Jackfish Reborn, Rejean Giguere {$0.99}

In 1885 Chinese laborers were brought to North America to build the railroads. The triads came with them. Caught up in the clashes, Tiger Chang manages to send a letter home about an incredible discovery.

128 years later…

Phil Hardy just wants everyone to leave him alone. That way no one gets hurt. Running from his past, he thinks he has found the peace he’s seeking on the cliffs looking out over the shores of Lake Superior.

Dragon Chang is following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, in search of his discovery. The young triad leader will use all his available resources, including the killing skills he learned on the opium smuggling routes in China, to locate and secure his future.

Local police officer April Harrison has a handle on everything going on in her community, except her abusive ex-husband.

Everything goes sideways when she starts asking questions about who is hanging around the old ghost town of Jackfish and the past begins to catch up with the present in more ways than one.

What readers are saying:

Enjoy the Ride!
It is rare that you get a complete set of 3 dimensional characters from the leads to support, but that is exactly what you get with this book. I love a good adventure but this one surpassed any hope with the strong characters. On top of that the plot just keeps on giving. The book effortlessly shifts between current time and 1883 when the Chinese were building the railroad system in Canada. This is a don’t put it down book!

Action Packed!
If I could write a book it would end up being exactly like this one. Jackfish Reborn is everything, and more, that I look for in a good adventure/action story. The story grabs you and pulls you in right from the start as you begin to dive into the past/present clash going on. The author has done a really good job describing the characters and making them believable which is a difficult task in this genre of book. Even the setting where the action sequences are taking place have enough body to them that you can almost imagine yourself there watching the drama unfold in person. Rejean Giguere has given us a very well written story that gives twists and turns as it roller-coasters it’s way through your mind.

The average Amazon Reader Review Rating is currently 5 stars {5 reviews}.

 Click here to read more about and purchase Jackfish Reborn for $0.99!

Dancing with Bulls, Alan Cook {$0.99 or borrow FREE w/ Prime!}

Matthew and Mason are on vacation in Greece with their parents. While exploring the ruins at Knossos Palace on the island of Crete, they wander off and suddenly find themselves at Knossos in its prime, 4,000 years ago, when the Minoans were in power. Captured by guards, they barely escape execution and are forced to join a team of slaves who are training as bull dancers. That means they have to dance with a live bull in front of Minoan royalty. Mason is picked to be a bull leaper along with a girl named Bracche. They have to vault onto the bull’s back and off again without getting gored. Will they be able to survive this ordeal, and is there any chance they can escape and take the other members of their team with them?

What readers are saying:

This is a great read for young boys and girls. An exciting story with captivating illustrations, Dancing with Bulls will leave the reader dreaming of adventures in ancient Crete.
–Brianna Villanueva

Amazing art!!! It holds the reader (seemingly geared towards younger folk but I didn’t realize this and STILL loved it) in a trance with the perfect artwork. 
–Jennifer Elizabeth Hyndman

SUCH A FUN ADVENTURE! (and under-priced if you ask me). I put Dancing with Bulls on my Kindle for my younger cousin, and my Kindle was held captive until she was done!
–Diana P.

The average Amazon reader review rating is currently 4.7 stars, with 13 reviews.

Click here to read more about and purchase Dancing with Bulls for $0.99 or borrow FREE w/ Prime!

 

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Sky Between Two Worlds, Glen Books {FREE!}

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Description of The Sky Between Two Worlds:

The Sky Between Two Worlds is a thinking person’s techno-thriller of a near-future world where two hostile powers have stealth warplanes that the other cannot detect. America is caught up in fragmented political parties, influential special interests, cross-border drone attacks and inexperienced leaders. After a drone strike goes tragically awry, the conflict crescendos into disaster.

The story follows Kantak Johnson, an Alaskan native, from MIT where he invented improved stealth planes, back to Alaska where he and friends seek to increase the self-sufficiency of the State, and where he risks all to defend Alaska and the Lower 48 from stealth attack.

 

Accolades:

***** A Great Technothriller Sci-Fi Debut
The Sky Between Two Worlds is a first-rate techno-thriller, sci-fi novella that should be read by all fans of this genre. Books, who has an impressive science and academic resume, is an author readers should keep an eye on.
—Joseph Souza
***** An Excellent Start
The setting is intriguing and the characters excellently crafted. A most promising start.
—Rev 357

 

Amazon Reader Reviews:

The Sky Between Two Worlds  currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 5 stars, with84 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

Excerpt from Kiss of Midnight:

In a helicopter circling the ruins, Colonel Kantak Johnson, former governor of Alaska and current member of the North American Parliament, surveyed the craters of the two bombs that had devastated the city: one an underwater blast near the harbor and the other an airburst over the city center. The sub-megaton blasts had left only steel skeletons of skyscrapers, a few recognizable buildings, car-shaped objects and tidal wave debris, all coated with pulverized rock and ash. Weeds, bushes and a scattering of small trees had begun to claim the ruins.

Kantak viewed the exposed, twisted girders of the city. They seemed naked, vaguely obscene. It should have a proper burial. He sniffed the air: the smell of seaweed and salt water. But to Kantak, who had lived in the once-vibrant city, it was now a smell of death. Then he saw a small segment of a bridge that once had crossed the river. He pointed to it for his pilot: “Land there, please.”
As they landed, Kantak looked toward a reed-infested swamp on the southwest bank. He saw a broken dome and fallen fluted columns projecting from brackish water. But, contrary to his hopes, nothing visible remained of the engineering library that had once stood there. This is the bridge. He had crossed it many times. He said, “There’s something I want to check.”

Kantak and the pilot donned dust masks and scraped debris off the broken concrete walkway near the remains of a lamp post. The cleaned concrete revealed the painted words “Halfway to.” Behind the mask, memories closed his eyes. This is where it all began, on this spot, twenty years ago, here in Boston.

 

The Sky Between Two Worlds  is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for FREE!


Connect with Glen Books:

Author Website: amazon.com/author/glenbooks

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Destiny Project, James Wharton {$0.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of The Destiny Project:

An ancient artifact with powerful secrets, a rogue government agency and a Nazi nuclear weapons factory cause the lives of two women from different times to spin out of control. World War II ended in 1945, but a bizarre incident on an American bomber on a forgotten raid over Germany now threatens the security of the United States.

In late July, 1947, Brittany Beardsley had reservations on a flight to Las Vegas where she was to be married the next day. Her flight crashed on takeoff killing all on board in the fiery accident. That she had missed the plane while her fiancé made it were not accidents.

In the present time, school teacher Kate Darron’s bad day gets much worse when a strange woman wearing clothes from another era knocks on her apartment door. Kate is troubled that the woman seems to know every detail of her life. “Who are you?” Kate asks. “Think of me as the fairy godmother of death,” the woman replies. “You shall be dead in less than half an hour.”

These unrelated incidents bring Kate and Brittany together as they are forced to undertake a terrifying mission across continents and time, one on which survival is not an option.


Accolades:

Book was very well written. The story was wonderful, I couldn’t keep away from the book for very long.
I think it is a great read. I hated it when I was through as I wanted more. 

Once I started reading I could hardly stop put it down. A lot of action and great thriller. I recomend it.

I recommend it for the sheer fun of reading and look forward to reading many more escapades/adventures of the main characters to come.


Amazon Reader Reviews:

The Destiny Project currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.3 stars, with 20 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

Mad Dog House is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Excerpt from The Destiny Project:

“Think of me as the fairy godmother of death, Kate, come to deliver the unfortunate news that you shall be dead in less than half an hour,” Evelyn said.

Astonished and trembling, Kate sat down on the crimson couch and looked up at Evelyn Rankow.

“Yes, it’s really you in the photograph Kate. And, it is me in the other picture, not my grandmother.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” demanded an astounded Kate Darron. She was struggling to regain her composure, feigning a brave front. “That picture is seventy years old and was obviously altered. Who are you, Evelyn? Why are you playing games with me?”

Evelyn turned and walked to a table across the living room and pulled something from the drawer. As she walked back across the room, she said, “The photo was not altered, Kate. It is you in the picture. Perhaps this will explain things,” she added, handing a newspaper to Kate.

As Kate looked at the paper, she saw it was dated April 10. “This is tomorrow’s newspaper,” said Kate. How did you get this? They don’t deliver the paper until morning.” Then, as she glanced down the front page, she saw the heading above an article and her picture. “Local teacher Catherine Darron killed in car accident.”

“I’m getting out of here!” Kate exclaimed, and stood up.

“I’m afraid not, Kate,” Evelyn replied.

“Try and stop me,” Kate said, as she turned to run to the apartment door.

“Running is useless, my Dear,” countered Evelyn, as Kate pulled the door open.

