Pigeon Blood Red – Ed Duncan Interview

Let’s Welcome
Our Author For Tonight:
Ed Duncan

He Wrote:

Rad-Reader:  How did you come up with Rico’s character?

Ed:  I'm a black lawyer (now retired) and I intended to write a novel featuring a young African-American lawyer, a highly idealized version of myself, as the main character.  However, Rico fought to become the chief focus of the novel and, while the struggle was difficult, I like to think we fought to a draw.  By that, I mean that although Rico did edge Paul out as the main character, Paul and Evelyn are at least arguably on par with him as the driving forces in the narrative.  In writing Rico's character, I wanted to create someone readers could secretly root for despite his occupation.  I wanted him to be ruthlessly efficient but to have a code of his own.  In short, if I've succeeded, readers will discover a killer with a conscience.

Rad-Reader:  Was it your intention to have his relationship with Jean go back and forth emotionally?

Ed:  I'm glad that came through because, yes, it was my intention.  I wanted Jean to be on an emotional roller coaster, constantly torn between wanting to leave Rico and wanting to stay.  The subtext is that he needs her as much as she needs him but, of course, he can't allow himself to express his feelings openly.

Rad-Reader:  Did you come up with Rico a character first and work around him?

Ed:  No, I came up with Paul first and then developed Rico as a foil for him.  In retrospect, Rico is in many ways an amalgam of three of my favorite movie heroes.  Two appeared in westerns that were based on eponymous novels.  In chronological order, they are Shane, starring Alan Ladd and Hombre starring Paul Newman.  The third is Bullitt, a crime movie starring Steve McQueen.  What the heroes have in common is that all are essentially loners and all have codes of their own.  Unlike Rico, though, all are on the right side of the law.  

Rad-Reader:  The style of this book or story reminds me of Noir.  Were you wanting that or did it just happen?

Ed:  I set out to write a crime novel with elements of Noir.  In fact, I'm a big fan of film noir.  A few of my favorites are  Out of the Past, The Postman Always Rings Twice (the John Garfield/Lana Turner version), and Double Indemnity. I think all of these have influenced my writing at least indirectly.

Rad-Reader:  Jerry’s character took a back seat to Ricco but you made him different in personality was that something you wanted or did it just happen as you were writing?

Ed:  It was a conscious decision.  I wanted another killer/enforcer to contrast with Rico in order to demonstrate how expert Rico was at his craft and how singular killer he was.

Rad-Reader:  The story begins and ends in Chicago.  In the middle, you have most of the character’s travel to another state altogether.  Why?

Ed:  The idea for the novel came to me while I was attending a legal seminar in Honolulu in the mid-1990's.  The kernel of the idea was this:  What if a lawyer on holiday in Honolulu had a chance encounter with a beautiful, mysterious woman who was running for her life from some unknown danger and the lawyer, against great odds, managed to save her?  In order to honor that inspiration, I determined that the woman would be from Chicago (where I went to law school) and that something would bring her to Honolulu where she would discover that her life was in danger because of an object I later determined would be an immensely valuable, purloined pigeon-blood red necklace.  In addition, Honolulu is, of course, an exotic setting for a novel, and I thought that having much of the action take place there would add to the novel's allure.

Rad-Reader:  How did you come up with Jean’s character?

Ed:  I knew I wanted Rico to have a significant other and I wanted there to be some contrast between her character and Rico's.  I thought it would be intriguing to make her a hooker, which would give rise to an interesting dynamic between the two.  How would he feel about her profession and how would she feel about his?  How would each deal with that issue?  How much of an issue would it be?  I knew at the same time that I ran the risk of making Jean a cliche, i.e., a "hooker with a heart of gold."  I thought it was worth the risk and I hope her character rose above the cliche.

Rad-Reader:  What made you decide to have a past connection between these three Evelyn, Robert, and Paul?

Ed:  That's a great question.  As the novel was originally conceived, Paul and Evelyn met in Honolulu as complete strangers.  However, I was convinced by someone at a writers conference I attended that they couldn't be complete strangers because it was unrealistic to think that anyone would go to the lengths Paul goes and expose himself to the danger he does to help Evelyn if she were a total stranger.  If the novel were written in 1940 I don't think my original premise would have been a stretch if handled properly, but maybe it would have today.  I'm still not sure.  In any event, I made the change, which as a side benefit, allowed me to create an interesting backstory for the three characters that otherwise wouldn't have existed.

Rad-Reader:  Paul Elliot’s character was very interesting.  What made you decide to start his story from one year earlier?

Ed:  Once I decided that Paul and Evelyn would already know each other before their chance meeting in Honolulu, I wanted there to be some possibility of sexual tension between them after they met again.  Without giving away too much of the plot, something happened in Paul's life a year earlier, which, had it happened just before his arrival in Honolulu, would have made it unlikely that his old feelings for Evelyn would have been aroused so quickly.

Rad-Reader:  You made only one reference to it, but did you read Dashiell Hammett books?

Ed:  Yes, I did.  One of my favorite novels and biggest influences is The Maltese Falcon.  I'm also a big fan of the movie version (the one starring Humphrey Bogart; there were two earlier ones).  Most of the dialogue in the movie is taken verbatim from the novel, which is one reason the movie is so great.  Years ago I bought a compilation called The Novels of Dashiell Hammett, which contains The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and two others. 

Rad-Reader:  Do you write using an outline or just write and see where the story leads you?

Ed:  I use an outline only sparingly.  Before I start to write, I may jot down in broad strokes what I envision the plot to be and who the characters are and what I see happening to them.  As I write, though, quite a bit changes as I develop new plot twists and add new characters.  Sometimes as I'm lying in bed trying to get to sleep, a new idea or just a phrase or description will come to me, and I have to get up and write it down for fear that I'll lose it.  Other times as I'm actually writing, plot changes will come to mind and I'll jot those down on a separate sheet of paper. (I write out my first draft on a legal pad.)

Rad-Reader:  Did you know ahead of time which characters were not going to make it and write around them?  Or did the story progression lead you to end that character?

Ed:  I knew ahead of time that certain of the characters wouldn't survive.  However, one or two characters were "on the bubble," i.e., I wasn't sure what their fate would be at the outset of the novel, and made a decision based on the story progression.  Also, I changed the personality and motivation of one character as I wrote a scene, but I didn't decide whether that person would live or die until later in the novel.  

Rad-Reader:  Did you plan the ending in advance or did it just work out that way?  I did not see that coming at all.

Ed:  I'm glad the ending was a surprise.  It was planned from the start.  However, a secondary character became involved in the ending and that wasn't planned.

