Happy 2015, world!
1.) Release date for LAW 7 is now Feb 14th, 2015. I will make this date, we will have a release party online, and I will then jump on BB#3, the final book in that series.
2.) There is one day left to get a rookie Eagle, long-sleeve t-shirt through the Teesprings campaign. Click here for details. And a HUGE thank you!! To everyone who ordered already. We’ve met out print goal now!
1.) Thank you to EVERYONE!!! Who has placed a review. Thanks to your response, the rating on book one has started to come up. As soon as it hits 4 stars (now at 3.9), I can list it on Bookbub. It means a great deal to have your novel featured there, allowing me to pay my bills and keep writing. If you haven’t put up a review yet, or voted on one, please click here to go that page on this blog for the details and links. It is quick and easy, and VERY much appreciated.
2.) I need an ebook formatter who charges less than $100, no matter how many images or file size. If you know someone, please out me in contact with them, using my C9 email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you think you can do it, please send me a sample of a few books you’ve created and your price/time limit.
3.) As usual, I’m searching for an editor. I can’t afford to pay $1 per page, but I need professional work, and I understand it doesn’t come free. Beta reading (sweet of you all!) won’t work because everyone has their own idea of what’s right. I have to have someone who uses a known standard of measurement or a specific, recognized guide. If anyone has any ideas, please contact me through the above email address.
Something New!- Book 7!
This is a nice chunk of a mid-book chapter, and it will give you an idea of some of the chaos and revelations going on in Safe Haven right now. You’ll either like it or hate it, as with all the LAW books.
Please keep in mind this is unedited and a first draft copy, all subject to change.
Have a wonderful New Year!
Just Follow Orders!
“I demand the surrender of the Safe Haven council—all of them that I don’t already hold. You have ten seconds to reply.”
In small camps and groups across the area, people exchanged terrified looks, hearts pounding harder, wincing as stomachs tightened. Their newest enemy had made first contact.
“This is a negotiation attempt. Would you hear terms?” Angela’s voice sounded light and cheerful despite the situation.
“I would, if you’re discussing surrender.”
“Terms to be discussed include that.”
Donner’s voice finally showed some signs of life as he chuckled. “So we can meet face-to-face? No, that won’t be necessary. You’ll turn yourselves in.”
Now, Angela’s voice was as hard as his. “You’ll send a representative here to negotiate.”
“Or what?” Donner led. He had obviously expected trouble from her.
“Or, I will shoot myself in the head, destroying your mission, ruining your career, and making sure that none of these people ever stop trying to kill you, no matter where you land after this mission.”
Shock, outrage, determination to make her words the truth—the survivors felt all of those things, and every one of them was handed a tiny victory when Donner caved.
“I’ll send a chopper.”
“We’re ready when you are,” Angela replied. “One man, one guard, and the pilot. We’ll shoot it down if we read more.”
“At noon,” Donner answered. “In return for my negotiations, you’ll send Adrian Mitchel back with the chopper.”
Angela didn’t hesitate. “Agreed.”
Reading the tone, Donner’s voice held a deep frown. “Alive, Ms. White. A dead body will earn you the bombing you deserve.”
“And a bombing will earn you a slaughter,” Angela shot back. “My people are everywhere.”
At an impasse, Donner fell back to the deal they’d made. “Chopper at noon. Mitchel sent back on the bird.”
“Well, that was a great way to find out,” Adrian bit off as Marc and Sebastian tied him up.
Kenn was already unconscious nearby. When he’d tried to stop them from taking Adrian into custody, Shane had knocked him out with a rag soaked in chloroform.
Marc had wanted to shoot him, but Angela had said him dazed, not dead.
“She sold you out,” Marc agreed. “And not on your surrender terms, either. Gotta admire that.”
“I do!” Adrian snarled. “My son, for yours. Was that the deal?”
Marc shook his head. “I had no say in that, but its better if Conner isn’t with us either. He’s like you.”
“Yes, he is,” Adrian said. “And he’ll come for both of you in time.”
