Risky Retreat!

Hola! Welcome to this week’s Risky Retreat! Here you can find a teaser of the romance, drama, and suspense that flow through my pages when I write. Even though this is only a teaser it will still feed your need to read. Some of these stories are coming soon, some are available now, and some are simply free short stories I wanted to share with you! Enjoy and don’t forget to check back in two weeks for the next Risky Retreat!

Broken

“Hello?”

“Yes, I was told to let you know that if your rent wasn’t paid by 10 p. m., you will have to vacate the premises.”

“10 o’clock?” Marissa looked at the time on her Netbook, which read 8:28 p. m. “Who told you to call and tell me this?”

“Harry. Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just doing my job.”

“I won’t have the money until tomorrow afternoon. You can’t wait until then?”

“It’s not up to me. It’s what Harry says and I’ve got to abide by the rules.”

“Where is Harry? Let me talk to him.”

“He’s already gone for the day and I don’t want to disturb him because he will have an attitude. I’m not trying to go through it with him.”

“I’m about to get put out and you don’t want to go through it with him?” Marissa sucked her teeth. She was so fed up with the extended-stay hotel and the Arab owners.  They were so rude and unmerciful. “So, what am I supposed to do?”

“I’m sorry. I have people at the front desk, so I’ve got to go.”

Suddenly, the line went dead.  Marissa dropped her head and hung the phone on its base.  Frustrated, she dialed Nathanial and waited for him to answer.

“What’s up,” he answered.

“The front office just called and said we have until 10 o’clock to bring them the rent money or we have to leave.”

A sigh resounded through the phone. “And what did you say?”

“I asked who told her to tell us that. She said it was Harry.”

“Well, call them back and tell them I’m at work and won’t be back until tomorrow afternoon.”

“I don’t want to lie for you!” The line went dead again. “Hello!” Marissa slammed the phone down. “Ugh! I’m so sick and tired of this! It don’t make no sense!”

There was an unexpected knock at the door.  She opened the door to find Nathaniel on the other side.  He stepped in looking unsettled and upset. Standing at 5-feet-8-inches, he closed the door and put the lock and chain on it.

“Yeah, putting the chain on the door should keep them out. You sure solved that problem,” Marissa said.

Instead of responding, Nathaniel walked to a chair and sat down. The soles of his feet ached from the torn Crocs he wore. After removing his shoes, he rubbed them gently.

“So, you’re not going to say anything?” Marissa asked.

“Your whining is not helping. Spitting out insults and threats isn’t making our situation better.”

Marissa huffed. “Do you have the rent money?”

“Not all of it.”

“This is so ridiculous!” she screamed. “I’m sick and tired of going through this!”

“Well, since you don’t want to call the office, I suggest you call your sister and tell her to come get you,” he responded.

The disappointment was apparent when the creases appeared in Marissa’s forehead.

“If I leave, I’m not coming back. Being in this hotel with you is turning me into a mad woman and it has to end. I’m tired of sitting in here waiting for you to step up to the plate. Will you ever get a real job?

Nathaniel sat back and cracked his back, relieving the tension in his sore muscles. He reached for his shoulder and massaged it. Marissa was getting on his nerves. All she did was nag about everything. She sat in the room, day after day, complaining like her legs were broken when she could just as well be working.

“So, you’re just going to ignore me?”

Nathaniel turned the volume up on the San Diego Chargers game.  Not only was he going to ignore Marissa, but he was glad they would be apart for a while.  Even though the love was there, frustration and intense emotional strain in the relationship were as well. They were losing their way.

Marissa sat across the room brewing and ready to explode on Nathaniel.  She didn’t appreciate being kicked out of the only place they called home for a year now. Tension understated the description of the atmosphere surrounding her. She would either be screaming at the top of her lungs or trying to hold it back.  In return, her ears, along with the sides of her face, had turned red. She felt the heat rushing, like one of those hurricanes threatening to destroy Louisiana.

“This is not a joke! They will put us out — and then what? Where are you going to go? What are you going to do?”

He scratched his forehead and turned the TV up even louder. Marissa grabbed her purse and headed out the door.

“Where are you going?” Nathaniel asked.

She turned around sharply. “Oh, now you want to talk? I’m going to do what you obviously can’t do — get the rent money!”

“And how are you going to do that?”

“Don’t worry about it — like you always do.”

She walked out the door and slammed it. Nathaniel rose from his chair and chased her. “Girl, get back in this room!” he yelled.

“For what? After while, we won’t have a room to go back to because you playin’ games. I should’ve left when I had the chance. Now I’m broke and stuck up here with you, trying to make sure I don’t get kicked out!”

“Listen, girl. Chill out . . . chill out! I’m gon’ get the rest of the money.”

“How?” she said.

“Come back in the room and I’ll tell you.”

Marissa weighed her options, which weren’t many. Her plan was to go borrow the money from Minnie downstairs. She would always help her when Marissa was in a bind. If that didn’t work, she would go see about Joe. That would be the last thing she did. Marissa knew Joe had a crush on her, and sometimes she used it to her advantage. He, too, would give her whatever she wanted. Though that was the case, Marissa knew she was playing with fire when it came to Joe. Men always had an ulterior motive. They never just wanted to help. Most thought women were naive and still wet behind the ears.

“You better not be lying, Nathaniel. I swear!” she huffed.

They went back into the room and Marissa flopped down on the bed. Nathaniel locked the door and put the chain back on it. Marissa rolled her eyes in disgust.

“I have a couple of bangs on the way,” he said. “One of them don’t get off until 12 a.m., and he’s coming to get a quarter. If all of them show up, we’ll be good.”

Nathaniel was a small-time weed hustler trying to get his weight up. For the longest, Marissa begged him to do the honest thing and get a job. That was like pulling teeth. Nathaniel would always say, “By the time I got my paycheck, I could’ve made that money already and re’d up.”

That made Marissa want to slap the taste out of his mouth. This was her man. She hated having these ill feelings towards him, but he gave her no choice. His lifestyle drove her to the point of leaving him multiple times, but she loved him. They had been together six years and engaged for two. When it first happened, Marissa was psyched and ready for the new life. Unfortunately, she was the only one working a real job and trying to put the wedding together on her salary was unrealistic. It bugged her because after everything they’d gone through, he still would not get off his lazy butt and work.

“What if they don’t come through, Nathaniel? What then?”

“I’ll just give them what I have; they’ll take it,” Nathaniel answered. “Harry always be talking about putting us out, but when he get the cash in his hand, he’s always cool until I get the rest.”

“The lady at the front desk sounded pretty certain that if we didn’t have the full amount by ten we have to go” Marissa countered.

“She’ll be gone before 10 o’clock anyway, and Derrick will be in. You know security is the only one here at night, and me and Derrick are cool. He won’t put us out.”

This was true. Derrick smoked weed too, so all he needed was a blunt and he was good. If they got put out, Derrick would let Harry do it the next day.

“I can probably borrow the rest of the money from Minnie.”

“No! I don’t even like that girl, so why would I borrow anything from her?”

“You are not borrowing from her — I am.”

“Naw, man. She’s trouble. Neither one of us is fooling with her.”

“Why? Because you tried to holler at her and didn’t know she knew me?”

“I told you I didn’t try to holler at that girl. She just needs attention and feeds off drama. If you believe her, you stupid.”

“I’m not stupid, but I’m no fool either. I know you like them white girls.”

“Girl, don’t nobody want no old Minnie.”

“She isn’t that much older than me, so what you trying to say?”

Nathaniel turned his back and walked away from her. The conversation was going nowhere. It seemed to always happen that way. Marissa believed anything she heard. Yeah, he cheated on her in the past. Ever since then, he couldn’t get the benefit of the doubt. In fact, she questioned almost his every move. Cheating on her was him being immature. He’d grown since then, though. As long as they’d been together, he was over the cheating. Well, sort of. Sometimes, he couldn’t help but flirt. It was in his blood. But flirting wasn’t cheating, right? So what if he called a hotline to talk to women in his area while she was sleep. He was only doing it because he was bored. He had to admit, though. Marissa caught him doing something wrong from time to time, whether it was flirting, texting, or talking on the phone to another female. To Nathaniel, it was all entertainment, but to Marissa, it wasn’t.