Rad-Reader:  Was Rico personality based on anyone you knew?

Ed:  No, not at all.

Rad-Reader:  I was drawn to that character and his street smarts and old school ways.  Is that what you wanted?

Ed:  That's exactly what I wanted.  I wanted to create a character who was morally ambiguous.  He doesn't have your conscience or mine but he has a set of guiding principles that he lives by, and his "conscience" is clear so long as he follows those principles, e.g., he doesn't kill children and to his mind, he's never killed anyone who "didn't have it coming."  His principles also approach something akin to a kind of old school chivalry in that he prefers not to kill women.  Yet he'll do so if he has no choice.  And he's the only one who can decide whether he has a choice or not.  Also, he doesn't like to see people bullied and he hates hypocrisy and arrogance.  Finally, he has a sense of humor.  In short, he is a likable character if you overlook what he does for a living.  

Rad-Reader:  You mentioned Cicero, IL -  Is this by choice since Capone was there and the outfit stayed?

Ed:  No, although I'm sure some readers will make the connection between that city and Capone.  I picked Cicero as the location for the race track (where Rico and Jerry grab Robert) because in fact a popular race track is located there and someone living in Chicago who likes horse racing might be expected to go there regularly.

Rad-Reader:  Are you working on another book?  If so when will it be out?

Ed:  Yes, I'm working on the second in the trilogy and I'm about halfway through the second draft.  I hope to have it out by this summer if not this spring, although that may be too optimistic.  The small publisher of Pigeon-Blood Red ceased operations in August of 2016, and I've been self-publishing it since then.  I haven't decided yet whether to try to find a traditional publisher for the sequel or whether to self-publish it.  If I self-publish, I think this spring or summer are realistic estimates.  If I publish traditionally, the next one surely will not be out before fall.
Rad-Reader:  What song that is out there right now talks about your characters or tells your story of your characters?
 "Superfly" - Curtis Mayfield

Ed:  You stumped me!  I can't think of a single one.
Rad-Reader:  If your book was made into a movie who would you want to play…

Rico:  Matt Zemlin

Jean:  Elisha Cuthbert

Evelyn:  Saycon Sengbloh

Paul:  Ben Foster

Livitek:  Jake Gyllenhaal

Ed: 

Rico:   Jon Hamm
Jean:  Felicity Jones

Paul:  Idris Elba/Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetel
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/multimedia/archive/01057/EJIOFOR_a_1057784b.jpg
Paul
Livitek:  Paul Giamatti
Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers buy your books?

Ed:  It's available on-line at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.  You can also ask for it at your local bookstore and they can order it through Ingram, a major distributor.
https://www.amazon.com/Pigeon-Blood-Red-Ed-Duncan-ebook/dp/B01KYNYUAI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1487706218&sr=1-1&keywords=pigeon+blood+red
Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers find you on the Web?

Ed:  My web address is www.eduncan.net; my Amazon Author Page is www.amazon.com/author/edduncan; my Goodreads Author Page is www.goodreads.com/author/show/15; and I'm also on Facebook at www.fb.com/ed.duncan1210, Twitter at www.twitter.com/pigeonbloodred, Instagram at www.instagram.com/ricostays, and Pinterest.

Rad-Reader:  What would you tell the 13-year-old you left behind if you could talk to him now?

Ed:  In Pigeon-Blood Red Paul asks himself which is correct:  All good things come to those who wait or He who waits is lost.  I would tell my 13-year old self to ask that question whenever I started to rush into something or whenever I hesitated before making an important decision.  Both can be right but which is right under the circumstances at hand?

Rad-Reader:  Who inspired you to become a writer?

Ed:  A few months ago I wrote a post I called "The Spark That Lit My Writer's Flame," the gist of which was that my eleventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Shropshire, was the person who first inspired me to become a writer.  She was a great teacher who had a firm command of the English language, both grammar, and literature.  She paid me a very generous compliment by remarking at the end of my term paper:  "Your writing is seldom if ever, equaled among our students."  Wow!  

Rad-Reader:  Has writing always been your full-time job or have you done it secret passion until now?

Ed:  Definitely it's been a secret passion.  I had a long career as a lawyer at a national law firm headquartered in Cleveland before retiring a couple of years early to write my first novel, Pigeon-Blood Red.  Before I retired I wrote a legal treatise called Ohio Insurance Coverage and wrote five annual updates.  I had a lot more fun writing Pigeon-Blood Red!

Would like to thank you for being with us you were so fast in getting all the things we needed for this interview to us.  I really enjoyed your book immensely.  You made my wife’s life easy by having everything she needed, therefore, making my life easy.  My kind of man.  Come back again when your next book comes out and we will post it in our Shout Out: An Author’s Place.  You are now a 1 Rad-Reader Misfit too as my wife says.

Thanks, Pat


NEED YOU for ALWAYS (HEROES OF ST. HELENA, #2)

NEED YOU for ALWAYS                              MARINA ADAIR


Emerson “Emi” Blake dropped out of culinary school to care for her ailing mother, but she has bigger dreams than running St. Helena’s most popular pita cart. First on the menu: upgrade to a gourmet food truck. A new part-time job as a personal chef will definitely provide the funds, but it also forces her into close contact with her one and only one-night stand, Dax Baudouin, who’s daring her to try a second taste.

Former army Ranger Dax has a clear mission: come home, get healed, and get gone. Yet Emi’s tough-girl exterior and hidden soft side are even harder to resist than her mouthwatering baklava. After years of battles, he knows better than to try and rescue anyone—not that she’ll let him get close enough to try. Truth is, Dax is starting to think that Emi’s the one person who can save him…if he can just persuade her to give him another shot.
 

PAT'S REVIEW:



Emerson Blake has dropped out of culinary school to take of her mother who is sick. She is now working towards saving money to open a food truck to sell their top recipe baklava and other gourmet foods. Her idea has her working many hours and doing quite a few catering jobs. Now catering the VFW dance the last person she was expecting to see was Dax Baudouin. The former Army Ranger has had tougher battles in the field, but none will be as tough as Emerson Blake who he hires as his personal chief. The problem that the two of have is that Emerson and Dax a while back hooked up at a friend’s wedding that was out of town and Emerson had no problem with a night love feast with Dax, but she was not planning on coming home or seeing him any time soon. Now they must work past that night or just give into the feelings and emotions they both have for one another. Nah that would make for a terrible story. Read this book and see how these two find their way through food to each other. A very good book. I got this book form netgalley.com.I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com 

CASINO: LOVE AND HONOR IN LAS VEGAS

CASINO                                                             NICHOLAS PILEGGI

Focusing on Chicago bookie Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal and his partner, Anthony Spilotro, and drawing on extensive, in-depth interviews, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of the Mafia classic Wiseguy—basis for the film Goodfellas—Nicholas Pileggi reveals how the pair worked together to oversee Las Vegas casino operations for the mob. He unearths how Teamster pension funds were used to take control of the Stardust and Tropicana and how Spilotro simultaneously ran a crew of jewel thieves nicknamed the “Hole in the Wall Gang.”
 