“No, he won’t,” Marc said, using his bandana to gag his enemy. “He’ll spend his life trying to rescue you from the labs. I know how this bond works now, remember?”
Adrian was forced to shut up as the bandana tightened and he closed his eyes as he began pelting Angela with mental pleas.
“Yeah, she said you’d do that,” Marc grunted.
Shane handed him two items and Marc quickly tipped the bottle into the handkerchief and slapped it over Adrian’s face, holding tight until the grunting, fighting man sagged in his iron grip.
“Should we keep waiting?” Zack asked, listening to the screams and gunfire that was now sporadic.
Based on helping to load the van before they left, Jeff had a good idea who was inside and he shook his head. “Not a safe place right now. We had a long march here. Let’s sit outside the front gate so that we’re in clear view.”
“You’re kidding right?”
More screams came from inside the building they were behind and Seth waved his men out, agreeing. “No. That’s one of ours in there causing all those noises. If they see shadows outside, they may assume we’re the enemy as well.”
Point taken, all of the men moved toward the front gate in a quick, nervous clip, even though they weren’t supposed to be out in the open.
The front gate was already wide; two bodies sprawled in front of it and face down. Puddles of blood and red footsteps were haunting through the blowing grit. It looked like three of the smaller shacks were on fire and Zack pointed toward a rear shed. “That’s where we were.”
They all watched the shadows for movement that was human, and were rewarded with the sight of a woman, naked except for a blood-coat, stepping from the farthest door.
The brunette spotted them right away and placed a finger to her lips. She then pointed down at the small porch she was standing on.
Under the porch, a single soldier was cowering, trying not to make any noise. The Eagles could see him shivering in fear.
Zack thought of interfering, and Jeff sensed it. He put a hand on the higher-ranked man’s arm. “Please, don’t do that.”
Horrified, the backup team watched the female stalk the hiding soldier as if he was a favorite food, herding him to the side of the wood that was weaker, with gaping cracks. When she slithered over the railing to keep him from seeing her coming attack, Zack turned around. “I can’t watch this.”
Seth and Jeff weren’t about to look away with all their men to see it, and they both narrowed in on the familiar female as she leapt on the soldier who’d thought she was gone.
Seth was the only one of them surprised when she went for his throat, teeth clamping down with a delighted growl that turned stomachs.
She was already covered in crimson and it rained down her now as if a hose were being sprayed. She moaned, drinking as the soldier shuddered in her grip and tried to scream through his ripped out throat.
Seth turned away and puked.
Jeff raised his gun a bit, unsure if they were all in danger.
Jennifer looked toward them, eyes glowing vivid crimson, and all the men felt scolded for their revulsion when she turned her nose to the air, dropped the body, and disappeared back inside the main basecamp building.
Kyle came to a stop just outside the base, unconcerned with being in the open when he saw the large group of Eagles clustered there as if they were waiting for something.
He opened the door and stepped from the empty van, glad of the sleep Marc had insisted he be left alone to get. He’d exited the Indian village feeling almost alive again.
Zack met him at the door. “We’re waiting for one. Hopefully won’t be much longer.”
Kyle looked at his watch and clipboard. “We’re already ten minutes behind.”
Zack glanced toward the burning base. “I know, but we’re waiting for one more.”
Kyle assumed their mission had gotten rough and their one man was likely dead. “Who is it?”
Zack didn’t want to say. It was in his stony face and averted eyes.
“Come on,” Kyle joked lightly. “You’re acting like its Jenn…”
Kyle’s mouth dropped open as the smoke near the gate parted and Jennifer came striding through. She was covered in tacky blood and victory.
“Are you kidding me?!”
Jennifer flashed an evil grin that told Kyle his sweet girl wasn’t in control and his blood began to boil.
“She did this?”
Zack nodded. “Had it going before we got here and never called for help.”
“She didn’t need any,” Jeff snorted lowly.
Kyle stared in horror as the rest of the Eagles laughed and offered encouragement. What had Angela done? Was she letting all the descendants out this way? Didn’t she know how dangerous that was? How hard it would be to settle them back down?
