Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIP Wednesday

This week I skip ahead again to a pivotal scene that relieves some of the tension I'd built up in the previous chapter.

I end the previous chapter with Leonidas discovering that Alexis continued on the bus to Montgomery, Alabama. He is now getting ready to drive there and collect her up to be his mate, whether she agrees or not.

Before he makes it out of Atlanta, he receives a call from Ellijay with bad news. The news puts the brakes on his quest and prompts him to shift into wolf form. His actions will ultimately create a secret he must keep, along with a game-changer for Dimitri, who wants his granddaughter back without the condition of ritual mating with the future pack alpha.


The moon disappeared and reappeared behind tall buildings as Leonidas walked to his car. It would be full in a few days.
"Full moon rising," he said to himself, and chuckled under his breath.
He'd always found it amusing how mortals, and even some ferals, thought a werewolf was somehow tied to the moon. The moon guided him no more than anything else but he did need the full moon for the mating ritual, and he planned to be mated to Alexis in just a few days, with or without his father's blessing.
It would be easier to wait till morning, get a fresh start to Montgomery, but he didn't want to wait. He'd checked a map and found Montgomery was only about three hours West on Interstate eighty-five. It would be better to get there tonight, find the bus station first thing in the morning. Alexis would be back to Ellijay by tomorrow afternoon, or He'd find a way to get her ostracized from the pack. If that didn't work, he'd find a way to make her dead.
His cell phone rang as he was pulling into traffic.
"Leonidas, it's Paul. I'm afraid I've got some news."
Leo threw the phone from his ear. It landed on the seat next to him and he could still hear the pack doctor talking on the other end.
"Leo ... Leo? You still there?" came from the phone in a minuscule, tinny voice.
Whatever the doctor had to say, he didn't want to hear it. Leo pulled to the side of the street and took a deep breath. He was prepared for bad news, but there was always the chance the doctor was just calling to tell him his father's health was improving. But Leonidas knew the doctor wouldn't be calling him with good news. For that, he'd wait until he returned. Leo gathered his strength, and hesitantly reached for the cell phone.
"What is it, doc."
"It's about your father, Leo," the doctor's voice sounded hushed on the phone. The kind of voice doctors always use when they give bad news to family members.
"Don't say it," Leo yelled into the phone.
"He passed sometime last night."
"Damn it, I know," he yelled back, his voice starting to crack as his vision blurred."You didn't have to tell me."
"You need to come home, Leonidas."
"I'm on my way." Leo ended the call and threw his phone away. It bounced off the roof and cracked the passenger window before landing right back beside him on the seat.
I should have been there.
Leo fought through a torment of conflicting emotions as he mindlessly pulled into traffic and drove. Lights from oncoming traffic blinded him, appearing as sunburst, cutting harshly through the darkness.
I should have listened to him.
He drove. Leo drove blindly through the streets of downtown Atlanta, unaware of his surroundings, not caring where he went. Just driving, running. He fought hard against a rage building within himself. It was the only emotion he knew, and the most dangerous. He struggled to contain a building howl, a shifting. There was no outlet for his rage. He was in his car amongst a city of mortals, like an animal locked in a cage. He found himself driving along a dark street, some kind of park out his driver's side window. The need was too great. He slammed on his brakes, sliding sideways into a parking spot.
The shift came within three steps of the car, and the wolf ran into the darkness. The wolf ran blindly down deserted park pathways along a lake, tears wetting the fur along the sides of its face. The wolf ran, stopping only to sniff the air for any creature to hunt down.

Hope you enjoyed this scene. I will continue to skip ahead on scenes as I am in the process of finishing the draft now. For those interested, I'm now in the process of looking for Beta-readers after my project goes through the first edit. As always, comments and critiques are welcome.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Put your seat belts on, fair readers, this is going to take awhile. This week I am combining two scenes. The first scene is in Joe's point of view, as he visits Alexis at the club, ending in a second date at the local all-night restaurant. The second scene is from Lexi's point of view. She's asked him back to her apartment (trailer) with every intention of seducing him. Problem is that she's never actually seduced a man, or even been with a man before, and begins to shift against her will.