For years, these gangsters kept a stranglehold on Sin City’s brightly lit nightspots, skimming millions in cash for their bosses. But the elaborate scheme began to crumble when Rosenthal’s disproportionate ambitions drove him to make mistakes. Spilotro made an error of his own, falling for his partner’s wife, a troubled showgirl named Geri. It would all lead to betrayal, a wide-ranging FBI investigation, multiple convictions, and the end of the Mafia’s longstanding grip on the multibillion-dollar gaming oasis in the midst of the Nevada desert.

PAT'S REVIEW:

Here is a book that the movie with the same title was based on. Of course the book goes into more detail about the life of Lefty Rosenthal. Starting from his childhood through his time in Vegas. Overall this is a good book with the parts of Vegas bring back memories of the old casinos that are no longer there. It was also amazing how at one time he was running the book for four casinos. This book has a lot of details and history that was interesting to read. I also remember reading about the framer who found the bodies in his field years later and they turned out to be that of Tony Spilotro, and that of his brother many, many years after he went missing from Vegas. Overall it was a good story about old Vegas. I got this book from netgalley.com. I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com 

ART ROSS: THE HOCKEY LEGEND WHO BUILT THE BRUINS

ART ROSS                                                         ERIC ZWEIG

The first authorized biography of Art Ross, Hockey Hall of Famer, NHL founding father, and long-time member of the Boston Bruins.

Though he last played the game nearly one hundred years ago, Art Ross remains connected with the greatest stars in hockey. Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, and Sidney Crosby have all won the award that bears his name, the trophy given annually to the NHL’s top scorer. Ross himself managed just one goal during his NHL career; however, in the dozen years leading up to the formation of the NHL in 1917, he was one of the biggest stars in the game. 

After his playing career ended, Ross became one of the founding fathers of the Boston Bruins, holding the positions of coach, general manager, and vice president. He was one of the men most responsible for making the NHL a success in the United States, and was integral to the modernization of hockey. All these accomplishments led to him being one of the first players inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Hockey historian Eric Zweig brings to life the early days of hockey. From the mining towns of Northern Ontario to the hallowed halls of Boston Garden, Art Ross was one of the biggest names in hockey over his six decades in the game.

PAT'S REVIEW:

This is a true hockey history book, not just about the man who helped form the Boston Bruins, but also added to the game by inventing a better puck, making a better goal along with nets, implementing rule changes and many more things as well. Some of his ideas were not put into place until decades latter. You get a story of Art Ross’s life from childhood and all of the places he lived and the sports he played. You are shown how good of an athlete he was in all sports not just hockey, but that when he played hockey he excelled at it. Winning the cup as a player. You are taken through the formation of the Bruins and how each year’s team was formed. Players acquired and also arguments between players and other management personnel and how some of them would last until he passed away. Overall a great hockey book, about the history of the game. A very good read for a fan of the game. I got this book from netgalley. com.I gave it 4 stars. Follow us atwww.1rad-readerreviews.com 

IS THERE LIFE AFTER FOOTBALL?: SURVIVING THE NFL

IS THERE LIFE AFTER FOOTBALL?        JAMES A. HOLSTEIN

Is There Life After Football? draws upon the experiences of hundreds of former players as they describe their lives after their football days are over. It also incorporates stories about their playing careers, even before entering the NFL, to provide context for understanding their current situations.The authors begin with an analysis of the "bubble"-like conditions of privilege that NFL players experience while playing, conditions that often leave players unprepared for the real world once they retire and must manage their own lives. The book also examines the key issues affecting former NFL players in retirement: social isolation, financial concerns, inadequate career planning, psychological challenges, and physical injuries. From players who make reckless and unsustainable financial investments during their very few high-earning years, to players who struggle to form personal and professional relationships outside of football, the stories in the book put a very human face on the realities of the world of professional football. George Koonce Jr., a former NFL player himself, weaves in his own story throughout, explaining the challenges and setbacks he encountered and decisions that helped him succeed as an NFL Director of Player Development, PhD student, and university administrator after leaving the sport. 

Ultimately, Is There Life After Football? concludes that, despite the challenges players face, it is possible for players to find success after leaving the NFL if they have the right support, education, and awareness of what might await them. But players themselves must also resist being totally engulfed by the NFL culture in which they live. A fascinating study with unprecedented insider access, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the world of professional football.

PAT'S REVIEW:


I was drawn to this book by one of the names George Koonce who played linebacker for the Green Bay Packers during the 90’s when they went back to back to the Super Bowl, he also spent one year with the Seahawks before leaving the game at managements time not his. I think that is just one of the reasons for this book. He many men who actually don’t retire from the game teams just no longer call them and now they must sort out what to do. He goes into the college game and breaks all of that down. He also breaks down the salaries from the different pro leagues and how they are different with baseball and basketball having guarantee contracts and the NFL not having any. When a player gets hurt in the NFL and is let go he is longer payed. Whereas for example Alex Rodriguez contract with the Yankees for 275 million dollars was fully guaranteed except for the time he was suspended. Mr. Koonce gives you examples from his own personal life as well as a look at the different retired players, from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, etc... He goes into how the AFL was able to change the standard of pay not only for the top tier player but also for the lower player as well. The book goes into injuries and how that effects players and how and why the players union decided to settle with the NFL on the concussion lawsuit. For someone myself who has grown up from the 60’s watching football I am still amazed at how many teams and the NFL fight former players over injuries still to this day. I remember reading a story about Conrad Dobler who played guard for the Cardinals, Saints, and Bills, and they were fighting him on a knee replacement saying it had nothing to do with football. Here was a man who was an All- Pro Guard during the 70’s and now they are saying his knee problems are because of football. Went the NFL will fine a player because the color of their shoes are wrong, or socks. They have to wear Bose head phones when in a stadium not Beats, really. Then the NFL worked at getting all of the facts about the concussion study covered up and even threaten the doctor who testified. This book really shows you that it is a business not just in the NFL but before. Being a Packer fan I enjoyed reading this book and gaining knowledge as well as Mr. Koonce getting on with his life after football. A good back with a lot of information. I got this book from netgalley.com. I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

MEANT TO BE (WHISPER CREEK #5)

MEANT TO BE                                                 MAGGIE McMGINNIS

      At twenty-eight, Shelby Quinn’s already a has-been. Scooped off a country stage at sixteen and remolded into glittery pop princess Tara Gibson, she toured the country for a decade, playing to sold-out stadiums while slowly losing her soul. Now her sales are waning, and when her beloved father dies in a fiery plane crash, she finally comes apart at the seams. Alone and brokenhearted, she hides away at Whisper Creek Ranch, never expecting to meet a man who understands her in a way no one else ever has.

