Novels & Shorts

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Before the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, a border war was raging between Kansas and Missouri. Bleeding Kansas pitted neighbor against neighbor and spiked hatred and distrust from Baxter Springs to Lawrence. 

Only one thing would bring Bushwhacker Creighton Blaylock across the Kansas border. His son was missing and a pack of love letters and a map brought him to the farm and into the gunsights of Caroline Cassett, widow of a Jayhawk commander. One sentence changes everything and turns natural enemies into uneasy allies:

“If you'll pardon my language, I think our damn fool kids may have run off together.”

As Creighton and Caroline chase the young lovers across the war-scarred countryside toward Lawrence, the fireflies aren’t the only things sparking in the August twilight. Unfortunately, Quantrill’s Raiders have a different kind of fire in mind.


The distinctive sound of the hammers locking on a double-barrel shotgun told him he wasn’t alone. Raising his hands he said, “Whoever you are, I mean you no harm. I’m looking for the Cassett place.”

“You found it. At least what’s left of it. If you’re looking for pickings, you’re too late. Bushwhackers have been here and gone.”

The feminine voice surprised him. Without thinking, he turned around.

“You looking to die? Keep those hands where I can see them.”

“No Ma’am, actually, I’m looking for my son. My name is Creighton Blaylock.”

The woman stepped into the light. Spilling from under a wide-brimmed straw hat, the streaks of gold glinting in her auburn hair reminded him of the surface of a river in the sunlight. Before he could muse any more, her voice came sharp and keen across the small yard.

“That name means nothing to me. I say again, keep your hands up and tell me what you want.”

He didn’t know what to think. After coming home yesterday and finding his son Jacob gone, he’d torn apart the boy’s bureau drawers and found a wooden lockbox containing letters signed Love Emma, and a hand-drawn map that brought him to this farm on the Kansas side of the border.

“Do you know an Emma Cassett?”

She snapped the shotgun up to her shoulder as fast and true as any battle-hardened veteran he’d ever seen.  Her finger was still outside the trigger guard, so he relaxed a bit.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

“Mr. Blaylock, you can tell me right now how you know my daughter, you can get the hell out of here, or I can drop you where you stand. Those are your choices.”

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Set in the post-apoc world of Sand. by Hugh Howey.

The sand and the wind were the same, but the world wasn't. Things started to change after the discovery of the lost city of Danvar. The riches recovered from deep under the sand built fortunes for those with the power and will to stake claims and protect them. 

Money built society and the world grew rules and laws. Divers descended from roughnecks and pirates now worked for contractors. They still risked everything, but for wages and shares, rather than for freedom and plunder. Cane and Jones, tired of starving in the Springston ruins, arrived in KayCee with one goal, to go to work for Grayson Krell, the boss of the best diving crew in the territory. 

The guys thought they had it made, but the sand wasn't done giving up its secrets yet. In the crush of trying to stay alive, no one had asked a fundamental question – did anyone else survive the war?


The trip from the ruins of Springston to KayCee was almost straight east and the prevailing wind hadn’t disappointed. It drove sand into every crack, crevice, and seam of Jones and Cane’s clothing.

“Shit. Who thought this was a good idea?” Cane used his thumbnail to scrape the caked drift off his goggles.
“That would be you my friend.”
“Jonesy you’re right as usual, but it was either a belly full of sand or a belly full of nothing. There’s no diving in the Springston dunes until the vortex season moves on and the way things have been going that could be any time between two weeks and forever. It’s never lasted this long.”
Jones didn’t say anything as he shook out his ker into one of the cracks in the splintered wood floor of the roadhouse. They’d traded a coin for two brews and a plate of gray sausage and fried taters that chewed like the leather of his boots. Even though he was starved, he nibbled slowly at a slice. As long as they had food and drink on the table the barkeep wouldn’t throw them back out into the wind.  
Cane did the same, taking delicate sips of his beer even though both were drier than a second-hand sermon. “Who are we supposed to see about work?”
Fishing a faded paper scrap from his inside pocket, he read the spidery scrawl. “His name is Krell. Grayson Krell. The man who gave me the information said he’s the one to see about contract diving and brokering artifacts in these parts.”
“You know Jones, that reading and scribbling thing you do might have some value in a place like this. It might be worth some trade.”
“Not enough paper or writing lead left to make it useful. My aunt had this little bit in her treasure box. She’ll curse me when she finds out I took it, but I wanted to make sure we had the names and directions to get here.”

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Attorney Juliana Martin is on the run after a battalion of cops armed with warrants swarm the family firm. When the law catches up with her, they offer an impossible choice. She can partner with the FBI to set up and betray a client or she can watch her father go down for capital murder. 

For Special Agent Ethan Price, this mission is his ticket out of Texas and an escape from the train wreck of his personal life. With his brooding good looks and Springsteen smile, this assignment seemed easy enough on paper: get the money, get the client, and maybe even get the girl. 

What they didn’t know is they were burned before they’d even put Dallas in the rear view mirror. 

“I want out.”
I squared my shoulders and said it louder. “I’m finished. I want out of the firm.”
A loud honk told me the light had turned green. I hit the gas and made the short sprint to the next corner. Usually the downtown traffic made me crazy, but I was in no hurry today. I was telling my dad that I quit. He and his law firm could do their deals without me mopping up after the billionaire clients and their equally obnoxious offspring. I was tired of being his cleaner.
After a sharp turn the wrong way down the alley, I parked in the trash-strewn vacant lot. The garage attached to our office building had been under construction for months and I’d made a deal with the owner to park here. So far, all he’d charged me was getting a nephew out of a marijuana jackpot. Given the price of parking in Dallas, that was cheap.
I grabbed my briefcase and picked my way through the beer bottles and burger wrappers to a hidden door leading to the garage elevator. I’d already ruined my favorite pair of Manolos in this mess and had no desire for a repeat. At least the elevator was still running. When the job boss gave me the key, he said that until we were out of dutch with the city it was technically closed down, so keep it quiet. The price? One DUI. To avoid walking around the block to the front door, it was worth a couple of phone calls.
I’m used to barter. It’s what I do.  
The door slid open at three, where my office was located. Since I wasn’t officially on the letterhead at Dad’s law firm, I insisted on being separate from the sixth-floor suite. Plus, I didn’t like it upstairs, with the Texas hair and two-thousand-dollar boots. I did my best work when I could blend into the background.