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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Young Adult Kindle Books: "Silent Invasion" by Neil D. Ostroff

Something was wrong! Air was still. The house too quiet. Brady the neighbor’s obnoxious collie wasn’t barking outside.
Tim Madison rolled to the side of the bed and flicked on the table light. His desk, cluttered with astronomy magazines, math homework, and his eighth grade history book; the model airplane with the broken landing gear hanging by fishing line above his bed, his laptop computer, all looked normal. It was the walls. Ordinarily light-blue, they were red. He looked to the floor. The blue carpet had become black. Bright brown numbers on his digital clock beamed 6:15 A.M.
Weird, he thought. 
He slipped from the sheets, stepped toward the door, and turned the handle slowly. Bedroom light threw his shadow across the hallway’s previously tan, now lime-green carpet. Formally white hallway walls were yellow. 
“Greetings,” a low voice said.
Tim spun around. Fear soared up his spine. He tried to scream but a lungful of choked air came out. A creature a few feet taller than him, with a human body, beetle-like head, and claws instead of hands, stood wearing an all black jumpsuit. 
“I will take you to our training facility where the Thispan Council arranged accommodations,” the creature said.
Tim’s heart banged against his chest. He backed against the wall and looked from side to side thinking which way to run. To his parent’s room? The bathroom? His muscles tensed. Should he bolt back into his own bedroom and slam the door shut? 
“What?” he gasped. “Who are you?”
“I am Kiz,” the creature said. “The council sent me here because they have knowledge of dangerous events that will occur on your planet. I will teach you skills that most assures your success at preventing these events. This is your assignment.”
Tim gulped, pushing panic down. “I… I don’t understand.” 
“You are the Earth’s galactic warrior. I will explain more once we are onboard the Skyru.”

Satire Kindle Books: "Six of One" by JoAnn Spears

Chapter Twenty, The Chapter That Is All About Fashion:

Livy—Mary Livingston, I presume—was on the spot with a device that looked to me like a life preserver. Eyeing it suspiciously, I insisted on an explanation before I would let her get any closer with it. All I got, though, was a smart slap on my rear end followed by gales of laughter from Livy. After the laughter had subsided, the tallest of the four girls, who was likewise the most dignified, introduced herself to me as “Mary, call me ‘Seton.’”

“The bumroll goes beneath your gown, Dolly. It will make your skirts flare out becomingly, like ours do,” Seton said. She illustrated by placing her hands on the top of her skirt, which flared out from her waist with enough flat surface at the top to rest a teacup on.

Had all my years of Jazzercise, I wondered sadly, been in vain? I winced at the thought that a million pliƩ squats had come to this but guessed it would be best to just bumroll with the punches.

“Maestro, a drumroll for the bumroll!” I said to Livy, proffering her my rear end with a jaunty wiggle. Betty Boop might have been impressed, but Livy was not.

Romance Kindle Books: "Tomorrow Blossoms" by Joyce DeBacco

Kate's husband has just announced he intends to find the boy she gave up as an unwed teen...

“I’m going to find him, Kate,” he said flatly. “I’m going to find our boy.”

Gulls played overhead, water ebbed and flowed at their feet, and sunbeams graced them with their warmth. But Kate was oblivious to all, numb from the shock of Ward’s announcement.

Breaking stride, he turned to her, voice low, somber. “You don’t want me to find him, do you?”

She stared back, mute. The lying had to end somewhere, she told herself. Let it end here, now, today. “No, Ward. I don’t.”

“But he’s our son, Kate, our only son. Aren’t you curious? Don’t you ever wonder what became of him?”

Here. Now. Today. “Ward—honey . . .”

She looked at him, patient, unaware; her shoulders slumped. “Of course I wonder,” she said, loathing her cowardice. “But he has his own life now, honey, his own identity. And having us pop up after all these years is bound to upset him. Don’t you remember why we gave him up? Or is your need for a son so great you’d risk his happiness?”

