Go to www.novels that rock.weebly.com for the latest Informatio!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone!

To all the people who follow my blog, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and I hope you are spending time with your family but I also wanted to let you know that if you need any books to fill your Kindles, iPad or Nook (including family members who might need to fill theirs), here are some sequels to expect in the beginning of the New Year!

Comes out the second week of January!

Don't forget to read the two novels that precede it:


Barnes & Noble


Barnes & Noble
There is also another surprise because I have another New Adult novel premiering before the end of the January called Undertow. I'm not sure if it will be a series but as of right now, I am writing it as a stand alone book. If the readers request a sequel then I would love to do it but I don't plan for it to be a series. That cover will be revealed within the next couple of weeks but until then, you'll just have to wonder what that novel is going to be about!

Comes out the second week of February!

Don't forget to read the novel that precedes it:

Until the next week, enjoy the time you get to spend with your family and friends. This time only comes around once a year and it is sacred. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and if you aren't religious at all, then look at this as a day to spend with your loved ones and more than that, a time of reflection on a year's past. Next Tuesday, it will be the first day of 2013 and what a year that will be! 

Thanks again for following my blog and thank you again for all the blessings you have bestowed upon me! I am extremely grateful to have fans at all and believe me, as long as you keep reading, I will keep writing!

Thank YOU!!!!!! 

Thank YOU!!!!!! 


Thank YOU!!!!!! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Please be kind...and leave a review! ;-)

I know I try not to bug the few people who come in and out and who are followers of my blog but I almost feel like I am trapped in one of my favorite paranormal shows. I can't prove anything and I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist but if you buy my books -- whether you love them or hate them -- and you have spare time on your hands, please leave a review. 

I haven't left "Please leave a review" in the back of an e-book for a long time because I thought it was crass but with the whole scheme of people paying for reviews (which has been discussed ad nauseum so I won't touch on  the subject again), it would be great for the people who like my work to start commenting, whether you buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, AllRomance or Kobo. I don't care, if you have the time, leave a review.

"Please leave a review if you have read me..."
Who knows what makes people like or love one story while they dislike or hate another? Nothing because reading is a subjective activity and we all know what a group of people might think is absolutely brilliant (Fifty Shades of Grey comes to mind), others will think is horrible unreadable garbage. Neither side is right or wrong -- they just share different tastes in what makes a book great and what makes a book awful.

I know this will happen to my books as well and I expect it! If I wrote a book everyone loved, I would be a bit suspicious myself. When it all comes down to the nitty gritty, all I ask is if you read one of my novels and you enjoy it then please leave a review. If you read one of my books and think it is utter crap, please leave a review. The whole point is so there are opinions from every side of  the gambit. 

P.S. And if you haven't noticed, I do NOT respond to reviews (except for a handful of times when a situation was about to get out of hand because I will defend a bad review as quickly as I defend a good one and I will not allow anyone to be bullied into trying to change their review by someone else or perhaps a shit disturber who tries to drop in and cause trouble). I still respect the three reviewers who gave Atonement bad reviews and hope they will take a chance on another piece of fiction by me because my readers know I have a wide selection and although they may have not liked this series, they might like another.

Reviewers are for readers but how do they know what they are about to buy if the book they are thinking of selecting doesn't have enough reviews to actually gage an opinion? This is the main reason why I ask for more reviews -- to help out your fellow readers...not to boost my ego and make me feel good. ;-)

* * * * *

PLEASE NOTE: I am always searching for beta readers and the only condition of being a beta reader is honest feedback and a review once the book goes live. There are three other novels in the Atonement series (coming out Feb, March and April) and the final novel in The Ties That Bind Trilogy is slated to premiere in January of 2013. If you are interested then please contact me at ellechardou@gmail.com and I will arrange for you to view the material once it is in its final stages. I don't look at it as giving a book away as much as I do thanking loyal fans and people who like my work. Again, I couldn't do this without you so a warm thank you all around. ;-)

***Comments are appreciated for either discussion. I promise I won't go postal as I am not that kind of author and I realize if it were not for the readers, I wouldn't have a job. Please be respectful to one another regardless what one's opinion happens to be. This is a free speech blog as long as mutual respect is shown. THANK YOU!***

And now for the fun stuff! Cover reveals for the Next Two Novels that will premiere in 2013.