Two stern looking men stood blocking the doorway. The unsmiling man with coal black hair, wide lapel and double breasted dark suit moved through the doorway, easily pushing Kate back inside the apartment. The second man also came into the apartment and positioned himself in front of the door. Both men were muscular and intimidating, neither was one to be fooled with.
Kate, forcing herself to remain calm, challenged Evelyn Rankow. “You can’t keep me here forever. I’ll escape sooner or later.”

“Sit down, Miss Darron,” Evelyn ordered forcefully, abruptly changing her tone. “I shall do the talking as you have very little time left.” She turned to the larger of the two men. “Henry, please bring our wine from the table.” Unsmiling and somber, Henry Darst walked toward the dining room table, filled the glasses and returned with two glasses of Chardonnay.

“I prefer civility, Miss Darron, don’t you? A toast to life,” Evelyn said, lifting her glass. As she couldn’t escape, Kate concluded her best strategy was to cooperate with the intimidating Evelyn Rankow. She would bide her time and make her move. Kate took a long gulp from the glass.

“Are you kidnapping me, Evelyn?” Kate asked, although she couldn’t imagine why. Her family was not wealthy and Kate had no money herself.

“It’s good wine, Kate,” is it not?” Evelyn asked, avoiding Kate’s question. “Henry is a connoisseur, you know.” The woman took another drink. Kate followed her lead and took another long gulp, wondering if she was trying to find courage in the alcohol.

“I’m sorry. I forgot to introduce Henry Darst and Ed Chambers, Kate.”

“Who are you, Evelyn, and what do you want from me?” Kate asked, ignoring Evelyn’s introduction of the two men.

“The reason I asked you so many questions,” Evelyn said, “is because I had to be absolutely certain it was you, Kate. That’s why I asked you about your experience with guns and flying airplanes. To answer your other question, I would prefer to say that I’m here to offer you a proposition, however you really have no choice in the matter.”

Kate, increasingly fearful of Evelyn Rankow, listened. As Evelyn sat on the couch facing her, Kate again noticed the woman’s dated clothes. The men’s double breasted suits and wide ties were also a style from a bygone era. While Kate thought Evelyn’s clothes were eccentric, the men’s equally out of date wardrobes added to the mystery of the visitors. Something quite eerie was happening and Kate was becoming more frightened with each passing second.

“How can I be in a picture taken seventy years ago? How can you have tomorrow’s newspaper which hasn’t even been printed yet?” Kate asked fearfully.

“Kate, what I’m going to tell you will sound preposterous, but I will try to explain in the short time we have. You will die in that car accident. That is your destiny.”

“What?” Kate gasped, her voice shaking. “Who are you people? Are you crazy?” Kate asked, unable believe what she was hearing.

 

The Destiny Project is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Connect with James Wharton:

Author Website

jameswharton.net

Author Twitter Page

@jamesmwharton

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy), Scott Cramer {$2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy):

The epidemic strikes everyone who has passed through puberty.

Abby Leigh is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple. For months, astronomers have been predicting that Earth will pass through the tail of a comet. They say that people will see colorful sunsets and, best of all, a purple moon.

But nobody has predicted the lightning-fast epidemic that sweeps across the planet on the night of the purple moon. The comet brings space dust with it that contains germs that attack human hormones. Older teens and adults die within hours of exposure.

On a small island off the coast of Maine, Abby must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her — adolescence.

 

Accolades:

Cramer creates a picture of our world that’s both frightening and inspiring in this heartfelt story that both young adults and adults can enjoy.A heartwarming but not overly sentimental story of survival.” KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Outrageous and completely ‘out of the box’.” MY HOME AWAY FROM HOME review blog

“Three words: Gripping. Palpable. Well-developed.” WORD SPELUNKING review blog

 

 

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy) currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars, with 104 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Excerpt from Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy):

DAY 1 – THE COMET

Thick fog rolled in and swallowed Abby whole. Unable to see her outstretched hand, she clenched her jaw to stop her teeth from chattering. Homichlophobia — fear of fog. Millions had the phobia, but how many of them lived in the fog capital of the universe?

“Abby.”

Her father’s voice sounded far away. He’d been next to her a moment ago. She reached for him and grabbed damp air. A chill rippled through her and she started flailing her arms.

A hand pressed down on her shoulder. “Hey, sleepy.”

Abby opened her eyes and blinked at the silhouette, tall and lean with a curly mop of brown hair. “Dad!”

“Swimming somewhere?”

“Yeah, Cambridge.” Abby always found a way to let her dad know how she felt about moving from the city in Massachusetts where she had grown up—where her friends still lived—to a small island twenty miles off the coast of Maine. Her mom also shared part of the blame for going along with his crazy idea to move here.

“Tonight’s the night!” he said with a gleam in his eye and headed off to wake up her twelve-year-old brother Jordan.

“A purple moon?” she called out. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Abby sat up in bed, still shaken by her dream. Just then the long blast of a horn signaled the 7 a.m. ferry arriving from the mainland. She had to hurry to get in the shower first.

She entered the hallway at the same time as Jordan, and together they raced for the bathroom. She ducked inside first, but he blocked the door from closing. Each pushed for all they were worth. Abby, a year older and stronger than her brother, slammed the gap shut and locked the door.

“Come on,” he said, banging. “I need to take a shower.”

“Me, too!”

“Save some hot water!”

“Can you say please?”

He banged again.

Abby kicked aside Jordan’s dirty socks and underwear he’d left on the floor and turned on the shower. She stepped into the warm spray and sighed. Sunday, two days from now, could not come fast enough. Abby would spend spring break with her mother in Cambridge. For the first time since moving to Castine Island three months ago, she would hang out with her best friend, Mel.

When Abby stepped out of the bathroom, she found Jordan camped in the hall. He pushed his way past her. “Jerk,” he said. “There better be hot water.”

“Grow up!” she fired back. “And get your dirty stuff off the floor!”

Later, Abby placed her backpack on the kitchen floor, ready for breakfast. Her two-year-old sister, Toucan, sat in her highchair eating Cheerios, grinning, and babbling. “Abby, Comet, Cheeries.”

Abby planted a kiss on her face. “Morning, Touk.”

Dad was washing dishes piled high in the sink—Power cleaning, he called it. Preparing for Mom’s arrival on Saturday, he always started picking up the house the day before.

Abby poured a bowl of cereal and studied the newspaper. The front page had a big picture of the comet Rudenko-Kasparov, named for the two amateur comet hunters who first spotted the fuzzy blob in the Andromeda constellation. The headline declared: GET YOUR BROOMS READY. That was a joke — nobody would be sweeping up space dust, but when Earth entered the comet’s tail for the first time tonight, astronomers predicted weeks of colorful sunsets and sunrises and, best of all, a purple moon.

Not everyone was looking forward to the comet. One cult believed it signaled the end of the world and were hiding out in a cave, as if a hole in the ground might offer some type of protection.

Abby didn’t worry about the world coming to an end, though she was quite curious what space dust smelled like.

* * *

At school, Abby’s seventh grade teacher, Mr. Emerson, told the class he had a story about hippopotami in Africa. “There’s a connection to the comet!” he said, looking pleased. He’d spoken enthusiastically about the comet for months.

Several of her classmates rolled their eyes. Toby Jones blew into his hands and made a loud noise. “The hippo farted,” he cried.

Toby, the class clown, had another black eye today. Since January he had showed up two other times looking as if someone had punched him. His friends, Chad and Glen, laughed at the lame joke.

Abby and the rest of the class—all four of them—sat in stony silence.

Mr. Emerson glared at Toby. He couldn’t send him to the principal, since Mr. Emerson was the principal of the small Parker School, which served grades one through eight. High-school students took the ferry to Portland. He did what he so often did, ignored Toby’s outburst.

“Every day hippos would come out of the jungle to drink from a pond next to a village,” Mr. Emerson began. “The village had been there for hundreds of years. One day a team of doctors arrived to open a clinic. A doctor told the villagers to kill all the hippos because they might introduce germs into the pond. The villagers did as the doctor requested. The next rainy season the pond overflowed and washed away all their huts.”

Mr. Emerson used the whiteboard to draw hippo tracks leading from the jungle to the pond. “The hippos made deep tracks. When it rained, the water overflowed down their path into the jungle. When there were no tracks, look what happened.”

“What does that have to do with the comet?” asked Derek Ladd. Derek’s father was chief of police.

“When you interfere with the natural order of things,” Mr. Emerson replied, “you never know what will happen. Tonight we’re entering the comet’s tail. Pollution has damaged the atmosphere. As a result, we’ll all be breathing space dust tomorrow. How will that affect us?” He shrugged. “Nobody knows.”

Kevin Patel’s hand shot up. He was Abby’s neighbor and he raised his hand a lot. “I heard the astronauts on the International Space Station will analyze the dust to look for signs of life.”

