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  • Indigo Sea Press 8:00 pm on August 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RUBICON RANCH: RILEY’S STORY — Chapter 11: Jeff and Kourtney Peterson — by J B Kohl and Eric Beetner

    Jeff stood with his back to it for a long time. He could hear the whipping of the yellow POLICE LINE tape wrapped impotently around the murder scene. When he approached he saw it but averted his eyes, not ready to take in the final resting place of his daughter. When he did turn around his eyes let loose again with tears he thought he’d used up. The desert tableau sent a shiver up his spine. The yellow frame, the broken TV, the footprints in the sand all around him like he’d missed a party.

    When he left the house that morning he wasn’t sure where he’d end up. He needed air and Rubicon offered some of the best as a lure to people in colder climes to drop everything and move south. He sucked big lungfulls of the stuff and it did little to clear his head of the swirling thoughts that plagued him since the sheriff first came to his door. His feet took him to the spot by following some father’s instinct and the casual words the Sheriff let drop about where the body had been found.

    With each passing hour he felt less like Riley’s father and more like the stranger he really was. Her real father would never have let this happen.

    All that fresh air whistled in his ears. A dark green lizard darted out from under the TV set moving in stuttering bursts. Jeff wanted to crush it, to throw rocks and tell the creature not to use that discarded set as refuge. There could be no peace there.

    He’d always told Riley she watched too much TV.

    Jeff stepped over the yellow tape with little effort, angry at the police for their lack of understanding how sacred this place had become. He touched the edge of the hollow set, feeling tiny shards of the broken picture tube. His finger ran along the rim trying to imagine his daughter’s body fitting into such a small space and at the same time willing the image away, which worked about as well as the police tape.

    Click here to read the rest of the chapter: http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/chapter-11-jeff-and-kourtney-peterson-by-j-b-kohl-and-eric-beetner/

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  • Indigo Sea Press 11:01 am on August 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RUBICON RANCH: RILEY’S STORY — Chapter 10: Seth Bryan — by Lazarus Barnhill

    Consuela, the hostess, acknowledged Frio and Midget as they entered the café. By the time they were seated at the table with Seth and Melanie, she was beside them with their drinks. Coffee—with cream, no sugar—for the lieutenant and a large fruit punch for the deputy.

    The officers stared at Melanie, clearly uncertain about why she was there and what they could say in front of her.

    “This may be the most amazing development of this entire unbelievable morning, Deputy,” Seth said casually. “I just watched Miss Gray here put away two-thirds of Consuela’s Number Three Special in five minutes. Never said a word while she was eating.”

    “That is amazing,” Midget said. “I’ve never been able to finish one myself.”

    Frio laughed. “What caca! I’ve seen you down two Number Three’s at one sitting.” She nodded toward the civilian. “We need to talk and I’m not sure about your guest here.”

    “What a coincidence,” the sheriff said. “She’s not sure about us. I’m bringing her on, unofficially, as a special consultant.”

    Her chin tilted to one side, Melanie asked, “What makes you think I want to be some special consultant?”

    You can find the rest of the chapter here: http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/chapter-10-seth-bryan-by-lazarus-barnhill/

     
  • Indigo Sea Press 2:58 pm on August 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RUBICON RANCH: RILEY’S STORY — Chapter 9: Melanie Gray — by Pat Bertram

    Melanie stared out the window of the sheriff’s Navigator without seeing the houses they passed. What was wrong with her? She could have left the vehicle when he was talking to her next-door neighbor, the nurse with the out-of-control father, but she’d waited in the vehicle like a fool or a suspect. Or like a woman with no place to go.

    Alexander’s death had left her rootless. She still had to honor the lease on the house, but they hadn’t lived in Rubicon Ranch long enough for it to become home. And anyway, Alexander had been her home. Through all the years of their roaming the world, he had been her one constant. She hadn’t needed anyone or anything as long as they were together, but now that he was gone, what did she have to show for it? Nothing. No husband, no children, a near empty bank account, only enough possessions to fit in the trunk of a car, but no car to put them in. They’d leased the car Alexander wrecked, and she didn’t have the energy to lease another.

    And now here she was, driving around with this aggravating sheriff and his barely concealed sexual innuendos. What does he want with me?

    Click here to read the rest of the chapter: http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/chapter-nine-melanie-gray-by-pat-bertram/

     
  • Indigo Sea Press 3:23 pm on August 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Mini Interview with Norm Brown, Author of CARPET RIDE

    Second Wind: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite?