Ta da! The brand new cover of Killing Me Softly (The Ties That Bind Trilogy
January, 2013

Ta da! The brand new cover for Only Love (The Atonement Series
February, 2013

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Holiday Blog Hop!

It's that time of the year again! Here are the prizes at stake in the Holiday Blog Hop!

One lucky winner gets a $50 Gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

That lucky winner will also get a signed paperback copy of novella series, The Supernaturals, Collection No. 2 as well!

That same lucky winner will also get a signed paperback copy of Hart Attack (The Hart Family Saga) too!

What do you have to do? 

Check out the Rafflecopter below. 

Also, you get 2 Bonus Points for visiting other blogs on the Blog Hop and 5 Bonus Points for following me on Pinterest so just leave a comment to let me know if you have done either one of these activities. Good luck to everyone who decides to enter and have a wonderful day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Next Big Thing (Part 2 & 3)

Yeah, I know, I did this already but after being tagged yet again by the fabulous Suzanne Tyrpak (yeah, you know that amazing author who actually knows Blake Crouch because they are in the same writer's group?) and the wonderfully talented Cheryl Bradshaw, it just so turns out I realized I have put out three books in the last two and half months so I will talk about the other two novels that didn't get a mention.

Since I have already tagged 5 writers in my first post, I will not be tagging anymore in this one. Thanks.

1) What is the title of your next book?

The Ties That Bind Trilogy was first introduced in September of 2012. Since then, two novels have been published: Killing Time and Killing Desire.

The third and final novel, Killing Me Softly, will premiere in January of 2013.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

Part of the idea came from reading several Annabel Joseph books and also the whole E.L. James Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon. It started off as a thought (as ideas often do) and it went from there. All I can say is that I am very surprised and overwhelmed by how well the first novel was received so for all those fans who felt the second novel veered off course, I think they will be happy to know that the third book brings the whole trilogy full circle and since this is talking about the next best thing, the cover reveal happens in this post and is below:

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Although it has been billed as erotica, it is actually erotic romance but the main genres I have placed it under would be romantic suspense and contemporary romance.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Aurelie Segler-DeMarche: Marion Cotillard

Rory Krieger: Cillian Murphy or Ian Somerhalder
Severin Krieger: Either Cillian Murphy or Ian Somerhalder
Tresor DeMarche: Eva Green
Astrid Schmidt: Scarlet Johansson
Nicole: Kate Winslet
Grayson: Paul Walker
Jason: Mathew McConaughey

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sometimes, you have to lose yourself in your deepest and darkest desires to find yourself and the truth.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published by Midnight Engel Press.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The first draft of Killing Time was written in one month and Killing Desire took six weeks.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

If I Were You, Bared to You, and of course the good old Fifty Shades of Grey. However, I think the only item my book has in common with these might be sex but the plot is nothing similar to any of the books above.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My imagination always inspires me to write a book but now that "mommy porn" is much more accepted, it made it easier for me to write this kind of book and still own it without being ashamed I'd written it. In terms of inspiration, I would look to Anne Rice. I have always admired her because she has written all types of books but at the end of the day, she's always stayed true to her art.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

There is a genuine mystery that will be solved throughout the trilogy but despite all the smoke and mirrors, this is at the heart a very unconventional love story that allows people to watch and explore two unique and damaged individuals fall in love.

For those of you who are as visual as me, I have created a Pinterest board located HERE and dedicated to The Ties That Bind Trilogy.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Next Big Thing!

What is the title of your new book?

Where did the idea for the book come from?
I actually thought of the idea while I was writing Killing Time from The Ties That Bind Trilogy. It was a different idea and I thought it would be interesting to explore the whole process of forgiving someone for the unforgivable especially when the person in need of forgiving is the same person happens to be the love of your life.

What genre does your book fall under?
New Adult and Contemporary Romance 

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Deidre: Mila Kunis 
Colin: Charlie Hunnam
Liam: Alexander Skarsgard
Caitlyn: Blake Lively
Drew: James McAvoy
Aubrey: Emma Stone (she makes a great brunette and could definitely pull the role off with enough flair)

Will your book be self published or do you have an agent/publisher?
Self-published by Midnight Engel Press

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
One month

What other books would you compare your book to within the genre?
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
Just Remember to Breathe by Charles Sheehan-Miles
Easy by Tammara Weber
Losing It by Cora Carmack

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired in part by the death of my own father. Although he died from a stroke almost three years ago, the event inspired me to know what inertia felt like. A long time after his death, I felt frozen in place so I can relate to the inertia Deirdre explains she feels in the book. And it was several trips to Western Europe that broke the feeling of not being able to move forward with my life.