“That’s right, Kevin,” Mr. Emerson said. “Some scientists think the building blocks for life came from outer space millions of years ago.”

Zoe Mullen inhaled sharply. “Will it be safe to breathe space dust? I mean, what if there’s something alive in it?”

Abby tried hard not to stare at Zoe’s arms and legs. They reminded her of toothpicks.

“I’m sure we’ll be fine,” Mr. Emerson said.

“Hide in a cave,” Ryan Foster joked. Ryan, the only redhead in Parker School besides Abby, sat in front of her.

Toby made another loud farting sound. “The hippo is stinkin’ up the cave!” he blurted.

Mr. Emerson’s face turned red. “Toby, see me after school.”

Toby grinned slyly. He knew that Mr. Emerson, who lived on the mainland, had to catch the 3 p.m. ferry.

Mr. Emerson stepped to the board. “Thanks to Mr. Toby Jones, all of you are getting homework over spring break.” Everyone groaned and shot Toby dirty looks. “Your assignment…” Mr. Emerson smiled and wrote: WATCH THE COMET!!!

* * *

Abby’s father ordered purple pizza for dinner. Every business, it seemed, was cashing in on the comet. You could buy purple soft drinks, purple milk, purple beer. She guessed that the pizza’s tomato sauce had food coloring, but she had no idea how they had made the cheese bright purple. While it looked absolutely disgusting, it still tasted like regular pizza.

After her dad put Toucan to bed, he set up three lawn chairs on the back deck. Jordan took one look at this viewing arrangement and declared, “I’m watching from the roof.” Most of the houses in the neighborhood had a widow’s walk.

Abby suddenly had an uneasy feeling about the comet. She didn’t want her brother to be alone. “Jordan, stay with us,” she said in a friendly tone.

He narrowed his eyes. “Why should I?”

He’d laugh if she admitted her concern. “We can share the binoculars.”

“Who needs binoculars?” he scoffed and headed up to the roof.

Abby sat back in the chair and pulled the blanket to her chin to stay warm. She gazed up. Stars burned fiercely in the coal-black sky. The outlines of the moon’s craters were crisp. A bright dot moved slowly across the sky. It was the International Space Station; the astronauts onboard, according to her nerdy neighbor, were ready to analyze the space dust for signs of life.

“I wish Mom was here,” she said.

Dad, who was next to her, chuckled. “I’m glad I have another four hours to power clean.” Then he nodded wistfully. “I wish she was here, too, Abby. But the comet will still be here tomorrow night.”

“Dad, is she really going to look for a job in Portland?”

He trained the binoculars on the moon. “We’ll be a family again.”

“Are you going to sell the Cambridge home?”

“Yep, as soon as she finds a new job.”

“You know, there are other ways we can be a family. You could go back to work at the Cambridge Public Library. We could move back home.”

Her dad said nothing, and Abby felt like she’d be stuck living here for the rest of her life.

The comet appeared in the east around 11 p.m. The head was a dark orb with a bone-white halo. Abby heard the voices of Kevin, his sister, Emily, and Mr. and Mrs. Patel next door in their backyard. The parents worked at the marine biology lab on the north shore of the island. The Patels had moved to Castine Island in December, one month before her own unfortunate arrival.

By 11:30, the fuzzy white tail stretched across half the sky. Energy crackled in the air, like before a thunderstorm. The first color appeared at midnight. Abby and the others oohed and ahhed as a thin film of violet covered the moon and the stars twinkled purple. It seemed incredible that space dust could travel one hundred million miles.

The color deepened. The comet’s halo glowed bright purple, and swirls of lavender swept over the moon. Broad purple brush strokes painted the night sky. Abby thought her earlier concerns about the comet now seemed silly.

When she heard Jordan go inside, she glanced at her phone. 1:30! She had lost track of the time.

“Bedtime for you, too,” Dad said.

“No way!” she protested. “I’m almost an adult!”

“You win,” he said with a smile.

Not long after that, unable to stop yawning, Abby took one last look at the comet. Those crazy people hiding out in a cave didn’t know what they were missing. She drew in a deep breath. Funny, space dust smelled like nothing at all.

Abby kissed her dad goodnight and went up to bed.

 

Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Connect with Scott Cramer:

Author blog: www.nanonoodle.com

Facebook Fan page: www.facebook/authorscottcramer

Twitter: @cramer_scott

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Sea of Crises, Marty Steere {$2.99}

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Description of Sea of Crises:

What really happened to the crew of Apollo 18 in the Mare Crisium, the Sea of Crises? The mission, conducted in eerie silence after loss of all communications during the astronauts’ first moonwalk, ended in tragedy when the heat shield on the command capsule failed during re-entry, leaving three dead astronauts inside burned beyond recognition. Thirty-six years later, mission commander Bob Cartwright’s sons make a shocking discovery: The capsule that came down in the Pacific Ocean with three charred remains was not their father’s capsule. And the body they buried all those years before was not their father.

 

Accolades:

“Steere’s high-octane suspense tale takes off with all the intrigue and honor of the best space-age Westerns and political thrillers.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Author Marty Steere is brilliant!… The action is non-stop and fast-paced and is mixed with just the right amount of mystery to make a perfect thriller…. [The] plot is plausible, the characters are realistic, and the writing is superb…so stunning a read that you will be unable to stop reading until the very end.” – Readers Favorite

“Marty Steere’s Sea of Crises drew me in, held me at the edge, and gave my hand a comforting squeeze when I couldn’t stand to see what happened next. This is a thriller with heart that will leave its readers satisfied they followed the Cartwright boys into a dangerous adventure.” – Bookideas.com

“[P]ulse-pounding…. I highly recommend you check out Marty Steere’s novel Sea of Crises!” – Bestsellersworld.com


Amazon Reader Reviews:

Sea of Crises currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars, with 15 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

Sea of Crises is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

Excerpt from Sea of Crises:

Nate Cartwright paused in the quiet hallway outside his condominium and listened intently. No sound came from the other side of the door. But that was misleading. He knew with an overwhelming certainty the moment he stepped inside he’d be under attack. With as much stealth as he could muster, he inserted his key in the door handle and slowly rotated it. He stood frozen for an instant. Then, in one quick motion, he swung the door open, took two steps in and braced.

There was nothing but silence.

Then he heard it.

From the deep shadows in the kitchen at the far end of the hallway came a sound he knew all too well. Suddenly, Buster flashed across the width of the corridor, his tiny paws skittering on the hardwood floor as he worked frantically to alter direction. Just before banging into the bedroom doorway, he managed to get himself turned, somehow staying upright on short splayed limbs. As he caromed off the door frame, he pumped his legs furiously, finally found purchase, and came hurtling down the hallway.

Nate had just enough time to set down his briefcase before Buster was on him, his front paws scrambling at the fabric of Nate’s slacks and his stub of a tail convulsing wildly. At his full extension, Buster barely reached Nate’s knees, but his relative lack of height did nothing to discourage his enthusiasm. Nate reached down with both hands and gave the dog an affectionate scratch behind the ears.

“Good to see you too, buddy.”

Then he gently lowered the dog, closed the front door and retrieved his briefcase. He strode down the hall to the den, Buster padding after him, panting happily, his paws making little tapping sounds on the floor.

The small den, which doubled as Nate’s home office, was dominated by a large floor-to-ceiling window. In the morning, the inky blackness beyond would dissolve to reveal an unobstructed view of the Santa Monica Bay. Now, however, the window merely framed a reflection of Nate standing in the pool of light from the desk lamp, his visage staring back at him intently from beneath heavy dark eyebrows – a perpetual look of solemnity that, try as he might, never seemed to leave him.

What had Anna called it? His “brooding omnipresence?” They’d both laughed at it back then. But it had always made Nate feel a little self-conscious. In the end, he wondered, had his seriousness driven her away? Not that it mattered. The two of them would never have lasted beyond law school. He knew that. And, anyway, it was so many years ago. No point in dwelling on it.

The man in the reflection looked as tired as he felt.

Nate set his briefcase on the desk and was removing his jacket when the phone rang. He glanced reflexively at the clock on the wall. Almost two in the morning. Who the hell would be calling at this hour?

He lifted the handset out of its cradle as the phone rang again and saw his brother’s number in the illuminated display. He stabbed at the talk button and put the device up to his head.

“Peter?”

There was no immediate reply. In the background, Nate heard metallic voices echoing through a large space – the arrival of a flight being announced. United Airlines. Peter must be in an airport terminal.

“Peter?” he repeated.

“Nate, it’s me.”

Anxiety strained his brother’s voice.

“Peter, what’s wrong?”

“I think I’m in trouble.”

That got Nate’s full attention.

