Friday, March 9, 2012

The Willing Blog Tour: Guest Post (Sneak Peek) by C.S. Splitter

Finally Friday!  Things have been on a downward spiral for us lately--our furnace called it quits, my husband's grandmother is gravely ill, I came down with a virus or something...  It's one of those "one-thing-after-another" times around here.  But, if anything can cheer me up, it's a little Splitter!!!  (And the fact that my husband and I are taking a weekend trip ALONE!!! Woohoo!)


I am thrilled to host one of my all-time favorite guys for his latest blog tour.  I was a beta reader for The Willing, and you can go back and catch my review HERE.

Time for me to hush and turn the floor over to Mr. Splitter.  Enjoy! :-)

Cassie and I have been involved in a few firsts.  She was the first person to interview me “on air” on JournalJabber.  She has also been known to be the first person to publish reviews of my books at different retailers.

Today, I am releasing the FIRST sneak peak of my third book and I cannot think of any better place to do that than Gathering Leaves.

The first book in the Crayder Chronicles, The Reluctant, introduced us to Tom Crayder in all of his “mannish” glory.  It was also the first time anyone met the mysterious Lorena.  The Willing was the follow-up released last November and in it, Lorena got a lot more “screen time.”

When the first book went free on Amazon in January, it shot up their lists.  Then, it did it again in February and Amazon put a $.99 price on it.  There are now over 25,000 copies of it out there and the emails are rolling in.  The number one figure that people want to know more about is Lorena.

I find her interesting, too.  She is as much of a favorite to me as Tom Crayder.  She is so deep and enigmatic that I decided to take a departure from Tom's story and write a book about Lorena's time before she met him.  Many questions about her past are going to be answered in this book.

How did she become part of “The Organization?”
How did she acquire her skills?
What drove her to become the person that she is?

Here is one part of one answer.  If you have read the first two books, you know that Lorena has several identities that she assumes when the need arises.  Tom knows her as Lorena.  Sheriff Lloyd knows her as Amy.  Tiny knows her as Agent Anderson from the DEA.  Her real name is Eileen Thompson.

In this scene, two police detectives have shown up at the door of her Florida home.  O'Rourke is a young gun and Chavez is the older, paunchy partner.

Fair warning: This is a first draft and has not come under the loving care of my editor, Tricia Kristufek.  It may be chock-full-o-errors and it may change slightly, but here it is:

O'Rourke looked like he wanted to say something, but stopped himself and followed his partner inside.  Once Eileen closed the door, he said, “You are Eileen Thompson, correct?  When was the last time you spoke to Mrs. Finley?”

“Yes.  Yesterday at about 11 a.m.  Why?  Is she all right?”

“Maybe you should sit down, Ms. Thompson.”  The way Chavez said it did not make Eileen's knees feel any stronger.

“How bad?” she asked.

O'Rourke looked at Chavez whose eyes turned very sad.  “I am afraid she's dead,” the big man said.

Eileen put a hand against the closed door to steady herself.  “Oh, God.  Maybe I should sit down.”  Both men moved to the side to allow her to pass.

She sat on the sofa and stared at the blank television screen.  “How?”

O'Rourke and Chavez moved to a respectful distance, but did not sit.  The younger man answered her.  “We think she surprised a burglar.  He got in through a broken window.  She was beaten pretty badly and then strangled.”

Eileen could almost see Amy's face on the darkened screen.  “Where was her husband?” she asked and then turned to look at her visitors.  “Where was Eddie?”

Chavez took up the interview.  “Why would you ask about her husband?”

“He hit her.  I saw the bruises.  Usually, it wasn't in the face, but he did that too.  You could tell by the amount of makeup she wore.  Amy didn't need makeup.  She always had an explanation, but she was graceful, not clumsy.”

Chavez pulled up the front of his slacks and sat on the edge of a nearby chair.  “What did you two talk about yesterday?”

She returned her stare to the television. “We were supposed to meet for lunch and she called to cancel.  She said that Eddie needed her at a business meeting, but I figured he hurt her too badly to cover up.  It had to be him.”

Chavez shook his head. “He was at a conference yesterday afternoon.  We already checked his phone and hers.  He called her from a hotel restaurant at 10:30 in the morning and didn't leave the hotel until after 7 p.m.  We have snippets of security video of him there until then.  Mrs. Finley died sometime before 2 p.m.  He called her several times before he got home and he placed the 911 call at 10:22 p.m.  It wasn't him.”

Eileen fixed the fat man with a hard stare. “It was him.”

Chavez looked at the snow globe from Paris and hesitated like he was sorry for what he was about to say.  “Where were you yesterday afternoon, Ms. Thompson?”

Eileen actually giggled at the implied accusation.  “I was an hour north of here at a client's home taking care of her pampered pooches.  Then I went directly to another client and then another after that.  I got back here just after 6 p.m.  Here.”  She took a folder from the coffee table and handed it to O'Rourke who stepped forward to take it.

