Saturday, July 30, 2016

A New Breed Of Cop Comes to Town

Gill rushed to his office window. The loud roar increased as he pulled back the curtain. Outside the sun blazed down on the parking lot closest to his office. He looked left and right unable to ascertain where the noise came from. He turned ready to yell for Rachel when the loud squeal of sirens started.

He rushed back to the window. He looked down to the corner of the asphalt he could clearly see. He squinted as sun glare flashed off the chrome of not one, not two.  He blinked and counted again. Four motorcycles all bearing police decals and the city’s emblem. What the hell had happened while he and Chloe were on vacation? Had Vernon gone off the deep end during his time as deputy mayor?

A loud knock sounded.  Gill inhaled, exhaled, and started for the door. Another knock sounded. “Ok, I’m coming,” he called out.  Picking up his pace, he quickly crossed the room lest the knock start again. He reached for the door as another knock rattled the heavy oak door. Gods and Goddesses above! What was on the other side of the door?

He took a hold of the knob and turned it.  He uttered a quick prayer and flung the door open.

Rachel stood between two of the burliest biker dudes he’d encountered.  He looked at Rachel. She shrugged and stepped toward him. “Boss man, looks like we got a couple new citizens that want to speak with you.”

Rachel moved into the office and away from him and the bikers. She turned and pointed to the one wearing a red emblem on his helmet.  “Zeke from Red Bluff, Arizona.”

Zeke nodded and removed his helmet.  His army crew cut hinted at who might have sent him.

Rachel pointed to the other biker wearing a blue wave emblem on his helmet.  “Deke from Pacifica, Oregon.”

Deke removed his helmet, nodded and stepped up beside Zeke. 

Gill kept glancing back and forth between the two trying to figure out who they reminded him of.  He jumped as Rachel touched his shoulder. He glared at her.  Rachel snickered.  “Boss man, hear them out. Tyburn said phoenix connections are important.”  With that, Rachel walked out of the office closing the door behind her.

Gill held out his hand, hoping Zeke or Deke took it. They understood shaking hands, didn’t they?  Who’d sent them? 

Happy Weekend Gang!

Tyburn can be obnoxious and heavy handed.  Has he over done it with sending new troops in to guard the Peak?  His baby daughter is turning 16 within a few weeks.  Rachel doesn't seem phased by it.  Or is she?  Has the angsty teen years hit the Peak? Gill and Chloe's triplets along with Rachel and Tyburn's twins.  Look out here comes trouble?

I think this serial is going to be fun writing as the birthdays approach.

Until Next Time,

Friday, July 29, 2016

Reading is Sexy!

“Fair One, I must fly…,” Erol said, standing behind the lounger his mate rested upon, his hand outstretched.

“Okay, have fun.” She replied, slapping her free hand into his much like the youth of the past with the “give me five” business he’d never understood.  In her other hand she held her book with no pages, what did she call it—a book reader or some such thing.

“No, you must fly with me, mate.”   A dragon’s mate always flew alongside her man, even if she was wingless.

“Can’t right now, hon.  I’m reading.”

Engrossed as she was in her book thing she wouldn’t even look up at him and that alone stoked the fire burning within.  He wanted to be the center of her attention, not some silly love book.  “You will come with me now!”

“Shh, Erol, I‘m right in the middle of a sex scene…”

Once again she drifted off into her book, but he would not have that.  Erol grabbed the reader and tossed it onto the table.  “Let us go, Fair One,” he said, picking her up even as she stretched for the book.

“Erol,” She screamed, juggling the offending item she'd grabbed, between her hands. “Can I at least bring it along?”

“If you must,” he grumped, taking them both to the sky.

“Say, hon,” she yelled from the safe place in his hands.  “How would you feel about sharing me with another man…you know just once or twice to try it out?”

Fire flew from his nostrils before he looked down at his mate.  “The next time you ask me that, Fair One, I will spank you!”

“Ooh, the hero does that on page fifty-nine, want me to read it to you?”

Erol raised his head and tipped his wings for another lap around the mountain and the little town of Talbot’s Peak.  He needed to make this quick.  The words spilling from Greely’s mouth were going to send them home PDQ.  Who knew, maybe there was something to this reading thing…

So today's post is short...more of a wink than a flash, but much like Greely, I've been reading...a lot!  I've been discovering all kinds of new authors and books to adore now that school is out for the summer.  Swing on over to my Goodreads page to check out what I've been reading and I would love to hear from y'all what books you would suggest!

Serena's Goodreads

Have a wonderful, book-filled, weekend!


Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Prodigal Returns

Zhere Ghan was at work in the dining hall, plotting strategy. He had not returned to his office for any length of time since the night of the attack. To his nose, it still stank of sheep urine. Just his imagination, he knew. Nevertheless, he’d taken to switching work stations, choosing rooms at random and moving about the manor frequently, with no set pattern. The House of Ghan was preparing for war. It never hurt to take precautions.

A harried servant opened the far door and glanced inside. His breath left him in a relieved hiss when he spotted Ghan. He bowed low. “Your son has arrived, my Lord. Shall I present him to you here, or would you prefer a different venue?”