Cooper Davis was one of Boston’s top detectives—until a bogus investigation cost him his badge, his family, and almost his life. Now he’s wrangling horses and guests at Whisper Creek Ranch, while keeping one eye firmly on a super-secret VIP holed up in a private cabin—a beautiful, soulful singer who knows what it’s like to lose everything. Cooper and Shelby both have ample reason to guard their hearts. But if they can learn to trust each other, something magical awaits them under the big skies and bright stars. 

PAT'S REVIEW:

 
Shelby Quinn’s life is slowly coming apart, professional and personally. Now that her father has passed away her P.R. person has decided to send her away to Whisper Creek for a month. Whisper Creek is having their first celebrity stay with them at their ranch but they have no Idea who she is. They have asked new employee Cooper Davis former cop to live in the cabin next to hers and act as a body guard without her knowledge. This goes good for a while until her figures out that she cannot cook by the smoke coming out of her cabin, he then goes into cook mode which helps to open her up. This leads the two of them to become closer but throughout the story Cooper and the rest of the staff are still trying to figure out who she is. You also have Cooper’s life still unsettled back in Boston because of the case that made him retire. There was a lot that I liked about this story because the two characters both had to leave the ranch and you realize that the author you is going to take you on a different journey in this story than the other books. I must say I liked it and I liked the characters and dialogue as well. A very good story. I got this book from netgalley.com. I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com 
                                                                                                                                                                                 

UNLUCKY IN LOVE (WHISPER CREEK #4)

UNLUCKY IN LOVE                                       MAGGIE McMINNIS


After Alexis Maguire’s wedding day comes and goes without a groom, she decides that it’s time for a change. Tired of being the dependable, steady—and apparently boring—one, Alexis hopes that a cross-country road trip will help her loosen up and find her inner sparkle. Her first stop is the Whisper Creek Ranch, where the hot wranglers are sure to bring out her inner party girl. The trouble is, she can’t stand pretending to be someone she’s not—especially around the cowboy who tempts her to stay put.

Gunnar Peterson has spent six months working at Whisper Creek, and he’s never been happier. Having grown up an army brat, he’s ready to put down roots, and the only thing missing is a woman to share his life with. When Alexis blows into town, Gunnar thinks he may have met his match, despite the wild-child facade he sees right through. But Alexis swears she won’t settle down anytime soon—so it’s up to Gunnar to convince her that what she’s looking for . . . is right here.

PAT'S REVIEW:

This is a good story about two people lost who come together at whisper creek. Alexis Maguire’s wedding comes and goes without the groom showing up. Tired and not waiting around she travels west to Montana and whisper creek. Not looking for romance she is looking for a recharge of her inner self, and she finds that and more. Gunner Peterson has been working at the ranch for six months and after a childhood of moving around always he has seem to have found a home. When these two meet neither are looking for romance but say in whisper creek don’t drink too much of the water for love will find you. This is what happens between these two but they put up a good fight. A good story with good characters. Worth the read. I got this book from netgalley.com.I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

SNOWFLAKE WISHES (AN ECHO LAKE NOVELLA)

SNOWFLAKE WISHES                                  MAGGIE McGINNIS


Noah Drake was that guy--the one always on the lookout for his next adrenaline high, so it was no surprise when he took off across the world, seeking adventure as a travel writer. But one thing he could never escape was Piper Bellini, the girl who got away--the girl he let get away, a fact he's never let himself forget. When he returns to Echo Lake to see if there's any chance the flame between them can be rekindled, he never expects to spend the night holed up with Piper in a roadside diner while a blizzard rages outside. It's exactly the kind of situation that sent Piper running years ago. But this time, Noah may have been handed a Christmas miracle, and he intends to make all of his and Piper's wishes come true.

PAT'S REVIEW:

This is a quick short story set in Echo Lake. Noah Drake comes back for a visit after being away for seven years. He is a travel writer and adventurer. Piper Bellini has still not got over him leaving seven years ago even though she told him to leave because she could not see him hurt like he was at the time. Now all of these years later they end up spending a day together shopping for his family and talking. After they get snowed in the next day on their way back to Echo Lake she comes to face with her biggest fear and now must tell Noah how her parents died and the reason why she could not then or now follow him. A wonderful story about love and finding or facing your fears and moving forward. The characters are all good and this is a fast read. I got this book from netgalley.com. I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com 

BLOCKED (GOLD HOCKEY#1)

BLOCKED                                                         ELISE FABER


Brit has the chance to make history by being the first female goalie to play for an NHL team, the San Francisco Gold. So, when she is introduced to Stefan, the Gold's captain, she is determinedly not interested. 

Stefan is sexy, charming, and has a publicly documented list of conquests a mile long. Brit is unwilling to risk mixing business with pleasure, even when that business is wrapped up in a six-foot-plus, gorgeously muscled package. 

When management pushes Brit and Stefan together in an effort to gain good press for the beleaguered team, Brit finds that her carefully calculated disinterest doesn’t mask her body's desires. The more she falls for Stefan, the more she risks her career. 

Will she be able to have it all—a starting position and the heart of the captain? Or will she lose everything?

PAT'S REVIEW:

This is a very good book about hockey but with a twist. The first female goalie in the NHL. The author gives you what I think is a real look at what the struggles would be on and off the ice. Even in the locker room, and how some of the guys on the team would support her and others would not. This story takes it farther because there are outside people who you think should want her to succeed but are making her life very difficult. On top of everything else she and the captain of the team Stefan are attracted to one another but forces inside of the team are wanting them not to be together. Brit has other issues that she is dealing with from a former team and those are difficult for her to talk about. The issues for her and Stefan both add to the story they don’t take away from it. The characters are well thought of and make you feel like they could be real people. Weather they are the coach Frankie, Stefan’s mother, or the jerk on the team Mike Stewart. I liked that it was based on a female I thought that added to the story and set it apart from the hockey romance books I have read. The only negative I would have is that after meeting the author she is a Sharks fan, but I won’t hold it against her (GO KINGS). A great read take a chance on a new story. I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

Shout Out: An Author’s Place: CONSTRUCT 11 AUTHOR: ANNA LYNN MILLER with EXCERPT

Shout Out:
An 
Author’s Place

Construct 11 is a building where the surviving population of the final global war have come to live. The Leadership that emerged from the war created the perfect structure for the survivors to be safe from poverty, sickness, and starvation.
Locked behind the walls of Construct 11 for their safety, the survivors thrived. Four generations have been born within the walls with everything they have ever needed provided for them.
Now the true cost of their perfect society is being realized. Will they be able to hold their community together or will the knowledge of the truth disintegrate the framework of their existence?

