Crossfire – General Release

Crossfire (contemporary/crime)

Murder,kidnapping and a disappearance. Trooper Rick Anthis could use a break. But he hopes it isn’t too latein coming.

Rick Anthis, a forty-five-year-old veteran of the Colorado State Police and his husband, Gabriel Thorkelson, a deputy sheriff in a nearby county, enjoy the peace of their suburban Boulder home, but the neighborhood’s tranquility is shattered by three rapid-fire gunshots. The pair’s quick reaction allows Rick to witness the abduction of his eight-year-old buddy, Jacob, by his father.

In their quest to find the boy, the clues are sparse and time is of the essence since Jacob is diabetic, a condition Gabriel is far too familiar with. A search of the father’s apartment yields nothing more than an old hiking map that narrows the search down to a few hundred square miles. Rick and his CSI team are on the hunt, but with every bit of progress they make, they are thwarted, especially when Gabriel turns up missing.

Pride PublishingAmazon

Double Trouble: Chapter 111

Wednesday Briefs

The continuing saga of three generations of ranching family. Below the story you’ll find links to other flash fictions.


Chapter 111

Mitch heard the now familiar sound of Cody’s wheelchair coming down the hallway. He smiled but didn’t stop packing even when he knew Cody had stopped at the doorway. Well, it felt like his after essentially living in it for the last month. It was a decent room and Gordy and Sam had been fantastic hosts. They had met the friend’s test—they hadn’t threatened to shoot him.

At least that’s what Darrin had told him. But his husband was skilled at telling him the unvarnished truth. A few days earlier, he’d gotten that lecture. Like many times when Darrin shared more opinion than Mitch really wanted, it had pissed him off… at first. But after he had thought about it, Mitch had to agree with Darrin’s assessment.

“You sure you have to leave?”

Mitch continued with his packing as he let Cody  consider his question. After a minute or so passed, Cody sighed. “I guess it is time. Everything seems to be okay—months of PT is what I have left.”

“You’re doing fine. The doctors all said you’re going to make a full recovery. You’re getting off a lucky man.” He turned to look at Cody. “But would you do me a favor?”

Cody seemed surprised but after quick consideration, he nodded. “Sure. What is it?”

“Calm your driving down—a lot. I don’t think your parents can take another crisis as bad as this one. They were in rough shape when I got here.”

This time Cody’s face turned red as a summer sunburn. But he seemed to give the request serious consideration. Eventually, he nodded his head. “Okay. I know I’m an adrenaline junky. I like to go fast.”

“I understand that. I’m kind of the same. But you have to figure out how to get your adrenaline rush without it ending up with your pickup wrapped around a tree.” Mitch’s grin grew. “My personal addiction for meeting my thrill is coasters. I love them.”

“Roller coasters? Like at the fair?”

“Exactly! Who do you think builds those things?”

Cody looked confused. “Engineers?”

“No! It’s adrenaline junkies.”

“And who do you think they are built for?”

This time Cody was catching on to Mitch’s point and grinned. “They’re building them for adrenaline junkie!”

“Damn, the boy can learn after all.”

“Got it, Uncle Mitch. Roller coasters and swimming with sharks are safe ways to burn off extra adrenaline, drag racing on Johnson’s mile is bad”

Mitch grinned at the boy and shook his head, “I think your racing days are over. Do your parents a favor. Stick with safe thrills and jobs that aren’t risky. We almost lost you.”

A smile appeared on his face. “We? I figured I was driving you crazy.”

Mitch put the last shirt in his bag and zipped it shut before turning to Cody. “You did drive me crazy—sometimes. That’s what happens with family. I’m sure there were times when you wanted me to go back home.”

Mitch walked over and gave Cody a hug. He released the young man and squeezed his shoulder. “I have to go back to Oklahoma. You’ll be walking again in a few days. You don’t need me.”

Cody smiled again and Mitch saw a glisten at the corner of his eye. “You take care, old man.”

Mitch chuckled. “Stay out of trouble you young whipper snapper.”

They shared a moment, then Cody disappeared back into the house. Mitch waited but when he heard nothing, he grabbed the packed luggage. Cody was the last of his goodbye and he was ready to go home.

A few hours later he was headed for the Oklahoma-Colorado border…and Darrin.

[If you want to know more about Sam and Gordy don’t miss “Tackling the Subject” the story of how they met. Early Release began July 4th.]


The links listed below go directly to the individual stories.