“You like my old self, so I know you’ll like her, too. You can walk off if you want, but I know what I know.”

“You don’t know nothing,” Nathaniel said.

“I know you’re a cheater.”

“Do you just want to argue tonight? Because you keep coming at me. Soon, we will be in another heated argument!” he shouted.

“I’m not trying to argue. I’m just keeping it real.”

“Why don’t you just get back on your little computer and play on Facebook like you always do and leave me alone!” Suddenly, his phone rang. “Yeah, you outside? Aight, here I come.”

He gathered a few bags of weed he put together and stuffed them down his pants. Nathaniel was good at getting on Marissa’s nerves, but every time he went out to make what he called a ‘bang’, she prayed on the inside he would come back. Living this lifestyle was costly and he was just too stubborn to see the consequences. When he and Marissa first met, they were official for one week before he went to jail his first time. She got a call from Gwinnett County with him on the other end saying he needed to be bonded out. That time, it cost Marissa sixty dollars to get him released, with six hundred as bond. She was grateful she only had to pay ten percent because he would’ve been sitting still for a while if she had to come up with the full amount.

That wasn’t the last time Nathaniel went to jail. He went from only selling weed to selling crack cocaine and got caught one night while Marissa was at work. While he was handcuffed in the back seat of the police car, he managed to pull his cell phone from his back pocket and call her. It was a good thing he had her on speed dial. When Marissa answered the phone, he yelled.

“Baby, they got me!”

Marissa knew immediately what he meant. “What’s going on?” she asked.

“The police busted up on me and Lil’ Chris. I tossed my stuff, but he found it. Man, now I’m in the back seat of his car. He about to take me to jail, baby.”

Marissa cried her eyes out. She loved Nathaniel with all her heart and she didn’t want anything to happen to him. She was twenty-three years old then. She knew better now. Still, she didn’t want anything to happen to him, but he continued to put both of them in dangerous situations.

Three quick sharp bangs at the door made Marissa almost jump out of her skin.

“Baby, open the door,” Nathaniel said.

“Boy, why are you banging on the door like that?” she asked, attitudinally swinging the door open. “You know that drives me nuts.”

“My bad, baby. I left my key inside. You know I like to get in the room quick.” Nathaniel shut the door. “It’s cold out there. Good news,” he said.

“Don’t make me wait for it.”

Nathaniel laughed. “You need a chill pill, girl. I got the rest of the rent. Kevin had three dudes in the car with him. They all wanted some. Good thing I took more than he asked for. It’s too cold to be running in and out.” Nathaniel put his fists to his mouth and blew on them to warm them up.

“I’m about to hop in the shower,” Marissa said.

“Let me hop in with you.”

“First, go pay the rent. Then maybe you can hop in.”

“Man, by the time I get back, you’ll be halfway done.”

“My nerves bad. Can’t you tell? Go pay the rent first. Please?” she pleaded, giving him a soft kiss on the lips.

That was all he needed to get him going. “Don’t wash up too fast,” he said, walking out the door.

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Risky Retreat

Hola! Welcome to this week’s Risky Retreat!  Here you can find a teaser of the romance, drama, and suspense that flow through my pages when I write.  Even though this is only a teaser it will still feed your need to read.  Some of these stories are coming soon, some are available now, and some are simply free short stories I wanted to share with you!  Enjoy and don’t forget to check back in two weeks for the next Risky Retreat!

Hot Stakes part 3 the finale

The 1969 Chevy Camaro ran through the yellow light just as it turned red. There was no time for Jonathon to slow down let alone stop. His heart beat fast and there was heaviness in the pit of his stomach. In his mind all he could see was Melissa, not the road ahead, not the lights he passed or the stop signs he failed to even pause for. Tunnel vision clouded his judgment; he usually drove with caution especially since he didn’t want to get a scratch on his old school car. However, at the moment he couldn’t think of anything but his sweetheart, if anything ever happened to her he would be beyond devastated. All he could manage to think about was her phone call. “Call the police,” were her last words before the phone hung up.

That’s when he realized he didn’t call them. Jonathon felt around in his pocket for his phone but it wasn’t there. He felt the other pocket the only thing in it was the engagement ring he bought for Melissa. He cursed, “Forgive me Lord.” Jonathon had to admit, Melissa and her love for God was stuck on him. Never before was he so open to Jesus but he learned a lot since being with her. She was really good for him. A man that finds a wife finds himself a good thing and receives favor from the Lord. Melissa would never let him forget that verse. She hinted at marriage before but never pushed the issue. He wondered why.

The engine roared down the street like a creature in the wild. He was almost there and anticipating what he would find upon his arrival. At Hendricks and Frost Street, Jonathon made a left turning into a neighborhood. A police officer sat in the driveway of his home; he’d just gotten off duty when Jonathon flew past him. The officer’s eyebrows furrowed and he bagged out of the driveway making a fast turn toward the Chevy Camaro. When Jonathon saw the blue lights, he thought about not stopping until he got to the restaurant; anyway he needed the police there. Instead he decided to lose the cop so he couldn’t be in his way all of the attention would be on him when it needed to be on Melissa. Hitting the gas, the Camaro shot down the street fast, the turbo engine had everything to do with it.  When Jonathan hit the end of the street he turned right, then left, then left again flying into an alleyway outlined with a fence. Simultaneously, he took the keys out and hit the lights. The Chevy shut down and the police flew past him sirens blaring. Jonathon’s adrenaline was pumping, he sat quietly his chest heaved up and down. In the distance, the sirens got further away, Jonathon was almost sure the cop didn’t know where he was. To be on the safe side he sat for thirty more seconds. Those minor seconds felt like a lifetime. The silence of the night grew around him. It was dark in this neighborhood, there were four streetlights on the block but only two of them worked. Feeling as though time was of the essence, Jonathon puts his keys back into the ignition. He wasted no time pulling out of the alley onto the street making his way out of the neighborhood to the next intersection. Cautiously, he checked his rear view and side mirrors to make sure he wasn’t seen even though he could be heard. The dashboard clock read one am. He saw all kind of images of Melissa in his mind, knowing some if not most of them were exaggerated.

“She’ll be fine,” he told himself. “The police are probably already there.”

That helped him calmed down a little; reasoning with himself that everything would be alright. He couldn’t have another episode like the one he just encountered after all, how likely was it for him to get away from the police a second time?

“One more block,” he said coaching himself to the restaurant.

At the next light he could see Hot Stakes sports bar and grill. He sat at the red light, with as much patience as he could muster. The bar looked eerily quiet and still. Knots formed in his stomach. The light turned green and Jonathon took off. Making a left into the parking lot his eyes wandered over it; he spotted a car wrecked into a pole. His adrenaline soared with recognition of the car. “Tasha,” was all he said before pulling over to it barely putting it in park before jumping out.

There were gunshot holes through the back window. At the passenger side door Jonathon felt a surge of worry at the sight of blood. “Oh my God, please show me where she is.” The blood was too much for him, he turned from the car bent over and threw up, letting out the Budweiser, and microwavable dinner he’d consumed earlier. His body jerked, and he went down to one knee. When the contents of his stomach were gone, he spit getting the residue off of his lips.

“Lord, use me so I can get Melissa and her friend out of this alive, I don’t know what’s going on but you do. I’d like to think I’m strong enough to handle this but just in case give me what I need, in Jesus name.”

He jumped back in the car, Melissa was right sometimes all you needed was a little prayer to give you the boost you needed at times. There were no police, around. Jonathon pulled to the front door of the bar and cut the engine. Once there he thought it may have been better to leave the car where it was. If this was some kind of robbery, the last thing he wanted was for the thieves to know someone was outside and with the roar of the engine it was impossible to hide it. Outside the car Jonathon surveyed the entrance, should he go through the front door?

