A Catch-Up Affair (Interactive Story Continues)

 

Chapter Two

 

 

The four-some now seated in chairs around the large oval oak table as the waiter retrieves the menus.

“I will get your orders in.” And the short black man walks away.

Julie’s brown eyes carefully study the faces around the table as she slowly sips at her wine. “So, Brad,” and turns them solely to the man sitting to her right, “What on earth have you been up to since I last saw you?”

Brad grins as he leans back. “Nothing exciting.  Just work.”

“Doing what?”

“Integrated marketing.”

“Marketing, huh?” She purses her lips, “For whom?”

“Altvision Communications.” He replies as he bit into a breadstick.

“Wow, one of the four media giants.” Her smile widen as she fingers her glass.  “You must be one of the lowly assistants working his way up the career rung by now.”

He chuckles, “Hardly. Try the Director of the Marketing Department.”

“Di-rec-tor…my heavens, that’s a far cry from being a lab rat with Dalton Co-Op.”

“A lab rat?” Eddie’s hazel-green eyes sparkle as he stares at Brad across the table.

Brad lets out a laugh, “That’s Julie’s way of calling any desk clerk who worked for Dalton back in the day.”

“They were directly responsible for polluting all the lakes upstate which cost taxpayers well over a billion dollars.”

“And you don’t feel the least bit guilty for forcing them out of business and driving hundreds of people out of work?”  Brad asks, the smile now gone.

“What they were doing was criminal, and it was my job to expose them.” Julie’s eyes now slits.

“Yeah, well, the timing couldn’t have been worse.” Brad grabs another breadstick. “You could have at least waited until after Christmas to break the story.”

“Are you a reporter?” Eddie’s interest now piqued as he focuses on the curly red head between Brad and Laura.

Julie shrugs, “Yeah, a crime beat reporter,” and takes another sip of the red wine.

“You don’t sound very enthused.” He says.

“It’s a job.”

“Don’t let her fool you, Ed.” Brad points a half-eaten breadstick at his friend. “Journalism’s in her blood just like her father, and her grandfather.”

“I see.” Eddie drinks from a bottle of beer. “A generational legacy that you don’t seem to relish much of.”

“It comes natural, and it made sense at the time.” She says.

“Writing comes natural to Julie all right.  Did you know she’s also a published author?” Laura smiles at Julie who frowns back.

“Oh, really?” Brad says, “What do you write?”

“Guilty pleasure.  Let’s not make a big deal out of it.” Julie replies.

“She writes horror.” Laura answers for her friend.

“A crime beat reporter slash horror writer.  Wow, never saw that one coming.” Brad sneers.

“Whatever.” Julie flicks her long hair off her shoulders and turns to face Eddie. “What of you?  Let me guess, an international spy?” She asks in a leering tone.

“You’re not too far off the mark.” Eddie replies. “I’m a freelance Threat Analyst.”

“What the heck is that?” Julie’s nose crinkles at him.

“Mainly I hunt the web for any malicious activities, and put a stop to them.”

“That sounds–interesting I suppose.” Julie says.

It was Eddie’s turn to laugh as he drinks more of the beer. “Oh, it can get very interesting.”

“What about you, Laura?” Brad asks.

Laura leans forward as she studies the flickering candle at the table’s center which casts shadows across her fair face. “I’m currently doing my Forensic Pathology Residency at North Peak’s Regional Medical Center.”

“Fascinating.  We have a budding doctor with us.” Brad smiles at her.

“You did it.” Eddie says. “You’ve accomplished one of your dreams.” His warm smile causes Laura’s cheeks to color.

“It’s still a work in progress, but yeah, I’m getting there.” She returns his smile.

His expression then grows more somber. “I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch. I never meant to leave like that.”

Laura shrugs, “You had a family emergency that required you to leave the country.  Besides, it was for the best.  For us, anyway.”

Eddie nods. “You’ve always been so understanding, Laurie.  You deserve someone to be equally so.”  His accent now more pronounced.

“Oh my, here’s our dinner!” Julie blurts out as the waiter came to their table with a tray full of food.  “I’m starving!”

