A. D. Davies – His First His Second

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Title: His First His Second

Author: A. D. Davies

ISBN or ASIN: 978-1-78280-379-9 / B00O6FFWMQ

Page count: 398

Genre: Thriller / Mystery

Price (Print and Ebook): US$12.99 / $2.99 or GBP£7.99 / £1.79

 

Author Bio:

D. Davies grew up in Leeds, West Yorkshire. In high school his ambition was to be a writer of horror novels, although in adult life he became an avid fan of crime fiction.

After a long stint in an unsatisfying job, he attended the University of Leeds where he attained a degree in creative writing.

He is well-travelled, his favourite destinations being New Zealand and Vietnam, which have influenced his writing immensely, especially obvious in his novel Reflected Innocence, due for release March 2015.

For now, however, globe-trotting is taking a back-seat toi raising his two children and writing, although he hopes to one day combine all three.

He now resides in Staffordshire, UK, with his wife and two children.

 

Tell us about your book:

His First His Second is a thriller in which an active serial killer kidnaps young women, holds them for up to a week, then murders them. Detective Sergeant Alicia Friend is the brilliant but unconventional police officer assigned to the task force due to her affinity for the criminal mind. The latest victim to be taken, however, has a father with a skill-set and mentality well-suited to hunting the killer in a more brutal way than the police. The story follows both Alicia and the father, Richard, and their growing relationship as he uses her for information, and they both grow closer as a result. It all comes together for a bloody finale.

 

Share any thoughts you’d like the readers to know about you and/or your book:

The book was originally written in 2004, rewritten in 2008, and re-rewritten in 2014. It started out life with Richard as the protagonist, but as his role grew darker, I focused more on Alicia, who quickly overtook him as the most interesting character, so Richard became a secondary antagonist of sorts.

 

Where can we go to buy your book?

Almost anywhere:

Amazon: http://is.gd/j7ypBL

Kobo: http://is.gd/upq1VK

Nook: http://is.gd/8tqF5N

Apple iBooks: http://is.gd/1sn5mV

It will also be on Scribd, Page Foundry and GooglePlay shortly, as well as paperback everywhere who wants it.

 

Any other links or info you’d like to share?

I am on a Fire and Ice virtual book tour from Nov 20th for a week: http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/thriller-book-tour-his-first-his-second-by-a-d-davies-112014-112714/

As part of this, I am running a Goodreads giveaway for a signed paperback copy which is active until Nov 27th: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/116087-his-first-his-second

And also a $20 Amazon gift card via Rafflecopter http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d202c3a199/

 

Excerpt from book:

Prologue

Katie Hague knew she was swimming. She just didn’t know why. She wasn’t a strong swimmer, even though she’d spend hours in the pool on holidays, sometimes even brave enough to dip in the sea. Always with her parents watching, though.

She’d been thirteen on her last family holiday, a self-catering deal to Turkey, not that her dad couldn’t afford somewhere more exotic. Turkey was Katie’s choice. Gobble gobble, she’d said, again and again until the day of departure; then all through the flight, her mother fighting the urge to strangle her only child, her dad smiling quietly.

Now, eight years later, Katie swam alone. Somewhere she didn’t recognise. Somewhere black.

She trod water for a moment, something she always found hard. With her feet unable to touch the bottom, or anything solid, she looked around. She was never out of her depth, not without her dad nearby, or, more recently, unless Brian was with her. And where was Brian now?

Katie remembered them arguing, then him sloping off with his mates. It had not been loud, just testy, in a late bar somewhere. She was hungry, had suggested a curry, but Brian wanted to go on, just for one more, babe, please? A taxi. That was Katie’s last thought, the last she remembered, here, now, in this pool.

Now something happened nearby, a movement she did not see because of the dark. She felt a sweeping cold, embracing her head and shoulders like an undercurrent flowing in from deeper water.

But that wasn’t quite right either.

All her body below the surface was numb, unfeeling, and now all above felt chilled. She hadn’t seen the event, that something, but she knew:

A shadow had fallen over her.

“Who’s there?” she said.

No echo. Nothing whatsoever. The dark ate her voice right up. She expected her words to reverberate around the walls of a municipal pool, or a private home in the middle of the country. No echo, no sound coming back at her. This meant there were no walls. So she was swimming outside. But even outside there were buildings, trees, rocks. She was treading water, outdoors, with nothing around, no lights, no people.

