Gypsy Shadow Publishing . . . Quality e-Books for today; Print books forever . . .


Back to Gypsy Shadow's Homepage


                                                                                                          G. E. Stills

 G.E. Stills, Author of Forbidden Love, Not Good Enough and The Witch and the Squirrels

I live in the southwest with my wife, dog and a cat. I have grown children with children of their own. In the past I was a mechanic and then a business owner, retired. I have always loved to read and enjoyed writing stories from an early age. Most of my time now is spent in front of my keyboard writing or sitting back and thinking about a current WIP or a new story to write. When not engaged in my favorite pastime of writing, I enjoy boating and camping.

My stories primarily deal with paranormal, fantasy or science fiction and all of them, thus far, involve romance. The heat levels vary from non-erotic to sizzling. Most of my characters are strong and assertive; many are outspoken. Many of my characters have magical abilities or are normal people in abnormal situations with a strong sense of justice. My villains are, well . . . villains, doing villainous things.

  BLOG
WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
MYSPACE

Read an Interview with G. E!
   

New Titles from G. E.

Forbidden Love by G. E. Stills Not Good Enough by G. E. Stills The Witch and the Squirrels by G. E. Stills The Wrath of Leah by G. E. Stills Do Over by G. E. Stills


      View Cart

  

  

Forbidden Love by G. E. Stills

 

Sherry and Rodger have known each other since childhood. They've been good friends for a long time, but have lost contact over the years. Chance brings them together once more. There is an almost magnetic attraction between them. Over the course of two days they become much more than just friends. There is one problem though, Sherry is the ex-wife of Dave, Rodger's cousin. Dave is the son of a very wealthy and powerful man and he is determined to make Sherry’s life miserable. She is very afraid of him. He would definitely not approve of Sherry and Rodger’s relationship if he found out.

                                                                                                                    Excerpt
Word Count: 17,720
Pages to Print: 64
File Format: PDF                  Price: $3.99

  

 

Not Good Enough by G. E. Stills








Before the cruise begins, Jay innocently asks Trish and her friend for a dance and is not only turned down, but insulted when Trish's friend tells Jay he isn't good enough for them. Trish is captivated by Jay's smile, but once her friend has her say, Trish is sure Jay is lost to her. Trying to apologize to him later, Trish witnesses two men tossing Jay overboard and finds herself thrown in after him as well. Imagine Jay's chagrin later when he finds himself washed up on an island with Trish and the constant reminder of their unpleasant encounter before the cruise. But Jay isn't what he first appears to be, and as the two of them get acquainted, Trish realizes he is a keepeer. What will happen when they are rescued and Trish goes back to her mundane life, determined to forget Jay?

                                                                                Excerpt
Word Count: 17000
Pages to Print: 65
File Format: PDF
Price: $3.99
Reviews
      In-House Reviews

     

   
The Witch and the Squirrels by G. E. Stills












As a fireman in a small town, Chad’s life is laid back, easy going. The worst problem he has is tolerating Jerry, his so-called friend. Jerry sees himself as a gift to women. He's a player and Chad has a difficult time dealing with that. Chad’s life is destined to become much less peaceful and serene when Heather appears in town. From the very first time they meet, he is strongly attracted to her. To his consternation, Jerry imposes himself between them and tells lies about Chad in order to win Heather’s favor.

Jerry vanishes, as does Heather. Then one day on the way home from work, Chad encounters her again. Having discovered Jerry’s lies, she invites Chad to join her for dinner. Cheerfully, Chad accepts. With Jerry out of the picture it'll be just the two of them . . . but things are about to get very interesting for Chad. 

                                                                                    Excerpt

Word Count: 6647
Pages to Print: 29
File Format: PDF
Price: $2.99
 
      
   
The Wrath of Leah by G. E. Stills Leah's home has been burned to the ground and a man she once loved has killed her mother. She is taken to a new world, held captive and tortured by a ruthless sorcerer. Jan helps her escape and takes her to his village. The people there look to her for salvation. How can she, a simple woman from Earth with no special abilities, possibly live up to their expectations?