Without giving it another thought, he went through the double doors with his Ruger in hand; he took the safety off in the event he needed to shoot quick.  Inside the bar Jonathon took notice of the two bodies on the floor. He heaved feeling the threat of nausea taking over, but he had to stay together. Melissa’s life was definitely in danger. He bent over them to see if any of them was the owner Joey Rubble. Jonathon tried to keep his Nike’s from touching the blood that seeped in circles around the two men but he was unable to reach them that way. From the looks of it, neither man was the owner. His search continued, it was quiet even inside the restaurant. The lights were on and everything else was normal except for the fact there was no one inside the bar. Coming out of the men’s restroom, Jonathon kicked the bottom of the door to women’s restroom. It swung open. He checked each stall, there was blood drops on the floor and behind the door. Before making an exit he leaned through the door on the wall but couldn’t see much. Back at the front of the bar, Jonathon notice blood he didn’t see before; it led behind the counter as if someone had been dragged. He followed it, to a backroom where he found the owner lying in a puddle of his blood. The phone dangled off the desk. He must have tried to call the police.

“Joey!”Jonathon said. “Joey!” he repeated.

The man moved but barely. Jonathon bent down, “where is Melissa?”

Joey didn’t respond. Jonathon grabbed his shoulder and shook him, “Where is she?”

Joey moaned in pain, he had been shot in that arm. “I don’t know,” he said.

Annoyed, Jonathon snatched the phone putting it up to his ear, “If you’d like to make a call please hang up and try again,” the automatic recording stated.

Jonathon pressed the release button to get a dial tone. He pounded nine one one on the key pad.

“Nine one one, please state your emergency.” The dispatcher said.

“I need the police at Hot Stakes Sport’s Bar and Grill off highway ninety nine.”

The dispatcher sent in the request for police at the sports bar then said, “What’s the problem sir?”

“I don’t know yet, I’ve just arrived but there are two men that seem to be dead on the floor and the owner has been shot, he’s hurt pretty bad and barely conscious.”

“Are you with the owner now?”

“Yes, at the moment. How long will it take for the police to get here?”

“I’ve sent out a unit, they will be there in a moment.”

“You may want to send out more than one unit.”

“They will have the assistance they need, in the meantime I need you to stay with the owner and try and keep him conscious, if he falls out he could go into a coma.”

“I can’t do that, at any other time I would but not now.”

“Why not?” The dispatcher sounded irritated. She didn’t like when people called for help but wouldn’t cooperate.

“My fiancé just started working here, tonight is her first night and I haven’t been able to locate her yet. She called me from here in a panic telling me to call the police but her phone died on me. I have to find her, I will try to get the owner in a position where his blood won’t continue to leak out and make sure he’s conscious before I leave him, but I have to find her no negotiation.”

The dispatcher was impressed; he had come to rescue his damsel in distress. The fact that he even took time to make the call or try and help the owner showed he was a good Samaritan. Jonathon disconnected the call; he put the gun in his holster and came out of the office running toward the bathroom. He went in and pulled the first aid kit off the wall, it came down with ease. Stopping in the maintenance room he grabbed a set of rags that were thrown over a bucket.  He went back to the office and turned Joey over bringing him to a sitting position. The man groaned as Jonathon worked to get him propped up against the bottom of the desk. He ripped Joey’s shirt where majority of the blood was and saw a fresh bullet wound. The skin around it appeared to be singed. Jonathon took the quick clot out of the first aid kit and ripped the package open. He grabbed a towel and wipe the wound so it would be as clean as possible even though blood continued to come out of it. He place the quick clot over his wound and applied pressure.

“Joey!” He yelled. “I need you to wake up!”

The phone rang.  Joey mumbled but his words could not be understood.  Jonathon place another quick clot patch over his wound. He reached for the tape and placed pieces on the patch to keep it attached. He got up and went to the bar area and grabbed two bottles of water. He opened one putting it to Joey’s lips; water ran down his chin the coolness of it made Joey flinch. His eyes opened. Jonathon tried again to get him to drink the water; Joey sipped it feeling little relief.

“Where is Melissa?” Jonathon questioned.

Joeys head rolled from side to side, “Where!” Jonathon said again, trying to get answers while he could.

“I don’t know.” He said.

A gunshot fired in the distance and a woman screamed. Jonathon stood to his feet quickly, taking his Ruger back out of his holster. He raced out of the restaurant. The shot had definitely not been inside. He walked to the edge of the lot desperate for answers. Now not only was he worried but he was pissed off. Listening to the night air he heard the woman crying in misery. He followed the sounds, which led him down a hill to the back of Hot Stakes Sport Bar and Grill. He checked his gun again, there would be no mistakes, it was loaded and ready. He stood against the side wall in dark brown cargo pants and a navy blue shirt. He peeped around the building. A door was open; he took small steps to the door and paused. Looking inside, he could make out two men and a woman. They looked like bad news and he had a feeling they were the one’s firing. His eyes looked desperately for Melissa, and they found her. She was bent over Latasha crying heavily. It seemed as if Latasha had been shot;Jonathon was relieved that Melissa was okay for the moment but he was also worried about her friend.

“Get up!” Sanchez said.

The woman pulled Melissa up practically having to drag her away from Latasha. In the heat of the moment, Melissa struck the woman in the face, making her nose bleed.

“Ah!” She yelled releasing Melissa.

Sanchez laughed. “She’s got balls after all,” he said. “Tie her up!”

Tony reached for her; Jonathon stepped in the door way and let off three quick shots taking out Tony and Camille. Sanchez reacted turning around and letting off a shot towards the door. He fell to the ground at the same time. Jonathon stepped back to the side so the bullet missed him. Sanchez let off more shots, he didn’t know who was shooting at him and what angle they came from but if they stepped in front of that door again they were history.

Melissa was back by Latasha’s side checking on her friend; she didn’t know who was shooting but she had a feeling it was her rescue squad. At this point she was sure the police had arrived who else could shoot that precise and take out the two thugs so quickly?

“Latasha,”she said too her friend. “You’re going to be okay, everything will be alright the police are here.”

She was relieved too; Latasha stepped out of her hiding spot moments after Sanchez threatened to kill Melissa and he didn’t hesitate to shoot her. Sanchez got to his feet;he jerked Melissa to her feet, putting her in front of him like a shield.

“Come on in, hit me with your best shot!” he yelled.

Jonathon peered into the door. Sanchez was one of those weak men who acted as if they had all the power in the world. The mere fact that he was a threat to society made Jonathon feel he needed to be taken out. His basic training skills he acquired from the army gave him everything he needed to take him down. It was a good thing he was discharged on a medical leave instead of active duty because he couldn’t handle the sight of too much blood. Jonathon tried to get a clear shot but with the man knowing an enemy was lurking outside he was tuned in waiting in anticipation. Jonathon aimed through the darkness and fired his weapon.

“Aaaaaaa!”Sanchez shouted falling to the ground.

He still had a grip on Melissa so she fell with him. Jonathon had taken out one of Sanchez’s legs. Seeing the both of them fall made Jonathon run through the door. He desperately hoped he hadn’t shot his love.

Upon seeing his face, Melissa was elated, surprised, and shocked all at the same time. Ruger still in hand Jonathon approached them.

“Get back!” Sanchez screamed. “I’m warning you I’ll take her head off!”

He pointed the gun at Melissa’s head. Jonathon pointed the gun seemly at Melissa and fired taken out Sanchez’s hand.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”Sanchez screamed in anguish.

Jonathon reached for Melissa pulling her to him. He put her behind his back and pointed his Ruger back at Sanchez. Melissa held on to Jonathon as tight as she could. He was literally her hero. Sanchez was on his side yelling out profanities and moaning in pain.

“Did you call the police?” Melissa asked.

No sooner then she said it, sirens grew near. She sighed with relief.

“This is not over!” Sanchez said.

“Looks like it is too me,” Jonathon said. “Baby, go show the police where they are needed, I would’ve never known if I didn’t hear you screaming.

Melissa took off; she threw her arms up waving for the police to come her way. When they did she let the officers know Jonathon had a gun on the intruder. The police went in with carefulness guns drawn.

“Son, lower your weapon.” One officer said.

