Saturday, June 28, 2014

Chapter eight is Now Available To Read 

It was dark when Morgan woke up the next time. She hadn’t meant to fall
asleep, but she’d been crying and must have dozed off. Her whole body hurt,
including her heart. She moved her leg gingerly and cried out at the pain
shooting from the muscle in her thigh.
“Damon said you could have something for pain if you wanted it.”
Nickolas Grant. What did she expect? He’d said he’d be back. His voice was
coming from behind her, so she needed to turn over, but didn’t really want to.
She’d never been one to hide from something, but face it straight on. She moved
slowly and stopped at her back; the pain was too much.
“I don’t want anything. I can only go this far right now, and I don’t know
how long it will take me to get the rest of the way over, so if you wanna begin...”
“All right. There’s a tray of food in front of you. Eat it while I talk.” The light
flared on and she shied away from it as best she could without moving too
much. He was suddenly standing in front of her opening covers off of food.
Morgan wasn’t going to eat anything, but didn’t say anything. He’d just
argue with her; she knew it, so she watched. When he had everything arranged,
he slid the half table over in front of her, sat on the bed and picked up the fork.
She turned her head from him.
“No. Say what you have to say then leave, Dr. Grant. I’m sure you have
other things to do. I know I do.” She heard him growl and nearly turned toward
him, but didn’t.
“You’re not stupid. I’ve seen your transcript from college. So I won’t even go
into the reasons you need to keep your strength up by eating, how you’ll heal
much faster if your body isn’t fighting starvation too.” She heard the authority in
his voice, the one that said, you’ll listen or else. “This is the way this is going to
work. I’m going to feed you this dinner and you’re going to eat it or I call the
nurse and we tie you down and put a tube down your throat and feed you that
way. Up to you.”
Morgan slowly turned back to him and glared. He was smiling with a sneer
and still holding the fork. There was a small bite of something white on the end
of it.
Opening her mouth, she took the bite. She decided she wasn’t speaking to
him. He could feed her, tell her off, because she was sure he was pissed at her
treatment of his mother, and then he could leave.
“Damon will release you tomorrow morning. Byron will be here to pick you
up and take you to an apartment that is in the Grant building that I own. He
lived there up until a few months ago when he purchased his own home and had
a studio built. The furniture is still there until the decorator he has doing his
house decides what she wants to incorporate into the new house. I haven’t the
slightest clue what happens to the rest after he’s finished.
“You’ll also see a psychiatrist once a week starting next week. If she says you
need more or less sessions, then you can work from there. If she says you need
help and could benefit from others, then you’ll get it. She will report to me every
week on your progress and whether or not you show. She will not share what
you talk about. I could care less anyway.”
Morgan glared at him. What right did he have treating her like this? She
wanted to scream at him. Just when she was opening her mouth to blast him, he
jammed a forkful of food into her. Damned man.
“Monday morning, you’ll start working for me as my receptionist/secretary.
I’ll pay you six fifty a week and you’ll work Monday thru Friday and an
occasional Saturday morning. Have no doubt that you’ll work very hard for that,
too. The rent for the apartment will be a part of your salary. As of Thursday, you
have insurance, dental, medical, and vision. Here.” He tossed a large envelope in
her lap. “In that are your contract, medical information, and benefits. There’s also
a credit card with the company name on it. You’ll use it for clothing and business
needs. It’s a generous amount, but not over the top, so use it wisely. Any
questions?” Morgan watched him stand up and move the tray away. She had
eaten everything on the plates. She wouldn’t admit it to him, but she did feel a
little better. But she wasn’t going to work for him.
“No, and hell no. I’m not working for you, Dr. Grant. I don’t need, nor do I
want your charity, or whatever you feel this constitutes as. I’m quite capable of
finding my…”
“Maybe you didn’t hear the part about where I give a shit what you want
because I don’t, Ms. Becky. This is non-negotiable. According to the terms of
your release, you find gainful employment within thirty days or they find it for
you. For some reason, my mother likes you, and is concerned for your welfare.
Well, I don’t like you. You’ll work for me starting Monday or else.” He moved
toward her door to leave. “One more thing, Ms. Becky. If you ever talk to my
mom that way again, I will hurt you.”
Morgan pulled out the contract and read it over when her tray was taken
away. It wasn’t really anything special. She’d work for him for one year, with the
option to renew after six months. Also included in her benefits was a week
vacation after the six months. She may or may not have to do some light
traveling, but it would be completely paid for by the Grant Corporation. There
was also a copy of the paperwork she had signed when she’d been released from
prison. In addition to her finding gainful employment, she needed to have a
permanent residence. Apparently, he’d read it over as well.
For the first time in her life, she had a job making more money in one week
than she had in her entire life. She had an apartment that was furnished with
someone else’s things in a building owned by the man she worked for and that
hated her. A clothing allowance for things she didn’t have a clue how to
purchase much less how to use the credit card she’d been given to buy them, and
she had never been more depressed in her life.
When Dr. Grant the physician came in at eight the next morning she was
dressed and had her meager belongings packed. The contract was signed and in
the required envelope to give to Byron when he came to get her. By two o’clock,
she was standing alone in what she was now thinking of as another prison, one
that just had nicer walls.