                                                                               Excerpt
Word Count: 23500
Pages to Print: 80
File Format: PDF
Price: $3.99
 
    

   
Do Over by G. E. Stills Have you ever wished you could go back in your life and change things? Would the changes made turn out for the better? If you remembered your future, you could correct your mistakes, but would you make others? Gene took a wrong turn in life. He lives on the wrong side of the law, but he gets a chance that we never get. He gets a Do Over in his life.

                                                                                         Excerpt
Word Count: 22640
Pages to Print: 80
File Format: PDF
Price: $3.99
 
    

   
   
   

Excerpts:

Forbidden Love

Rodger had just returned from overseas the week before. His enlistment in the Army ended at the same time, so he was staying with his parents until he found a job. His parents ran a dairy farm about fifty miles north of the Midwest Nebraska town of Colter where he was presently, having found nothing in the way of female company in the nearby North Scotia. Colter, with a population of about thirty thousand, was almost a huge city compared to the small ones closer to the farm.

“I’m going to Colter. Gonna do some shopping, maybe look for a job,” he told his mom just before he left the house. The first he actually intended to do, the second . . . well, he was not in any big hurry to find a job and settle into a day-to-day routine. He’d put money in savings the whole time he was overseas, so money to live on was not an immediate factor. Doesn’t take much to live on when you are restricted to base in a war zone, he reminded himself. He was just ready to relax and unwind for a few weeks.

Which brought him to the real reason for being in Colter―the night clubs. He hoped to meet a single female at one of these clubs; drink and dance and just be in her company for the evening. Of course, I won’t refuse sex either if the chance presents itself. I’ve been out of the states for almost two years. It’s been far too long since I had female company, to say nothing about sex.

The sixty-eight cherry red Mustang he drove was his baby. Thanks to being in storage most of the last four years and a lot of time spent waxing and polishing, it still looked showroom new. The inside was as spotless as the outside. It should do very well as a chick magnet. He grinned from ear-to-ear.
His grin faded into a frown when he started across an intersection and the car quit―it rolled through the intersection and he guided it over to the curb. He stepped out and looked under it to see if by chance the drive shaft had come loose or broken. It was still intact.

“Shit,” he said aloud, “I wonder what’s wrong?”

A transmission shop just happened to be about half a block away, so he locked the car and walked down to it. He told them what had happened and they agreed to have a look at it. It was close enough that several of the mechanics got together and pushed it to the shop. After the service manager told him to check back later, he left his baby to their care.

He walked around in the downtown area, mostly window shopping and killing time. Damn I wonder what is wrong with my car? A few hours later he returned to the transmission shop and got the bad news: his transmission would require a complete overhaul.

“It’ll take about two days,” the service manager told him.

So much for my plans. I guess I will try to get out to the interstate and get a motel room.

He found a payphone and called his parents to let them know the situation and that he would not be home. Looking at his watch, he realized his mom and dad could not come get him since it was getting close to time to start milking the cows.

“Why don’t you call Sherry? Maybe your cousin Dave is down there or is going down there to visit his son. You might be able to catch a ride with him. Just a suggestion.”

Sherry was his Cousin Dave’s ex-wife. Dave lived in North Scotia with his parents. Mom, if you only knew how much Dave and I dislike each other you wouldn’t even suggest I catch a ride with him. His thoughts drifted to Sherry.

I didn’t even know Sherry lived here. I haven’t seen her since we were high school kids. He had no intention of asking fuckhead Dave for a ride, but it would be a good enough reason to call her. Not that he really needed a reason, but it would serve as an ice breaker to renew their friendship.

“Thanks Mom. I’ll do that. You don’t happen to know her number, do you?”

“No, but I’m sure she's listed in the phone book. Your dad and I can come get you after milking in the morning if he’s not there.”

“Nah. If worse comes to worst, I’ll just stay down here a couple days until my car is fixed. No sense in you coming down here just to turn around and bring me back down to pick it up. Bye Mom, see you in a couple days. Sooner if I catch a ride.” Not fuckin’ likely, if I have to ride with ‘him’. He grinned.

Rodger’s parents hadn’t always been farmers. Rodger had grown up in a large city far away from the small sleepy town of North Scotia. His parents had moved onto the dairy farm while he was in the Army.

