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Sue Raymond’s Interview by Naked Reviewers

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First of the month brings a new author interview on The Naked Reviewers! Run as fast as you can and take a peek into Sue Raymond’s life.
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Audience Targeting

  • Book Categories:Teen and Young Adult, Fantasy, Christian Fiction
  • Similar Authors in fantasy field:Bryan Davis, Donita K. Paul

Fantastic eBook Sale

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Lady Laindora informs me the time is right for a sale on her eBook novel Healer of Surflex. It will be on sale for the month of April. You can purchase it in a wide variety eBook formats at the following link:
https://www.books2read.com/b/bWekMm
You can also find it in Kindle at the following link: https://www.amzn.to1u92UUj

https://www.books2read.com/b/bWekMm

Kerlia has fought to survive even before she was born because of the prophesy a child will destroy Kernel’s hold over the kingdom by healing the kingdom. Kernel’s minions search for the healer as his wizards strive to design the ultimate weapon. The minions almost capture Kerlia in the forest however she escapes by being transported to the fairy realm to begin her training to control her healing power. Kerlia must control her powers soon to protect those she loves. Can a mere child stand against the evil that has brought so many men to their knees

Make sure you snag this fantastic bargain before it is gone. You can find Healer of Surflex at the following links:

https://www.books2read.com/b/bWekMm

https://www.amzn.to/1u92UU

Free Chapter

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Celtic legion, Will-O who is a wisp has been given a commission of guardian to the descendants of Colin McGregor. She has done well in her commission over the centuries until Ongwaterohiathe Whitehorse tries to rescue a young woman that has fallen overboard into the Niagara River, plunging him head long down into the terrifying world Mesa Soyok Wuhti, a Hopi demonic legion. Mesa Soyok Wuhti or Monster Woman seeks her victims out in the dead of the night for their heads to put in her basket she carries on her back or steal you away to her longhouse to fatten you up for her cauldron.

Will-O Wisp of Niagara Falls is the next novel in the Free Chapter of my novels. You can find the complete novel at the following links:

http://amzn.to/1u92UUj

https://books2read.com/u/4XoqQ7

CHAPTER 1

The fog was a thick gray swirling mass which shrouded the Maid of the Mist 3. Twenty-three-year-old Ongwaterohiathe Whitehorse coiled the rope before he stored it in the aft stern locker in the pilot tower. His jet black hair fell across his forehead as he left the pilot tower and headed down the stairs toward the gangplank He was glad this day was finally over. If he hurried, Ongwaterohiathe would be in time for the first reading by the Iowa Indie Author Group at the Theater Loft in the heart of Elmwood Village before the play of ‘Because of Me’ by J.C. Hamm.

The clean deck lay empty after being flooded with blue plastic poncho covered bodies as they crowded the railing for the premier spot to capture the particular moment on a photograph to commemorate their visit to the falls.

Ongwaterohiathe glanced over at the roaring falls as he was about to leave the ship. The fog blanketed the falls but failed to cover the growl of the falls drumming in his head. He turned to wave goodnight to the pilot when Ongwaterohiathe caught a glimpse of a slim Kanyenkehaha woman at the bow railing.  

Her long raven hair was braided in a waterfall twist into a mermaid braid darkened by the thick mist. His sister had tried for months to master that particular braiding technique without success. The woman turned her head toward Ongwaterohiatha as the fog swallowed her.

Ongwaterohiathe ran back to the bow searching for her. He could not see her anywhere. Ongie snatched the life preserver as he combed the turbulent water for any sign of her. She appeared thirty feet down the river for a mere moment.

Ongie launched his six-foot-four-inch frame over the railing, using it for an extra foot boost. As the torrent river closed over his head, he heard, “Ongie No! She’s not real!”

Ongie’s temples hammered as he tried to rise. A gentle hand pushed him back down on the pillow as a cold cloth covered his broad forehead and eyes Ongie could hear the distant falls roar as it rumbled along. It vibrated all around him. He pulled the towel from his eyes and focused dimly on the ornate glass dome over him holding back the turbulent waters of the Niagara River.

“No, no it can’t be,” he struggled against the gentle embrace.

“Sh-sh everything is all right. She can’t find you here.”

“Can’t find me, who is she? The last thing I remember, I jumped into the river to rescue a young Kanyenkehaha woman that fell overboard. Is she safe? Did someone rescue her?” Ongie’s strength depleted and sank once again against the pillow.

“There is no need for concern over that one. She can never die.” The cloth covered his eyes once more.

Ongie woke to the stench of a hospital room. His eyes crossed under the harsh light making hazy shadows of the hospital personnel. A shadow glided to the end of his bed. Ongie focused harder as he cleared his throat to gain the shadow’s attention.

“Well Mr. Whitehorse, it is nice to meet you finally. I have been waiting for a long time to do so.” Mesa Soyok Wuhti appeared at the foot of the hospital bed. “I do not know how you escaped us at the falls, however; there will be no escaping from me here.” She brushed back the long straggly black hair with the jagged-edged knife covered with blood. Her wide eyes stared as fangs appeared at the corners of thin lips.

The knife drew back over her head ready to be plunged into Ongie’s neck as Mesa Soyok Wuhti climbed over the foot of the bed.

Ongie could not move. His eyes riveted on the snarled face shining with glee over her apparent victory.

Mesa Soyok Wuhti crawled over his body, scratching and clawing the thin cover over Ongie. Her body twitched as she came up his chest. Her foul breath gagged the air out of Ongie’s lungs. She drew herself erect upon Ongie’s rib cage. The knife held high above her head then it plunged down toward his throat, “Soyoka-u-u-u!”

Once again you can find this novel at the following links:

http://amzn.to/1u92UUj and https://books2read.com/u/4XoqQ7

You can subscribe at https://books2read.co/author/sueraymond/subscribe/1/24971/

New Year Treat

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Happy New Year everyone. Here is a great way to start out the new year. A new chapter to read for your enjoyment. This time the chapter is from my fantasy ‘Healer of Surflex’. The novel is full of magic, fairies, knights, demons, wizards, dragons and talking animals. You can find the complete novel at the following links:

https://www.amzn.to/u92UUj

https://www.books2read.com/u/bWekMm

 https://www.acx.com/titleview/A10U52CZ0IIOMS .

