Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Assassin's Retirement: Scion of Beowulf Chapter 7, Part 1 #blogstory

Welcome back to Assassin's Retirement! For your convenience, I have added a Table of Contents at the bottom of this page that has links to the other chapters in the story.


Copyright Lexi Ander

Chapter Seven – Stolen Answers

The trek back to where he'd left Prince didn't take long. Prince wasn't there, but the three dead creatures still lay where they had fallen in the middle of the road. If anything, they smelled worse than before. He wasn't sure if the neighbors would call the sheriff and report the shots fired. Even if no one came to investigate, a neighbor coming down the road would stumble upon the three bodies. Zane could only imagine the chaos and fear that would ensue. So he pulled the carcasses to the ditch for the time being and did he best to cover the huge blood stain where Prince obviously lopped the head off one. Fucking swords.

Did Prince return to the house or was he stumbling around in the woods? Conceding he wouldn't know until he went back himself, Zane made his way through the trees. The back-patio light was still on, making it easy for him to find his way. As he stepped out of the trees, he could see all the members of Crimson Comet in the dining room. Prince stood among them reading from a slip of paper. Had the shooter left something behind?

When he opened the door a wall of heat washed over him, making him shiver. All six men startled. "Zane!" Several exclaimed at once and while he greeted them, he was aware Prince pocketed the note.

"Are you injured?" Cord took one of his chilled hands between his, Midnight the other. They rubbed vigorously, amusing Zane with their care and worry.

He couldn't remember the last time when someone met him at the door, concerned for his welfare. Xander brought over a cup of coffee and reluctantly he pulled his hands from Cord and Midnight to take the mug.

"No injuries," he finally answered. "Just cold, as you can tell."

He glanced at the guys over the rim as he took a couple of long swallows. He waited from someone to broach the subject of what had just happened. This wasn't as innocuous as an elk charging through the yard to battle lawn furniture.

Everyone but Prince avoided his gaze. So, it was Prince who he spoke to. "Why am I here? Really?"

"You're here because Cord thinks you can help us and—" Prince glanced at Cord who hadn't moved away from Zane. "He has a crush on you."

Zane disregarded the comment about a crush. It was unimportant. "What kind of help would you need from a song writer?"

Prince smirked. "Come now, we all know that you are more than what you appear to be."

Zane involuntarily stiffened before forcing himself to relax. He frowned, not liking the implications these men knew of his past one bit. Plus, he had the niggling feeling that Prince's disturbing answer was meant to shake Zane up. Why wouldn't he answer the question? What were they hiding? He'd been drawn here for a purpose. Was the shooter just a test? His instincts told him no. These men were in trouble of some kind.

He glanced at Cord to see both hope and guilt in his eyes. Midnight's expression was wary though Midnight still had a hand on Zane's waist. Xander smiled as if Prince hadn't said they knew Zane was an assas—retire assassin. Anson was tucked against Raine's side, looking expectant but Raine's expression said it all. He disagreed with everyone else and didn't trust Zane. His goading sneer demanded Zane either proved him wrong or to leave. Zane couldn't come up with a reason why he should prove Raine wrong. He didn't know these men or their true intentions. He'd been invited here under false pretenses. Someone attempted to kill Midnight. He'd shot creatures he'd never seen before. And when asked outright what they wanted from him, the answer was basically an assassin. The only people who searched out guns for hire were criminals who had something to hide from the authorities.

"I'm afraid you came all this way for nothing." He set the cup of coffee on the table. "I'm not who you think. I appreciate the food and hospitality. Have a good evening." Without another word, he headed to the front room, barely remembering to grab his jacket from the coat rack.

The door shut loudly behind him. In moments, he was in the Wagon and driving down the short drive to the dirt road. Instead of heading to the interstate though, he turned toward the lake. Not too far down the road, he approached the blood-stained snow he hadn't been able to hide. Stopping next to where the corpses lay in the shallow ditch, Zane turned off his vehicle and rounded the side to let down the tailgate.