“Katie, you know I’ve never regretted that our marriage produced only girls. But somewhere in this world, there’s a boy—no, make that a man—who may be wondering about us too. If he’s happy and secure with his life, then I’ll leave it alone. But if there’s a chance he’s even remotely interested in us, then I want to pursue it. It’ll be his choice, Kate. I promise.”

“But so much could go wrong. He could be bitter, he could resent us for giving him away.” And he could have his father’s fair hair and striking green eyes.

Funny Kindle Books: "Wastes of Space" by Darcy Town

A trio of feline-alien Hunters are interrogating suspects as they search for the main characters: Rake and Ravil...

Lincoln ordered Kennedy to wait in the kitchen.  The teenaged Hunter sat on the counter and rifled through boxes of rainbow-colored cereal.  He stuffed handfuls of it into his mouth and trembled from a sugar high.

Marx wandered into the kitchen, leading a young girl by the hand.  He stared at Kennedy.  “Why are you eating that?”

“I like!  This sugar tastes sweet!”  Kennedy licked his gloves and eyed the child with Marx.  “Why are you holding a cub?”

Marx looked down as if he just noticed the child.  “Lincoln asked me to.”

Kennedy dropped into a crouch on the countertop.  “May I chase it?”  He looked up at Marx and purred.  “I will not kill.  I just want to play, bat around.”

Marx frowned.  “He did not tell me to release it to you.”

Kennedy twitched and bounced on his fingertips.  He leapt.  Marx slashed him across the face.  Kennedy landed on his feet and knocked boxes of cereal over.  His yellow eyes darted to the Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms.  He pounced on the colored pieces.  Cereal crunched under his hands.  He grinned and smashed it all, enjoying the sensation.  He licked the sugary dust off the floor. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Ariel" by Gabriel Madison

Angel Santos has just asked the two Archangels in her room, why they are in her room…

Gabriel motioned for me to sit back down. I sat as he moved his long dark hair behind his ears. “We all watched as the
ngel Lailah entered the Holy Palace. All of the spirit realms were filled with songs of joy and love. I don’t remember a time before that Heaven itself had been filled with so many angels. They came from all over, Nirvana, Shangri-La, Valhalla and many of the other free spirit realms. Everyone stood in awe as Lailah walked into the Holy Palace. And then…the Palace crumbled into a pile of dust.”

My stomach dropped, my mouth became dry and I balled my hands into fist to keep them from trembling. This couldn’t be happening. Not after everything I’d been through, everything I’d done, everything I wanted to forget. It took all the strength I had, but I took in a deep breath of air while slowly calming myself. “What do you mean crumbled to a pile of dust?”

“He means the Holy Palace is no more.” Michael chimed in. “We searched through the rubble and found the dead body of Lailah. We found no signs of God. It seems he no longer resides in the spirit realms.”

"In Your Eyes" by Angela Scannell

Renna has just been rescued from an abusive situation by a passing army and is being hidden away with a very attractive Lieutenant. They're sharing a cot in a tent for the night...

''Thanks,” I could hear the smile in her voice, and feel her warm breath on my neck. She took a deep breath and exhaled on my bare skin. ''You smell like the rain,” she said.

''I can't do much about that,” I said with my own smile, finding it easier to talk to her when I couldn't see her. 

She reached over me one last time to put out the lantern and darkness flooded the room. I could feel her heart beat against my back, and her warm breath on my neck, and I thought that I would never fall asleep. I'd never been so close to anyone before. This felt so good, so comfortable and safe, I wanted to stay awake and enjoy it.

''Will you sleep now?” she asked in the darkness, her voice tickling the tiny hairs on the back of my neck.

I had to clear my throat again. ''Probably,” I said, ''the rain sounds so soothing,” I made it up off the top of my head. I couldn't tell her what I'd been thinking. That I'd never been held this way before. That I liked it and didn't want it to end.