What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest?
Well, although I can compare it to the books above, Atonement remains its own story. I would very much like readers to identify with the characters and feel like they could be friends of theirs in real life and not just cardboard cutouts. Each couple gets their own book because Atonement is the first book in The Atonement Series. Unfortunately, Deirdre and Colin's story is the most complicated so they have a sequel in the works called Only Love due out in February of 2013.

For scrumptious visuals on the cast and locations, check out The Atonement Series Pinterest Board!

Authors who could be The Next Big Thing are:

Charles Sheehan-Miles

Charles Sheehan-Miles has been a soldier, computer programmer, short-order cook and non-profit executive. He is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books, including the indie bestseller Republic: A Novel of America's Future.

He served in combat with the 24th Infantry Division during the 1991 Gulf War, and was decorated for valor for helping rescue fellow tank crewmen from a burning tank during the Battle at Rumayla. Since then, he has been a regular speaker on issues relating to the Gulf War, ill veterans and the impact of post-traumatic stress.

He is a former President and co-founder of the National Gulf War Resource Center and has served on the board of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center. Prior to becoming executive director of Veterans for Common Sense in August 2004, he was director of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC. He continues to serve on the board of directors of Veterans for Common Sense.

Charles currently manages a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia, where he lives with his wife Veronica and their two children, along with two alien invaders from outer space disguised as small furry animals.

Charles can be found on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/CSheehanMiles and on his blog at http://www.sheehanmiles.com

Mandy White

Mandy White is a Canadian author who resides on Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she is living her dream of being one of those weird, reclusive writer types. She primarily writes fiction in the horror genre, often featuring Canadian characters and locations. She is administrator of the WPaD group (Writers, Poets and Deviants), best known for their charity anthologies.

G.R. Yeates
G.R. Yeates is the author of the critically-acclaimed Vetala Cycle, a trilogy of vampiric horror novels set in World War I. He has been published in the Dark Continents anthology, Phobophobia, and the Horror for Good anthology from Cutting Block Press. He is currently working on two novellas and a short story collection that will be released in Autumn/Winter 2012 and an epic fantasy series that will be released in 2013.

Mike Cooley
I have been writing science fiction and fantasy stories for many years.
My writing has an edge to it. I enjoy exploring the dark and surreal landscapes of the mind.
The first two novels in my Legend Of The Crystals series are out (Crystal Warrior and Crystal Origin).
Book Three (Crystal Legacy) should be out in 2013.
I also have a science fiction short story collection out called Skin Of Giants,
a Twilight Parody called How To Keep Sparkly Emo Vampires Off Your Lawn,
and a poetry book called She Stands At The Precipice.
My Lovecraftian horror novelette, Eater Of Eyes, just came out.
Thanks for reading!

Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is the new name in horror. His works span genres and weave evil, conspiracy, and fear into nightmarish worlds.

Jack has been given the title "Zombie King" by his readers and fans. He didn't garner that title by dining on the brains of helpless victims. It was only after writing until his fingers and mind were nothing but meat for the beasts that he became a master of the zombie genre. During that haunted hay ride Jack produced works of fiction enjoyable by not just zombie fans, but anyone daring to take a peek into what might possibly become of humanity.

Of course, being of the insane writer clan, Jack isn't just happy with the penning of zombie fiction. Oh no, the nightmare does not end there. Like the late, great Freddy Mercury, Jack wants it all -- so, he will continue twisting the horror genre to meet his disturbed mind as well as write his Fringe Killer and Screampark series, and his joyous celebration of all things diverse -- Shero.
For his inspiration to begin reading and writing, Jack thanks the ever-incredible Clive Barker for penning in a genre with words of grace and horror.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hot Autumn Nights Blog Hop 11/29 - 12/02

To be entered in this contest, please answer this question:  What’s your idea of a hot autumn night? Hot tubs, hot cocoa with your honey or snuggling in front of a crackling fire? Pretty much anything goes. 

Please be sure to visit all the other blogs that are involved! Thanks. ;-)

The Grand Prize is a $155 gift card from Barnes & Noble or Amazon!

