I recently devoured the final instalment in MaryLu Tyndall's swashbuckling Legacy of the King's Pirates ~ The Restitution. What an adventure! You will see my review at TitleTrakk in the near future.
In the meantime, I am thrilled to be giving away a copy of The Restitution, provided by and signed by MaryLu! To enter, please post a comment by midnight Friday 3rd August, 2007 incorporating some pirate slang into your post (be as cliched as you like!).
Please note this contest is only open to those with an Australian postal address.
And here is a glimpse into MaryLu's newest tale, The Falcon and the Sparrow, releasing mid 2008 from Barbour.
When Mademoiselle Dominique Dawson sets foot on the soil of her beloved homeland, England, she feels neither the happiness nor the excitement she expected upon her return to the place of her birth. Alone for the first time in her life, without family, without friends, without protection, she now faces a far more frightening prospect, for she has come to the country she loves as an enemy-a spy for Napoleon. Forced to betray England or never see her only brother alive again, Dominique has accepted a position as governess to the son of Admiral Chase Randal, a harsh man, still bitter over the loss of his wife.
Will Dominique find the strength she needs through God to follow through with the plan to rescue her brother?
Will Chase find comfort for his bitter heart in God's arms and be able to love again?
And what new deceptions will they both find in France when they arrive to carry out their plan?
Sunday, 29 July 2007
I recently devoured the final instalment in MaryLu Tyndall's swashbuckling Legacy of the King's Pirates ~ The Restitution. What an adventure! You will see my review at TitleTrakk in the near future.
Thursday, 26 July 2007
Dr Claire McCall has her eyes fixed on her wedding plans and her life with future husband, John Cerelli. John is slowly recovering from his devastating motor vehicle injuries and together they are determined to embrace their future and no longer allow Claire's diagnosis of Huntington's Disease to impact the present. While Claire is relishing her job medical practice at the Stoney Creek Family Practice Clinic despite its demanding nature she finds her nights are bound by fear due to her near rape. While her attacker is in jail, she is sleeping with a gun and hiding her irrational fears from John and her mother.
Harry Kraus's third tale of Dr Claire McCall, following on from the excellent Could I Have This Dance? and For the Rest of My Life, sheds more light on Claire McCall's family and the destructive consequences of the incurable Huntington's Disease upon the sufferer and their family. It is a relational drama, suspense novel and mini-medical text rolled into one book!
Harry Kraus' medical experience gives the medical information authenticity and provides much needed insight into the debilitating condition that is Huntington's Disease. The mystery keeps the reader guessing and Claire's own sleuthing is interesting to follow. Intertwined with all the action is a message of grace, faith and hope. All up a good addition to this series.
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Raised in the American Southwest, Kathleen began her love affair with the desert as a child. Before becoming a writer she, among other jobs, worked in both the juvenile facility for incarcerated girls and a home for emotionally disturbed children. Mother of two, she lives in Northern California with her husband and youngest son. Visit her blog, Reading, Writing, and What Else is There? She is a member of the CFBA, too! Give her a holler!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
“Not a safe world.” How many times had she heard it over and over again? Well, it is not a safe world and Dara Murphy Brogan knew it better than most, which is exactly why she had tucked herself away on a desert mountaintop. Now it was just her, the voice inside her head and the boxes of hastily packed odds and ends—all that was left of her pathetic excuse of a life. Hadn’t she chosen the desert because it was barren and brown and dead looking and far, far away from anyone who may have seen the news?
So what was this, this trespasser, this interloper, this wacked out earth mother doing dancing outside her window? Celebrating life and the Spirit in a way Dara never could have dreamed. Until she opened her door and met Jane Cameron.
A book that makes me laugh is a joy, a book that makes me cry is a rarity. But a book that moves me to dance is sublime. To Dance in the Desert is a spectacular experience. Beautifully written, deeply moving, and warmly engaging—that this is Kathleen Popa’s first novel astounds me. That she will quickly be counted among the top caliber of Christian novelists delights me. I simply loved this book.
Kathleen Popa creates a compelling vision of a small community’s power to coax waning spirits back toward life. This gem of a novel worked on me like a dream. Popa’s evocative prose captured the nuance and complexity of transformation with equal parts mystery and truth. She conjures the deserts of Dara Brogan’s life with intimate clarity, reminding us along the way of the profound strength of what we take far too much for granted—the deep friendship of kindred spirits. This is a journey worth taking.
