A Snowy Reunion (Interactive Story)

*Am starting a new story, an interactive kind, which means feedback from readers will determine the direction of the story.  Read the first chapter, and then answer the poll.  Your input will determine the story’s results! Enjoy 🙂

 

Chapter One

 

Fluffy white flakes drift from the sky on to the urban landscape below.  Mazes of paved and cemented pathways spread across the city like a grid, nearly all are inhabited by flickering white and red lights.  While the heavens fill with solemn hushes, the earth brims with noise and movements among the living and their worldly gadgets and possessions.

On a particular street level, two women walk briskly, huddled deep in their coats and scarves.  White mists emanating from their faces as they huffed.

“I can’t believe you talked me into going out tonight!” The shorter woman says.

“Nonsense, Laura.” replies the other. “You work too much.  Besides, I haven’t seen Brad in years.  I’m curious to see how rich and successful he became.”

“Really, Julie, you’re just too shallow.” Laura scoffs. “There are more to men than sex and money.”

“Don’t forget power.” Julie raises a hand covered in a black leather glove.

“See?”

“You’re one to talk, dearie.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Laura smirks.

“Okay, how about Scott Mendler?” Red ringlets flickering across her cheeks.

“Him? The Pharmacist? Oh, c’mon! He didn’t know right from left!”

“Oh? Let’s try this one…Frank Aleman.”

“Computer repairman.  Too boring.” Laura says.

“Todd Blankenship?”

“Too skinny.”

“Stanley Cougler?”

“Too weird.”

“Nicholas Stem?”

“Kissed like a girl.”

Julie stops suddenly. “And you know this how?”

“Kidding!” Laura grabs her friend’s arm to prod her along once more. “I still don’t see your point.”

“My point is that you’re just as shallow as I am when it comes to men.” Julie says.

“Are you saying we’re hopeless?”

“Nah, just haven’t found the right ones.”

Laura shakes her head. “I’m starting to believe there’s no right one out there.”

“Perhaps we’ve been looking at the wrong ones.”

“Or perhaps I need to shorten my ‘qualities desired in an ideal mate’ list.”  Laura frowns.

Julie suddenly stops.  Again.

“Now what?” Laura asks.

Julie glances behind them. “Been having this feeling that someone’s following me all day.”

“Halloween’s long over.” Laura says.

“Yeah.” The red-head turns back around. “Probably just my imagination.”

“Comes with the territory for being a horror writer.” Laura replies.

“Well, that’s not all I do, honey.” She sneers.

“That’s even creepier.”

“Yeah, whatever, speak for yourself.” Julie pulls at her friend’s arm. “There it is. Let’s run…I’m freezing!”

The two women carefully jog across the icy road hopping from one section of tire-tread pattern on the ground to the next to keep from slipping.   Once they reach the other side, they stood briefly at the wooden door with “Carroll’s Diner” etched in it.

And pushed it opened to enter inside.

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

 

Carroll’s Diner’s rustic interior immediately warmed up the women as they peer into the dining section for familiar faces.

“I think I see Brad at the bar.” Julie says as she immediately heads in that direction  with Laura following close behind.

She quietly approaches a dark blonde-haired man and taps him on the shoulder which causes him to stir instantly.

“My god!  Isn’t it jolly ol’ Julie!” His hazel eyes twinkling as he pulls her in to his arms for a bear hug.

“Easy there, Brad.  You might break some ribs.” She giggles into his musky-smelling neck.

“Sorry, my bad.” And moves her to a more steady position, standing in front of him. He then notices a woman besides her. He blinks a few times before speaking. “Laura Hines?”

Laura smiles sheepishly. “Yeah, that’s me.”

Brad cocks his head slightly as he takes turns studying both women. “Friends?”

“Hard to believe, Bubba boy, but yep, we’re good friends now.”  Julie smiles widely.

He shakes his head slowly and let out a low whistle. “I thought you two hated each other during college.”

“Old history.” Julie replies as she winks over at Laura.  “It’s a long story.”

“I’ll drink to that!” He turns and picks up a shot glass and downs it in one gulp.

“Hey! Not so fast!” Julie pouts as she makes herself comfortable on a high stool. “I’ll have what he’s drinking.” She tells the bartender.

“Make that two.” Laura says as she sits on the other side of Julie.

Julie glances around Brad. “I thought there were two of you.”

He nods. “There is.  He had a call but should be back any time.”

“Who’s back?” Comes a husky voice rich in accent.

The women both peer around Brad to see a gorgeous man taking his seat at the end of the counter.   Golden brown skin.  Dark black hair which even partially covers his face, but one could still spy the dimples in his cheeks when he smiles.

This time it would be Laura speaking first.

“Oh. My. God.  Eddie?” Her voice rises several decibel.

“Hello, Laura.” His smile held as his deep hazel eyes meet her blue ones.  “It’s been a long time.”

She shifts in her stool but never moving her gaze away from his face.  “Yes.”

“Hello? Pheromone city!” Julie butts in effectively slicing the momentary connection.  “You two know each other?”