I am also offering three winners copies of the Bonus Edition

 of Killing Time, in my racy new series, The Ties That Bind!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 22, 2012

99 cent sale & My New Novel

Yeah, I have been missing in action, only because I had two books due to premiere this month. The first one was Killing Desire and the second one was Atonement, a contemporary romance novel which, technically, is considered New Adult, imagine that. I suppose if you want to call a main character who is hitting twenty-nine a new adult then go right ahead.

Atonement is NOT The Ties That Bind and The Atonement Series is strictly contemporary romance. There is no BDSM, just a good old fashioned love story about love and loss. That doesn't mean it isn't steamy though...when do I ever write a book that isn't steamy? 

So here is the cover, description and the places it is available now!


Barnes & Noble

All Romance (on sale for $3.99)

The first installment of The Atonement Series.

Deirdre Bardot is a PhD student at Harvard and on her way home for Thanksgiving when she finds out her father has been murdered in a vicious hit and run by a drunk driver.

Forced to piece her life back together after such a traumatic event, she moves back to Seattle to be closer to her younger sister, Caitlyn and her mother.

When her psychiatrist advises her she needs to get away from it all, and her best friend Drew decides to introduce her to his work mate and friend, Colin, all bets are off. Deirdre finds herself falling hard for a guy she barely knows and the two decide to get to know one another that much better on a trip around Western Europe.

Then the unspeakable happens and Colin is forced to reveal the secret he's hiding ... a secret that is breaking him, and in doing so, destroy the relationship he and Deirdre have built together in the process.

There is also a Black Friday 99 cent sale on some of my other work going on now at The Wicked Cucumber Press. Check it out for some great savings! Until then, happy Thanksgiving and enjoy shopping this weekend! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Killing Desire & My Blog Tour

Killing Desire is now officially available! I will be updating throughout the day as it is available on various sites. Happy reading!

All Romance (On sale for $3.99)
Barnes & Noble

There is also a blog tour going on for Killing Time so I have two very wonderful events to celebrate today! Thank you to all my fans and have a wonderful day!

11/8  The Cover by Brittany  Interview 

11/8   Have Kindle, Will Travel   Promo
11/9 Vickieann's Kindle Fever  Review
11/12  Coffee Beans & Love Scenes  Interview
11/13  Sweet n' Sassi   Review
11/13  Identity Discovery  Promo
11/14  My Reading Obsession  Review
11/14  Storm Goddess Book Reviews  Review
11/15  Night Owl Reads  Promo
11/16  My Reading Obsession   Review
11/19  SnifferWalk   Review
11/20  The Bunny's Review    Review
11/20  T B R   Review
11/20 Reviewing in Chaos Promo
11/21   Hooks and Book  Review
11/21  Thats Erotica  Review
11/21  thrice the mischief,3 times the love  Interview
11/21  Everyone Loves A SiNner   Review  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Killing Desire to premiere Wednesday, November 7th!

POST SCRIPT: Due to issues beyond my control, Killing Desire will be available for purchase on All Romance and Smashwords tomorrow, November 7th and by Thursday on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I will post links as soon as it goes live. For the sake of fairness, the book will be the same price across the board on all four venues: $3.99. Both All Romance and Smashwords use multiple formats and the book will be available as an ePub, mobi, prc, and PDF document (ie: if you have any kind of e-Reader, there will be a format available for it on Wednesday) . Thank you for being so understanding and have a wonderful day. ;-)
P.S. The paperback should be available before the end of the month. ;-)

The beautiful cover above, designed by the wonderful Tamra Westberry, will accompany  this hot and heavy second novel in The Ties That Bind Trilogy. Obviously with Amazon and Barnes & Noble being the way they are, the novel probably won't show up on those venues until Tuesday, the 6th, but I will include links to Smashwords and All Romance, which will make the novel immediately available for purchase. I am very excited and can't wait until it is released. That's my big news for the week before Election Day.

In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend and continue to read! ;-)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wicked After Dark Blog Hop Begins!

Explore more bloggers here!

Well, it's that time again and there are lovely Halloween prizes to win that definitely go bump in the night. I am offering both Mortal Death and The Supernaturals Collection Number One as prizes in the new blog hop. Who could resist vampires and werewolves? Plus it's perfect for the season and little paranormal naughtiness never hurt anyone, have they?

The prizes are as follows:

So, what do you have to do to enter? Well look below to find out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 15, 2012

A few changes in the Book Schedule...

