Why did every woman in my life win and I always lose?

Rose & Ghun-Simply Murder-Episode Two: Is that Opportunity Knocking or is My Brain Rattling

gettyimages © Original Photo by Paul LoveKing
gettyimages © Original Photo by Paul LoveKing

“Whur uu srrrrs?”

“Try it again,” the woman said. “Without the towel over your face.”

“I asked, were you serious.” I put the towel and ice back on my face. The left eye and left side of my lip were like golf balls.

“Yes,” she said.

I moved the towel slightly. “I don’t do contract killings, or killings at all for that matter. Spiders rule my apartment. I think mice use a closet for a time share in the winter.”

“I really just need you to find him, and I’ll do the rest.”

I put the towel ice pack on my desk. “Accessory is the same as doing it myself. Can’t help you. But thanks for getting me back here.” I stood to escort her to the door. Or at least I tried.

“Listen to the situation first before you turn me down. Besides you can’t even stand up.” Well she was right there and I had nothing else to do but suffer at home in bed. I might as well suffer here with a beautiful and somewhat exotic looking woman who wanted me to help kill someone.

“Go for it,” I said and kicked my feet up on the desk. Mistake. Don’t try to look nonchalant and tough when the woman you are trying to impress has seen you lying in the middle of the street like a ragdoll. She’s knows there is no tough in you.

“First, are you going to do what that woman said?” She asked.

“First, what’s your name?”

“Monika.”

“Monika…,” I prompted.

“Ghun,” she said.

“Almost like gun,” I smiled, winced, and almost blessed out the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but I held back. I couldn’t afford a nickel for the swear jar.

“I know Mr. Rose. I get the joke, guns and roses.”

“Was afraid younger people might not get it,” I said. I couldn’t tell her exact age. He dark skin was toned and her slightly almond shaped eyes had no wrinkles. Chinese and African American. I wonder why we always think African American, why not just African, or Black? Focus, Trevor. She wants to kill someone and you are working what exotic blend she is. Think about that later.

“We do. Now for your answer.”

I looked at her a few seconds wondering why I was going to trust her. Then I realized I was trusting her and there was no reason to be hesitating. Maybe I was just being a guy who didn’t care as long as they face was pretty. “There is really nothing to be done. Cornelia and her men don’t exactly listen,” I said. “The fire that burned down the warehouse was arson, no doubt, but there isn’t anything linking her to it. They have the guy that did it, a homeless guy. He said a man gave him some money to do it. Since it was abandoned, he saw no harm in it.” I moved slowly to a better position.

“Then why the worry from the swinger?”

I smiled at the name. “She is just covering her bases.”

“And you are just going to let her get away with this?” She asked looking at my face.

“Private detectives have to walk a different line than other people. I know Cornelia and her motivations,” I said. “If she had wanted me dead or in the hospital, I would have been. This was more of a message sent around the city to everyone else.”

“Tell her to take out a sign next time.”

“Good idea.”

There was silence for several moments. She just watched me trying not to show pain while I watched her trying not to notice that she was not my normal client. I usually received men or women wanting proof of adultery or some other sleazy kind of case, and they usually had little money. Monika Ghun wasn’t one of them.

For one, no one would adultery on her. I thought about the Ten Commandments and what Jesus had said about one’s thoughts and realized that she probably had been the cause of plenty of it in her life. Pardon me while my mind wanders. Getting hit in the head a lot does that to me.

“So are you going to help me or not?” She asked.

“Tell me about it,” I said. I leaned back and closed my eyes. If I looked at her I might just fall into a trap.

“Ever heard of Miles Stratford?”

I was glad my face was covered or my reaction would have been a give-away of interest. “I take your sister was the one he hit that night.”

“Yes. He’s out on bail and he’s run.”

I sat back up properly. “Skipped bail?”

“And his family says they don’t know where he is.”

“Not likely. Tight family and he’s the heir to it all,” I said. Wheels were turning. I glanced at her and there was a slight smile. She knew she had me.

“So you’ll take it?”

“Not to kill him, but to bring him back.”

“I just want justice done,” she said.

