So you can read my books

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


There are moments in life when you stand at a crossroads. 

Many times there seems no path that will not lead to pain ... no path that leads out of the darkness

 What do you do then?

This is an excerpt from NEW ORLEANS ARABESQUE:

Her eyes were dark with more than the night.

Yes, Meilori’s eyes were jade quarter moons waiting to rise. But what made them dark was her soul steeped in hate … for me.

“Standish,” she husked, “what does it take to kill you?”

Why did all my enemies ask me that? As if I would tell them. A bloody Captain Sam had a trembling arm around her bruised shoulder. He was leaning heavily upon her.

The two of them escaped her sister’s trap by the skin of their teeth. They both looked ready to fall.

I was dribbling a bit of blood myself. They wouldn’t have made it if Alice and I hadn’t fought off Maija’s reinforcements. Captain Sam looked uneasily from her to me and back to her.

I sighed. Losing Meilori for 7 years to Maija’s deceit had almost gutted him. To lose her now after just being reunited would destroy him.

I felt my face go tight. Sometimes to save the ones you loved, you had to lose them. It wasn't fair, but then life and fair didn't seem to be traveling companions.

Did I love Captain Sam?  I nodded.  Then, I would make the hard ... the right choice.  I would choose his happiness over mine.  I sighed.  I always knew that alone was my destiny.

I turned to walk away.

“Time to surf the waves in California.” I whispered.

Alice cried out to Meilori, “Oh, Lady Shinseen, do not do this to yourself!”

Meilori frowned, "Myself?"

"Yes, yourself.  Some things once done cannot be undone.  No matter if you rid yourself of ... Victor ... should you plant this bitter root, it is your life that will be forever stained with it."

Alice sobbed, "This will destroy Victor."

I arched an eyebrow, and Alice said, "Not today, not tomorrow ... but day by day, you will die a little more ... until the laughing Victor I love will be no more."

Meilori murmured, “You are better off without the gutter rat.”

Alice sobbed, “I will die without him.”

I kept walking, but Captain Sam called out, “Victor, no!”

Meilori snapped, “Samuel, he is your son not mine!”

I turned around. Uh, oh. Mother, the Angel of Death, was materializing beside a startled Alice. Sfumato!

There were a billion ways for this to go wrong. I didn’t think there was a single one for it to go right.

Mother smiled a thing of nightmares. “No, Ningyo. He is my son.”

Meilori smiled back. “Go ahead. Strike me down. Samuel will never forgive you. And I will have my revenge.”

A new path, another choice occurred to me, and I started clapping. Meilori turned furious to me. I smiled my skull smile.

“No, Your Brittleness. Your sister, Maija, will have her revenge on you. You will die. I will die. Sam will die inside. Alice will live an eternal Hell. And Mother will be denied us all after leading us to that bright light.”

I sighed, “All of Maija’s most hated enemies will die or be in torment.”

Meilori husked, “Maija is dead.”

“Really?” I sighed. “That would be a first. All my enemies, Maija included, are like damn cockroaches. You can never seem to kill them. Besides, Maija knows you. She knew what would happen when she set all this into motion.”

Meilori frowned, “What do you suggest I do, gutter rat? Learn to love you?”

I shrugged, “I’ll settle for tolerate me and love Captain Sam. That last will tie Maija’s panties in a knot even if she is dead.”

Meilori fought a smile and turned to Captain Sam. “I can do the last with all my heart"

Her slanted, cold eyes flicked my way.  "You live … for tonight.”

I smiled as if it were a raw wound. She talked as if my enemies weren’t going to kill me long before Christmas. Alice squeezed my hand.

I squeezed back. The trick was to live each moment until that last breath. Alice smiled with trembling lips as if thinking the same thing.

Three more weeks until Thanksgiving.

No. That last thought had been wrong.  I was holding the hand of my Thanksgiving right now.

{Exquisite art courtesy of Leonora Roy.}

The Bear with Two Shadows


  1. I love the story between the covers of your books, Roland, even though the covers are lush and detailed.

    This was an excellent excerpt, the apertifs you tease us with.

  2. Hmm - I should check spelling before publishing comment. Make that aperitifs, stimulants or teasers of the written variety.

  3. that is the check to your checkmate... brilliant.

  4. Oh man... such a hard situations... so sad. Great snip, Roland!

  5. I have a feeling Victor will make it to Christmas!

  6. I love that last line. Victor should make it past Christmas, and be given the New Year.

  7. Good stuff! Victor makes me think of The Bible's, Samson--the way everybody searches for a method to kill him. :)

  8. 'Her eyes were dark with more than the night.' You really know how to work a phrase :) Wouldn't it be wonderful if we always knew the right answers when we came to those crossroads?

    I, too, hope Victor lives to enjoy and new year. And another....

  9. Michael:
    Thanks! Leonora Roy is the genius behind all my covers. She deserves all the credit.

    After a 10 hour day, my mind is blurred so that spelling errors slip right past me. :-)

    I try to make mental images as detailed as Leonora's covers! Thanks for thinking they are, and my excerpts, are engaging!

    I had so little free time today to visit my friends. I promise to visit your blog tomorrow. Thanks for visiting mine and having my back! :-)

    Yes, the hard choices are what shape us or shatter us, aren't they?

    An Alice and Victor Christmas tale is in BRING ME THE HEAD OF McCORD! Yes, he and she do make it to a "down-home" Christmas. :-)

    The New Year? New Year's Eve is his birthday actually. His life is so strange that you can never tell what lies ahead for that scamp!

    Victor certainly has enemies of Biblical proportions! Thanks for making such a neat observation when life is so hectic for you.

    Words Crafter:
    I never seem to know the right answers for those crossroads, so Victor is my form of wish fulfilment! Your nice compliment the evening for this weary blood courier!!

    Victor's fate lies in my weary head and fingers -- if the blood center keeps working me such hours, both Victor and I may not make it to the next year!! :-)