Thursday, December 27, 2012

I need your help!

Hello fellow Junkies,

Hope everyone had an amazing Christmas, and have huge mega plans for New Years. So, I'm calling in a huge favour. I need everyone who has read any/all of my books to leave a review on amazon.com/amazon.co.uk. Even if you've written a review on Goodreads, I'd love for you to cut and paste that bad-boy onto the amazon site(s) too please.

If you've got it in your TBR pile, read it, and then leave me a review, please. It'll only take a few minutes of your time, and I'd much appreciate it. Remember that a review is just your opinion, so I won't brain myself if you say it sucked/was too violent/was too graphic/was badly written etc... (think positive thoughts, Lauren!)

Hope to see some review love soon!



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Finished book covers

Hello fellow Junkies,

The Half Blood trilogy is now available on paperback. At the moment, only Createspace has copies available, but very shortly they will be available for purchase on amazon.com. Here are the finished covers!! So excited!!




Monday, November 19, 2012

'Half Life' pre-release review

Hello fellow Junkies,

Jessy from Bookend 2 Bookend has had the opportunity to read and review Half Life before its official release on November 28th. The verdict is in, and it's good! To check it out for yourself, click her button below! Don't forget to enter the giveaway. There's still time to get your hands on a copy of Half Life prior to its release.



Bookend2Bookend




Monday, November 12, 2012

My countdown and giveaway for the release of Half Life

Hello fellow Junkies,

As I'm sure you've noticed, the ticker on my blog here is one day out for the release of Half Life. I think it has something to do with the different timezones. The release date is still the 28th November, but the giveaway will be wrapping on the 27th, and with any luck the FIVE winners will be receiving a copy of the book before it goes live on Amazon! Even more incentive to enter!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Self-publishing - Oh, the horror!

Hello fellow Junkies,

For the people who read this blog, I assume you're fans. If not, you're just passing through which is okay, too. Whatever the reason for checking in to read this post, I'm glad you did. So, let's talk self-publishing ... (I'm totally hitting my head against the desk right now) Where to start with self-publishing. I guess the question to ask would be why did I do it?

Well for me, and like a lot of other authors I suppose, self-publishing was a way of getting my book out there. I worked for three and a half years on the first book and after crushing rejection after crushing rejection, I just couldn't take it anymore. Those frilly-worded rejection letters got damn depressing. Nobody was willing to take a chance on me. Was it because my work was terrible, or could it have been the query letter?

I followed all the rules with writing a query letter to an agent:
* Preparation;
* Formatting;
* The three paragraph rule (pretty much if you can't sell your book in 3 paragraphs, just give up);
* What to write, what not to write;

My favourite section was paragraph three--author bio (in particular write about your achievements/awards/previous publications) Yeah right! It's like trying to get a job without any relevant experience. It just ends up on top of the reject pile.

But still the rejection emails (and one letter) came rolling in. But believe it or not, it only made me more determined. If ever I felt like I should just throw my hands up into the air and give up, I would just look at a friend of mine (also a writer) who had given up with the first rejection. Yes! Rejection is crushing. Yes! You start to think that maybe you wasted a hell of a lot of time BUT I'm not in the habit of giving up if I really want to do something.

So when I stumbled upon amazon.com's amazing KDP program, there was suddenly light at the end of the tunnel. I had an outlet. I had a way to get Indi and Rhett's story out there. But don't be fooled into thinking that getting your lovely finished product up on the WWW was an easy task. After pouring your heart and soul into the story, after all the blood, sweat ... err, you get the idea. After all that, you still have to just sit on it. Let it simmer for a week or two. P.S. Hardest two weeks of my life! I'll tell you a secret, but this stays just between you and I. The temptation to change things in that two weeks is the reason Half Blood took three and a half years. There are eight, count 'em, EIGHT different versions of the book.

So you've waited your two weeks and you're ready to sit down and start the editing process. You read your story again. And again. And again. If you're really thorough, you'll get it printed out and go over it on paper. You'll find silly typos like 'his' instead of 'him' (guilty as charged) the tense problems which sounded fine while your fingers were flying over the keyboard, but are just plain ol' wrong when you're reading it back.

Once you think it's polished, you might go that one extra step before you get some trusted friends to look over your manuscript. You may want to consider paying a proofreader to go over it with a fine-toothed comb.

FACT: You can read and re-read your work, but you will always, ALWAYS miss things. (also guilty as charged).

A professional proofreader can set you back anywhere from between $200 AUD (bargain) to well over $500 AUD depending on the length of your manuscript, what you want done (straight proofread or an edit) and how tight your deadline is. The more you want done, the more it's going to cost you. Luckily with Half Blood, I had a friend give me mate's rates for the edit/proofread. It still cost $250, but it was worthwhile knowing that I hadn't left any his/hims in there.

After two weeks, I got Half Blood back from my proofreader friend who had gone to town all over my paper. I swear I never want to see the track changes features ever again in my life (also not going to happen) <sigh> So, instead of accepting all (which would have been the smart thing) I went through the entire thing picking a choosing what I wanted to keep or reject. As an author, it's your prerogative to do that. Some things that were picked up and circled for potential change were just plain stupid. (choice of vocabulary namely). As an author, you are free to stipulate any spelling variations you'd like to keep. I think I drove my girl mad with my American spelling even though I'm Aussie. There's just something about spelling arse as ass that somehow makes it look way better.