Tune in next week for Chapter Nine

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chapter Seven Is Now Available To Read 6/21/14

Damon stared at the gun, then at the woman. Damn, but she was feisty. He
couldn’t help it. He threw back his head and laughed. Still seemly lounging in
the chair, he reached up and snatched the gun from her hand.
“If you’re going to hold a gun on someone, you need to make sure that they
can’t see it’s a squirt gun and it doesn’t have an orange tip at the end. Now, get
your happy ass in that bed before you fall over.”
Damon watched her face. He looked for any sign that she was going to try
something equally stupid as the gun, but she just stood there. When he stood up,
she scrambled back several steps and he could see the pain this caused her, but
he was either going to have to intimidate, or pick her up to get her into the bed.
Neither was she going to like.
“I hate you.” She stood there, glaring at him for a long time. He had to admit
that she was pretty good at it, rivaled only by his mother. His mom could tear
the skin right off of you with a look.
“Bed, Morgan, or I pick you up and put you there.” The anger and fear that
came into her eyes nearly made him relent, but he needed her to lie down before
she fell down. She turned around and hobbled to the bed, her posture stiff and
Morgan had just managed to get across the room when her door flew open.
His brothers never made anything but a grand entrance. His mom came in right
behind them, fussing at Byron about his lack of pants without holes in them. She
took one look at Morgan and turned her attention to her.
“Oh you poor baby. Come on now. Let’s get you back to bed. Why is she
dressed? You can’t think you’re going anywhere, not like this. Why, you can
barely walk. Damon, what have you been doing to her?”
He just looked at his mom and scolded. “Me? I haven’t done anything. I told
her to stay in bed, and then she got up anyway. Which, I must say, impressed the
hel…heck out of me. She is one stubborn little girl.”
Damon grinned at Morgan when she looked ready to hit him. He simply
couldn’t help himself. Damn, but that girl had spunk.
“He didn’t do anything but keep me here and I’m sure that wasn’t his first
idea. I want you people to leave me alone, damn it! I am a grown woman! You
have to have another person you can annoy the shit out of because I have had
enough. Now, get out! Fucking get out!”
Damon shifted his astonishment between the two women. His brothers were
doing the same. He was sure at any moment the fireworks were going to start.
And, damn, Nicky boy was missing it all.
“No, I don’t have anyone right at the moment. You’ll just have to put up
with me. Boys, leave us, please. I’d like to talk to Morgan alone.”
Damon looked over at Morgan and saw her turn her back on them. He
wasn’t sure if he should have been pissed or impressed with her. Once in the
hall, he walked down to his brother’s room to fill him in. Grinning like an idiot,
he walked in Nicky’s room and bellowed, “You are not going to fucking believe
that girl!”
“Nicky, what the hell are you doing now?”
Damon had just relayed the fight between Ms. Becky and his mom and he
expected him to just lie there? Not bloody likely.
“I’m going down there and kick her ass is what I’m gonna do. Move.” Nick
was out the door and down the hall before he had the last button done up on his
robe. He was ten feet from the room when he heard the yelling. He nearly kicked
in the door, but paused.
“I only want to help you! What is so hard to believe...?”
“Help me? Help me? I needed help five years ago, Mrs. Parker. Not now. I
needed help when that bastard had me tied to the wall. When he raped me every
fucking day for nine days. I needed help then when he sold me to his friends,
giving them the opportunity to rape me as well. ‘Have a little fun with the little
cunt she has,’ he said as a selling point. And when he tired of using his dick, he’d
ram whatever was around into me, over and over until the blood would soak his
hand. Do you know what this is? It’s a perfect imprint of his teeth; yeah, he’d bite
me hard enough to leave a reminder. I have several of them all over my body.
Then there are the cigar burns, the lighter burns. He tried to set fire to my pubic
hair once to see if it would burn faster than my head hair. Good thing the blood
was too fresh to get it going, huh? Help me? I want to die, Ms. Parker. Will you
help me with that?”