So why did she get the impression she was not absolutely alone? Other than the invisible shadow, she had no reason to think there was someone watching her, not here.

Whatever ‘here’ actually meant.

Outside? No light? No buildings? Was she in the middle of a lake?

Her breathing began to grate in her throat.

No, of course not. There would be light. There’s always light. The darkest of freezing British waters still drew moonlight and stars; even when hiding, their light still penetrates. There is no absolute dark.

Each breath now hurt. She needed her inhaler. Her throat was swelling within. She kicked her numb legs to no avail, and when she flapped her arms, no splashes whipped up. This can’t be, she told herself. Alone; swimming; out of her depth; an asthma attack.

Something wedged in her mouth, something hard, plastic. She gagged. She tried to spit it out but it was too big, lodging itself between her teeth. A hiss. Then light. A pinprick, not in front of her but inside her head. Her shoulders grew cold now, as if she were gliding upwards, out of the … lake? The sea? The pool?

That thing, still stuck in her mouth, gave another hiss.

And Katie breathed.

The object hissed a third time and the cold spread to her chest, her back, down her stomach. Her hips. The light inside her expanded, enveloping her in cold. She wanted to use her arms to wrap around herself for warmth, but found them stuck behind her. Looking down now, struggling to free herself, she saw her thighs raised, the clothes she was wearing when she’d argued with Brian still on her, strangely dry. The odour of sweat and booze and a faint whiff of cigarette smoke made her want to undress and shower, but her hands remained bound tight. She couldn’t see behind her, could not turn at all.

Then, like a spotlight growing, her vision improved: a white-tiled floor, her bare feet bound by handcuffs, stockinged legs moving up into the little skirt that barely covered her underwear. She could not see past her chest, other than to confirm her clothing remained intact. She was sitting on a hard wooden chair.

“Hello, Katie.”

A deep voice from outside the spotlight; calm, polite even.

“Please stop struggling, Katie, I don’t want to hurt you.”

From swimming in blackness to being tied to a chair. Nothing. Nothing could explain this. She tried her voice. “Who are you?”

It hurt to speak. Now her head throbbed also. Like a hangover. She was about to be sick.

A bucket came into view within the spotlight, a glimpse of a foot which kicked it closer.

“Please use this if you need to vomit. I won’t be angry if you miss. Only if you don’t try.”

The foot peeking out of the dark into Katie’s halo of light meant something. A clear fact, a truth that really should not be.

“The spotlight’s real,” Katie said aloud.

“Of course it’s real,” came the man’s voice. “What a strange thing to say.”

“Why am I here?”

“You are my second.”

“Your… what?”

“Please don’t make me repeat myself, Katie. It annoys me. You are my second. This…”

Another spotlight cracked to life. It illuminated a girl about five feet from Katie, dressed similarly to Katie, like she was going clubbing, with long dark hair like Katie’s, about Katie’s age.

And then it all fell away from her. The swimming, the light, the dark, this disembodied voice from the blackness all around. But the girl frightened Katie the most. This girl, bound to a chair, gagged, blindfolded, looking so much like Katie they might have been sisters.

“This is your new roommate,” the man said, now behind Katie, hands on her shoulders, his breath on her neck. “She is my first. You will be my second.”

And, doing her very best to aim for the bucket, Katie vomited. She was pleased that a lot of it missed.

“Hmm,” the man said. Then footsteps. An arm flashed into the light and tossed Katie’s inhaler onto her lap. The footsteps receded. “Goodnight.”

And both lights went out, leaving nothing but pitch black.

 

 Chapter One

In Murphy’s world, the darkness was peaceful. There was a beauty to the air that returned him to childhood visits to the seaside, like passing through an almost a physical barrier; one minute breathing thickly in the city, the next opening a car door and breathing crisp, clear air. Here, with his eyes closed and his breathing steady, Murphy could almost have relaxed and fallen into a deep, solid sleep.

“Murphy?”

He could all but hear the waves swelling and breaking, a soft whoosh and crash, whoosh and crash. Sand kicking up in the wash, pebbles hurting his soft feet as he skipped over them.

“Sir?”

Saltwater spray on a windy day, walking atop clay cliffs, wind roaring in his face.