Prologue - Final Journal Entry

Cycle 4
They told us we would be safe.  They said they would provide shelter, food and medicine.
The war had been devastating.  It started so far away and then it came to us.  We had been unprepared to fight for our homes.  There was so much death, so much suffering.  Our comfortable lives were gone.  We had to learn to survive.
For so many years we scavenged to make shelters, struggled to scratch farms into the ground.  When they came, we left all of that behind us.
I wish I had never come.  I wish I had stayed, run, hidden.
But I had to take care of my family and the lure of safety was tremendous.
We walked for days.  So many were sick and others were dying.  There were fights over food, water and, in some cases, our very lives.  One woman killed my wife over scraps of food.  I wasn't able to bury her.  We were forced to leave her there, on the side of the road.
I should have run away then, snuck away in the night.
But I had my children.  I wanted them to be safe.
When we first arrived, I thought things would be better.  We had food and medicine.  I stepped forward to help lead the large number of people in the cramped building.  I helped to establish the rules.  We would live together in an honest society where all were taken care of.
But life wasn't all that they promised.  Yes, there was shelter, food and medicine.  But it came at a price.  We became slaves.
They locked us in.
It was for our safety.  It was for peace and order.
There were those that rebelled.  I am the last of them.
This morning, I go to trial for treason against the very society I helped establish.  I can't run now.
I fear I will be dead by the end of the day.
David Stevens


Correctness Guidelines
Construct 11, City 4, Nation State 12
Construct Established Cycle 1
Governance Ratified Cycle 4
Amended Cycle 5
Amended Cycle 6  Cycle 7  Cycle 8   9

1.   The Leadership will govern the Construct.  No other being will dictate the rules and regulations thereof.
2.   For the safety of the beings living within the Construct, none will speak of or enter into the Outside.
3.   Treasonous speaking or acts thereof, against the Leadership, the Construct, or the executors of these Guidelines, will result in Easement.
4.  In exchange for shelter, food, medication and instruction provided by the Leadership, all beings will work six days for every seven.  On the seventh day, with minor exceptions for kitchen and medical staff, all beings will be allowed a rest day.  Exceptions will receive a rest day on a separate day based on staffing needs.
5.   The invigilators will patrol the Construct, offering guidance on the proper execution of these Guidelines, under the direction of the Head Councilmember.  Beings of the Construct will not argue or otherwise show disrespect towards said invigilators.
6.   No being will harm another being in any way.
7.   Once beings have reached the age of maturity, 18, every being will partner with only one being of the opposite sex.  Mating with any being other than a partner is prohibited.  Each pair of beings will produce one offspring only.  Violations of this rule will not be tolerated.
8.   Stealing will not be permitted.  Thieves will be sentenced to Easement.
9.   Honest dealings with every being are expected.  Dishonesty will be dealt with harshly.
10. Personal belongings will be reduced to required materials only.  The population will be allowed to retain their current level of belongings but inheritance will not be allowed.
11.  The age of beings within the Construct will be numbered no higher than 80. 79. 78. 77 76  75


