Get in on the action!
Because… today it’s my turn!
Frederick Lee Brooke has designed an amazing INTERNATIONAL BLOG TOUR to introduce his new novel in the Annie Ogden series, COLLATERAL DAMAGE!
Fred’s tour involves sharing 26 chapters of Collateral Damage across 26 days and 26 different blogs!
Chapter 23 comes to you today from the beautiful north woods of Minnesota!
AND… you can get in on a fantastic GIVEAWAY!
Win a $25 Amazon gift card AND a signed paperback edition of any book by Frederick Lee Brooke!
To win, all you have to do is visit every blog on the 26-day Collateral Damage Excerpt Tour and leave a comment showing that you read the excerpt. That’s it! See the blog list and join the tour …
(Links to all the blogs follow Chapter 23!)
About the author…
Frederick Lee Brooke is the author of the widely-acclaimed Annie Ogden mystery series, which includes Doing Max Vinyl, Zombie Candy, and Collateral Damage. The books do not have to be read in order.
Having lived in Switzerland for the past two decades, Brooke has taught English, run a business, and learned French, German, and Italian.
You can find him online at www.FrederickLeeBrooke.com.
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HERE YOU ARE…
“Two hours ago we were in a private dining room,” I told June. “Candlelight. Champagne. Filet mignon. He was practically down on one knee. Not that I was going to listen to that crap.”
We sat in June’s car with the doors open, letting the cool humid night air settle in on our laps. It reminded me of the sky in northern Iraq, away from city light. It was that time of night just before the first graying of the sky. The police had taken Michael away. The ambulance had taken away Husker’s body. Most of the police were gone, but one pair of cops was checking yellow tapes around the property. Another pair sat in their car with donuts and coffee. The police were going to stay here 24/7 for the next day or so.
“I can’t believe they think Michael would do it. I can’t believe Husker was murdered,” June said.
“I have to get him a lawyer. How am I going to find a good lawyer?”
“There are plenty of lawyers around. The question is how are you going to pay for it?”
“Michael didn’t do it. He’s getting a good lawyer if it costs my last dollar.”
“Husker was Senator Mathers’s nephew. Not every lawyer will want to get involved in a case like that. Tell you what, I’ll ask my dad. He’s in Rotary. Let me send you a text later this morning.”
I saw Todd walking across the lawn. “Here’s comes trouble.”
“Why do you say that? He’s got great legs,” June said. I let that go without further comment, especially since Todd was now leaning in at my door.
“Wanna dance?” Neither of us laughed. Our old army friend had been stabbed to death. Todd switched to a neutral tone. “Annie, I’m headed back to get some sleep. I can give you a lift.”
I looked at June. “Are you going to the bakery?”
She nodded. “Go with him. I’m going in a different direction. We’ll talk later, after I’ve talked to my dad. Maybe I can bring you downtown to the lawyer’s office.”
“What lawyer?” Todd said.
“No lawyer,” I said.
“She just said you’re going to see a lawyer. Would that be for your lover?”
“He’s not my lover, asshole.”
“He’s just teasing, Annie. Lighten up,” June said.
“It’s all right,” Todd said. “She’s tired. We all are. See you tomorrow?” I saw June flash him a smile.
I was revolted at Todd’s insensitivity. He was still married to my sister. I wondered how much of the story June already knew. Was it my job to warn her?
When we reached the motel, I nearly stumbled getting out of the car. Residual exhaustion making me unsteady. I needed rest. I stretched out on my bed with only the sheet covering me, curtains shut tight against the sunshine. The clattering air conditioning invaded my consciousness and then I was in some rainy village in Iraq, hunkering under the cover of an old crumbling stone wall. Trucks rolled by on the road 250 meters from us, their engines droning complaint as they struggled up the long incline.
Walls like this stopped bullets, but chips of stone or mortar could kill you just as dead. Eight of us were spread out along a two hundred-meter section of the wall, which curved around the rear perimeter of a farmhouse property. Our mission was to clear the farmhouse. The road ran north and south fifty meters beyond the house, relative to our position. Some bastard had been harassing vehicles with small arms fire out of this house for the last two days.
The next thing we knew we were being fired on from behind. To our rear was a field we had traversed in the pouring rain during the night, a rocky outcropping along one side, and two kilometers beyond it the next village. Someone had us in their sights from up high in the rocks. They were a bad shot, because by the time we all got our asses over the wall and returned fire, not one of us had been hit. Now half of us took aim at the shooter in the rocks, while the rest kept an eye on the house, watching for movement.
The house turned out to be empty. When we searched it later, we found a tunnel leading out back that went right under our position at the wall. The insurgent had snuck out through the tunnel behind our line, taken refuge on the outcropping, and tried to pick us off. When we recovered the body, we discovered he was a sixty-year-old man.
When my phone alarm went off, I had no idea where I was. Flat on my back under a sheet, soaked in my own sweat, still dressed in my bra and underwear from last night, I stared at the white stucco ceiling…then I remembered.
Husker was dead.
Michael was in jail.
I had to get him a lawyer.
When I got out of the shower, I checked my phone. Sure enough, there was a text from June with the name of a lawyer and the suggestion that she pick me up at eleven o’clock. That was twenty minutes from now.
That’s it… now, check out the other blogs & enter this fabulous contest!
COLLATERAL DAMAGE excerpt tour – draft June 22, 2013
From Marilyn with love…