CHAPTER 1

Pomelia’s moans of anguish woke Terian out of a deep sleep. He groggily rose upon one elbow and searched for his wife in the dim shadows of their thatched cottage. She moaned again, and he focused in on her huddled form at the edge of the hearth. The embers of last night’s fire gave a faint glow as it bathed her creamy complexion in a pale red hue.

He rose swiftly, spanning the space between them and crouched beside her. Terian caressed her face and brushed back the satiny black curly hair. Her light brown eyes filled to the brim with tears.

“Pomelia what’s wrong?”

“It’s not fair! We’re kind, gentle, loving people, not like the miller or the innkeeper. They charge unfair prices, stealing from those of the idle minded and still God blessed them with children. God, what have we done to deserve this punishment?” She lifted her hands soaked with blood.

The metallic scent of blood mingled with the smoking ash of the fire as it filtered through his nostrils, exploding in the recesses of his brain.

Terian’s heart caved in, Pomelia had miscarried again. He gently picked her up and cradled her against his rock hard chest. Terian went over to the bed and sat her on the edge, removing her soiled gown and used it to wipe off most of the blood from her body.

He remorsefully returned to the hearth, lovingly shrouding the tiny form in the bloody gown to hide their son from his wife’s view. Tears crept down the leathery cheeks as he covered the perfectly formed face.

Terian laid the tiny body by the basin then poured cool water from the large pitcher in the basin. He gathered clean cloths taking the basin back to the bed and sat it on the floor in front of Pomelia.

Terian searched Pomelia’s eyes for any evidence of life behind them. She moaned softly at Terian’s gentle touch in spite of his rough, callous hands as he methodically bathed her and cleansed her body with prayer and water. As Terian dressed her in a clean woolen gown, she was unable to even lift her arms. He laid her against the down tick pillows then covered her with their heavy quilt to guard her from the chill of the night.

Terian picked up the basin and left through the back door to go the well at his blacksmith shop. There he disposed of the basin’s content and cleaned it before he returned to the cottage. He returned the basin to the stand.

Pomelia no longer moaned. Sounds of light breath in sleep wafted from their bed. Terian prayed, Thank you Lord for sending sleep to Pomelia. That is the best thing for her so she won’t dwell on our devastating loss. Forgive her blasphemy, for it was her grief wailing, not her faith in You. Please give me the strength to endure the mourning period and Pomelia’s sharp tongue as she again deals with the loss of another child. She is, as she stated, a kind and gentle soul. Find it in Your heart to grant her heart’s desire of a strong, healthy child.

He cradled his shrouded son, and left quietly to make sure the door did not creak to wake Pomelia from her rest. The dogs were not even awake to snap at his heels as he trudged up the winding cobblestone lane toward the main street past the still darkened cottages of his neighbors. Every step Terian took oppressed his soul. Grief racked his massive frame with this fifth loss. Doubt penetrated his heart that God would bless them with an heir. It seemed the prophecy of the local soothsayer would hold true.

Terian forbade Pomelia from seeking advice from the old crone after her first miscarriage. Pomelia, however, secretly visited her while he was away at the castle at Congor’s request to discuss the new designs for the battle armor for the king’s warriors. Congor was the king’s man of arms and chief counselor.

Terian returned to find Pomelia had given the old soothsayer a month’s worth of wages for a mixture of foul, musky herbs that were to be made into a drink and drank before each session of intimacy as they chanted to a small gross ebony carving of a fertility deity.

Terian’s rage exploded and for the first time in his life, he wanted to raise his hand to another human. He snatched the herbs and carving and heaved them into the flames of his forge. Pomelia ran wailing into the cottage. He pumped the bellows to engorge the flames and eradicated the abominations out of existence. He turned his frustration to his hammer and anvil. Terian shaped a pile of metal into various sizes of breastplates. The anvil’s clang echoed off the walls of the village cottages.

Several hours later, the shuffled tap of the soothsayer’s steps and cane interrupted him. She stood in the doorway, weaving heavily against the twisted knarred cane.

“Be gone, hag! There is no welcome at my hearth for you or your abominable deities. Leave my wife and me in peace before I dispatch you in my forge, as I did your graven image and poison.” The warning rumbled through the rafters of the shop and stable, causing the nesting doves to take reckless flight in fear.

She cackled with delight over Terian’s raging frustration. She crooned and leaned against her cane as she pointed a gnarled finger at him, “I’m not frightened of your ravings against me as one of the pathetic doves roosting in your rafters. Your wife came to me, begging me for my help, since your god wasn’t strong enough to hold a child within her womb full term to deliver a healthy son. I warned her if you had an inkling that she was going to be using my help, your pride in your worthless god would compel you to destroy her plans, dashing her desires for a son.

“You’ve done exactly as I foretold. Because of your blasphemy against Kernel, Pomelia will continue to try, but will never give you a live heir until Kernel claims her also, leaving you wallowing in your pride for your pitiful, minute god for the rest of your miserable life.”

Terian could stand no more of her threats. He hurled his hammer at the old crone’s balding scraps of hair, “Leave Pomelia alone. My God is greater than anything you can carve, witch.”

She disappeared, cackling, “We will see blacksmith, we will see.”

The hammer embedded itself in the massive oak door frame.

Terian’s mind swirled in self-doubt mixed with guilt that indeed these tragedies could have been diverted if he had cooperated with Pomelia’s plan, instead of relying on his faith in God. They could have five healthy sons if he had chosen differently.

The soothsayer’s cackle echoed throughout his soul, mocked his faith with ‘We’ll see blacksmith, we’ll see!’ With every step he took, it tried to divert him from his destiny. Soon every muscle in his body strained against his will, wanting Terian to stop, turn aside to the gnarled, vine covered trail that lead to the soothsayer’s tumbled down hovel, and beg her to lift her curse.

Still he stayed true to the course as it led Terian humbly through the village past cottage after cottage filled with slumbering children. He arrived at the ornate iron gate he designed with love. Terian lifted the heavy latch and pushed the gate inward. The gate groaned and shattered the stillness of the night. It woke the rectory guard dog. It bayed loudly at his approach.