A few customers started filtering into the bar, so Joe left the bar stool, and found himself a table toward the back of the bar, where he could see the the door and the stage without being noticed. Paulina came in with Becky right behind her. They both went directly to the bar and talked to Sam. He wondered if Sam would have the balls to bring up the prospect of dancing to Paulina. Obviously not, since Paulina and Becky found his table and sat down with him. Becky left her chap stick tube on his tabletop, and her purse over the back of a chair, when she left to change. He noticed, Paulina didn't have a purse with her, odd for a woman not to have a purse.
"What brings you back here tonight, Joe?" Paulina had a sly look on her face. She sipped a Coke through a straw, her upward turned lips indicating she was happy to see him. "You on the job, or are you unemployed at the moment?"
"I'm always on the job." He wasn't sure he wanted to tell her he was going to bring in Knuckles--not yet, anyway.
She smiled at him, and left the table to serve some new costumers. Joe sat at the table, watching Paulina move from one table to another, filling orders, putting a halt to the advances of drunken amorous men. He watched the front entrance, for Knuckles or any of his stooges. He watched the back exit door into the alleyway for anyone sneaking out to warn him. Knuckles never showed himself, and as far as Joe knew, none of his stooges showed themselves either. He managed to nurse just three drinks during Paulina's entire work shift. Paulina teased him when she brought his second drink, calling it a virgin rum and coke.Sam made last call, and started ushering customers out the door. Paulina came to his table, sitting in the chair opposite him to count her tips.
"Busy night?" He asked Paulina as she stacked quarters in a row.
"Looks like I made enough in tips to spend twenty minutes at the arcade," she said. "I'm surprised how many customers leave a tip of pocket change, and lint balls."
Joe leaned back in his chair, rubbing his chin, and thinking of the best approach to mention what Sam had talked to him about earlier. He wasn't much motivated to mention it at all. Although, the prospect of nabbing Knuckles without a fight worked for him financially.
"I wonder how Becky does in tips." He thought talking about Becky might give him an idea of how she felt about dancing. "At least, she gets paid in dollars, instead of quarters.
"I'm sure she does well, Paulina said. "She was a professional dancer in Vegas, you know, but I wouldn't be caught dead on that pole in a million years."
"Are you shy?" Joe was ready to change the subject, and he sensed she was uncomfortable talking to him about it too.
"Me?" Paulina pointed to herself with an exaggerated expression. "Showing a little skin doesn't bother me, but I'd die of embarrassment if anyone saw me try to dance. There's no way anybody could get me on that stage. I'll stick to serving drinks and flirting with customers, thank you very much."
Paulina convinced him that the thought of her dancing was a dead end, and that was just fine. Besides, he was already starting to feel like he might just be a little uncomfortable with the thought of strange men gawking at her while she danced, mostly naked, on a stage.
"How would you like to get some coffee again tonight?" He said, thinking it was time to change the subject. "Maybe we can find someplace a little nicer tonight."
Paulina put a finger to her mouth, and looked up in an exaggerated expression of thinking, then said. "I'll go with you under one condition."
"You're going put conditions on free coffee?" He said, and laughed.
"Yes, I like conditions," she said. "How about, this time we go without Becky."
Paulina left the table to go talk to Becky, and waited for her by the door. Sam looked at him so many times, it was beginning to make him uncomfortable. He was sure Sam was curious whether he talked to her about dancing or not. Sam was just going to have to hoist his balls up and ask her himself if he was so determined.
"Wow, looks like you're getting classier with each date," Paulina said, as He angled the truck into a parking space. "International House of Pancakes for a second date. I can't imagine where we'd go next, Olive Garden?" She laughed, but brought her hand over to meet his on the seat.
"I'm sorry, but this is the best I can do with the hours we keep." Joe opened his door and slid out of the seat, running over to open her door.
He followed her into the restaurant, opening the door for her, and then running past her to open the second door. She sat across from him in a cozy booth that was long enough to easily fit at least six adults. He was a little surprised when she ordered steak and eggs, the steak as rare as the waitress told her the restaurant could legally serve. He ordered eggs with country ham and red eye gravy with grits on the side. Paulina engaged him in idle chit-chat while they waited for their food, asking him if he'd always lived here, and if he liked NASCAR, and what college football team he supported. He kept the conversation light by telling her that NASCAR was for Georgians, and Alabamians didn't decide which college football team they supported, they were born a fan of Alabama or Auburn. They fell quiet when the food came, their only communication becoming the cutting of meat, and the occasional request for salt.
Paulina was the first to break the silence after the plates were taken away and replaced with coffee cups.
"So, Joe," she said. "Did you really come into the bar tonight for me, or are you on the hunt for another criminal?"
"Mostly because of you." He didn't want to tell her he was after biggest crime boss in the state. "Besides, my criminal never showed up."
Paulina fell silent again. Every time he looked across the table at her, she was staring at him, a look in her eyes like she was sizing him up, or considering another question. He busied himself by ruffling through the bills in his wallet, pretending he was deciding on how much to tip the waitress. Paulina got his attention when she said, "Well, I guess the date's over." He suddenly realized he'd already laid cash on the table, blanketing the bill.
"Oh, no." He said." I'm sorry, it's just a habit to pay the bill as soon as it comes."
"That's okay," Paulina winked at him. "Our date doesn't have to be over." She reached over the table and placed her hand on top of his. "We could get another cup of coffee at my place."
"Okay," was all he could think to say.
"Let's go," she said.
He slid out the booth and took her hand, wondering if she could see the anticipation written all over him. It was all he could do to keep from breaking the posted speed limit on the drive to her apartment.