After a very successful and very fun blog hop, I thought I should update my book release schedule. I need to update them in the tab section as well but I have been spending a lot of time revamping old books, writing new ones and generally being my own one person business. I need an assistant (and should be getting one too) but until then, here is the schedule:

Cling to Darkness (The Supernaturals)

Atonement, A Novel (The Atonement series) Contemporary Romance
Killing Desire (The Ties That Bind Trilogy) 

Queen of the Immortals
The Dusk of Darkness (The Supernaturals)

As you can see, the list is a bit thin on the ground but it is a lot of long hours working on two full length novels at once and as you can see, I am drifting more and more towards contemporary romance/romantic suspense.

Does that mean I won't be doing paranormal? I will still write paranormal but it will take a backseat to my contemporary romance and romantic suspense books. As you can see, nothing much changes. My stories will be as edgy as ever (if not edgier) and I will still write books that some people will love and others will lament is "throwaway garbage their fourteen year old could defecate out in five minutes". 

I do this because I LOVE writing and the fans I've made along the way. The money is nice but without you gals and guys to read my material, this wouldn't be nearly as fun to do. Thank you again for all your support and have a wonderful week!

BONUS: Leave a comment telling me which book you are looking forward to the most and I will send you a free novella of your choice! Don't forget to leave an email address and tell me whether you have a Kindle, Nook, iPad or other type of e-reader device!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hot In Handcuffs Blog Hop!

Keep Blog Hopping by Clicking Here!

I am extremely excited to be a part of the Hot in Handcuffs Blog Hop! As a participant, I am offering two of my steamy erotic romance books to the pot! Three lucky winners will win free copies of the following books:

Both are steamy as hell and filled with sexy good times but if you are looking for a bit more hardcore BDSM then please feel free to check out my new novel, Killing Time (now on sale for $2.99 at Amazon for a Limited Time), available at all the usual e-retailers! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Indie Writer Ethan Jones takes over!

Mr. Jones, the author behind the exciting thriller novel,  Arctic Wargame has taken over my blog and he wants to tell you all about his new release coming up: Tripoli's Target! Don't forget to leave a comment and you will automatically be entered in a contest where several copies of Tripoli's Target will be given away courtesy of Mr. Jones!


Justin Hall and Carrie O’Connor, Canadian Intelligence Service Agents, find themselves in lawless North Africa on the trail of an assassination plot. The target is the US President, and the hit is scheduled to take place during a G-20 summit in Libya’s capital, Tripoli. But the source of their information is the deceitful leader of one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the area. Ambushes and questionable loyalties turn an already difficult mission into a dark maze of betrayal and misdirection.

Forced to return to Tripoli, Justin and Carrie dig up new intelligence pointing to a powerful Saudi prince bankrolling the assassination plan. What’s worse, Justin and Carrie realize something crucial is very, very wrong with their plan. The summit is only forty-eight hours away and they still have to stop the Saudi prince, dismantle the assassination plot, and save the life of Tripoli’s target.

Tripoli’s Target promises to take the reader through a great story as it becomes the next international bestseller. Fans of David Baldacci, Vince Flynn, and Daniel Silva will love this high-octane spy thriller.


“An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat
an army of lions led by a sheep.”