“Detective Inspector.”

Murphy opened his eyes and turned to the clean-shaven constable and breathed through his nose. “I’m thinking.”

“Of course, sir. But Chief Superintendent Rhapshaw is…” The constable was shivering, still soaking wet in his uniform, a blanket wrapped around him, doing his best to appear professional.

“Son,” Murphy said, “do I frighten you?”

“Sir?”

“Do I frighten you? Am I an intimidating presence?”

“I’m not sure how to answer that, sir.”

Murphy studied the boy’s face. Probably popular with the ladies, a flat stomach, strong arms. Murphy guessed he even had those hard man-boob things that seemed so popular in the station changing room. Men—kids, really—tensing and showing one another their new muscles, lumps they never realised they had until their latest gym session popped them out of their dormant state. He had heard a word come to life over the past few years and it seemed to fit here: homoerotic.

“I mean,” Murphy said, “when you talk to me you sound like you’re expecting me to yell at you, or give you a spanking.”

“Sir?”

Okay, Murphy was officially bored now. “Where’s the Chief?”

“Parking up near the cordon. He’ll be about ten minutes.”

“You were first on scene?”

“Yes, sir. I followed every rule. All of them.”

“Gold star to you. In fact…” Murphy handed the constable a pound coin. “There’s a stationery shop down the road. Get yourself a whole bunch of gold stars.”

The constable stood there looking at the coin in his hand. He closed his fingers around it, put it in his wet pocket, and looked back at Murphy, confused. Murphy closed his eyes but opened them again quickly, unwilling to be dragged back into his peace, knowing he would have to return here all too soon.

“The body, constable. Tell me about the body.”

The constable led Murphy down a soggy, green hill to the edge of the lake where the scene of crime officers mooched about in their white, papery suits. Their feet squelched and Murphy felt his footing loosen and then grip again, while the kid leading him was firm and sure. Murphy decided he, too, would be firm and sure and not be shown up by a junior constable in front of the SOCOs. Murphy was surprised the constable talked so confidently.

“I responded to a nine-nine-nine call at approximately oh-eight-thirty. Caller reported a drowning at Roundhay Park. I entered the park eight minutes later and cycled to the point where the caller said he would be waiting. I met Mr Hudson—who had been walking his dog—and he pointed out what appeared to be a body floating…”

“What’s your name?” Murphy asked.

“Er, Duncan. Duncan Powel.”

“Okay, Constable Powel, we’re not in court. Tell me about the body.”

“Oh. Okay. Here. She was dead when I got to her… bruised, cut up, her nails…” Powel looked at the ground.

The corpse lay on a wooden pallet beneath a white tarpaulin.

“I thought putting her on here would be better than the soil,” Powel said.

“Good.” Murphy nodded to Powel’s uniform. “You said you followed every rule.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Does that include jumping into a cold lake when you couldn’t know what dangers lurked under the surface?”

“Sir?”

“You’re not a complete retard, Powel, so I assume you read up on the section that tells you not to place yourself in danger even when trying to help someone. Is my assumption correct?”

“Yes, sir, but—”

“And so you saw someone face down in a lake, jumped in without a thought to your own well-being and dragged that face-down someone back to shore hoping to resuscitate them? That about what happened, Constable Powel?”

“Yes, but when I realised she was long-dead I followed procedure to the letter…”

“Give me my pound back.” Murphy held out his hand, eyes on the white sheet.

“Sir?”

“My pound. Give it back.”

Powel placed the pound in Murphy’s hand and Murphy held it tight. He bent down to the tarpaulin, lifted it a little, and then put it back down. He was aware of Powel standing over him and imagined the kid’s bottom lip sticking out. Murphy felt a bit shitty about that.

“Powel?”

“Sir, I thought I was doing the right thing. If she’d been alive…”

Murphy stood to his full height so he was an entire head above the young constable, and Powel stopped talking. Murphy put the pound back in his pocket, placed a hand on Powel’s damp shoulder, and said, “Don’t tell anyone, but… promise you won’t say anything?”

“Promise, sir.”

“I would have done exactly the same thing.”

“Sir?”

“I’m saying well done, Powel. Unofficially, you did a good thing here. If I were first on scene, I’d have gone swimming too.”