Okay, so your story looks swank. It's got swagger. Now it's time to see if everyone else thinks it's as awesome as you do. Choose 2-3 trusted friends who enjoy reading in the genre you've written in. If you ask a drama reader to reader a horror, that's not going to work (but you already knew that didn't you?) I also found that it's a good idea to choose people who you know will read it right away, not those friends who are like "Oh., I've been so busy lately," or "I completely forgot!" Those kinds of friends suck for critical readers. Choose them wisely and make sure they're going to be honest with you, too!

Having a critical reader for your work is opening yourself up for criticism. Criticism is good! Open up and embrace it. Learn from it. Grow with it. If they tell you your characters are unbelievable, or hard to connect with, it's not a personal shot at you. It's the truth. So do something about it now while you still can. I've got two amazing people who read over my work, but it took me a long time to find them and nobody else can have them! <grins>

Okay, so your baby has been read and re-read, it's been preened and fluffed by a proofreader, it's been looked over carefully by your critical readers. Now your heart is in your throat and hammering hard. You've clicked into the amazon KDP site and asked all these questions about rights and royalties and hooks. You've been asked to select a cover for your book. If you don't have one, the good thing is you can use one of theirs. Granted it's not all blinged-up or anything, it's a cover all the same and you can change it later once you get your own cover organised. If you like, I can write another blog about selecting cover art later. Just put it in the comments!

So you've uploaded your manuscript, and made sure the formatting is correct (amazon has an awesome free download to lead you through this), decided on a price and whether you want it be a worldwide availability or restricted just to certain countries, and you scroll down to the bottom, click the 'I agree to these terms' box and click the publish button. You sit back in your chair panting like you've just run a marathon, wondering frantically what you've just done.

Congratulations, you've done it. You've self-published! It's takes up to 48-hours to go live, and once it does you'll like you have OCD the amount of times you check your dashboard to see if anyone has bought any copies yet. But let me tell you, seeing those numbers there rising tightens something in your chest. People are actually reading your stuff.

And isn't that exactly what you wanted to happen in the first place?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Project

Hello fellow Junkies,

I know it's only been like 2 days since I officially finished the proofread and edit of Half Life, but the writing bug is under my skin again. I've started on something new. It'll still be an urban fantasy book, but not involving vampires and werewolves (I know, I know. I can hear the sobbing from here.) It'll be good though, promise!

If you missed it on my Facebook page, I also posted the hook for Half Life. Here it is:



They call him the Butcher of the Helheim pack, and it’s a nickname well deserved. With the death of Colton still fresh in Sabel's mind, he takes on the responsibility of the Right to take revenge on behalf of his fallen brother—an eye for an eye. That is until he's blindsided by the arrival of an unfamiliar female werewolf looking for Colton. 

As more and more defiled bodies of wolves turn up, Sabel’s need to solve the mystery of who is behind the mutilations is at war with another feeling. This new female has awakened something dark and unavoidable within him—something that threatens to ruin his reputation as a hard-ass werewolf forever.

Can she tame the Helheim captain of the guard, or will he manage to push her away forever?

Oh, and one more thing. Would anyone be interested in a short story about Eirawen? It'll be about how she came to be queen, the creation of her Sicarii and why she hates Half Bloods so much. Leave a post comment to show your support, or hit me up on my Facebook page.
 


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Half Life giveaway

Hello fellow Junkies,

To celebrate the release of Half Life on November 25th, FIVE lucky people will have the chance to get their hands on a copy of the third and final installment of the Helheim wolf pack trilogy! How amazing is that? All you have to do is enter the competition below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Release date for Half Life

Hello fellow Junkies,
Just a quick update on the progress of Half Life. Proofing is going well. I should have that done by the end of  the month then the manuscript is off to some critical readers before its (hopeful) release on November 28th. That's right, November 28th. I'm so excited about it that I've put a counter on the page to count down the days, hours and minutes.

Only 48 days and 16 hours to go!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bookend 2 Bookend review of Half Truths

Hello fellow Junkies,
Just to let you know that Jess at BookEnd 2 BookEnd (http://bookend2bookend.blogspot.com.auhas so kindly written a review of Half Truths with the chance to get your hands on free copies of both Half Blood and Half Truths. A big thanks to Jess for writing such an awesome review and to all of you out there that pick up Half Blood or Half Truths as a result.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Final mock ups for Half Life cover...decisions, decisions

Hello fellow Junkies,

Okay, so the good news is these two mock ups are my final choices for the cover of Half Life. The watermarks are there because I haven't bought the rights to the picture from dreamstime.com yet as I haven't made up my mind yet. As I can't use Facebook for this and take a vote, we'll have to do it the ol' fashioned way. I'm leaning towards the second one just because for Half Truths I used a gun on the front cover.

What does everyone else think??


                                             

Monday, September 24, 2012

Another teaser

Hello fellow Junkies,
I'm so excited about the upcoming release of the third book in the Half Blood series that as I proofread and edit, I keep coming across these awesome quotes or scenes that I just have to share. Sabel has been the star for most of these teasers, but now for something a little different. I know everyone just loves Rhett, so here is one from him.