Kyle watched her without moving, a bit stunned by the difference. “That’s not Jenny.”
“Yeah,” Zack agreed lowly. “We had the same thought and didn’t ague when she wanted to keep this… coating on. Good luck.”
“What happened?” Kyle asked, thinking she’d been hurt and snapped.
Zack filled in what he knew and got Kyle moving toward the van to get the water. It was making Zack nervous to keep Jennifer waiting. “When we got here, it was like she didn’t need us. We never went inside, man.”
Kyle didn’t believe it. “By herself? Against three dozen? Yeah, sure.”
Zack stopped, growing angry. He was also tired. “You believe what you want, but you keep her calm and happy, or me and the boys will tie your ass up and gag you.”
Zack left Kyle standing there with his mouth open. What the hell?
Zack joined his team and they set up a small perimeter around the van, avoiding Jennifer’s bathing area until she was finished. When she stepped into the van, clean, with only Kyle’s jacket wrapped around her, few of them bothered to steal a glimpse. She was too scary to be a turn-on.
“Incoming.” Seth called, seeing new shadows break away from the trees with tired movements. “Ours.”
Kyle went to meet them after glancing to where Jennifer was standing, staring at the trees.
The two Indians were carrying a struggling bundle, both men panting and grunting with the effort.
Kyle yanked the rear door open of the van open when they went in that direction and he winced as the body hit the van floor with a hard thump. The groan that came from the under the bag had Kyle reaching out to remove the covering before either of the men could think to stop him.
Adrian glared hatefully, gagged and bound, and Kyle took a step back in shock. “That’s Adrian!”
Natoli grunted. “Yep.”
Kyle stared back in shock. “Will someone please tell me what the hell just happened?”
Conner stomped through the woods in a rage that allowed little attention to his surroundings. He didn’t care that he might run into soldiers or wild animals. He had to find his dad before Angela handed him over. He knew Adrian was with Marc and he was thudding through the woods, mentally screaming for the wolfman.
The shadows behind Conner couldn’t hear him demanding Brady show himself, but the shadowy form in front of the boy could.
Marc winced at another loud blast, and nodded to Kenn.
Kenn, very unhappy with the chore, blew the dart with enough force to send it spiraling toward the angry teenager like an arrow.
Conner slapped his neck, staggering as the double dose of drugs penetrated his blood stream and began to take immediate effect. He slid to his knees, gasping in effort to remain conscious.
Boots appeared in front of him and Conner shoved his head up with his last amount of control, to see Marc standing over him with merciless red eyes.
Conner opened his mouth, but the drugs took over and he could only yell silently.
Conner wondered suddenly if the Vet had mentioned seeing him outside Safe Haven’s perimeter as everyone was leaving and then realized he hadn’t heard anything about the vet at all. Conner assumed the man was with the other camp members, which meant he might have already told Angela.
Conner tried to keep the worry from his mind as he faced Marc who could also already know of his…deviance.
Marc didn’t like Conner’s protective thoughts, the glowing door of secrets that was surrounded by spells of pain, and waited until the teenager started to relax before blasting into his mind and yanking on the handle.
“No!” Conner shouted silently, jerking away, but it was too late. Marc saw everything.
To keep from facing what he’d been doing, Conner let the drugs take him. It would only be a short reprieve, but he wanted it.
Marc grabbed the boy by his jacket and hefted him up and over his shoulder. “Come on, son. You’ve had a long day. Time for a nappy-nap.”
Kenn couldn’t help the snicker. He didn’t care that much for Conner, only Adrian’s anger at this action. He didn’t have a big problem with the kid, but his attitude was too cocky at times and too sullen at others to allow Kenn to develop even a feel for who he really was. As a result, Kenn didn’t trust him.
“It’s Adrian’s kid,” Marc stated. “Of course you can’t trust him.”
Kenn moved closer, keeping track of the Indian escorts. “You gonna fill in my blanks at some point? I told you I made your choice.”
Marc grunted, shifting Conner’s dead weight for better balance. “Adrian has one more shot to come clean. You’ll get to hear it, along with everyone else.”
