Meet Felix Lane

Felix Lane is a quiet guy. He’s happy in his corner of the world, working as an administrative assistant, and spending his spare time with Sunny – his beloved canary bird. He doesn’t have any friends, boyfriends never work out, and while he grumbles over the sales rapports he has to go through, he likes numbers way better than people.

Everything is calm, quiet, and familiar, until…

Have you heard of Carl Jung’s archetypes? There are 12 types of people, according to Jung. When I started writing Nine Stones, I figured it’d be fun to pick one and try to make the MC be that type.

Felix Lane is the sage.

He is smart. He is focused. He is reflecting.

His biggest fear is to be outsmarted and to feel confused.

His weakness is that he overthinks things.

Now, Felix might not be a typical sage, but he does have some of the traits. And while the imagination always takes me places I hadn’t first thought when writing, I did try to keep in mind how a sage would think. Throughout the story, Felix’s biggest fear is to be fooled and taken advantage of.

But Nine Stones is about more than just a sage, it’s also a story about cats. Kirk Shoo, Felix’s neighbour, is a cat shifter. Not that Felix knows, but he does suspect something is up with Kirk.

Felix would never hurt an animal, and yet his garden is turning into a pet cemetery, one stone at the time.


An Ice Cream Incident

He hid the spade, pretended he hadn’t been about to bury the cat, and hurried around the house. With a quick glance up the road to make sure no car was heading his way, he jogged over to Kirk’s.

He knocked, he rang the bell, he knocked again, he peeked in through Kirk’s living room window, but Kirk was nowhere to be found.

What the hell? For a guy who never left his house, he was gone an awful lot.

Lexi’s car appeared at the top of the road and Felix went to meet her.

“Hi.” She stepped out of the car, but her smile died when she looked at Felix. “What happened?”

“Eh…” Should he tell her?

“Felix.” That one word was demand and accusation all in one.

“Gibson killed a cat.”

“What?”

Felix flinched at the volume. “Shh.”

“You did not say what you just said.”

He motioned for her to come along and showed her the cat on the lawn. Neither of them spoke, they stood in the sweltering afternoon and looked at the unmoving body.

“It’s a Bengal.”

“A what?” Was it a wild cat? Perhaps it wasn’t Kirk’s after all. The relief bubbling in his chest was misplaced—the cat was still dead, but if he didn’t have to tell Kirk his life would be so much easier.

“A Bengal cat, they’re super expensive. You can’t tell anyone, Felix.” She dug her fingers into his arms and shook to emphasize her words. “I can’t afford to… Oh God, are you sure it was Gibson? Perhaps it was ill and…died.”

“He shook it until it went limp.”

“Shit, I’m gonna be sick.” She turned away and took a few breaths before looking at the cat again. She’d twisted her hair up in a sophisticated updo, she usually just ran a brush through it a second before she left the house. Growing up they’d looked alike with their chestnut hair and brown eyes. It wasn’t until they’d hit their teens Felix became taller than her, and while he’d kept his lithe figure, he wasn’t as slender as she. Sadly, he wasn’t as fit either. He sighed; going to the gym bored him to death. He winced as his gaze fell on the cat.

Lexi leaned against him. “We must hide it. You can’t tell anyone.”

“But—”

“No one!”

Felix raised his hands. “Okay.” He picked up the cat and walked over to the grave he’d prepared.

“Oh, you’re a good man.” She looked at the hole and wiped away a tear from the corner of her eye. “Gibson probably didn’t mean to hurt him, I’m sure he thought they were playing.”

Felix opened his mouth to explain exactly how murderous Gibson’s intent had been but Lexi cut him off. “Tell me you have ice cream.”

“I have ice cream.” Of course, he had ice cream.

“Good. This is an ice cream incident.”

(No cats die in the story)

books2read.com/NineStones


ninestones

The only thing worse than having a hot neighbor you’re too intimidated to talk to is accidentally hitting his cat with your car.