Ghan frowned. “My son?” He shook his head and set aside his tablet. “Bring him here.” The servant bobbed even lower and withdrew.

Now what in Vishnu’s name was Tasman doing here? He was under strict orders to maintain a presence at the tigers’ club, Nirvana. Carry on as if nothing was amiss. Ghan wanted a second set of trusted eyes in Talbot’s Peak, trained on Hancock’s agents. It also reduced the risk of both himself and his heir falling victim to another assassination attempt. Ghan had his household guard; Tasman had his assistant, the lethal snow leopardess Leila. If one of them fell to Hancock’s machinations, the other would see about revenge.

It wasn’t like Tasman to disobey orders. Not without at least a phone call first. He’d better have a damned good reason for an unnecessary personal visit.

The servant returned. He bowed low, ushered the young tiger shifter into the dining hall, and backed away without ever raising his eyes to Ghan’s. The tiger adjusted his lapels and nodded respectfully. “Father.”

Ghan leaped to his feet, dumbstruck. “Ravi? What the hell are you doing here?”

“I heard about the attempt on your life. Of course I came at once.”


“Why?” For a second his professional mask slipped, and a snarl tried to curl his lips back. Ravi mastered it quickly, and returned his face to neutrality. In spite of himself, Ghan approved. A year of running the Indian branch of the business had done Ravi good. It looked like he might have learned how to curb his impulsiveness, and his often hair-trigger emotionalism. He still wasn’t Tasman, but he’d improved tremendously. “Because if we’re engaged in open warfare, then my place is here.”

“Who says we’re at war?”

Now Ravi’s lips did curve, in a bit of a knowing smirk. “Tasman. We report to each other on a regular basis, you know. He’s very thorough.”

Ghan grunted. He was indeed. “Surely he didn’t order you here. Best that one of you stays out of the line of fire.”

“Seriously? I’m supposed to sit on my tail safe in India while some mongrel dog takes a run at you? And nearly succeeded, from what I understand.” Ravi stepped further into the room. “Safety be damned. If your life is threatened, my place is at your side, as befits a dutiful son.”


“Maintains the Ghan presence in Talbot’s Peak, as I’m sure you would have ordered him. Am I correct?” He must have read the answer on Ghan’s face, because his smirk widened a little. “Leaving you with no trusted kin to guard your back. It’s Hancock behind it, am I right? There you go, then. All a wolf understands is rank. He thinks you’re an alpha with no pack to back you. If we present him with a united front, you and Tasman and I, he’s liable to roll over and show throat.”

“Not that one,” Ghan growled. “I think his brains have finally curdled. He called out the Seven on me.”

“The assassins? And you were going to leave me sitting in India while you took him on alone?” Ravi shook his head. “Sometimes you worry me, Father.”

Ghan chuckled, and relaxed. How many times had he said that to Ravi, and in the same indulgent tone of voice? His second-born might have finally achieved maturity. Leaving the table, he walked to his son and laid his hand on Ravi’s shoulder. “Perhaps you’re right. Dogs fight in packs. We should meet them in the same manner. Lull them in, then face them as tigers. They’ll never know what hit them.” He patted Ravi’s arm. “It’s good to see you, son.”

“Thank you, Father.” He glanced around. “Where’s Sergei? I would have thought he’d be hovering over you, given the circumstances.”

“Sergei … ” Ghan growled under his breath. He let go of Ravi’s arm. “Sergei has … terminated his employment.”

“He’s left you? At a time like this?”

“It’s of no import.” So he’d been telling himself. “He was on assignment for me when the attack happened. He returned in time to save me. Then he declared his debt repaid and left. We needn’t worry about him.”

“Are you sure?” Ravi said. “He’s always been a strange one. Didn’t he have ties to the Seven?”

Ghan had been pondering that as well. The timing of the sheep’s attack had been awfully coincidental. Or well-planned. “Tasman has him and his lover under surveillance. If I decide action against him is warranted, Tasman will see to it.” He smiled suddenly. “But that can wait. My son is with me again. Come to the kitchen, have tea with me. Tell me how things are at home.”

“Boring,” Ravi said. “I wanted to be where I’m needed.” They left the dining hall, Ghan with his arm around Ravi’s shoulders.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Conference Call

Brandon Fledermaus stared at his waiting computer screen and sucked in a long, labored breath. He wasn’t looking forward to this, but it needed to be done. “You want a drink first?” Jerboa offered drily.

“Not yet. I need all my wits about me. Afterwards, leave the bottle.” He glanced at the clock in the screen’s corner. This call had been arranged earlier. The one he could count on to respond. The other? Still up in the air. He prayed both would listen. Lives, perhaps more than their own, might be at stake.

At precisely 7 pm he activated Skype. The screen split as he connected with the two incoming calls. One hurdle cleared: both horses had been successfully led to the water. Now to get them to drink. “Gentlemen,” he said. “Thank you for hearing me out.”