    Norm Brown: CARPET RIDE actually has two protagonists, but if I had to choose my favorite it would be Sam Stanley. At the beginning of the story, newly-wed Sam feels almost literally on top of the world. When targeted by an unknown enemy, he discovers courage and strength he never knew he possessed. Carpet Ride is the story of Sam’s evolution from vulnerable victim to desperate defender of his little family.

     
  • Indigo Sea Press 2:34 pm on August 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RUBICON RANCH: RILEY’S STORY — Chapter 8: Eloy Franklin — by Deborah J Ledford

    Eloy Franklin limped into his two-story house. He closed the door behind him then dropped his cane into a brass umbrella stand. He winced as he straightened his back and squared his shoulders to regain his rigid military posture. Wringing his hands, cramped from holding their gnarled position for so long, he thought about the sheriff’s accusatory words.

    He wondered if he held the clue the officer sought. He had witnessed little girl Riley earlier the day in question. She rode her bike right past him. Didn’t bother to lift her hand in return to his greeting. She hadn’t even looked his way. Typical. Young or old, no one ever did. That was fine with Eloy. He preferred it that way—invisible in plain sight.

    The West Point graduate of class 1950 hated slipping into the hick monosyllables the man in charge of the investigation expected. If hotshot Sheriff Bryan had been one of his soldiers he’d have given him a stern dressing down, based solely on the look of disgust the cop had settled on “full bird” Colonel Eloy Templeton Franklin. But the retired regimental commander needed to keep up the guise. Had to appear stupid, feeble, clueless.

    Click here to read the rest of the chapter: http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/chapter-8-eloy-franklin-by-deborah-j-ledford/

     
  • Indigo Sea Press 3:01 pm on August 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mystery, Nichole Bennett,   

    RUBICON RANCH: RILEY’S STORY — Chapter 7: Mark and Jamie Westbrook — by Nichole R. Bennett

    Mark Westbrook rolled over in the bed and breakfast’s queen-sized bed while Jamie Westbrook, sitting up next to him, scrutinized the Facebook page once again. Lace curtains billowed in the breeze from the open window and the birds were starting to sing their morning songs. “I swear it’s her.”

    By the look on Mark’s face, he wasn’t so sure. “I hate it when you get on that thing.” A former computer programmer, Mark was aware of how easily a person’s computer habits could be their downfall.

    It was a valid concern. The last thing the two wanted was the cops nosing around in their business. Their business. Most people wouldn’t call what they did a business. A scam. A con. A fraud. Those were words the average citizen would use to describe Jamie and Mark Westbrook. An opportunity seeker is how Mark had explained it to Jamie so many years ago.

    “Everybody wants to believe in something, Sweets,” he’d said. “We just give them that glimmer of hope. We tell them what they want to hear and they pay handsomely for it.”

    Mark had told her that nugget of truth after he rescued her from her short time living on the streets. At first, Jamie was convinced Mark must have been a pimp or drug dealer or worse. Luckily, he was just a con-man. A good one. They’d only been caught once in Iowa. But that was when they’d first teamed up and the couple had only a few close calls since then.

    By changing their looks and names in every location, Jamie knew they were harder to trace. A little identity theft wasn’t as hard as it sounded and Mark’s computer skills helped.

    Click here to read the rest of the chapter: http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/chapter-7-mark-and-jamie-westbrook-by-nichole-r-bennett/

     
  • Indigo Sea Press 12:55 pm on August 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RUBICON RANCH: RILEY’S STORY — Chapter 6: Cooper Dahlsing — by Christine Husom

    Not again. Dear God, not again.

    Cooper Dahlsing woke up standing somewhere in the desert, surrounded by cool night air. He didn’t know where, exactly. Hopefully not far from home. It was dark, but not pitch black. The light of a gibbous moon offered some illumination. No wristwatch, no cell phone. From the position of the moon, he guessed it was two or three in the morning.

    As his eyes adjusted, he recognized he was on a trail he often took for his hikes. He wasn’t miles from home, fortunately. He stood for a minute, getting his bearings. Moonbeams were highlighting the metal on an object to his left. The old abandoned television set the. He blew out a relieved breath. He knew where he was and began the trek home.

    Cooper thought–had hoped against hope–it had stopped for good. He should have known he would never be freed from the constant threat of occasional night adventures that were better described as night terrors. Nightmares he was actually, physically, a part of. Ones he woke up in, wondering how in the hell he had gotten there when the last thing he remembered was falling asleep in his own bed.