1
Saturday, Week 52, Day 6, Cycle 88


The metal hanger scraped against the bar as Dan pushed it to the side.  The distinctive sound grated against his already frayed nerves.
He muttered under his breath as he grabbed the next one, pulling it out slightly to see which pair of pants it was.  He frowned.  It wasn't the ones he was looking for.  "Where are they?" he grumbled as he shoved the hanger back into the closet.
"Rita," he hollered, "do you know where my favorite pants are?"
There was no answer.  Dan looked toward the bathroom door.  It was closed.  She didn’t hear him.
He stared at the closet again.  "Why do all the clothes have to be brown?" he murmured impatiently.
But was it the clothes?  He'd been feeling this way for quite a few days now.  He couldn't pinpoint why or when it began, but he did know it had been there for a week or two… or three.  And it seemed like everything was annoying, including the color of his clothes.
He pulled out the hanger he had just put back.  He sighed as he removed the pants, chiding himself for complaining about something he couldn't change.  Every regular being in Construct Eleven wore brown clothes and he was no different.  There was no sense in getting upset about it.
Steam drifted into the hallway as Rita opened the bathroom door.  She emerged through the billows, rushing into the bedroom.  With quick movements, she began making Dan's bed.
He watched her as she worked.  She was as slender as she had been when they partnered eighteen cycles ago.  She had her long, medium brown hair pulled back in a low bun like normal.  Even though she was beginning to show some signs of growing older, he still found her beautiful.
"I can do that Rita," he told her as he shoved a leg into his pants.
Glancing over her shoulder, she scoffed at him.  "As long as we’ve been together, Dan, I have always made your bed.  It's what I do."
"Okay.  It doesn't mean I can't do it, though."
"I know."  She stood and gave him a half smile.  She was average in height, but barely came to his shoulder.
Dan sucked in his gut as he tried to fasten his pants.  "Do you know where my other pants are?"
"I've already sent them to the laundry this morning.  This has been the only opportunity I've had recently to get them in the wash."
"Oh.  Well… they fit me the best."  Dan fussed with his shirt, making sure it was still tucked in.
"You should go to the exercise rooms more often.  Your pants will fit better."
Dan grimaced at her but she didn't see it.  She had gone back to making his bed.  "I was speaking more of the length."  He was taller than most beings in the Construct.  His head almost brushed the doorframes when he passed through them.
She began making her own bed.  "Well, it still wouldn't hurt.  You're almost to the midpoint of your existence.  That stomach won't go away as quickly as it used to."
Rita almost sounded angry.
Ignoring her comment, he pulled on the cuffs of his shirt.  They always seemed too short.
He watched her for another moment, fretting over the small wrinkles at the foot of her bed.  Maybe to others, she would be simply trying to create a perfect surface.  But Dan knew her better than that.  She was avoiding conversation with him, just in case they talked about what she didn't want mentioned.
Dan tried to break the sudden tension.  "Listen, I was thinking."
"Yes?" she asked as picked up his pajamas from the floor.
He gave her a weak smile.  "Sorry," he said, as he gently pulled them from her hands.  "I was thinking maybe we could spend some time together tonight.  We could go to the Entertainment Floor.  Maybe we could get wild and spend some credits on something we don’t need."
Her smile was quick, forced.  "That sounds nice, Dan.  But uh…."
She seemed nervous as she looked around the room.  She bent over to pick up a stray sock.  As she stood again, she said, "You know how tired I get."
He tried to catch her eyes, but she avoided his gaze.  She took his pajamas from his hands and stepped towards the closet.
Dan pressed his lips together as she walked past him.  They hadn't spent an evening together in… Dan couldn't remember.  As he stepped over to his bed, he tried again.  "Perhaps you could make an exception.  I'd like to spend some time with you."
Her response had a snappy tone.  "You know I need to follow my routine.  If I don't, I won't be able to sleep.  That just makes the next day horrible."
The combination of her response and his cross mood had eroded his patience.  As he sat on the bed to put on his shoes, he decided to break the self-imposed ban on what upset her the most.  "You didn't need the pills in the past."
“Dan, we’ve had this discussion before.”
He clenched his jaw to control the anger that filled his head.  “You’ve been taking more.”
"I refuse to argue with you!"  She stomped the few steps from the closet to the bedroom door.  Two more steps and she was in the bathroom.  She slammed the door, shaking the adjoining wall of the small sleeping room they shared.
“Did you think I didn’t notice?” he called after her.
Dan rubbed his forehead to ease the headache that was forming.  He exhaled slowly to calm his emotions.  Once he left their accommodations, he would need them under control.  In order to abide by the Correctness Guidelines, emotions weren't sanctioned in public areas.
Through the wall, he could hear her rifling in the medicine cabinet.  His jaw clenched again as he realized she wouldn't be joining him for anything.
Dan stood and stepped to the long mirror on the closet door.  As he straightened his shirt, he took a closer look at himself.  His stomach was rounder than it had been in cycles past, protruding slightly over his pants.  Gray had started to appear randomly in his dark brown hair.  Fine lines were deepening the olive skin around his mouth and eyes.  Perhaps Rita was right, maybe he should spend some time in the exercise rooms.
He shook his head at the thought.  He hated exercising.
Dan reached back into the closet and removed the one piece of color that only he was allowed to wear.  He placed the medium blue stole around his neck, the symbol of his role as Head Councilmember.  It was similar to the color of the evening sky and draped almost to his knees.
As he tugged on the tails, he felt the mental shift that always happened when he placed it on his shoulders.  All the responsibility he carried as Head Councilmember steeled his thoughts and gave him focus.  He let the frivolities and irritations of his everyday existence slide away.
To say he led the Construct was an overstatement, in his opinion.  The Leaders were the beings that governed.  The Council simply executed their rules and instructions.  His job was to oversee the Council, to make sure the rules were being followed and to handle any infraction.  The Leaders did not appreciate having to deal with mere rule-breaking.  In the ten cycles Dan had been Head Councilmember, he had never requested their assistance.  He was proud of that fact.
Rita reappeared from the bathroom.  "Is Daniel up yet?"  She seemed calmer.
Dan stepped into the doorway of their sleeping area.  He tugged on his cuffs again.  "I haven't seen him."
"Well, we still have a little bit of time."
"We do, but his ration starts in twenty minutes."
"When did Daniel's ration change?"  Alarm filled her voice.
Dan gave her a strange look.  "You don't remember?"
"What do you mean?"
"It changed when he turned fifteen, nearly two cycles ago."
Daniel’s door popped open and he appeared.  He seemed surprised to see the two of them outside his door.
“Good.  You’re up.”  Dan looked him over quickly.  He seemed to have grown overnight.  He was almost up to Dan’s nose.
It impressed Dan how much he looked like Rita.  Daniel’s medium brown hair was tussled like he had just gotten out of bed.  He had her light colored skin and her round face.  His mouth seemed to produce her smile.  But Dan was never sure where Daniel got his bright blue eyes.  Both he and Rita had brown.
Daniel put his bookbag over his shoulder.  “Yes.  I wanted to speak with Paul before ration.”
Dan's jaw twitched at the mention of the elderly male's name.  “I see.”
Dan cleared his throat as he stepped into the living area.  He walked purposefully over to the desk and flipped open his satchel, causing the buckles to clatter on the desktop.  He began gathering his papers and, with effort, placed them carefully into the satchel.
“You look very handsome today, Daniel,” Rita told him.
Dan glanced over his shoulder to see her brushing Daniel's hair from his forehead.  She continued, “You look so much like Dan when he was younger.  I remember when we named you.  I didn’t want to give you the same name as Dan.  But it’s turned out well.”
Daniel squirmed and shot a glance towards Dan.  Dan tried to hide his smile as he helped him out.  “You should get going, Daniel, or you’ll be late.”
“Yes, you shouldn’t be late.”  Rita stretched up onto her tiptoes and placed a small kiss on Daniel's cheek.  “Have a good day.”
“Uh, thank you, Rita,” Daniel said as he took a few uncertain steps toward Dan.  When he got closer, he extended his hand.
Dan frowned at the meekness Daniel was showing him.  When did he become so scary that his own offspring was timid approaching him?  They used to have such a good relationship.  When he was little, Daniel would run to meet him when he walked through the door.  They would play and spend time quietly laughing.  What had changed so much?
Dan took Daniel's hand and shook it.  It was a custom his own male caretaker had taught him.  He had been told it was a common practice in the previous society, but because physical contact in public was discouraged in Construct Eleven, it had become a rare occurrence.
“Are we okay?”  Daniel asked as he pulled his hand back.
“Yes.”  Dan went back to his papers.
"It's just that you seem… mad at me."
As those words hit his heart, Dan pursed his lips tight.  "No, Daniel.  I guess I woke up in a bad mood today.  I apologize."
Daniel gave him a polite nod of his head.  “Have a good day then.”
"You as well," Dan said over his shoulder.
As Daniel turned to leave, Dan added, "Don’t let Paul fill your head with half-truths.  We don’t live that way anymore.”
Daniel opened the door.  Before he exited, he paused and glanced toward Dan without saying anything.  Daniel gave Dan another respectful nod and then quietly pulled the door closed.
Dan stared at the door.  He didn't like Daniel spending a lot of time with Paul, who had been teaching Daniel the old ways.  They weren’t the ideas the offspring of the Head Councilmember should be learning.  But Dan had made a promise to Paul, long before he was Head Councilmember.  It was a foolish promise to a foolish elderly male by an even more foolish young being.
Dan wished he had never made that promise.
But he always kept his word.  Even though it was driving a wedge between him and his offspring, he had never rescinded the promise.
Dan felt Rita's glare from across the room.  His skin bristled.
“Paul doesn’t mean any harm, Dan," Rita said coldly.  "He cares about Daniel, about all of us.  You used to know that.”
“Perhaps,” Dan said as he closed his satchel.  “But Paul fills Daniel’s head with notions and ideas that we have moved away from.  It’s best if Daniel focuses on the here and now, not the old ways.”
Dan exhaled hot breath as he strode towards the exterior door.  The conversations this morning had turned his foul mood even more sour.  He yanked the door open.  “I have some errands to run.  I'll see you later.”