A chorus of howls joined the guard dog’s baying seconds later. A light blinked on in the rectory window as the pastor groggily met Terian at the door. He held his lamp high in front of him to see who was at the rectory this late at night. The beam of light barely radiated through the darkness and revealed a hazy, gigantic form moving among the tombstones toward the rectory.

“Quiet whelp, before you wake the whole village with your baying. I’m awake. Who’s there? Terian, Terian is that you?” The pastor called out and peered in the darkness. “Terian, why have you come at such an ungodly hour? What are you carrying?”

Terian’s heavy shuffled steps mingled with the baying hound. It sent an eerie chill running through the pastor’s soul. Terian came into view cradling the bloody shrouded parcel tightly against his chest. Blood coated his chest and forearms. Terian kissed the cradled shroud. He held it out to the pastor, his chocolate brown eyes swollen under his knitted brow. Strands of silver glittered among the mass of ebony hair that four years ago had none. Terian’s tawny skin now held a sallow glow. Tears streamed down his cheeks unchecked.

His voice rumbled full of sorrow, “Pomelia miscarried another son. I need you to prepare my son for burial, as Pomelia is incapable to perform the necessary cleaning ceremony. I’ll be in the chapel.”

The pastor quaked as he reached out and took the shrouded infant from the grieving father. He passed it to his wife with the lantern, who arrived behind him for the needed ceremony. “Yes, yes go ahead Terian. I’ll dress and go to Pomelia. She needs to be cleansed, then I’ll be back to prepare your son.” He reassured Terian as he shooed Terian through the rectory to the chapel.

“No, there is no need to bother Pomelia. She is resting.”

The pastor drew back at the rebuff, “Terian, you know the cleansing ritual must be performed within an hour of the birth to ensure the mother’s health.”

An iron grip slammed around the pastor’s forearm and painfully halted his progress. “I said, leave her be. Do you think I am incapable of performing the cleansing ritual correctly after four previous miscarriages? She is fine. Sleep is what she requires now. It is our son’s body that needs attention.”

The pastor winched in pain, “Terian, my arm, you’re crushing my arm!”

Terian immediately released his grip and muttered his apologies. “Sorry, just let her sleep, please,” then went into the chapel. He moved slowly up the aisle to the altar. He lit two candles. He knelt deep in prayer. The pastor closed the door and left Terian in privacy to wrestle with his sorrow.

Moans of anguish escaped Terian’s trembling lips. Tears streamed along the crevasses of the sun-stained face. They soaked his chest and left trails through the caked blood. It pooled on the floor around his knees. His mind could only scream repeatedly, “Why, God?” His body was racked in grief at failing his wife once more, enforcing her fears of the soothsayer’s prophecy.

Streams of light filtered through the altar’s stained glass window. It cast a rainbow of color across the crumpled man. It grew in intensity, bathing Terian in its warmth.

“Terian,” a soft unseen voice shattered the silence, “Terian, rise.”

Terian slowly lifted his head. His swollen, bloodshot eyes dimly focused on the blurry shape behind the altar in front of the stained glass window. “Leave me in peace. I need solitude, not company.”

“Terian, rise, and hear the Words of God, for He has heard and felt your sorrow.”

Terian wiped his eyes with the back of his hand to clear the tears from his eyes. Terian tried to identify the intruder of his solitude. His eyes concentrated enough to view a tall, well-formed man, clothed in iridescent robes. The man lifted up his hand for Terian to obey him.

Terian shook his head, “I beg of you, leave me in peace.”

A brilliant light burst forth from the man and caused Terian to shield his eyes from the blinding light, “Terian, rise, for God has granted you His mercy. I am Moryx, messenger of God.” his voice reverberated throughout every molecule of Terian.

Terian raised his massive frame. It quaked in fear then he collapsed in a heap, “Forgive me Lord, for I’m but an unschooled oaf in the midst of grievous sorrow.”

Moryx unfurled a magnificent set of wings and arched them high over his chiseled bronze features, “Do not bow before me, for I am not God. Rise, Terian and view God’s glory through me.”

Terian rose, shielded his eyes, his legs quivered, barely able to hold him erect. “Who am I that God has felt my sorrow, and has mercy upon me?”

“You are who you are, no more, no less. God has chosen you to bear His healer to aid in the war against the evil ravaging Surflex. She will aid God’s warrior to free your kingdom from the evil grip that is tightening its coils around the kingdom’s soul.”

“A daughter, God will bless me with a daughter? Forgive me; but wouldn’t a son be a better candidate for a warrior of God? A daughter may not be strong enough to carry out God’s plan for freedom.”

Moryx’s wings spread out filling the space behind the altar. They blotted out everything else. “God has chosen His champion already to fight the battle with evil. Your daughter must heal the sorrow caused from the ensuing battle. To allow her to reach her full potential there is much preparation. There will be no other midwife but you to bring her into the world. You will wear calfskin gloves at all times in dealing with your daughter. She is not to be touched without gloved hands. Her mother or a wet nurse will not nurse her, for she will be unable to control the healing powers until she reaches maturity. It would drain her life force during the healing.

“You shall teach your daughter how to be genial and merciful. You shall show her how to love those who despise her, those who fear and envy her power. Keep her secret well, even from Pomelia, for even her mother will try to use her power for her own selfish desires.”

Terian fell to his knees, his hands clasped together and begged for leniency, “Please don’t condemn my child to a life without contact with another living soul. Every living thing craves contact with others. She couldn’t live without being able to feel another’s embrace.”

Moryx’s stern angelic features softened, “God knows of her need for contact and is not unfeeling. She may touch any animal bare handed, no matter the species. They will have no fear of her and will serve her slightest wish even unto death. Go now, for Pomelia is now awakened and the time of your son’s burial is at hand.”

Terian rose as Moryx vanished. He left the chapel and made his way home to collect his wife for their son’s burial. A large strip of silver hair hanging down in Terain’s eyes glistened in the dawn’s rose-colored light, a constant reminder to Terian of his conversation with Moryx.

Once again here are the links for ‘Healer of Surflex’ you can find it in eBook print and Audio format. :

https://www.amzn.to1u92UUj

https://www.books2read.com/u/bWekMm


https://www.acx.com/titleview/A10U52CZ0IIOMS .