‘On your knees.’
‘I thought you agreed no weapons,’ Rhett gritted out, kneeling slowly in front of the other man.
Marcus smiled in a way the showed all his teeth. ‘I lied.’
Rhett placed his other knee down, his eyes unmoving from Marcus’s. ‘You’re a coward,’ he spat.
‘I might just be,’ Marcus leaned in close, ‘but I’ll be a breathing coward.’ He pulled back, pressing the barrel hard into Rhett’s head.

I'm doing my best to get the editing done by the end of this week, but I had to have a major overhaul of the final couple of chapters while have left me drained. With any luck, Half Truths will be available on Amazon.com by the end of next month. Keep watching this blog or the Facebook page for further details!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Half Life is done

Hello fellow Junkies,

After 5 months and 4 days of writing, Half Life is pretty much finished! I still have to let it sit and stew for a while before starting the editing/proofing process, but with any luck that won't take too long at all. As it stands, I have written 91,000 words which is just a little shorter than the second book. Half Truths.

While it's resting, I've decided to write a novella  about Eirawen, the vampire queen, as some of you have had some questions about her and the Sicarii. It will give you her back story, why she hates all half bloods, and the creation of the Sicarii, including her relationship with Nox.

I think this story will be added to the end of Half Life as an extra bonus read. Yay for bonus reads!

If anyone has any questions they'd like to ask me, feel free to either post here on my blog, or go to http://www.facebook.com/authorlaurendawes and post of my author wall, or send me a private message of you prefer.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Potential covers for 'Half Life'

Hello fellow Junkies,

It's been a little while since I last posted. Not much has happened since then. I've just been working my butt off trying to get 'Half Life' finished before we move at the end of the year. Actually had a little bit of a meltdown moment last week when my laptop decided it didn't want to work properly any more. Luckily, I had backed up everything just a few days before and didn't lose any work. I took the computer to get repaired only to get a phone call a few days later to tell me that my baby had well and truly gone to that little place in the sky for irreparably broken technology. It turned out that I melted the hard drive. Who would have thought that was possible!

Now that I have a brand, spanky new PC, I'm back bigger and better than before. The story has been coming along in leaps and bounds since that unfortunate stint of writer's block. I'm up to chapter 33 which is a massive battle scene. This also means that more mental power is needed to write it in order to get some kick-ass fighting and dying happening on paper.

And since the end of the book is close, that means I have to make a decision about what the cover is going to be. I've pretty much narrowed down my selection to 3 that I really like, and that also fit with the theme/plot of the book. Since I am only writing as a hobby and I am a lowly self-published author, I get all my cover art from stock photography websites and my fav is dreamstime.com which can cater for my specific, darker, dangerous tastes. 

To help me decide, I'd like to know what everyone else thinks. Which is your favourite, 1, 2 or 3?

Hunting Knives
Source: dreamstime stock photography  

Blood Trail
Source: dreamstime stock photography
Bullets And Magazine
Source: dreamstime stock photography 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Teaser from Half Life

Hello fellow Junkies,
Since the muse is back and bad ass, I decided to share one of my favourite scenes so far:

Sabel’s wolf was still very much in control, so when he smiled, it was the baring of teeth rather than a display of any real joy. ‘I killed the other two, but I saved this one for you.’ His voice was still layered, still gravelly; just a splintering of his natural cadence.
He’d brought the other male for her? ‘Why?’
‘Colton died by his hand,’ Sabel replied in that dual layered voice, his green eyes looking through her and down to her wolf. Her own wolf began brushing up against her sides, trying to get closer to him. He had brought her a gift.
She started nibbling on her lower lip, her eyes on the ground. ‘What are you going to do with him?’
‘First, I’m going to torture the information I need out of him then I’m going to let you kill him.’



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Half Life update

Hello fellow Junkies,

Just a quick update on the progress of the book. Now, I'm hoping that by sharing this I'm not jinxing myself into another unholy state of non-writing, but it appears as if my muse is back from wherever the hell it went and is ready to rock and roll once more! Perhaps my muse in tangled up with my husband in some way. Writing has been near impossible since he went away 6 weeks ago, but as soon as he returns, I'm ready to tackle the Helheim pack once more. (I'm jumping up and down a little in my seat!)

The last couple of days have been productive having written around 5000 words. Whether all those words stay is yet another story, but I have high hopes! I just wanted to say a huge thanks to whoever asked me those questions before as they helped me refocus on the task at hand. All of those unanswered questions will definitely be answered in this book!

I'm also planning on writing another (couple of) short story(ies) at the end of this third installment.

I must also thank my music gods too: My Chemical Romance, Newton Faulkner, Florence + the Machine, Scouting for Girls. All these bands/singers help the creative juices to flow. I just hope I can keep going at the pace I am and have Half Life done soon!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The third and final book

Hello fellow Junkies,

So it is official: Half Life will be the third and last book in the Helheim wolf series. With dwindling pack numbers, I've realised that I don't have enough to sustain them. This third book will (hopefully) tie together all the loose ends that the first two books may have left. I think I've got all the bases covered, but what I'd really like to know is what questions all you have that you would like answered. Plus, are there any characters out there that you would like to know their full story?

 Sabel is the main character in this book. Revenge is fresh in his mind, and he's determined to find the person responsible for the death of his best friend. The main plot has been planned, and I've added a few more chapters leaving me with another 5 to write before it's the end of the Helheim pack.

