Friday, September 20, 2013

Peekie Boo Friday...Wicked Truths (WW #5)

Been quite a few weeks since I've done a peekie boo Friday, but just seven little days ago I released Wicked Truths—the 5th book in my Pulp Friction Wicked's Way series.
I'm still kinda celebrating. *blushes* I'm very proud (eeek...that's a deadly sin right? lol) of the way Wick has grown in such a short time. Even though this is the last individual book of his for the 2013 Pulp Friction year (cuz really, who knows what the future may bring? I sure don't have a clue lol), I can hint that he will be seen one more major time in the End-of-Year collaboration that Laura Harner, Tom Webb, Lee Brazil and I are planning for you. It will be wild! *winks*

So, here is the complete first chapter of Wicked Truths, if you've read any of his previous books you'll definitely appreciate a lot of the closure this book gives you. If you haven't...please read and enjoy this first chapter...if it piques your interest you may want to take a peek at the first book in the series, Wicked Solutions...which is on sale at All Romance e-books. :)

Wicked Truths
Chapter One
           Wick slammed the kitchen door that led from the warehouse garage into his studio apartment. He stood there, staring at the just under three thousand square feet of space. No walls separated any of the rooms, so he knew right off the bat he was alone. The only wall that did exist wasn't even a complete one, just a partial seven foot L-shaped divider to give the bathroom an illusion of privacy and house the plumbing for the shower and sink. At seven feet, it didn't come close to touching the ten foot high ceiling. Even with that obstacle, he knew no one stood behind the tiled wall thanks to well-placed mirrors.
            Yep, standing at his preferred entrance, he could definitely say that no other being was in his home but him. It was empty.
            Empty. Wasn't that how he liked it?
            Then why did he feel a sudden annoyance with a certain Ned Whatever-the-fuck-his-name-was for not standing in Wick's kitchen cooking some gourmet meal…or sitting on Wick's leather couch watching some stupid History Channel show…or using up all of the soap in Wick's shower…or playing Modern Warfare 3 on Wick's gaming console…or…or…
            Wick threw his keys across the huge one-room home and watched them bounce off the bed and land only god knew where.
            "Damn it, I need a fucking drink."
            After the morning he had, he should've been happy that Ned hadn't helped himself into the place. Damn man knew nothing about personal space, showing up whenever he wanted and doing whatever the fuck he pleased.
            Hell, the last two times Wick went to visit Kyle, his adopted protégé of sorts, Ned had even invited himself to go along. Kyle was thrilled, Wick not so much. The man did look good riding one of Kyle's horses though, but that was beside the point.
            Wick opened the fridge and grabbed one of his hard ciders. In the middle of his second long swallow, he heard a strange ringing noise. Bottle still upturned at his mouth, he briefly glanced around. It came from the corner of his counter reserved for those uni-tasker appliances that he never messed with. If it wasn't a toaster or coffee maker, he had no use for the damn things.
            After setting the half empty bottle down, he walked across the kitchen to the ominous corner and moved the electric can opener—wasted appliance when he had a perfectly good handheld one.
            There, tucked back in the corner, was a landline phone. When the fuck did he get a landline phone installed?
            He picked up the cordless phone and stared at the face of it as it rang for the umpteenth time. The whole thing lit up with each ring, and he could honestly say he'd never seen this damn thing before in his life.
            He set it down ringing and took the three steps over to the other counter, leaning against it as he took another sip of his drink. He watched that black piece of electronic plastic as he tilted the bottle to his lips, eyeing it like he expected it to do some sort of trick or something.
            "That's thirty," he whispered as it kept with that damn annoying eighties ringtone. Either it was defective or someone who had a number he never even knew he had wanted to talk to him really badly.
            As he reached for the fridge to grab another hard cider, the lights in his house started to flick on and off. He crouched out of instinct, gun already in hand. Dead silence—except for the infuriating ringing of the mystery phone—confirmed he still had no unexpected visitors, but the damn lights kept going on and off and back on again.
            Only one person could've installed a landline he didn't know about and fuck with his electricity.
            He stood and grabbed the phone. Finding the green on button, he jabbed it with his finger and growled, "Banyu. What the fuck is your problem?"
            "Do you know how many rings I waited before tapping into your lighting system?"
            "Okay, you do know. Who lets their phone ring thirty-eight times and doesn't answer it?"
            "Who installed a phone into my house without my permission? Why didn't you just call my cell?"
            "It's dead."
            "Huh?" Wick unsnapped the carrying case on his belt and slid the phone out. He skimmed his thumb over the face but nothing happened. He tried a few more times, harder, still to no avail. "Would you look at that, the phone ain't working. Guess I forgot to charge it." He chuckled to himself and headed to his desk to dock the cell.
            "Glad you find this amusing. I've been trying to get in touch with you for over an hour. Finally, I got the signal that you entered your house, but no…you won't even answer the landline either. Where is your headset anyway?"
            "What the fuck is your problem today? I forgot the headset, okay. I rushed out this morning, and oops, my bad."
            "There is something wrong with Ned. He couldn't get you, so he called me on the throw away I used to text him what was it? Five months ago? No, wait, four I think—"
            "Banyu, focus!" Damn, Banyu better be glad that no one ever invented a way of reaching through a phone to throttle someone.
            "Well, I never threw it away."
            Wick waited for a full second before he growled into the phone. "And?"
            "I couldn't understand him. Wick, he was breathing heavy and babbling incoherently. I've managed to track his pho—"
            "Where?" Wick rushed into the warehouse and down the stairs. At the last minute, he remembered he didn't have his keys on him anymore, so he ran to the wall and his spare sets.
            "Sent the directions to your phone."
            "Oh, that's good. Would that be to the phone that is fucking dead on its charger?"
            "Oh, yeah. Grab your headset, and I'll direct you."
            His headset…back up next to his bed.
            Well, fuck.
            He took the stairs two at a time. "Fine, getting it now." He glanced on the floor by the bed and spotted the keys he’d tossed. Well, thank God for small favors. "Okay, got it." He dropped the phone on the bed, not even bothering to turn it off, and made a beeline for the SUV.
            When he hit the halfway point on the stairs, he jumped the rest of the way. His feet hit the concrete floor, and he took off, running to the SUV he'd just parked in the middle of the warehouse where he stored his cars.
            The beep informing him the doors were now unlocked ricocheted through the empty space, deep and foreboding. He didn't dare put his earpiece in until he pulled the car out of the garage and swung it on his private road.
            After making sure the little mechanical device was sitting comfortably in his ear he tapped it on.
            "Okay, talk to me."
            "About time. I didn't even realize you ditched the other phone until I heard a loud squeal of tires."
            With that comment, Wick realized he didn't lock up. In fact, he left the door wide open both to the garage and the loft. "Shit. Lock up the place for me?"
            "The garage is closed and there is a breach indoors so I've set the outdoor security on."
            Ignoring Banyu's overly informative report about his home's safety, Wick orchestrated the maze of back roads that led from his house to the main thoroughfare. "Okay, how far away is he?"
            "What vehicle are you in?"
            "The LX570." Why was Banyu bugging over the car he chose?
            "Head south, forty-five minutes. Perfect time for you to try out the program I downloaded to your navigational system. Okay, it's ready, just ask for Banyu's directions."
            Wick turned off the last pebbled road and slammed his foot onto the gas pedal. "Make that thirty-five minutes." He growled as he switched on the console. Even though he knew he didn't have to, he spoke, tilting his mouth toward the dashboard where the navigational system was located. "Banyu's directions."
            From the corner of his eye, he saw the high resolution LCD screen flash on and the map turn and tighten until it zeroed in on the destination programmed into it and his current position. He tore his eyes from the road for only a second to focus on the map.
            "Correction—twenty-five minutes. I know a shortcut."
            "Wick, I really think you need to stick to the directions. People tend to call the cops when you take your shortcuts…the cleanup you leave behind is astronomical."
            Wick snorted then sobered quickly. "Is Ned still on the phone with you?"
            He heard the deep sigh Banyu probably tried to hide. "No, he disconnected. My return calls are all going straight to voicemail."
            "How long ago?"
            He heard Banyu's sigh of resignation. "Seventy-eight minutes ago. I've been searching for you, and if you'd just let m—"
            "GPS or shortcut?" He'd let Banyu think he had a choice in this decision.
            "Fine, shortcut." The clacking of computer keys informed Wick that Banyu already started the cover-up process.
            Good, this wouldn't be pretty.


