I’ve been slack on posting the last couple of days because life has been “interesting”. Between trying to finish one novel while another — the one I’ve been snippeting here — is yelling for my undivided attention, doctor’s appointments for my mother and the family dog having a cluster of seizures yesterday morning and the resulting vet appointment for him, I’ve barely had time to figure out if I’m coming or going. So, apologies for the dearth in posts. Believe me, I’ll make up for it. Between politics and some very interesting news in publishing right now, there are a number of things I want to discuss. However, there’s another round of appointments this morning that will keep me from doing so right now.
Instead, I’ll post this week’s snippet. Remember, this is a work in progress. That means it hasn’t been edited and that means there may be grammar, spelling and punctuation errors in it. It also means that there might be major — or minor — changes by the time the book is published. Hope you enjoy.
* * *
For the next two days, Ashley Shaw ate, slept and exercised. Her routine in the brig was much the same as it had been in her cell at the military prison. There was comfort in routine, something she’d never really understood until her freedom had been ripped from her. But it was also a defense mechanism. No one worried about what she was doing as long as she did nothing out of the ordinary.
Besides, following routine meant she had the freedom to think about what was going on and why.
The only problem with that was she still didn’t know why she’d been brought back to the capital. After the rather disastrous meeting with Tremayne and Collins and then the visit from Major Santiago, she’d seen no one but her guards. While they were a bit more talkative than those at the prison, they were no more likely to answer her questions – were she to ask them.
What troubled her, though, was the concern, possibly even worry, she sensed in them. There was a grimness to them that reminded her all too clearly of how those she’d fought side by side with during the war had felt during those dark days. Were things really as bad as Tremayne had alluded to?
Did she really care?
As she moved from pushups to sit ups, she frowned slightly. One thing the last two days had taught was how much she’d come to rely on the prison’s grapevine. Even when she didn’t see anyone but the guards, word still reached her about how her people and others in the penal colony were doing. She had none of that here. The only thing she knew for sure was that she seemed to be alone in this wing of the brig and that did nothing to reassure her. Why would they have brought her back and yet continue to keep her in isolation?
What still surprised her, what she was having a hard time wrapping her mind around, was the one change she knew had occurred since she’d last been on-planet. When she’d heard the guard addressing Tremayne as “Senator”, she’d been sure she’d misheard or that it had been yet another trick by the commandant of the penal colony to break her. Then, when she’d finally lost control and had rolled off the bunk and confronted the newcomers, she’d had to admit it was her former mentor standing before her. Had Tremayne been drummed out of the service or had she voluntarily left? More important, what did it all mean?
She finished her sit ups and climbed to her feet. Three steps and she stood in front of one wall of her cell. She bent at the waist, placed her palms on the floor and kicked up into a handstand. Slowly, carefully, she bent her elbows, lowered herself toward the floor, her heels lightly scraping the wall as she did. Then she straightened her arms again. Think. She had to think.
She couldn’t forget the worry she’d seen reflected in Tremayne’s eyes, heard in her voice as the senator asked her to just listen to what they had to say. It had been more than worry for her. That had been there, plain to see, when she first faced Tremayne and Collins and they’d seen the effects of the last two years on her. But she knew there was more to their worry and that is why she’d been brought back to the capital. What it was and what it ultimately meant for her and her team was still something she couldn’t guess.
Her team. God, that was her one regret. They’d followed her into Hell and most had paid the ultimate price. The rest might as well have. But she’d avenge their loss and their families’ pain. She didn’t know how, but she would.
Of course, that assumed she ever saw freedom again.
* * *
Now for the promotional spiel. Nocturnal Origins (Book 1 of the Nocturnal Lives Series) can be purchased through Amazon. Nocturnal Serenade (Book 2) and Nocturnal Haunts (a novella set in the Nocturnal Lives world) can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the Naked Reader Press webstore. Also shown are several titles by another of NRP’s authors, Ellie Ferguson. If you like romantic suspense, try Wedding Bell Blues. And, because I was rightly chastised by someone for not pointing this out, authors get a larger slice of the pie if you buy your copies from the NRP store. Finally, as always, there is no DRM added to any of the Naked Reader Press titles.