Jonathon bent down to drop his gun. “Slowly,” the police said with their aim on him.

The gun clang to the ground and the police surrounded him and Sanchez putting them both in handcuffs.

“No, no,” Melissa yelled. “You’re cuffing the wrong one.”

“Ma’am,”the officer said. “Stay back; this is procedure we have to cuff him until we’re done asking questions.” The officer turned to Jonathon. “You have a permit for that gun,” he said.

“Yes sir,” Jonathon said.

Paramedics flooded the room; half of them went to Latasha while the other half went to her date that was still knocked unconscious on the pallet. Both of them were lifted on to a gurney and taken to an ambulance. Two EMT’s approached one tended to Melissa’s face while the other tended to Sanchez’s wounds.

“We’ll need you to answer some questions too ma’am,” the officer said.

Melissa nodded, outside she gave her statement letting the police know everything that happened from the moment she heard the men talking to Joey.

“And,do you know who Jimmy is and why they wanted him?” the cop asked.

“No clue,” she said. “Today was my first night on the job.”

The officer shook his head, so I would be right to say you probably won’t be back to work?”

“I don’t think so.” Melissa said with sarcasm.

While the officer took her statement another was getting Jonathon’s, he was leaned against a police car his hands still in cuffs.

“Yes, I was the one who called the police.”

“Are you the one who patched up the owner?”

“Yes,”he said. “I’ve told you everything now can you take me out of these handcuffs?”

The officer unlocked the cuffs. Jonathon rubbed his wrist. Already there was afresh crease in them were the officers had the cuffs so tight.

“You’re free to go,” the officer said.

He went to Melissa, enveloping her in his arms. He kissed her fiercely never wanting to let her go again.

“Thank you Jesus,” he said once he took a breath. “Girl don’t you ever do that again.”

She smiled, “I didn’t do anything.”

“Yes you did, I’m going to make you my stay at home wife. People work from home all over the country it’s nothing new.”

“Wife?”Melissa said.

Jonathon got down on one knee and pulled the box out of his pocket. “Will you marry me, I never want to be apart from you again.” He said.

The ring twinkled in the moon light; Melissa was totally caught off guard. “You are my knight in shining armor,” she said. “Literally,” they laughed. “Of course I’ll marry you.”

Jonathon slid the ring on her finger and stood putting his arms around her thighs and picking her up. She threw her arms around him and kissed his lips. She wanted to make love to him then and there but she would wait till the honeymoon; after all they had waited this long.

“Let’s go to the hospital,” she said. “We have to make sure Latasha will be alright.”

They jumped in his Chevy and left.

‘At the hospital’

Latasha opened her eyes, the room was blurry for a moment and she could only see light blaring back at her. What happened? She wondered. Her focus became clearer at the opening of a door. She could feel hands rubbing her arms and kisses on her face. Blinking several times, Latasha tried to focus harder.

“Are you okay? I talk to the doctor and he said the bullet didn’t hit any major arteries so you would be just fine and in shape in time to be my matron of honor.”

Latasha’s eyes opened wider at Melissa. The smile on Melissa’s face was priceless.

“Who are you?” Latasha said.

“It’s me Melissa.”

Latasha shook her head, “I’m sorry if that’s supposed to ring a bell but it doesn’t.”

She turned away from Melissa.

“What do you mean, it doesn’t ring a bell?” Melissa looked at Jonathon a worried expression on her face. Latasha turned back to her.

“Nall I’m just playing!” she said laughing.

Melissa playfully hit her on her arms, “Ouch!” Latasha said.

“How can you do that to me?”

Latasha laughed some more, “Come on I needed that.”

“Okay, Imma let you have that for now.”

“So somebody popped the question?” Latasha said.

“Yes,”Melissa said excited.

“You’ll have to tell me all about it but first, I want to get saved.”

“What, I thought you were saved?” Melissa said.

“I’m not sure, can you help me. I don’t ever want to be in a situation like this again not knowing without a shadow of a doubt that I’m going to be with the Lord. That’s the most terrifying thing ever.”

“Of course I’ll help you, let’s pray and I want you to repeat after me;

“Heavenly father, I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you.”

Tears ran from Latasha’s eyes, Melissa hugged her friend tight. Jonathon went to the other side of her bed leaning in to hug her.

“Congratulations, you did it!”

“Yes, thank you for helping me Melissa. Now about this wedding dress, it needs to be a halter top because I know Jonathon has some fine friends.”

“Oh my goodness Latasha really?” Melissa said.

“What?” Latasha shrugged. “I need something to eat too cause a girl starving and I don’t want none of that food they got here. They’ll bring me a cold sandwich and fries and charge my bill thirty dollars for it.”

Jonathon fell out laughing. Melissa shook her head, “Let’s go get this girl something to eat.”

“Okay,” he said.

They left the building, Melissa was tempted to bring her back a cold sandwich and some fries.

The End

Did you enjoy that story?  Tell me about it in the comments below!  If you didn’t read part one and two check out the previous weeks of Risky Retreat!

hot stakes

**Hot Stakes is a free story. **

Get information on new contest, book releases, appearances, and a sneak peek at the next Risky Retreat by clicking the link below!

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Risky Retreat

Hola! Welcome to this week’s Risky Retreat!  Here you can find a teaser of the romance, drama, and suspense that flow through my pages when I write.  Even though this is only a teaser it will still feed your need to read.  Some of these stories are coming soon, some are available now, and some are simply free short stories I wanted to share with you!  Enjoy and don’t forget to check back in two weeks for the next Risky Retreat!

Hot Stakes part 2

‘Ten minutes before Melissa’s call’

Jonathon closed his laptop, pushed back from his desk and stretched.  Melissa was supposed to call him on her last break, but she never did. They must be really busy it had been an hour since her break and still nothing. Should he call her at work? He wondered about that for a minute going back and forth over it. It was her first night, maybe it was tacky to already be calling. However, Melissa wasn’t answering her phone, it was probably dead like always. She would be on it all day and never charge it. It was one of his pet peeves. A man should always be able to get in touch with his woman, he thought.

“Forget it I’m calling,” he said.

He scrolled to her name tapping the number located under ‘work’. Yes, it was programmed the day Melissa got the job. Jonathon had taken her out to celebrate. It didn’t matter to him that she would be waitressing; a job was a job as far as he was concerned. The phone rang seven times and no one answered. A sparkle from the ring sitting on the night stand caught his attention. Wedding bells were in their future, but first he had to ask her. The ring was one Melissa pointed out some time ago. She was a big window shopper. Times were hard and since the economic meltdown a few years ago, they pinch pennies to stay afloat. That meant no extra spending; every dime was accounted for, but Jonathon spent extra on this ring. He went to Kay Jewelers and purchased it soon as his bonus check cleared the bank.

The little suede black box sat in the middle of his hand while thoughts of going to the restaurant ran through his mind. He closed and opened the box, back to back, finally putting it in his pocket.

“I’ll give her a few more minutes before I call again,” he said to himself.

He walked to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator taking out a Budweiser. It was just what he needed to get his creative juices to flow so he could finish this article on what women should always know about a man. Jonathon is a writer for the Centennial newspaper in Rome Georgia. Writing has always given him a sense of release, no matter the subject. Putting the bottle to his lips, Jonathon took a long swig of his brew. If Melissa were here to see him she would start quoting bible scriptures at him.

“You know the bible says; Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Then Jonathon would rebuttal, “I’m not getting drunk, and Jesus turned water into wine so don’t tell me there is something wrong with drinking.” But Melissa would come right back at him, “Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding for a celebration. In another instance wine was to be drunk for an illness. But nowhere does it say, drink whenever you want.”

“Neither does it say you can’t drink whenever you want, it only talks about being drunk.”

Melissa would stare him down and he would eventually give in. His phone rang bringing him out of his memory. He pulled it out of his pocket, it was Melissa’s cell. Finally she charged it, he thought.

“I was wondering when you were going to call me.”