He opened the folder and flipped through the receipts and paperwork.  He looked at Chavez.  “Mobile vet services for the rich.  Good idea.  Totally the opposite direction.  When this checks out, it will put her too far away.”

“Good,” Chavez said.  He smiled weakly at Eileen. “Please understand, we have to check out everyone.  I hope you don't take offense; we are just trying to find out who hurt your friend.”

“It was Eddie.”  Eileen was as sure of it as she was of the cool metal pressed against her back.

Chavez nodded his head.  “We will look into that, but we don't have any prior record of violence against Mrs. Finley.  Now—tell us about the conversation you had with her yesterday.”

“She was upset; I could hear it in her voice.  She apologized and got off the phone pretty quick.”

“Did it sound like someone was with her?”

Eileen had to admit that she could not be sure, but Amy had not whispered or sounded like someone was holding a knife to her throat.

Chavez studied her for several seconds.  “What was Mr. Finley like in person?  How did he treat you?”

“We never actually met.”  Eileen did not elaborate further.  It might have seemed strange that two women could be friends for so long without meeting significant others, but since Eileen did not have a significant other, a double date was out of the question.  And, Amy had joked with her that if Eddie found out that Eileen was a lesbian, he would hound her for a threesome.  That had led to the awkward moment in the bathroom when Amy suggested it might not be the worst idea he had ever had.

O'Rourke moved to stand in front of the television.  “Can you think of anyone who might have had an axe to grind with her?”

“Amy?  No way.  Everyone loves Amy.  If there was a charity to be supported, she was always there with a check.  Always smiling.  That's the way she is.  Was.”

“Well,” Chavez grunted as he stood, “I think that's all for now.”  He pulled a business card from his coat pocket and handed it to Eileen.  “If you think of anything else, call us.”

“Did they steal anything?” Eileen asked as she accepted the card.

O'Rourke answered, “A couple laptops and some cash, as far as we know.”

“The ring.”  Eileen held up her hand and wriggled her index finger.  “She had a ring she always wore on her right hand.  Rubies and diamonds.  It had to be worth forty or fifty grand and I never saw her without it.”

Chavez pulled a small notebook from his shirt pocket and flipped through it.  “She was still wearing the ring when the patrol units arrived.  Why?”

“Isn't that sort of strange, detective?  Why would a burglar leave a ring like that?  Eddie makes a lot of money and Amy had a lot of jewelry.  Why pass up jewelry for computers?”

O'Rourke reached the front door and turned the knob to leave.  “Criminals are stupid sometimes, Ms. Thompson.  Sorry for your loss.”

Chavez followed behind him rubbing his chin.  “We'll call you when we have something.  Sorry for your loss.”

Eileen closed the door behind them and rested her forehead against it.  “Sorry for your loss,” she whispered to the cold steel, but she never cried.

I cannot wait to have book three in my hands!  Thanks so much for stopping in today and sharing this little snippet of Lorena's story.  

Now, here's more about The Crayder Chronicles and where you can find Splitter (and Tom):

The Reluctant:

Action, adventure, suspense, and thriller in one story told with a liberal dose of humor.

Tom’s problems are not unique. His business is failing and his wife has to work too many hours to make ends meet. He is under some rather large financial pressures and wants more from his marriage and his life.

He finds his respite in the air as a private pilot. Unfortunately for Tom, he is behind on payments for his plane and is forced to take odd jobs from a local crime boss. Tom is no criminal, but the errands he is running are just slightly on the wrong side of the law and the money is almost good enough to allow him to make his plane payments.

Just as things begin to come under some semblance of control, he meets a woman who just might represent the adventure he seeks. He soon discovers that appearances, and beautiful women, can sometimes be deceiving.

The Reluctant is the first in the Crayder Chronicles series and yet is a stand alone story with a satisfying conclusion of its own.

The Willing:

Book Two in The Crayder Chronicles

How far would you go to protect your friends and family?

Tom Crayder is the All-American guy next door with a business, a wife, a son, a mortgage, and an expensive hobby. He is also a politically incorrect, wisecracking operative working for a shadowy organization dedicated to administering justice outside of a broken system. Not even his wife knows of his other life when she finds herself unwittingly involved in a drug war.

Strap in with Tom as he navigates his way through the strata of a drug cartel. Lock and load with Lorena, a hard-hearted assassin, as she lends her deadly skills to Tom’s fight for his family. Sit back to watch Tom and Lorena figure out how to work together without killing each other.

Join the rest of the cast from The Reluctant (Crayder Chronicles 1) as they pitch in to track down the hitmen that threaten their associate.

Some mysteries are solved. Some questions are answered. Some live. Some die.

C.S. Splitter is a business man, author, and stand-up philosopher living in rural Maryland with his beautiful wife, small dog, and astonishingly large cat. He is an avid shooter and loves being 5000 feet above the ground, upside down, in an open cockpit.

He will never again jump out of a perfectly good airplane and feels the need to color outside of the lines.

Splitter's Amazon Author Page:

SplittersWorld Blog:

Twitter: @SplitterCS

Have a fabulous weekend!!!  See you again soon!