The much anticipated release of my third standalone installment of The Seven Deadly Series, FURY, finally has a release date! Stay tuned below for the reveals of my new covers for VAIN and GREED, a chapter from FURY, as well as the heart-stopping trailer for FURY, due out, drum roll please, May 4th, 2015!
Revenge is an euphoric thing. Trust me on this. Nothing compares to the release you get when you ruin someone’s life. When they’ve stolen important things. Things that didn’t belong to them. Things I revel in making them pay for.
What? Have I offended you? I’m not here to appeal to your delicate senses. I have no intention of placating your wishes or living within your personal belief system nor do I care if you hate me. And you will hate me. Because I’m a brutal, savage, cold-blooded murderer and I’m here for my revenge.
I’m Ethan Moonsong…And this is the story about how I went from the world’s most sacrificing man to the most feared and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
The new cover for the first standalone in The Seven Deadly Series, VAIN.
The new cover for the second standalone in The Seven Deadly Series, GREED.
And now for an excerpt from FURY, due out May 4th, 2015…
I heard a snap and the light cracked on, piercing through my closed lids. My head pounded and I groaned then rolled over, pulling my cover over my head to drown out the source of my pain.
“Get up,” a deep voice commanded. “Get up,” he continued, kicking my shoe.
“Dad,” I rasped. “I’m hungover and feel like shit.”
He was silent for a moment so I pulled the cover down just enough to see his face. He was not amused.
“Ethan, watch your language, get your butt up, and find a job.” I didn’t answer him. I had nothing to say that would please him. “And while you’re at it, stop this ridiculous drinkin’, son.”
I sat up, ran my hands through my long black hair and wrapped the length around my fist. I sat back against the wall, reveling in how cool it was, and tried not to vomit.
“Did you see them today?” I asked him, unable to help myself.
My dad removed his hat and leaned against the jamb, scrubbing his face with his free hand. “You like to torture yourself,” he said, shaking his head then sighing. “You remind me so much of your mama.”
The mere mention of my mother sent me spiraling down once more in depression. We’d lost her a few years before and I was still in agony. That, coupled with the fact that Spencer Blackwell stole my girl right out from underneath my nose, was enough for me to drink to excess every night. I hate him.
“Are they,” I swallowed, afraid of his answer, “are they together now?”
My father sighed again. “Ethan, get dressed.”
“Are they?” I asked again, letting my hand drop to my side. My hair slid with it and cascaded down my back.
“You are a stubborn boy. Yes, okay? Yes, they’re together. All the more reason to move on, son.”
My body suddenly weighed a thousand pounds and I felt my head reeling. So it was true then. They were together and they would probably get married and I was going to have to sit there in that godforsaken small town and watch it all happen. I was going to get a front row seat to my own misery.
I nodded once, rested my hands on my knees for a brief moment, then ran past my dad, shouldering him as I did so and nearly knocking him over before making it to the small bathroom across the hall and retching everything in my stomach into the toilet.
My dad stood in the bathroom doorway shaking his head in disappointment. When I was done, I fell back into the wall. That look shamed me to my core. Any time my dad felt let down, I felt the weight of my disgrace so heavy the only thing I could think to dull the ache was to drink myself into a stupor. It was a vicious cycle.
I let my hair cascade over my face. I heard the old wood floor creak beneath his feet as he left without another word and jumped when the front door slammed. My eyes closed as my head pounded.
The claw foot tub sat to my left so I leaned up and turned on the water, slowly removing my clothing one piece at time. Each movement felt like a hammer slamming into my head.
“God,” I groaned. “I am an idiot.”
I stood then stepped underneath the warm water and just stood in silence, letting the water absorb into my hair and seep into my skin. I breathed in the steam deeply. I was miserable. Not just physically but my heart was the heaviest it’d felt since my mom passed and I had no one to blame but Spencer Blackwell for that.
The asshole who rode into my life under the guise of helping his sister only to yank what I thought was a stable foundation right out from underneath me. He stole from me, a bona fide thief, and I wanted to make him pay. No, I needed to make him pay.
I finished showering and threw a towel around my waist, stepping from the tub and toppling onto my bed when I reached my room and fell to sleep, not even bothering to dress myself. I fell quickly, fantasizing about my revenge.
I must have slept for hours because when I woke, it was pitch black outside. I rolled onto my side and checked my alarm clock. Eleven o’clock. Perfect timing, I thought.
I sat up and tucked my towel around my waist a little tighter, stood and went straight for my dresser. I grabbed a pair of boxers and socks and put those on before heading for my closet and tossing an old, worn pair of jeans on, a thermal and an old tee. I brushed my teeth, grabbed my wallet and keys, threw on my boots and headed toward my piece of shit truck.
I knew exactly where I was going because it was where I planned on going every night until I forgot about Caroline Hunt.
My truck started but barely and I tore out of our driveway not bothering with my seatbelt, kicking up dust and rocks as my tires spun against the loose gravel. I’d replaced my stereo because I couldn’t stand radio, at least not Kalispell radio, and plugged my phone into the audio cable. Bastille’s Dreams remake blasted and I turned it up, letting the painful lyrics wash over me, fueling my desire to get plastered as quickly as possible.
I entertained myself with thoughts of strangling Spencer Blackwell with both hands then beating the crap out of him with my fists. Bastard. I pulled into the local pub and put my piece into park before tucking my left foot into the emergency brake.
I disconnected my phone and the stereo went silent, reminding me of how alone I really was. I turned the engine off and absolute silence surrounded me. I couldn’t take it. My door creaked with age as it swung open and I slammed it shut, unable not to. The fury raging in my blood was more than I could contain.