I stared into her eyes and didn’t flinch. There was a lot of confusion there. Taking the case might have been the best idea I had for the night. She needed someone to watch out for her.

“Okay, I’ll do it.”

“Good.”

“Start first thing in the morning,” I said.

The knock at my office door at that time of night made both of us jump. I found relief only in the fact that at least her reaction proved she was human. Then there was the look on her face.

“Who is it?”

“Mr. Rose?”

“Yeah,” I said, not moving.

“I’m Carl Stratford. I have a job for you.”

When I looked back at Monika she was gone. The only other way out of my office was the window and we were three stories up. And I didn’t have a fire escape. Maybe I had been wrong.

Rose & Ghun Episode One: You want me to do what?

gettyimages © Original Photo by Paul LoveKing
gettyimages © Original Photo by Paul LoveKing

 

“Ow,” I mumbled.

“Does that hurt, pretty baby?” I stared up out of one eye at the woman above me. Perfect lipstick and hair, nails still shimmering in the light of night, and brandishing a tire iron she had just used on my ribs.

“Only a little, Cornelia,” I managed. “I guess you aren’t what you used to be.”

“Errrngh!”

I’m not very smart…sometimes. That’s the idea that flowed through my head as my body rolled along behind it. The pavement was cold on my face. I smiled and my lip stung from the cracks in it. “Broke a heel,” I said. “Should have stuck with the iron.”

She stalked toward me. It’s amazing how beautiful people can look so hideous when evil twisted them from the inside. If it had just been Cornelia things would have been fine, but she never traveled alone. Part of her posse, gang, whatever gorgeous women criminal types called their hired thugs was present.

“Not gonna move, purdy boy,” said Larry.

“That’s ‘pretty baby’,” I said.

“Yeah, pretty baby, Larry,” said Justin.

Good, I got the names right. Big sacks of meat all looked the same through a swollen eye…in the night…in the street…on your face, points for me. Now what? Only one thing I could do.

“unnnnhhh,” was all Larry managed as my heel connected with his inseam. I rolled like a log along the street while Justin paused to glance at his partner.

“Get him!”

By the time Justin turned at Cornelia’s order I was on my feet and running…hobbling or maybe it was skipping. The only concern I had was that I was fast enough. Gary’s was not far and if I could make it there, then I might have a chance.

“Ain’t happenin’,” said Justin. I could hear boots pounding the street. Why do big men move faster these days? Why am I saying ‘these days’? I’m not even middle aged. These are the only days I know. But with the life I led maybe I was middle aged.

I could see Gary’s Grill’s sign lit up not even a block away. But sucking wind and dancing ribs were not going to allow me to get there. My feet kept running into the air as my head and shoulders came to a sudden stop.

“Aw, pretty baby got caught,” said Cornelia.

Justin held me in his arms like a constrictor, not that he needed to. I was spent. Cornelia walked slowly up and smiled. She had brought the tire iron. “I warned you not to take the case, now didn’t I?”

I couldn’t answer and wouldn’t have even if I could have taken a breath.

“That building fire was an accident. That’s what the insurance company is going to find out, and you are not going to disagree, are you, pretty baby?”

“wwww”

Cornelia glanced over my shoulder and nodded. The arms loosened slightly. At least I could breathe again.

“Now what did you want to tell me?”

“Why do you call me pretty baby?”

The slap jerked my head sideways and my neck popped. Why do women take these crazy classes where they exercise by fighting? That was a pro shot. Rib pain, the constrictor had returned.

Fingers pulled my hair and my face lifted to hers. “Drop the case or else,” she said. She leaned in close to my ear. I felt her breath and could smell her perfume. “Drop the case, Trevor. I don’t want this to get worse,” she ended in a whisper.

She stepped back and nodded at Justin. I was slammed to the pavement and couldn’t move. I saw them walk away. It wasn’t a bad sight. Justin leaving was a good thing, and even in the condition I was in…well…Cornelia was Cornelia.

“And I was coming to you for help.” I slowly rolled over onto my back and looked up into the face of another woman.

“What can I do for you?” I groaned.

“Not die for starters.”

“Working on it. What else?”

“Need you to help me kill the man that killed my sister.”

How do things get this bad this fast?

 

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