That was all he could manage to say before the shriek in Melissa’s voice yelled out about calling the police. Her phone hung up before she could finish her sentence, the Budweiser went crashing to the floor as Jonathon sprang into action. Grabbing his Ruger SP101 from their night stand drawer, Jonathon checked the chamber.  It was loaded; he put a spin to it and reached for his holster. His footsteps were heavy and demanding like a giant running through the house, the walls shook with each hefty step on the hardwood floors. With keys in hand, Jonathon went out the door jumping into his old school 1969 Chevy Camaro. It roared to life, when his foot hit the accelerator the tires screeched and spun kicking up dust from the asphalt. The car lurched forward with determination. Jonathon had everything he needed except his phone he left next to the broken bottle of Budweiser on the kitchen floor.

‘Hot Stakes Sports bar and grill’

Sanchez and his crew meant business. The fact that this was taking too long sent more rage coursing through the gang. The man Sanchez shot through the car window was red on one side of his body as the blood from his wound coursed out of him onto his clothes.

“Help me get him up,” Sanchez said.

The two wing men stepped up trying to lift the big man. He squealed like a child but didn’t challenge their efforts, neither did he try and stand on his own two feet. Too much pain roam through him and he was feeling light headed the longer the minutes passed by. With no patience left, Sanchez smack the man with the M1911 causing him to topple over to the ground.

“Boss!” Camille said.

“What?” Sanchez growled.

“We won’t get anything out of him if you hit him again. He looks almost dead.” Camille said.

Tony agreed with her shaking his head up and down but never uttering a word. Sanchez didn’t care, he would get his questions answered one way or the other, then he would kill them all. Never would he leave a witness alive once they saw his face and he wasn’t about to start today. The gang half carried, half drug the man from the car down to the basement of Hot Stakes. Once there, Sanchez barked;

“Throw him into the door.”

Tony and Camille lifted the heavy man and did what Sanchez asked. The man’s body bounced off of the thick wooden door causing him to scream in agony.

“Do it again!” Sanchez yelled.

On the other side of the door, Latasha and Melissa stared in horror. They could hear Latasha’s date yelling and they knew he was hurt bad. The door shook harder each time the man was thrown into it.

“We can’t just leave him out there,” Melissa said.

“So what do you propose we do?” Latasha whispered.

“We have to open the door, they’re gonna kill him.” Melissa said.

“You must be crazy! Do you have a death wish? They’re gonna kill us if we open that door. I’m all for helping somebody out but not at the expense of my own life!” Latasha yelled.

The door shook again rattling the frame.

“Latasha, they’re going to kill him!”

Latasha bit down on her bottom lip. Melissa was right; if they didn’t open that door that man would die if he wasn’t dead already.

“Who’s to say they won’t kill us all?” Latasha said.

Melissa’s insides were churning. There was no way she could live with herself if she didn’t help that man. She didn’t want to die, but Jesus said; “love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to laydown one’s life for one’s friends.” With that in mind she took quick steps toward the door.

“What are you doing?” Latasha said.

“I’m opening the door, maybe we can reason with them.”

Latasha jumped towards her, yanking her hands from the door. She slapped Melissa across her face multiple times.

“You have gone completely insane! You aint gonna kill me today with your self-righteous self!”

Melissa struggled to get Latasha away, but her friend had a vice grip on her shaking Melissa around making her dizzy. They tussled some more and fell to the ground. Melissa’s head hurt even more now.

“Okay, Okay!” Melissa said defeated.

Latasha stood to her feet, she pointed at Melissa; “Don’t ever do that again.” The seriousness made Melissa wonder if she was crazy enough to hurt her if she did try it again. This was her friend, but in a life and death situation a friend could be an enemy.

“So you can live with yourself if that man dies, you’re the reason he’s here you know?” Melissa said.

Latasha’s face frowned, the audacity of Melissa to make it seem like it was her fault pissed her off. If steam was visible, Melissa would see it coming out of Latasha’s ears.

“Oh no you didn’t! How can you even fix your lips to say it’s my fault? I thought you’re supposed to be a Christian?” She mocked.

Instantly, Melissa felt bad, it irritated her when people acted like Christians were perfect when no one is. Her head fell into her hands, she rubbed her temples. The knots on her head felt pretty big, they would be sore and swollen for days if she made it out of this situation alive.

“Listen,” Melissa said “I didn’t mean to make it sound like it’s your fault I’m just trying to get you to help me help him. I love you girl, I don’t want to fight we need to figure out how we’re going to get out of this situation.

Latasha’s breathing slowed. She’d been huffing and puffing trying to catch her breath after that little tussle. Exasperated, her arms went up in the air. “We need to look around these boxes for something to protect ourselves with, let’s find whatever we can use until the cops get here.”

“How do you know the police are on their way?” Melissa asked.

“Didn’t you say Jonathon answered the phone?”

“Yes, but it died; I don’t know how much he heard…” Latasha cut her off, “It doesn’t matter, I’m sure he heard the distress in your voice and not being able to get in touch with you should be enough.”

Melissa felt better about that, but Latasha wasn’t so sure; even though she said it and was hopeful, she also had doubts but she needed to tell herself everything would be okay. Getting off the ground, Melissa took a look around the basement. It was hard to focus with the constant beating against the door and the man screaming on the outside, so she talked to God as she searched for a way out. Latasha moved boxes around and these were not small boxes, they were heavy. The basement was dimly lit and stuffy with a musty odor. It was the size of a large studio apartment; a pallet lay to the right corner half covered with long plastic sheets. Some of the boxes were open and you could tell the basement was used primarily for storage.

“What is in these things?” she said. Spotting a chair in the corner she yelled; “Quick, grab that chair!”

Melissa ran to it. “What are we going to do with a chair?”

Latasha took it out of her hands and placed the chair under the door knob. The door continued to rattle. “If they get that door down you think that chair will stop them?” Melissa said.

“Of course it won’t hold for long but it will buy us more time. What have you come up with genius except for complaints?” Latasha responded.

Melissa sighed, her friend was agitated and she wasn’t making it any better. What was she supposed to do? One way or the other the thugs would get in and then what?

“Why are you just standing there?” Latasha asked. “Are you going to help me or not?

“Latasha I don’t mean to sound prude, but we should figure out what we will say when they get the door open.”

“UGH!!!!!!!!!!!” Latasha screamed. “What is wrong with you? Do you seriously think they want to talk?”

“Maybe we can pay them off; I don’t know I’m trying to think of something, anything! I can’t take the noise and the beating that man is getting out there! Don’t you even care what God may think if we let him die?”

“Are we talking about this again? I thought we were over this.” Latasha said.

“How can we be with that man being thrown into the door every five seconds?  If they kill me fine, I know where I’m going.” Melissa said.

“And what about me!” Latasha said. “You’re deciding both of our fates if you open that door and that is not fair! Who do you think you are?”

Then it hit Melissa like a ton of bricks. Her friend was terrified, Latasha had no clue where she was going and it made Melissa feel selfish for a moment. So busy trying to be the hero, she hadn’t stop to think about her friends eternity. Standing across from Melissa, Latasha was heated. How could her friend suggest this? She didn’t want to die, she trembled on the inside; she hadn’t spoken to God since…. she wasn’t sure when, but Latasha had a clear vision of him kicking her out of Heaven. With all she had done, there was no way she was getting in, so she thought. Her fist balled up, Latasha would fight Melissa to the death before she let her open that door.

Melissa took steps toward Latasha with her arms out pulling her in for a tight embrace. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I wasn’t thinking, that was selfish of me.”

Latasha relaxed and her head dropped to Melissa’s shoulder. Tears fell from her eyes; she shook and hugged Melissa back.

“I know I’ve asked you this before today Latasha but you seemed to have avoided the question so I’ll ask you again, are you saved?”

Latasha stepped back from her, “Is that when you say you believe in Jesus?

Melissa smirked, “Something like that, you have to confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead.”

Latasha shook her head up and down, “I did that about four years ago, but I’ve fell off since then, the things I have done God won’t approve of, I mean I tried to be good but it just doesn’t work for me.”

“Your works is not how you get into Heaven, if that was the case we would all be doomed because none of us are perfect.” Melissa said.