* * *

All the way back to her place, Lexi wondered just what she'd gotten herself into. She had no experience with men, but Joe was different. She liked him. She wanted him, and she wanted this to happen. She was ready. Joe parked the truck in front of the single-wide trailer she called home, and she waited while he ran around the front of the truck to open her door. He followed her to the wooden steps that led to the door, and held a small pen flashlight for her while she unlocked the door, fumbling nervously as she tried to fit the key into the door.
As they went through the door, she felt Joe's hand on her back. Then, he wrapped his other arm around her from behind, and pulled her into him, turning her until she faced him, theirs lips nearly touching. Her knees nearly gave way, as the intensity of their first kiss pulsed from her lips and saturated her entire body. She knew Joe would not let her fall, he was holding her so tight, she felt her feet may already be off the floor. She suddenly realized her loss of control, and wide-eyed fear replaced blind lust. What if she lost control, and shifted? That would not be good for Joe. He'd proven himself strong and fast but all that was nothing compared to what she would become. She feared he would react violently, and in her animal state, she might kill him. That certainly wouldn't be a good start for their relationship.
"How about that coffee?" Lexi pushed against Joe's chest, and squirmed out of his arms, her body immediately cold and wanting the warmth of him again.
"Sure," he said, his eyebrows furrowed, and his head shaking left to right in what could only be confusion.
Now, she wasn't even sure why she invited him back for coffee. She didn't even own a coffee pot. But, she didn't want to lose him. He was the first man she ever felt this way about, and it was all too confusing, especially with the other secrets she had to keep from him.
"Uh, I only have instant. You okay with that?" A sudden fear overwhelmed her again. She feared he might sense her apprehension and leave.
"Instant is fine," Joe said. "That's what I drink at home, anyway."
She filled a teapot with water, put it on the stove, and sat down beside Joe on the small couch.
"Now, where were we?" She said, as she leaned into him, bringing her arms up around his muscular shoulders.
Their lips touched, and electricity spread through her body like a wildfire. There were parts of her body responding to his touch, she'd never even knew existed. A trail of heat, and fire, and electricity followed every movement of his big hands moving slowly, gently over her clothes. He moved his hands along her back, upwards across her shoulders, and down her arms, until he found her hands, holding them securely within his. He broke their kiss, moving away from her just far enough to look her directly in the eyes. His eyes were intense, dark, and possessive. The eyes of an Alpha, for sure.
The look in her eyes made her want him even more, and she leaned into him, diving into luxurious warmth of his kiss again. A little voice inside her head started its protest. The voice said this could never be. The voice peeped that she could not have a human. She moaned into Joe's mouth, ignoring the voice.
The fire and electricity intensified, as Joe's hands moved back up her arms and shoulders, all the way to the bottoms of her earlobes, before plunging down her to the middle of her spine. He pulled at her blouse until it freed itself from the hem of her jeans. A flash of fire and need shot to her core as she felt Joe's bare hands on the skin of her back, working their way upwards until reaching the clasp of her bra. The voice now echoed warnings, as if yelled from a distant mountain, but she ignored it. She felt Joe working the at the clasps with both hands, but she was ruled by his kiss, and that was all that mattered. She let him work at her bra, willing him to work faster.
The first clasp came free, then the second, bringing with it, a rush of want and anticipation as she felt her large breasts give way to gravity. As  Joe moved his hands around her sides and over her breasts, the voice was washed away in her pleasure, but she felt the unmistakable feeling of her hair growing and thickening on her arms, a kind of tingling, stinging sensation that was not pleasant by any measure. The voice was suddenly back, now screaming a warning that she was going somewhere she could not come back from. She'd never been with a human before. Hell, she'd never been with anyone. The voice became a torrent of noise, as she felt those little changes inside her signaling a slow change in her form. The screaming turned to a whistle, and she realized the water was boiling on the stove.
"Wait," she said, as she pushed away from Joe. "Stop."
Joe looked at her, confusion in his eyes, his hands still cupping her breasts.
"We can't do this. Not now." She heard herself saying the words, but they sounded as if someone else was saying them. She was confused. She wanted him, but fear overcame her. Not a fear of losing her virginity, but a fear of the unknown--of what she might do to him. The teapot whistled on the stove, creating a confusing cacophony of noise, clouding her thoughts. Despite her best efforts to hold back, she still felt the changes coming within her. Was she going to shift uncontrollably, right in front him? She'd had full control of her shift since she was nine years old. Why was she suddenly unable to control anything?
"You have to go," she yelled at Joe as she back away and jumped up from the couch.
"But, why?" Joe said. "It's okay, we can just talk."
"No!" she snapped back at him. "Just go." Her vision was already becoming blurred with her own tears. "Just go now." she said, quieter this time, as she turned away from him, and pulled the teapot off the burner.
Lexi didn't turn around until she heard Joe walk out and shut the door, his footsteps thumping down the wooden steps. All those little signs inside her went away--her shift was not going to come. It wasn't until she heard the truck rumble to life, throwing gravel as Joe sped away, that she allowed herself to cry. It came in waves so intense, she had to sit back down on the couch and hold her head in her hands. She knew now that she was falling in love with Joe--with a human. She knew that it was a love that simply could not be. She couldn't let it happen.
Defeated and heartbroken, she wondered if she would be better off just going back to Ellijay with her tail between her legs and accepting her preordained mating to Leonidas. Her birthright doomed her to a life of compromise and servitude. Her selfish independence only allowed her to see the life she would never have.
Hope you enjoyed these two scenes combined together this week. I know it was rather long, but I may be combining scenes or skipping scenes in an attempt to actually display a good representation of all chapters before the novel goes to editing and betas.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Compare and Contrast

I've been watching a new show on the SciFi channel on Sunday nights. It's called "Lost Girl" and, I swear someone read my novel, Lovestruck Succubus and stole many elements of my character for the television show.

Okay, I'm not coming out and accusing anybody of anything here, but the similarities are striking.

