Wednesday, March 29, 2017

An action-packed tale of the early days of Marijuana smuggling. Ride along as four country boys take the risks and pay the fines... A SMUGGLER'S STORY BY JOHN SIKES




A Smuggler's Story
John R. Sikes
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Book Heat Level: 1


BLURB:

An action-packed tale of the early days of Marijuana smuggling. Ride along as four country boys take the risks and pay the fines for living through the times of getting high and tuning in. If you like bull riding, fast cars, and crazy cowboys, you'll love this fun-filled sometimes bitter, sometimes sad, story of what it was like to be in the middle of the drug running business. From the war in Vietnam to the War on Drugs, it covers the feelings of many of those that lived and died during those times. Find out by who and how the notorious bloodthirsty drug cartels were formed; the shocking truth of how they came by the weapons needed to take control of the land of drugs and routes they needed to bring them to the United States.     


Excerpt

Rafael had just finished watering his Marijuana plants when he heard the helicopter coming. For a minute he thought it was going to fly right on by, till it made a quick circle and came to a dusty landing at the edge of the plot. Goats feeding in and around the clothing hung on a line in the yard behind his small house were sent scattering in the wind. Two armed Mexicans and one gringo stepped from the stripped down Huey helicopter.

"Buenos Dias. Do you speak English?" the gringo asked Rafael as the dust settled from the spinning rotors.

"Si señor," Rafael answered as he studied the gringo's face hidden behind the mirrored sunglasses.

"Good, I hate to have these interpreters doing my talking. I am officer Baker. We were doing some aerial surveillance and noticed your field of Marijuana. You do know it is illegal to grow it here in Mexico, don't you?"

"Oh no, señor, no one ever told me I could not grow this."

"Well, it is," Officer Baker replied. "I am here as an advisor to the Mexican Police Department on how to deal with this drug problem. Now, we have a couple of ways of doing this. One, we can take this copter and spray your field here with this chemical called paraquat; it will kill everything it touches and leaves your ground worthless, or we can work something out where everybody gets a piece of the action."

Officer Baker loved his job. He had thought the military was the life for him. When he was accused of stealing supplies from the army base where he was stationed, his attitude changed. Given the chance of an early out or court marshal, he decided a different career was in order. Luckily for him, the base commander was willing to sweep everything out the door instead of having to go through a court case that wasn't going to make anyone look good. When a job opened up with the U.S. government to help transfer a bunch of extra Huey helicopters back from active duty in Vietnam to the Mexican Police Force, he jumped on it. Still a little shocked they hired him, he was quick to take advantage of the situation. Officer Baker had found a kindred soul running the Mexican War on Drugs Program. They both knew the war was lost before it even started. It was a mutual agreement to turn this golden opportunity into a cash cow. They had come up with a plan to use the equipment given to them by the U.S. government to their own advantage. Why settle for the meager income their respective positions paid when they had the chance to become rich?

Officer Baker said, "Now, here is what I am willing to do for you. I can overlook this patch of contraband and we can come to some agreement on a price to do so, or I can tell the pilot to spay your field and turn you over to the local law enforcement."

Rafael knew he was caught between a rock and a hard spot. Losing his crop was bad enough, but he knew a ride with the local policia would most likely be a one-way trip.

"Now, I don't want you to think this is the end of the world." Officer Baker continued. "What I have in mind is more like forming a union for you growers. You can call it a 'cartel' if you like. We will have someone show up to help you harvest. They will brick up the pot into kilos. A twenty-five dollar fee will be paid on each kilo you produce, and of course you will be expected to spilt the money you get from your buyer. For this, we allow you to keep growing and also provide protection from any further harassment by any law enforcement or from anybody else."

"I don't see I have much of a choice, señor." Rafael said, looking into Officer Baker's mirrored glasses.

"Well, I guess you don't. I'll expect to meet your buyer soon. I will want him to start handling some of our other products for us too. If he doesn't handle Cocaine and Smack now, I'm sure he will when he finds out the money that can be made. We can even arrange a no worry crossing at the border for an additional fee. Here is a number you can reach us through. I'll be expecting a call. Have a nice day." Officer Baker signaled the other officers and Rafael was soon left standing in the dust from the departing helicopter.