~Kathryn Mackel, Author of The Hidden
~Jeff Berryman, Author of Leaving Ruin
Tuesday, 24 July 2007
Samantha McGregor wants a break, a holiday from her God given gift. But when that happens Samantha realises it is not what she wants after all. Has she lost her gift for good? All of a sudden Ebony needs her assistance. Now Samantha is in a real state, she can no longer give Ebony any help.
Guest YA reviewer and teen herself: Chloe~Anne
Monday, 23 July 2007
A mother's dying request finds Frenchwoman, Veronique Girard, making an arduous journey across the Atlantic to the Colorado Territory in search of the father she has grieved for all her life.
Jack Brennan believes it is time to leave behind his memories and his work as a trail guide and settle down in Willow Springs. His new work as a freighter demands a strong and well crafted wagon but when he discovers his commissioned wagon has been sold to another bidder, a foreign woman no less, hitting the road again suddenly has more appeal.
Tamera Alexander has created another wonderful historical tale, rich in detail with characters full of life and heart. Veronique and Jack's relationship is beautifully drawn as they attempt to carve out new lives in the fledgling township of Willow Springs. Readers will enjoy cameo appearances by many of Tamera's characters from Rekindled and Revealed. Tamera continues to pen stories that are poignant, enthralling and downright enjoyable and Remembered is no exception. I look forward to From A Distance, the first in Tamera's Timber Ridge Reflections, releasing mid 2008.
Sunday, 22 July 2007
Thursday, 19 July 2007
A woman's worst nightmare turns into an opportunity for freedom for Maggie Anderson. Her spirit has been crushed by an abusive boyfriend and when a carjacking provides her with an escape, Maggie grabs it and finds herself in the small town of Clayburn, Kansas.
Clayburn is a close knit town but its inhabitants have their own struggles especially grieving widower, Trevor Ashlock and the kindhearted Bart and Wren Johanssen, owners of Wren's Nest B & B. Maggie is welcomed by these people but will she ever find a home when the truth of her deception is revealed?
Deborah Raney has written a compelling story of Maggie's efforts to escape her broken past as she struggles with fear and anxiety trying to create a life she feels is undeserved. The pacing of the book is gentle and the story develops slowly creating a small town feel and contrasting with Maggie's frantic city life. Trevor's grief is palpable and the growth of both main characters is authentic and moving.
Remember to Forget is a beautiful story of friendship, hope and love and is highly recommended. I am looking forward to the release of the sequel, Leaving November, which releases in March, 2008 from Howard Books/Simon & Schuster.
Aussie giveaway ~ please post a comment by midnight Wednesday 25th July to be entered into the draw for a copy of Remember to Forget. Apologies to my international readers.
Okay, my Aussie readers you must visit author Donna Fleisher's blog here and read her most recent post after a brave attempt tasting our wonderful spread, Vegemite, after I sent her some samples to satisfy her curiosity!
I am glad to say that although curiosity killed the cat, Donna has survived her experience - just!
While you are there check out Donna's fantastic book trailers for her Homeland Heroes series. The final instalment, Standing Strong releases in October, 2007. I can't wait :)
Samantha McGregor has a special gift, a gift from God her dad used to say. This special gift is the gift of visions. Samantha had thought she had lost her gift, until she had a vision about a wild girl who loved to party and never followed the rules. She is Kayla Henderson and she needs some help because she is in big trouble.
I love the fact that the main character is not an adult, but is an average teenage girl and that she is able to use her gift for good. The last chapter had me at the edge of my seat, just itching to read the sequel, Beyond Reach. Both books are now available from Multnomah.
Guest YA Reviewer and teen herself: Chloe~Anne
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Stephen Bly is a pastor, a mayor, an antique Winchester gun collector and a writer.
He's mayor of a town of 308 in the mountains of Idaho, on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. In his spare time, he pursues the three R's of ridin', ropin' and rodeo...and construction of Broken Arrow Crossing, a false-front western village near his home.
That keeps him very western. And he collect old Winchester rifles, which reflects his love of historical accuracy. He's also a fan of Jimmy Buffet music.
Stephen says about his writing, "I write about the West (historic or modern) from the inside. Born and raised on western ranches, I have both the heart and mind to describe things as they really were...and are. There are those who think the frontier has long passed and with it the ‘code of the west.’ The truth is, both are still around...and it’s fun to show that in a contemporary story. The West is so big, so diverse, so enchanting it’s a thrill to write about it in any era."
