Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Another Excerpt: The Key To My Heart

While we're at it, here's another excerpt from my newly-released ebook, The Key to My Heart where our hero, P.I. Chance Gannon finds himself in trouble:

I was on the hard cold concrete floor, tasting the salt in my own blood.

They were beating on me, banging on every nerve ending like a maestro would on the keys of his piano. The pain never went away; but after the first few blows it did dull. A little.  And if it was something the recent years have taught me, it was you could endure pain. Schmitt aimed another hard kick to my gut. I doubled over and puked up a mix of blood and this morning’s breakfast. I looked up at the bastard. That goddamn gold tooth glinted in his smug Nazi smile. “So, perhaps you are not so cocky now,” said Schmitt.

“Go to hell,” I snarled.
“Wrong answer,” said Beck from behind me. My spine burned up and down as his boot connected with it. I gritted my teeth.  “Tell us about Walter Carswell,” said Beck.

“I don’t know anything about him,” I spat.

“Wrong answer!” I saw stars as his fist connected with my face.

 I sagged back and fell against the damp cinderblock wall. Wiping the blood from mouth with my sleeve, I looked up. Beck and Schmitt stood in the semidarkness, their rough facial features highlighted by the shadows. I rolled over and lay down on the floor.

Beck walked over and knelt down, putting his face up to mine, close enough to smell the sauerkraut he must’ve had for lunch. “It would go much better for you if you cooperated, Mr. Gannon. Why are you foolishly insisting on this?”

“Maybe I…” I was going crack wise, but I clammed up. I saw something that make me blink: Beck still had the same jacket he wore when they picked me up… and under it, I could see the butt of my .45 gleaming dully in his belt. Real amateur night.  I pulled myself up on one elbow. “Water. Water please.”

“Karl, bring us some water,” said Beck to Schmitt.

“Careful Hans,” said Schmitt, who seemed to be half-ways reading my mind. He poured a glass of water from a pitcher on a table and passed it to him.

“Nonsense,” said Beck, accepting the glass. “Perhaps Mr. Gannon has learned the value of cooperation.” He patted my cheek with the palm of his hand like I was a good doggie. “See?” He passed me the glass.

I barely had time to sip the water, as cold good as it felt in my bloody mouth. My other hand was in his belt, grabbing the butt of my gun. I yanked it out and palmed off the safety as I brought it up to Beck. Beck’s mouth opened to form a giant O as he reached for his own gun. I was faster, this time. My finger squeezed the trigger twice and my hand jerked with the recoil as Beck dropped to his knees and fell over backwards. I rolled over, still on the floor. Schmitt was struggling with his Schmeisser when I fired, dropping him in his right leg. His submachine gun clattered to the floor as he rolled around, blood seeping through his finger as he clutched his leg and his eyes tearing up with pain. Leaning on a chair, I lurched to his feet and had another look at Schmitt. I stuck my gun in my belt; he wasn’t worth it, just now. See how it feels, tough guy. I found the door and got myself out of the room.

I leaned on the banister as I climbed up the rickety basement stairs.  With any luck, I wouldn’t be running into von Stroheim or any other of his flunkies. Not until I was feeling better. I gasped, holding back the as I hit the top of the stairs. I pushed the door open. No time to see if the door was open. I could see another door, with a window in it, and beyond that, blue sky. I lurched across for the door, shoving it open and pushing myself through.

I was at the top of the same flight of stairs as they’d brought up. The street was a long way down. Fighting the dizziness and everything else, I grabbed at the long black rail and began to climb down, one slow step at a time. Halfway down, a heard a voice behind me, all too familiar.

“Herr Gannon,” said von Stroheim, standing at the top of the stairs. “I do not know how you escaped, but in your condition, I imagine you cannot get very far, nacht whar?” He motioned with his hand and two new boys I’d never seen before came up beside him, their hands resting inside their jackets. “Please be sensible.”

It was then I heard the siren, as welcome as the sound of a cavalry bugle in all of those cheesy westerns. Guess the neighbors are nosy here, too. It was followed two seconds later by a SFPD prowl car, pulling up at the bottom of the steps. I looked up at von Stroheim and his goons and down at the two uniforms who had stepped out of the car and were looking up at me, then at the others, unreadable expressions on their faces. “No thanks boys,” I said, finishing off the last few steps, “I think my ride’s here.”

You can help out a poor unemployed writer by purchasing my books, Elvis Saves JFK! for just 99 cents and War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, for $2.99 and now The Key to My Heart, also $2.99 (all are free to preview). All books -- which are already on Smashword's premium distribution list -- are also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Sony, Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.  And if you’re looking for an experienced marketing communications guy, do me a favor and have a look here. Thanks.

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