    Click here to read the rest of the chapter: http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/chapter-6-cooper-dahling-by-christine-husom/

     
  • Indigo Sea Press 12:48 pm on August 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RUBICON RANCH: RILEY’S STORY — Chapter 5: Mary “Moody” Sinclair — by JJ Dare

    Moody’s nose hurt.

    And, she was scared.

    For the past seven years, psychologist Mary “Moody” Sinclair had been used to the moist cool air of the coastal town of Winnington Bay, Washington. The dry desert air of Rubicon Ranch sucked the moisture out and left her feeling like she was breathing in tiny sand particles. The scratchiness in her nose added to all the other hurts she had suffered over the past year.

    One error in judgment had cost Moody her license to practice. When conventional ADHD treatments had not helped eight-year old Chad Monroe, in a moment of self-doubt and slight panic Moody had opted for a new-age radical binding technique.

    All had been going well for Moody and Chad’s parents until Chad started to convulse. Epilepsy had not shown up in any of the boy’s medical tests. Everyone, including the coroner, was left with the question: did the tight binding treatment create the epilepsy or was the epilepsy dormant until the binding triggered it?

    The humiliation of the trial and its resultant three-month prison sentence added to the hurts Moody had already suffered for her part in killing Chad Monroe. It wasn’t entirely her fault, though. When the boy began to convulse, too many hands had tried to loosen the thick rope wrapped around his small body like a cocoon.

    After three months in Fendleton’s Women’s Prison, Moody had been given court permission to return to her father’s home in Rubicon Ranch. When the judge realized who Moody’s father was and where Rubicon Ranch was located, he sarcastically told Moody she might wish to stay at Fendleton rather than move to another type of prison.

    Click here to read the rest of the chapter: http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/chapter-5-mary-“moody”-sinclair-by-jj-dare

     
  • Indigo Sea Press 12:44 pm on August 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RUBICON RANCH: RILEY’S STORY — Chapter 4: Dylan McKenzie — by Nancy A. Niles

    A day did not go by that Dylan McKenzie did not think about the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall”. His mother had given him nightmares telling him stories about how the large companies were poisoning the environment.

    “Someday even the rain will be made up of poisonous, toxic chemicals,” she’d told him. “And it will fall on everyone and cause horrible diseases and painful deaths.”

    She spoke of the future violence to come when children carried weapons and fought in the streets. He’d once read the lyrics, but it had been like a Rubik’s cube to his young brain and he’d latched onto his mother’s wisdom and had turned Bob Dylan into his own personal idol and prophet.

    As he grew older he began to wonder why nobody stopped the chemical companies, why the people of his mother’s generation were so intent on peaceful solutions, when obviously they didn’t work, and why did they spend so much time smoking pot and wiling away the days when so much work needed to be done?

    Flower Power. What a cop out that turned out to be. Fear and intimidation were the only ways to get people to do what you wanted.

    He had learned that much from his dad, who’d once been a flower child himself, but had since learned the real ways of the world. He’d seen his dad push people around and noticed how they backed off and let him get his own way. Dylan knew the shame of letting his dad intimidate him. But he’d always just been a kid. The day would come when the old man wouldn’t be pushing on him anymore.

    Click here to read the rest of the chapter: http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/chapter-4-dylan-mckenzie-by-nancy-a-niles/

     
  • Indigo Sea Press 8:37 pm on August 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RUBICON RANCH: RILEY’S STORY — Chapter 3: Jeff and Kourtney Peterson — by J B Kohl and Eric Beetner

    Jeff Peterson stood at the window in his home office, the wide expanse of desert out before him. The starkly beautiful view went unseen as he stared down at his hands, fingers working a paper clip against the cuticles of his left hand. Beads of blood grew against his nails but he did not stop.

    His daughter, his precious daughter . . . dead.

    The Rolling Stones played on the stereo. He’d put on “Brown Sugar” as a tribute to Riley. Her favorite. He’d been bound and determined to raise the girl with good taste in music. “No Wheels On The Bus” for his special one. She’d been the only nine-year-old in town who even knew what a record player looked like.

    After the song, Jeff let Mick and the boys play on, the memories rushing in. Leaving him gasping for air.

    Each day for the past nine years he’d fended off the flood of thoughts threatening to drown him. Each day he devoted himself to Riley for fear that anything less than pure, unconditional love would undermine what it took to get her.

    Now that she lay dead, a brutal act no daughter deserved, the levees broke. Nothing more held back the memories of what he had done those years ago.