“It is better to die in revenge than to live on in shame.”
Arab proverbs


Tripoli, Libya
May 13, 6:15 p.m. local time

Satam, the driver of the fifth suicide truck bomb, turned onto Ar Rashid Street, merging with the warm evening traffic. He rubbed his sweaty palms against his short khaki pants, his gaze glued to the silver BMW Suburban in front of him. He heaved a wheezing sigh and tapped on the brake pedal. A red traffic light halted the five-vehicle convoy.
A stream of cars rushed through the intersection leading to the business district of downtown Tripoli. Tall skyscrapers rose over most of the city’s old colonial-style buildings. The green and gold banner of Jacobs Properties—one of the major British real estate developers in Libya—beamed from atop the glass-and-steel façade of the newly finished Continental Hotel. The same logo had been painted hastily on the left side of the BMW packed with Semtex explosives. Walid, its driver and a Jacobs subcontractor, had exchanged his blue coveralls for a business suit and the promise of martyrdom.
A glance at the dashboard clock told Satam the synchronized explosion would take place in ten minutes. The thought of the coming carnage drained the last drop of courage from his heart. He rolled down the window, but the humid air—blended with the aroma of fried falafel, onions, and lamb donairs from a nearby street vendor—made him nauseated. He gasped for air, sticking his head out of the window. He coughed and struggled to catch his breath. The drivers in the other vehicles shot him curious glares. Behind the truck, the driver of an old Mercedes honked his horn twice. Satam swallowed hard and wiped the sweat off his narrow forehead. He waved at his audience to show them he was doing all right.
“Satam, what’s the matter, brother?” the radio set on the dashboard crackled. He recognized Walid’s gruff voice.
Satam looked at the BMW. His watery eyes met the reflection of the driver’s face in the rear-view mirror of the Suburban. The driver’s usual wicked smirk stretched his lips, revealing his large buckteeth. Walid waved his hands wildly. Satam could not see behind Walid’s black aviator shades but assumed his eyes were ablaze with rage.
“Nothing’s wrong. Just needed some air,” Satam replied over the radio.
He rolled up the window before Walid could scold him with another howl.
“Great. Now that you’ve closed the window, open your eyes!” Walid barked. “You’re not a coward like the infidels, are you?”
Satam shook his head.
A third voice came on air before he could say anything.
“Cousin, I pledged my honor so you could be a part of this mission. Don’t you back down now!” Satam’s cousin said. He was driving the Toyota at the head of the convoy.
Satam sighed and paused for a couple of seconds. “I’m not backing down. You can trust me. I will not disappoint you or the brotherhood.”
“That’s my flesh and blood who is soon to be a martyr,” said the cousin in a relaxed tone. “Our families will be proud of us, and our reward will be glorious.”
“It’s easy for you to say, since tonight you’ll be welcomed to paradise,” Satam said.
He noticed the traffic lights changing and stepped cautiously on the gas pedal. The truck jerked forward a few inches before the ride turned smooth again.
“Won’t take long before you join us there,” Walid said.
“Yes, but not before being dragged through the secret police hellish cells…” Satam’s voice trailed off.
“Allah will give you strength, cousin, and soon he’ll take you home.”
“He will, brother, he will.” Walid revved the BMW’s twelve-cylinder engine. “For sure, I’m going to miss this ride.”
“There will be plenty of rides up there to keep you and everyone else busy,” the cousin said with a quiet laugh. “Now may Allah be with us all. Over and out.”
Walid nodded and turned left toward the Continental Hotel.
Satam’s destination, the Gold Market, was to the right. He steered in that direction. He zigzagged through a few crooked streets and slowed down when reaching the Old City. The blacktop disappeared, and the uneven gravel crackled under the tires. Old cars, horse carts, and pedestrians came into view, along with whitewashed stores selling gold and jewelry. The streets narrowed into barely a single lane.
Satam rolled down the window for sideways glances to avoid brushing against planters, chairs, and vendors selling all kinds of junk. A stomach-churning stench from days old fish, fried grease, and sweat overwhelmed him. Satam felt his head grow heavy, and he hit the brakes.
The street vendors lost no time peddling their wares. A crowd of young boys swarmed his truck. He yelled and shoved away a few of the bravest salesmen waving handfuls of souvenirs in his face. He kept brushing away the hagglers, when suddenly a pointed metal object was shoved against his forearm. Startled, Satam withdrew his arm inside the cabin. He glanced at one of the boys holding a string of scimitar replicas, the sword tribesmen in North Africa carried in ancient times. The curved blade was dull with a rounded point to prevent accidental stabs. Still, the swift jab at his forearm summoned awful visions of the future.
He saw himself hanging upside down in a dark, grim dungeon, tied to the ceiling beams, while three secret police agents “interrogated” him. They would use various methods to “jog” his memory and break his psyche. Sleep deprivation and intimidation by police dogs were just the welcome package. Other techniques included breaking fingers and simulated suffocation with plastic wraps and water boarding. I will tell them everything right away before they even touch me. He struggled to wipe the vivid images from his mind.