"The Book Traveller" by Alan Moreton

Thomas Howard had recently retired and was glad that he had said goodbye to the world of work. He was now looking forward to taking things easy and with this thought in mind, he went shopping. Now ordinarily Thomas hated shopping, unless it was for books, because of all things in life, Thomas loved reading. In fact, he would rather do DIY than go shopping and he hated DIY. To Thomas DIY meant Destroy It Yourself rather than Do It Yourself! It is true that Thomas was actually contemplating buying something other than books but this was to be a special purchase.

Thomas sank into the chair and it was indeed wonderfully comfortable. A strange sensation briefly passed through his mind as if a dream had suddenly presented itself and then quickly passed away. Thomas gave it no more thought but just luxuriated in the comfort of the chair as he slid his hands over the soft leather of the arms of the chair. 

 “Can’t you just see yourself sitting comfortably at home reading one of your favourite books in this armchair?” the old man asked.

“Yes, indeed I can,” Thomas agreed. “But why is it called: The Book Traveller?”

"First Cause: A Novel About Human Possibility" by Paul West

            Angela swallowed hard; in the sudden confusion, she had momentarily forgotten that Adam was on his way. She returned quietly to the door and peeked around the edge of the doorway into the hall.

            Adam had entered the hotel just behind the three policemen; recalling his earlier conversation with Angela, he wondered if she was part of the reason for their presence. He trailed them cautiously, several steps behind so as not to arouse their suspicion. Near the middle of the staircase, she heard one of them call her name--had he even known her last name was Smith?—and noted with mixed feelings that he had guessed correctly about their business there. A hard- faced woman was silently but insistently at the officers’ heels, a few steps in front of Adam.

            As the policemen neared the top of the stairs, Adam saw a tall man loom into view. Adam called Angela’s name, to no avail, and was about to call her again when the man moved toward the three officers with alarming suddenness. What the man did next was among the last things Adam was to see with open eyes for over a week.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Headhunters" by Charlie Cole

(our hero, Simon Parks, is pursuing his wife, trying to bring her back after she left him)

I downshifted around the corner, but cut the angle sharper than Claire had and made up even more time. She was just up ahead. I powered forward and tried to get along side. Suddenly, Claire swerved, cutting me off.

I tried the other side, and she did it again. I backed off, giving her some room. She seemed hell-bent on keeping me away. I faked left and as the Audi moved that direction, I pulled up on the right side. We were side by side now in the driving rain, and the blowing wind, traveling at high speeds along a two lane road leading through a heavily wooded area. 

Claire looked at me then. Her face was without expression and she raised her hand in a wave. I didn’t understand. And then she looked straight ahead, closed her eyes and took her hands off the wheel. What…? I looked back at the road and saw the guard rail ahead of us, looming directly in my lights. The headlight flashed against the guardrail. The turn was sharp and to the right. Neither of us was going to make it.

"The Universal Mirror" by Gwen Perkins

“There’s a proverb on the docks that goes,” the younger man hesitated. “’Death’s the universal mirror.’ Have you heard it?”

“Something about, oh, how every man sees the reflection of his own life just when he’s facing death?” Asahel nodded in response and Felix replied, “I understand, then—go on.”

“Aye, well,” the younger man continued. “As we—Quent and I—as we’d begun to understand what we were about and the consequences… he looked in the mirror and he thought that healing others was worth dying for. I looked and… I was afraid for my own life. I still am.”

"Rabbit in the Road" by Danika D. Potts and Oliver Campbell

 By the time the cab pulled up alongside me, I had already started to sniffle.
 "Get in," Ray said, as he opened the door.
 I slid in next to him and cried. It was warm in the cab, but even warmer wrapped up in Ray's arms. I hated him. I needed him. He needed me. The link was stronger this time. I could feel my heartbeat change its rhythm to meet his.
 "Don't cry," he said quietly, his chin resting on the top of my head.
 "But I hate you," I said. I bathed in the glow of our link.
 "Oh, I know."