A grin flickered briefly but Powel stifled it. “Thank you, sir.”

“Go get changed.”

As Powel tramped off, Murphy supressed a glimmer of respect for the man-child and turned his thoughts to the body at his feet. But something else was about to drag Murphy’s day down a little further. Chief Inspector Rhapshaw was cresting the hill, greeted by the clipboard-wielding crime-scene manager, and being invited to sign in.

*

Before the head of Yorkshire’s Serious Crime Agency reached him, Murphy ascertained that the body was probably beaten to death and, although he had no medical expertise beyond twenty-odd years of listening to experts, he estimated the body had been in the water no longer than a few hours. He also managed to see through the bruising and cuts and filth, and identify the corpse as Hayley Davenport.

“Murphy,” Rhapshaw said.

“Sir.” Murphy stood and greeted the officer with a curt handshake. As with most people, Murphy loomed far taller than Graham Rhapshaw, and as with most people, Rhapshaw took a step back before he was comfortable enough to speak.

“Is it the Davenport girl?”

“Looks like it.”

Rhapshaw turned from the corpse and paced toward the lake. He wore the uniform that he once told Murphy gave him gravitas when speaking to the press and underlings, and as such was looking at the muddy path as if it somehow offended him. “Lot of rain last night.”

“The SOCOs are covering the area. But you’re right. I doubt they’ll find much.”

“And is this similar to the Bradshaw girl?”

“Pippa.”

“Hmm?”

“Pippa, sir. Her name was Pippa Bradshaw.” Murphy noticed a woman wandering along the shore. She was coming from the woods on the other side of the lake.

“Are you suggesting I’m being insensitive, Detective Inspector?”

The woman was short, blonde, her hair in a ponytail. Probably mid-to-late twenties. Dressed like she belonged in an office. Except for the bubble-gum pink wellington boots.

“No, sir,” Murphy said. “It’s my own way of thinking about them. First name terms.”

“We’ve talked about that before.”

“And I haven’t forgotten. Don’t worry. I’m fine.”

The woman was getting closer now. Murphy excused himself from Rhapshaw and approached unsteadily over the sodden ground. “Hello? Miss?”

She didn’t look up, engrossed in the long grass along the lakeside, lost in concentration. She bent down and picked up a Coke can, peered inside, and discarded it.

As Murphy drew closer he saw she was a pretty little thing; petite, her head coming up to his chest. He called again, “Miss, excuse me.”

This time she looked up. “Oh, hi!” She greeted him like an old friend she was surprised to see.

Murphy guided her aside. “Miss, I’m not sure how you got through the cordon, but this is a crime scene. A young woman has been…”

“Murdered, yes, I know.” She smiled cheerily at him. “I’m Alicia Friend.”

“And?”

“And Graham asked me to come along, see if I could help. Cool, huh?”

Murphy took a mental step back. Cute, blonde, seemed to almost bounce even though she was stood still. “Graham?”

“At your service.” Rhapshaw’s voice again. When Murphy turned, Rhapshaw said, “You’ve been pestering DCI Streeter for more personnel and he has been pestering me. Therefore, Detective Sergeant Alicia Friend is now on attachment from the Serious Crime Agency. She’s been a damn good copper for me, and she’s an analyst of criminal psychology. Seems like a good fit.”

“Sir, if by ‘analyst’ you mean ‘psychic’…”

“Murphy, how long have you known me?”

“Ten years, on and off.”

“And in those ten years, what exactly could you possibly have seen to make you think for one fucking minute I’d employ a psychic?”

Murphy saw his point. “She’s a shrink then?”

Alicia stood forward. “I’m a psychologist. My brain is like some mini-computer, but you can’t switch it off and back on again. I’m also a policewoman with a mean right hook and a pretty decent track record wherever my little feet have taken me.”

Murphy stared at her a moment. Did she just say ‘little feet’? “DS Friend, thanks for coming down, but we don’t even have the forensics in yet.”

“It’s okay. I already have a theory about your killer. For starters, it’s not much of a stretch to start using the fave phrase of Hollywood thriller writers: serial killer.”

Murphy shook his head. “Good lord, Graham, what the hell is this? Buffy the Vampire Slayer takes a stroll and she’s sure this is a serial killer?  That mini-computer of hers needs de-bugging. We have two bodies. Similar appearance, similar age, similar deaths, but it’s not enough for a pattern. It’s barely a coincidence.”