A heavy tarp was folded and stashed under the toolbox. Just like the old days, Zane heaved the now stiff corpses into the truck bed and covered them with the tarp, making sure it was weighed down. The last thing he needed was for the heavy fabric to fly off as he passed a police officer while he drove home. He didn't need anyone looking in his truck bed. The creatures weren't human, so he wouldn't have to explain that sort of problem, but they were weird enough to garner a lot of unwanted attention. Circus, it would become a goddamn circus.

Before he left, he traipsed back through the forest to the back of the house. He examined the ground and trees until he discovered what he was looking for. A tree trunk where the bark had been torn up, and about eight feet off the ground, a tree stand.

Reaching up, he grabbed the back edge and carefully pulled himself up to the stand. There wasn't much room to maneuver but once he sat, he was looking through a scant few boughs at the back of the rental home. All the lights were blazing and even with the patio lights on, anyone on the outside could see everything that went on in the kitchen, dining room, and part of the living room that led to the front door. There were no drapes or blinds pulled shut.

"Fucking idiots deserved to be shot at," Zane murmured to himself.

Table of Contents

Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Six, Part 2 - 
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

#PactDays : Giantes #ValespianPact

Welcome to Thursday's Pact Days! Today, we have the Giantes.

The info on the Giante is restricted because they pay a part in the next several Valespian Pact books.

A couple of side notes: For a list of species that have been posted so far, see the The People of Valespia page. I'm placing these in alphabetical order so I won't unintentionally place importance on any specie. I will leave off information on the species that will spoil future books. My standard sheet has the same categories for all species. So there will be blank categories just because that species didn't need them.

Species: Giante
Planet: Anatolia
Other races on the planet:
Planetary Terrain:
Capitol: Lycia
Country: Mycenea (Mycenaean people)
Patron Ryo Pardeep
Description: the minimum adult height is three meters. Most Giantes are around four meter tall. Dark brown skin. Single eye that sees not only substance but the energies of the aether.

Strong, quicker than they appear, stubborn, brute strength, and powerful. Formidable foes.

Master craftsmen of unusual weapons. If someone attempts to reverse engineer the devices without the master key, the device will self-destruct.

The fabled lion's gate are massive carved lions three time taller than the Giantes and so intricately carved the statues seem lifelike.

Giantes do not tolerate those who brought shame upon their families and people. They are disowned by the family and stripped of land and titles. If Giantes came upon such a person in space, they would abuse the individual.

Valuable items forged: Classically...
Silver Siege Rhyton – used for transportation of libation for sacred rites and rituals. Conical shaped and formed in the shape of an animal's head with an opening at the bottom.

Mask of Agamemnon – funeral mask made of gold
Cup of Nestor – golden missing cup belonging to the King of Pylos.

Research Notes: From the hill the palace sits on, one can see across Argolid to the Saronic Gulf. The military stronghold dominated South Greece. Neighbor of the kingdom of Morea.

Burial in pits or cist graves and stelea surmounted the mounds.

Common Occupation: metal workers, weapons engineers, stone masons

Government Systems: Monarchy

Current Leader: King Eurymedon the Great Hearted (has explosive anger)

Council of Neighn of Member: Polyphemus Belliand

Allies: Fal'Amoric, Minotauri, Gaziniti, L'Eema, Chi-Lin, Chtichlian, Keygan, Daimoni, Kracciam, Mar'Sani, Shia'Marr, Syrryn

Star System: Aquarii Star System

Other planets occupied by species:

Military Leader: Periboea the White

Mukene Lions – Elite Warriors
Mukene is plural of Mukanai
Uniform: skintight black uniform, royal blue breastplate with a stylized lion in gold

Cultural names and terms specific to species:
Amadore – means "gift of love"
Battle Cry – "Meet Mukene Mercy!"
When overcoming an enemy – "Death to your family line!"
Common saying, "Our word is out bond, stronger than any metal forged."