Laura’s smile wavers as she fingers her glass that mysteriously appeared seconds earlier. “College.”

“History?”  Julie whispers close to her ear.

Laura nods once.

“Well, I’m Julie Yourdon.” In her next move she turns to the dark hair man, and gives him her most alluring smile.

“Eduardo Santa Perez.” He bows his head to her. “A pleasure to meet you.”

“Pleasure’s all mine.” Julie mutters under her breath as she sips her liqueur.

 

End of Chapter One

 

 

 

*Note: You can also follow this story over at my other site — Story Interactive  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: To Trick a Hacker by India Kells

 

 

To Trick a Hacker is a Romance Suspense book written by the gifted storyteller India Kells.   It follows heroine Dylan Harris a loner who’s hiding within the fringe of society working as a hacker for a secret organization called Purgatory.   With a tumultuous and traumatizing past she’s trying to hide from, she finds herself hunted by an unknown assailant who seemingly have ties to her painful past.

In comes Owen Sorenson, a gorgeous former Navy Seal, sent by Purgatory to protect her from further harm which she reluctantly accepts.   Each battling scars of various kinds, they at first formed an uneasy team as they set out in search of a killer that soon grows into a passionate and emotional relationship.   A relationship which gets tested time and time again threatening to send either one over the edge and into darkness.  It’s a romance forged in pain and loneliness as they each face their personal demons from the past which keep returning to haunt them.  Sprinkle in a killer bent on turning Dylan to the dark side by threatening all who she cares for and you have a riveting story that will keep you turning the pages till the very end.

To Trick a Hacker ultimately is a story about family, love, second chances, and sacrifices.

India Kells’ writing style can be liken to Sherrilyn Kenyon and Sara Mackenzie, and I definitely look forward to reading many more of her books!

 

You can find India Kells at the following places:

http://www.indiakells.com

Facebook

Twitter

 

 

 

Q&A with Author Alison Morton

alison-morton-author-interview

I’m so excited to have a very special guest here with us today: Alison Morton who is the author to the alternative history series called Roma Nova.  Be sure to check out her sites below! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’ve been fascinated by the Romans since I was 11 and that’s a while ago! In between normal life events – earlier career in various sectors, marriage, raising our son, running my own business – I spent many of my vacations clambering over Roman Europe.

These days I live in France with my husband, write thrillers, cultivate a Roman herb garden and drink wine.

What aspects of your life led you to writing the kind of books you write?

I have a masters’ in history, six years’ military service and I love a good thriller.  And I’ve always believed that a woman could run things as well as any man.

After the novel writing bug was triggered by a terrible film, all these came together and resulted in the Roma Nova thriller series.

What’s your favorite part about being a writer?

Two things: firstly, the research and the way you become diverted into looking up stuff totally unrelated to your work in progress and secondly, receiving an email or review from a reader who totally gets what you are trying to say in your books.

alison-morton-in-rome

Tell us more about your books.

They’re adventure thrillers set in a modern Roman society run by strong women (Roma Nova). Of course, our heroines are fallible and of course they have strong love interests, but it’s the women who lead the action and call the shots. While the books are thrillers, there are no dripping body parts. 

The first one, INCEPTIO, starts in New York when an ordinary girl, Karen Brown, is hunted by a government enforcer. But in steps an attractive Roma Novan spy who helps her escape. But Karen finds it isn’t just gratitude she feels towards him.

She discovers her Roma Nova heritage and her true name. Her new life in Roma Nova is shattered a few months later when the government enforcer crosses the Atlantic and comes after her. He has a very personal reason to pursue her …

inceptio-book-by-alison-morton

What are you currently working on?

I’ve just sent the sixth book in the series to the copy editor and that will be out this April. Now I’m developing a novella, also set in Roma Nova.

How do you get into the minds of your characters?

I close my eyes and let them have conversations with each other. And sometimes I let them run around in my head acting out scenes. It’s important to establish each character’s separate personality from the start. Many people find it helpful to write out character profiles. Stories, whatever their setting and purpose, are all about people in the end.

What’s your favorite traveling destination?  Any place you haven’t visited and would love to?

Rome is my absolute favourite – impressive in so many ways.

In 2015, we visited the US and Canada for seven weeks seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Washington DC, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Beverly Hills, New York, Chicago, Niagara Falls, Quebec and a lot else! Last year I did ten trips to the UK to speak at events as well as two here in France. In March I’m off to the London Book Fair and then to Dublin, Ireland to speak in June. That’s plenty of travel at present!

What do you see in the future for women in general?

I think we’ll keep nudging towards a more egalitarian world, but there’s a long way to go. We must continue to stand up for a truly equal place in the world and chisel away at ingrained and subconscious acceptance of stereotypes that surround us.

Any additional comments or advice you’d like to add for our readers?

If you’re a writer keep writing and be persistent. Make your work the best it can be – no compromise! If you’re a reader, the best thing you can do when you read a wonderful book is to leave a review.

Social media links

Connect with Alison on her Roma Nova site

Facebook author page

Twitter:  @alison-morton

Goodreads

Alison’s Amazon page

alison-morton-books