Free Chapter of Thriller

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Next on the free chapter list is the first chapter of my thriller Window Pane. You can find the whole novel at the following links: 
https://www.books2read.com/u/mK9BBZ   and https://www.amzn.to/1u92UUj


CHAPTER 1

The rain streaked the window pane against the pitch black night. Thunder rumbled far away; it echoed the emptiness she felt within her soul. Where was she? Why did they leave her here? She stared at the image reflected in the window. Who was this strange woman staring back at her? She had no recollection of how she got here, who brought her here or why. The image distorted in the waves of rain running down the window.

The harder she tried to understand what was going on the more frustration swelledwithin her soul. How could the old crone’s reflection in the window be her? She raised her fist to smash the image and stopped in horror. The fist was age speckled and the skin hung loose on the bony fingers. She twirled around to flee this horrible nightmare but her body creaked and groaned in protest. Nothing she saw was familiar. The furniture in the small room was pleasant enough, but held no comfort. The walls were painted in pale beige. The pictures on the walls beckoned to her, yet the people were not identifiable.  Where were the matching pair of wingbackchairs she cuddled up in under the soft quilt watching the flames flicker in the fireplace?

She hobbled to the door. Hospital stench bombarded her senses as she pulled the heavy door open. The lights were very dim in the narrow hallway, making it nearly impossible for her to see where she was going. She held her shaky hand out in front of her as she shuffled her feet to keep her footsteps as quiet as she could. If only she could get out of wherever this was, maybe she could findher way home.

She passed door after door, hearing low moans along with whiffs of obnoxious odors coming from behind the doors. She finally reached the end of the hall. It emptied out into a larger corridor that had seven other hallways branching off just like the one where she stood. In the middle of the corridor was a central desk. The only light in the corridor was a dim light from a computer screen sitting on the desk. On the other side of the desk above a double set of doors blinked a neon red exit sign.

She crept towards the doors. The exit sign beckoned to her to hurry as there was not much time for her to escape to freedom. The nearer she came the harder it was to breathe. Her heartbeat started pounding in her ears. Her legs were trembling by the time she arrived at the door. She leaned against the door, closing her eyes. The cool wood felt good to her feverish cheek. She drew a breath deep as she could muster before she tried to stand straight. Tiny shards of colored lights danced in front of her eyes as she grabbed the lever door handle. She shoved it down with all her weight.

She heard a click as the door latch came free. A second later, a loud alarm sounded. She pushed the door as hard as she could, trying to squeeze by the heavy door. Rain splashed against her face as she wedged her body in the small opening.

Heavy footsteps rumbled above the sound of the rain as she felt the door move outward. Just as she freed herself, a firm gentle hand caught her by the arm and pulled her back.

“Hey, what do you think you are doing trying to go out in this rain storm?” The large orderly swept her up in his arms and pulled the door shut. He set her in the wheelchair that was by the desk, and then reached over the desk, shutting off the alarm. He knelt by the chair, placed his mammoth hand over the fragile shoulder. “You know I cannot allow you out this late at night in the midst of a downpour. Let’s get you back in your room and in dry clothes. I may even be able to find a little bit of cocoa to warm you from the chill.” His eyes sparkled with kindness as he gently lifted her feet up on the wheelchair foot rest.

The wheelchair squeaked as the small front wheels wobbled severely. He had a hard time keeping the chair going in a straight line. “Looks like I’m going to have to get the oil can out again.” He gave a sigh as he bumped the door to her room open with his foot and backed into the room. He wheeled her over by the bed then went and got a towel, draping it over her shoulders. He then got a gown out of the dresser, laying it on the bed. “Here is a nice warm gown for you to change into while I finish making my rounds, then I will get you a cup of cocoa.” He lifted her out of the wheel chair and sat her on the bed.

He folded the wheelchair as he gave her a warm smile, then he was gone. She looked down at the gown and then over at the rain streaked window. Even though he was nice, she did not want their cocoa. It always had a bitter after taste. It made her groggy and she could not think straight for hours afterwards. She changed and threw the wet gown in the hamper.

The door across the room opened, admitting a tall, elegant, mature man carrying a covered tray. He smiled at her as he set the tray on the small table. “Figured the storm would wake you, here, sit down. I made you a nice cup of French vanilla mocha cocoa.  I even swiped extra marshmallows for us.” He gently guided her to the chaise before sitting beside her, removing the cover, revealing an array of delicious petit fours with two steaming mugs of cocoa. “Thunder always upset you.”

She kept an eye on his every movement as he prepared the mug of cocoa with marshmallows for her. His mannerisms and twinkling gray eyes gave her a small comfort in this sterile environment. The gray hair over his ears added to his charm as the laugh lines crinkled at the edges of his eyes.

He held out the mug toward her. The delicious aroma won her over and she carefully took it wrapping her thin fingers around the mug. Its warmth spread through her fingers up her slender wrists traveling to her heart. There, it slowly wiped away the hollowness and filled her with hope. She watched as he sat back and sipped his cocoa and popped a petit four in his mouth. He closed his eyes as he chewed. A satisfied grin spread across his face.

She sat there, sipping from the mug, as she kept a cautious eye on the man’s movements. There was something strange about how he knew she would like this cocoa. It was as if he could reach into her mind and pull out things prohibited to her. She wanted to throw the mug against the wall and scream questions at him.

He sat up and handed her a petit four before snatching several more and popped them into his cheeks. He looked like a chipmunk gathering nuts for the winter. He turned and tried to smile at her. The chocolate covered teeth and crooked grin broke down her resistance and she gave a small giggle.

He washed the petit four down before joining her in the giggle. “I love to hear you laugh. It lightens your soul and heart when you do.”

She sat the cup and petit four down. “Do I know you? I cannot remember anything any more. I do not know where I am or how I got here. Please help me.” A tear gathered in the corner of her eye.

He set the cup down and reached into his pocket withdrawing a large embroidered monogrammed handkerchief and dried the tear. He handed her the handkerchief as he gently pulled her to her feet and into his embrace. There she felt comfort, peace, and fulfillment.