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Blog Tour: Bleeding Like Me by Riley Parks #giveaway

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Welcome Riley Parks to the blog for their new release, Bleeding Like Me! We have an exclusive excerpt and make sure you scroll down to enter the giveaway!

Title: Bleeding Like Me
Author: Riley Parks
Release Date: November 21st 2017
Genre: MM Contemporary Dark Romance
Published by: Boroughs Publishing



Being gay in their neighborhood is perilous. Being gay in a street gang is unheard of. Being gay and in love with a man in a rival gang is a death wish. Through drug addiction, brutality, and seemingly endless peril, they remain; finding stability within each other that shouldn’t exist in their volatile world.


He didn't paint people; the curves of their bodies and angles of their faces never interested him as much as cityscapes. The circumstances of his life had compelled him to create new worlds that he could get lost in rather than reflect the features of the people he ran from. He constructed buildings from their foundations, making them taller and stronger than he was. He adorned the edifices with countless windows, always left open or cracked so hope could pour in and fears could seep out. Tree lined streets reminded him how to breathe, pumping oxygen through the atmosphere, off the canvas, and into his lungs.

He didn't paint people until the day he no longer desired the anonymity of his cities. The streets didn't feel like his escape anymore, not like him. Cerulean skies gave way to pale blue eyes and bus routes to pink pouts. Evan didn't paint people until he painted Jackson.

Find Bleeding Like Me on Goodreads

Buy Links: Boroughs | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords


Two weeks ago, he never would have imagined that he’d be making out with some dude on the couch in the living room that he once shared with Tamara. He’d lived a dangerous life for most of his twenty-three years, but had never felt so alive as when he was in Evan’s arms.

“Think of me,” Evan whispered, pulling back far enough so Jack could look in his eyes. “I want you to.” Evan searched Jackson’s face, clearly looking for a positive response. It was crazy how different Evan looked when he was this close; the freckles brushed across his skin, making him appear innocent and pliant, when Jackson knew he was anything but.

“Good,” was the only reply he could muster, wanting to say a million more things but not allowing himself to go there, realizing that as treacherous as an aloof Evan was, an earnest Evan was far more perilous. The more the redhead softened, the quicker Jack felt himself falling, and he knew the end result could be catastrophic.

Still, the way that Evan was holding Jackson’s hands, as if he would float away, proved that he wasn’t the only one with his head stuck firmly in the clouds. Evan was a dream that could easily become a nightmare, and as vigilant as he wanted to remain, Jackson wasn’t afraid to close his eyes.

GIVEAWAY: Two prizes of $15 Boroughs Bucks

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About the Author


Riley has always loved to write, believing that life has the possibility to be its most beautiful when it’s portrayed on the pages of a book. Feeling the need to create and liberate in the midst of the political landscape, Riley writes novels that focus on LGBTQ protagonists, wanting to honor a community that deserves better representation depicting lives, loves and triumphs in all facets of fiction.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Assassin's Retirement: Scion of Beowulf Chapter 6, Part 2 #blogstory

Welcome back to Assassin's Retirement!

Copyright Lexi Ander

The ring of metal hitting metal sounded just before Zane broke into a clearing. He slid to a stop in the snow. Prince stood in the middle of a dirt road, swinging his sword at a figure who used their rifle to block each attack. The moonlight was strong here, making it easier for him to discern a figure covered from head to foot in snow camouflage. For all Zane knew, the shooter could be a resident of McCall who Zane saw on a regular basis. He didn't train his gun at Prince's opponent. He wouldn't get a clear shot with Prince in the way. Instead he concentrated on the three creatures that were now crouched low to the ground as they slowly stalked up behind Prince. The spines along the center of their back quivered, giving away their excitement.

Zane moved to the side, attempting to get into a position where Prince wasn't in his line of sight. As he sidestepped, their twisted backs evolved into a pair of leathery wings and they took to the air. Zane slipped and fell on his ass. He couldn't take his eyes from the creatures. "What the fuck is going on here?"