“That’s enough.” Nick didn’t remember walking into her room, but was
there suddenly. His mom looked like she had been pole axed, and Morgan
looked defeated.
“Oh, Nickolas, I...I think...” He encircled his mom in his arms when she
threw herself at him. He held her while she cried. He watched Morgan move to
the bed and slowly work her way onto it. When she was able to get atop it, she
pulled the sheet up to her chin and looked off into the room.
“Mom, go outside with Damon and the others. I’d like a few words with
Morgan in private please.” He pushed her along into his brother’s arms and
waited for them the close the door behind them before going over to the chair by
the bed.
Nick didn’t know what to say. No words, no thought, nothing. He sat there
for several minutes before he thought he could speak.
“Do you need anything right now?” He winced at the question. How was
she supposed to answer that? he wondered.
“Go away. I want to be left alone. Just, please go away.” His heart clenched
at the sound of her voice. It was broken and low, defeated and sad all at once.
“All right. For now. I’ll be back as soon as I see to my mom. Morgan, I...” He
watched as she rolled over to her other side and huddled under the blanket. She
moaned softly, and he could tell that she was crying. Her shoulders were
For reasons he didn’t want to think about, her tears bothered him more than
his mother’s had.

Tune in next week for chapter Eight

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Author Spotlight Fran Orenstein

Behind the doors of Hull House lurk many shadowy secrets of love, anger, betrayal, and death that have haunted the Hull family for generations. Laura Hull thought she had escaped when she married a gentle poet and could pursue her love of music. Then the unthinkable happens and Laura returns to Hull House as a young widow with a child, to once again face a father who hates her. Set in the mid to late nineteenth century along the Delaware River north of Philadelphia, the novel spans forty years from the turbulent post-Civil War and the industrial revolution, to the fight for women’s rights. Laura Blake must unlock the secrets by solving the mystery behind her mother’s untimely death, while evading the evil Anton Walling who is dedicated to protecting her father by any means necessary. When Laura meets the wounded war hero, Dr. Samuel Martin, she arrives at a crossroad that may determine her destiny…life or death. Twenty years later, Laura’s daughter, Amanda Jane, a suffragist, budding writer and accomplished musician, meets a handsome Philadelphia lawyer and with his help finally learns the truth about her family, culminating in a climactic confrontation. These women defy the bonds of the Victorian era to resolve the decades of violence that haunts their family, and to fulfill their dreams of love and success.

Also available from Fran 

Rachel Wells loses everything she cherishes in a brief summer storm off the coast of Florida. Haunted by the ghosts of her past, driven to the point of insanity by survivor’s guilt, Rachel turns her back on the world and retreats to a deserted island with her cat. Here she plans to live out her life in isolation, frozen behind an impenetrable veil of pain. That is, until she receives a gift from the sea that opens a slit in the veil and allows the world to intrude. Ignoring her conscience, Rachel learns too late that some gifts are not meant to be kept forever, and that forgiveness and redemption sometimes require sacrifice. The gods and spirits watch as the many layers of love unfold to reveal a complex finale.

Romance mystery writer, Lily Aaron is a young woman looking for a forever love and inspiration for her popular books. On a lunch break from her job as a magazine editor, she meets a sexy, gorgeous man in a coffee shop, and falls hard. Is Ken Braun’s image as a successful attorney and charming companion all a fa├žade, or is he the man destined for Lily’s future? Meanwhile, Ted Warren, an obsessed computer geek starts stalking her, calling her Laurel. She can’t get rid of him and before she can figure it out, Ted is murdered and Lily is now in first place as the killer. Lily struggles to prove her innocence, and deal with the enigma of a new man in her life and the secret behind Ted’s obsession and death. In a harrowing climax, Lily discovers the truth, but it may not be in time to save her own life