Procrastination has dug in its dirty claws recently leaving me uninspired and unwilling to even sit down in front of my laptop to write. That's probably a good thing though. I can just image spending hours writing absolute drivel only to have to delete it the next time inspiration hits. Ho hum...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book 3 in the Half Blood series: Half Life

Hello fellow Junkies,
Just a quick update on Indi and all the gang. I am currently writing the third book in the series. I still have to decide whether this will be the final book, or second last.

New characters are introduced, and older ones are explored further-Vaile's boss being one of them. We will find out about Sabel's dark past as well as the females of the Helheim pack and the roles they play.

As it stands, I have another 3 chapters to write in order to end the story of Half Life, but one or two of those chapters is going to be intense-epic battle scenes which take a little more brain power to write.

Decisions also have to be made about Brax and his involvement with Rhett and Indi. Mmm, I can smell a love triangle *rubs hands together gleefully*.

The other fun part about writing a book is choosing the cover art. I think I have narrowed down the one I want from a selection of 5 or 6, but I will know for sure once I've finished with the final edit. Things can always change.

I hope I've teased you sufficiently, leaving you wanting more of the Helheim wolves.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reviews of Half Truths

Hello fellow Junkies,

Half Truths, the second book in the Half Blood series, has been available on Amazon.com for almost three weeks. Sales have been good, but they could always be better. So, if you have read Half Truths and you like like it, I would love to hear from you. Post a review on Amazon.com and tell everyone what you thought. I'm anxious to know how the second book is being received!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The 72-hour free download promotion of Half Blood

Hello fellow Junkies,
Just a little update on the promotion I had running with "Half Blood" for 72 hours last month. In total, I had 4,086 downloads of the book which, I think, was a great success. For the remainder of the month, I had 100 more sales. It was a fantastic response to Half Blood, and if anyone is considering using the promotion tool via Amazon.com to promote their book(s), I would highly recommend it.

Also, if anyone out there has read "Half Blood" and liked/loved it, I would love it if a review was posted. The more reviews I have, the more likely it is that someone else will decide to read it too.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

ANNOUNCEMENT TIME


Hello fellow Junkies,
Half Truths the second installment in the Half Blood series will be available on Amazon.com shortly. Priced at $4.99, the book follows on from the first with Rhett and the rest of the Helheim pack trying to get their alpha's mate back from the rival Dragos pack. Work on the third book in the series is currently underway. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The second installment: Half Truths





To my fellow Junkies,
Here is the proposed new cover for the second book in the Half Blood series. This book still includes Indi and Rhett; however, there is another plot that runs along side it concerning Vaile and his partner Grey. This second installment is a lot sexier than the first with a darker, more malicious undertone running throughout. Once again, this is not for the weak of heart. Explicit language, sex scenes and torture and contained within its pages.

Half Truths will be available on Amazon.com from the start of July 2012














Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Half Blood free for 72 hours on Amazon.com

Half Blood - Available at Amazon.com

To all my fellow Junkies,

To get my book out there and read, I've put it on a 100% off sale for 72 hours only. Go to Amazon.com, click on Half Blood, do the Amazon Whispernet thing and start reading. I would love to know what you think. And just as a side note, the book does contain a lot of explicit language and themes. You have been warned...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chapter 2 - Half Blood

To my fellow Junkies,


I finally decided to self-publish after exhausting the literary agent/publishing opportunities in Australia. Given its size to population ratio, that happened surprisingly quickly. With the sting of the last rejection from Curtis Brown, Australia, still fresh, I set my sights on the US market--after all they were drowning in literary agents and publishers. Alas, fate was cruel to me once more despite my preparedness and tenacity. A girl can only take so many rejections before her ego is dented beyond repair.


After much deliberation, I decided that amazon.com was the way forward. Vanity publishing, I hear you say? Well, yeah. Nobody else was willing to give me a go, so why the hell not? Stranger things have happened, after all. And I learned long ago that the only person you can truly depend on was yourself. 


Half Blood has been live for approximately two and a half weeks. I was surprised to find that within the twelve hours between uploading and the publication going live, that I indeed had one sale already. Was it pure, dumb luck? Maybe, but I'll take that over no sales at all.


Up until now, sales have been okay--not great, but okay. Currently, my sales rank is embarrassingly low, but upwards and onwards I always say! I'm not sure whether it's because the market is saturated with fantasy fiction right now, or whether the genre is slowly dying out. I'm hoping it's the former, which makes it harder and harder to actually get people to notice it. 


Bundled right along side my book are other kindle-version books with werewolves and sex and vampires, and, yeah, that's great. I just don't want my story lumped together and given the title of erotica along with the others. 


If anyone has read the first couple of chapters on my blog, and is interested in finding out what happens between Rhett and Indi, I would love it if you could go to: http://www.amazon.com/Half-Blood-Helheim-Wolf ebook/dp/B007SDE238/ref=pd_rhf_pe_p_img_2 to check it out. It only costs $5 USD. Hit that 'like' button while you're there--my ego needs massaging to get the circulation going again after the shock of putting myself out there.


To further whet your appetites, here is the second chapter of Half Blood...