With steely resolve he raised his gun. The creatures circled over Prince as if searching for a weakness or an opening to attack. He shot first one then a second of the flying things. The third creature dropped to the ground so suddenly Zane wondered if it had been clipped. No such luck. It landed on clawed paws, burning red eyes turned on Zane. He scrambled to his feet, his jeans now wet from the snow.

Still, his heartrate didn't rise as he stared down the foul-smelling creature. He blinked. Surely the creature's eyes weren't glowing red. Nothing living had eyes that color, but no matter how many times he opened and closed his eyes, what he saw didn't change. The creature snarled, bringing Zane's attention to the insanely long fangs. The spines on its back rattled as they moved around, the ones nearest it shoulders inexplicably pointing in his direction. Zane fired his gun, shocked when he missed. The creature had somehow side stepped, the bullet bypassing it completely.

"Zane! Run!" Prince called, still struggling with the shooter.

An expression passed over the creature's expression that gave Zane the impression it understood what Prince had said. There was relish and naked anticipation reflected there, as if the creature loved to chase things. If he ran, he would die. Instead of heading away from the nightmare on four legs, Zane strode toward it, his arm raised, gun trained not on the face but body. The creature's tongue lolled out the side of its mouth as if laughing at Zane. With each of Zane's steps forward, it retreated.

"No, Zane!" Prince kicked the shooter in the chest and the person flew backwards at least ten feet before they hit the ground and slid into the trunk of a tree.

Annoyed that Prince thought he needed saving, Zane barely kept from snapping his teeth at the man. Incredulously, the creature treated Prince as if he was more of a threat than Zane, which Zane found deeply insulting. It turned and gave all its attention to Prince, completely ignoring Zane. Prince gave a battle cry before rushing to clash with the creature. Zane didn't move to help Prince. Only an idiot would try to help as Prince swung that long ass sword.

From the corner of his eye, he caught movement. The shooter was slipping into the trees. With a new quarry identified, Zane gave chase, ignoring Prince's cursing. Under the boughs of the forest, the heavy breathing and clomping footsteps of the gunman were loud, covering any noise that Zane made. The person moved as if they could see perfectly in the low light. He suspected the they had on night vision goggles or something similar. Zane followed, attempting to step exactly where the shooter did and was mostly successful, but frustratingly, he slowly fell behind. The person was fast, much faster than he had a right to be considering the unfamiliar and shadowed terrain.

When Zane broke through the cover of trees at the point where he had lost sight of the gunman. He found himself about twenty paces from the edge of the lake. For five feet or so, bedraggled tufts of snow covered grass were separated by rounded stones and gravel that went all the way to the shore. Unmistakable footprints marred the blanket of snow that covered the pebbled ground, leading unerringly to the water's edge. The ice along the shoreline extended out over the shallows. There it was broken into an obvious path leading deeper waters.

Zane searched the ground for other footprints or sign. No one could survive the water in winter. Unless the shooter had a wet suit and gear they needed to survive the ice-cold depths. The new snow wasn't disturbed in any other direction. Did the gunman have time to back track to follow the edge of the tree line? If he did, then could have reentered the forest to throw Zane off. With how heavy the shadows were in the area, he couldn't tell but he bet that was what the shooter had done. No sane person would take to the water.

Reluctantly conceding he had lost the shooter, Zane re-holstered his gun and walked to the edge of the lake. The moonlight glinted off the water like jewels, the wind biting. He searched the surface for a bobbing head or some sign that someone was attempting to swim to the opposite shore. Like he thought, there was nothing.

The skin between Zane's shoulder blades tingled. Just as when he'd first arrived, Zane sensed watchful eyes on him. He didn't detect malevolence or felt he was in immediate danger. They were simply watching as if waiting for him to do something. Was it the shooter laughing at how easily they had lost Zane? Or something else entirely?