Everywoman wanders, seeking a place in the sun, where she can raise her face to the warmth and rejuvenation. Reflections is everywoman's journey through the many decades of her life that might be the saga of us all, with a few tweaks here and there. Follow her from childhood to early elder years on a trip that ranges from funny and ridiculous, to woeful and introspective. All are welcome to take her hand and tread upon the path she has chosen in this lifetime and enjoy the experience. Dr. Fran Orenstein's writing is nothing short of brilliant and now, with the debut of her poetry collection, she delivers another thought-provoking reading journey. Orenstein is a masterful, skilled writer. Her ability to harness and weave language into breathtaking poetry not only holds your attention through every word, but challenges your own emotion and imagination. Few authors are able to depict such vivid images with their words, however Orenstein has proven her abilities once again. Her work is for readers of all ages and for those who truly value artful poetry such as written by literature's esteemed greats. - Rev. Dr. Deborah Simpson, owner of Spirit Cove, LLC., Poet and Author of Beauty Forever Reigns, The Oracles 333: Selected Verse, and Love and Romance.

Author Bio 

Fran Orenstein, Ed.D., award-winning author and poet, wrote her first poem at age eight and submitted a short story to a magazine at age twelve. Her published credits include: Gaia’s Gift, a contemporary woman’s novel, Death in D Minor, an adult historical murder/romance, and Murder in Duplicate, a cozy adult mystery novella (all from World Castle Publishing/WCP); three ‘tween novels, The Mystery Under Third Base, The Mystery of the Green Goblin, Fat Girls From Outer Space (Sleepytown Press/SP); The Calling of The Flute, a YA historical adventure (SP); The Spice Trader’s Daughter, a YA historical adventure (Saguaro Books);  The Book of Mysteries, a YA fantasy adventure (WCP); One Amber Too Many, a chapter book for ages 8-11 (WCP); and, Reflections, a book of poetry for adults (SP),

Her prize-winning short stories and poetry have appeared in various anthologies. She presents writing and publishing workshops at various venues. Fran’s books are available  on-line and from the publishers in ebook and paperback format. Visit Fran’s World at for further information on her books, blogs and events.

Fran has been a teacher, a counselor, written professionally as a magazine editor/writer, and also wrote political speeches, newsletters, legislation, grants, and promotional material for NJ State Government. She wrote professional papers on gender equity and violence prevention, which she presented at national and international conferences. Fran managed programs for women in gender equity, early education, and disabilities, as well as serving as Special Projects and Disabilities Officer for the AmeriCorps Commission in New Jersey.

She has a BA in Early Childhood Education, a MEd in Counseling Psychology, and an Ed.D. in Child and Youth Studies. Fran is a member of the Arizona State Poets Association, The Scottsdale Society of Women Writers, Sisters in Crime, [Desert Sleuths], and the National League of American Pen Women.

 Website URLs


Twitter, but no tweets -  @Hubysmom

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Guest Spotlight Author Elissa Daye

  QuotesCover-pic92Author Elissa Daye’s New Adult Urban Fantasy- When darkness falls, the shadows will rise! Journey along with Lyssa as she discovers a world she never knew existed in The Land of the Shadows.            

986593_10201575862825984_1123088241_nBook Blurb:

When Lyssa was at her lowest, she found herself surrounded by dark entities formed entirely from shadows. Their darkness had eaten at her very core until she had almost nothing left to give. Tired of their corruption, the young witch decides to fight back by trying to locate their power source unaware that her attempts would lead her down a path that would change her life forever.


Twitter: @daenira

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chapter Six is Now Available To Read 6/14/14