“You haven’t said anything yet,” Damien Hancock growled. The image from his end was slightly out of focus. Brand studied it as best he could. The Alpha wolf didn’t look good. He appeared somehow bloated, and hairier than usual, as if he hadn’t shaved or even combed his hair in days. By contrast, Zhere Ghan’s image practically crackled with clarity. He looked the same as always: handsome, dignified, polished, urbane. Dangerous. That burned in his narrowed eyes and was picked up by the camera. Hancock’s eyes were harder to read from his blurry image. They looked bloodshot.

“I’ll get right to the point,” Brand said. “By now you both probably know I was attacked in my home the other night. I know the two of you were also attacked the same night. Supposedly each of us ordered the attacks on the others. For example, the pair that came after me made a point of telling me they were Hancock agents, under orders from—”

“Like I’d bother,” Hancock snarled. “Stinking little flying rat. Scrape you off the bottom of my shoe.”

“While my attacker,” Ghan said smoothly, “dropped your name rather casually into the conversation, Mr. Fledermaus. Care to explain?”

“That’s why I arranged this meeting,” Brand said. “After asking around and weighing the evidence, I’ve concluded—”

“What evidence?” Hancock broke in. “Who’ve you been talking to? My wolves wouldn’t talk to you. They’d chew you up and spit out the wings. You’re just trying to—”

“Damien,” Ghan said, “be still. I wish to hear what our neighbor has to say.”

“Stuff it up your tail, you striped bastard. He’s not your neighbor. You don’t have a damned rat gnawing at your borders. You just hide in your den and send others out to skulk around. What’sa matter? Too good to get your paws dirty? You want a piece of me, you come at me yourself! See what it gets you!”


“Cram it, stripey. I will not ‘be still.’ You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Still as in dead, right?”

“I will admit,” Ghan said, “your demise would give me a measure of satisfaction. One less annoyance to concern myself with. But I didn’t order an attack on you or on anyone else. Not this time.”

“The hell you didn’t. Hump you. Hump the both of you.” Hancock’s blurry image vanished from the screen.

After a moment Ghan said, “Well. That could have gone better.”

Brandon didn’t answer right away. Hancock had a reputation for aggression—he was an alpha wolf, after all—but that outburst had been over the top even for him. “Something’s off,” he murmured.

“With Hancock?” Ghan sniffed. “You needn’t have disturbed me to tell me something both of us already know.”

“And I didn’t. I called to tell you both my findings. I’m convinced none of us ordered any attacks on the others. But somebody wants us to think that. Someone’s trying to pit us against each other. Someone from outside.”

“A common enemy?” For the first time, Ghan showed a modicum of interest. “Who would benefit from our mutual demise?”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to ferret out. Either somebody wants the three of us to destroy each other so they can move into the power vacuum, or one of us was the real target and the other two are a smokescreen.” He half-smiled grimly. “I’m sure you have a number of enemies with a personal axe to grind.”

“Too many to count,” Ghan confirmed. “Including Hancock. You?”

“Hancock wants my land. He’s never made any secret of it. But that attack on me seemed awfully impersonal. They weren’t assassins, or fighters, for that matter. They weren’t even there to kill me. They said as much. I don’t know the details of Hancock’s encounter, only that someone got in, and also left him alive. What about your attack? Anything hit close to home?”

On the screen, Ghan stiffened. Ah, Brand thought. Struck a nerve, did I?

“My attacker did try to kill me. And mentioned your name,” the tiger reminded him.

“Then your life could be in serious danger. Hancock’s too, from his reactions. I suspect I was thrown in to muddy the waters.”

“And now you’ve called to inspect your handiwork?”

“I called to report my findings to you both,” Brand said patiently, “and to propose an alliance. I was hoping the three of us together—”

“Ah. The plot reveals itself.” Ghan turned brisk. “Remove us both and secure your own position, all the while playing the innocent. A tiger does not have allies, Fledermaus. A tiger has servants and enemies. I will deal with Hancock, as I should have long ago. And then I will deal with you.” He cut the connection.

Brand was still staring at the empty screen when Jerboa approached with the brandy. He set the bottle on the desk. “Well,” he said, “you tried.”

“I had to. Even though I think we both knew it wouldn’t work.”

“Yep. That’s a predator for you. So what happens now?”

Brand sat back and reached for the bottle. “We keep digging,” he said, “and try to contain the collateral damage before all Talbot’s Peak gets caught in the blast.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Checking in

My yard is over-run with pissed off wasps at the moment. I’ve been fighting a battle for my custody of my yard for the last two weeks. It’s a battle of attrition that started with one of the buggers biting me on the small of my back while mowing the lawn. It has progressed to them spreading and trying to take over the shed I’m rebuilding.

Have you ever tried to kill a wasp colony? Those that don’t die when you spray their nest just move. They don’t move on, just elsewhere. The original nest was in a tree at the back of my yard. There’s now a small nest next to that tree, another in my lilac bush, and yesterday, one in the shed.

Today, there were two wasp nests in my shed. I feel like I’m losing this war even though they’re the ones taking heavy casualties.

Anyway, the story. I haven’t been posting any of Jarod Black’s story lately because I didn’t like how it was progressing. Yesterday, I figured out how to get out of that hole I was digging, so Jarod Black will be back next week. In the meantime, I offer you “Frank the Bat.” Enjoy!


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