The adventure and the struggle contines for Sunny, as the fight for control of Acadia is near. Battle lines have been drawn... SHADOW'S END BY COURTNEY RENE FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED



Shadow's End
Courtney Rene

Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1



The adventure and the struggle contines for Sunny, as the fight for control of Acadia is near. Battle lines have been drawn, not just by King Gideon, but also by the rebels that were once Sunny’s allies. Due to unexpected trips to the ice realm and the fire realm, new allies are found to help build the Army of the Sun. There are new worlds explored. New friends and new enemies made. Ready or not, Sunny must prepare for what is coming as well as decide where she belongs within it all. But…what about prom? What about Leif? What about home? How can she, just a seventeen year old girl, rule a whole world? She’s not even sure if she can get through finals.


EXCERPT

Leif turned his attention briefly to Lucas, who had stayed silent up to that point. “I see you have moved on. Rather quick don’t you think?” he said.

I refused to answer his taunt. Instead, I said to Lucas, “You about ready?”

A red flush of color appeared across Leif’s normally pale cheeks. I didn’t care. I was not going to be baited or made to feel bad for being out with Lucas. Was it a date? It hadn’t been specifically declared that, but it was something more than just an outing too. Maybe I was moving on, but that was my business. Not Leif’s.

“Yep. I’m ready,” Lucas said, then shoved the last bite of burger into his mouth and stood to clear the table.

I did the same, and gathered up my trash and belongings.

Leif suddenly and inexplicably became enraged. Either he was more upset about Lucas than I had realized or he really was going a bit on the loopy side. He grabbed my arm painfully and said, “We aren’t through here.”

“Stop it! You’re hurting me,” I said through gritted teeth. I didn’t want to cause a scene in the middle of the mall. People were already staring.

That was all the action Lucas needed to get involved. He slammed one big hand down on Leif’s shoulder and said as calm as could be, “I think you should release her.”

Leif did let go, which should have made me wary as he wasn’t the give up easy type, but I was too busy rubbing circulation back into my arm to think about it.

Leif spun around to face Lucas. “You can mind your own business. This is between her and me.”

“You made it my business when you laid a hand on her,” Lucas said, not backing down an inch.

Side by side the two were colored very alike, but that was where the similarities ended. Leif had ice blue eyes and Lucas had warm blue, inviting eyes. Leif was tall, thin, but wiry strong. Lucas was tall and bulky with evident muscles and strength.

“You don’t know what you are dealing with here,” Leif said and took a step closer to Lucas. It was like he was daring him to engage.

Lucas though, appeared calm and easy, no hint of aggression. “Yes. Actually I do.”

I began to realize that Leif didn’t recognize Lucas. He really didn’t know who he was. Leif didn’t have any special gifts other than begin a shadow walker tracker. Why then was he being so aggressive?

A wave of confusion crossed over Leif’s features for a moment. He stepped back and regarded Lucas. “You a walker?”

“Among other things. What’s it to you?”

Leif again grabbed my arm, not quite as hard that time, but hard enough to make me wince, and pulled me forward to stand almost next to him. “Then you know what she is,” he said.

I was getting a bit annoyed at being talked about like I wasn’t standing there. I was also getting angry at being manhandled by Leif. Incidentally, the anger is what caused me to pull in a bit of the energy from around us. I only grabbed a small ball of it, but it was enough to concern me. Whether in small or large amounts, energy was just as hard to control.

“Yes, I do,” Lucas said.

Leif leaned toward Lucas until he was just a few inches away from his face, glared hard with half squinted eyes, and said, “They you also know she’s mine. I found her. You don’t get to have her.”

That was it. I didn’t care about the pain it was going to cause me. I purposefully and intentionally, pushed out a zap of energy at Leif, where he held my arm. Not enough to really hurt him, but it was enough to have him jerk his hand off me in surprise and a bit of pain. Rage clouded his eyes for a moment as he directed his gaze on me.

I rounded on him with the full force of my own rage and completely ignored his. “You!” I said and poked a finger into his chest. “Don’t get to own me! No one gets to own me.”

He took a step back. I stepped forward and poked him again. “I get to decide who I want to be with and who gets to be with me.” Again he took a step back, and me a step forward, and I poked him hard in the chest, hard enough to make my finger twinge in pain at the abuse, but I ignored it. “I get to decide. Do you hear me, Leif?”

“Sunny,” Lucas said from behind me. “You have an audience.”