Morgan suddenly popped open her eyes. It paid to be alert and ready at all
times when you were in prison, and now that she was out, it wasn’t any
The man sitting in the chair directly in front of her simply stared, not saying
a word. He didn’t move, but continued to look back at her. A quick glance
around the room told her a couple of things. She was in a hospital room, not a
cubical in the emergency room. And she was in a private room, and it was a
really nice room at that.
Morgan rolled to her back and moaned at the pain that shot through her
body. She closed her eyes against the onslaught of agony that raced to every
nerve in her. She wondered vaguely if there was a single muscle that didn’t hurt
right now.
“You have a deep concussion to the left side of your head, just above your
ear. I had to put in seventeen stitches to close it up. X-rays show no brain
swelling, but we’ll check it again in the morning with another one to be sure. You
have two broken ribs, as I’m sure you felt when you rolled over like that,”
Damon Grant said. She looked back over at him.
Morgan didn’t say anything. What was there to say? He’d put the stitches in
so he was a doctor; he dressed much too nice to be a nurse. She didn’t need to
ask him what had happened, or who’d done it. She knew the answer to both of
those questions too.
Moving her right hand over her abdomen, she felt her money missing, and
that they had not catheterized her. It took her two tries to talk. Her throat and
mouth felt Sahara dry. “Money?” She was in one of those less than modest
hospital gowns so figured someone had seen it and taken it. Hopefully someone
“One of my brothers has it. He has a safe in his office; he put it in there for
you. As soon as you’re released, he’ll bring it back to you.” She nodded at him.
Morgan moved her hands to her lap and touched the needle on the back of
her hand without letting him see what she was doing. She pulled it out gently
and then, using the tape from the site, bent the tubing and taped it closed. Next,
she moved her hand along the bed rail to find the controls to the bed.
Morgan’s head was spinning, and making out the arrows and other icons on
the thing made her a little lightheaded. She pushed one of the buttons and nearly
screamed out loud when it stretched her out by lowering her flat. Quickly
pushing another button had her rising up. She glanced over at him and noticed
that while he was still sitting in the chair, he had now moved to a more alert
position by sitting on the edge of the seat.
“You may not want to go too far up. You’re pretty beat up. And with the
broken ribs, it’ll be painful.”
It already was, she wanted to scream at him, but bit her lip to keep quiet. She
had to stop once; fear of passing out from the shear intensity of pain had her
taking in deep breaths until she could move again. When she was as far upright
as she could physically stand, she stopped moving. It was another minute or two
before she felt she could move on to the next phase of her plan.
Gingerly moving her feet to the side of the bed, she rolled and pushed
herself into a sitting position in one movement. Stars danced behind her lids as
she sat there, her back now to the man. He didn’t say anything, but she heard his
hiss of breath, then the deep chuckle. He had to see the other marks she was sure
was there.
“There’s a deep contusion on your left thigh that should keep you from
standing, but at this point, I’d say it won’t stop you from trying. It has a perfect
print of a boot, so I’m guessing that someone kicked you there. The police took
pictures. It’s gonna hurt like hell when you get up. I say when because you are
just stubborn enough to pull is off. So ... if you stand up without falling over, I’ll
kiss you. Damn, but you are one stubborn broad.”
Morgan could hear the humor lacing his words. She wasn’t out to prove
anything to anyone. And if he came toward her with the intentions of kissing
her, she’d make him regret that for many months to come.
Moving closer to the edge, she moved her right leg to the floor. It was tricky
as the side rail to the bed was up and she seemed to be about seventy feet off the
floor. When her toes touched the tile, she nearly cried with relief. Grasping the
rail, she slowly moved her other leg down to be with its mate. She stood with all
her weight on her right leg until she could get the pain under some sort of
control and slowly, very slowly, began bearing weight on her left foot.
At first it didn’t seem all that bad, and then, suddenly, pain shot from her
toes to her hip like a knife stabbing the entire length. She bit her lower lip until
she tasted blood. Dizzy now, she held onto the rail in a white-knuckle grip until
she could breathe again. She opened her eyes and the man stood in front of her,
concern written all over his face. She’d never heard him move.
“Let me help you back into bed, Ms. Becky, before the pain overwhelms
you.” When he reached out to touch her, she jerked back in terror. Her whimper
had nothing to do with the pain this time, but the fear of the man. He must have
realized it and took a hasty step back.
“Don’t touch me. I ... I don’t know you. You need to back ... move away.
Please.” He took another step back and folded his arms over his massive chest.
But he didn’t stop watching at her.
Each step was an agonizing, mind numbing haze of pain. Putting most of her
slight weight on the bed, she moved to the end, then across the foot to the top again. She had seen the little closet and was now making her way to it, praying
that she’d make it without the support of the bed to hold her up. Concentrating
on one step at a time, she leaned heavily on the door when she finally made it.
Opening it up, and sobbing with untold happiness at finding her things there,
she gathered them into her arm and, holding on to herself, moved to the
Even though she knew it would feel wonderful, Morgan didn’t sit on the
commode. She didn’t because she was terrified she’d not be able to get up again.
Crying openly now that she was alone, she began the chore of getting first
undressed then dressed again.
Taking off the gown, she nearly did sit. The bruises were horrific and many.
She knew that some of them had happened today when Big Martha had attacked
her, but some had happened when…well, she needed to get away from here
before he came back and finished the job. She pulled her bloodied shirt from the
pile of clothes and her bra. There was a little blood on it, but it was all she had.
She put it on; luckily, the hook was in the front.
Morgan heard the man on the other side of the door talking. She couldn’t
hear what he was saying and, frankly, didn’t really care. She’d be gone soon
enough, and if they thought she was paying for this room, well, she couldn’t
afford it.
The loose-fitting pants—who was she kidding? Everything she owned fit her
like it was too big—felt good and hardly rubbed the bruise at all. Her shoes were
a problem, but she only slipped them on without even attempting to tie them.
She could only brush her hair and let it hang long down her back. As soon as she
could find some scissors, the shit was coming off. After brushing her teeth, she
felt more human. She opened the door quietly and moved out into the room.
The doctor was sitting in the same chair as before. This time, however, he
was positioned in front of the door. Well, fuck, so much for a clean get away.
“Move. You can’t keep me here. I know my rights.”
Morgan put as much hardness in her voice as she could, but all this moving
and the pain had exhausted her. She was dizzier now than she had been, her leg
was throbbing like a tooth ache, and she was pretty sure she was going to be
“Actually, I can, as you see. I can’t let you leave, Morgan. Not like this.
You’re eyes are glazed over with pain, you can barely walk without help, and
you have nowhere to go. My mom will be here in a few seconds, as will my
brothers. So pop a squat and we’ll wait for the family to show up.” He leaned his
head back against the chair and grinned at her. Arrogant ass.
“This says I don’t wait. Now move or one of us is going back to prison, and
the other, the morgue.” She watched as his eyes widened at the sight of the gun
she was holding in her hand.