Table of Contents

Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Six, Part 2

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

On The Move... Oh, look! Constant is done! #ValespianPact

I don't have a reading radar for today. I tried to get a post scheduled before I started my vacation but I was working hard on getting Constant (The Valespian Pact, 3) finished. I wanted to have a book completed in 2017 and Constant was so close. I  finished Constant on New Years Eves with 5 hours to spare before midnight. Whoot! And then I started my two week vacation. Though I feel slightly guilty for taking time off, I need it. It's important that I take time for myself throughout the year or I burn out and it takes forever to get that spark back.

So, I started my vacation this past week--which in Lexi speak means I begin working on relocating my office. I have work space in the loft. It has one window facing the west and needs a lot of artificial light.

I faced a corner and as I've "grown", so to speak, I've run out of room and I'm just... the clutter makes me anxious. This year, struggling with depression, I couldn't make myself use the space. I moved down to the dining room table and have been there for most of 2017. The sliding glass door faces the east, so I had natural light and a great view of the back yard and a small copse of trees. My project materials came with me. I've taken up the whole table as well as a couple of spare chairs to hold my books and such since there isn't a spare shelf. It had gotten out of hand so I decided that I would move to the spare bedroom over the dining room that had a window with the same view. It was being utilized as my craft's room. 

All this week has been "labor intensive" as my husband put it. You would think that swapping the spaces would be easy, but yesterday was day 4 and we were about half way through. 

My husband crafted my desk to begin with. Giants could tap dance on it and it wouldn't break. But we are going from a corner desk to a desk with 8 feet of a straight top. Today's project is the installation of that top, which then will allow me to go into the final stage of the move and that is moving the office equipment in as well as shelving all the books. Again, that sounds easier than it really is because I have a ton of books.

Believe it or not, this is only a small portion of the books that need to be relocated. There are boxes in the master bedroom and stacks of books in the 3rd bedroom. The really fun part, at least for me, is sorting through the books and shelving them. I have always said that I had to have been a librarian in a past life because of how much I enjoy doing something like that. It's so calming.

So that is the news! After my vacation is over, I'll jump back into Constant, get it polished for submission. I did get the Tuesday blog story (Assassin's Retirement) and Thursday's Pact Days scheduled so you won't have to wait for those. Y'all have a great weekend!

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

#PactDays - Gaziniti #ValespainPact

Welcome to Thursday's Pact Days! Today, we have the Gazinit.

In Alpha Trine you were introduced to two. The pilot of the Oethra 7, Gaex Seneca, and the medic, Mayra Seneca. They are a brother and sister who spend some time on the planet Catalan. Gaex is married to the Catalani assassin, Amlyn.

A couple of side notes: For a list of species that have been posted so far, see the The People of Valespia pageI'm placing these in alphabetical order so I won't unintentionally place importance on any specie. I will leave off information on the species that will spoil future books. My standard sheet has the same categories for all species. So there will be blank categories just because that species didn't need them.


Species: Gaziniti
Planet: Gazin
Other races on the planet:
Planetary Terrain: Swamp, Jungle
Capitol: Oris

Patron Ryo Pardeep:

Description: iron blood, average height between 2' to 4'. Feline in appearance but more closely related to primates. Both hands and feet are three fingered with opposable thumb. Covered in short fur that grows longer around the fringe of their head like a lion's mane. Large eyes with slit irises. Large pointed ears. Naturally nocturnal.

Peaceful, pacifists (evolved genetic trait, not voluntary), herbivores. Does eat some insects, or small mammals and birds when necessary.

Developed the exemplary planetary shields and personal force fields that makes them invulnerable to most attacks.

They live in a high-tech society. Their shielding is superior to other races with the exception of the Giantes.

One of the founding members of the Free Trade Organization.

They are much sought after for their highly advance medical skills and technology. The technology is traded with caution, only choosing those who sign contracts that prohibit the resale of the equipment. If they find the society has used the equipment for nefarious means or turned them into weapons, they take everything back along with any modified equipment and records. (They hire the Mercenaries Guild to have their property returned. And they will find and return every scrap.)

Their starships are built for speed and maneuverability since they flee hostile encounters.