He and Sherry had been close even though many miles had separated them when growing up. They only saw each other for about two weeks a year when he was on vacation with his parents. He was much closer to her than he'd ever been to her ex-husband, dear old Dave.

They'd talked on the phone frequently and shared all their teenage experiences over the years. Some of them had been very intimate and personal. Some of them had been silly like who their favorite bands were. Sherry had talked him through the heartbreak of teenage breakups. He had helped her get through the frequent fights she had with Dave. The two of them seemed to be drawn together like magnets. Nothing sexual, just excellent friends. When Sherry got pregnant he had been the first one she told. She told him even before she told the father.

Poor Dave. What a joke. Rodger knew better. Dave was an asshole. At least that is the way he felt about him. Sherry had gotten pregnant before getting married and now had a two-year-old little boy. Because of Dave’s insistence they not talk, he and Sherry had lost contact. Even after the divorce they'd never renewed their friendship. Partly because he was over seas. He missed the close friendship they'd once shared prior to her marriage. He picked up the phone now and called her.

A female voice answered, “Hello?”

He didn’t quite know how to start the conversation, so he just dived in and started by identifying himself, “Sherry, this is Rodger. How are you? We haven’t talked in a long time.”

After a long moment of silence on the other end of the line, the woman hesitatingly asked, “Rodger . . . Dave’s cousin Rodger?”

“Yes, that Rodger.”

“My God. We haven’t talked for such a long time. How are you? Where are you? I heard you were visiting your parents.”

“I’ve been better. My car broke down here in Colter,” Rodger hesitated then asked, “Sherry, is Dave by any chance here, or coming here?”

“No, he’s not here and I’m not expecting him, why?”
 

He explained the situation to her. He asked if it would be possible for her to give him a ride out to one of the motels by the interstate.

“Sure,” she told him. “I’ll be there in about thirty minutes. Just watch for my battered old white Chevy II.” She laughed.

After some final words with the service manager and signing more forms, Rodger stepped out on the sidewalk in front of the shop to wait.

I wonder what she looks like now. She was always so pretty before. It’s been so long since I have seen or talked to her. Too long.

About an hour later a Chevy II pulled up to the curb in front of him. It was just as she had described, ‘battered and old’. Dings and dents, with primer in a number of places. She stepped out on the sidewalk to greet him. After they exchanged hugs, she leaned back against the car door.

She looked nice, in a proper sort of way. She'd always dressed rather conservatively, in his opinion. Most of the girls from around here dress that way. Not like the more revealing way the girls dress in the city where I grew up. She wore a knee-length print skirt and a matching button-up print blouse with all but the very top button fastened and white sandals.

She saw him looking at the car and with a shrug she explained, “This is the only thing the asshole left me to drive when we got divorced. I guess it beats walking, though.”

As if it had just occurred to her she suggested, “Rodger, you should come over to my house first, so we can visit before I take you to the motel; that is, if you don’t mind visiting with your cousin’s ex. It’s been ages since we talked and even longer since we saw each other. No sense in your spending the entire evening out there sitting in a room by yourself.”

He snorted. “I always liked you much better than I did him.” He laughed at his understatement. “That'd be great. I wasn’t looking forward to staring at four walls all evening. Getting reacquainted sounds like an excellent idea,” he agreed, and walking around to the passenger side, got into the seat.

She turned to him and introduced the child in the car seat beside her. “Rodger this is my son, Jacob. Jacob, honey, this is Rodger.”

Jacob didn’t say anything, of course; he just looked at Rodger with big green eyes very much like his mother’s. The last time he'd seen Sherry she wasn’t even pregnant and now she had this little man. Rodger made googly eyes at him and was at last rewarded with a giggle and a smile.     

Back to Forbidden Love

 
Not Good Enough
Chapter 1

“Wow, look at the arms on that one. And that hair . . . It’s just to die for, I tell ya.” Sheila pointed out the man standing at the bar with muscular arms and shoulder-length hair. “Or maybe that one,” she said, pointing to a man seated at one of the tables across the dance floor from them, wearing a three-piece suit. “I can smell the money on that one.”

