*ducks the soda cans and beer bottles and mismatched shoes*
I know, I know! You just want me to shut up and write you another Jesse book. Well the next one is coming in November, okay? Gah! So demanding!
In the meantime, I happen to be writing about another totally bad ass novel. This novel is super weird so far. It's got three third person POVs and its more of a crime thriller than the Jesse books, which is more fantasy.
Anyhoo, I thought you guys might want to know what I was working on, so I've included a rough (emphasis on rough) chunk of the story here for you to enjoy.
So what do you think? Could you ever love Lou as much as you love Jesse? Could you dig a crime-thriller with light fantasy vibe?
He wailed and fought her hold, throwing a blind elbow strike which she ducked easily, given the difference in their heights and his sluggish movements. Fortunately, she only needed to hold onto him for a heartbeat.
She pulled him through the dark.
Once the fresh air hit her, she stopped clinging to Castle and let him tumble to the grassy knoll at the edge of the lake.
His drunk ass hit the dirt and he cried out.
The crickets fell silent at having their concert interrupted. The other night sounds swelled oblivious to their intrusion. So far into the wilderness, scuffles happened all night long. Beasts tearing apart one another wasn’t news worthy. So the night went on.
An owl hooting. A fish jumping up before belly flopping the surface of the water. Something on the opposite shore slid into the water, a silver trail cutting the surface behind it. Ducks maybe. She wasn’t sure. Surprisingly, despite all her gifts, Lou’s night vision was unremarkable.
Castle pulled himself to his feet, clawing at the small of his back.
“Looking for this?” Lou asked, pointing his gun at him. Mosquitos buzzed in her ears.
Castle stopped slapping his lower back and his jaw fell open. “Oh fuck. It’s you.”
That stopped her.
“You’re Konstantine’s bitch.”
She grimaced. “I’m no one’s bitch.”
“No, you’re her. I’ve seen the fucking pictures. I thought he was just jumping at shadows and shit but look at you.” He waved a hand up and down her body. “Oh fuck, are you going to kill me?”
She should’ve said yes. That was her intention. But she was hung up on the words fucking pictures.
“God, I’m too high for this right now.” He ran his hands over his face. Then he dropped down by the lake and started splashing water on his face. His white cowboy hat with the fancy plume fell off of his head and into the water. He fished it out and shook water off of it before laying it aside. A strange expression seized his face.
With a dawning horror, she realized he was going to puke.
She lowered the gun. This was new. Usually when she came across a hired hand from the Martinelli drug ring, it had a predictable pattern. It began with threats.
There was the name calling.
The threat to kill off her family.
Too late, she said to that one. You’ve already killed my parents. I’m here to return the favor.
Or some variation. It was all pretty much the same. These men only had so many things to say.
When they found her unmoved, they tried to strike first. Then she killed them and shoved their bodies and all the evidence into the water.
No one had ever recognized her before. Mentioned pictures before. Collapsed to their knees and started vomiting before the first threat was even made.
“Jesus fucking Christ. What did I ever do to you?” he sounded as though he would cry.
Lou lowered the gun even more. She kept the pistol cupped in her hands, ready to raise and shoot at any moment. She thought the best way to proceed in an uncertain situation was to check her facts.
“You worked for the Martinellis. You were a mule, pulling large shipments across the borders wherever they sent you. You were in Galveston but you’ve migrated north.”
“What does that got to do with you?”
“You’re still selling drugs even after I wiped out he Martinellis.”
“Why you got to kill me?” He turned and heaved in the lake again. When he stopped heaving, he added, “Like you said, I’m just a mule.”
“I don’t like drugs.”
“Fuck, then don’t do them!” he said with a wild shrug. “I never held you down and forced you, did I?”
“Good point.” Lou forced a smile. “I’ll cut you a deal.”
The man begged. Literally begged on his hands and knees. Hands clasped.
“You stop muling and I won’t kill you.”
His Adam’s apple bobbed in the moonlight.
“You don’t like my deal, Jimmy?”
Jimmy ran his hands down the front of his pants. “Come on, man. Be reasonable.”