He caressed her hair as he leaned his chin on the top of her head.

https://www.books2read.com/u/mK9BBZ

https://www.amzn.to/1u92UUj

Fifth Free Chapter in DeBois

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Merry Christmas everyone! As you hurry along your way getting everything done for the upcoming Christmas season don’t forget to check out these month’s free chapter in the DeBois Series. The Title is Blizzard Terror. You can find it at the following links: https://www.books2read.com/u/31jMwm and https://amzn.to/1u92UUj. Enjoy.3D Blizzard Terror

Prequel:
Terror now coursed through Su. Her heart hammered within her chest as she heard the rumbles of the mountain lion anticipating warding off starvation. Running over the broken ground, her lungs burnt from over exertion toward the lightness lying before her amidst the darken forest. Su pressed her body forward bursting through into the brilliant light. It blinded her.
She stumbled forward trying to evade the terrible death gaining on her. Su heard the mountain lion’s screams of victory right behind her. She smelled its singed fur as the mountain lion pounced trying for the kill. She felt the heavy weight upon her shoulders dragging her down then she was weightless. The lion was gone as Su fell faster flipping through emptiness.
Suddenly, Su’s fall halted, as she crashed into the water and plunged beneath its dark frigid surface. The current drug her farther from the surface away from the precious needed oxygen her burning lungs craved. Su clawed her way toward the dim glimmering surface only to find her way impaired by a wall of ice.
She desperately tried to break through the ice. She searched for pockets of trapped air under the ice as the frigid water drained what little reserve of strength from her body.
A dark shadow crossed over her above the ice. Su pounded on the ice trying to draw attention but it continued away from her. Su felt the rest of her strength drain away as she let out one final scream. “Ah-h-h-h-h-h-h!”