“What do you mean? Where are you?”

“LAX. And I’m pretty sure they’re here.”

“Who’s ‘they’?”

“I don’t know.”

Nate took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “What do they look like?”

“I don’t know that either. Nate, I’m serious. Someone’s following me, more than one person. I can feel it. They followed me here from Minneapolis.”

Nate rubbed a hand over his face. This made no sense, and it was completely unlike his brother. “Why would someone be following you, Peter?”

Through the phone came another announcement over the public address system drowning out most of Peter’s next words. The only thing Nate could make out was: “…my project.”

“Peter, I didn’t get all of…”

“Can you pick me up?” Peter interrupted. “I know it’s late.”

“Of course,” Nate replied, already sliding back into his jacket. “I can be there in twenty minutes.”

“Ok.” Nate heard relief in his brother’s voice. “Hurry, please. I’ll be out in front of baggage claim, Terminal 6.”

At the front door, Nate stopped and looked back down at Buster. Eyes bright with excitement, the dog stared up at him. His tongue, actually longer than his tail, lolled out one side of his mouth.

Buster was, without question, the ugliest dog on the planet. He was the product of an insane mixture of breeds, predominated, as near as Nate could tell, by Dachshund and Rottweiler, though Nate suspected there was probably some Chihuahua thrown in for good measure. Buster stood on tiny legs that barely kept his hairless, low-slung torso off the ground. His head, in comparison to the rest of his body, was massive. Nate liked to tell people it was because Buster had such a large brain. In reality, Buster was not one of the brightest stars in the canine galaxy. He did, however, have a stout heart and a sweet personality. Nate had rescued him years before from the pound, and the little dog had repaid him with a fierce loyalty.

“Sorry, buddy,” Nate said, “got to do this solo. But I won’t be long, and I’ll be bringing back Uncle Peter. You stay here,” Nate waved a hand, “and guard the domicile. Ok?”

Buster emitted a short bark that came out more like a “hmmph.” Incongruously, in that crazy concoction of genes, Buster had apparently inherited some hound dog.

As Nate wheeled his car out of the subterranean garage and turned up Ocean Avenue, he replayed Peter’s call in his mind.
It wasn’t like his younger brother to become rattled. Though Nate still thought of Peter as a kid, the man was forty-six years old. For the past twenty years, Peter had worked as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, winning a number of awards for investigative journalism. He’d also written a pair of best-selling books, one on the international drug trade, another dealing with nuclear weapons left over from the Soviet era. He’d traveled from the jungles of Nicaragua to the frozen Siberian tundra. Along the way, he’d been jailed more than once, including a two-week stay in a rat-infested Burmese prison. And he’d managed to bear it all with an unwavering sense of humor.

No, this evening’s call was not like his brother.

Despite what he’d heard, or thought he’d heard, over the phone, Nate didn’t think Peter’s state of mind could have anything to do with his current project.

For the past couple of months, Peter had thrown himself into something he’d talked about doing for a long time. Something he’d only recently been able to get himself in the right frame of mind to tackle. The topic was close to both of them, and, though it came with heavy emotional baggage, Nate didn’t see how it could possibly cause Peter to start imagining he was being followed.

The subject was Apollo 18, the last of NASA’s manned lunar missions, and a catastrophe that ranked up there with the Apollo 1 fire and the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters. What made it particularly personal for Nate and Peter was the fact that the Apollo 18 commander, and one of the three astronauts who died in the tragedy, had been their father, Bob Cartwright.

It had happened on September 28, 1976. Three days before Peter’s tenth birthday, and a month before Nate’s twelfth.
Nate and the twins, along with their grandmother, had gathered in front of the television in the living room at their old home in Houston. Outside, reporters congregated on the sidewalk in front of the house, but Gamma refused to let any of them near the front door. She’d made it clear they were to stay off the property and leave the boys alone.

Nate had been old enough to understand the situation. The twins, maybe not so much, though Peter had always been sensitive and uncommonly attuned to things happening around him, so he might have had some appreciation for the perilous state of affairs. For Matt, it was just another exciting chapter in the saga of his father, the astronaut and sudden celebrity. And, of course, an opportunity to stay home on a school day.

A week earlier, the spacecraft bearing their father and his two crewmates had completed a successful transit to the moon and entered lunar orbit. On September 22, the module carrying Bob Cartwright and Mason Gale touched down on the lunar surface, and the two of them became the thirteenth and fourteenth men to walk on the moon.

As extraordinary an accomplishment as it was, it initially garnered little public attention. While the first moonwalk by the astronauts from Apollo 11 seven years earlier had captivated the world, subsequent missions to the moon had attracted an ever-decreasing audience. Odd, considering the incredible effort required to put men on the moon, the whole thing seemed like yesterday’s news, and the activities of Cartwright and Gale were conducted, for the most part, without media fanfare. That was, of course, until their last transmission.

The astronauts had been in the process of their first moonwalk, technically referred to as an EVA, or extra-vehicular activity. They’d retrieved the lunar rover from its storage position along the side of the module and were in the process of working their way across the ancient sea of the moon known as the Mare Crisium, or Sea of Crises, when Bob Cartwright uttered the words that, to this day, remained shrouded in mystery.

Cartwright had kept up a running commentary as the rover bounced along the uneven surface. He’d stopped briefly to allow Gale to retrieve a rock sample, and had just started the rover up again. There were a few seconds of silence before Cartwright, clear as day, said in a startled voice, “That shouldn’t be here.”

Then the video stream from the camera mounted on the front of the rover went to black, and the audio fell silent.

 

Sea of Crises is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Boy and the Hidden Tunnel, Wayne Saber {$3.99}

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Wayne Saber’s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of The Boy and the Hidden Tunnel:

In 1940 London, Tom is only 12 when his parents are killed in an air raid. He seeks shelter in a London Underground tunnel and discovers a hidden ancient tunnel, where he is almost trapped. When he emerges from the tunnel, everything looks different and he learns that it is 65 years later than when he entered the tunnel, yet he is still 12 years old. He has no parents, no friends and nowhere to go. He has to adjust to the modern world without being able to tell anyone where he comes from. The police think he‘s a runaway and he’s put in a boarding school with uncaring staff and an oversized bully. He finds a book about a man with a similar experience and travels to France and Germany trying to locate him. He also learns about an ancient Celtic legend in which a priestess disappears in a tunnel and emerges years later, looking exactly the same. He keeps thinking about returning to the tunnel and trying to get back to the world h e once knew.

 

The Boy and the Hidden Tunnel is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $3.99

 

An excerpt from The Boy and the Hidden Tunnel:

Mum and I had just returned from our grocery shopping. She was upstairs when we heard the sirens.

“Mum, we need to go to the basement,” I said excitedly.

“You go to the basement, Tom. Dad has a fever and he doesn’t feel up to getting out of bed.” Mum had heard the sirens many times before and nothing had happened in our neighborhood. Only military and industrial targets had been attacked. She decided to stay upstairs rather than leave Dad alone.

“Can’t I stay with you and Dad?” I said.

“Tom, go to the basement right now, like you promised.”

I headed for the basement. We had reinforced it to provide some protection in case we couldn’t make it to an air raid shelter. Some of my friends had been evacuated from London and were staying with families in the countryside. Others had moved out of London permanently with their families. But I had decided to stay home with my parents. How could I leave Mum to care for Dad all by herself? Mum allowed me to stay if I promised to go to the basement whenever we heard the sirens.

This time there was more than just sirens. As I got to the basement, I heard a loud explosion. The house shook and I fell to the floor. When I got up, all I could see was a thick cloud of dust and smoke. At first I couldn’t hear anything, only a ringing in my ears. Then I heard a crumbling sound. Our roof had caved in and the first floor had collapsed into the ground floor. The stairs to the basement were covered with rubble. I moved enough of the rubble so that I could climb up onto the ground floor. The ground floor was covered with pieces of the brick walls, plaster, and furniture that had fallen through from the first floor.

“Mum! Dad!” I shouted, terrified, but there was no answer. I started to look around and I saw something shiny on the floor. As the dust started to settle, I could see that it was Mum’s gold locket that she always wore around her neck. The chain was broken and I knew something terrible had happened. Then I saw a hand hanging out of the rubble. I could tell from the wedding ring on her finger that it was Mum’s hand. I started fighting frantically through the rubble, trying to move chunks of the brick wall that were covering her, but they were too heavy for me.

“Mummy! Mummy!” I cried out as I tried to move the rubble. I cleared enough rubble to see Mum’s head and shoulders. Her eyes were closed. I tried to wake her but she didn’t answer. I realized that Mum was dead. I sat next to her crying. Then I heard some movement in the rubble nearby. My dad was still alive. I could see that he was badly injured.