Chapter 2



One week earlier …
Indi knew he’d be trouble the first moment she laid eyes on him. Men in suits were always a problem for her. She felt like she’d had the words “harass me asshole” tattooed onto her forehead from birth. And of course he was sitting in her section. Her anger prickled over her skin ever so softly, but she shoved the feeling away; sucking in a deep breath and walking over to his table.
‘Do you want me to take him for you?’
Indi turned to look at the only other male friend she had besides her brother. Rhett had only been working at Jerry’s for a few months, but she felt as if she’d known him her entire life. Rhett’s mismatched eyes were soft and cautious. He had heterochromia which meant that one of his eyes was a light sky-blue and the other a pale pistachio-green.
He pushed the six-foot-four mark; his broad shoulders tapering down to a narrow waist and muscular legs. He didn’t look like much with his clothes on, but Indi had accidently walked in on him when he was changing out of his uniform one evening after the café had closed, and he was packing some serious muscle under his Hanes.
She smiled, shaking her head at him. ‘Nah, I’m good.’ She rubbed the back of her neck, working some kinks out as she prepared herself to talk to the customer in her section. Plastering a fake smile on her lips, she made her way over to him. The guy’s dark eyes watched her with all the eagerness of a hungry predator.
Her skin crawled with anger. She wanted nothing more than to stop him looking at her like something delectable. Shaking off the murderous impulse, Indi pressed her omnipresent anger further down into her belly. Sometimes she felt as if her anger was an actual Thing inside her; a giant black cat wanting to claw its way out of her body when she let it get out of control.
‘Hi. What can I get you?’ she asked, keeping her voice light and easy.
His top lip curled up a little in the corner. ‘Hi,’ he replied smoothly.  
She stared into his eyes, realising that they weren’t dark brown as she’d originally thought, but black––as black as clouds that threatened a tempest.
‘So … what can I get you?’ Indi tapped the long end of her notepad against her thigh to stop herself from being tempted to reach for the hunting knife she’d always kept in her boot. Her anger liked that idea. The cat inside her wanted to draw blood when the weight of his gaze set the hairs on the back of her neck on end.
He licked his bottom lip slowly. ‘How about your phone number?’
She curled her free hand into a fist at her side and let out a deep lung-full of air. ‘Sorry, we’re not serving that today.’ She tried to keep her voice peppy and bright.
His dark eyes lingered on her breasts. When he met her eyes again, Indi was glaring back down at him, practically chewing off her own tongue to stop herself from telling him to keep his eyes to his fucking self.
‘Look, I can come back once you’ve decided,’ she said, turning around to leave, but his warm hand on her forearm stopped her. She turned back, visually tearing strips of his skin from his body.
‘I’ll have an espresso,’ he said, not taking his hand back.
‘Fine,’ she replied through gritted teeth. ‘Do you mind moving that?’ She nodded down at her arm.
‘I will when you tell me your name.’
Indi silently thanked Jerry for not insisting on the staff wearing nametags. ‘Nancy,’ she replied curtly.
He squeezed her forearm gently. ‘Nancy,’ he repeated in a drawl. ‘That wasn’t so hard now, was it?’ His voice was rich like dark coffee and she could see the appeal. ‘Nancy, you have the most extraordinary eyes.’
‘They’re contacts,’ she snapped before faking another smile and stalking off.
Her whole body shook with the effort of not turning around and slugging the guy in the mouth. When she got to the front counter, her boss Jerry was standing behind the coffee machine working on an order.
‘An espresso, Jer. Please.’
‘Are you okay?’ he asked without looking up.
She smiled at him. ‘Are you worried about me?’
His dark blue eyes found her face. ‘I’m worried about what that guy said to you.’
She shrugged her shoulders. ‘It’s nothing I can’t handle.’
He gave her his serious eyes. ‘Are you sure? Because I can get Rhett to take his order over there.’
‘Jer, it’s fine. He’s in my section. I can handle him.’
‘Alright,’ he said softly. Indi watched his expression relax as he went back to work on her order. She lived alone now, but she and Jerry had lived together since she was fifteen and he was eighteen. As far as she was concerned he was her brother and the closest she had ever come to having a real family.
Jerry finished up the order, placing it onto a saucer on the counter. Indi looked up to find him staring down at her with his usual concern.
‘Are you sure you’re alright?’ he asked while placing a warm hand on hers.
Mustering up a small smile, she replied, ‘Peachy.’ Indi picked up the saucer carefully and walked back over to table number three.
‘So when do you get off, Nancy?’ the guy asked as she put his coffee down. She looked at him from under her lashes and knew what an epic mistake that was the minute she did it. Fuck it.
‘Late,’ she replied sourly.
‘How late?’
She watched him turn the coffee cup on the saucer and levelled her gaze on him once more. ‘Won’t your wife wonder where you are?’ she asked in a quiet snarl.
His eyes darted down to the tan mark left from his wedding band. ‘We’ve come to an agreement, me and her. She only does vanilla sex and I … don’t,’ he smiled, his lip curling up in the corner again. ‘So, what time?’ he asked, running his index finger over her hand. She flinched away from his touch, folding her arms under her breasts and stopping herself from going for her knife. She felt the beast of her anger raking at her ribs, demanding retribution for being held back; for being trapped.