"The Unauthorized Biography of Michele Bachmann (and other stories)" by Ken Brosky

I knew this guy, babe, he could do things with his mouth you ain’t never seen. And I ain’t talking about sex here, all right? All right? Get your head out of the gutter and listen to me, because this is a story that’s gonna blow your mind.

There was a guy named Steve who called himself Nines and a guy named Simon who called himself Case. And they were both Phreaks—not the kind we used to make fun of back in high school, not those freaks. I’m talking about Phreaks, babe: phone hackers. Guys who could work the phone system. They could do things that weren’t even supposed to be possible. Getting free calls was just the beginning for these guys, babe.

Let me start with Nines, because Nines was the godfather of them all. Nines didn’t really start the whole idea of phone hacking, I don’t think, because there’s no way to tell who really first started hacking phones, you know? But Nines was something incredible, and he knew it and he flaunted it. What did he do? I’ll tell you what he did.

He whistled.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Go No Sen" by Jacques Antoine

They rode for a couple of hours through the woods, hardly ever coming out from under the canopy of trees. If anyone was looking from above, they would be practically invisible. They stopped a couple of times to rest, and to give George a break from the jostling of the ride. His wound was starting to bother him. He was losing a lot of blood. Emily began to worry. “Dad, we gotta get you some help,” she pleaded.

“We have to keep going. There is no help around here,” he said

“How far is the nearest town?”

“Chi-chan, it’s another thirty minutes to the car.”

“Dad, you can’t make it that long, can you?”

“I dunno. I think you’ll have to take over from here. You up to it?”

“Trust me, Dad. I can do it. Clutch with my hands, shift with my feet, right?”
“Oh, Lord,” he snorted. Fortunately, Emily turned out to have a better understanding of how motorcycles work than she let on. There were only a few rough bits at the beginning. Her father hugged her from behind, and held on for dear life. He was as happy as he had ever been.

"Fireseed One" by Catherine Stine

Varik has caught a mysterious masked thief in his father's underwater vault and hauls him to the the surface to interrogate:

We enter my place. My father’s meditation room has one tiny porthole only a water rat could squeeze through. It has dense walls, and a two-way video-page. No precious files in there that would be in jeopardy, so it’s the perfect padded cell. The thief suddenly wheels around to land a clumsy punch, but I veer out of harm’s way and push him ahead of me through the den into my dad’s think tank. Once inside, I struggle to triple-tie the cable binding his hands in front of him to one of the solid columns as he again tries to kick me. I yank off the sludge-dump’s mask.

And gasp.

Long, red hair cascades down. Pearly skin, heart-shaped lips pursed. Fry me in the Hotzone if it’s not a live girl close to my age. Her sapphire-blue eyes gleam with hate.

I step forward, but not close enough for her to tackle me. “What were you doing down there?”

Her ensuing hiss sounds like a water snake poised to attack.

I toss her mask on the floor. “I asked you a question.” No answer. “You’ll stay tied up like this for weeks then.”

She laughs. Kicks the mask I dropped.

"Nightmare at Emerald High" by Joana James

Malcolm raced toward the end of the hallway; he had to get to that back exit. If he remembered correctly, it was down the hall and to the right. Maybe if he ran fast enough his pursuer wouldn’t realize what direction he’d gone in and he might be able to escape. Tonight the hallway felt longer than he remembered; he felt like he’d never get to the end. He ran endlessly, but the corner seemed to be getting further away. Suddenly, the scene around him changed and he was in a room full of boxes. Amidst the boxes he could see his pursuer near the doorway looking for him and he hid behind a tall stack. Still trying to escape he attempted to move with stealth looking for another hiding place but he was exhausted. He tripped over his own feet and landed hard against the stack and sent the whole thing crashing. His pursuer turned sharply toward the sound and fired two shots in his direction. Malcolm wasted no time and vaulted over the fallen boxes. His pursuer was right behind him.