 

End of Chapter Two

 

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

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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  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading: What’s Your Favorite Genre?

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

 

 

 

Writing: Slow Starts

 

Snow came way early this year in my neck of the woods (as shown above).  In fact, here in North Dakota, we went directly from summer to winter.  There was NO fall.   According to the local weatherman, we’re to get an additional 3-6 inches of the white stuff between today and Sunday.

Ugh.

Originally, I’m a northern-climate gal having been born near the border of Quebec, and grew up in the Adirondacks so I’m no stranger to the cold and snow.  However…I spent nearly 15 years in North Carolina before moving up here so my body is still trying to get re-acclimated to the changes.

I’ll get there eventually.  🙂

Whether it’s the sudden changes or getting older (I’ll take the former thank you very much), I’ve been slow getting started with NaNoWriMo this year.

Sitting at 500 words on day 3 kind of slow.

But, at the very least, it’s a start.

I will be working on two writing projects.  One’s projected to be about 7,500 words while the other around 10,000 so most likely I won’t win this year.  That’s okay just as long as I get the drafts of these two completed by November 30.

The 7,500-word novelette is inspired by the TV show, Deadly Women, I binge watched the past several months.  It’ll be a slightly different genre than I’m used to writing, but so far, an enjoyable experience.  I plan to post the synopsis later this month.  My goal for this story is to hopefully either self-publish it, or place it on Channilo.  In the past, majority of the stories I wrote have been horror and/or young-adult with sprinklings of science fiction and fantasy.   This particular story is Suspense/Thriller with some Romance.

Stay tuned.

The second project is a serial fiction I started last year called, The Hidden Realm, which is a fantasy/horror story.

Click on image to start reading it

 

During this month, I plan to finish writing the second half of Part One.   Writing serial fiction is tricky for multiple reasons; one being that it requires long-term commitment to post a new installment in a timely manner until either the story’s completed, or you give up on it.   I’ve written several in the past, and gave up on them all mostly because I either got bored with it, or got stuck on the storyline.  I hope by writing large blocks of the story in a short time and then posting them in small increments will enable me to actually finish this one.

We’ll see.

 

I will post more on both stories throughout the month of November.

 

What about you?  What are you working on this month?

 

 

 

 

Would You Read More (a short story share)?

dark woods

She hurt all over. Inside and out.

She wore no shoes against the jagged rocks on the trail, and no jacket against the skin-biting cold of the late autumn air.  She ran away so quickly there was no time to grab anything.

The pain in her chest throbbed as she tried to ignore it. She hated feeling this way.  It was a nagging reminder of all she had lost.

She stumbled on as she kept her back to the destruction that lied behind.  Black smokes rose to the sky as the putrid smell of burnt flesh permeated her nostrils.  Bile burned in her stomach as she covered her cracked lips with a dirt-streaked hand.

Images and thoughts tried to force themselves into her mind, but she shook them away.  No, she can’t face them now.  They would break her into a million of pieces; pieces that she could never put back together.

A snarled tree root suddenly snagged a foot as she tripped and fell to her knees with a whimper.  The impacted skin burned, and something warm trickled down that foot.

She brushed the once golden-brown-now-mud-caked hair away from her pale face, and stared down at herself.  The left pant-leg now torn which expose her ankle completely. There was a gash on top of the foot where blood oozed from.  As she sat on the icy, hard ground, she debated with herself on whether she should bother to continue.  With an injured foot, she’d either be an easy prey, or die from an infection.

Stifling back the urge to scream, she pounded the earth with both fists.  Hot tears blinded her as her teeth ground together.

Life was so unfair!  What has she done to deserve such a cruel fate?  What?!

The snapping of nearby branches startled her as she sat up and peered ahead.  All she saw was a thick canopy of dark hardwood trees.  A moment later though there were several shadows moving within them.

The predators have found their prey.

“N-no!” She rolled over on her knees and stood up. She then scanned around but realized that it was too late to run.  She reached down and grabbed a sharp-edged rock.

And waited.