Rhapshaw was about to respond but Alicia Friend got in first: “Well, technically a serial murderer needs three kills, but from what Graham tells me a third girl went missing yesterday in similar circumstances to Pippa and Hayley. Close in appearance, twenty-two years old, which means there’s about five days until a third body shows up.”

“We still don’t know…”

“Are you a betting man, DI Murphy?”

To Rhapshaw, he said, “Sir, I don’t need this. I have a decent team under me.”

Rhapshaw shrugged.

Alicia said, “Because if you’re really into gambling and want to throw one of those little balls onto the roulette wheel—by the way, I’m using the little ball as a metaphor for Katie Hague’s life, and the roulette wheel for the chances of finding her alive—”

“I get the imagery.”

“Good, because if that’s what you’re going to do—hope that the forensics turn up a fingerprint or find the name and address of the person who beat Hayley Davenport to death secreted about her person—then I very much doubt Katie’s going to make it.”

Murphy grew conscious of his breathing, the air through his nose far louder than it should have been. The winter breeze blew cold, and he heard the rustle of the SOCOs’ suits, felt the breeze bite at his neck. Alicia Friend was shivering but her eyes held his.

Rhapshaw said, “If DS Friend is correct about the serial angle, we need to move quickly. Murphy, your desk is clear as of now. This is your only case. Find the missing girl and catch this bastard.”

“Fine,” Murphy said. “Let’s hear the theory.”

Rhapshaw smiled satisfactorily. “Let me and DCI Streeter know when the forensics get in.”

While the chief inspector struggled back up the hill, Alicia Friend told Murphy what she’d seen so far.

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Phyllis f. McManus – Forever Girl

Forever-Girl_wraparound

Title: Forever Girl

Author: Phyllis f. McManus

ISBN or ASIN: 9781453648438

Page count: 256

Genre: Fiction

Price:  Book – $9.90; Kindle- $4.99

 

Phyllis-McManusAuthor Bio:

Phyllis McManus grew up in Waxhaw, North Carolina. She attended Union County public schools and later studied at the local community colleges. She married her high school sweetheart. Phyllis and her husband, Don, have one grown son and one grandson.

She writes short stories, poems and novels. She won 1st place nationwide in the Union County Writer’s Club Poetry competition in 2008 with the poem, “The Edge of Darkness.” It was based on her Mother who suffered with Alzheimer’s disease. Her published work includes “The Southern Belle Breakfast Club,” “The Long Dirt Road,” “The Lie That Binds,” and “The Ghost of Deep Gap.”

 

Tell us about your book:

Mary Frances couldn’t understand why her father, over the years, had let alcohol take control of his life. He would come home drunk making Mary Frances and her sisters run for protection. Growing up in the 1930’s was hard enough without having this problem to deal with. What was the mystery behind Father’s drinking? Was he trying to forget his past?

While walking to school Mary Frances caught the glimpse of a boy plowing in a field. The young man, Clint, had also seen her. Their love for one another quickly grew with each passing year. One late rainy night, Mary Frances crawled out her bedroom window to meet Clint so they could elope.

Their marriage seemed to be perfect until the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Then their lives, as well as others, started to change. Mary Frances soon learned she was having Clint’s child, but she still encouraged him to enlist as his friends had done.

Several months later, Mary Frances received a letter from the army stating that Clint was missing in action. How would she be able to continue to live without him? She had to gather every ounce of strength she had to continue with life.

 

Share any thoughts you’d like the readers to know about you and/or your book:

I decided to write this book after I lost my parents in a car accident. It started out as nonfiction but more tears appeared on the paper than words. I decided to change my writing to fiction but still keep some of the memories my parents had shared with me about their young romance and love. After finishing the book I realized what I had started as a form of therapy had turned into a passion I knew I would continue.  I think of this book as a gift of love to my parents. I am sure they would enjoy the way I took bits and pieces of their memory, a lot of imagination and created Forever Girl.  Many years I would hear my Dad say to Mama, “I’ll love you forever, girl.” I knew before I wrote one page what my title would be. This is not a “girly” book. It has mystery, hardships, struggles, romance, action and humor. I am proud to admit what started out as writing for therapy became a book that proudly displays my name on the cover.