The Gaziniti for family groups that usually stay together no matter where they go. They have as many or as few partners they want and cherish children. There is a secret group that searches for orphans and then will coax them to come live on Oris. Though they have evolved to be pacifist, they first chose to be and pass on these lessons to the young brought into their midst. They teach them how to deal with and respond to strong emotions, helping them to find an inner peace. If there are young that don't take well to the teachings, they are still loved and accepted as they are. There are rules that have to be followed for everyone's safety, but they don't turn anyone away.

Common Occupation: medical specialist, engineers, pilots

Government Systems: Council-Senate

Current Leader:

Council of Neighn of Member: Jayaraman

Allies: Asani, Battion, Catalani, Chi-Lin, Chtichlian, Conti'Quan, Dar Massaga, Daimoni, Keygan, Fal'Amoric, Giante, GyrFalconi, Ice Trans, Kracciam, L'Eema, Mar'Sani, Minotauri, Orion, Qrxzl, Reasaian, Ryden, Gaziniti, Syrryn, Ursid, Valuzial, Wolfine

Refuses to trade with the Terrens. They are in negotiations with the Erdaians and will trade with them on a case by case basis situations.

They are in negotiations with the Feteine, Quell, and Dire D'Noss

They only deal with the T'Sali through the trade organization. They are always looking for a reason to boot the T'Sali from the organization and barred from trading in the Andromeda Galaxy.

Star System: Ara Librae System

Other planets occupied by species: See Catalan

Military Leader: Defense specialist and relies on Galactic Partol

Cultural names and terms specific to species:

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Blog Tour: Won't Feel A Thing by C.F. White #giveaway

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C.F. White is today's blog guest with an exclusive excerpt! She is celebrating with her December 19th release, Won't Feel A Thing.

Title: Won’t Feel a Thing 
Author: C.F. White 
Series: St. Cross #1 
Release Date: December 19th 2017 
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance



It takes more than a doctor to mend a broken heart.

Ollie Warne is fresh out of nursing school and working his dream job as a pediatric cardiology nurse at St Cross Children’s Hospital, London. He wants to start the new year free of personal heartache after his track record of falling for the wrong man--his New Year’s resolution is to live a life of carefree liaisons from now on.

Ollie Warne is fresh out of nursing school and working his dream job as a pediatric cardiology nurse at St Cross Children’s Hospital, London. He wants to start the new year free of personal heartache after his track record of falling for the wrong man--his New Year’s resolution is to live a life of carefree liaisons from now on.

He immediately meets Jacob, father of one of Ollie’s patients and a man harboring more guilt and past demons than even Ollie, which is saying something...

Their growing attraction makes it hard for Ollie to keep his distance, but he has to. Not only do the ethics of his profession demand it, but Ollie is entangled with another man--a predatory doctor who has a huge personal and professional stake in Ollie’s life.

Ollie risks more than his job by getting involved with a patient’s father--and much more than just the success of his New Year’s resolution, something that was supposed to ensure that, this time, he won’t feel a thing.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Loose ID
Find Won’t Feel a Thing on Goodreads


“Whereabouts is your father?” Jacob asked.

“Oh, not far.” Ollie nodded across the road, as if that helped explain the location of the nursing home in the whole capital city. “Fifteen-minute walk from here. Toward Angel.”

“Want some company on the walk?”

“You going that way?”

“I can.” Jacob smiled. “My flat’s Shoreditch way, but I don’t tend to live there much. It’s not particularly welcoming. I could use the cold air to clear my head.” Jacob suddenly paused. “Of course, don’t think you have to. Totally understand if you’d rather be alone.”

“I’d kill for some company.” Ollie grinned. “With an ax.”

While it should have been a pleasant stroll through the streets of London, it being early morning rush hour meant Ollie often had to hop behind or in front of Jacob to allow commuters to push past. So the conversation didn’t flow freely. There was the odd droplet of information, pointing out of local pubs and recommended restaurants, places Ollie cycled on the days it wasn’t freezing icy sleet on the roads. He talked about how he was making a playlist from all the old vinyls his father had loved in his youth and how he still needed to sort out all his father’s keepsakes being stored at his mother’s place, his mother finding the task all too much to do herself. Ollie wasn’t finding it awkward—rather oddly comfortable. Like he had done this walk a thousand times with the man beside him, whom he had only met a few hours ago.