In the television show, Bo (the main character) is a Succubus who feeds off men through sex (well, just kisses, since it is television, after all) with fatal results. My Succubus, Azra, feeds off men for her very survival. She needs their energy like a mortal needs food.

Bo, the television Succubus, found herself a love interest that she manages to not kill, a Werewolf. Oddly enough, Azra, my Succubus, finds a Werewolf boyfriend, who, like the television show, happens to be a police detective-go figure! Of course, my Succubus actually tries to kill the detective, unaware that he is a Werewolf, only to shift into his form.

Okay, so maybe that's where many of the similarities end. My Succubus, has the ability to shape shift into a womanly form the man she is with finds most desirable. She is not looking for her parents, but she is trying to break the bonds of a highly regimented society with a tyrant for a leader.

Also, in my story, her kind (demons) actually created Werewolves many millenia ago, in an attempt to rid the Earth of mortals. Of course, she does not know this. Only her clan leaders know this, and they're angry that it didn't work. Now her own clan leader is even angrier that she's fallen in love with one of them.

But don't take my word for it. Watch the television show, and read my novel, then decide for yourself if those darn television writers stole my idea.

Find my novel at amazon by clicking HERE It's even available in paperback HERE

Find my novel at Barnes and Noble by clicking HERE or in paperback HERE

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I was planning on skipping ahead again for this week, but decided to post an earlier scene instead to provide some insight into Joe's personality. In this scene, Joe takes Paulina (Alexis) and Becky (the dancer) out to a local coffee shop after their shift at the bar. Joe is a wonderful gentleman and impresses becky, especially.

On a personal note, I must say that Becky was inspired by someone I knew as a teenager. That's all I'll say about that.