Trish followed Sheila’s pointing finger as she directed her attention to the men around the bar. All of them were either handsome hunks, or had the look of wealth. Sheila downed another shot and chased it with gulp from her fruity drink. From the glassy look in her eyes and her slightly slurred speech, it was obvious to Trish she was getting highly intoxicated.

“Don’t you think maybe you should slow down on the drinks a little?”

“Naw, I’m okay. I’m not driving,” she said, shaking her head slowly, “and I’m going to find a man for you tonight yet.”

“Sheila, I don’t need a man. I just got out of a relationship.”

“Relationship? Is that what you call it? I call it slow death. You were with him since college. Trish, Todd treated you like crap.”

“Not in the beginning, he didn’t. Before I put on a little weight . . . and before the car accident, things were different.”

Sheila rolled her eyes. “You look fine, Trish. Maybe dressed a little conservative, in my opinion. I mean, you have to put yourself out there, show a little leg and cleavage if you want to reel in a man. Just look at me.”

Trish exhaled loudly in disgust. “I told you, I’m not looking for one. The only reason I’m going on this cruise is because you asked. And you say, look at you? Damn it, Sheila, if that dress you’re wearing got any shorter . . . well, it wouldn’t leave anything to the imagination. If it was cut any lower, your boobs would be hanging out on display—and how long did it take you to put on that makeup?”

Sheila ignored her. “Oh, damn, look at that one. Geez, I wouldn’t mind wrapping my arms around that one. Maybe even my legs, provided he has a lot of money.” She giggled, hid a tiny belch and then added, “Look at the guys I’ve been with compared to Todd.”

“Yeah, look at them. You’ve been married three times. Just ended one, and you’re only—”

“Careful,” Sheila warned her off the subject of age. “You’re older than I am.”

“I’m just saying that having been married and divorced three times by your early thirties is not exactly a good track record. Your life is not exactly a shining example.”

“The first one couldn’t afford the lifestyle I wanted. The second one tried to put me on a budget. Screw him. The third one . . . the third one couldn’t satisfy my other needs.”

“Imagine that. He was over twice your age. I sometimes wonder why you and I are even friends. We’re so different.”

“Ah, come on, Trish. You know you love me. We’ve been friends since childhood.” She might have continued, but just then a man stepped up to their table.

“Good evening, ladies. Would either of you care to dance?”

Trish looked up at him. Although he was dressed nice, it wasn’t a fancy suit. She cringed at some of the flamboyant styles the hunks Sheila pointed out wore. No, he was just dressed nice.

He had a pronounced widows-peak, thinning hair cropped short, and a slight bulge in the belly area. The man didn’t have bulging biceps, but his arms weren’t skinny either. His eyes were just a little glassy, like Sheila’s, indicating he’d had a few drinks, too. What really grabbed her attention though, was the brilliant smile on his face.

Just a normal guy with a wonderful smile.

Then Sheila spoke, and his smile faded into a frown. “Go away, fatso. You’re blocking our view of the real men. You know, the ones that aren’t fat. The ones that have hair . . . and muscles.”

He glared at Sheila “I was just asking. There’s no need for insults.” Turning, he looked at Trish. “And what about you, would you like to dance?”

“Loser,” Sheila sang out and made an L on her forehead. “She doesn’t want to dance with you, fat boy. You’re not good enough for her, either.” Sheila kicked Trish under the table to insure compliance.

“Fine,” the man growled. “A simple no would have sufficed.”

“Your kind don’t take a simple no. Now go away.”

“My kin—” Without another word and with a strong glare, the man turned and walked away.

“Geez, Sheila. Sometimes I’m completely embarrassed to be with you. You’re downright mean at times. After all he only asked us to dance.”

“The hell with him. He’ll get over it. I’m over it. Besides, after tonight we’ll never see him again.”

Sliding her chair back, Trish excused herself to go to the restroom, and as no surprise to her when she returned, Sheila was out on the dance floor, her arms wrapped tight around a Beefcake. She didn’t come back to the table for the next dance, or the one after that.