That made Kenn realize that Marc had been lying when he said he didn’t know much of Angela’s plan. Kenn’s eyes widened. “It’s really your plan! You know it all.”
Marc didn’t confirm or deny. Keeping Kenn out of the loop was still important. The Marine had a habit of sticking his nose in at the wrong time and Marc hadn’t forgotten that. They had a deal in place because Kenn had made the right choice during their talk and agree to follow orders, but that didn’t mean he could be trusted either.
Kenn dropped back a little to provide better coverage, mind spinning in too many directions and he shut it down, telling himself he would get into it when he had a few minutes of peace and quiet.
The Indians providing Marc’s escort kept their eyes and ears on the cliffs and trees around them. The winds were blowing gently, but they were not friendly, and for the natives, it was easy to hear that something wasn’t right with nature. The survivors had figured that out after enough deaths, but the Indians had known it since before the war. As they walked, they started to hum a soothing lullaby that seemed to bring a peace to each area they moved through.
Marc found himself humming along with them. He’d learned that one while they fought together, and it called to him in a way that made him feel like he’d known it for years. It was a deep, rumbling tone that reached inside and reminded him that these men, this life, was how he was meant to live. He’d never felt more spiritually fulfilled than the weeks he’d spent with the Indians. It was something he would have to talk to Angela about, if their attempt to live in the mountains after this war failed. He knew she could leave, though it would hurt her. For Marc, he wasn’t sure he could even step onto the boat, let alone sail away.
Kyle pulled through what was left of Safe Haven’s gates as the chopper flew overhead and he rushed his cargo straight to the holding cell they’d left just for this moment. They hadn’t known it at the time, of course. Only Angela had and she was the one to slam the door shut and twist the key after Adrian was dumped inside. He was unconscious and she didn’t bother to ask why. Her men had followed orders and that was enough.
“Everything else set?”
He wanted to confront her over the use of magic o cause pain and over the safety net she had convinced Jennifer they needed to take, but the hard set of her jaw and the deep misery in her eyes stopped the words. He would complain later.
Kyle nodded, keeping the things he had for her as they watched the chopper circle for a landing. There was only one place left clear for it-in the center-and Kyle could feel the pilot’s wariness.
“You know what to do now?” Angela asked. “I wasn’t clear on this part.”
Kyle grunted. “After what I’ve heard, it won’t be a problem.”
Angela was glad it had worked out the way she’d assumed. “And Kenn?”
“Yes, he wants the rest of it too.”
“Good. You’ll get the answers you need, I promise.”
Kyle wanted to ask more, but the chopper landing swallowed all other sounds into those huge whirling blades.
The chopper landed in a noisy series of whines and pops, and the Eagles below spread out to have enough room to fight if it was needed. This was only supposed to be a negotiation, but their enemy couldn’t be trusted.
The chopper blades continued to spin as a pair of camo-dressed soldiers exited and moved toward Angela.
“Shut it down!” Angela shouted, staying back while Kyle and his team checked for weapons and took what they found. The soldiers didn’t like it, but with two teams of Eagles surrounding them, they couldn’t argue.
“He’ll stay ready to leave,” Trey ordered coolly. He didn’t like going into the enemy’s camp unarmed, but he wasn’t intimidated. He’d been with Donner for a long time and knew how to play this situation. So did Sergeant Wallz.
Angela waved to Shawn, who slid into the chopper and put his gun to the pilot’s head. A few seconds later, the large blades slowed and the noise faded.
Angela smiled thinly at Trey’s angry face. “Your pilot will stay with you. Your ride will stay with us.”
Trey returned her mocking tone, slowly patting his chest. “All of us in one shot if you try to keep me here. I’m wired.”
Angela raked the short man with a knowing look. “You’re too small to keep.”
Trey flushed as those around them snickered openly. Gone, were the days of quiet respect and obedience unless the person earned it.
Angela took a quick glance around to verify things were as she wanted them, and was glad to see her fighters were eager even. That would change, but for now, she would enjoy it.
“I’m ready to take a seat and talk,” Trey ordered, trying to regain control.