"I see you like to ride in class," Alexis joked, as Joseph opened the passenger-side door of his truck for her.
"Hey, don't knock it," Joe said. "It gets me from A to B."
She crawled into the middle of the bench seat and Becky sat beside her. Joe jumped in the driver's side and shut the door with a hollow thump. They drove the short distance down South Boulevard to a waffle restaurant, the light from the big yellow square-lettered sign diffused through the truck's dirty windshield as they pulled into a parking spot. Joe ran ahead and held the door open for them.
"Such a gentleman," Becky said.
"It's just the way my momma raised me," Joe said to Becky, but he looked at Alexis, winking at her as she walked through the door.
They found a booth and Joe again waited until her and Becky sat on one side before he slid into the seat on the other side. She ordered a half-stack of pancakes and coffee, and Joe followed suit, ordering the same thing, right down to the coffee. Becky ordered some kind of mega-special with three eggs, a full stack of pancakes, three slices of bacon, and grits.
"Where do you put it all," she asked, as Becky handed her menu back to the waitress.
"Dancing is hard work," Becky said. "I Burn a lot of calories climbing up and down that pole."
Joe shook his head in agreement. Lexi thought about it. It made sense. Becky's workday must've been like a six-hour marathon of aerobics. No wonder she was so skinny. The food arrived quickly, and when the waitress asked, Joe motioned for her to keep the coffee coming. They fell into silence as they ate, the only noise the occasional grunt from Becky as she stuffed her food into her mouth with a fork in one hand, and a spoon in the other.
Lexi glanced at Joe to watch him eat, whenever she thought he wasn't looking. He was a quiet eater, very deliberate, and well mannered. His upbringing was clearly better than his current circumstances. His biceps stretched the material on his shirt each time he brought the fork to his mouth, and it sent a little thrill through her. She found his reserved power somehow alluring and sexy. He caught her looking at him a few times. Or, maybe she caught him looking at her. Either way, she felt she was getting to know him almost without words.
Joe finished his food, but Becky was still going at it. In fact, she was eating the food Joe left on his plate. Lexi caught Joe glancing over at Becky, then back at her with a strange look on his face, and she nearly blew coffee through her nose trying not to laugh. She thought she even heard a little chuckle out of Joe, the first since she'd met him. She wanted to know more about him, but she didn't want to have to reveal to much of herself, not now, anyway.
"So, Joe," She said. "Do you do anything else, besides roughing up hoodlums?"
"I used to, but now, that's what I do--rough up hoodlums."
Lexi shook her head. She wanted to ask him more, but was afraid it might lead to questions about her. But she'd opened the gate with her question, and she could tell, when he brought his coffee cup slowly down to the table, staring at her, he was about to force her hand.
"What about you, Paulina?" He said. "I know you're new here. Where you from?"
"Florida," was the first thing that came to mind. "Just moved up from Pensacola."
Joe looked at her as if he could see right through her lie. He was probably thinking of some way to catch her in the lie. She was a terrible liar, always had been, and now she wished she did not have to lie, and despised Leo for putting her in this position.
"What made you decide to move from Pensacola to Montgomery?"