            Five scared squirrels, four broken speed limits, three middle fingers, two hedges that no longer needed pruning, and twenty-three minutes later, Wick was out of his LX570 and searching the south parking lot of the Perimeter Mall.
            He sneered into his headset, "I get that you can give me the exact coordinates, Banyu, but unless you're telling me he's in the blue Jeep next to the yellow bug, longitudes and latitudes mean jack shit right now." He dashed between cars, trying to get a bearing on where that man could be hiding.
            "Oh…right." The clacking on the damn keyboard that Wick had been forced to listen to for the past half an hour suddenly got louder and—if possible—more aggressive.
            Wick dodged a car zinging through a row not watching where he drove. "Goddammit, I hate the fucking mall."
            "I know. Okay, go eight rows to the right and…no…no your other right, my right."
            Wick quickly turned on his heels and headed left.
            "Yes, five more rows. Put your gun away, he's alone. No one is around his car and only one person is in it. I think. There it is up ahead, the yellow Toyota Yaris."
            "Can you say for certain that it's Ned in there?"
            "Well…no. I tapped into the mall's security system and streamed that portion of the parking lot's cameras to my computer. Cross-referencing it with the coordinates gave me the exact parking spot—ie car—that houses Ned's phone. Unfortunately, even though I can see one head in the car, the video system the mall has isn't enhanced enough to—"
            "Yeah, whatever, gun stays out." He sprinted to the only godforsaken yellow car in sight. "Damn, that is an ugly car," he mumbled.
            "It's a rental. Right now one Leroy Shultz has possession of it, and he's due to return it in a week from tomorrow."
            "Well, that's my boy, another day, another name." He ducked below the window line and positioned himself diagonal from the front door. "Ready for this, Banyu?"
            "I see you, and I've called two back-ups in, they're two and a half minutes away. Maybe you should wait?"

Find the complete Wicked's Way series and
the complete Pulp Friction collection here :)

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