CHAPTER 1
Robert Williamson opened the bottom of his case and pulled out four thin vests looking similar to a bulletproof vest along with thin white parachute material parkas. He then pulled out three dart rifles complete with darts. He laid them on the table beside the rest of the items from the other two cases.
Jean DeBois picked up the small plastic case and took out the earpiece placing it in his ear before handing one to each of the rest. “Skyrider can you hear me?”
“You’re coming in loud and clear, boss man. I have Frank and his unit up already. The Canadians were generous in sending a whole four more men making the grand total twelve with the control head making it thirteen, an even baker’s dozen.
“I need you guys to sound off when you hear the pulse in your earpiece so I can make the proper connection with the name. That way, I don’t call out the incorrect name during the bust. When they sound off hand them the vest with the corresponding chip.” Janet Post sent the first pulse through making Mark Prix sound off with a yelp.
“Turn down the volume a little, Skyrider, you nearly broke my eardrum.” Mark held out his hand for his vest.
“Whine, whine, whine, that’s all you do any more, Eddie.” Robert held out his hand when the pulse sounded. “We’re going to have to wipe your nose for you, too.”
“I’ll wipe your nose with my fist.” Mark growled staring for Robert.
“Save it for the take down.” Janet activated Kyle’s earpiece.
Jean handed Kyle the vest then took the last one for himself. He placed it on under his shirt. Jean passed out the parkas to the group. Robert and Mark followed Jean’s example.
However, Kyle just stood there with vest in his hand. The group shot him a puzzled glance when he did not follow suit.
Kyle tried to hand the vest back to Jean, frustrated over the obvious joke they were trying to pull on him. “Come on now, you’re not trying to tell me this flimsy scrap of cloth is my vest. Where is the real bulletproof vest?”
Jean just gave Kyle a cockeyed grim, “What’s a matter Lee; the Mounties don’t have the cutting edge on Teflon technology? These are state of the art vest. They can even stop a large caliber bullet; however, I won’t recommend you try it. You end up in the hospital with massive bruising. You’ll be able to take the normal slug and finish your mission without too much pain so put it on. It also gives Skyrider a way to distinguish you from the rest of the bodies during the firefight. The chip in it gives off a certain frequency. The equipment we use with the technology is for our knowledge only, got that Lee?”
Kyle shook his head but did not like the feeling rising in the pit of his stomach.
“Skyrider what’s the position of the camp as you see it?” Jean moved to the edge of the window and peered out.
“The sentries are in their usual nest with five people in the main cabin’s office. There are four in the cabin nearest to the lake. The middle cabin has six milling around and the last, nearest your position has three.
“Frank and the unit are on their way in the Huey flying just above the tree line to keep under the radar. Your guest has settled in the nest, correct?”
Jean stared out through the flurry then moved to the back of the cabin to open the window. “He arrived a half an hour ago. He hasn’t surfaced from the main cabin.”
“Okay, the mission’s a go. Take out the sentries first. You have five minutes to zero staring now.” Janet signaled.
“You heard Skyrider, lock and load.” Jean barked under his breath then disappeared out the window.
Kyle shook his head following Jean out the window, muttering, “Man, is he always this quick?” to Robert.
“No, sometimes he’s in a hurry then he’s just a blur.”
“Stop yakking and start tracking.” Mark growled as he shoved Robert out of the way then crawled out the window. “We are late by three seconds.”
Mark checked to make sure the coast was clear then disappeared into the forest.
Robert came through signaling to Kyle to move out of the way so he could get into position. He heard a low signal from Jean as Robert slide in position. Robert leveled the dart gun at his target and signaled back. Seconds later, Mark’s signal came through loud and clear.
“On three gentlemen,” Janet ordered, “Three.”
Jean and Robert’s darts hit their marks and two sentries fell simultaneously in the deep snow with a soft plop. The sentry slipped on a patch of ice as Mark’s dart sped over him.
“Damn ice,” Mark spat sprinted to finish what the dart failed to do. He tackled the sentry rising and they sprawled into the snow bank. Snow furiously erupted as fist and feet flew. Mark came out on top. He cold cocked the sentry then tied and gagged the sentry. “Station three secure.”
“It’s about time, mud boy. Stop grand standing and get to your position. I can hear the Huey coming. Station two secure.”
“Holiday, concentrate on the task at hand. Station one secure. Lee, are you in place? Skyrider how’s the quarry? It’s time to rock and roll.” Jean peered out from behind the bushes.
“I’m in position.” Kyle whispered as he slid against the nearest cabin door. He could swear they could hear his heart pound over the ear canal device. Mark and Robert silently stole up in place as Jean prepared to enter the main cabin through the window.
“Gabe your quarry’s still in the office. The Huey is ready to come in.” Janet reported.
Jean stealthily slid the window open. He crawled through into the dining room and closed the window behind him. He heard the Huey land and shouted, “Now!”
Kyle, Mark, and Robert burst through the corresponding doors, screaming, “On your faces! You’re under arrest by the order of the Canadian Mounties!”
Jean simultaneously tipped over the table, “Matthew get out here. You’re under arrest!”
Officers swarmed out of the Huey as it landed. The blades of the Huey kicked up the deep snow throwing it everywhere.
Jean received his answer from Matthews as he came out with the AK47 blazing trying for the front door. Jean returned fire stopping Matthew’s escape. “Oakley I need you at the main cabin. Matthew’s trying to break free.” Jean traded gunfire between Matthew and the office doorway.
“I’m on my way. You two with me, the rest help round up the others in the cabins.” Jack roared heading for the front of the cabin. He took up a position behind a snowdrift.
“Make it snappy, Oakley. They’re mounting a breakout in the office. Here they come! Look out Gabe!” Janet gave a warning. She caught movement in her peripheral vision on the edge of the screen in the other cabin. “Lee, behind you!”
Kyle moved just in time to ward off the blow aimed by Omar Kariff. Kyle swung around bringing a crashing blow upside Kariff’s face as he flew by. Tripper and one of Kyle’s fellow Mounties appeared in the doorway brandishing their weapons to keep the others at bay against the wall. Kyle crashed his knee in Omar’s back seconds after Omar hit the floor. Kyle slugged Omar with the butt of his rifle as Omar tried to rise. Omar fell unconscious.
The four came out of the office laying down a barrage of gunfire spraying the table with bullets. Jean dodged back and forth the bullets made their way through the table spraying wood splinters as they came.
“Any time Oakley! My cover’s being dwindling down to kindling!” Jean bellowed returning fire hitting one in the shoulder as they made their way to Matthew by the door. “They’re coming out!”
A second later, Jean heard Jack lay down barrage of his own. The bullets slammed into the side of the cabin. Jack yelled ordering them to lay down their arms. They were under arrest. To which a rain of bullets flew at him. Jean took that advantage to shoot another terrorist drawing down on Jack. This time Jean’s aim was deadly. The man fell forward in a pool of blood. Caught in the crossfire the terrorists gave up throwing their weapons down.
Dave Matthew complied with the rest. His eyes burnt with hatred revealing the fight was not over for him.
Jack had the men fan out then called for the terrorists to lock their hands behind their heads slowly filing in a single line. The Mounties took them into custody one by one as they came through the doorway with Jean and the wounded prisoner bringing up the rear.
When they tried to cuff Matthew he broke free running straight into Jean’s fist. Jean hit Matthew with a right cross snapping Matthew’s head sideways. Matthew recovered in a flash. The fight between them manifested quickly.
Matthew was a powerhouse in his own right but smaller in stature than Jean. He matched Jean blow for blow and kick for kick. He came at Jean as a boxer his arms drew in close to his body fists raised high as he bobbed. He started with a series of blows in rapid fire. Only a couple found the desired mark. Each blow he landed Jean landed one a little harder. In total frustration, Matthew went from boxing to a mixture of punches and kicks.