"I don't know. It's just where I ended up." She wasn't going to last long under this kind of interrogation. She figured changing the subject might help. "What about you," she said. "Have you always lived in Montgomery?"
"Born and raised here," Joe said. "Did a stint with the Army, but had to quit that gig to help my sick mother."
"How is she now?"
Joe fell silent, looking down at his napkin. Lexi thought she saw tears welling up in his eyes, but he played it off, like he had a sneeze coming on.
"His mother passed about six months ago," Becky said in a low voice, as she reached over and rubbed Joe's back.
"I'm so sorry."
Joe looked up at her and said, "That's okay. It's just that she was the last of my family. She was a good person, but she got the cancer. It tore her up. She tried to hide it from me, but I could tell when I talked to her on the phone, she was really sick."
Lexi reached for his hands, and he allowed her to take them in hers, or rather, laid her tiny hands on top of his big mitts. He smiled at her, and continued.
"It started affecting me on missions, so I was told to go take care of her."
"They kicked you out of the Army because of your sick mom?"
"No," he said. "The job I was in, I wasn't really in the Army anymore. It's hard to explain. They gave me the option to come back after things were settled, but I couldn't"
"Why not," Lexi asked. She wondered what could have happened to make him live a life as a bounty hunter after doing something obviously more important for the government.
"My mom was sick for a long time. The last few months, she was in hospice care. She didn't have enough insurance to cover it all, and the bills piled up."
"Wouldn't the Army help with that?"
"Well, like I said, I was technically out of the Army, and besides, their insurance doesn't extend to parents. I realized after she died, if I went back in my old job, I wouldn't make enough to pay off her medical and burial costs."
"You make that much as a bounty hunter?"
"Recovery agents can make as much as they want, as long as they're willing to accept the risk."
"Yeah," Becky said. "And plus, rumor has it, Joe's the best around."
Joe said nothing to Becky's comment. He fell silent for the rest of the meal and coffee. Afterward, he drove them home, dropping off Becky first. She, surprisingly, lived in a small row house along South Boulevard. Once Becky told him she lived at the Woods RV Park, he needed no other directions. He didn't speak until they were turning down the gravel road in the back of the RV Park where the trailers lined its length.
"Which trailer are you in?"
She told him it was the first one on the left. It was so quiet in the cab of the truck; Lexi heard the gravel crunching under the tires as Joe brought the truck to a stop in front of her rental. Joe got out of and ran around the front of the truck to open her door.
"You working tonight?" Joe asked, as she stepped out of the truck.
"Yep," she said. "I'm working every night I can."
"Maybe I'll see you there," he said.
She saw his eyes reflecting the moonlight. He looked sad, hurt, like he wanted to say something. They stood, motionless for a moment, and then reached up and kissed his cheek.
"Goodnight," he said, and ran back to the driver side of the truck, sliding quickly into the cab.
After he drove away, she stood at the front of her trailer for a moment, wondering why she kissed him. She wondered why he left so quickly. Maybe talking about his mother wasn’t the best way to avoid talking about her own past.

Hope you enjoyed this little post. My goal in this scene was to provide some background information on Joseph Johnson. I need to depict him as a more gentle soul and work on his likeability as a character because, later on in the story, he is forced to do some nasty mean stuff.