Trish couldn’t help looking for the man with the nice smile. Yep, there he was. Alone. She made eye contact with him and gave him her best come hither look. With a smile, she watched him get to his feet and start in her direction.

This time I’ll do my own talking.

He came to a stop at her table. “Where’s your rude girlfriend? I don’t think she likes me much.” That winning smile stretched across his face once more.

“She’s right behind you,” Sheila said. Neither of them had noticed her arrival with the Hunk in tow. “And you’re almost right; I don’t like you at all. I thought we got rid of you. Maybe you need a little physical persuasion.”

Turning to her muscle-bound companion, she said, “Theo, this person, I refuse to call it a man, will not go away. Perhaps you could convince him.”

Once again, the smile on his face vanished. This time his frown was directed at her. Trish wanted to slide beneath the table to escape the daggers his glare focused on her.

For once in your life, Sheila, shut your mouth.

“I was mistaken,” he said to her. “I thought that you wanted to—Never mind.”

Turning to Sheila he grumbled, “I was just leaving. I thought your girlfriend wanted to see me. Guess I was wrong.”

Theo clamped his hand onto the man’s arm. With a look of fury cold enough to make hell freeze over and a voice so low it was nearly a whisper, he growled at Theo. “Theo . . . if you value that hand . . . and don’t want it broken . . . you’d better take it off my arm.”

Oh God. That’s all we need is a fight.

She could see in the man’s eyes that the words were not an idle threat, but a promise. Now that she was able to look closer, she saw that, though not bulging with muscle like Theo, the man’s arms were very strong. His demeanor screamed, Don’t mess with me. She hoped Theo would see it, too. To her relief, Theo picked up the same vibes. He released his grip on the man’s arm.

With a glance at her—frigid enough to make her shiver, he walked away.

“Such an annoying person. See, I told you his type doesn’t take no for an answer,” Sheila said.

She sat down beside Trish, and Theo took a seat across from them. She introduced them. “Theo, this is Trish; Trish, Theo. Theo has a friend, and the two of them have invited us to an after-hours party in their room.” Leaning over, Sheila whispered in her ear. “I’ve seen his friend. He’s a beefcake, just like Theo. So anyway, how about it?”

She looked at Sheila and then at Theo before whispering, “Sheila, Theo can’t be more than his early twenties. He and his friend are probably looking for one thing, especially from an older woman. I really don’t think we should go.”

“He thinks I’m only twenty-five,” Sheila whispered back and giggled.

Shaking her head, Trish said aloud, “I think I’ll pass. I’m kind of tired. We need to get around early tomorrow for the cruise.”

“Well, I’m going. See you later, Trish,” Sheila huffed, clearly not happy with Trish’s decision not to go with them. “Come on, Theo; let’s see if we can find another girl to party with us.” With that, the two of them got up and left.

Picking up her drink, she wandered out onto the patio area and stood at the railing, looking up at the stars.

Why I put up with Sheila I will never know.

Glancing to her side, she saw the man with the smile again. She started toward him to apologize, but never got the chance. He spotted her at the same time, turned his back and walked as far away as possible.

So much for apologizing for Sheila’s bad manners. I’m sorry, she thought at him. Finishing her drink, she left the nightclub and strolled back to her room.
Back to Not Good Enough
 
The Witch and the Squirrels 

Chad resisted the urge to break into a run when he passed the run-down house. If not for the fact it was along the route he used when he walked to work . . . You’re a grown man, not some scared little boy. Still—something about the place gives me the willies.

Cold and dreary-looking, the dilapidated two-story structure sat on a lot that encompassed the entire block. An unkempt yard, overgrown with vines and shrubs, surrounded it. Nobody had lived in the place for years.

Not since old lady Jameson vanished a number of years ago.

That was long before he’d moved here.

His steps carried him away, putting the house behind him. The somber feeling of foreboding lifted from his shoulders as the distance increased. Two blocks farther, he entered a two-story eight-plex. Taking the steps two at a time, he then paced down the hallway to his apartment door located on the left near the rear of the complex. Soon he forgot the eerie feeling. Changing out of his uniform, he put on faded blue jeans and buttoned up his sport shirt.
Locking the door behind him, he left for the small bar a short distance away. When he opened the door, the smell of whiskey and stale cigarettes assailed his nose.