Stephen is the author of ninety-five books and hundreds of articles.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Some call it CowboyLit. Rodeo cowboy Hap Bowman’s on a search for Juanita, the gal of his dreams, whom he hasn’t seen in 18 years. He seems stuck on 12-years-old and the enchanting girl he met then.
"An idiot obsession," his roping partner, Laramie Majors, chides.
But Laramie agrees to a final summer’s trek along the Rio Grande. If they don’t find Juanita during those months, Hap promises to drop the idea of the hunt for the mystery senorita. But if they find her, will she feel the same as Hap does about their years ago interlude?
In One Step Over The Border the time tested values of cowboys rub up against contemporary mores. It’s a crazy story that becomes more logical as the reader delves deeper into it. It will make you laugh and shed a tear or two.
Getting back to Hap’s pursuit . . . don’t we all have someone in the past, that we knew for only a short while, that we wish we could have known better, longer? Stephen Bly has!. So when Hap and Laramie ventured out on a quest for Hap’s Juanita, Stephen decided to invite others to go along too. Folks have been e-mailing Hap firstname.lastname@example.org and asking for their own “Juanita Search Kits.”
They get a bumper sticker, magnet, bookmark, stickers, flyers, etc. It’s a whole packet of material that will equip anyone to join the fun of finding the Juanita with “the mark of God.” If they send Hap a picture of the places where they stuck their Juanita signs, they’ll receive a free copy of the book. It’s all there on the website at http://www.onestepovertheborder.com/
And there’s a very special feature on http://www.amazon.com/...some more adventures about Hap and Laramie that did NOT appear in the book, can be found on AmazonShorts in the story entitled, Aim Low, Shoot High.
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
Jim Hart of Bethany House Publishers is seeking participants for an interesting book cover survey and I think most of you would enjoy doing it - completing it also gives you a chance to win a new book (of your choice) from Bethany! Gotta love that!
Click here to do the survey then drop back and let me know which cover you liked best :)
Monday, 16 July 2007
Reviews have been a bit slow in coming at Relz Reviewz lately due to winter illnesses so I thought a giveaway or two would brighten things up! Do not fear, books are being read so the reviews will be coming soon.
Post a comment on or before midnight on Friday 20th July to enter the draw (only if you have an Aussie postal address, please) to win a copy of:~
Tribulation House by Chris Well
The Root of all Evil by Brandt Dodson.
Lovers of suspense, intrigue and dry wit will enjoy these stories, especially men.
Thursday, 12 July 2007
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In March of 2005, he proposed to his future wife the same week he signed his first book contract.
Born Michael Robin Parrish on October 13, 1975, Robin's earliest writing efforts took place on a plastic, toy typewriter, and resulted in several "books" (most between 10 and 30 pages long) and even a few magazines.
By the age of thirteen, he had begun winning local writing awards and became a regular in his high school's literary magazine. In college, he garnered acclaim from his English professors and fellow students while maturing and honing his skills.
After college, he entered the writing profession through a "side door" -- the Internet. More than ten years he spent writing for various websites, including About.com, CMCentral.com, and his current project Infuze Magazine, which is a unique intersection between art and faith which he also conceived of and created.
One of his more "high concept" ideas for Infuze was to return to his love for storytelling and create a serialized tale that would play out every two weeks, telling a complete, compelling story over the course of nine months. That serialized story eventually came to the attention of several publishers, who saw it as a potential debut novel for Robin Parrish.
In 2005, Bethany House Publishers brought Robin full circle by contracting him for the rights to not only that first book, Relentless -- but two sequels. A trilogy, to unfold in the consecutive summers of 2006, 2007, and 2008. One massive tale -- of which that first, original story would form only the foundational first volume of the three -- spread across three books.
Robin is the Editor in Chief and creator of Infuze Magazine. He and his wife Karen reside in High Point, North Carolina. Karen works for High Point's First Wesleyan Church, where Robin and Karen are members and Small Group leaders.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Book Two of the Dominion Trilogy:
The world changed after that terrible day when the sky burned, and now every heart is gripped by fear...
Earthquakes, fire, disease, and floods pummel the earth, and its citizens watch in horror.
A search for answers brings Grant and his friends to London, where an extraordinary discovery awaits that will challenge everything they thought they knew. With a deadly new enemy dogging his steps, Grant realizes that the world's only hope may come from unraveling the truth about himself once and for all. But what he comes face-to-face with leaves even this most powerful of men shaken with fear.