Before heading inside, my hand went to the empty space between the cab and the bed and searched for the bottle of whiskey I always had wedged in between. I took a large swig, not wanting to spend too much of my savings on the liquor inside the crap establishment. After all, I was going to need it. Revenge was a costly business.
I took one more swig for good measure and wedged it back in its usual place then wiped my mouth on the back of my sleeve. My hair swung heavy in my eyes. It was still a little wet from my shower and I thought about tying it back with the extra leather tie I usually kept in my glove compartment but thought better of it. It helped me hide and I wanted to hide.
I looked around me. The lot was full but I only recognized a few cars this time which was good because I had no intention of making conversation. Regardless, most of Kalispell had stopped trying because I’d rarely done any responding since Cricket cut out my fucking heart and ate it raw. The hair was only insurance.
I took two deep draws of air, gulping it down, desperate for it to soothe me but, of course, it didn’t. I let each escape my lips in shaky breaths and clenched my fists over and over before deciding to head inside.
My boots crunched the gravel beneath my feet as I headed toward the door. When I entered, I ducked my head toward the floor and let my hair cover me, not that it did any good other than to conceal me. I could still feel the heat of their stares, though, still feel the pity in their gazes. I wanted so badly to yell at them to fuck off but I kept as much composure as possible. I couldn’t get kicked out of the only real bar in Kalispell.
I picked a stool at the end of the bar, the same stool I always did in the corner and in the back because it was dark. I sat and met Vi’s eyes. She sauntered over to me, placing her elbows on the bar top, giving me a clear view of her generous chest. I held back my eye roll.
“Hello, darlin’,” she drawled. “You look like shit.”
“The usual, Vi,” I told her as quietly as I could.
“How ‘bout a kiss then first?” she asked, leaning in a bit more.
“Christ, Vi, how many times? Huh? Just get me the gosh damn drink.”
She laughed. “Already worked up then, I see. I like it,” she said, winking.
Vi, or Violet, was thirty-nine years old, had lived in Kalispell her entire life, and had worked as a bartender for over fifteen years. I could tell at one time Vi had been a beautiful woman but I could also tell she had heard many hollow promises from equally hollow men and that she obviously believed them all. Otherwise, why would she still be there? I watched her tired eyes and her slightly too-forced smile. She had the look of someone who used to be chased but had graduated to the chaser. She looked miserable.
She left and returned with an empty glass and a bottle of Jack. She set the glass on the bar and filled it to the brim. She was being generous. She was always this way. She told me once she hoped I would drink it all away and decide to take her up on her offer. I told her that would be a cold day in hell, to which she only laughed.
“Drink up, buttercup,” she said, smiling lasciviously.
“I will,” I told the bar top.
I watched the world around me through the breaks in the hanging strands and six glasses later, I was starting to finally feel numb. I lifted my head a little feeling slightly relieved, feeling like I could breathe a little deeper now that the ache wasn’t so severe. I continued to search the crowd, not knowing who I was really looking for.
A quiet but persistent nagging awareness took residence in my chest for some unknown reason as I watched a girl dance on her own in the middle of the dance floor. Others around her paid no attention to her but she was the first person my eyes were drawn to. I studied her.
Her hair was tucked into a blue scarf, little tendrils peeking through and grazing across her neck whenever she moved. She was extraordinarily tall and her hips and rear end were more indulgent than I’d ever considered before. She turned slightly, giving me her silhouette. Her stomach was flat and her breasts were full. She was beautiful, I could tell, even if I couldn’t see her fully through the low lights.
“Jeez,” I said, swiping a hand down my face. “I’ve had too much.”
But I still couldn’t stop watching her. She wore worn jean cut offs, a fitted button up with the sleeves rolled up her forearms and ankle boots. She rolled her shoulders playfully, enticing someone she knew just off the dance floor. Another girl joined her side and they did the robot. She threw her head back and laughed.
This shocked me almost sober. “That laugh,” I whispered to myself. “That laugh,” I repeated. I knew it but couldn’t quite place it.
She took her friend’s hand and twirled her around the floor vivaciously. She was so full of life. So my exact opposite.
She lightheartedly skipped in place and raised an arm in salute to her friend before turning toward me.
That’s when I got a good, clear look at her. I gasped out loud and placed my hand on the back of my head, my elbow on the bartop, ducking my head down lower to hide myself further.
Please, please, please do not recognize me, I thought, still watching her from the corner of my eye.
She stood two seats down from me. “Vi!” she said, laughing a little. “Vi!”
Vi turned toward her. “Hey, baby! What’ll it be?”
“Can I have a water, please?” she asked, sitting down and releasing a breath of exhaustion. She continued to smile, though, and it ate a little at my gut.
“Of course,” Vi answered and started to pour water into a clear plastic cup. Vi’s eyes pinched a little. “Hey?” she said.
“Yeah?” she asked.
“How come I never see you drink anything harder?”
Her face fell a little but picked right back up. No one would have noticed it but me. “I’ve never had good luck with alcohol,” she admitted a bit sadly.
Vi was quick enough to recognize something there that didn’t want to be said and let it go with a nod, handing over the water without another word.
“Vi!” someone else called out and she walked their direction.
She took a long drink from her water and set it down, turning toward the crowd and surveying the dancers. A small smile tugged at the corner of her mouth, some private joke she shared with herself.
I looked on her for a long time. Long enough for my heart to calm itself. Long enough to struggle with myself in an internal argument. Finally, I decided that I wasn’t watching her because I found her attractive, though I knew she was. Only that I was wondering what she was doing there.
She turned around in her seat after catching her breath and glanced at me. For a moment, I believed she didn’t recognize me but I was wrong. A second scan confirmed it for her. She leaned in and narrowed her eyes. Shit.
“Ethan?” she asked. “Is that you?”
“Hello, Finley,” I answered.