Tune in next week for chapter seven 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sebastian A Bowen Boys Series Now Available 6/12/14 & Winner Announced

Bowen Boys Book 5
Kathi S. Barton


“Maybe. But first I have to go and tell Dad that I’m sorry, and then apologize to some woman they have helping them play on the Internet.” He got into his car and started it up. “I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be on the shit list for a very long time.”
“That doesn’t sound like you. What did you say to her?” Sebastian told him. “Christ, buddy, you’ll be lucky if you ever get off it with that. I can see why Dad is mad. Hang on.”
He was put on hold and decided to put in his earphone and talk and drive. Sebastian didn’t text while driving and he never looked at his phone either. There was a time and place for that, and going sixty miles an hour down a highway wasn’t the time or the place. His brother was laughing when he came back on.
“I wouldn’t go to Dad right now if I was you. He’s spitting mad and said he’s going to get a switch. Man, I don’t think I’ve ever heard him cuss like that.” Sebastian groaned. “If I were you, I’d give him until tomorrow, and then maybe you might live to tell about it.”
“I think I’ll just get it over with. They’re all there now and I can just go and take my medicine like a man. I’m pretty sure that whatever he has planned for me is nothing I’ve not thought of doing to myself. I was way out of line.”

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Next New Release is Agon  

 The Mystic Protectors book two 


Winner of this bracelet and swag is 

Ana P Martinez   congrats i will be emailing you 


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chapter Five is Now Available To Read 6/7/14