Without taking my eyes from Leif, I swung an arm behind me with my hand up at him, hoping that I conveyed with that one action, to shut up.

I did lower my voice at least. “You had your chance with me, but you chose to lie, to cheat, to keep me in the dark and at your mercy. You don’t get to decide anything about me anymore.”

I turned away from him and stepped back to my table, where I again began to gather up the debris from lunch. “Go home, Leif. There’s nothing here for you anymore.”

“Yes, there is,” he said softly from directly behind me. I hadn’t heard him come up next to me. Then even softer he said, “This isn’t over between us, Sunny. I’m not giving up.”

I glanced over my shoulder at him. The man before me was the Leif I knew. The Leif I had fallen in love with. The ice was missing from his face and his eyes and my heart felt the pain of losing him all over again. Why did it still hurt to see him, to be next to him? “Leif,” I whispered. “Go home. Please.”

Without regard to the people around us, he phased into the shadows and was gone.

“Sunny?”

“Yeah, Lucas,” I said as I stared at the place that Leif had vanished. I was suddenly so tired.

“You okay?”

“Yeah. I’ll live.”

“Um…do you know that you have a slight glow of white around you?”

No. I didn’t know that. I closed my eyes and sighed. “Great.”






Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Shattered by family tragedy, Lucy Carter, 15, is sent away to a prestigious performing arts boarding school where she meets a mysterious musician. A PART TO PLAY BY JENNIFER L. FRY



A Part to Play
Jennifer Fry

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Book Heat Level: 1

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Shattered by family tragedy, Lucy Carter, 15, is sent away to a prestigious performing arts boarding school where she meets a mysterious musician whose talent and insecurities teach her to rediscover her love of acting and to believe in herself.

EXCERPT

She stood on a sidewalk near a busy intersection in her hometown. Cars zipped by through a layer of heavy fog that made visibility difficult. It was dark outside, but the orange street lights illuminated the cars as they drove by. Lucy saw familiar headlights. Her mother's car approached.

Despite the fog and the darkness, she could just make out her sister, Kate, sitting tensely in the driver's seat. Headlights flashed from the other direction, distracting Lucy from her sister for a moment. An erratic vehicle headed towards her sister. It veered into Kate's path for a moment, and Lucy screamed, but eerie silence hung over the scene. She tried to run out into the street to wave her sister down, but it was as though her feet were stuck in cement.

When Kate saw the driver in her path, she stomped on the brakes and spun the steering wheel sharply to the right shoulder, causing the little sedan to skid, which rotated it around ninety degrees. Now Kate's car blocked the entire street.

The larger vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, slammed into the driver's side door at full speed, as if the driver hadn't even seen Kate's car. Lucy screamed again, but there was no sound, not even of the cars colliding. She couldn't tear her eyes away as she watched the sedan's side section crumple into itself. Kate's body tossed back from the force of impact. Suddenly, across the street on the opposite sidewalk, Lucy saw both of her parents watching the same scene. Once again, she waved her arms, this time to get their attention. But they acted as though they couldn't see her.

When she blinked, she found herself hanging upside down in a car, strapped in with a seat belt. It took her a moment to realize she was in the backseat of the car Kate was driving. Lucy looked around desperately for her sister and saw Kate climbing out of the passenger side door, unhurt.

Her parents embraced Kate, holding her and crying over the close call. Lucy felt a searing pain in her chest; she looked down to see a piece of metal from the destroyed vehicle piercing her. Blood gushed from the wound. She cried out for her parents, her shrill scream now the only sound in the violent scene. But her parents and Kate, with arms around each other, walked away from the accident, leaving her there. She heard her mom's voice, "This family does not work without you. Thank God you are safe."

"What about me?" Lucy cried. What about me!

Darkness enveloped the quiet dorm room when Lucy's eyes snapped open. She shook so hard from the nightmare that at first she wondered if she was having a seizure. This was by far the worst dream she'd had of Kate's death. It was the first where Kate actually walked away from the accident and she, Lucy, died in her place. Or at least she had been left for dead, with her parents and sister happy together.

The true impact of what it meant to be sent to ESPA hit her with the impact of a freight train. She simply was not good enough for her parents; they had always loved Kate more. And now, she would never have that life again--the one with laughter and games--it was gone. All of it. Kate was dead and her parent's marriage was dead. There was no home for her anymore. The security she drew from her sister's unfailing support, from her parents love and affection--it was all gone. She had nothing; she had less than nothing.