She pistol whipped him.
Castle touched two fingers to his bloody cheek. It was swelling a dark purple in the moonlight. “If I quit I’m as good as dead. Konstantine will cut off my balls and stuff them up my ass.”
“Whoever he is he’s just another roach that’ll run under the fridge when the light comes on. I’ll get to him. Maybe I’ll get to him next.”
His bald head gleamed in the moonlight. “He’s no roach. He’s the new Martinelli.”
“There’s no Martinelli,” she raised her gun and pointed it between his eyes. “I killed every last one.”
“You’re wrong,” he said. He seemed soberer now with all his alcohol floating as a film on the lake’s surface. “Konstantine was some bastard from Greece. Piero’s illegitimate son or some shit. When you killed off his father and brothers, he stepped right up to the plate and took everything over. He’s running the game now. And he’s scarier than any fucking Martinelli. The things I’ve heard about him, you wouldn’t believe it. Truly fucked up shit.”
“And he has pictures of me?”
Castle tugged the damp hat back onto his head. “He sent them around. I thought it was a story to keep all the good little mules in line. But here you are and you look just like your fucking pictures.”
Keep the good little mules in line.
Because they hadn’t been in line. Lou saw the infighting herself. But she thought the chaos was simply the result of her murdering everyone in charge. She’d cut off the thumb holding them down and now every dealer with an ounce of ambition was vying for his position on top.
Of course this Konstantine would have to be a bloody bastard. He’d never reestablish the pecking order and fist of power his family had built with a soft tactic. The clans and other crime families would eat him alive.
Her eyes narrowed on the man at her feet. This was too much to think about now. Too many angles to consider. She had to think.
“Get up,” she said.
“Oh come on.” Castle pulled himself to his feet. “Please don’t fucking kill me. You want money? I’ve got—” his voice broke and his face screwed up like he was going to burst into tears.
“Don’t cry. It pisses me off,” she said.
“I’m not going to kill you,” she said, announcing her decision.
“You’re not?” Castle’s face lit up. “What’s the fucking condition?”
“The condition is you never saw me,” she said. “If you tell anyone you saw me, I’ll come back for you. And I’ll have time to think of something worse than cutting off your balls and stuffing them up your ass. Thanks for the idea, by the way.
She stepped into the shadow of the tree and slipped, leaving Castle with wide glassy eyes.
She didn’t go far. Across the way she peered from beneath a Sitka pine. He turned a circle, searching. He went to the tree where she’d just been and looked beneath it as if expecting to find her there.
When he seemed satisfied that she had left, he ran lifted his hat and ran a hand over his gleaming bald head again, before walking south, away from the moon-filled water.
She wasn’t going to let him go far.
If he kept wandering his current direction, he wouldn’t last two days. There was nothing but Alaskan wilderness that way. If he’d managed to stumble east by accident, he’d find the town three miles away and wonder how he’d gotten from Austin to Alaska in a single bound.
She loved this spot. It had taken her a long time to find one that fit her travel criteria so perfectly. And if she let him find the town he might be able to find his way back.
She slipped through the trees, staying on his heels as he navigated the forest. Coyotes yipped nearby catching her scent and no doubt Castle’s. It didn’t matter. As soon as he passed beneath the next shady limb she was going to grab him.
The arm of a mighty fir stretched overhead. As soon as the shadow passed over his body, she grabbed him. He yelped, as expected. And was still yelping when she dropped him on the sidewalk beside the downtown alley.
She ducked out of sight before he could turn and look for her.
Let him think she’s a ghost. Or a bogey of some sort.
Power was only powerful when no one knew how much you really had. It was better if they believed her to be invincible. She was in trouble if they realized just how many limitations she had.
From beneath an awning across the street, she watched Castle clamber to his feet and turn in all directions. He peered into the dark alley, searching for her. Some of his friends called from the club’s entrance and he turned, wide-eyed and bewildered. He lifted his hat and ran a hand over his bare head.
Run rat run, she thought, watching him disappear into the throng of sweaty people feeding on the night.