Secrets will be revealed.
Friends will make the ultimate sacrifice.
And destiny will not be denied.
The story continues...
Tuesday, 10 July 2007
Pirate Captain Scat Wilkins wants to fill his coffers to overflowing if only he can locate and subdue the legendary Firefish whose meat is worth more than gold.
Disgraced swordsman Packer Throme finds himself back in the fishing village he once called home determined to restore his father's honour and the fortunes of Hangman's Cliffs and other villages like it.
Panna Seline is tired of waiting for Packer to keep his promise to marry her but when he returns only to immediately depart on a fool's mission, Panna can no longer bear the compliant woman she has become.
The Legend of the Firefish is an exceptional tale and the start of a very promising series. George Bryan Polivka's kingdom of Nearing Vast is well drawn and the characters both engaging and confronting. The avaricious Scat Wilkins, his unkempt and devoted crew, the sleek Trophy Chase and the wild seas leap off the pages to the extent I could smell the salty air and feel the rise and fall of the ship. Polivka surprises with the calculating Talon, Scat's brutal female security officer and Packer, with his constant internal conflict - both characters are unique yet resonated deeply.
The pace is gripping, the battles at sea within and beyond the Trophy Chase leave you breathless and the spiritual message is powerful and moving. This book has broad appeal and should not be missed for those who love a sterling action tale that more than satisfies. Thankfully the sequel, The Hand That Bears The Sword, has just released in the US from Harvest House.
Monday, 9 July 2007
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Linda, a native of Maryland's Eastern Shore, is the author of eighteen historical novels and nine contemporary romances for both the secular and Christian market. A Christy Award finalist, Linda has received numerous awards in both the ABA and CBA, including the Romantic Writers of America's Beacon Award. She lives in Salisbury, Maryland. Learn more!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Alex Butler is a successful home decorator who hopes she has finally gotten her life together. But when Josh Turner, the man who ran away and broke her heart sixteen years ago, returns to Piper Cove to be the best man in her sister's wedding, Alex can't escape the butterflies in her stomach. But Alex has no time for distractions. Her family has enlisted her to make this the wedding of the century. To pull the event off, she pools the talents of her three best friends - Jan, who creates desserts to-die-for will help with the cake and catering, tomboy Ellen, who works at a landscaping business will handle the flowers and decorations, and Sue Ann, who can…well, Suzie Q can give Alex a much-needed reality check in the course of the wedding planning chaos.
But fate won't be stopped in this small town as Alex and Josh keep running into each other at every turn. When sparks fly, Alex soon finds herself caught in a paralyzing battle of the heart between her old-fashioned Southern father, who fiercely resents Josh for breaking his little girl's heart, and her feelings for the one man she ever truly loved.
My review will be posted shortly!
Leanne ~ congratulations! The book will be on its way to you soon!
Reviews coming soon:~
Simple Gifts by Lori Copeland
Defiant Heart by Tracey Bateman
Remember to Forget by Deb Raney
Legend of the Firefish by George Polivka
Friday, 6 July 2007
Danielle ~ congratulations!
Please send me your snail mail address to mollet5 [at] iprimus.com.au so I can ensure you receive your copy.
There is still time to enter the draw to win a copy of Missmatch if you have an Aussie address ~ click here and post!
Thursday, 5 July 2007
When FBI Agent Clint Rollins takes a bullet during a standoff, it might just save his life. But not even the ugly things he’s seen during his years working in the Crimes Against Children Unit could prepare him for the overwhelming powerlessness of hospital tests revealing an unexpected diagnosis. If only Sara weren’t retreating into doctor mode…he needs his wife now more than ever.
Frozen in fear.
Sara Rollins is an oncologist with a mission—beating cancer when she can, easing her patients’ suffering at the very least. But now the life of her tall Texan husband is at stake. She never let the odds steal her hope before, but now the question of God’s healing promises is personal. Can she hold on to the truth she claimed to believe?
Faith under fire.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Chuck served four years in the Elite 75th Ranger Regiment–the same unit profiled in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” Chuck saw combat in Panama in 1989. After leaving active duty, Chuck flew helicopters in the Wisconsin National Guard while attending the University of Wisconsin.
In 2004, after ten years as a stockbroker, Chuck left that profession to pursue full-time writing. At the same time, he began working as the "Adventure Correspondent" for CBN.
