I thought I'd share another bit of my most recent novel, A Hero's Spark. Remember, books make a great gift! If you want any of my books in print or for the Kindle, click here. If you read your books on the Nook just click here! And if you read books on any device at all check out smashwords!
Meanwhile, enjoy this bit of A Hero's Spark!
The rain north of Green Bay fell mercilessly. By the time Collier reached the city limits of Rock Harbor, he was exhausted and unable to find the county highway address Archibald gave him. Collier eased the Mercedes into a muddy parking lot outside a bar called "Dirty Dog Dave's." He parked as close to the door of the hulking building as he could, and ran inside.
The inside of Dirty Dog Dave's was cavernous. The place seemed deserted, though the lights were on. Collier took a seat at the bar and tapped his fingers. "Hello?"
The only answer to his single word was the click of a handgun safety releasing. Collier stopped tapping his fingers, his blood frozen.
"Put yer hands on the bar where Ah can see them."
Collier squinted to the darkened end of the room, searching for the face to match the low, guttural voice and the completely fake Southern accent. He splayed his hands out on the dented bar, trying hard not to recoil at the sticky feel of the scarred wooden surface. "I'm not here to cause trouble. I just need directions."
"Ah'll just bet y'all do."
Despite the apparent danger he was in, Collier struggled not to smile. The hidden man's accent was simply too funny. "No, really. I'm trying to find Shara Jacobs' place."
As if his words were some sort of incendiary device, the man with the gun leaped from around the corner, and grabbed Collier by the collar. The man was enormous, and holding an even more impressive handgun. "Just what would y'all be wantin' with Miss Shara?"
“Oh, for the love of all that's holy, Dave, put that man down!"
Collier held his breath as Dave's grip on his collar tightened. He heard woman's quick footssteps behind him and in a beat a tall, beautiful woman the color of a perfect cup of mocha stood next to him.
"Chanel, now this doesn't concern y'all."
"It does when you're pointing a gun at a customer. Put that thing away and give the man dinner or something."
Dave didn't loosen his grip on Collier. "Chanel, this man is driving Mr. James' Mercedes. But look at him, he's no driver for Mr. James. So either he stole the car...or he stole the car. Plus, he's lookin' for Miss Shara."
Chanel turned her focus on Collier. "Did you steal Mr. James' car?"
"No." Collier tried to swallow, but Dave's enormous knuckle was in the way. "No, I'm his nephew."
"Ah don't buy it."
"You don't buy anything." Chanel frowned at Dave. "Look, Mister. Dave here just got his concealed carry permit and he's itching to use that beastly thing. If I were you, I'd say something a bit more convincing."
"My uncle, Archibald James, sent me here. I'm a..." Collier struggled for air.
“Oh, for heaven's sakes, Dave, put him down and let him talk."
Reluctantly, Dave released Collier. "Now talk...and Ah'd best like what you say."
"I'm a musician. I'm a singer, and my uncle thought I should work with Shara Jacobs. Said she's a client of his. He's letting me use his car because mine is back home."
Collier cleared his throat and turned a baleful eye on Dave. "Nashville. Tennessee. Where people have real accents."
Chanel burst out laughing. "Dave, you have to give this man free burgers for life or he may just blow your cover!"
Collier allowed himself a weak smile. "I don't want to blow anyone's cover or anything. I just...I'm looking for this address." He held up the piece of paper. "I can't find it in the rain."
"Of course you can't, Sugar." Chanel strolled behind the bar and filled a glass with beer. "Here you go." She slid the glass to Collier.
"Now just a minute! Since when do we give free beer to strangers?"
“Oh, about the same time we started pulling guns on people who show up looking for directions.” Chanel grinned at Collier. "Dave, you say one more word to this boy and I'm going to let him tell everyone that you've never been further south than Kenosha." Chanel turned back to Collier, her voice easing into a warm tone reminiscent of thick hot cocoa. "Now, go ahead and finish what you were saying."
Collier took a swallow of beer. "I'm a sort of traveling musician, but my band...broke up. So my uncle sent me here to do some recording work with Shara Jacobs. He said I could stay at her place."
"Probably means the loft."
Collier didn't miss the softening of Dave's features. "You know Shara Brandt Jacobs?"
Dave chuckled. "Know her? I discovered her."
Chanel clicked her tongue against her teeth. "You did not discover her, Dave. She had to beg you for months to let 'Teachers' Pets' play here, and you know it. Now, what's your name honey?"
"Collier. Collier James."
"Okay, Collier James, I'm about to open this place up for the evening, but I promise you, if you don't mind sitting here a bit and having the best burger you're ever going to eat, I'll see to it that someone gets you out to the Jacobs' place tonight." Chanel patted him on the shoulder.
“We’re giving him food, too? What, you’re trying to bankrupt me?”
“No, Dave,” Chanel rounded the bar and stood in the kitchen doorway, “I’m trying to keep him from suing us.”
Collier was amused by the couple. His initial fear of Dave melted. The smell of grilled meat emanating from the kitchen made Collier's stomach growl. "Ok, I guess I wouldn't mind a burger at all.”