My short story collection, Savage Fire, will be released on May 31st as an eBook. Yesterday, I included an excerpt of a bizarro story, but the collection has more than bizarro. It has both undead and alchemy, horror and humor, as well as a dose of my trademark noir. I decided to focus on that last genre for my excerpt today.
Remember to watch on Twitter for the hash tag #savagefire, which I am using for tweets and hints about the collection. Please feel free to mention Savage Fire to all your friends and relatives, mail carriers and teachers, stalkers and confidants. Unless they plan to be Raptured this Sunday, in which case they may have other things on their minds (and probably wouldn't be great candidates for Savage Fire anyway).
The opening of Double Cross, a story from Savage Fire:
"Better make mine a double."
Sal's eyes crinkled at the request, but otherwise his face remained impassive. In the four years Nick had slunk down to the bar from his dingy office, arriving winded despite the single flight of stairs, he'd always ordered a whiskey and always amended his order a minute or so later. Come to think of it, he'd probably done the same for the years he worked across the street above the Winking Newt, and hung out there after work. Sal had taken on Nick as a tenant and regular customer after the Winking Newt burned to the ground—the owner, Chuck, got fed up with paying for protection; Tony's gang presumably got fed up with Chuck.
"Who was the dame?" Sal kept washing glasses, but he'd been itching to ask since Nick showed up. Sharing a stairway meant directing a lot of lost or confused souls up to Nick's place. Sal didn't mind much. Quite a few stopped in for a confidence booster first. Some made it no farther. The dame in question hadn't stopped for more than directions, but everything about her called for attention. She wouldn't have looked more out of place in a Tibetan monastery. Nick didn't look up from his drink, but it was clear he'd been expecting the question.
"Just a client." He tossed back the drink and made to stand up, but Sal wasn't having any of it.
"Not your usual sort." Sal didn't elaborate. It was easy to picture Nick's usual sort, either too young with big sprayed hair, cheap cherry-red lips and surprised shock at a husband's betrayal, or women a few years grayer, thicker and no longer surprised, but hoping the little shit had some hot goods stashed away that could be hocked for groceries. Few would turn any heads, except for those husbands who turned away, seeking solace in a bottle or another woman—no better, but a little less familiar.