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Continue Your Beta Reads
In 2023, I’m working on two projects. First, a new novel, A Good Girl. Second, a novella that will be published in serial form, one chapter in each issue of InD’Tale magazine over ten months starting in May of 2023. Click the links below to read Chapter 2 of each story (and you can read Chapter 1 also if you missed it last month). I’m looking for some early feedback, so please send me a note with your impressions. Everyone who responds with comments will be entered into a drawing for prizes.
Help me get 100 reviews for Fatal Infraction!
All the other books in the Mike Stoneman Thriller series have 100+ reviews, but Fatal Infraction (my personal favorite) is stuck at 94. We need to fix that! If you have read Fatal Infraction and not yet posted an Amazon review, please post one! Here’s the link. If you have not read Fatal Infraction yet — use THIS LINK to download a free ebook or THIS ONE for a free audiobook so you can read/listen — and then post a review to Amazon! C’mon, Squad!
Paperbacks for the Squad — $12.00!
Special Paperback offer for the Squad! For members of the Squad, I will gladly send you an autographed paperback (US addresses only) of Dead Winner for the rock-bottom price of $12.00. You deserve it if you want a physical book. That’s less than the non-autographed price on Amazon or B&N. Send me an email (kevingchapman[at] gmail dot com), remind me that you’re a Squad member, and tell me how you’d like your book inscribed. (If you want additional copies as presents for others, I’ll be happy to enclose extra copies for you at the same price.)
Deleted Scene — Check out below the deleted prologue chapter. It’s not going to be in the actual book, but I hope you like it!
Chapter 1 — Breakers
ATLANTIC WAVES CRASHED rhythmically against the rough-hewn granite boulders the township planted along the shoreline to retard the pace of beach erosion. East Hampton was a popular summer beach house location for Wall Street millionaires. Allan Reilly’s Cape Cod-style cottage perched on the edge of a sandy dune at the end of a winding dirt road. Reilly usually valued the seclusion. Tonight, he wished he had closer neighbors.
“I give you credit, Al, you nearly pulled it off.”
Buster Altman leaned casually against an antique mahogany table. Buster was darkly featured, with bushy black eyebrows above brown eyes, a bulbous nose, and a square jaw. His broad shoulders and muscular chest and arms bulged under his thin sport jacket as he studied a smartphone, stroking the screen with practiced fingers covered with blue latex gloves.
Buster wasn’t looking at Reilly, who slumped forward in a high-backed chair perched in the middle of the cozy living room on a plush circular rug. His thick, mostly-gray hair was usually slicked back neatly, but now hung down in front of his partially-closed blue eyes. His wrists were bound to the chair’s polished arms with paisley silk neckties taken from his bedroom closet. The laces of his Gucci wingtips were tied around the chair’s front legs.
Buster’s companion, who had barely spoken since their arrival a half-hour earlier, reclined in a rocking chair. Like Buster, he resembled an NFL linebacker and sported a tailored jacket, dark slacks, and a black t-shirt. The two could pass as bouncers at a high-end nightclub. He kept half an eye on the man tied up in the chair while he typed with latex-covered fingers on a laptop computer. The creaking of the chair and the tapping of the keyboard were the only sounds mixing with the pulse of the surf at two-thirty on a Friday morning. He ceased rocking and looked up. “I found them, boss.”
“Departing tomorrow night – well, tonight – at ten-fifteen p.m. from JFK to Buenos Aires. Economy Plus. I’m emailing her ticket. You will be able to get it on his burner.”
Buster clicked his tongue disapprovingly. “Oh, Al. Not first class? I thought you loved her?”
“Go fuck yourself, Richard.” Reilly slurred as he struggled to raise his head, breathing heavily after the effort of insulting his captor. Reilly’s use of Buster’s disfavored given name had the desired effect. Buster snapped his head up from the phone’s screen and took a large stride toward the chair. Buster raised his hand, but caught himself. Leaving a mark on the old man’s face might rouse suspicion. He knew better.
“It must be nice, having a hot young thing like her in your bed so soon after your wife died. I get it. She’s so sweet, you just had to check out and whisk her away to Buenos Aires. Great destination. If it was just a quickie trip for some sex on the beach, nobody would care. All you had to do was stay in the game. But you had to clean out your accounts and put this amazing little love nest up for sale. That was careless. Jack can’t just let you walk away. But you knew that, didn’t you, Al.”