 

Where can we go to buy your book?

www.amazon.com

www.kindle.com

www.barnes&noblebooks.com

 

Any other links or info you’d like to share?

I ca be found on Facebook – Author Phyllis f. McManus

My blog – The Open Door at http://middlebutton.blogspot.com/

http://amazon.com/author/phyllisfmcmanus

 

Excerpt from book:

Clint felt for the heart chain on his dog tags as he had done so many times before. His thoughts went to Mary Frances wearing the other half around her neck. That Christmas had felt like so long ago for him.

He removed his dog tag and gently pulled the heart charm off to remove all the dirt from it. He felt as if he were covered with dirt from head to toe. They had not been able to bathe in days.

“What’s that you’re holding in your hand, Clint?” Casey asked.

“It’s half of a heart charm and my wife has the other half around her neck,” Clint said proudly as he continued to clean the small charm. “Going to put the two together to make one when I get home.”

“A wife waiting for you to come back I bet helps you get through these rough times,” Casey said.

Clint nodded and started to put the charm back on his dog tags.

Suddenly, a shout was heard from another foxhole, “Heads down, men, Incoming fire!”

“Get down, Casey,” Clint screamed.

Clint grabbed for his gun and started returning fire, but he couldn’t tell which direction he needed to aim for.

“Which way, Casey?” Clint shouted.

“Casey!” Clint shouted repeatedly.

He continued to shout his name, but Casey lay silent. Clint grabbed for Casey and pulled him into his arms. Blood ran from Casey’s head into his eyes. Clint took the sleeve of his shirt and tried to wipe away the blood.

Clint had seen a lot of death over the past few weeks but never this close and not someone that had become a friend.

Casey started into Clint’s eyes, but Clint knew he was seeing right through him. Casey was gone. Clint lay him down gently and once again reached for his weapon.

He turned and there was the enemy standing right over him. The two looked directly in each other’s eyes as they both pulled the trigger on their guns. The enemy fell on top of Clint. With what strength he had left in his body, he pushed him aside. Clint felt a warm feeling at the top of his head. He realized it was his own blood running down his face. He lay bleeding holding tight to the chain in the palm of his hand.

“Oh, dear God, please no,” cried Clint

Darkness engulfed Clint’s body. Then there was silence.

 

 

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Wayne Elsner – Tannion

Tannion---ebook-cover

Title: Tannion

Author: Wayne Elsner

ISBN or ASIN: 978-1500635305

Page count: 392

Genre: Urban action/adventure

Price Print and Ebook: $13.99 and $4.99

 

8 29 CruiseAuthor Bio:

Wayne Elsner is a retired Geologist from Calgary Alberta Canada. He is married to Carrole and they have three grown children. He retired in 2007 and during his retirement he took up writing novels when he found time while they traveled the world.

In that time he has completed ten novels, nine of which are currently waiting to be published. Tannion First book in the Tannion series was the first book he wrote and has been recently published.

There are six books in the Tannion series. These books fit loosely into an urban fantasy action adventure genre. He has also written an additional action/adventure book and a fantasy trilogy. Carrole thinks his fantasy novel – Talanhold – The Chosen One is his best book.

 

Tell us about your book:

Only after Jim Tannion was struck by lightning did the skills reveal themselves. He found that he was able to control his body and through contact, the bodies of others. He could heal any disease and then he finds that he can kill. Realizing curing the world was impractical and worried about being found out, he decides to try to clean up the streets of his home town. A move to New York where the FBI almost catch him is followed by escaping to Los Angeles. But things and times change and sometimes there is a line that is easier to cross than to stand behind. When do the good guys become bad and do they always know the difference. What is important and what becomes important to each of us? Tannion isn’t always sure.

 

Share any thoughts you’d like the readers to know about you and/or your book:

Tannion isn’t a run of the mill type of character and as the first in the series his personality isn’t set at any one time.

 

Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon – http://goo.gl/PRkIAb

 

Any other links or info you’d like to share?

www.wayneelsner.com

 

Excerpt from book:

Jim Tannion had no idea that this day would be any different than any other day. It began innocently enough and pretty much the same way every workday had started for the past few years. Getting up at six thirty for work had become a habit.