Jean moved swiftly into his martial art stance warding off Matthew’s advances with his own counter moves. Jean roundhouse kicked Matthew in the face throwing Matthew off his feet.
Matthew swung away throwing snow in Jean’s face temporarily blinding Jean to try to gain some advantage. He pulled a dagger lunging at Jean trying to plunge it into Jean’s heart.
Jean sidestepped the lunge. The dagger slid across Jean’s chest slicing through the parka and shirt glancing off the vest. Jean grabbed Matthew’s wrist with his left hand smashing Matthew three times in the face with his right elbow. Matthew staggered under the blows as Jean stepped behind Matthew’s right leg slamming Matthew in the chest taking him down. Jean wrenched Matthew’s arm out of the socket as he fell then slammed his knee into Matthew’s chest, leaning heavily against it holding the injured arm around his knee.
Matthew scowled through the pain his blazing with repulsion curing Jean in Arabic then hissed in English, “Don’t think this will stop us from achieving our goal. You won’t hold me long!”
Jean smirked a cockeyed grin at him, “If you’re counting on your NY connection in the Marshal Division think again, scumbag,”
Jean knew he hit a nerve for Matthew’s face went ashen. His eyes glazed for a split second then tried to bluff his way. “I don’t deal with swine, Pig!”
“You don’t? Watch and learn, Skyrider, you there?” Jean pulled out the earpiece placing near Matthew’s ear so he could hear.
“Coming over loud and clear,” Janet’s voice snapped.
Jean moved the ear device back in his ear. “Tell New York he has the green light to arrest Bartlett. Yes, that’s right New York’s divisional commander Pierce Bartlett. The charges are terrorism, treason, drug running, gunrunning, sabotage and I’ll probably be able to come up with a few more charges by the time we’re done. Hey Matthew, you want to listen in as your connection comes crashing down?”
“Get your damn knee out of my chest Dog! I need a hospital!” Matthew hissed trying to dislodge Jean’s knee with his other hand squirming slightly amidst the excruciating pain.
“He whines more than Eddie does.” Jack came over glaring down at Matthew squirming in the snow under Jean’s weight. “It doesn’t look like you did that much damage for him to be squealing like a piglet.”
“I didn’t, I only pulled his arm out of the socket. Give me a hand and I will put it back in for the crybaby. Leg, Ed, get over here.” Jean answered as Jack grabbed Matthew by the shirt hauling him to his feet keeping his weapon barrel buried against Matthew neck while Jean held onto Matthew’s wrist.
Mark and Robert responded. Jack handed his weapon to Robert. Robert pointed it at Matthew’s chest. Mark trained his weapon’s laser site in the middle of Matthew’s eyes.
“If he tries anything take him out.” Jean ordered as he and Jack got ready.
“It’ll be my pleasure.” Mark replied.
Jack twisted Matthew’s other arm behind his back taking a hold of Matthew by the neck holding him firmly bracing himself. Jean held Matthew at the elbow then nodded to Jack he was ready. The next second, Jean yanked Matthews arm as his knee went into Matthew’s ribs then he release the knee allowing the arm to snap back into the socket with a resounding pop. Jean folded Matthew’s arm against his chest. One of the Mounties came over with a pair of handcuffs for Matthew but was in a quandary as to apply them with one arm in front and the other and back.
A devilish smile spread across Mark’s face. He lowered his weapon disappearing into the cabin for a couple seconds then came out sporting a roll of duct tape. Jack and Jean held Matthew while Mark wrapped the tape first around Matthew’s wrist then drew the tape up across his chest around his neck twice before connecting it to the other wrist. He wrapped Matthew up in the tape from shoulder to waist. As Mark finished Matthew started cursing and in return got a piece of duct tape across his mouth firmly.
“Ah quit your bellyaching about the tape. I just made sure your arm was immobile so it doesn’t pop out of the socket again. Man, you sure act like we’re the terrorist or something.” Mark retorted pressing the tape firmly into Matthew’s face.
Kyle came over, “Ah… you can’t tape his mouth shut as much as we all would like it that way.”
Mark shrugged his shoulders with a mischievous grin. “Okay.” He replied ripping the tape free with one swift jerk.
Matthew screamed involuntarily as most of his mustache came off with duct tape. He started cursing spitting at them. Kyle handed him off to one of the Mounties. “Knock off with the mouth or I’ll reconsider the tape.” He ordered.
Jean went over squatting beside the dead man turning him over. It was the contact. James came over taking a closer look at the man. “No way!” He muttered.
Jean looked up at James, “You know him?”
“Yeah, he was Hogan’s new son-in-law. No wonder they weren’t that worried about Hogan’s captured. They were grooming the replacement for him. I guess he got to be too sick or even the cartel to stomach.”
“Speaking of cartel, hey Skyrider how has the other two busts come down?” Jean asked standing up.
Janet’s voice sparkled coming over, “Roddy and Amber didn’t have any problem but Bartlet put up a fight since New York was arresting him at a dinner party this center was throwing for him. New York felt obligated to reciprocate the favor taken him down hard. Bartlet’s still yelling about how he’s going to get the person responsible for framing him and his associates in high places will see he’s avenged. If he spouting any truth, it looks like we’re going to have to shake the tree harder to see if there are any more bad apples hanging around.
“How’s the mop up work going there? It looks from my vantage point it seems to be going pretty smooth.” Janet radioed.
“They have the prisoners in the back of one of the work trucks for transporting back to civilization. They are rounding up the evidence now. In a few minutes we’ll be out a here after we gather our equipment.” Jean answered heading for the cabin.
Jean was packing the gear when Kyle entered the cabin coming over shaking Jean’s hand. “Thank you for all you’ve done. I’m glad it’s over.”
Jean drew back scowling at him. “You’re kidding, right?”
It puzzled look crossed Kyle’s face.
“Man Kyle, you’re just getting started. There were representatives from five different terrorist organizations with a connection to a drug cartel. Someone’s coordinating this scheme. It’s your job to track down every lead you have picked up here squashing it at its source or in six months top, you’ll be right back in the same boat. Only next time you’ll be dealing with three or more cells doing it at the same time.” Jean agitatedly shoved the last of the gear in the duffel bag zipping it shut.
“Start with the non-terrorist first cutting them a deal for solid information leads. Gather yourself a unit you can trust from the elite making sure they are what they say and above reproach. Don’t pick any grand standards. They’re out for the glory and the quickest rise in the ranks at anyone’s expense. Once you have your team. Work on the leads making sure someone in your units a whiz with computers. They are using technology at lightning speed changing continually. You’ll need to be able to keep up or you’ll always be three steps behind them.” Jean slung the duffel bag over his shoulder giving Kyle one and hung onto the other in his left hand.
“Hone your own skills. You have many excellent qualities however, you’re raw. Don’t always try to bulldog your way through. Each situation requires its own personal handling. Train your unit to work as one. There is no such thing as a need to know basis in an elite unit. It’ll handicap your people if you allow it to happen. Your unit should be as part of your family you trust exclusively with your life because your life will depend upon theirs in the field needing to trust each other and vice versa. I’ll need that vest and your earpiece now. We need to leave.
“Also watch out for Matthew. Even though he’s in custody, he’s still a dangerous man. They didn’t place him in charge for nothing. Stay on a heightened state of alert all the way back for he’ll be looking for a way to escape taking advantage of any situation, which presents itself to obtain his objective.”
Kyle stripped off the vest handing in and the earpiece to Jean. “You wouldn’t be in the market for a transfer to Canada would you?” He smiled opening the door for Jean as they headed back to the Huey.
“No I have other plans and this mission cinched it for me.” Jean answered storing the gear in the Huey. “You look like you have things well in hand so we will be taking off. We have a mission needing our immediate attention. Remember to keep an eye on Matthew.” He gave a shrill whistle summoning members of his unit.