Clutching his empty cup of latte in his thick-gloved hands, Ollie stopped at the gated entrance to the Acorn Nursing Home. A gleaming silver plaque on the gate announced it was privately run. No NHS here—this was top of the range. Only the wealthy afforded this type of final-destination place for their loved ones. Ollie wasn’t wealthy. But the down payment from the doctor had helped secure his father’s place, and the monthly installments he and his mother shared, contributions, along with his father’s decent pension from the Royal Mail, meant they had been able to keep him there. Ollie wasn’t sure for how long. Dementia could go on and on. His father could still be alive for another twenty years, and Ollie didn’t want to work out how much money that would cost him and his mother. Not that he begrudged a penny; it was just a crying shame that it could see his mother destitute before she was able to retire herself.

“This is my stop.” Ollie nodded at the gate.

“Right, yes.” Jacob gave the place a once-over. He brushed his flowing hair away from his face with a gloved hand.

“Want me to take that?” he asked, indicating Ollie’s empty cup. “I’ll shove it in the bin on the way to the station.” He glanced around the road and scrunched his nose like a twitching bunny, obviously realizing there wasn’t a trash can in the vicinity.

Ollie chuckled, handing over his cup. “Turn left at the end of the road. You’ll see the Tube station sign. Not far.”

Jacob nodded with a smile, and his fingers brushed Ollie’s as he slipped the cup from Ollie’s hands. Not that Ollie could feel any electricity of the touch—the thick wool of both their gloves prevented it. As did his New Year’s resolution.

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About the Author

CF White profile pic

Brought up in the relatively small town in Hertfordshire, I managed to do what most other residents of the town try and fail. Leave.

Going off to study at a West London University, I realised there was a whole city out there just waiting to be discovered, so much like Dick Whittington before, I never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold; slowly coming to the realisation that it is mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of stare at them endlessly whilst holding a polystyrene foam cup of watered down coffee.

Eventually I moved from West to East along that vast District Line, and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles, and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job, creating a life, a home, a family.

Having worked in Higher Education for the most proportion of my adult life, a life-altering experience brought pen back to paper, having written stories as a child but never having the confidence to show them to the world. Now embarking on this writing malarkey, I cannot stop. So strap in, it’s a bumpy ride from here on in.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Assassin's Retirement: Scion of Beowulf Chapter 6, Part 1 #blogstory

Welcome back to the blog story, A Gentleman's Holiday, which has been renamed, as you can see, to Assassin's Retirement. The story begins where it left off a couple of weeks ago.


Copyright Lexi Ander

Chapter Six – Harbinger of a nightmare

What in the hell was going on? One moment Zane was highly aroused, wondering how in the world he came to be the center of attention of so many stunning men. The next, he spotted the laser dot from a sniper's scope on Midnight's chest. He didn't think, he only reacted and saved Midnight from being shot. When he'd straddled Midnight, a strange possessiveness rolled through him. Hastily, he'd pushed the strange feeling aside and followed Prince out the door.

As Prince strode boldly out onto the illuminated patio, Zane kept the snort of disbelief to himself. He'd already warned the man that he was making himself a target for whoever was shooting at them. To add to the stupidity, Prince carried a real fucking sword. Goddamn idiot.

He put that absurdity aside and concentrated on the task ahead of him. His heart beat slow and steady, something that was achingly familiar. After months of uncertainty and bouts of fear he wasn't equipped to handle, he finally felt as if he was in his element. What did that say about him when having a weapon in hand while hunting down a quarry was when he felt most comfortable?

There were no tracks in the snow on the patio except those left by Prince. Instead of following the sword-wielding idiot, Zane went left to the corner of the house before stepping past the tree line into the dark underbelly of the surrounding forest. Consciously, he kept track of what general direction Prince would be in. Zane didn't want Prince get caught in the crossfire if he had to use his gun.