Angela motioned toward the mess and he turned that way without waiting for her. It was obvious that he expected a man to appear soon to exchange terms with, and the insult didn’t sit well with the Eagles. Both of Angela’s personal guards stood arm-to-arm and blocked the way.
Trey drew up quickly, hand floating over his chest. “If I rip off this monitor, they’ll send bombs!”
Angela answered sweetly, “We thought of that. Greg?”
Greg rushed forward and ripped Trey’s shirt open as three Eagles came in to hold him still. The Sergeant stayed still, observing.
Greg quickly slapped the monitor against his own chest and Angela grinned at Trey’s stunned expression. “Simple, right? Who would have thought?”
“You bitch!” he exclaimed.
Angela waved her angry men back, seeing that the man’s pilot and guard were unwilling to assist him.
“You said you wanted to sit down and talk,” Angela reminded him and led the way to the mess.
Trey jerked loose of the Eagles and followed her with a hand on his belt, telling them he had another weapon.
Angela sat down and waved a hand at the drinks on the small table.
Trey snorted. “Like I’d fall for that. Let’s get this over with.”
Angela shrugged as she poured herself a cup of warm tea. “Fine. Pull back, head for your base, and we won’t kill any more of your men.”
Trey was used to bravado. “I don’t deal. I just deliver the orders. Where’s Mitchel?”
Angela jerked a thumb over her shoulder. “In a cell behind us. Can probably hear this conversation, though he can’t respond.”
“I want him on the chopper.”
Angela grinned again, sipping her drink, and Trey felt a shard of concern as she continued to stare at him. “Load him up.”
“We haven’t finished negotiating,” Angela stated. “Ready to hear the terms?”
Trey was quickly tiring of the game. “What do you want, lady?”
Trey’s eyes widened and eager lights flooded them. “Really.”
Trey’s pilot and guard exchanged glances that gave them away as information collectors, and Angela waved them both into chairs by Trey.
The men sat down warily, but didn’t scorn her offer of a drink as Trey had.
Angela studied the man Donner had sent. His mind was a lot like Kenn’s-dark-but she picking up enough to make the connections she needed. Trey was a minor talent at best, a hack who thought he was better than he was. Donner only kept him around because he was hard to read. “You’re expendable,” Angela realized. “That’s why he sent you.”
Trey opened his mouth to protest, but Angela wasn’t finished.
“You pretend you’re his right hand, but something happened on your last run to…Canada, and he’s wanted rid of you since.”
“You’re using my secrets, not Donner’s,” Trey refuted uneasily. “You haven’t had any contact with Donner and our kind can’t—”
“Our kind,” Angela picked up. “Really.”
“Hey, Doug! Got a minute?”
Doug was glad to be of real use to anyone and he waited outside the gate for Kip, the rookie team leader to catch up. Doug was just finishing his rounds and enjoying the time away from Peggy. Whenever she laid eyes on him she gave him something to do, like she was keeping him busy.
“Hey, did you rearrange Angela’s pecking order for the camps?”
Doug shook his head. “I made a note to ask if maybe Brady made an adjustment.”
“So you saw them too?” Kip asked, voice still rough and sore. The dozen men in the camp now next to Safe Haven’s den weren’t familiar and Angela’s plan had insisted on that very thing.
“I think we should check it out.”
Doug nodded. “I’ll get a few Eagles and meet you there.”
Kip let Doug go and then headed for Dexter, their messenger for the day.
“Go tell the boss we’ve got something hinky here. Not sure what, but it feels wrong.”
“You got it. Hey, take something for that cold, all right? You sound harsh.”
Kip forced a nod and kept going.
Dexter hurried off on the small bike that had been refueled as soon as he’d arrived this morning from Angela’s camp.
Kip turned toward the strangers and went over his training as he walked. Kip was a smart kid with a bright future ahead as he stepped into the strange camp.
The bullet entered Kip’s temple and he fell, dead before he hit the ground.
The infiltrator who killed him, Sherman, cried out in admiration of his shot as the rest of his rugged companions ran by him, firing at the guards.
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