Latasha started rambling on and on until the next hit against the door sent a loud crack down the edge of it, the chair fell to the floor. The two girls screamed. Latasha ran for cover hiding behind one of the boxes that was ducked off behind all the other boxes. Shocked by the interruption Melissa was frozen in place. Gun shots rang out and the door gave way falling face forward to the ground. Dust particles flew in, some hitting Melissa in the face, Sanchez ordered his to goons to throw Latasha’s date in the room. Camille lifted his right side while Tony lifted his left. They tossed the man in the room; he went flying past Melissa crashing into the wooden pallet. The man didn’t make a sound; he was either dead or unconscious.

“What do you want?” Melissa asked.

“We’ve been after you all night,” Sanchez said. He tsk, “Now you’ve put all your friends in trouble trying to get away from us. The thing is; folks always try and get away from us but they never do. You would be no different. Do you know how much time I’ve wasted; now someone has to make up for that.”

“Boss,”Tony said, “We’re missing someone, wasn’t there two girls?”

“No there’s just me.” Melissa said.

“Nice try,” Camille said “now where is the other girl?”

Melissa didn’t budge. “I’ll tell you what Sanchez said. He walked up to Melissa and grabbed her neck snatching her under his hot breath. “Your friend has twenty seconds to show her face or the next bullet is going through your pretty little head.”

Latasha stopped breathing, her eyes watered she was completely freaked out. It was now or never.

hot stakes

 **Hot Stakes is a free story. **

Get information on new contest, book releases, appearances, and a sneak peek at the finale of Hot Stakes on the next Risky Retreat by clicking the link below!

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Mistaken Identity

Hi you guys!  2016 has started off with a bang and I intend to keep the excitement going throughout the year! *Rubs hands together*  So I’ve been talking about Mistaken Identity for a while now and the closer the release date gets the more excited I become.  We have officially, 28 days before it’s debut!  Seriously, I am very proud of this story.  Not to say that I’m not proud of all my stories but this one is my first stand a lone title which makes it extraordinary because I had to close it out at the end.  I happen to love book series so that wasn’t easy for me.  Nonetheless, it is finished!  *Sighs*  Now comes the fun part Mistaken Identity is now available for pre-order!  Yesssssssss!

Mistaken Identity

La, la, but WAIT!  I feel like giving something away! *huge smile and wink*  After you pre-order your copy share it on your social media page whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!  Don’t forget to tag me so I can drop your name into the giveaway!

To tag me on Facebook just type in my name Stephanie Norris or Brewer will suffice.

To tag me on Twitter @stephanienrrs1 will get my attention!

To tag me on Instagram @stephanienrrs1 will also get my attention.

If you’re not following me on these social media platforms you should do so now! *Squeals for joy!*  It’s just that simple!  Hey but what am I giving away?  I’m glad you asked!  To be totally frank I wanted to keep this for myself, *giggles*  but I always want to keep stuff I giveaway, even during Christmas time.  So once you complete the steps above you’ll have the chance to grab this awesome throw pillow!

Please Go Away I’m Reading

Please

I sat it on my couch and it looked so nice, *giggles* but don’t worry after I took the picture I put it back in the plastic it came in.  Ha!  I seriously love this!  Soooo, are you ready ladies and gents!  If you think someone could benefit from this post, by all means SHARE IT! 😉

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Risky Retreat

Hola! Welcome to this week’s Risky Retreat!  Here you can find a teaser of the romance, drama, and suspense that flow through my pages when I write.  Even though this is only a teaser it will still feed your need to read.  Some of these stories are coming soon, some are available now, and some are simply free short stories I wanted to share with you!  Enjoy and don’t forget to check back in two weeks for the next Risky Retreat!

Hot Stakes

The crowd at Hot Stakes Sports Bar and Grill was down to three people; the owner Joey Rubble, the maintenance man Simon Jones, and the new girl Melissa Moore.  It had never been slower than this but it got close one-time last month.  It was Sunday November 1, 2015 many cars passed up and down the street but none stopped by, it’s almost like they didn’t notice the place.  The look of concern spread across Joey’s face was that he wouldn’t make enough money this month to pay the bills. A sigh escaped his lips and he grimaced. The prices were as low as he could afford and images of bankrupt signs danced through his head.  Maybe he should just give it all up, he could barely afford to pay Simon, what made him hire a new girl?  But Joey knew all too well what made him do it, hopefully once the men saw a new pretty face they would want to stay longer and spend more. However, Melissa didn’t have the chance to make a difference before worry lines creased his forehead.  Joey glanced at his watch, it was ten o’clock.

“Melissa!” he yelled.

She put the cleaning rag into the bucket made up of Mrs. Meyer’s Surface Scrub and hot water. Earlier Melissa wondered why she needed to clean at all since they have a maintenance man; but everyone knows part of the waitress job is to clean tables so she let it go.

“Yes sir?” she said.

He motioned for her to come to him.  Melissa was no fool, she noticed during the interview Joey couldn’t keep his eyes off every other part of her but her face. At times she would clear her throat to bring his attention back and he would talk about how pretty she was.  Her light skin and straight shoulder length hair always made the men pause, then once they focused in on her honey brown eyes and full lips the staring started. They would point out how cute her up toned nose was and the mole that sat next to it.  Her boyfriend Jonathon constantly fiddled with her chin; it made her feel fat even though she was nowhere near it. She would fuss constantly and swat at him but his hand would just end up back on her chin. He would laugh and talk about how perfectly round it was but Melissa didn’t think so.

“How many tables do you have left back there that need to be cleaned?” Joey asked.

“Actually I’m on my last one.”

“Good, when you’re finished go to lunch.”

“How long is lunch?” she asked.

“Indefinitely if we don’t get some business,” He muttered under his breath.

“Huh, what was that?” Melissa asked.

“An hour,” He said and retreated through the double doors to his office.

At the front entrance the doorbell chimed and in walked Latasha, Melissa’s best friend. In a short red dress, Latasha’s long brown legs smooth and recently shaven complemented the matching red four inch stiletto heels.

“Hey girl you’re just in time. I was about to text you,” Melissa said.

“Is your phone on the charger?” Latasha asked.

“Ah! I left it in my purse; I brought the charger with me and everything!” Latasha shook her head, “It won’t do you any good if it isn’t plugged up.”

“I know, I know,” Melissa repeated, “Let me wipe down this last table and I’ll clock out.”

Melissa grabbed the rag and rung it out twisting it with her hands.  The lavender aroma of Mrs. Meyer’s Surface Cleaner made the place smell like flowers.  Latasha sat down at the bar and watched her girl wax on and wax off.  Her job wasn’t much better, cleaning rooms all morning at Sonny’s Inn made her back hurt from time to time but it was a job, some people didn’t have one so she wouldn’t complain. Melissa carried the bucket and cleaning supplies toward the back; she turned and threw her hand up waving for Latasha to come on. The click clack of Latasha’s heels announced each step as she walked down the hallway. Melissa sat the bucket down in the maintenance closet, clocked out, and continued to the bathroom. Inside she hopped up on the counter leaning her back against the mirror with a pout on her face.

“Girl what’s wrong?” Latasha asked.

“I’m bored. Do you see how dead this place is?”

“At least you don’t have to work hard, that is not something to be pouting about; if I were you I’d take it easy.”  Latasha applied a rose colored lipstick to her lips. Oddly enough her top lip was thin, while the bottom lip was plump.  When kissing she was the type of girl to always suck a man’s lips in. “I’ve got a date and I can’t be late.”

“I knew you were up to something coming in here all dazzled up, I won’t even ask who.” Melissa said.

“Good don’t ask, it aint none of your business anyway.”

“Whatever,” Melissa threw her hands up waving off Latasha’s statement.

“Are you going to sit in this bathroom your whole lunch or are we eating?”

“You’re hungry?” Melissa asked.

“I don’t really have an appetite,” Latasha glanced at her phone, “he’ll be here at any minute so maybe I shouldn’t eat but I could really use a drink.”

“You’re bringing him here?”

“Is that a problem?”

“Nall girl do your thing, Imma sit in here and sulk some more.”