Her breath coming in short gasps, Lucy crawled towards her backpack to dig out her iPod. The room spun around her as she pushed play. She made her way to the small space between the bed and the wall and curled into a ball with her music turned up full volume. Who was she without her sister? Who was she without her family? Nothing, absolutely nothing. She cried harder than she ever had, wishing a giant earthquake would split the ground open and swallow her. And when the tears dried up, everything became numb.







Sunny finally makes her first jump to the Kingdom of Acadia that is on the other side of the shadows, for what she hopes is a vacation. Only...



Shadow Warrior
Courtney Rene
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Book Heat Level: 1

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BLURB:

Sunny finally makes her first jump to the Kingdom of Acadia that is on the other side of the shadows, for what she hopes is a vacation.  Only her vacation turns into quite an unwanted adventure.  Aside from new and unexpected issues regarding her relationship with Leif, Sunny meets the rebel group, makes new friends, fights with controlling her powers, and finds herself neck deep within a county that is torn apart by two sides, each fighting for power.  Acadia is not quite what she imagined.  How is she, one young girl, supposed to unite the Kingdom as well as unseat a King to take her place as ruler of Acadia. 

EXCERPT:

"Mom, we have been through this. It's only ten days." My mom and I were at it again. The same fight we had been having for the past month. Spring break had finally arrived and would officially begin the next day, and that was the day that Leif and I had decided to make my first trip to Acadia. It was the perfect time to go. I was thinking of it as a much needed vacation. It was a chance to pop into Acadia, have a look around, and come home. Do the whole meet and greet thing. The how we were getting there was still a mystery, but I would figure it out soon enough, or as soon as Leif told me.

My mom, well she was not real keen on the whole idea. In fact, you could say that my mom and dad weren't too happy with the whole shadow walking thing at all, which means, they were pretending there was no such thing. I could try and bring it up, try to get them to understand, but they just changed the subject every time and stayed in their nice, safe reality. I understood, really I did. It was just a bit annoying.

"You are not going, and that's final."

"Mom," I said, sighing the word. "How do you plan on stopping me? You know this is something I have to do. We've been through this."

"I'm telling you, you're not allowed, that should be enough." She stood there, wringing her hands which made me feel a twinge of guilt. Her brown eyes were upset, and her lips quivered. "Please don't go, Sunny. You won't come back."

I told Leif my parents would be a problem. He never listened. "Of course, I will. I'll come back. This is my home."

"No, you won't. You'll leave to go to that...place, and I'll never see you again."

I walked over and stood directly in front of her and took her cold hands into mine. She was several inches taller than my five feet four inches, so I had to look up to see her face. "I promise I will come back, in ten days. Easter Sunday, I'll be back. I expect turkey and homemade noodles to be waiting," I added with a smile.

I didn't want to fight with her. She didn't really want to fight with me either. We both knew I was going, and we both knew there was nothing she or dad could do about it.

Everything had changed since August when I'd discovered that a race of humans existed that could walk in the shadows, and that I was one of them. I was not the easy going, boss me around girl that I had once been. Learning that I was a Shadow Walker was hard enough to take, but learning that I may also be royalty, was even harder. My Thanksgiving night battle with the Shadow Guard from Acadia had taken away the innocence that other girls my age still had.

I was afraid all the time now. I was afraid of the dark. Not really the dark, but what I couldn't see in the dark. I was afraid of being alone. Bad things happen when you're alone. Leif was taking my phobias rather well, thankfully, hardly ever leaving my side. He seemed to understand, which was a surprise, as I didn't. Then you had what no one knew but me, that I was afraid of my gift of energy control.

What a crock, I couldn't control it. Sometimes it seemed to be trying to control me. I would get startled, or when I was afraid, I would instinctively pull the energy to me and inside. I wouldn't even know I was doing it until I'd feel it zipping around in me.

I didn't want anyone to know, so I would slowly push the energy back out of me through my feet, into the ground. It burned and tore at me every time now. I hated that gift. Why did I have the gift of energy control when I was afraid to use it? What was the point? I was afraid of hurting someone, and I was afraid of the slicing pain that came with it every time.

Leif said time and again how cool my energy gift was. If he only knew what a real burden the gift was, I don't think he would have felt that way. Why didn't I tell him? I didn't want him to think of me as weak.