“Hey Gabe, you got a number I can reach you if I need your counsel?” Kyle asked as the troop piled in the Huey.
Jean gave Kyle a penetrating glance and snagged a scrap of paper and pencil scribbling down four numbers handing them to Kyle. “The first is to my office, the second Oakley’s and the third and fourth are to be used only in emergency and I mean emergency. Have a good life and watch your back. Let’s get moving.” Jean barked climbing into the copilot seat.
Kyle backed up as Jack started the Huey taking off. Jean fastened in looking around. “Where’s my stuff?” He snarled.
Slaughter reached down into the crate and pulled out a large envelope handing it up to Jean. He snatched it as soon as it was in reach opening and taking the wallet out of his hip pocket throwing it back towards the crate bounced off the wall with a resounding thud before plopping into the crate. The Harley ring followed the wallet. Jean poured the context of the envelope onto his lap. He strapped the wrist monitor on his wrist then gently picked up his wedding ring sliding it back in its place on his left ring finger. He slid his shield into his shirt pocket and his wallet into his pants pocket.
He turned the monitor on and went ballistic because they were out of range. “Janet!” He bellowed. “Where is she?”
“I’m bringing the area up now. You’re ten minutes out of range. The signal’s in the same location as first reported. Jean it hasn’t moved in almost eighteen hours. Jack, floor the Huey.” Janet ordered transmitting the coordinates.
“Scanning the area see if you can do any better than Peter and Sarah. I want information and I want it now!” Jean grabbed a set of binoculars scanning the horizon.
“The campsite is coming in sight now. Let’s see, there are remains of a campsite, the grave with the crosses. I’m panning the area now, okay. There is a layer of snow on everything. Someone has collected debris from the plane going through it. By the campfire ring, there is evidence of a bed. I’m moving out from the campsite slowly. There are slight impressions in the snow of an animal prowling the campsite but I don’t see evidence of any human tracks. Moving out more and okay there’s the view of the river so they should know it’s there.”
“What about where the signal’s coming from, can you get a better view of where it is than just trees, Janet? All Peter could bring up was blasted trees.” Jean scanned the area.
“Jean, I just found another woven cross on the edge of the clearing hanging in a horizontal position pointing towards the river. Good job Su. Jean she has left the clearing before the snow fell marking the way they went with pieces of…of… her hair. You should be picking up the signal by now on your monitor. It’s coming from the left of the campsite so my guess would be during the crash it somehow torn off Sue’s wrist. You have to track her the old-fashioned way. The clearing isn’t large enough for the Huey to land so you’re going to have to repel down to it.”
Jean glanced over his shoulder towards the others in his unit. “You heard her, what the hell are you just sitting on your derrière’s for? Break out the equipment making sure everyone’s ready to go by the time we arrived or you’ll go down the hard way!”
Slaughter, Tripper, and James looked over at the rest as Robert sprang into action followed closely by Mark to the back in the Huey. Slaughter got up to help. Mark relayed the equipment to him.
“Mark, he was just kidding about that, right? Trying to lighten up things,” Slaughter took the armload from Mark.
Mark stared at him straight in the eyes, snapping, “No!”
That motivated Tripper and James. By the time they arrived at the crash site, the winch was in place with the harnesses on the apparatus. Jack hovered above the clearing while Mark opened the door with Robert snapping the last wench into place securing it to the Huey. Jean unbuckled moving to the rear compartment. Jack caught a glimpse of his demeanor as he passed by.
“Jean wait this time until the…” was all Jack got out of his mouth before hearing the winch whirled screeching in protest as Jean rode the cable down.
“Man he didn’t even use a harness.” James leaned out watching Jean descend, letting go the last fifteen feet doing a rolling landing then was gone.
Robert snapped up on the first repelling equipment to the cable barking at James, “What are you waiting for? He’s not going to wait forever. Get going.”
James secured his harness and said a quick prayer before he stepped off into nothingness. Within two minutes, Mark, Slaughter, and Tripper joined him on the ground. They heard a “Heads up” then a harness slammed into the mist of them.
“Secure the body from the grave for transport and find out where Jean went.” Jack’s voice boomed in their ears. Slaughter and Tripper took on the task of preparing the body as Mark and James followed Jean’s tracks. James led the way following Jean’s trail into the underbrush. All too soon, they lost the trail stopping for a breather amidst the trees which closed in over their heads.
“You see any sign of him, Mark? I can hardly see anything in this mess.” James wheezed holding his side to ease the pain.
“No, but he’s close. Jean, come on answer me, where are you? Mark searched for some sign of him. Mark was examining some snow by the tree-line when he suddenly froze then leaped aside hollering for James to watch out as a shower of heavy snow fell from the trees above covering them and a blanket of white. Jean dropped gently to the ground Su’s bracelet in his hand.
“Get off your asses and let’s go. Some help you two are. If I was a terrorist, you both would be dead.” Jean started back to the clearing.
James made the mistake of answering him. “We’re on a rescue mission now not a covert mission any longer.”
Jean was in his face instantaneously. “All the more to stay alert, you miss the smallest details out here and it could meet someone’s life or didn’t you recognize those paw prints of that cougar? It’s maimed so it’s normal prey is not an option for it. Keep your bloody eyes open before you become some animal’s supper. Jack?”
“Yes Jean.”
“I found Su’s bracelet. It was in a magpie’s nest. It was torn off her wrist meaning she’s hurt her wrist, properly broken. The woven cross supports that assessment. It isn’t woven as tightly as she usually does. I haven’t discovered any footprints from the survivors yet. The only footprints were the paw tracks of a main cougar so Janet’s theory of them moving out before the snowfall holds water. We’re a good thirty-six to forty hours behind them. Have you secured the body in the Huey yet?”
“Karine Murphy is aboard and secured. Jean the wind is starting to pick up speed. That storm front’s coming in faster than we expected.”
Jean arrived at the campsite to see the Huey get hit with a strong blast in the side moving the Huey a good two hundred feet before Jack was able to bring it back. Jean ordered the team to the Huey when Jack’s cell phone went off. He dug in his pocket quickly barked, “Oakley.”
“Oakley we need your help. The truck turned over on a sharp curve and there were injuries.” Kyle’s voice cut in and out. “Several prisoners escape. Matthew was one of them.”
“Hang in there Kyle help is on the way. Skyrider triangulate where Kyle is through my cell phone,” Jack ordered. “Jean, we have trouble with the mission.”
“Mark, book up that rope. James, follow him. I’ll find Su and let you know where we are, Jack. What are you waiting for James, an engraved invitation? Mark is in the Huey so keep going.”
James shook his head no, “I’m with you. I have your back. Robert, throw down a pack.”
Jean exploded, “I don’t have time to keep you in tow. I’ll be moving fast. They’re probably hurt needing immediate assistance to survive so get your ass up that rope!”
“If they’re hurt, you’ll need help getting them out.” James yelled back and seconds later a pack slammed on the ground between them as Jean heard the whine of the winch retracting. The Huey’s engine roared away.
“Jack!” Jean screamed.
“You’re outvoted this time, buddy. You can pound me into a pulp after you locate them and have them safely back. Godspeed Jean, bring her home.”
Jean stood there for a split second watching the Huey fly off to help Kyle. His jaw ground his teeth. Frustration set in his face, his eyes blazing at Jack’s defiance of direct orders. He turned and disappeared into the underbrush.
James saw only a blur of him snagging the woven cross that marked the trail. James grabbed the pack slinging it over his shoulder and plunged and after Jean.
Jean call back, “Come on get the lead out. We’re going to lose what little light we have.” James feet pounded through the snow the brambles tearing at him trying to follow the small trail Jean was blazing.

DeBois book set

https://www.books2read.com/u/31jMwm and https://amzn.to/1u92UUj