Why do I come here?

He answered his own thought immediately.

Because this may be a hole in the wall, but they have an excellent burger. He usually treated himself to one at the end of his shift. The bartender poured a glass of ice water and set it in front of him on the counter.

“The usual, Chad?” the bartender asked.

“Yes, thanks.”

The bartender walked away to place his order.

“What’s up, Chad my man?” a familiar voice said. He stifled a groan when Jerry sat down next to him.

Why me?

“Not much. Just got off work.” For some reason, Jerry had glommed onto him from the start.

Maybe because I was new in town. Maybe because I didn’t know him any better. That, and the fact he has an apartment in the same building as me. And he and I are both single.

“Wanna come to the club with me tonight? There might be some fresh meat there. Ya never can tell, with that new catalog ordering center opening up. I hear they’ve hired a number of women. About damn time this shitty little town got some new businesses.”

Translated, new women who don’t know you and what a player you are, Jerry.

“If you hate this place so much, why do you stay? Why don’t you move to a larger town?”

“Maybe I will someday, but in the meantime I haven’t bedded all the eligible ladies in this one.” He winked.

And some that are not eligible, Jerry.

Chad shook his head and smothered his sigh of disgust. Even after all these months of knowing Jerry, he found it hard to believe his attitude toward women. He found it even more difficult to accept.

“So what time should I pick you up?” Jerry asked.

“I’m kind of tired. Just got off my three-day shift.”

He should have known that Jerry would not be discouraged that easily.

“Aw, come on. You don’t do anything but lay around over there unless there’s a fire.”

“We do other things besides fight fire in this town, you know.”

“What, rescue cats from trees?” Jerry scoffed.

He rolled his eyes and bristled at hearing his job belittled. “It’s not worth arguing about. I just don’t feel like going out tonight.”
Back to The Witch and the Squirrels 
The Wrath of Leah

                                                             Chapter 1

Crossing the clearing between her house and the barn where she kept her horses, Leah glanced around. Tall pines surrounded the clearing containing the buildings. Only a slight breeze whispering through the pine needles disturbed the early morning silence. She loved the silence and the solitude her remote location in the mountains provided. The last of the snow had melted away and the first tiny sprigs that would grow to be a riot of beautiful wildflowers had pushed up from the ground to the right of her wooden cabin.

It’s so much different here than in the town fifteen miles away, where I spent my first twenty years.

Leah stepped into her cabin and poured a cup of coffee. As she sat at the table with her hands wrapped around the steaming cup, she thought back to her high school days and specifically, Mike. For two years, they’d dated and made plans for the future, like going to college together. Maybe even living together. Reaching up, she twirled a lock of her chestnut-colored hair, wondering what it would look like next week when she had it cut to off to shoulder length.

Her memories turned once more to Mike. He was an only child and lived with his parents half a mile from her house. She remembered the day as if it had happened yesterday. Mike was supposed to call that Saturday morning and together they would make plans for the senior dance. He didn’t call. By midafternoon, she tired of waiting and called him. The phone rang and rang.

I was worried. He never broke a promise before. The next day, she borrowed her mom’s car and drove to his house. It was vacant. Glancing through the curtainless window, she saw that the room was bare. The front door was unlocked. She strolled through the empty house in disbelief.

She searched, using every means she could think to locate them. Nothing—not a single clue, as if they had dropped off the face of the Earth. She was crushed. The boy who owned her heart had simply vanished.

A few months later, her dad died, killed in a car accident. The two most important men in her life had been ripped away from her in less than six months. She graduated from high school, but delayed entering college. Instead, she moved here to the cabin her parents owned. Pleasant memories from her childhood surrounded her. She begged her mom to come with her, but she refused, remaining behind to work at her job. Her mother, in turn, expressed deep concern that her daughter would be living in the mountains alone.

“I need time to think, to grieve,” Leah explained. “I’ll go to college soon.”

It was still hard for her to fathom—three years had passed. She would be twenty-one next month. She took a sip of coffee. I kept my promise, Mom. I’m enrolled in college. I start this fall.