“Dad, Mummy’s dead,” I said sobbing. “You’re hurt; I’ll get help.”

“It’s too late,” he replied slowly, barely able to speak.

“Don’t leave me, Daddy. Don’t leave me on my own.”

“Tom, run to the shelter in the tube station. Run as fast as you can.”

He closed his eyes. I sat there choking and crying in the dust. I had hoped in my head that Mum and Dad would somehow just pick themselves up and comfort me, but they didn’t. They lay there still, quiet.

It started to rain. I looked up in what was once our living room and I could see the open sky. The rain was pouring down into the room. I was cold and wet. I couldn’t think of what to do. Dad’s words echoed in my mind. He had used his last breath to tell me to run to the tube station for shelter and I knew that’s what I had to do. I yanked my long brown coat out from under some rubble and put it on. I picked up Mum’s locket from the floor and put it in my coat pocket. I said goodbye to Mum and told her I loved her. I said the same to my dad. I knew that they couldn’t hear me, but it was something I needed to say.

I ran through an opening where the front door used to be, climbing over piles of rubble to get onto the street. I was shivering. I turned right and ran toward Stockwell Tube Station. Some houses I passed had been reduced to rubble; others were on fire. The sirens were still going off. Planes overhead were making terrifying noises. I looked up and saw bombs dropping from the planes. The sky had an orange glow and there was black smoke everywhere.

Hundreds of people were trying to get into the tube station. I was small and able to mingle easily with the crowd. Wardens were directing people into the station and down to the platforms and I followed behind them. There was a lot of pushing and shoving. Even elderly people and women carrying babies were jostled by the panicked crowd. Parents were calling to their children, trying to keep their families together. Small children were crying with fear. The wardens told the people to wait for the electricity to be turned off so they could take cover in the tunnels. With all the pushing and shoving, I ended up falling off the platform onto the track. I tried to call people to help me up, but no one could hear me because of all the noise. I ran along the track looking for a way to climb up. As I reached the end of the platform, I saw two dim lights further down the tunnel. A train was coming and I couldn’t find a way to get off the track.

As the train got closer, it lit up the tunnel and I noticed some rats running along the track. One of them went through a partially opened door a short distance into the tunnel. I didn’t want to run toward the train, but I couldn’t stay on the track. I had to get through that door before the train reached it. I ran as fast as I could and opened the door and went through it. Just as I got through the door, I heard the train thunder past. I was trembling. It took me a moment to get my breath back. Then I started to notice where I was. I was in a tiny narrow room. I found a light switch on the wall and turned on the light, but it came on very dimly. I decided to wait there until they turned the power off to the tracks so there would be no more trains. I waited for some time, but I wasn’t sure that it was safe to go back onto the tracks, so I searched for another way out.

There was a large torch in a bracket near the light switch. I took it down and turned it on. I could see a steel plate on the wall at the other end of the room. It looked as though it was normally bolted down, but it had been left just propped up against the wall. I moved it aside and found a hole in the wall. I thought it might lead to another way out and I crawled through it. I should have looked around more carefully first. The hole didn’t lead to another room; it led to an area of dirt and rubble. I lost my footing and slid down several feet. I didn’t know how I was going to get back up. I used the torch to look around and I saw a reflection from something shiny about 30 feet away. I walked over to it and saw that it was an iron gate. I opened the gate and walked through it, hoping to find a way out.

As soon as I went through the gate, I heard a noise behind me. I turned, thinking someone was there, but it was just the gate closing. Then I felt the ground shaking. I decided to turn back, but it was too late. The gate had locked when it closed and a stone wall came up from an opening in the ground on the far side of the gate. This didn’t make sense to me. Why would the gate lock by itself? Why would a wall come up behind it? There was a keyhole in the gate, but there was no sign of a key. I couldn’t get back out the same way I came in.

I was in a tunnel now with walls made of roughly cut stones that seemed to be just piled on top of one another. It looked like something much older than the tunnels that the trains ran through. It smelled musty and damp. I thought it must have been there long before the train tunnels were built. The tunnel was very narrow and the ceiling was just a little above my head. An adult would have to crawl to get through it. I continued walking for about 50 feet.

The tunnel led to a circular room with a high vaulted ceiling constructed of stone slabs arranged in an elaborate design. There were three other openings in the wall, each leading to a small room. One room was directly in front of me as I walked out of the tunnel; one was to my left and one was to my right. I went into the room that was straight ahead.

Eight stone slabs were arranged in a circle on the floor. On three of the slabs I could make out skeletons wrapped in some kind of cloth. I turned and ran, wanting to get as far away from this room as I could. I went back into the tunnel, hoping to find another way out. But the tunnel was much longer now. I walked for what seemed like an hour, but I couldn’t find a way out.

Shining the torch down the tunnel, I could make out something that looked like clothing on the floor with a large key next to it. When I got closer, I saw that there was a skeleton in the clothing. Its mouth was wide open and its head was tilted upward toward the ceiling. I jumped back and froze. I was scared, but I thought I might need the key. I quickly bent down with my head turned, not wanting to look at the skeleton. As I reached for the key, I felt a bony finger touching my hand. I grabbed the key as fast as I could and continued to run through the dark tunnel. I kept running and running.

A powerful force seemed to be pulling me through the tunnel. I don’t think I’d ever moved so fast. I saw streaks of light that first became brighter and then disappeared completely. Now it was totally black. The torch fell out of my hand and crashed to the floor. As I approached the end of the tunnel, I could see a dim light coming through a rusty iron gate right in front of me. It looked just like the gate I went through when I entered the tunnel. I tried to open the gate, but it was locked.

Then I thought about the key that I had found with the skeleton. I wondered if it would fit the lock, and if the rusty lock would still work. I put the key in the lock and tried to turn it, but it wouldn’t turn. Then I became really frightened. I thought that if the man whose skeleton I had seen had the key, why did he get trapped in the tunnel? Why didn’t he escape? Would I be trapped in the tunnel as he was?

The Boy and the Hidden Tunnel is available for purchase at:

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Connect with Wayne Saber:

Author Website: www.waynesaber.com

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Royal Dragoneers, M. R. Mathias {$3.33}

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M. R. Mathias’ Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of

The Royal Dragoneers:

The Royal Dragoneers was deemed one of the top indie fantasy releases of 2010 by Fantasy Book Critic, and was listed in the first ever Publishers Weekly Indie Select issue in Dec. 2010.  This 115k word dragon-fantasy is the first full length installment of The Dragoneers Saga.  The novella-length primer, The First Dragoneer, also by M. R. Mathias, is available FREE in the Amazon Kindle Store, for a limited time.

M. R. Mathias has several other titles available from Amazon as well.

The Royal Dragoneers

After struggling for more than two centuries to tame the inhospitable islands where they washed up, the descendants of the survivors of a lost passenger ship are now striving to tame a more substantial “Mainland” they have found.

For as long as mankind has been stranded, dragons have been their sworn enemies.

But no longer…

Sixteen year-old Jenka De Swasso wants nothing more than to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a King’s Ranger. But when he one day finds himself surrounded by vicious trolls, a young pure-blood dragon comes to his rescue and they become bond-mates.

Meanwhile, the goblins have a new king, Gravelbone, and have allied themselves with the tainted “mudged” dragons to drive mankind out of its lands. Setting his sights on a vast manmade wall, Gravelbone and his wicked hell-born Nightshade, seek to poison the entire human kingdom and enslave any survivors.

Jenka and his companion, a druida warrior named Zah, soon realize that they and their bonded dragons are mankind’s only hope for survival. Forced to defy their arrogant king’s wishes, the pair set out on a desperate quest to stop Gravelbone’s forces and save mankind from its terrifying fate.

With action so intense you’ll forget to breathe and intrigue around every corner, The Royal Dragoneers is one adventure you cannot miss.

Hold on to your dragon… your journey is about to begin!

 

Accolade:

5 stars - A Great YA Author and Trilogy

“This review applies to the entire trilogy of the Dragoneers, not just the first book. The series is a really good YA trilogy, with real characters who have real foibles, dreams, fears, desires, unkind thoughts and everything else that comprises the range of human emotion. There are no “Mary Sues” in this saga. The female characters are smart, strong and emotional; the male characters are confused, brave, and scared. They are all elated at the bond they share with their dragons and absolutely terrified of the alien menace that reveals itself gradually through all three books. There is no “magic bullet” or “super-mage” that comes along to make an end to the devastating problems faced by all characters (not just the Royal Dragoneers). The solutions come along gradually with trial and error; various other entities decide to help or not as the story unfolds. I would definitely recommend this series (and the short stories that accompany it) for anyone whose teens/young adults are looking for something other than vampires, magical solutions, or werewolves but still want to read good fantasy.”