"Promise Me Eternity" by Ian Fox

Dr. Simon Patterson is a successful and well-respected neurosurgeon at Central Hospital in the town of Medford. Married, though without children, he keeps himself so busy that one day is not much different from another. Until, that is, he saves the life of the powerful mobster Carlo Vucci. At a dinner in honor of Dr. Patterson, Carlo Vucci introduces him to his alluring wife Christine. Simon is entranced by her beauty. Three weeks later, Christine shows up at the hospital, complaining of terrible headaches. Dr. Patterson offers to help her, but Christine did not come to see him just because of her health. A series of shocking events follows that transforms Simon’s life into a nightmare. Among other things, he finds himself in court being accused of first degree murder…

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"The Legend of Sasquatch" by William T. Prince

Clint’s body count was now up to five--six including the vegetable. Killing was becoming a habit, and Clint realized that it was starting to bother him less each time. He feared that he was becoming desensitized to death, too accustomed to killing.

"Gnome On The Range" by Jennifer Zane

"I’m going back to the garage sale where I bought the gnomes.”

“No way. It might be dangerous.”
“A dangerous garage sale?”
A muscle in his neck grew taut as he most likely grinded his teeth. “You have no idea why that vial was in the gnome or what kind of people we’re dealing with."

"The Baby" a Short Story by Karen A. Wyle

Ellie has given birth to a clone of her deceased husband Daniel...

Ellie sat in the rocking chair in the dim light, nursing Daniel. There was no sound but the quiet creak of the chair and the quiet sucking of the baby. She breathed slowly, calmly, almost drowsing.

The baby was falling asleep. His little mouth loosened and let go of her breast.

"I feel like a mother, Daniel. You made me a mother. Isn't that funny?" She rocked and stroked the baby's thin hair, lightly, gently. "You were going to make me a mother, and you couldn't, and now you have."

The baby was snoring, a barely audible sound.

"Did your mother hold you like this, Daniel? What else did she do? What did she do to make you grow into the man I loved? How can I make you into what you should be, if I don't know what she did, one day after another, all those days until you were grown?"

A soft hissing noise came from outside the window. It was starting to rain. Ellie sat, listening to the rain and rocking the baby. Finally she bestirred herself, got up and laid Daniel gently in his crib, next to their double bed.

"Gastien Part 2: From Dream to Destiny" by Caddy Rowland

She drunkenly insisted it was fine. 
Non, please, I am ready! I like you. Mon Dieu, you are gorgeous. Please! I really want this!”
Non, I don’t think so! This is not who I am.” 
He tried to get up. 
She wrapped her legs around him, pushing against him. “Please! I find you so handsome. I want you to be the first.” 
Drunk, he had no more discipline to call on. He decided to take her. She, of course, thought it meant a whole lot more than it did. An hour later, he was dressed and pulling on his boots, hoping she was passed out. 
As he opened the door, she called out, “Wait! I don’t even know your name!” 
He shut the door and hurried to the carriage and his amis. This was not supposed to happen! He did not want a needy woman clinging to him. As he climbed into the carriage, she stood at the door. 
“Wait! What is your name?” she cried loudly. 
His amis looked at him and grimaced. 
Gastien turned and looked at her coldly. “Pardon me?”
“What is your name?” she asked again.
He simply replied, “Missing.”
She looked puzzled. “Your name is Missing?”

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Twin-Bred" by Karen A. Wyle

The humans on planet Tofarn have ongoing difficulties communicating with and otherwise comprehending the native Tofa...

“Sir? Sir, we have a problem.”

The mayor of Varley looked up from his monitor. “A problem with whom, or with what?”

His assistant considered whether to offer an opinion on whether the Tofa were Who or What, and decided against it. “It’s another complaint from the Tofa, sir. They say that humans are shaking hands.”

“People are trying to shake hands with Tofa? Which hand, I wonder.”

“No, sir. With each other. The Tofa are upset that humans are shaking hands with each other in public. Quite upset.”