‘Touch me again and I swear to you I’ll remove your hand with my knife,’ she said in a low, threatening voice. ‘And I’ve never made a promise I haven’t kept.’
He never even batted an eyelid. ‘I’ve got an apartment over in Waterside that we can use. I’m a very successful businessman,’ he preened.
‘You disgust me,’ she spat.
He gave her a sly smile, but the heat in his eyes didn’t match. He was hungry for something more than just flirting. ‘I like wildcats.’ He grabbed her wrist, wrapping his fingers tighter and tighter until she felt her circulation cut.
‘Let go of me,’ she hissed. He manoeuvred her around the front of his body, blocking what they were doing from the rest of the café.  
‘Or what, hmm? Are you going to attack me? Are you going to scream for me to let you go? I’d like that, you know.’ He jerked her a little closer until they were sharing a breath. ‘Fight back,’ he suggested.
The beast within her growled low and fast. Her arm moved faster than he was able to track because she’d pulled the knife from her right boot with her left hand and held it against his skin. ‘Let. Me. Go,’ she breathed.
He released her wrist, laughing at her—a gentle, rolling rumble of a sound—and pressed his neck into the tip of the blade until a small bead of blood rose from his skin. God, she was tempted to just run the blade across the front of his throat, to let his life force spill out of his body from a five-inch wound. She would have done it too if she hadn’t felt Rhett come to stand behind her. With a warm hand on her upper arm, he let her feel the strength he possessed.
‘Indi? Drop the knife. Now isn’t the time for this.’ He spoke the words calmly and softly into her ear until she loosened her grip on the handle. She stared into the asshole’s dark eyes as Rhett talked her down. She wanted to hurt him, but she also knew that she couldn’t shed any blood in her brother’s café after he was good enough to give her a job. ‘That’s it. Give me the knife.’ Rhett’s huge hand curled around hers and tugged to get her to let go of the handle, but she resisted. She wouldn’t be left unarmed.
With a jerking motion, she pulled the knife from his neck and held it against her thigh. She turned to look at Rhett and shock made her take a step away from him.
‘What?’ he asked softly, dropping his gaze to the floor. She could have sworn that his eyes were two totally different shades of green and blue for half a second.
‘Nothing,’ she replied when she could talk. She fixed her gaze back on the man.
‘I’ll see you later, Kitten,’ the man said. Indi’s rage exploded. Her movements were fast, her hand curling into a fist and slamming into his neck, just under his ear. Most people didn’t know about the bundle of nerves there. The asshole’s eyes rolled back in his skull before he passed out; his face colliding with his coffee and the table top with a loud, fleshy slap.
*
Jerry launched himself over the counter and ran to the back of the café where Indi’s customer had just slumped over in his chair. Dark coffee dribbled down from the top of the table and onto the carpet beneath.
‘Indi? What the hell?’ he demanded. She was holding her knife against her leg, her expression gone past reasonable. He could practically see the rage coming off her body. Jerry looked down at the table, expecting to see a huge pool of blood, but was relieved to see none. Looking back at Indi, he asked, ‘Well?’
Movement in his peripheral vision caught his eye. Turning his head, he saw Rhett moving towards them, slipping his huge frame in between him and his sister. He bristled, but didn’t understand why. He looked into the warm colours of his heterochromous eyes and waited.
‘It was my fault,’ Rhett said calmly. ‘I accidently elbowed him in the face as I was trying to take her away.’
Over Rhett’s shoulder, Jerry could see Indi’s shocked expression at what he’d said. Rhett had just lied for her, but why? He didn’t owe her anything. With Indi still fixed in his gaze, he asked, ‘Is that true?’
Her haunting eyes were glowing slightly and she nodded. ‘I was resisting him. I tried to elbow him and he elbowed the customer. Sorry,’ she replied just as calmly.
A low moan escaped from behind them. They all turned to see the customer coming to. Jerry pushed them both aside and went to the man. He had to get him out the back and cleaned up as quickly as he could. Sliding the man’s arm around his neck and taking his weight around his waist, Jerry lifted him and started moving towards the storeroom. The customer’s head lolled about as he shuffled them both towards the door. Looking at his profile, Jerry took stock of his injuries; noting the swelling and the cut to the bridge of his nose. Blood trickled out of one nostril; one bright, red drop threatening to take a nose dive from his chin and onto his ridiculously expensive suit.
 He shoved the door closed behind him with his hip, placing the guy down onto an upturned milk crate. As he leaned him against the wall, the bastard suddenly came back to life again, pushing Jerry away and pitching wildly to his feet. Jerry took a few steps back with his hands outspread before him until his butt hit the edge of the sink.
‘I’d sit down if I were you,’ Jerry told the man in a flat voice.
The guy’s charcoal eyes fixed on his, and there was nothing friendly in them. He now had a death grip on his nose, trying to stop anymore blood from ruining his Tom Ford suit and silk tie.
‘Sit down,’ Jerry repeated, giving him his back to look for the first aid kit that was supposed to be under the sink. When Jerry turned around again, the bastard had sat down, but didn’t look at all happy about it.
The guy had his head tipped back now, trying to stem the faster flowing tide of blood from his nose. ‘You should fire that girl,’ he growled; the sound coming out with a nasal cadence.