Felix Lane was perfectly content to spend the rest of his days with Sunny, his canary life companion, in their quiet little corner of the suburbs. But then Kirk Shoo with his unusual eyes moved in across the street, and Felix’s carefully constructed life is starting to unravel.

When your every bad-boy fantasy lingers at the mailbox, stands too close and smells too damn good, what’s an under-appreciated administrative assistant to do? Besides sneak out the backdoor to go to work?

But when Kirk’s cat runs out in front of Felix on his way home, he has no choice but to face the music and his dream man. Unless…

What starts as a tragic accident turns into something far more bizarre. And when Felix’s backyard begins to look like a pet cemetery, he has no choice but to come clean. That is if he can manage to find his sexy neighbor at all.


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Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding.

This is one of those books I’ve been meaning to read for a long time but never really got around to. Well, I have now.

I haven’t read all of Kim Fielding’s books, but I’ve read quite a few, and I’ve liked them all, but I’ve given them four stars on GR (expect Motel. Pool. I loved that one!). It’s like I miss that final little push that makes it an awesome unforgettable read, and I’m pretty sure this is a case of ‘it’s me, not you’. Actually, I’m convinced of it.

I appreciated Rattlesnake a lot, I didn’t want to put it down once I started reading, and both Jimmy and Shane’s struggles grabbed me, but there aren’t any surprises. And perhaps there doesn’t have to be – in some books there definitely doesn’t have to be. I enjoyed the story despite knowing what would happen, and that’s fine, but I also think that’s the reason I didn’t cry in the end.

The reviews I’ve read have stated the readers have sobbed their way through the story, so I really do think it’s me, not the book.

I do love that both Jimmy and Shean are grown men. I told my husband while we sat next t each other having coffee, him scrolling on his phone, me reading on mine, that I love a character over forty. I must be getting old, but damn I like adult characters.

I feel like I’m bitching and it wasn’t my intention at all. I liked this book a lot, I recommend it to everyone who likes a good hurt-comfort read, everyone looking for a scarred hero, a blue-collar guy, a road trip kind of story, a story about the MCs finding their place in the world.

It’s beautiful.

books2read.com/Rattlesnake


RattlesnakeA drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.

On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.

Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.


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Throwback Thursday | The Maddest of Men

Argh, another neglected series! In November it’ll be three years since The Maddest of Men was published. I actually wrote it for an open call where they asked for an MC who did bad things for a living but longed for something more…or something along those lines, I don’t really remember. It doesn’t matter, they didn’t want Grayham so he got a life on his own.

I don’t read a lot of sci-fi or post-apocalyptic stories, though I pick them up a lot more frequently than I used to. Some days I just long for a dark, gritty, post-apocalyptic book. The Maddest of Men isn’t dark and gritty, and yet it’s pretty dark.

Grayham can tell when someone is lying, he’s a living polygraph, and he’s never wrong. And, since he’s Cham Hovda’s – one of Carona’s drug lords – right-hand man, he gets to use his skill on a regular basis. And if someone refuses to answer his questions…a little torture goes a long way.

Creed is a retrieving agent. He’s hunting people with special abilities and he has a way of getting close to Grayham. Something is wrong, though. Grayham doesn’t have an implant – all the metas have implants – and Creed’s boss sent him on the mission alone. Alone.

Everyone getting close to Grayham dies and yet Creed has to get close, and he has to do it without backup.

I loved writing both The Maddest of Men and The Lords of Lettuce and I was supposed to have written Eight Fingers in the Game. I have a Scrivener file, I have it somewhat plotted, but that’s it. And it pisses me off that I haven’t written it. I love Carona and its drug lords, crazy opticians, and drug dealers.

I need to sort out my priorities – yes, I’m like Hermione in Harry Potter.

Metas were remnant victims of the wars, created to be super soldiers. No one had known until children started to pop up, some so traumatised by what they perceived in this world they couldn’t cope. It was a military program gone out of hand. Senses and bodily functions had been tampered with and enhanced. No one had believed it was something that would carry over to the next generation, but now three generations later, children were still born with metaphysical traits. How Creed would be able to bring one of them in against their will all on his own, he didn’t know.