“How can you tell? Oh, I know, they vibrate, or smell different, or something. If a job dealing with Tofa has done anything for me, it’s made me appreciate faces, proper ones that tell you what’s behind them. . . .”

"Days of Vengeance" by Tim Kizer


The note read: “Dear Frank, I know you killed your wife, and I can prove it. You are a reasonable person. I’m sure you don’t want to go to prison. All I need is a $20,000 loan. Please think about my request very carefully.”

But before this, the last six years had been wiped from his memory.

Then there were darkness and dreams...


Owl. Owl. Owl? This word flickered at the edge of his mind for a few seconds and then vanished. Frank somehow knew that it was not the word he’d been trying to recall. His very life depended upon this important word buried deep inside his memory, and he had to fish it out as soon as possible if he didn’t want the one-legged man and his people to cut his throat. He had no idea who the one-legged man was. Sometimes he doubted this man actually existed.

The word sounded similar to ‘owl.’

He would give it another shot later. Right now, he would like to focus on something else. Those dreams. Yeah, on those amazingly vivid dreams.

Frank had been having bizarre dreams while he was in a coma.

"Worldmaker" by A. C. Ellis

"I guess we're both pretty lucky," Steven said. "Even at its worst life is preferable to death."

"Under most circumstances, maybe," Hansen said, "but certainly not under all." Then he smiled a strange, haunting smile. "But this doesn't have a thing to do with death.

"What are you talking about? This is the end of the whole damn world!"

"That's true. But I don't think all those people died."

"You're insane."

"Perhaps I am," Hansen said calmly. He smiled again.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"In the Mouth of the Wolf" by Jamie Fredric

A violent attack on the American Forces Network facility in Sicily has left innocent people injured or killed...

No sooner had he gotten the words out, when bursts of gunfire sent the team racing for cover, drawing their weapons.  But it was nearly impossible to see human shapes in the darkness, almost impossible to tell where the Italian workers were.  All the Americans could do was return fire at muzzle flashes.

Adler was familiar with the sound of Uzis and automatic weapons.  Their .45s wouldn’t be much of a match.

“Get back!  Get back!” he shouted to his men, all of them scooting backward, trying to get behind some protection.

All Adler could hope for was that the darkness would give them the added cover they so desperately needed now.  His thoughts went to Moshenko, not knowing where he and the two Russians were, hoping they made it to safety.

Outside they heard shouting and gunfire, total pandemonium.  The workers were completely defenseless.  They were running, trying to hide, but the attackers were coming at them relentlessly.

All the ammunition, rifles, and mortars EOD recovered from the tunnel weren’t going to do them any good now.  Adler scooted closer to one of the Jeeps, reached behind the driver’s seat, and pulled out an ammo box with extra clips for the .45s.  “Taylor!  Behind that seat!  Get the extra ammo!”

"World of the Chernyi: Pedro Six Two" by D. K. Richardson

Two characters, Samantha and Robbie are talking in the aftermath of an attack on a remote farm...  

She sat in the back seat; he sat on the floor, legs hanging out the door.  After several minutes, she said, "It's finally started, hadn't it?"  
  "Depends on how you look at it, Sam.  I think it started a long time ago, only now the senseless violence isn't just in Africa or the barrio or the ghetto - now it's in everyone's face.  I've seen this coming for a long time.  I have to guess, so did your folks.  That's why they moved out here - yes?"

  The reply was soft, "Yes, someone broke into our house while we were out shopping.  Within the year, Dad had sold the house, found the one out here, resigned his position and we moved here.  I had to give up all my friends; I was just starting high school..."

Robbie shifted, pulling his legs inside, crossing them, he faced her directly.

  "And it was hard, almost impossible; to make friends, no matter what you did or how hard you tried.  Always the outsider, even after - what - living here for four years?"

  "Yes," this almost a sob.

  "So, did he rape you or just lie to you?"