The chilly wind carried the scent of something rank. Zane's gag reflex tested him a time or two when he forgot to breathe through his mouth. He listened intently with every step, careful where he placed his feet until his eyes adjusted to the dim lighting. He'd always been amazed by the urban belief that the night outside of lamplight was pitch dark. Sure, the night was dark, but people could see. They just needed to learn to interpret what they were seeing. Of course he couldn't see as far as he did in daylight, but he was far from blind as he crept through the trees. The needle laden boughs were heavy with snow, only allowing a small portion of snow to touch the ground below. Despite the protection, there was a thin white blanket on the ground, enough to reflect the moon and starlight.

A strange vibration came from Zane's left. It sounded somewhat like a noise made by big cats, such as a mountain lion, not a purr exactly, but a guttural throaty crackling that made Zane think of the Jurassic movies he'd watched over the summer. Still his heart beat slow and steady as he stepped into a darker shadow and waited. The stench grew stronger, yet Zane was unafraid. Fear wasn't an emotion he experienced while working as an assassin. The first time he knew fear was after he retired.

The stink was a harbinger of something horrendous coming his way. As a giver of death, Zane knew well the different scents it bought. The metallic odor of spilled blood. The different stages of rot a body went through, each distinct enough that by smell alone, Zane could often guess how long the person had been dead. The stench carried on the wind spoke of death, blood, and something else… wet fur?

Not for the first time since retiring, he thought about his father. What would tale would he spin about Zane stupidly stalking through a winter-laden forest in the dead of night? Would his father conjure up ancient heroes and supernatural opponents? Pressed into the shadows surrounded by putrid stink was the most inappropriate place for him to suddenly be rocked by sorrow and yet there he stood, the ache of losing his father squeezed his heart. This emotion wasn't as easily banished as the others, but Zane tried.

Ahead, something shifted from one shadow to the next, the snow muffling their steps somewhat. They switched from walking on four legs to suddenly standing upright before they stepped behind a large tree. Zane had seen nothing like it before. On its hind legs the animal—creature?—was about three and a half feet tall. The feral noise came again, and this time Zane was positive it did not come from a mountain lion.

Two more… creatures followed the first. He was having a hard time wrapping his mind around what he was seeing. He could make out hair on its forelegs. They seemed to have a twisted or deformed back that caused them to hunch, making their hide look lumpy when they walked through beams of moonlight. There also seemed to be spikes of some kind along their spine but he couldn't be sure unless he looked closer and he was certain he wouldn't be getting any nearer to the creature.

Quickly, he shut off his mind that kept attempting to place the creature, to make sense of what he saw. He could not afford to be distracted. Prince was prancing around the forest with a sword like, well… a fairytale prince.  Zane had the sneaking suspicion the night was full of surprises that couldn't be easily defined, and he needed to focus. Not only Prince, but there were men in the house who needed his protection. He paused. Dear God, he hoped they stayed put.

The beat of his heart didn't change as he stepped from the shadow, following the three creatures as silently as he could. Would they lead him to the shooter? As strange as it sounded, he thought yes. The whole situation was just too odd for both incidents to not be connected, or so he believed. Later, he would probably question that certainty, but for the moment, Zane kept the three creatures within sight.

They traveled in the direction Prince had gone. The crisp night wind ruffled Zane's hair and chilled the exposed skin of his hands. He'd neglected to grab a coat before leaving the house, believing he wouldn't be too long chasing after the rifleman. The shooter had to be close because the house was surrounded by towering firs and there was no way a sniper could get a good view from a distance at any elevation.

"Ho! You fiend!" Prince's voice came from ahead, his accent heavy. Did Prince just use the word fiend? Zane was brought out of his incredulity when the creatures he followed sped up. He gave up his attempt at stealth and ran after them. Prince didn't know what else could be found in the forest. Where the creatures some kind of hounds used by the gunman?

Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Six, Part 2 - 

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!