Early download for “Tackling the Subject”

For those who have been following my earlier writing this story is about Sam and Gordy from “Wrangler Butts”. “Tackling the Subject” begins at Sam and Gordy’s first awkward meeting, long before Mitch and Darrin came into the scene.

It’s now available for download directly from:

Pride Publishing

How about a little more about the story?

Sam Doherty, a twenty-two-year-old Computer Science major is struggling to pass the required classes in biology. While Sam is out and proud, he’s secretly dealing with an assault he suffered in high school. Sam may be the president of the campus Gay-Straight Alliance, but he’s struggling to find balance in his life. When he realizes he needs help with his class, he signs up for a biology tutor, but the guy who arrives for their meeting sets off all his triggers.

Gordy Hager is a biology whiz kid, the best tutor at the University Help Center—and the star tackle on the football team. Sam despises him at first sight. Gordy is the brainless caveman athlete that Sam still has nightmares about. Unable to control his reactions, he drives Gordy away and makes it plain he will never ask for his help. One week and a failed quiz later, Sam knows he has to swallow his pride and get help.

But while Gordy might be a nice guy, he isn’t going to help someone as insulting as Sam. Sam’s determination pays off, and he gets Gordy’s assistance, but his grades are only the first pothole their relationship hits. From their discovery that they both are gay to supporting each other against family, their connection has more than its share of issues. But when their worst fears come to fruition, they struggle with a way to save Gordy’s college football career and face Sam’s issues of intimacy.

 

Double Trouble: Chapter 110

Wednesday Briefs

The continuing saga of three generations of ranching family. Below the story you’ll find links to other flash fictions.


Chapter 110

Cody stared at the setup Mitch had worked most of the day to create. Mitch was feeling pleased with himself with the entire plan he’d worked out with Gordy and Sam. Now he had the biggest battle ahead of him, and he was ready. Cody better bring his ‘A’ game.

Mitch pushed the wheelchair to the top of the ramp they’d built to help get onto the horse. He set the brakes on the chair before walking over to get the horse they had borrowed from a local equine therapy place. They had assured Mitch that Cody couldn’t throw a fit big enough to rattle this horse.

“Okay, bud. You ready for a little ride?”

Cody had a death grip on the arms of his chair and an expression on his face that said he had no intention of sitting on that horse. He glared at Mitch. After a brief standoff, Mitch threw up his hands and walked back down the ramp. Cody watched for a few seconds and realized Mitch was leaving him on the platform.

“Hey! What the fuck! You can’t leave me up here.”

Mitch made some odd hand gesture over his shoulder that might have made sense to Darrin, but no one else in the world. “I’m done with begging or forcing you to do things that would help you. So I’m finished, and you can figure out how to get off.”

Mitch slowed his pace when he heard Cody moving. He stood waiting for what he hoped would be Cody’s reply. After an uncomfortably long pause, he heard a quiet voice. “I’ll ride the damn horse. You’d probably leave me out here all day, and I’m not using that pee bottle again.”

Mitch got his grin under control, so when he turned around, the expression he wore was as dower as you could hope to plaster across a face. He folded his arms across his chest and studied Cody.

“Then you’re finished with the poor me crap and ready to see if this will help?”

Cody squirmed uncomfortably before replying. “I’m not that bad.”

“You’ve been a royal pain in the ass—but you deserved a break. But now it’s time for you to suck it up and listen to other people. So here’s the deal. We try the therapy horse and then we call it a day.”

“And this is the therapy for today?”

“Yup. You can lay in bed and ring that damn bell while you watch TV and I won’t bitch about bringing you trays of junk food. Deal?”

“Do I have any choice?”

“Not really.”

Cody let out a sigh that Mitch knew could be heard for several miles then looked at Mitch. “Fine. Let’s get this shit going. But so you know. If I fall, it won’t be good.”

Mitch started back, his face covered with a long practiced smirk. “You aren’t going to fall. This horse is better trained than I am. She’ll take good care of you.”

Cody grumbled the entire time Mitch was getting the final points ready. Once he was certain there were no problems, he moved the horse into position and put Cody’s chair so they could move him. They had a transfer system setup, and Mitch was glad they did. But before too long, Cody was in the saddle, looking terrified.

“How is this going to help?”

Mitch guided the horse forward for a few steps and stopped. “The motion of the horse makes you constantly catch your balance. So your muscles remember how to walk before the casts come off.”

They repeated the routine until Cody looked fatigued. “I think that’s enough for the first day. Let’s get you off the horse.”

They reversed the process but Mitch found out coming off was harder than going on. By the time they’d gotten Cody into his chair, there was no doubt it was time to stop. As he wheeled down the ramp, Cody motioned toward Mitch.