He held his tray up to one of the beautiful women standing along the wall of the room. She, like everyone else here, was flawless. Their beauty always made him self-conscious. Why couldn’t the Bureau offer plastic surgery and enhancements like every other branch of society?

He clamped his lips together over his crooked teeth, totally ruining the smile he’d been aiming at her. They hadn’t even given him eye surgery. His fucked up eyes could be a danger in his line of work; he’d tried to make Howorth see it, but he didn’t listen. Not only was he half-blind but there was also the colour. Creed wondered how many here today would remember him because of the different colouring. And sure, even if he had surgery he would still need the lenses to read the results of the scanner, but really, no one, no one, was short-sighted in the modern world. He guessed he should feel lucky Howorth had given him eye correction lenses, but still.

“Are those vegetarian?” The woman pointed at a cucumber slice with some creamy stuff and a roll of smoked salmon.

“Erm…no.” Creed refrained from rolling his useless, short-sighted eyes. “There is salmon on it.” When she simply stared at him, he smiled again. “Fish.”

“I know what salmon is.” Creed swallowed a ‘why the fuck did you ask then’ and fought against the strain in his facial muscles. “What I meant was is there any meat in those.”

“Fish.” He continued to hold out the tray for her while she looked at the salmon rolls. Finally, she deemed fish edible and took one.

A glimpse of red hair weaving through the throng caught his eye. Instead of hurrying along, he stood still and observed as the mass made a path for whoever it was—Creed had a pretty good idea of who it had to be, but he didn’t want to get his hopes up.

Cham Hovda gave a small wave from where he sat on the lounge, his lips were tight, and he was paler than Creed had ever seen him. He hadn’t moved at all during the evening which made Creed believe the rumours of him being shot in the leg the week before were true. They hadn’t been able to find any medical records, but it wouldn’t be the first time someone from the underworld succeeded in staying out of the system—the inquisitor didn’t exist according to the system. Creed had spent a good week trying to dig up something, anything, and he hadn’t even managed to find a name.

Stepping a little closer to the woman, he tilted the tray ever so slightly. “One more perhaps?” He smiled and tried to be discreet in watching as the inquisitor bent down to whisper something in Hovda’s ear.

“Thank you. Could I get a glass of champagne too?”

Creed gritted his teeth. He was obviously not the champagne guy, and he was about to enlighten her when the inquisitor stepped away from the lounge. A few more steps and he would be right between Creed and the bar. “I’ll see what I can do, ma’am.”

He straightened his back and channelled his inner waiter. With an air of nonchalance, he neared the man. Milky white skin, bright red corkscrew curls Creed wanted to pull only to see them bounce back—an evil man shouldn’t look like that.

books2read.com/TheMaddestofMen


The Maddest of MenIs lying to a living polygraph really a good idea?

To prove his loyalty to Cham Hovda, one of the local drug lords, Grayham is willing to do anything—and he does. He helps Cham run his empire by finding out the truth by any possible means. It’s not as hard as it may seem, all he has to do is ask the right questions, and his internal polygraph will tell him if someone is lying or not. And when they lie—well he deals with that too. Life as an inquisitor can get quite lonely, not that Grayham plans on doing anything about it. It would kill him to have to off a lover.

Creed is a retrieving agent on a mission. He is to infiltrate one of Carona’s drug organisations to get to the inquisitor. Rumour states the man with the fiery red curls has supernatural powers; it also says anyone coming close to him disappears. Creed has no idea how he’s going to make it out alive or why his supervisor sent him in without backup. But, when an opening to work as a waiter at one of the drug lord’s parties presents itself Creed sets to work.

In a world where people compensate for the years of bombings and starvation with clinic bought physical perfection a man with crooked teeth and mismatching eyes stands out. Grayham notices the waiter watching him straight away. If he’s there to harm Cham, he’ll deal with it. Creed knows he must get his hands on the inquisitor so when he is invited to the man’s flat he agrees to come even though he knows it might be the last thing he’ll ever do.


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