The crunch of gravel jerked her from her melancholy thoughts and alerted her of visitors. Leah strolled toward the door and answered at the knock. Her mother, Janice, stood framed in the doorway.

“I would’ve called, but I just had to see the expression on your face.”

Leah moved back to let her mother in. “What’s going on, Mom?”

Janice stepped to the side and Leah saw for the first time her mother hadn’t come alone. Her jaw dropped and her knees wobbled when she saw him. His piercing blue eyes, wavy black hair and great physique left no doubt. “Mike?”

“One and the same,” he said.

She wanted to rush into his arms, and at the same time wanted to beat on his chest for never having contacted her over the years.

“I answered the door this morning,” her mother explained, “and there he was.”

Leah stumbled back and sat in her easy chair heavily. “Where have you been?”

“Away.”

“Away! That’s all you can say?”

“Don’t I get a hug and a kiss?”

She wanted to. She wanted to fly into his arms, but at the same time displeasure with his response held her back. “Not until you can give me a better answer for where you’ve been the last three years.”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

Her displeasure was escalating into anger. He was avoiding her question. “Try me.” Again, she heard the crunch of gravel. Now who?

Car doors slammed and a burly man darkened the doorway. She could see there were two others behind him.

“About time,” Mike snapped.

She glanced at Janice, who looked just as surprised as she felt. She looked up at Mike, waiting for an explanation. His eyes had taken on an iciness that sent a shiver racing through her.

“We got here as quickly as possible, Lothar,” the first man said.
Lothar? Who’s Lothar?

“Is that the bitch?” the man asked, indicating her.

Anger having come to full bloom, Leah sprang to her feet. “I don’t know who you are, but I didn’t invite you into my house and I won’t be called names. Get out! All of you get out. Mike, who are these men?”

He ignored her question. “That’s her, Olaf. The other one is her mother. Secure them both.”

Olaf and one of the men surged at her. The other man angled off toward her mother. Leah fought like a tigress, but the strength and size of the men quickly prevailed. In a short time, plastic ties secured her arms and legs. Olaf ripped a piece from her now-buttonless blouse and shoved it in her mouth, cutting off her swearing. He stood behind her, holding her down in the chair. She glared at Mike for a moment and glanced at her mom. Her arms and legs were also bound.

“We’ll take the witch with us. What about this one?” the man holding her mother asked.

Mike directed his gaze at her. In a voice cold enough to freeze a bonfire, he said, “She’s of no further use. Kill her.”

Leah struggled, attempting to rise, but Olaf held her in place. She watched the third man draw a wicked-looking knife and plunge it into her mother’s heart while holding his hand over her mouth to keep her silent. After twisting it several times, he pulled it free. Leah watched in shock until her mother’s wild bucking and twisting stopped. A spreading stain of blood spread over her green blouse as the older woman twitched. Her head bobbed, and she was gone.

Callously, the man wiped the blade clean on her mother’s clothes.

The gag in her mouth muffled Leah’s choking sobs. Tears stung her eyes. She closed them, attempting in vain to shut out the awful sight of her mother being murdered. Pain lanced through her heart.
Back to The Wrath of Leah
 
Do Over

****
. . . Gene got out of bed, stretched, then took a shower and performed his other bathroom duties. He dressed in fresh clothes, put on his holster and then grabbed the backpack and his overnight case. After a final look around, he stepped into the hall, and a momentary vertigo hit him. He stumbled and braced himself against the wall to keep from falling. The dizziness went away and his vision cleared.

Stress, it has to be stress.

He glanced around in confusion and sensed something was different. The hall seemed newer—fresher somehow. Funny I didn’t notice it yesterday. I must have been too lost in thought.

He rode the elevator down to the lobby and took a seat in the restaurant. I really must have been lost in thought. Everything about the hotel seems different. They must have remodeled since I was here last. They did a good job. Reminds me of how this place used to look.

He charged his breakfast to the room before leaving the restaurant, not paying attention to the price, and left a generous tip for the waitress. He leaned into the registration desk. “I’m in room 536. I need to check out,” he told the clerk.

The clerk searched through his files. “I’m sorry sir. Your name?”