“What do you need?”

Cody’s face transformed into the first smile Mitch had seen on him. “Thanks, that was fun.”

[If you want to know more about Sam and Gordy don’t miss “Tackling the Subject” the story of how they met. Preorder started June 20th and Early Release slated for July 4th.]


The links listed below go directly to the individual stories.

Early download for “Crossfire”

“Crossfire” has a major facelift and expansion for a new release from Pride Publishing. It has grown from a 9k short story to a 30k novella.

The story is available as early download fromPride Publishing.

Want to read a little teaser? Okay.

Rick was going through his notes from the past few days, but nothing was coming to the forefront in their search. He’d been through the things they had found in Mark’s apartment and the results of the similar search of Rachel’s house. The damn topo map is the most promising lead, but narrowing the investigation down to around seven-thousand square miles still covers a lot of area, and we dont even know if the map has a thing to do with where Mark took Jacob.

Rick sat tapping his pencil against his office desk when someone knocked. He glanced up to find Liz standing at his door. He motioned her in, knowing from her expression that she had information he didn’t want to hear.

Not in the mood for small talk, Rick shot to the point. “What’s the bad news?”

“A rancher called into the hotline. He reported finding…something.”

“What? Come on, Liz, what did he say?”

She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “McCoy thought it was a child’s body. He thinks it’s Jacob, but this was never that kind of abduction. It makes no sense for Mark to hurt his son. It’s probably one of the weird false alarms we have from time to time. Info about Jacob has swamped the local media.”

Rick was already gathering what he needed from his office as he rapid-fired questions at Liz. “When did they find the body? Did anyone disturb the scene? Where did they find it?”

Liz took a deep breath and answered his questions. “The ranch hands found it on the McCoy place over in the western part of Grant County. They were riding the fence line this morning and saw buzzards circling the head of a canyon. They didn’t have cell reception, so he sent one of the boys back to call the sheriff’s office.”

She paused for a minute before continuing, “Gabe was the one on call there.”

Rick knotted with the tension Liz’s information sent through him. Before he could voice any concern, Liz cocked an eyebrow. “Gabriel’s their best investigator. He is the deputy sheriff. He’ll make sure no one will get close to the crime scene. He’s as meticulous as you are.”

Rick nodded as he double-checked that he had everything and realized he was missing his keys. He searched each pocket and came up empty. Rick pawed through the top of his desk for a second before realizing Liz was holding them. With a sigh of relief, he reached for the keys. “Thanks. I need to hurry. Gabe won’t be able to hold them off for long.”

Liz started out of the door with his keys in her hand. He scooted past the desk and chased after her. “Hey, Liz. I need my keys. Stop screwing around.”

“Get in the car. Im driving. You’re too emotional. And, yes, I get that you will spend the whole trip complaining about my driving.”

Rick twisted his lips and lifted an eyebrow at Liz’s comment. He checked again to make certain he had everything he needed before sprinting to catch Liz’s receding form. The silence in the vehicle was palpable through the early part of the trip. But by the time they’d made it to the foot of the mountains, Rick felt more at ease, and the need for more information began to gnaw at him. When they turned onto the gravel road leading to the ranch, he couldn’t contain his police-trained curiosity.

“What did they tell you about the body?” Rick asked.

“I already given you what I know.”

“Come on. You know more than you told me. I’m not a civilian, give me the details.”

Liz glanced at him and from the heat he knew I’d pressed too far. “I told you everything. Sit back and try not to piss me off again. We’ll be there shortly.”

They pulled the four-wheel drive into the remote pasture where they discovered the body. They rolled to a stop beside the Grand County Sheriff’s SUV. By this time, Rick’s nerves were shot. The dread of identifying the remains was making him sick to his stomach. He took a second to steel himself for the worst case. When he spotted Gabe coming toward him at a brisk walk, his apprehension grew. He wanted to rush forward, grab Gabe and hold him tight, but this wasn’t the time or place for a display. The whole area was crawling with members of a variety of law enforcement branches. Neither of them would make this anything but professional.

Rick moved to intercept Gabe until they were close enough to speak at a normal level. “What do we have, Gabe?”

“Dan McCoy and his boys were riding their west boundary fence and noticed something in the wash. Dan used the scope on his rifle and decided it was a body.” Gabe dropped his voice until only Rick could hear him. “Something’s fed on the corpse. It’s not pretty. But everyone’s stayed away to preserve any evidence, so I don’t know if it is Jacob. We can see a red plaid shirt. I never remember him wearing anything like that.” Gabe paused for a minute before continuing. “Maybe it’s just me being wishful, but I don’t think this is Jacob.”