He is the author of five books, including A More Elite Soldier, Bulletproof, and
Allah's Fire, the first of three books in the Task Force Valor series.
Today, Chuck, Connie, and their five children live on a farm in Appalachia, where Chuck now pursues his varied interests of farming, writing, adventure travel and public speaking, among other things.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
As the global war on terror heats up, the U.S. deploys a team of highly trained special operators overseas to locate and neutralize threats, bringing EOD expertise to dangerous missions that have no room for error.
A DEADLY EXPLOSION
A new specialty explosive is on the black market: ITEB looks like water, but when it's exposed to air, the effects are lethal! The United States government is frantic to keep it from our shores. Staff Sergeant Euripides "Rip" Rubio knows how destructive ITEB can be. He has already risked his life to thwart a horrific terrorist plot involving the chemical. Now Task Force Valor heads to Panama, on the trail of an arms dealer who plans to use ITEB to make a killing...literally.
AN ADVENTURE ABROAD
Fernanda Lerida is a University of Florida grad student who jumps at the chance to join a biological expedition to a mysterious former prison island. But the snakes, bugs, and crocodiles are soon the least of her worries as the group stumbles upon something they were not meant to see. To Make matters worse, Fernanda soon finds herself alone and being pursued by an unseen foe.
A RISKY RESCUE
When Rip's path collides with Fernanda's, they find themselves caught in the midst of a brutal turf war. Can they use the chaos to their advantage, or will one false step set the entire island ablaze?
"Island Inferno is a boy-meets-girl story. But in Chuck Holton's world, boy meets girl in the middle of a jungle at 25mph. hanging under a parachute with an assault rifle strapped across his chest. You'd better plan on reading this in one sitting. And once you're done, you'd better give yourself time for your pulse to calm down."Read my review of Island Inferno, here and my in depth interview with Chuck, here!
----TOM MORRISEY, Author of Deep Blue, and Dark Fathom
Tuesday, 3 July 2007
Stepping in to her newly refurbished attic retreat, wife and mother of four, Susan Mitchell hopes to find a peaceful haven to recapture her identity and refresh her life. What she discovers in the dusty recesses of her haven changes her heart and soul forever.
Swept through a portal into a unknown world of guardians and song keepers, swords and venblades, Khalarean assassins and the People of the Verses, Susan's faith and courage is stretched beyond what she thought possible and into a destiny beyond her imagining.
Sharon Hinck's storytelling in this moving and profound novel is second to none. I was captivated by Susan's journey of the soul as she found her place among the People of the Verses in Braide Wood, struggling with cultural differences of epic proportions yet connecting with the people who believed in the One to save and heal. The restoration of Susan's flagging faith in God is beautifully portrayed and the parallel world mirrors ours in such a way as to not feel foreign at all. Every character is unique and detailed. Sharon has excelled in her ability to create complex characters that resonate with the reader from the brooding guardian Tristan to the conniving Cameron of Lyric. Be prepared to engage in a world of sword fights, dirty politics, loyal families, duplicitous evil and courageous faith as well as staying up late to finish this enthralling tale!
Lovers of fantasy should look no further than The Restorer, but even if fantasy is not your thing, pick up this book anyway as its powerful and compelling message of faith, commitment and destiny will freshen your heart and bring joy to your soul. The Restorer's Son continues the journey of Susan, Mark, Keiran and Tristan and I will be first in line when it releases in September, 2007 from NavPress.
Laurie Holbrook is inspired to play matchmaking after successfully introducing her sister to the man she marries. Laurie is now on a mission to marry off her friends all the while maintaining a firm commitment to remaining single herself.
Laurie's neurotic yet loving Dad is one of only a cast of wonderful off-beat characters which include Laurie's closest friend Brandon Knox and her new co-worker Hannah aka Beach girl Barbie!
As Laurie discovers she can't always foolproof her plans, she also learns that friendship can come when you least expect it and that God ways might just be perfect after all!
Erynn Mangum's delightful debut novel has well-placed quotes from The Princess Bride and Pride and Prejudice which make it a special treat! MissMatch is bursting with humour and engaging characters. Laurie's heart in "helping" her friends is evident thoroughly investing the reader in the outcome of her marriage plotting! The development of Hannah as perceived through Laurie's eyes is beautifully done as are the personalities of the guys in the story, Brandon and Ryan. Laurie's personal revelation towards the end of the book leaves the reader (especially this one!) anxious to know what Erynn has in store for her in Rematch, releasing October, 2007 by Th1nk Books (NavPress).