As always, comments and critiques are welcome.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I've skipped ahead again, just a little. In this scene, Paulina has finished her second night at work, Joseph Johnson had come in the bar earlier, and a new character, Norman "Knuckles" Taylor is formally introduced. Knuckles approaches Sam, the bartender, as informs him that Paulina (Alexis) should be a dancer.

Sam doesn't like the idea of his new waitress becoming a dancer, and he especially doesn't like the idea of his dancer, Becky, trying to wait tables. Nonetheless, Sam lacks the power to outright deny the demands of Knuckles.
Sam was washing glasses, trying to keep up with the busy night, when Knuckles left his table and came to the bar, leaning over it and motioning him close.
"Who's the new girl?"
"That's Paulina, our new waitress," Sam said. "Why, did you have a problem with her?"
"No," Knuckles snorted. "No problem at all. In fact, I'd like to see more of her."
"What do you mean?" Sam knew exactly what he meant, and he didn't like it one bit.
"I mean, can she dance?"
"I didn't hire to dance," Sam said. "I need a good waitress, and she's the best I've had in here in a long time."
"Why don't you take that stick, Becky, and put her on the floor taking orders, and put Paulina on the stage." Knuckles gestured toward Paulina, making a sweeping motion toward the stage. "That woman's got some meat on her bones." Knuckles chuckled, and his goons joined in, laughing in unison.
It was like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon, or an old-time gangster movie. Maybe that's where Knuckles and his gang got their playbook. Sam looked at Paulina as she worked her way from one table to the next. She moved with fluidity, as if she'd been doing this for years, but he doubted she could dance. He looked over to the dance floor. Becky was throwing herself into the pole, spinning around it and sinking slowly to the floor in the splits. She could dance, but she was no waitress. He'd lose business with Paulina on the stage. It'd be even worse with Becky on the floor. He grabbed a tumbler and shoved it over the bristles of the brush, stalling for time, hoping that Knuckles would suddenly burst out in laughter again, and tell him he was just kidding.
"Hey, I'm talking to you." Knuckles reached across the counter and poked at him, before squeezing a handful of his shirt into his hand.
He wasn't laughing.
"She's not a dancer," Sam said. "She's a good waitress, the best I've had in here in awhile, and it's only her second day." Besides, what would I do with Becky?"
"Becky's none of my concern," Knuckles poked his finger into Sam's chest. "You tell Paulina she's gonna dance, and me and my boys here will tip her well if she does."
"What if she doesn't want to dance?" Sam already knew what Knuckles was going to say, but it didn't hurt to ask.
"If she won't dance, you'll fire her. If you don't fire her, I'll have your bar fired, if you know what I mean." Knuckles made a wide sweeping gesture with his arms. "Can you imagine this entire place reduced to ashes? What would you do then?"
"I'll do what I can." Sam stopped washing glasses, grabbing a towel instead, and squeezing it till his fingers hurt.
"You'll get her to dance, or I'll become very upset," he said as one of his goons flicked a lighter, bringing it to flame. "And I think you know, bad things happen when someone makes me upset."
Knuckles turned, and walked out of the bar, his entourage following behind him. Sam squeezed his towel again as Knuckles passed the table where Joe Johnson sat, and Joe looked up at him. But Knuckles paid him no attention, either not seeing him, or not recognizing the bounty hunter.

Hope you enjoyed this scene. As always, comments and critiques are welcome. You may have noticed my diminished posting as of late. Please bear with me as I enter the final stretch in completing the draft for this story.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WIP Wednesday

This week, I've skipped ahead just a little to introduce the next character, Norman "Knuckles" Nelson, a local crime boss that takes a liking to Alexis, and wants her to dance in the Pink Pony Bar and Grill. Unfortunately, Joe Johnson also meets Knuckles as he picks him up as a new skip.

Hope you enjoy this weeks post. I may be skipping around a little more as the week progress since I may be done with the draft to this story soon. After that, I would like to continue posting little snippets of the story until it is published, or I have other stories to reveal.