 

Reviews:

The Royal Dragoneers currently has a customer review rating of 4 stars from 32 reviews. Read the reviews here.


The Royal Dragoneers is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $3.33!

 

An excerpt from The Royal Dragoneers:

“I’m going to give Jenka’s ears a look-see,” Zah told Linux, then went to her saddle pack to rummage for something.

“Keep watch till well past midnight, boys, then give Master Kember a shake,” Herald rumbled to Stick and Rikky, who were at the far edge of the illuminated, blue area. Then he made to turn in for the night. “If there comes a problem, don’t wake me,” he added with a nod of grudging respect at Zah’s back. “Wake that girl. Let her do with it.”

Jenka had to bite back a chuckle. He didn’t want anyone to know that he could hear just yet. He needed to think long and hard about everything he was learning about the dragons, the trolls, and the ways of men. It was hard to imagine that, not so long ago, his life’s entire focus had been narrowed down solely to his quest to become a Forester and then a King’s Ranger. Now he wasn’t sure what he wanted, or needed, to do.

Jenka looked up and smiled, as Zah eased up beside him. Her pale face shone blue in the magical fire’s steady light, and the triangle on her forehead glittered faintly with the reflection. When she whispered, “How are you feeling?” he acted like he hadn’t heard her.

Tenderly, she inspected his ears. Her fingers were soft and tickly on his neck, and he had to wiggle his shoulder when the sensation became too intense. He truly liked her touch. When she softly whispered to him, her warm breath found his skin and stirred his feelings on a whole other level.

“Thank you, Jenka De Swasso, for that chivalrous attempt to rescue me today. If you could hear me, I doubt I would be so bold with my heart, but the spark you have tendered in me is potent.” Her lips were so close to his temple that she might as well have been kissing him. “I have a feeling that the emotion might someday grow into an inferno and consume me. I know beyond a doubter’s shadow that I’m not the one for you. That is why I have to ignore my feelings. I must keep them to myself. There is too much at stake.” With that, she kissed his forehead softly, like a loving sister might, then went and curled up in her blankets near where Linux was quietly meditating.

After a short, confusing while, Jenka rose and joined Rikky and Stick, where they were posted at the edge of the weird blue-green fire’s light. “What happened to Solman and Mort?” he asked them quietly. “Where are they?”

“So you can hear again, then?” Rikky grinned with relief. “You’re a dimbuss, Jenk. You almost got charred up. You’re lucky Zah did that … that … that yellow thing.”

Jenka feigned a sharp whack at the younger hunter. Rikky ducked playfully. “I asked where Solman and Mort were, not for your thoughts on my foolishness, boy.” Jenka’s imitation of Master Kember was spot-on, but he was paling as he hunkered down between the other two.

“They rode off into the Strom,” Stick said, with a look at Jenka that, somehow, combined reverence with doubt and concern. “Are you all right? You don’t know how close you came today.” The odd light caused Stick’s eyes to contrast drastically with his dark skin.

“It doesn’t matter,” Jenka sighed. He knew that Solman was an expert woodsman and would be able to take care of himself if he hadn’t drowned. Mortin he wasn’t so sure about. Either way, he was fading quickly. He felt as if he had to rest now, and his body was demanding that he do just that. He lay back and closed his eyes, and immediately fell asleep on the turf. Rikky covered him with a blanket, and Jenka didn’t wake until nearly dawn when Master Kember started booting him in the side.

“If you’re drilling with the others, then get your arse a ‘moving, Jenk,” the old man said with another nudge of his boot-tip. “If not, then get your arse up and start saddling the horses!” Jenka didn’t move. “Rikky done told me you could hear again, so quit testing me.”

 

The Royal Dragoneers is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $3.33!

 

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Green to Go, John H. Cunningham {$3.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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John H. Cunningham’s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Green to Go:

Buck Reilly went to hell and back in Red Right Return. In Green to Go, it’s a one-way trip. Good news turns bad fast, and the bad just keeps coming in this thrilling new Buck Reilly adventure. The unexpected contents of his parent’s Swiss bank account offer Buck a chance to dig himself out of the hole he’s been in since the recession hit, but first he must recover the treasure maps and clues he lost at sea. Those plans get put on hold when a friend is accused of orchestrating the biggest theft in Key West’s sordid history, and the FBI uses Buck’s past against him to demand that he search for the thieves who fled aboard a hundred year-old schooner.

No good deed goes unpunished, and Buck’s dogged by greed and double-crosses from Key West to the Bahamas and points south. His hunt for the missing treasure pits him against a crazed mercenary, Peruvian rebels, rogue Cuban Secret Police and a beautiful woman torn between turning Buck over to the authorities or succumbing to his charm.

Buck’s a lot like the rest of us—trying to make ends meet and hoping for better times. He operates Last Resort Charter and Salvage, flying a 1946 amphibious Grumman Widgeon, hunting for sunken treasure and taking on an occasional passenger, no questions asked. GREEN TO GO is the second book in the series.

 

Accolade:

Amazon Review:

“I was fortunate to stumble upon Red Right Return through amazon recommends. Luckily I only had to wait about a month for Green to Go. John Cunningham is a master of the craft. His characters are memorable and illicit true emotion. The locations are fantastic from the the keys to the tobacco farms of Cuba. Fans of Tim Dorsey, Randy Wayne White, Carl Haissien or just great story telling John Cunningham will not disappoint. It is a good day when you start a new series that you enjoyed, the best days happen when you come across a new series that you love. Thank you Mr. Cunningham and welcome to my rotation of favorite authors.”

 

Review Ratings:

Green to Go currently has a review rating of 5 stars from 9 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Green to Go is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $3.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

An excerpt from Green to Go:

Geneva, Switzerland

You could’ve at least worn a suit, Buck.”

Ben was wearing one of my old Armani suits. When you owe someone money, a lot of money, nothing’s sacred. If my linen pants and aqua green fishing shirt weren’t out of place here, my flip-flops were.

On the table was today’s International Herald Tribune. Typical headlines: Raul Castro ’s Funeral . . . United Nations Troops in Darfur . . . U.S. Warns Iran . . . There’s something different, Demonstrations in Peru. Just the name of that country brought back memories of fast friends and past adventures. The first paragraph stated that Javier Guzman, one of the candidates in the upcoming presidential election, demanded that the European nations who had stolen thousands of tons of silver from Peruvian soil centuries ago provide just compensation now. His rhetoric had launched a wave of frenetic nationalism across the country.

Click-clack. Click-clack.

A tall young woman in a tight blue skirt and starched white blouse marched through the cavernous lobby. Her high heels pounded the granite floor like ball peen hammers. I swallowed but had run dry of saliva. Her blond hair was cropped short and her blue eyes were shielded behind metalframed glasses. She was a precise beauty.

“Mr. Reilly?”

“Yes?” Ben and I said at the same time.

No smile.

 

“Come with me, please.”

No accent, either.

We followed her through a metal gate and into a small waiting room. She directed us toward a computer terminal and instructed us to enter our account numbers. Ben went first, and I noticed a small bald patch on the back of his crew cut. My hair was still as thick as ever. Guess that gene must have skipped me. Ben finished, then moved aside.

Once we were done, a green light lit the screen. So far, so good.

The woman led us down another hallway and into a smaller room with a table and two chairs. We remained standing.

“I’ll return momentarily.”

Ben turned to me when we were alone.

“I wasn’t sure they’d let us in, considering the investigations into your—”

“It’s over, Ben. And now’s not the time.” I motioned around the heavily monitored room.

He shook his head and shifted his focus to the door. With family, the past is always present. Once tagged good or bad, you’re forever judged in that light, especially when the media dumps gas on the fire.

Moments later, Ms. Personality reappeared pushing a stainless steel cart with what appeared to be a keg sitting on top. She stopped the cart next to the table.

“Your keys, gentlemen?”

Ben pulled a chain up from inside the open collar of his shirt. His key was a duplicate to the one I’d stored in my waterproof pouch and hidden below the seat in my 1946 Grumman Widgeon. Mine had been stolen by a Key West art dealer cum Cuban spy named Manny Gutierrez and wound up on the bottom of the Florida straits just outside the Cuban territorial line.

The woman and Ben stared at me.

“I don’t have my key.”

Ben closed his eyes and the woman stood even straighter.

“I’m sorry, but you must have—”

“I’ll be using the five-letter code established as an alternate.”

“Dad’s ciphers? Are you kidding?”

The woman opened a narrow drawer on the side of the steel cart and withdrew a small apparatus that resembled a credit card machine used in European restaurants.

“Re-enter your account number, and when prompted, enter the fivespace response,” she said.

The machine nearly slipped from my glistening palms. I caught Ben’s head-shake out of the corner of my eye and his long sigh filled the silence. All the different five-letter combinations I’d considered tumbled through my head.