As he walked out his apartment door he thought about how much be loved living downtown. He enjoyed having the freedom to walk to work or to his favorite bar and the restaurants that were close by. He wasn’t that interested in going to work though. He knew there would be lots of paperwork to do but he was thankful that he didn’t have to sell anything. Somebody had to do the paperwork to ensure everything was kept straight. His economics degree got him the job, but he wasn’t sure what good it had done him since.

The money was decent enough but it could have been a lot better. The work was adequate and he liked the people he worked with, but he yearned for more excitement in his life. He knew he had fallen into a rut and never found the time to put a resume together to look for a better job. He didn’t like the feeling of complacency, but not enough to do anything about it.

The morning hours passed quickly and at least he could enjoy his lunch break. Lunch always tasted better when sitting in the park watching for girls. Lunch hour always goes faster than any other hour in the day so, too quickly, it was time for him to make his way back to the office. Today he left a little earlier than usual as he had decided to stretch his legs with a walk along the river bank.

After he had walked for a few minutes he noticed there were fewer people along the way. Glancing at his watch, he decided he had better hurry back. He looked up and only then noticed that the sky had gotten very dark. A major cloud was passing over, but blue sky could be seen on both sides. It didn’t seem to be a big storm, but Tannion knew that he could still get very wet. It was probably a good time to get back to work.

Before he stepped off the sidewalk he had to first wait for the light. The light turned green and the little man indicated that he could walk. He took another quick look up at the sky and thought it would be best to hurry a little.

He never heard anything, felt anything, or saw anything until he woke up lying on the ground with people all around him and sirens getting closer. Thoughts were flitting about half-formed in his head. The sirens led him to considering the Doppler effect and wondering what the siren would sound like when it went past him. But it didn’t. The siren stopped quite near him.

He couldn’t talk or move, but he could hear everything being said.

A man in a light blue suit said, “It happened so fast. I didn’t see it, but I heard it.” Tannion noticed little things like the small stain on the guy’s tie and the stubble on his chin.

The woman he was talking to nodded and replied, “I heard it too, but I wasn’t looking in his direction. Until someone screamed, I had no idea he had been hit.” Tannion hoped that it wasn’t his scream she had heard.

It wasn’t until he was in the back of the ambulance that Tannion was able to get a few words out. When he asked what truck had hit him, he was told that he had been hit by lightning and was lucky to be alive. He thought he’d been hit by a car or maybe one of the crazy bike couriers that zoom in and out of traffic and up on the sidewalk whenever they have to.

By the time the ambulance reached the hospital, he was feeling fine. He couldn’t tell that he had been hit by anything, except that he had a good-sized headache and his suit jacket was rumpled. He also seemed to be missing his right shoe. Looking for burn marks or any other sign of the incident, he was a bit disappointed that there was nothing obvious. Luckily one of the paramedics had picked up his shoe and it was sitting on the gurney beside him.

They kept him in the hospital for a few hours. It appeared that all he had was a headache, but the doctors hadn’t seen too many lightning strike victims and had decided to run more tests than usual. They probably kept some poor guy out in the waiting room for hours while they fussed over Tannion’s tests. Finally, when they couldn’t find anything wrong with him other than a slight concussion from when his head hit the sidewalk, they sent him home.

He had missed an afternoon of work. Luckily he had been able to phone the office after sitting in a hospital bed for a few hours. He had caught the receptionist on her way out, explaining what had happened.

“Sorry Jim. Everyone’s already gone for the day,” she informed him. He knew he would have some explaining to do in the morning.

Tannion was told by the doctor to take it easy and that he would have to find his own way home. He caught a taxi, and by the time he got home all he wanted was to go to bed. He thought that a few hours sleep would probably do him a world of good. They had given him a remedy in the form of a couple of painkillers, but he hated to take drugs of any sort. He knew he would have to handle it himself and sleep was usually the best cure.

When the alarm sounded the next morning he woke up feeling unusually refreshed. Unlike most nights, he didn’t recall waking up once, not even to go to the bathroom. He occasionally had to go in the night but he chalked it up to being a little dehydrated after yesterday’s strange events.

He went to work as if nothing had happened. He had to tell the story a few times, but overall it was just another day at the office. In the back of his mind he had this feeling that something had happened that was greater than he knew, something that he couldn’t explain. It wasn’t until much later that he found out what it meant.

 

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