2

Daniel exited the main elevators on level forty and turned right.  He looked over his left shoulder to check who might be behind him.  It appeared quiet.
Construct Eleven was a large, circular building.  The beings that occupied it resided in the upper thirty floors while they worked and played in the lower ten.  The living arrangements of the residence floors were in four concentric circles with a hollow center, so that when a being stood on the tenth floor, they could look up and see the sky.
The living quarters themselves were arranged to use the space most efficiently.  The two middle rings were backed against each other so the accommodation doors opened into one of two corridors, the inner and outer hallways.  Those were connected by four short corridors evenly spaced around the Construct, where banks of elevators could be accessed.
Pausing before entering the inner hallway, Daniel leaned forward and quickly glanced down either side of the long hallway.  There didn't seem to be any being coming from either direction.  He strode across the hall in three giant steps, moving to his left toward Paul's accommodation.
Once he was across the hall, he restrained his steps to keep from rushing.  He didn't want to be caught running in the corridors.
His caution proved to be warranted.  As he passed the first door on his right, an invigilator appeared from around the bend in the hallway.
The sight of it made him freeze.
Keep your head down, he told himself.  It’s just on patrol and you’re not doing anything wrong.  Now walk.
It strolled toward him.  Its white, leather boots creaked as it approached.  The golden faceplate of its helmet followed Daniel as they passed by each other.  He was fairly certain there was another being inside the white armor, but he wasn’t sure.  He’d never seen a face or any amount of skin.
Daniel shifted his eyes to the floor as he took slow, plodding steps.  He didn’t want to give the invigilator an opportunity to sting him.  He'd never been stung before and he wanted to keep it that way.  He had heard the stings and the resulting burns could be very painful.
The creaking of boots faded.  Daniel glanced behind him to see an empty corridor.  The invigilator must’ve turned by the elevators to patrol the outer ring.  Daniel exhaled a sigh of relief and picked up his pace.
A few doors later, he stopped and knocked softly on Room 4005.
The door opened a crack and a pair of eyes peeked through.  They lit up with a smile just before the door opened, revealing the gray-haired Diana, Paul’s partner.
“Daniel, how nice to see you!” Diana exclaimed.
He couldn't hide his smile as he stepped through the door.  “It’s pleasant to see you as well.”
“Come, give me a hug.”
Daniel bent over to embrace the small, elderly female.  She patted his shoulders before releasing him.  “I’ll get Paul.  Make yourself at home.”
“Thank you, Diana,” Daniel said as she turned toward the sleeping rooms.  He loved spending time with them.  Diana was kind and gentle.  She always seemed to have something positive to say.  Paul always had interesting things to talk about, usually concerning how things used to be, or he had some old artifact to show Daniel.
Paul and Diana’s accommodation was identical to Daniel’s.  In fact, they were identical to every other living arrangement in the Construct.  Each one had a living area, usually furnished with couches and chairs, a small table and chair set, desks and bookshelves.  There were always two sleeping rooms, one for the adult partners and one for the single offspring.  Those rooms were separated by a small bathroom.
However, Paul and Diana had far more belongings in their accommodation than he did.  The walls in Daniel’s living area were bare.  The bookshelves held only the mandatory reading for the beings.  There were no pictures or any other decorations to make it more interesting.  Their accommodation was the very model of what the Correctness Guidelines required them to look like.  Dan insisted on it.
That’s one of the many reasons Daniel enjoyed being in their living area.  On the walls hung several paintings, some of the Outside.  Even though Paul had explained them hundreds of times, they were still mysterious to Daniel.  There were old pictures of beings Daniel didn’t know.   Paul called them his family, but Daniel could never quite grasp the meaning of the word or how the beings were part of that.  Small statues of animals Daniel was certain didn’t exist anymore populated the shelves along with a large variety of books.  He was sure most of them were forbidden.  How Paul managed to keep them was puzzling.
There were overstuffed pillows and vibrant blankets everywhere.  Every color existed in this one room and Daniel loved it.  Their living area felt alive and inviting while his felt cold and sterile.
But what he loved most was the window.  No other being that Daniel knew of had a window in their living area.  It was large and constituted almost the entire Inner Wall.  Paul once told Daniel the Leaders had built walls to cover all the windows when he was a small child.  Somehow, Paul had managed to remove the wall and keep it a secret.  He said he was able to keep the secret because no being ever came to visit him.  Daniel suspected it had something to do with the large, dark blue blankets that would sometimes cover the window.  Diana called them drapes and they seemed to melt into the rest of the unusual decorations of the room.
Since Paul’s window looked out into the hollow center of the Construct, there really wasn’t anything interesting to look at, just the other side of the building.  Daniel could see the covered windows of the other rooms, black and lifeless.  However, if he pressed his body up tight against the window and peered down just right, he could just barely see the Great Sky Area on the tenth floor.
What was most interesting about the window didn’t have anything to do with the Construct, but what was above it, the sky.  On the rare occasion when Daniel could visit in the afternoon, he could see the yellow disk as it moved down.  Beautiful colors would emerge as it disappeared behind the walls.  Sometimes the colors were pale shades of blue and orange and at other times, when there were clouds, bright shades of red, pink, orange and yellow would materialize.  A being might be able to see the clouds in those colors from the Great Sky Area, if they were lucky.  But, that view could never compare to what could be seen from Paul's window.
Paul called it a sunset.  Daniel had never heard any other being speak of it.  He was so amazed when he first saw one, he had mentioned it to Dan, who didn’t seem to understand what Daniel was talking about.  He was told never to speak of it again.
Daniel couldn’t understand how he could forget about something so beautiful.  Paul told him it was more magnificent in the Outside, on the other side of the walls.  But going into the Outside was forbidden, so seeing a sunset that way would be impossible for Daniel.  Watching them from inside the Construct would have to suffice.
A relaxing feeling spread through him as he got closer to the window.  The sky was a brilliant, soft blue this morning.  Light, puffy clouds skirted the edge of his view.  It was strange, it almost seemed too bright.  Daniel wasn't sure why, but things seemed clearer lately, like he had just woken up from a deep sleep.  He couldn't explain it.
A hand touched Daniel’s shoulder, startling him. “Daniel, I’m glad….”
“Paul!” Daniel breathed as he turned to face the elderly male.  He recovered quickly and flashed him a wide grin.
Paul’s cheeks were ruddy and round.  His brown eyes glistened behind his circular glasses.  The overhead light reflected off his bald head.  “It seems you were lost in thought.”
“Oh, yes.  I was thinking about the sunset.  I wish I could see it every evening.”
Paul sat in the oversized easy chair to the right of Daniel.  “Yes, it's nice to see.  What brings you around these parts today?”
Daniel stepped to the couch and sat on the edge, leaning forward onto his knees.  “I had another dream this morning.”
“Oh, I see.” Paul gave him a knowing smile.  “Was it in color again?”
     “Yes.”
“I find it amazing that you have these colorful dreams.  They seem to be increasing in frequency.  Refresh my memory about how long you've been having them.”
     Daniel thought for a moment.  “Well, I’ve been having these dreams  for over three cycles now, but they’ve picked up in the last four weeks or so.”
“And your dream was of the Outside?”
     “Yes.  It was very strange.  I was there, in the Outside, and there were several brown buildings around me.  Far away, the golden-haired female stood, watching me.  Behind me were some of the male Sixteens.  I heard someone yelling for Molly… I think that's her name.  And then there was a really loud sound and the ground began shaking.  Some being pulled on my arm and told me to run.  As I started running, a building between me and the golden-haired female fell."
Paul blinked a few times as he took in the information.  “That’s impressive.  You think the female is named Molly?"
Daniel hesitated.  He knew what Paul would say about her.  “Yes.  I don't know a Molly, so it makes sense."
A quizzical look washed over Paul’s face.  "If you don't know a Molly, where do you think you'd meet one?"
Daniel shrugged.  "I don't know."
"I don't either."
"So, you still think that the female in my dreams is your female caretaker.”
Paul turned his head to look at the picture on the wall.  Daniel followed his eyes.  Paul had told him several times who the beings in the picture were:  his caretakers, Catie and Joey.  They both lived in the Outside before the Construct was founded.  She had golden, curly hair, just like the female in Daniel’s dreams.
“Yes, I do think it’s her.  I think she’s trying to give you a message.”
Daniel shook his head in frustration.  He wasn't as certain.  “What message?”
"That’s what you have to figure out.”
“But I’ve never seen the face of the female in my dream.  How do I know it’s her?”  Daniel said as he pointed to the picture on the wall.
“Do you know any other females with that color of hair?”
He hated arguing with Paul.  “No.”
Diana emerged from one of the sleeping rooms.  “I hate to interrupt your conversation, but it's almost seven.  Daniel will be late for morning ration if he doesn’t get going.”
“Thank you, Diana.”  Paul pulled back on the arms of the chair and hoisted his body.  “Daniel, please come back tomorrow.”
Surprised, Daniel said, “But tomorrow’s Age Change Day.  I don’t know if I can.”
“Yes, I know.  I’ll work something out with Dan.  Please come around four.”
“Can I come tonight?”
“No, Diana and I will be spending tonight alone.”
“Oh.”  Daniel tried to hide his disappointment.  He wanted to see another sunset.
Diana smiled as she reached out to hug Daniel.  “How old will you be tomorrow, Daniel?”
He leaned in and gave her a small hug.  “I’ll be a Seventeen.”
“OH!” she exclaimed as she patted his shoulder.  She pulled back and grinned.  “You’ll be old enough to court!”
     Paul gave him a smile.  “Be careful, Daniel.  You never know who the Council will pick for you.”
Diana giggled, “Shame on you, Paul!”  She gave him a playful smack on his shoulder.
Paul winked at her.  "I'm just saying, if he doesn't get his choice…."  He turned his attention back to Daniel, extending his hand.  “Tomorrow, then?”
     He grimaced.  He couldn’t let Paul down.  “Of course.”
As they shook hands, Daniel thought about this simple act.  Other than Dan, there were no other beings in the Construct he shook hands with.  Somehow, it meant more with Paul.
Diana opened the door for him.  “See you soon, dear.”