“There were what, five ciphers?” Ben said. “I tried to figure them out, just out of curiosity, and got nowhere. How could you—”

“They all led to a last one which was a statement, not a cipher,” I said.

“‘Love of my life.’ Guess this is the only way to know for sure.”

“That’s great, Buck. I financed this trip—you could have told me—this will be the last straw if—”

“Mr. Reilly, please.”

I licked my lips and my index finger hovered over the keypad that contained all twenty-six letters of the alphabet, along with the numbers zero through nine.

“While we’re young, Buck,” Ben said.

I turned away to shield the keyboard. I pressed a “B” and no alarm sounded, so I continued. “E,” “T,” “T,” “Y.”

A phrase in what I assumed to be German appeared on the screen. I handed it back to our hostess, who read it and pursed her lips. Ben and I stared at her with open mouths.

“I’ll be back in a moment.” She hugged the small machine as she left. Ben turned to me. “You lost the fucking key? Are you kidding me?”

“Not now, Ben—”

“After everything—”

“Drop it.” My gritted teeth stopped him mid-bitch.

The woman reappeared, alone. From her pocket she removed a key.

“I’m sorry, I had to retrieve this from the vault. Normally account holders alert us when a key has been lost.”

“There’s nothing normal about my brother,” Ben said.

She inserted both keys into slots on top of the cylinder and turned them.

A green light pulsed.

“I’ll be in the anteroom. When you’re finished press the button by the door and I’ll return. You may use the briefcase on the cart if you need one.”

She offered enough of a smile that I could see perfect white teeth peeking out from behind her thin pink lips. She closed the door behind her.

Ben put his hand on the handle next to the keys.

“Let’s hope you’ll be able to pay me back all the money I’ve lent you,” he said.

My heart leapt and I slapped my hand on top of his.

“Can we take a minute to think of Mom and Dad before opening this?”

He laughed. “Now you want to get sentimental? They would never have had this account—or been in Switzerland at all—if your freaking company hadn’t been cooking its books and cratered. And if you hadn’t warned them—”

“Then you wouldn’t have inherited all their wealth, so let’s leave it at that, okay?”

“—There never would have been an accident that killed them, Buck, and I’ll never forget that. You’re just lucky Dodson took the fall.” “He was the one who cooked the books, Ben.”

My partner from e-Antiquity, Jack Dodson, was still in jail after being convicted of fraudulent conveyance of assets. The FBI had been unable to prove the same against me, which is why I was able to flee to Key West with the airplane Ben had reluctantly bought me. Once there I started Last Resort Charters and Salvage. The old flying boat allowed me to make use of the copies of the treasure maps I’d squirreled away when e-Antiquity tanked, but they too were stolen by Manny Gutierrez and lost at sea along with my Swiss Bank key.

With a tug Ben opened the vault. I saw his eyes widen.

“Oh, my, God . . .” he said.

“What is it?” He reached inside. “This can’t be . . .”

As he withdrew his hands I recognized the contents. Not cash, not stock certificates, not precious metals.

He pressed his face into the open cylinder.

“That’s it?” he said.

I smiled.

“I’ll be a son of a bitch,” he said. “So much for you paying me back, big brother.”

The contents fell from his hands and landed with a thud onto the table. It was a notebook wrapped in plastic and secured with a rubber band. Our father had been a career Foreign Service officer who at one point was considered as a candidate for Secretary of State, but he was also a dreamer. He encouraged me to start e-Antiquity and was our original venture capitalist, so when I realized e-Antiquity’s financial fantasy ride was about to hit the wall—

“Is this what you sent him as you hurtled toward insolvency? All your secret maps?” He paused. “The evidence the Feds need to prove the insider trading?”

“For which you’re the sole benefactor, thank you very much.”

The notebook contained the originals of all the maps and research information that could lead to many lost treasures.

“I was going to let you have all of what was in here anyway, less what you owe me, but I don’t want anything to do with . . .”

“History?”

“Ha! Treasure maps, unauthenticated ones at that? Old letters and miscellaneous ramblings of ne’er-do-wells?” His mouth hardened. “This is what got Mom and Dad killed, you know.”

I couldn’t meet his eyes.

“Treasure hunting,” he said, “the original lottery, but with worse odds.” I peeled back the rubber bands and the notebook sprang open. Each of the archival plastic sleeves contained documents with unique stories, historic relevance, my team’s sweat from scouring the globe for them. Not

to mention the dregs of our investors’ capital. All of it squirreled away to prevent them being sold at the bankruptcy auction with the rest of e-Antiquity’s assets—what’s this?

A lone envelope stuck out from the middle of the plastic sheaths. Ben saw it at the same time and plucked it out.

Written on the front: “Charles B. Reilly, III.”

Ben tore it open.

“Hey, I’m the one—”

“It’s a letter from Dad,” Ben said.

“Can I—”

Son—”

“Okay, Ben, fine. You read it.”

Son, If you’ re seeing this for the first time, it’s because we never had the chance to discuss it. It never mattered to us, and it shouldn’t’ t to you.

Your mother was told early in our marriage that she couldn’t’ t have children, so we set out on this course. Your brother was a surprise, a few years later. You have always been our son, even if you weren’t’ t born a Reilly. We love you no different than had you been, so don’ t let this change a thing.

These papers are all we have from the adoption. The laws were very specific back when you were born, and the birth mother’s anonymity was always protected. We will not be hurt in the least if you choose to pursue your past, and given that you’ re now over thirty, we encourage you to do so for medical history purposes, at least.

We are your parents, and you are our son.

That will never change.

We love you.

Mom and Dad.

Silence.

I was adopted?

He dropped the letter on the table and I picked it up. It was Dad’s handwriting, for sure. Adopted? Really?

“Wow.” Ben shook his head. “Must be a shock to the system, huh?”

“You could say that.”

“It does explain a lot.”

What? I couldn’t believe I was adopted and only finding out now.

“Good luck with all your maps, Buck. See you around.”

I heard a buzzer, the door opened, then Ben was gone. I slumped into a chair. I felt as if I’d been punched in the stomach, kicked in the nuts, hit over the head with a 2×4.

I was adopted?

 

Green to Go is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $3.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!


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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Green to Go (Buck Reilly Adventure Series), John H. Cunningham {$3.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of Green to Go:

Buck Reilly went to hell and back in Red Right Return. In Green to Go, it’s a one-way trip. Good news turns bad fast, and the bad just keeps coming in this thrilling new Buck Reilly adventure. The unexpected contents of his parent’s Swiss bank account offer Buck a chance to dig himself out of the hole he’s been in since the recession hit, but first he must recover the treasure maps and clues he lost at sea. Those plans get put on hold when a friend is accused of orchestrating the biggest theft in Key West’s sordid history, and the FBI uses Buck’s past against him to demand that he search for the thieves who fled aboard a hundred year-old schooner.

No good deed goes unpunished, and Buck’s dogged by greed and double-crosses from Key West to the Bahamas and points south. His hunt for the missing treasure pits him against a crazed mercenary, Peruvian rebels, rogue Cuban Secret Police and a beautiful woman torn between turning Buck over to the authorities or succumbing to his charm.

Buck’s a lot like the rest of us—trying to make ends meet and hoping for better times. He operates Last Resort Charter and Salvage, flying a 1946 amphibious Grumman Widgeon, hunting for sunken treasure and taking on an occasional passenger, no questions asked. GREEN TO GO is the second book in the series.

 

Accolade:

Amazon Review:

“I was fortunate to stumble upon Red Right Return through amazon recommends. Luckily I only had to wait about a month for Green to Go. John Cunningham is a master of the craft. His characters are memorable and illicit true emotion. The locations are fantastic from the the keys to the tobacco farms of Cuba. Fans of Tim Dorsey, Randy Wayne White, Carl Haissien or just great story telling John Cunningham will not disappoint. It is a good day when you start a new series that you enjoyed, the best days happen when you come across a new series that you love. Thank you Mr. Cunningham and welcome to my rotation of favorite authors.”

 

Review Ratings:

Green to Go currently has a review rating of 5 stars from 7 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Green to Go is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $3.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

An excerpt from Green to Go:

Geneva, Switzerland

You could’ve at least worn a suit, Buck.”

Ben was wearing one of my old Armani suits. When you owe someone money, a lot of money, nothing’s sacred. If my linen pants and aqua green fishing shirt weren’t out of place here, my flip-flops were.

On the table was today’s International Herald Tribune. Typical headlines: Raul Castro ’s Funeral . . . United Nations Troops in Darfur . . . U.S. Warns Iran . . . There’s something different, Demonstrations in Peru. Just the name of that country brought back memories of fast friends and past adventures. The first paragraph stated that Javier Guzman, one of the candidates in the upcoming presidential election, demanded that the European nations who had stolen thousands of tons of silver from Peruvian soil centuries ago provide just compensation now. His rhetoric had launched a wave of frenetic nationalism across the country.