.

Preorder and Cover Reveal for “Tackling the Subject”

For those who have been following my earlier writing this story is the story of two side character from “Wrangler Butts”.

The preorder begins today from:

Pride Publishing

Amazon

How about a little more about the story?

Sam Doherty, a twenty-two-year-old Computer Science major is struggling to pass the required classes in biology. While Sam is out and proud, he’s secretly dealing with an assault he suffered in high school. Sam may be the president of the campus Gay-Straight Alliance, but he’s struggling to find balance in his life. When he realizes he needs help with his class, he signs up for a biology tutor, but the guy who arrives for their meeting sets off all his triggers.

Gordy Hager is a biology whiz kid, the best tutor at the University Help Center—and the star tackle on the football team. Sam despises him at first sight. Gordy is the brainless caveman athlete that Sam still has nightmares about. Unable to control his reactions, he drives Gordy away and makes it plain he will never ask for his help. One week and a failed quiz later, Sam knows he has to swallow his pride and get help.

But while Gordy might be a nice guy, he isn’t going to help someone as insulting as Sam. Sam’s determination pays off, and he gets Gordy’s assistance, but his grades are only the first pothole their relationship hits. From their discovery that they both are gay to supporting each other against family, their connection has more than its share of issues. But when their worst fears come to fruition, they struggle with a way to save Gordy’s college football career and face Sam’s issues of intimacy.

 

Double Trouble: Chapter 109

Wednesday Briefs

The continuing saga of three generations of ranching family. Below the story you’ll find links to other flash fictions.


Chapter 109

Mitch had a grin etched across his face as he maneuvered the wheelchair they’d rented for day’s little event. There was a part of him that planned to enjoy the argument he was going to have with Cody over today’s outing. But Darrin was always quick to point out that Mitch enjoyed getting under people’s skin, like the world’s biggest chigger. After all the crap he dealt with over the past two weeks while being the live-in caretaker for Cody, he was looking forward to peppering the boy with some good natured ribbing.

He wheeled into the room to find Cody looking miserable as he focused on the television. Sam and Gordy would have bought Cody an even bigger TV, but Mitch had to be the voice of reason. They were two shellshocked parents who were trying to deal with the near loss of their child. At this point a thousand dollar television is nothing, they still had their child. Anything they could do to make him more comfortable was reasonable so far as they were concerned. Mitch had assured them Cody didn’t need the giant ass TV to entertain him. Mitch’s suggestion hadn’t left Cody very pleased for a few days afterward, but he got over it.

This time Cody might be even more unhappy than over the television, but Mitch had no doubt that he would be thrilled once it worked. And Mitch knew it would work.

Cody glared at Mitch and put the remote on his side table with a firm click. Well, that’s better than throwing it at me. We’re making progress.

“What do you want now?” Cody asked.

“I thought a little outing would be good. And yes, I talked to your parents and your doctor. Everyone agrees that getting out would be good for you.”

He motioned at the casts enclosing both his legs. “I’m sure being wheeled around with all this crap on my legs. I’ll just stay in bed and watch cartoons or something else equally stupid.”

Mitch shook his head and wheeled the chair into the room, parked it beside Cody’s bed then pulled back the blankets covering the young man. Then Mitch gave him what would have been a lethal glare given to anyone else. “Get ready because your ass is about to climb back on a horse. And you’re just going to have to suck it up and deal with it.”

The color drained from Cody until he looked like a zombie. Mitch grabbed a T-shirt from the dresser and tossed it to Cody. “Put this on. We probably won’t be there long, but I figure the last thing you need is a sunburn.”

“You’re fucking crazy. I can’t do anything but sit. Broken legs. Ring any bells.”

Mitch lifted an eyebrow. “I can put you in the chair, and you can go out in your undies. You know I’m not above doing it either.”

Their eyes met, and Cody tried being defiant, and it worked exactly as well for him as it had worked for people in the past. A few minutes later Cody was dressed in a tee and gym shorts, and they were making their way out of the house and toward the stables.

Cody began to look panics when he saw where they were going. “What the hell are you doing? What if I fall? You crazy bastard!”

“Well, for one thing, you’re going to take a little ride.”

 

\[If you want to know more about Sam and Gordy don’t miss “Tackling the Subject” the story of how they met. Preorder is June 20th and Early Release slated for July 4th.]


The links listed below go directly to the individual stories.