‘Thanks for the suggestion,’ Jerry replied indignantly, pulling on a pair of surgical gloves and cutting the top of the saline tube off with a pair of scissors from the kit. With a clean square of gauze, he squirted the solution onto it and held it out for the man to take. ‘Dab this against the cut on the bridge of your nose.’
After an unfriendly look, the man took it and held it to his face. 
‘Has your nose stopped bleeding yet?’ Jerry asked after a long minute of absolutely stifling silence. The man released his index finger and thumb from his nose carefully and breathed in deeply; his eyes starting to water with the effort.
‘You should go to the hospital. I think it’s broken,’ Jerry said stiffly.
‘What are you, a doctor?’ the bastard snapped, gently prodding his broken nose with a finger.
‘No, but I’ve done first aid. The angle of your nose is wrong.’
‘I’ll sue that bitch for the medical bills,’ he mumbled under his breath. Jerry felt a small peak of anger welling inside him. He was normally a pacifist, but he wouldn’t stand for any man threatening Indi in any way. Abruptly he crouched down in front of the man and held his eyes.
‘What happened between you two?’ he demanded in a hard voice.
His dark eyes settled on Jerry, and he fought the shiver that seemed to be crawling up his skin under his gaze. ‘That’s none of your business,’ he snarled, baring his teeth.
Jerry shrugged his broad shoulders at him. ‘Fine,’ he bristled. ‘But if you sue her or press charges against her—if you threaten her in any way—I’ll deny any wrong doing on her behalf. My other waiter will do the same.’ After all, Rhett owed him after he lied to his face like that.
The man gave him a hard look. ‘You fucking her? Is that it?’
In that moment all Jerry wanted to do was add to the bastard’s list of injuries. He stood up from his crouch. ‘I think it’s time for you to go.’
The man narrowed his eyes at Jerry then got up. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a business card and handed it to Jerry. ‘You might be hearing from my lawyer soon. This is my card.’
Jerry stared down at it, then back at him. He knew that he was bluffing. He wouldn’t press charges or sue Indi. His ego was bent out of shape––that was all. But he took the card and read the embossed lettering carefully. Mr Wright was in development. Jerry knew that he was big too. Wright Constructions had actually built his new apartment block at Waterside.
‘Let me walk you out,’ Jerry said stiffly. He opened up the door, gesturing to Mr Wright to leave first. After he closed the door, he glanced over in Indi’s direction, finding her cleaning up the mess she’d made with Rhett. Jerry followed Mr Wright to the front of the café, stepping outside for a little more privacy in case he had some more opinions on Indi.
Mr Wright wheeled around and looked Jerry squarely in the eyes. ‘Some advice between businessmen: don’t shit where you eat. If you’re banging that girl, she’ll fuck you over in more ways than one. I’ve seen it done.’ And with that, he turned on his heel and stalked off.
Jerry turned back to the café determined to find out what had happened between the two of them. Indi was wiping down the coffee machine when he came in. He stalked over to her, took her by the upper arm and dragged her out to the storeroom.
Rhett was suddenly there, standing in front of him, blocking the way. ‘Jerry. It wasn’t her fault. It was mine,’ he said. The words he said were benign, but the way he said them carried an unspoken threat.
‘This is between my sister and I, Rhett. I’ll be speaking to you afterwards.’ Jerry tightened his grip on Indi’s arm and pushed through the storeroom door. Slamming it shut behind him, he crossed his arms across his broad chest, feeling the seams strain across the fabric on the sleeves.
Indi began swallowing convulsively just as Jerry realised what he was doing. He was scaring her. She was the victim of rape. She was so messed up about it that just being confined in a room with a man set her on edge. If they didn’t have the relationship that they did, Indi would have drawn her blade as soon as the door had been slammed shut. She would have fought her way out of the room before anything else could happen to her.
He took in a giant breath, released it, uncrossed his arms and moved away from the door. Indi noticeably relaxed, sagging against the set of metal shelves the coffee beans were stacked on. She wrapped one arm around herself after a moment, leaving her right hand free to go for her blade. He didn’t think that she’d ever shake that habit.
‘Indigo,’ he started. He knew that she hated her name. He shook his head. ‘Indi,’ he tried again, searching her face, wondering whether she would answer the questions he was about to ask her.
‘Save your breath, Jer. I––’
Jerry stuck his hand up to stop her from talking. He didn’t want it to be this way. He didn’t want to push her away from him. She glared at him, grinding her molars together like she sometimes did when she was really upset with herself.
‘Indi, I don’t know what he did to you out there. He wouldn’t tell me. But there is one thing I do know.’
‘What’s that?’ she snapped.
‘That you wouldn’t fly off the handle like that if it wasn’t something serious.’
‘Nothing happened. Rhett accidently elbowed him when I tried to jerk out of his hand. You know I don’t like strange men touching me.’
He did know that. But he also knew that Rhett seemed to be the exception to that rule, so he knew she was lying. As soon as she’d met Rhett, she looked comfortable around him, like some part of her subconscious knew that he could be trusted. He blew out a frustrated breath. ‘I know that’s a lie,’ he said softly, looking into her eyes. ‘I know it’s a lie because you said you tried to elbow Rhett, not just get out of his grip before. I also know that it was a lie because your face gave you away when Rhett told me his version of events.’
‘Fuck,’ she muttered under her breath, looking down at her feet.