Satam slammed on the truck’s horn to clear a path through the crowd. The blaring horn startled him more than the boys and the occasional onlookers. He glanced at the dashboard, realizing he had less than two minutes to reach the busy marketplace square five blocks away. It will be impossible to make it on time.
He blasted the horn again and stepped on the gas. The truck moved slowly, and Satam wrestled to make a left turn. The alley grew wider. The truck sped up, its wheels dipping and climbing in and out of the potholes. He rushed straight ahead, inches away from oncoming taxis, their honks protesting his unsafe speed. A few sidewalk vendors dove out of the way, their overflowing baskets of bananas and grapes spilling all over the place. Tires screeched as he turned right, jumping the curb and narrowly missing a large bronze planter outside a soap store.
The Mediterranean Sea was now visible to his right, through palm trees, coffee shops, and fruit vendor stands. Satam stared ahead at the wide square, one of the busiest markets in El Mina, the ancient city. The bazaar rumbled with vendors squabbling over a few dinars with tight-fisted tourists. I made it. Yes, I made it. He turned his gaze to the left, toward Tripoli’s skyline, and slowed down before parking the truck in front of a small restaurant. He took a deep breath and dabbed at his forehead with the back of his hand, wiping off a sea of sweat.
The dashboard radio crackled and he picked up the receiver.
“Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!” The loud voice echoed over the radio. Satam recognized Walid’s shouts.
A second later, a loud explosion rocked the entire square. Satam’s gaze spun toward the business district, where a cloud of grayish smoke billowed around the Continental Hotel. Chaos erupted among the street vendors who scattered and forgot about their produce and the evening’s clients. The patrons of coffee shops rushed to the streets, staring in disbelief at the sight. Cries of hysteria overtook the growing crowd. Elderly women beat their heads and chests with clenched fists. Young men pointed and shouted, their bodies restless. The sharp siren of an ambulance sliced through the cacophony of terror.
With a quick movement of his wrist, Satam consulted his watch. Just as the digits registered 6:31, another explosion shocked the crowd. This time, the bomb hit closer, much closer, merely five blocks away. From inside his parked truck, Satam looked at the bright yellow glow of the blast. High flames leapt at a ten-story office building. A thick cloud of black smoke began to swallow up the tower. The crowd broke into smaller groups. People scurried in all directions. Some ran back to their shops and apartments. Others simply circled the area, perhaps unsure of the safe way out.
Satam knew his time had come. He revved the engine and stomped on the gas pedal. The truck arrowed toward the vendors’ tables. The market was mostly empty, and the truck crashed into crates of fish, baskets of grapes, and barrels of olive oil. Produce scattered everywhere as the truck rampaged through plastic tables and chairs.
A police truck zipped toward him. Satam steered around, not to escape, but to meet the approaching vehicle. The two policemen in the truck ignored Satam. They were going to drive past him, but Satam swerved hard. The right fender of his truck smashed into the left side of the police truck. The police truck jerked to the other side. He pulled over and stopped less than thirty feet away. The other policeman rolled down the window. Satam stared at the muzzle of an AK-47 assault rifle.
“Don’t shoot. Don’t shoot,” Satam shouted and opened his door.
A quick burst of bullets sent him ducking for cover in the front seat. A shower of glass shreds fell over his head.
They’re going to kill me before I even have a chance to open my mouth. Or one of the bullets will blow up the truck. I can’t let that happen.
He looked at the back of the truck. Thirty pounds of Semtex explosives wired into a homemade bomb were stored inside the seat compartments. He noticed the cellphone on the floor mat by his left hand. He reached for the phone. All it would take for him to set off the explosives—and pulverize himself and the policemen—was to tap three preset numbers. His fingers hovered over the phone, but he remembered his family’s honor and the reward waiting for him in paradise. He dropped the phone to the floor, buried his head in the seat, and locked his fingers behind his head.
A minute or so passed before the shooting stopped, but the screaming continued. At some point, he heard the distinct thuds of combat boots marching down the street. The police were approaching his truck. He looked up slowly as a policeman pulled open the driver’s door of his truck and aimed an AK-47 at his head
“Don’t move!” the policeman ordered.
Satam nodded.
Without a word, the policeman juggled the rifle in his hands and slammed its buttstock hard against Satam’s head.

Available Now on Amazon!


Ethan Jones is the author of Arctic Wargame—the first spy thriller in the Justin Hall series, released in May 2012, and Tripoli’s Target—the second book in this series, released on October 4, 2012. He has also published several short stories. Ethan is a lawyer by trade. He lives in Canada with his wife and son.


My blog: http://ethanjonesbooks.wordpress.com is the place to learn about my future works, to enjoy exclusive book reviews and author interviews.

I love readers' feedback. They can get in touch with me via e-mail at this address: fictionwriter78@yahoo.com  I promise to write to each and every one of them.

My works can be found here:

Don't forget to leave a comment to automatically be entered for a free copy of Tripoli's Target. Ethan is also running a free promo on Arctic Wargame on Amazon on October 9th through 11th. On the 11th, we'll announce the winners of the contest of Tripoli's Target!