    Click here to read the rest of the chapter: http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/chapter-3-jeff-and-kourtney-peterson-by-j-b-kohl-and-eric-beetner

     
  • Indigo Sea Press 10:12 am on August 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RUBICON RANCH: RILEY’S STORY — Chapter 2: Seth Bryan — by Lazarus Barnhill

    “Look I know you’re dressed for the desert and everything,” Bryan said, “but I hope you won’t be offended if I ask you to sit in the unit here for a minute or two and enjoy the air conditioning while I talk to my deputies.”

    He could tell she was thinking over his request carefully, that Melanie didn’t quite trust him. She also didn’t act like someone who had just killed a child and was trying to cover it up, although—he judged—she might be clever enough to do just that.

    “Well if I have to wait,” she said, “I guess I’m better off in here than out in hundred degree weather.”

    Bryan opened the driver’s door. “One hundred and three degrees,” he corrected.

    Frio and Midget were standing within a few feet of the discarded TV, as if to make sure the child inside did not get out and skip away. Midget paid less attention to the crime scene than the scrub brush and mounds of rock and dirt around him.

    “Do we know who this was?” the sheriff asked as he joined them.

    “No,” Frio said. “If she’s from this housing development, it won’t be hard to find out. Not too many girls her age up here.”

    “They don’t know she’s gone,” Midget offered in his falsetto. “Otherwise they would have reported her missing before Flower Child over there found her.”

    “Yeah, unless they killed her.”

    Click here to read the rest of the chapter: http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/chapter-two-seth-bryan-by-lazarus-barnhill/

     
  • Indigo Sea Press 1:27 pm on August 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RUBICON RANCH: RILEY’S STORY — Chapter 1: Melanie Gray — by Pat Bertram

    Melanie Gray dressed all in white—loose cotton pants, billowing long-sleeved top, wide-brimmed straw hat, flowing scarf. She checked her pockets to make sure she had her cell phone, camera, and extra memory card, then grabbed a canteen of water, slung the strap over her shoulder like a bandolier, and stepped outside. Heat scorched her lungs and the glare of the desert sun burned her tear-sore eyes.

    She hesitated. Maybe she should stay inside today. Seven o’clock in the morning, and the temperature had already climbed into the hundreds. She was more of a mountain girl—though at forty-three she could hardly be called a girl—and preferred the cool of higher elevations. To be fair, Rubicon Ranch lay three thousand feet above sea level, and the harsh weather and bleak desert vistas suited her present mood, but she hadn’t slept well lately, hadn’t slept much at all since Alexander died, and she had little strength to deal with the present heat wave.

    Damn Alexander anyway. Why did he have to wreck the car and get himself killed? Didn’t he know better than to text while driving? And how could he have already spent their advance? Had he squandered it on the woman he’d been texting?

    Melanie strode down the driveway to Delano Road, wishing their publisher wasn’t holding her to the contract for this final coffee table book. If she still had the advance, she could return the money, find somewhere to burrow, and heal in privacy, but now she had to finish the book of desert scenes by herself, and she knew nothing about photography—Alexander always took the pictures, she wrote the blurbs. Her only option was to shoot as many photos as possible using her small digital camera, and hope that by lucky accident some would be publishable.

    When she reached the road, she hesitated again. Right or left? Odd how she couldn’t seem to make up her mind about anything since Alexander’s death. Not that it mattered which way she went. Most roads in Rubicon Ranch eventually wound to the desert.

    Read the rest of the chapter here: http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/chapter-one-by-pat-bertram/

     
  • Indigo Sea Press 8:05 pm on July 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    deadlyadagioFeatured Author of the Day: Carole Howard

    Emily Radly chafes at being a tag-along spouse while her husband tries out a Foreign Service career in Dakar, Senegal.

    When Margaret, her closest friend and fellow violinist in an amateur expat-orchestra, is garroted with a violin string, Emily is devastated. She also fears the official investigative team is leaping to “random anti-American violence” as its conclusion.

    Emily delves into her friend’s private life for clues. She discovers Margaret was involved in a campaign against the traditional practice of female genital mutilation. Could that be behind her murder?

    She risks a visit to the village where Margaret’s anti-cutting activities were centered. A crude and threatening drawing appears in her purse soon afterwards. When the Peace Corps volunteer in that village is also murdered, Emily is certain her own life is in danger.

    Click here to read the first chapter of DEADLY ADAGIO: http://secondwindbooks.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/deadly-adagio-by-carole-howard/

     
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