Click-clack. Click-clack.

A tall young woman in a tight blue skirt and starched white blouse marched through the cavernous lobby. Her high heels pounded the granite floor like ball peen hammers. I swallowed but had run dry of saliva. Her blond hair was cropped short and her blue eyes were shielded behind metalframed glasses. She was a precise beauty.

“Mr. Reilly?”

“Yes?” Ben and I said at the same time.

No smile.

 

“Come with me, please.”

No accent, either.

We followed her through a metal gate and into a small waiting room. She directed us toward a computer terminal and instructed us to enter our account numbers. Ben went first, and I noticed a small bald patch on the back of his crew cut. My hair was still as thick as ever. Guess that gene must have skipped me. Ben finished, then moved aside.

Once we were done, a green light lit the screen. So far, so good.

The woman led us down another hallway and into a smaller room with a table and two chairs. We remained standing.

“I’ll return momentarily.”

Ben turned to me when we were alone.

“I wasn’t sure they’d let us in, considering the investigations into your—”

“It’s over, Ben. And now’s not the time.” I motioned around the heavily monitored room.

He shook his head and shifted his focus to the door. With family, the past is always present. Once tagged good or bad, you’re forever judged in that light, especially when the media dumps gas on the fire.

Moments later, Ms. Personality reappeared pushing a stainless steel cart with what appeared to be a keg sitting on top. She stopped the cart next to the table.

“Your keys, gentlemen?”

Ben pulled a chain up from inside the open collar of his shirt. His key was a duplicate to the one I’d stored in my waterproof pouch and hidden below the seat in my 1946 Grumman Widgeon. Mine had been stolen by a Key West art dealer cum Cuban spy named Manny Gutierrez and wound up on the bottom of the Florida straits just outside the Cuban territorial line.

The woman and Ben stared at me.

“I don’t have my key.”

Ben closed his eyes and the woman stood even straighter.

“I’m sorry, but you must have—”

“I’ll be using the five-letter code established as an alternate.”

“Dad’s ciphers? Are you kidding?”

The woman opened a narrow drawer on the side of the steel cart and withdrew a small apparatus that resembled a credit card machine used in European restaurants.

“Re-enter your account number, and when prompted, enter the fivespace response,” she said.

The machine nearly slipped from my glistening palms. I caught Ben’s head-shake out of the corner of my eye and his long sigh filled the silence. All the different five-letter combinations I’d considered tumbled through my head.

“There were what, five ciphers?” Ben said. “I tried to figure them out, just out of curiosity, and got nowhere. How could you—”

“They all led to a last one which was a statement, not a cipher,” I said.

“‘Love of my life.’ Guess this is the only way to know for sure.”

“That’s great, Buck. I financed this trip—you could have told me—this will be the last straw if—”

“Mr. Reilly, please.”

I licked my lips and my index finger hovered over the keypad that contained all twenty-six letters of the alphabet, along with the numbers zero through nine.

“While we’re young, Buck,” Ben said.

I turned away to shield the keyboard. I pressed a “B” and no alarm sounded, so I continued. “E,” “T,” “T,” “Y.”

A phrase in what I assumed to be German appeared on the screen. I handed it back to our hostess, who read it and pursed her lips. Ben and I stared at her with open mouths.

“I’ll be back in a moment.” She hugged the small machine as she left. Ben turned to me. “You lost the fucking key? Are you kidding me?”

“Not now, Ben—”

“After everything—”

“Drop it.” My gritted teeth stopped him mid-bitch.

The woman reappeared, alone. From her pocket she removed a key.

“I’m sorry, I had to retrieve this from the vault. Normally account holders alert us when a key has been lost.”

“There’s nothing normal about my brother,” Ben said.

She inserted both keys into slots on top of the cylinder and turned them.

A green light pulsed.

“I’ll be in the anteroom. When you’re finished press the button by the door and I’ll return. You may use the briefcase on the cart if you need one.”

She offered enough of a smile that I could see perfect white teeth peeking out from behind her thin pink lips. She closed the door behind her.

Ben put his hand on the handle next to the keys.

“Let’s hope you’ll be able to pay me back all the money I’ve lent you,” he said.

My heart leapt and I slapped my hand on top of his.

“Can we take a minute to think of Mom and Dad before opening this?”

He laughed. “Now you want to get sentimental? They would never have had this account—or been in Switzerland at all—if your freaking company hadn’t been cooking its books and cratered. And if you hadn’t warned them—”

“Then you wouldn’t have inherited all their wealth, so let’s leave it at that, okay?”

“—There never would have been an accident that killed them, Buck, and I’ll never forget that. You’re just lucky Dodson took the fall.” “He was the one who cooked the books, Ben.”

My partner from e-Antiquity, Jack Dodson, was still in jail after being convicted of fraudulent conveyance of assets. The FBI had been unable to prove the same against me, which is why I was able to flee to Key West with the airplane Ben had reluctantly bought me. Once there I started Last Resort Charters and Salvage. The old flying boat allowed me to make use of the copies of the treasure maps I’d squirreled away when e-Antiquity tanked, but they too were stolen by Manny Gutierrez and lost at sea along with my Swiss Bank key.

With a tug Ben opened the vault. I saw his eyes widen.

“Oh, my, God . . .” he said.

“What is it?” He reached inside. “This can’t be . . .”

As he withdrew his hands I recognized the contents. Not cash, not stock certificates, not precious metals.

He pressed his face into the open cylinder.

“That’s it?” he said.

I smiled.

“I’ll be a son of a bitch,” he said. “So much for you paying me back, big brother.”

The contents fell from his hands and landed with a thud onto the table. It was a notebook wrapped in plastic and secured with a rubber band. Our father had been a career Foreign Service officer who at one point was considered as a candidate for Secretary of State, but he was also a dreamer. He encouraged me to start e-Antiquity and was our original venture capitalist, so when I realized e-Antiquity’s financial fantasy ride was about to hit the wall—

“Is this what you sent him as you hurtled toward insolvency? All your secret maps?” He paused. “The evidence the Feds need to prove the insider trading?”

“For which you’re the sole benefactor, thank you very much.”

The notebook contained the originals of all the maps and research information that could lead to many lost treasures.

“I was going to let you have all of what was in here anyway, less what you owe me, but I don’t want anything to do with . . .”

“History?”

“Ha! Treasure maps, unauthenticated ones at that? Old letters and miscellaneous ramblings of ne’er-do-wells?” His mouth hardened. “This is what got Mom and Dad killed, you know.”

I couldn’t meet his eyes.

“Treasure hunting,” he said, “the original lottery, but with worse odds.” I peeled back the rubber bands and the notebook sprang open. Each of the archival plastic sleeves contained documents with unique stories, historic relevance, my team’s sweat from scouring the globe for them. Not

to mention the dregs of our investors’ capital. All of it squirreled away to prevent them being sold at the bankruptcy auction with the rest of e-Antiquity’s assets—what’s this?

A lone envelope stuck out from the middle of the plastic sheaths. Ben saw it at the same time and plucked it out.

Written on the front: “Charles B. Reilly, III.”

Ben tore it open.

“Hey, I’m the one—”

“It’s a letter from Dad,” Ben said.

“Can I—”

Son—”

“Okay, Ben, fine. You read it.”

Son, If you’ re seeing this for the first time, it’s because we never had the chance to discuss it. It never mattered to us, and it shouldn’t’ t to you.

Your mother was told early in our marriage that she couldn’t’ t have children, so we set out on this course. Your brother was a surprise, a few years later. You have always been our son, even if you weren’t’ t born a Reilly. We love you no different than had you been, so don’ t let this change a thing.

These papers are all we have from the adoption. The laws were very specific back when you were born, and the birth mother’s anonymity was always protected. We will not be hurt in the least if you choose to pursue your past, and given that you’ re now over thirty, we encourage you to do so for medical history purposes, at least.

We are your parents, and you are our son.

That will never change.

We love you.

Mom and Dad.

Silence.

I was adopted?

He dropped the letter on the table and I picked it up. It was Dad’s handwriting, for sure. Adopted? Really?

“Wow.” Ben shook his head. “Must be a shock to the system, huh?”

“You could say that.”

“It does explain a lot.”

What? I couldn’t believe I was adopted and only finding out now.

“Good luck with all your maps, Buck. See you around.”

I heard a buzzer, the door opened, then Ben was gone. I slumped into a chair. I felt as if I’d been punched in the stomach, kicked in the nuts, hit over the head with a 2×4.

I was adopted?

 

Green to Go is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $3.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!


Connect with John H. Cunningham:

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