Chapter Five 

Nick looked up at three of his brothers. He was not amused by their
presence, or their comments. Damon had come on the scene just as Morgan had
started her tirade at him. He had rushed around the curtain in time to see her
beat it to the bathroom to be sick. Then when Jamie and Byron had come in,
Damon told them the story in great detail and with lots of embellishments.
“She did not call me a self-righteous prig. If you are going to tell the story, at
least tell it without lying,” Nick told Damon. “Where is she anyway? Mom said
she was having issues with her and she’d be right back.” He was in a room now,
and his head was hurting a whole lot less now that they had given him
something for the intense pain shooting from his temple to his eyeball. He
rubbed his chest again, and noticed that Damon was starting at him intently.
“You gonna get that checked? Or am I gonna have to have Mom haul your
ass in my office again?” Damon, the second oldest, was a doctor. He’d been a
great surgeon until a few years ago, when he’d quit the hospital without a
backward glance and opened his own practice in the same building as Nick
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve had a really shitty day, in case
you hadn’t noticed.” He leaned back against the bed and tried not to think about
the burning in his chest. He needed to focus on something besides the pain. He
thought instead of the girl who had disrupted his otherwise...okay, boring life.
“Mom said that she doesn’t know where she is and she’s trying to find her.
She seemed pretty upset when I saw her before I came in here. Who is this chick
anyway?” Spencer said as he came in the door with his youngest brother, Devin.
Great! Just friggin great! All five of them. Could this day get any worse? Nick
groaned loudly when Damon started the story over yet again, with even more
elaborate details from Jamie and Byron who weren’t even in the room when it
“You all had better have a kiss for your poor old mother, or I’m going to get
really mad.” Margaret Parker always made a grand entrance. “Chick? I’ll have
you know she is a grown woman. And if I hear that derogatory word from your
mouth again without referring to a baby chicken, I will wash it out with a bar of
lye soap, young man. She’s my friend still, no thanks to your brother. I’m trying
to find her a steady job and now housing, if I can locate the little nitwit.” She
simply stood by the only chair in the room and Nick watched as his brother
Byron nearly fell over getting up for her to sit down.
He smiled at her grouse. His mother was, by and far, the most loved mother
of all time, he was sure. She had her six sons wrapped quite tightly around her
little finger. And she knew it.
After the lavish compliments, hugs and kisses, they settled down on any
available place they could in Nick’s private room. He had had to move his legs
twice to make room for two of his brothers. Devin ordered pizzas for them, plus
the nursing staff, and had bribed one of the delivery people stop and get a six
pack of his favorite dark beer. It helped that he owned the shop, he supposed.
They were all successful, men of worth, as their grandfather had called them.
Each of them had gone to college on an academic scholarship, despite the fact
that they could afford any university they wanted to go to.
Spencer and Jamie were university professors, Spencer with tenure. Devin
had his own practice, and also a tenant in his building as a criminal lawyer.
Damon, too, had a practice in the Grant building. Byron had an office there, as
well, but was seldom in residence. He was a famous artist and potter. His staff
worked from the third and fourth floors, taking orders, setting up shows and
keeping track of Byron, who needed a keeper more than any kid would.
“Wait! She was staying at the halfway house where I was ... where that ...
where I was hurt.” He so did not want his brothers to find out that he had nearly
been Big Martha’s lover in a house of recently released prisoners. Women
“Well, that’s where she was until she had to rescue you today. Apparently,
while she was here, a few of Big Martha’s crew went in and tore all of her things
up, and what they couldn’t destroy, they set fire to. And because of the
‘disruptions’ she caused, she’s been told she can’t stay there any longer. And
now ... now I can’t find her.” Nick felt his mother’s pointed glare at him and
flushed. He was rubbing his chest again before he knew it.
“When was the last time you saw her, and where?” Damon was speaking to
his mother, but watching him. Nick put his hand under the blanket. Damon’s
penetrating stare was starting to make him uncomfortable, and before he knew
it, he was back to rubbing again. Well, fuck.
“She was in the hall with that cop, Denty. I really despise that man—
arrogant asshole. I sent her back to Nicky to wait so that I could give him a piece
of my mind, but when I got there, she wasn’t. Did either of you see her?” Nick
looked at his brother when his mother asked him.
“She was with him when I got here, but took off to the ladies room seconds
later. She was sick, she said. She’d been browbeating this one here and suddenly
needed to throw up. That pretty nurse came in just after, and we got busy
moving Nick up here. I didn’t think to check on her since then. You?” Damon
nodded toward him.
Nick hated to admit it, but he hadn’t thought of her either. “She couldn’t
have gotten far. I mean, didn’t you say she was beaten up, too? I still don’t
understand why you didn’t just make her get checked out—you have no
problem telling us what to do on a daily basis.” He started to glare at her, but decided that wasn’t such a smart move. He loved his mom very much, but
frankly, she still frightened him a tad.
“She isn’t my son, and, by far, more than a little—” She stopped when his
room door was thrown open.
“Ms. Parker? That woman you were asking about? They just found her down
in x-ray. Somebody knocked her out with something. They’re taking her to ER
now. I don’t know any more than that.” The obviously flustered nurse came in
and took Nick’s blood pressure, then tsk, tsked at the elevation.
After a few seconds of noisy silence, his mom slapped Damon on the arm to
get him moving. “Don’t just stand there. Go to ER and see to her!” And he took

Tune in next week for Chapter Six 

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