Post a comment to be included in the draw for a copy of this book, suitable for teens and any woman who enjoys a great story, coffee, chocolate or a giggle! Open until midnight on Saturday 7th July, 2007 to Aussie readers only.
Hayley pulled the names out of a hat so the winners are:~
Frasier Island ~ ad
Island Inferno ~ AussieTigger1980
Congratulations! Your books will be on their way to you soon :)
Remember there is still a chance to win a copy of A Sister's Secret by Wanda Brunstetter - leave a comment at this post!
and her book:
(Zondervan, 2007)ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brandilyn Collins is the bestselling author of Violet Dawn, Web Of Lies, Dead of Night, Stain of Guilt, Brink of Death, and Eyes of Elisha just to name a few.
Brandilyn and her family divide their time between the California Bay Area and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
She maintains an informative blog called Forensics and Faith where she daily dispenses wisdom on writing, life, and the Christian book industry.
Brandilyn also hosts the blog Kanner Lake: Scenes and Beans where you can read entertaining and eclectic posts about life in Kanner Lake from Bailey, Wilbur, S-Man, Jake, and other of your favorite characters from the Java Joint. Coral Moon is the second book in the Kanner Lake Series.
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Kill tonight—or die.
The words burned, hot acid eating through his eyes, his brain. Right down to his soul.
Only a crazy person would obey.
He slapped both hands to his ears, squeezed hard against his head. Screwed his eyes shut. He hung there, cut off from the world, snagged on the life sounds of his body. The whoosh of breath, the beat of his heart.
The words boiled.
His skull hurt. He pulled his hands away, let them fall. The kitchen spun. He dropped into a chair, bent forward, and breathed deeply until the dizziness passed.
He sat up, looked again to the table.
The note lay upon the unfolded Kanner Lake Times newspaper, each word horrific against the backdrop of a coral crescent moon.
How did they get in here?
What a stupid question. As if they lacked stealth, as if mere walls and locked entrances could keep them out. He’d been down the hall in the bedroom watching TV, door wide open, yet had heard nothing. Hadn’t even sensed their presence as he pushed off the bed and walked to the kitchen for some water.
A chill blew over his feet.
His eyes bugged, then scanned the room. Over white refrigerator and oak cabinets, wiped-down counters and empty sink. To the threshold of the kitchen and into the hallway. There his gaze lingered as the chill worked up to his ankles.
It had to be coming from the front of the house.
His skin oozed sweat, a web of sticky fear spinning down over him. Trembling, he pulled himself out of the chair. He clung to the smooth table edge, ensuring his balance. Then, heart beating in his throat, he forced himself across the floor, around the corner, and toward the front door.
It hung open a few inches.
They were taunting him.
He approached, hands up and fingers spread, as if pushing through phantoms. Sounds of the night wafted on the frigid air—the rustle of breeze through tree limbs, distant car tires singing against pavement. He reached the door, peered around it, knowing he was a fool to seek sign of them. The air smelled crisp, tanged with the purity of pine trees. The last vestiges of snow dusted his porch, bearing the tracks of his footprints alone.
He closed the door and locked it. As if that would do any good. He sagged against the wall, defeated and sick. How stupid to think they would leave him in peace. Hadn’t he seen this coming? All the events of the last few months . . .
Shoulders drawn, he made his way back to the kitchen and his inevitable fate. Each footstep drew him away from the life he’d built, reasoning and confidence seeping from him like blood from a fatal wound. His conscience pulsed at what he had to do.
The message sat on his table, an executioner beckoning victim to the noose. He fell into the chair, wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. He read the words, fresh nausea rising in his stomach. No misunderstanding their commands. They had a chess score to settle. He was their pawn.
He pushed back against the chair, arms crossed and hugging himself, the way he used to do as a boy. Dully, he stared at the window, seeing only his own pitiable reflection. For a long time he watched himself, first transfixed in fright, then with the evolving expression of self-preservation.
If he just did this one thing, his debt would be paid. They’d leave him alone.
For another hour...two…he sat, forcing down the queasiness as he thought through dozens of details. How he should do it. What could go wrong.
By the time he rose near midnight, he’d laid his plans.
Gathering the necessary items, shrugging on a coat, he slipped out into the cold and soulless night.