Latasha shook her head, “Girl get over it, you’re getting paid to do nothing. Now I’ll be back.”

She left the bathroom and not only was Melissa bored; now she didn’t have anyone to talk to.  Her stomach growled but she didn’t feel like eating.  The time was not moving fast enough and she felt like going home.  This place was lame, thinking of Jonathon she figured she would try and reach him if her phone had any juice. Her charger was in her purse she plopped down off the counter and went to the break room which was as small as the closet she kept her shoes in at home.  The closer she got, the louder voices grew, Melissa was almost relieved that there was some work to do around here until the tone in the voices grew angry.  Melissa slid into the break room grabbing her phone and charger from her purse.  When she stepped out the men were at a point of yelling.

“I know Jimmy works here now where is he? I am not the guy you want to mess with today!” The man snarled.

Melissa paused so she could listen; Joey was trying to explain to the man that Jimmy hadn’t work there for a month now.  Not wanting to get caught snooping, Melissa eased her head around the corner inch by inch. There were two men and a woman all dressed like they were the Soprano’s. The guy talking looked about as frustrated as he could be. The next sound she heard was of a gunshot.  It rang loud three times. “BANG, BANG, BANG!”  The sound crackled in the air like thunder and Melissa screamed dropping her cell phone, she picked it up quick and ran to the bathroom.  She locked the door, her body shaking all over.

“Oh, Jesus please help me. Please, please,” she begged.

Like she expected, someone tried to get in the door.  A female voice spoke, “Open the door.” She spoke in a zero tolerance tone.  The door rattled as she pushed multiple times trying to get it to budge.  Melissa knew sooner or later whoever was out there would find a way to get in, instantly she looked for an escape.  Inside the bathroom next to the first stall was another door.  Melissa didn’t know where it led; after all it was her first night. The door didn’t start at the bottom of the floor it was about two feet off the ground she would have to jump up and attempt to grab the door knob.  There was no other way out of this bathroom, she couldn’t believe there was not even a small window to crawl out of, she made the decision to jump through the door. Melissa stepped back, ran and jumped. She didn’t have hops like Michael Jordan and that was not good. The knocking on the door got harder, then a loud bump as if someone was putting their shoulder into it.  Beads of sweat formed on her forehead, never in her life had she been this scared or nervous.  If they got that door down before she could make a run for it she was dead.  Melissa decided to run from one end of the bathroom to the other. In two seconds she was gone, in three long strides she was at the door; she jumped and grabbed the door handle.  It swung open hitting her hard in the face, she screamed as blood seeped out of her nose.  Her descent was rigid and fast when she hit the ground, pain instantly shot through her head and the room started to spin. Keeping it together was the hardest thing for Melissa, but she fought the darkness that threatened to consume her.

“Jesus give me the strength,” she whispered.

Heavier and heavier the fight was to maintain consciousness. Roll over, Melissa thought. She gained just enough will power to roll to her side. Blood continued to seep out of her nose, finally with her head back she pushed herself to a sitting position, resting there for a moment before attaining her bearings and standing to her feet. Dizziness hit her just as tough as the door did when it opened. The counter top was her crutch and Melissa put all her weight onto it, grateful for the support.  When she looked in the mirror, there were two of her.  That wasn’t right, she thought. A bang on the door made Melissa cringe.  For a moment, she forgot about the bad guys on the other side but that was her wake up call. Into the stall she grabbed tissue and stuck it up her nose.  There was a first aid box on the wall, “Thank you Jesus,” she said. Shots rang out; Melissa screamed again forgetting about the first aid kit, someone wanted to get in badly because now they were shooting at the door.

Melissa sprinted out of the stall on unsteady legs; she threw her hands up jumping through the opening. Only half of her made it, the other half continued to dangle against the bottom half of the bathroom wall. Using her hands she pulled the rest of herself through and stood up fast.  This was some type of hidden hallway and for a second Melissa wondered why Joey would need it. The bathroom door burst open and she took off down the hallway.  There was a slope in the floor, causing her to slide and fall down on her knees she slid to a stop.  To her left were steps leading to a door. In front of her the hallway continued to stretch and a door was at the end of it also. Taking her chances Melissa kept straight, getting back to her feet, hurtling into the door. It opened with ease and the bright light gave her pause.  Looking around she saw a desk, chair, and paperwork scattered.  This must have been Joey’s office.  On her right was another door, going through it lead her outside into the night air.

Being outside gave her a since of relief, no longer was she trapped inside but now she was out in the open. In the parking lot were few cars, but one of them was Latasha’s car.

“Yes!” she yelled, excited that she could get away from the thugs that pursued her.

Melissa ran up to the driver’s side door and beat on the windows. Latasha sat in the back, while a chubby guy with a navy blue polo shirt sat on the front passenger side. The loud thumps at the window made them both jump. Latasha looked at Melissa like she was crazy. What was up with the tissue in her nose, Latasha wondered. She shook her head no at Melissa and shooed her away, but Melissa wasn’t going anywhere. Watching her friend’s actions, Melissa looked back at the restaurant then back to Latasha. “They’re trying to kill me!” she said. Instantly alarmed, Latasha motioned for her date to unlock the door. Melissa jumped in slamming it.
 
“I’m not paying for two, only one that was the deal!” Latasha’s date yelled.

Melissa’s face furrowed at the man, there was no way she would sell herself short in any way so he had nothing to worry about. She never knew why her friend called them dates when they were really tricks, and there was no reason for her to be dealing with these types of men. Latasha was beautiful she could be a model, but this was her life not Melissa’s. Her hands reached for the keys that hung in the ignition, the car came to life, she put it in reverse backing out, once in drive the car lurched forward.

Two men and a woman flew out of the bar guns in hand. Seeing the car they all lifted about to shoot when one of them by the name of Sanchez said. “I got this.” He held up his M1911 and fired two shots; the first one shattered the back window, the second one wounded Latasha’s date taking his ear off.  Screams elevated the night air.  Melissa lost control of the car; its swerved wildly before running into a light pole coming to a staggering halt. Smoked bellowed from the hood and the thugs gave each other smug smiles.

“Let’s go get em.” Sanchez said.

“Melissa wake up!” Latasha screamed.  Melissa’s head had hit the steering wheel. Previously, after jumping in the car, she didn’t think to buckle up.  Coming to, Melissa blinked rapidly and held her head, she moaned, “Ooooh God, Jesus take the wheel!”

“Girl, you have already run into a pole now you need to ask Jesus to get this car to crank, it’s too late for him to take the wheel now snap out of it! We’ve got to get out of this car!” Latasha looked back. “Come on they’re getting closer, what have you gotten me into!”

“I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into!” Melissa yelled back.

They got out of the car, “Down there!” Latasha yelled.

Melissa followed her friend down to the back of Hot Stakes Sport Bar and Grill. She ran to the basement door it was never locked.  She pushed it open and they flew in.  On the inside, they locked the door; Latasha flipped the light switch on and searched for a padded lock to add more security.

“Why do you look like you know this place?”  Melissa asked.

“Don’t ask me no questions and I won’t tell you no lies okay?” Latasha said.

“Fine,” Melissa said throwing her hands up.

Her head hurt beyond belief, it was swollen and another lump was growing on her forehead. She took her phone out and attempted to turn it on. It powered on the battery light blinking, Melissa call Jonathon. The phone rung once, “come on, come on baby pick up,” she chanted. “Beep, beep” Her phone was on the verge of powering off. “I was wondering when you were going to call me,” Jonathon said. “Baby, listen to me!” Melissa shouted, “I need you to call the police, we…beep, beep, beep,” The phone died, Melissa groaned.

“What are we going to do now?” she said.

hot stakes

**Hot Stakes is a free story. **

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The Lunch Break Series

Here comes another drama filled read from Love Is A Drug, Ink available Saturday April 26, 2014.

Relationships always start out rosy in the beginning, but they never last that way. At least this is what Marissa thought as she watched Nathaniel preparing to go out to God knows where at 11 o’clock at night. What used to be love had turned into regret — to the point that Marissa often despised being around him. Sure, they’ve had their break-ups and their make-ups. But this relationship had grown stale, boring, and sometimes depressing, and Marissa wanted out.