The next day, despite not having a job to go to, Joe woke up with the Sun, just after five in the morning. Last night's skip securely in jail and no chance of getting hold of Jake for his money until he opened his bail bond office at ten, he was forced to cook a hearty breakfast and clean his apartment from top to bottom just to pass the time. Finally, the apartment reeking of pine oil, and the air conditioning already straining against the late morning heat, he checked the clock and swept his skip ticket off the table and bolted out the door to his truck.
"Damn dude, you spend the night in a pine forest or something," Jake said the moment Joe came through the door.
"Now you know what clean smells like," Joe responded. "You know, your office could use a little GI detail."
"Yeah right, you gonna do it?"
"You're a big time bondsman. Hire yourself a maid."
"I'm not that big time," Jake said with a snicker. "What brings you here today? You looking for more information on Lefty?"
"No need. I brought him to the station last night." Joe handed Jake his prisoner ticket from the police station. "Just coming by to get paid."
"Damn Joe, that was the fastest pick up I've seen," Jake said, as he worked the dial on his big freestanding safe.
"I got lucky," Joe said. Found him in the first place I checked."
"Funny," Jake said as he handed Joe a small stack of bills. "They're usually in the last place you check."
"I caught him hassling some woman in an alley by the Pink Pony. I just strapped him up and brought him in, was back to my apartment by midnight."
Joe counted the money and stuffed it in his pants pocket. He took a hard look at Jake, staring until he started shuffling his feet.
"What," Jake said. "The money's all there, isn't it?"
Joe said, "Yeah, it's all there." He turned to leave but stopped short. He just had to ask.
"Look, Jake. I know you just paid me for a skip, but you got anything else?"
Jake stared at him for a moment, then said, "Lefty was a pretty big score. Why don't you take a break. Spend some of that money. You're gonna wear yourself down taking one skip after another, Joe. Why don't you save some energy for your full time gig?"
Joe looked down at his shoes. "I don't have a full time gig. I got laid off yesterday. Boss said they have to downsize with the economy and all."
"Damn, I'm sorry to hear that, Joe." Jake put his hand to his chin, looking like he was considering something, and then pulled a file from the top of a stack of papers on his desk. "I just got this new skip in, but it's a risk."
"You know me, Jake. I'm all about the risk." Joe held out his hand for the file. "What was bail on this one?"
Jake handed him the file and said, "a million."
"A million dollar bail?" Joe had to force himself not to cough as he said it. "That's a hundred-thousand dollar skip ticket. Who is this guy?"
His name is Norman Taylor but most know him as Knuckles."
"Knuckles? What is it about thugs and stupid nicknames?" Joe forced a laugh, but he knew with a million dollar bail, this skip wouldn't be easy.
"This one's no joke. He's kind of the local crime boss. He's had his hands in everything from extortion to murder." Jake continued while Joe thumbed through the file. "He never goes anywhere without protection, and he's known for recruiting ex-military baddies like you. Are you okay with that, Joe?"
"A hundred thousand could pay off all my Mom's medical bills. Hell yeah I'm okay with it."
"I don't doubt you could bring Knuckles in on your own," Jake said. "You just have to know that you may have to go through a former teammate to get to him."
"I got no heartache taking out a rogue operator if he's he's between me and a hundred thousand. I need this, Jake."
"Just be careful with this one, Joe." Jake put a hand on his shoulder. "You'll have to take your time on this one, be smart, catch him without all his protection."
"No problem," Joe said. "Just have my money ready when I come to collect." He leaned in and gave Jake a big man hug, slapping his back hard, before leaving his office, full of energy and restored hope.

As with my other stories, I've spent the first three chapters building characters, and establishing relationships. In future scenes, one can expect the action and suspense to increase in alternating paths until I have to reveal some secrets.

Hope you enjoyed this week's work in progress post. As usual, comments, critiques, bitches, and especially encouragement, is welcomed.