*

Paul watched Daniel as he disappeared around the corner toward the elevators.
“Do you really want to put him through this?”  Diana was standing just inside the accommodation.
“No.  But he has a gift, Di.  He’s special.”
“It will change him.”
Paul shifted his gaze to the floor.  “I don’t see any other way.”
Silence fell between the pair for a moment.
“Do you think Dan will allow it?” Diana asked.
A grunt escaped Paul’s throat.  “He has to.  He promised.”
"Paul, please don't tell Daniel."
"Tell him what?"
"Who we are."
Paul glanced over at his partner.  He knew the look on her face—she was troubled.  Paul felt powerless, there was nothing he could do to help her feel better.  It was this place they lived in, this place they couldn’t escape.  "I won't," he said.  "I can't do that to him."
“I just worry about him,” Diana said, her voice full of emotion.
Reaching for her hand, he said in a low voice, “I know.  I do too.  But this is too important.”
Paul lifted his head and was about to go back through the door when movement caught his eye.  For a moment, he thought Daniel was coming back.  But it wasn’t him, it was the courier from the office.
He approached Paul right away.  “Paul?”
     “Yes?”
     “Here are your papers.”  He handed Paul two pieces of white paper, one for him and one for Diana.
“Thank you,” Paul murmured.  The gratitude didn’t matter, though, the courier was off to his next delivery.
Paul read the words and squeezed Diana’s hand.  “We have to do it Di, we have to do it for him.”

Non-Kindle electronic versions can be found at Smashwords.  Kindle, Paperback and Hardcover can be found at Amazon.com.


Author:

My name is Anna Lynn Miller and I'm the author of Construct 11, Part 1, my debut novel. In my spare time, I help my husband raise our six children and spoil our granddaughter. I've found recently that I love writing and hope to produce more and more things for you to read.
I can be found on Facebook and Goodreads under Anna Lynn Miller.  Construct 11 also has a Facebook page.  I also have a frequently unattended blog at https://construct11series.blogspot.com/

ARTIFICIAL SWEETHEARTS (North Pole, Minnesota #2)

ARTIFICIAL SWEETHEARTS               JULIE HAMMERLE It’s not chemistry between Tinka Foster and Sam Anderson that made them agree to a f...