“Gene Cardone.”

“Hmm. I’m sorry Mr. Cardone there seems to be some type of mix up. I have no record of you.”

“I checked in yesterday.”

“I don’t doubt your word. I’m just saying I show no record.”

The clerk typed in the information he provided and gave him the price, which included the breakfast he informed the man about. “That’s all?” Gene asked.

“Yes sir.”

He peeled off some cash to settle his bill, still wondering at the low price. Flipping open his cell to call a cab he noticed to his surprise there was no signal. Moving around in the lobby didn’t help. There was no signal anywhere Maybe they’re just having a coverage issue here in the Hotel. Finally, he went to the registration desk and had the clerk there summon a cab.

Gene stepped out in front of the hotel to wait. Again he flipped open his phone to call Felix. He frowned in confusion when the no signal message came up on the phone.

The cab that pulled up was a vintage car that he remembered from his youth. Talk about retro. He got in the back. Where to?” the driver asked.

“Coronado Airport.”

“Where? I’m not familiar with that airport.”

Surely you jest. You’re a cab driver and you don’t even know where Coronado is?

“It’s located on I-25 north toward Santa Fe.”

“Uh Sir, there’s no airport out there that I’m aware of.”

Gene glanced at his watch. Time was ticking away. I’ll call another cab. This guy is obviously new to town and doesn’t know shit.

“I just remembered something I forgot to do. Here, this should cover you for your trip.” He handed the cab driver some money and left the car. After watching the cab pull away, he shrugged on the pack, picked up his bag and stepped out of the hotel drive to the sidewalk. He glanced around. Nothing looked right in the surroundings. It was familiar and yet completely different from what he’d noticed the day before.

What the fuck is going on?

While heading back into the hotel lobby he glanced down at a newspaper vending machine. He halted and stared in shock at the date on the paper. July, 15th, He couldn’t believe his eyes when the year jumped out at him. 1973! What the hell?

Inside the lobby once more, Gene saw that as the morning had progressed guests had filtered into it. In amazement, he noticed that every one of them wore fashions terribly outdated. Passing a floor to ceiling decorative mirror, he glanced at himself and halted dead in his tracks. The man staring back at him was not him. Well it is me, he admitted. “The way I looked fifteen years ago. What the fuck is going on here? I must be still asleep. I must be dreaming,” he mumbled beneath his breath.

Can’t go back to the room. I’ve already checked out even if this is a dream. I’ll go for a walk, get my thoughts together. He laughed out loud. I’ll probably wake up naked as the day in some public place or some similar embarrassing situation.

He left the front doors and strolled down the street deep in thought and yet aware of things around him. Wouldn’t do to be taken by surprise. Not with three million dollars in this backpack. He felt the gun nestled under his arm. “Not that I need to worry much about being mugged.”

He was astounded at the cars passing by on the street beside him. None of them was newer than early seventy vintage, and many were older. Slowly he concluded that something, he didn’t know what, had happened overnight. Gene halted abruptly and stared in disbelief at the rental car lot next to him. The lot was filled with 1973 dodge cars. Among them, he spotted a row of Challengers. An idea surged to life, and he marched into the rental office.

Gene never used his charge card while on business. While his wallet was open, he quickly counted the bills. Several hundred dollars should be enough for the time being. “Here’s my card, but don’t run it I’ll be paying the rental fee in cash.”

“Very good sir.” The agent slid forms across the counter for him to fill out and turned away to make a copy of the card.

Gene drove off the lot and spent the rest of the day driving around town. The first place he drove to was Coronado Airport, at least the location where it should have been. There was no airport there.

By evening, he was more confused than ever. He couldn’t argue the facts. They were everywhere around him. Somehow, he’d been transported back from the year 2000 to 1973. With the exceptions of a few minor changes, Albuquerque was the same as when he’d gone to school here in the sixties. Early in the evening, he treated himself to a burger and fries, then pulled into one of the motels on Central Avenue and rented a room. The bar next door looked very inviting. He slipped the backpack in the trunk then going around the corner entered the bar. All night long, he remained deep in thought, trying to figure out what had happened.
Back to Do Over
 
 

    top