Reilly didn’t respond as his lids drooped.
Buster returned his attention to the phone. “These burners are great, Al, except you need to turn off the history on the texts or else somebody who has the device can see what you’ve been saying.” He reached for a half-empty bottle of Gosling’s 151 Black Seal rum resting on the little table. “Matt, I think Al is thirsty again.”
Matt closed the laptop and crossed the small room to retrieve the bottle from Buster. Positioning the chrome pouring spout in front of Reilly’s face, he pinched the man’s nose and waited for the inevitable inhale. When Reilly succumbed to the need for air, he jammed the nozzle between the older man’s teeth and forced his head back. The liquor streamed down his throat as Reilly gagged and choked, desperate for breath. Rivulets of dark liquid drained from the corners of Reilly’s mouth, onto his already stained shirt collar before Matt withdrew the bottle and allowed Reilly’s head to lurched forward. Reilly coughed and spit, but several ounces of the 75-percent alcohol spirit were starting their journey into his blood stream.
Buster opened a text box and typed:
CHANGE OF PLANS, DARLING. I NEED TO TAKE A LATER FLIGHT. YOU GO WITHOUT ME. WILL BE BETTER THIS WAY. I’LL MEET YOU AT THE HOTEL. YOUR TICKET IS ATTACHED. I LOVE YOU.
Buster attached the airline ticket to the text and pushed SEND.
“Don’t worry, Al, your girl will make it to Argentina. I’m sure she’ll meet some buff Latin lifeguard on the beach and live happily ever after. Hey, you got nine great months out of her. It’s a great way to go out.”
Reilly’s head lolled against his chest. Buster wasn’t sure if he had passed out. It didn’t matter at this point. He had enough booze in him to break the breathalyzer. Buster powered down the burner phone and slipped it into his jacket pocket. “Did you delete the emails with the tickets from the laptop?” he asked Matt.
“Yep. All done. I also changed the unlock code, since he had it written down. These old guys make it so easy. We wouldn’t want any curious cops snooping around in his files, right?” Matt smiled triumphantly.
Buster grunted his acknowledgement, then returned the rum bottle to its place on the glass-topped rolling bar in the corner. He and Matt removed the neckties from Reilly’s arms and allowed him to slump to the floor. While Matt guarded their charge, Buster carefully returned the ties to their places in the bedroom closet, then returned the chair to the nearby dining table. After patrolling the room, satisfied that it looked the same as when he arrived, Buster had Matt hoist Reilly’s limp body and carry it outside. Buster locked the door behind them.
Five minutes later, Reilly’s 2021 Audi S6 accelerated down the dirt road, its cruise control engaged at 50 MPH. The car failed to navigate the curve leading to the beach house, bounced across the rutted dune, and launched over the edge into the boulders as a wave washed over the mangled front end. Reilly, not wearing a seat belt, was thrown forward into the windshield. He died instantly.
Driving back toward Manhattan, Buster was confident that the autopsy would show Reilly’s blood alcohol level to have been well above the level of intoxication. There would be no criminal investigation. Jack would be pleased.
Deleted Scene from Fatal Infraction. If you have read Fatal Infraction, then you know Kristi Olson, sportswriter for The New York Times. Kristi deals with sexual harassment and discrimination based on being a female sportswriter. She is also deeply involved in rooting out the real story of racism among some of the players on Jimmy Rydell’s team. I wrote a chapter where Kristi receives a dramatic message from an anonymous person. The scene is based on the real-life experience of female sportswriter Lisa Olson. But, alas, my beta readers and editor (and wife) all agreed that the scene was really not necessary and was a bit distracting since it didn’t tie in directly to anything else in the story. So, it was cut in the editing process. You, as Whiteboard Squad members, get the first opportunity to read the DELETED SCENE. Click HERE to download the .zip file containing the WORD document. If you have any issues with the download, just contact me and as for the WORD file. I’m interested in your reactions.
The preview scene from book #5 — Perilous Gambit. The Advance Reader Copy of the new book did not include the preview of book #5 that will appear in the final Kindle, paperback, and hardcover editions. If you read the ARC, you didn’t get to read this — but I want everyone in the Squad to be among the first to see it. Click HERE to download the file for the Preview of book #5.