Now Joe, on the other hand, was handsome, flirtatious, and older. He had Christian values and knew what he wanted out of life. Marissa couldn’t deny his obvious charm and magnetic pull towards her and she wanted to find out what being with him was like. However, being a Christian woman herself, her morals wouldn’t allow her to cheat on Nathaniel, even if their relationship was practically over. Or maybe she could get a taste just once. Nathaniel didn’t have to know, and God would forgive her, right? The struggle between knowing when a relationship has run its course or when it’s time to stand strong is real. Is the grass really greener on the other side?

Have you read the first story in The Lunch Break series?

Jasmine Johnson wants nothing more than to be swept off her feet by classmate and cutie Maurice Desmon Jones. Everything about him, from his obvious confidence to his charisma, makes her melt like ice cream on a sundae cone.

One day, someone threatens to challenge her for his affection and Jasmine goes into a jealous rage, unable to control her emotions. Obsession sends her over the edge and there is no turning back. In the eye of a brewing storm, she has to come up with a clever way to get out of the catastrophe she has created and she won’t give up, even if she has to die trying.

Wreckless

The Lunch Break series is not a series of the same story written in parts, it is a series of different short stories, packed with the romance, drama, and suspense that you’re used to reading in my books. The Lunch Break series is only available on e-book. Once you get a taste, you will want to read again and again. Read them on your lunch break, on the train ride home, on the bus, in the back seat of a car, in a waiting room, on the beach, or on an airplane. Wherever you go you are guaranteed to feed your need to read. The series was created to give people who don’t have time to read a full novel the opportunity to get their read on and still be fulfilled the same as if they were reading a full novel. This series was also created with avid readers in mind that have not yet sampled my books and would like to get a peek at my reading style before investing in a full story. Sit back, chill out and enjoy! Tell me what you think about the lunch break series. Which story have you read? Leave your comments below!

To check out more books in the Lunch Break series, visit Amazon.com or BN.com

Spotlight on Author Rhonda McKnight

Rhonda McKnight is the author of the Black Expressions Top 20 bestseller, A Woman’s Revenge (Mar 2013), What Kind of Fool (Feb 2012), An Inconvenient Friend (Aug 2010), Secrets and Lies (Dec 2009) and Breaking All the Rules (Oct 2013). She was a 2010 nominee for the African-American Literary Award in the categories of Best Christian Fiction Novel and Best Anthology. She was the winner of the 2010 Emma Award for Favorite Debut Author and the 2009 Shades of Romance Award for Best Christian Fiction Novel. Originally from a small, coastal town in New Jersey, she’s called Atlanta, Georgia home for fifteen years.

Hello Rhonda, thank you for joining us today for this interview. We are always on the lookout for romance novels here at Love Is A Drug, Ink. Now that we have your attention for a little while we have a few questions to ask you so let’s get right to it!

1.   What made you choose to write in the Genre that you write in?

I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, but I didn’t even know Christian Fiction existed until 1998 when Victoria Christopher Murray introduced me to her novel, Temptation. That was when I started to think about the kind of stories I wanted to tell. But even then I wasn’t sure I was the right person to tell a “Christian” story. As I’ve grown spiritually, I’ve realized that it’s really the only kind I can tell. I write who I am.

My latest release, Breaking All The Rules, is an inspirational romance.  When I began writing, it was because I had fallen in love with the then, BET, now Harlequin Kimani/Arabesque line of African-American novels, so while my novels have been pretty serious Christian Fiction stories, my love for “boy meets girl and they fall in love” type romance has shown up in both my novella length fiction.

2.   What is your favorite thing about the writing experience and why?

My favorite thing about the writing experience is reader feedback. Readers are fantastic. They fall in love with the characters and that connection to my work is exciting and encouraging.

3.   How do you handle bad reviews?

I’ve had great reviews with just a few bad ones here and there. When I see the bad ones, I shrug. Every book isn’t for every reader and some people are really emotional readers who can’t see the book ending any other way than the way they had it mapped out in their head. There’s nothing you can do about that.

4.   Where is your favorite place to write?

Any place where my kids and the dog aren’t. I can be found at the local Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts tapping away on my keyboard.  One day I’ll rent a cabin in the woods or a house on the beach and fail marvelously at getting any work done. I’m sure the scenery would pull me away from my work.

5.   When you write, do you write for a long period of time or do you write in short burst?

I do both. I work full-time and I’m a mommy, so I write when I can and when I must because of a deadline.  I typically start a project and write for weeks or months for long hours on the weekend and late into the night until it’s done, but then I won’t write again for several months.

6.   Where did your inspiration for this book come from?

 Facebook chatter. One day I was scrolling through my newsfeed and found a long discussion about what I call “the Ex-Factor” (the original title for the novel). People were so passionate about it that I thought, “Surely, this will make a good book.” I decided to give Deniece the career of a wedding planner simply because I was watching the movie, the Wedding Planner one night and thought that career would give the book the perfect twist.  I also love, love, love David Tutera’s show, My Fair Wedding.

7.   What is your favorite author and why?

My favorite author is actually deceased. The late, great BeBe Moore Campbell. She was a master at description and character development. She also did a amazing job at weaving several plots bringing them together nicely by the end of the book. I miss her work.

8.   What words of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Read, write and then read and write some more. Study the craft of writing. Buy craft books or take writing classes. Attend a writer’s conference. You’ll learn so much about writing and the publishing business.

9.   Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

My favorite character is the hero, Ethan Wright. He’s yummy. Handsome, rich, generous and did I say handsome?

10  What is your favorite scene from the book or why?

My favorite scene from the novel is the black moment; you know when you think the lovers might be finished. Deniece puts up a great fight. She’s angry and stubborn to the point of silliness (kind of like we women get) and then she finds out she was wrong about the hero. I love it when couples make up.

11.  If your book was turned into a movie who would you want to direct it?

Malcolm Lee and not because my character is Deniece Malcolm. J  He directed The Best Man and it’s one of my favorite movies.

12.  What is the best book you have ever read?

Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine by BeBe Moore Campbell. Riveting, beautifully written story based on the Emmitt Till story.  I read it nearly twenty years ago and it still remains my favorite novel of all time.

13.  What projects do you have planned for the future?

I’m writing quite a bit. I’m working on a sequel to my third novel, What Kind of Fool, which was the sequel to my second novel, An Inconvenient Friend. My readers love the character, Samaria Jacobs. She’s a messy, homewrecker who’s trying hard to get her life together, but her ratchet ways keep getting in the way.  I’m also releasing another romance novella next month, just in time for  Valentine’s Day in an anthology with a few other authors. I’m writing a lot.

14.  What do you hope to say to people with your writing?

My books all have the theme of forgiveness.  I believe the stories resonate differently with each individual, but if I had to name one thing, I’d say I’d like readers to understand that forgiveness is a decision. Once a person decides that peace is more important than bitterness and pain, they will have a fuller, more complete life. Forgiveness is not about the other person. It’s about you.

15.  Is there another hobby you have that you would like to share?

Everything in my world seems to be about child rearing and writing these days, but I do have a garden and I enjoy that immensely. It a great way to work through stress and get some organic veggies for my family.

16.  Where do you see yourself in five years?

Is buying an island on that television show “Island Hunters” too ambitious? I pray  I’m retired from my job and happily creating stories for my readers.

17.  Do you have an official website?

 www.rhondamcknight.net

18.  Where can we find you on social media?

 I love social media. I’m on Facebook everyday at www.facebook.com/booksbyrhonda and in my Reader Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/rhondamcknight/

I’m also on Twitter @rhondamcknight and I’m addicted to Pinterest. I have a great Pinterest page for the novel, Breaking All The Rules. Please check it out. http://www.pinterest.com/rhondamcknight1/breaking-all-the-rules/

19.   Where can we find your books?

My novels can be found pretty much wherever books are sold and if not in stock they can be ordered. All of my work is also available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and iBooks.

Check out ‘Breaking All The Rules’ on Feed Your Need To Read!