‘So are you going to tell me what really happened?’
‘Probably not,’ she replied, still looking down at the thick black laces threaded into her boots.
‘Look, Indi, I know that you need this job. But you do have that money sitting there still. You can have it whenever you want. You know that, don’t you? If you’re finding the job too stressful, you can live off that for a little while.’
‘I’ll never take that money,’ she snapped, her hand flexing around her upper arm in an attempt to try and control her anger.
‘I know it’s your pride that is stopping you.’ Jerry sighed and folded his six-foot frame onto the floor opposite to where she was standing. ‘Mr Wright said he wouldn’t press charges.’ She shrugged. ‘Do you want to tell me what happened?’ he asked again.
Indi met his steady gaze and lifted her chin in defiance. ‘There’s nothing to tell.’
‘You know you can tell me anything, right? Did he say something inappropriate to you?’
She shook her head and crossed her arms across her chest. Jerry’s eyes swept the floor in thought. When the idea struck him, it made him feel sick to the stomach. ‘Did he … did he touch you?’ his voice dropping to a hard whisper. Indi tightened her arms across my chest. ‘That was it, wasn’t it?’ Jerry couldn’t believe that he’d allowed that to happen to her in his café. He’d be the one pressing charges if she confirmed his suspicions. ‘Indi?’ he pressed.
She shrugged again, refusing to look into his eyes. He’d seen this body language before. She wasn’t going to talk, and there was not a damn thing he could say or do that was going to change her mind.
‘Well, if you decide that you do want to tell me about it, you know where I am.’ He stood up, opened the door and called Rhett over. If Indi wouldn’t talk then he’d get his information from somewhere else. ‘Indi, can you give us a minute please?’
‘Sure,’ she replied. As she went through the door, Indi and Rhett exchanged a strange look, but Jerry ignored it; more concerned with getting to the bottom of what had happened.
Rhett’s bulk took up more space in the small room than Jerry thought was possible. He took a step back from him and began pacing. Rhett’s heterochromous eyes were patient and calm, watching him and his pissed off attitude wearing a hole in the lino under his feet.
‘I want to know what the hell happened out there. I don’t want the edited version. I want to hear it all. I know that you lied to me before. If you don’t tell me what I need to know right now, I get to fire your ass. You got me?’ Jerry’s voice ended up in a growl.
Rhett swallowed and nodded. ‘Alright. I’d been keeping an eye on them after I noticed how she reacted to him the first time. When I saw him grab her wrist, I started making my way over to them. She had her knife on his throat when I got there.’
‘My God,’ he breathed.
‘I managed to get her to back down, but just as she was about to leave, the guy mouthed off and she cold-cocked him.’
Jerry’s thoughts were a tangled snarl. It had happened to her again and under his watch too. He felt physically sick. ‘Did you see him touch her again at all?’ he eventually asked.
Rhett shook his head. ‘No, but judging by her reaction to him, I’d say that he had.’
Jerry swallowed thickly. He’d let it happen again. ‘Why did you lie about what happened then?’
‘Indi can’t afford to lose her job.’
‘But you were willing to risk your own job to protect her.’ Statement—not question.
He shrugged. ‘She needs this more than I do.’
Jerry asked, ‘Do you care about her that much? You hardly know her.’ He was speaking from experience. Indi hadn’t truly opened up to him until she’d lived in the same house as him for two years, and even when she did talk about herself. Jerry could tell she was holding back.
He shrugged his broad shoulders again. ‘I know her enough. Besides, I can’t stand by and let a woman get manhandled. I did what any man would have done in my situation.’
As far as Jerry was concerned, that earned Rhett some big brownie points in his book. He put his hand out to the guy. ‘Thanks,’ he said. They clapped palms and did the manly chest-to-shoulder hug. ‘I mean it Rhett. Thanks. I feel so much better knowing that someone else is looking out for her. I had no idea that was what was going on. I took my eyes off her for a second, just a second.’
He shrugged. ‘Don’t worry about it.’
Jerry and Rhett left the storeroom in time to start the final clean up. Indi was just closing up the café, flipping the sign on the door to “closed”. Jerry studied her face, finding that she had shut down her emotions. She was retreating in on herself so much that Jerry couldn’t tell what she was thinking anymore.
‘I’m ready to go when you are, Jer,’ Indi said to him softly fifteen minutes
later.
‘Okay,’ he replied before his phone beeped. He pulled it out and looked at the reminder flashing on the screen.
‘Dammit,’ he hissed, roughly putting his phone back in his pocket.
Indi asked, ‘What is it?’
‘I forgot that I had to meet someone over at the apartment in fifteen minutes.’ He stared at Indi’s doleful expression. ‘I’ll call him and tell him that I can’t get there for another half an hour.’
‘Wait. Don’t do that. Was this a date?’
Jerry laughed. ‘No. He’s my squash partner. We had to reschedule a match to tonight.’
‘You should go. I can get home by myself for once,’ Indi said shrugging. Jerry shook his head. He had started walking Indi home of an evening ever since a maniac rapist had started terrorising women in Buxton. And there was no way in hell that he’d let her walk home alone tonight.
‘Would you like me to walk her home tonight?’ Rhett asked Jerry softly.
‘Are you sure?’
 ‘It’s no problem at all.’ Rhett replied.
Jerry gave him a sharp nod. ‘Thanks. I owe you.’  














I have decided to post the second chapter of my book Half Blood in a concerted effort to try and get as much exposure as I can.