Ever play "Name That Tune?" Well, here's your opportunity to do just that, with a chance to win a personalized e-Book of my supernatural time-travel horror-thriller, Velvet Rain. I'm giving away one e-Book, and I'll personalize it with a special page just for you—you can even tell me what you want it to say. As a bonus, the winner will receive a $5.00 Amazon gift card!
How to enter:
1. Read the excerpt from Velvet Rain (below).
2. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with NTT as the subject line.
3. In your email, answer the following question:
What song is playing during this scene?
Entry deadline: Saturday, March 7, 2020, 11:59 pm EST
I'll announce the winner on (or around) Sunday, March 8, 2020. A big thanks goes out to all entrants, and good luck!
Stuff I need to clarify: (you know, that legal crap)
* Only one e-Book and one $5.00 Amazon gift card will be given away to one winner.
* Only correct answers are eligible to win.
* Only one entry per email address of each entrant is allowed. Duplicate email addresses will be disqualified.
* Only one winner from eligible entrants will be selected as the prize winner in a random drawing.
* Giveaway is open only to countries with valid Amazon online shopping websites.
Excerpt from Velvet Rain:
Now the cheating prick had drawn a knife.
Probably shouldn’t have kicked him in the balls, Kain Richards thought. Especially since the fat man’s burly friend here had him tied up in a full nelson. It hurt like hell, but it was nothing compared to that spike of static driving right through that splitting headache he had. It felt as if it were cutting into his brain like some impossible electric blade.
“Hold him, Cal. Hold that goddamn drifter.”
It wasn’t the fat man who spoke; he stood silently holding his balls, holding the knife. One of Cal’s buddies had piped up. All of a sudden, the bar was just crawling with rats.
The fat man eyed the drifter squarely, still wincing from the throb in his jewels. He seemed to hesitate, then drove his steel-toed boot into Kain’s groin.
Kain swallowed the agony. He’d endured far worse than these boys could dish out, and he wasn’t about to give them the satisfaction. His lips slid into a cockeyed grin.
Outside the packed roadhouse—this stinking pisshole that stank like all the others—the thunderstorm raged. Somewhere down that cold and lonely road that had brought them here, lightning struck a power line, and the lights flickered.
“No more tricks,” the fat man said. From the harried look on his chubby face, it was clear he was trying to get a grip on what the hell had happened here tonight. Trying not to lose that grip.
Kain glanced at the pretty redhead in the booth beside the coin-op pool table. Her face was ashen, her head down, a hand cupped to her abdomen. She’d been drinking heavily, and while it was possible her bouts of nausea were a result of overindulgence, he knew better. Like most of the others here, she was suffering from some of the side-effects of his magic—just a small part of the nastiness of the Turn.
A waitress was on her knees beside the woman, cleaning up the redhead’s vomit. The fat man had slipped in it, his cue almost breaking his fall, and when he had hit the floor in that little spiral the way he had, looking like some overweight stripper round a pole, half the place had exploded in drunken laughter.
Sweat beaded the fat man’s forehead. One tiny bead slipped along his sunburned skin, skin that had, until tonight, been utterly pasty. His puzzled eyes—yellowed and bloodshot, like so many of the others now—lingered on the strange thin scars on Kain’s temples.
“Cut him,” someone said. It wasn’t Cal, but what did it matter.
Kain studied the fat man. The guy didn’t look like he had it in him. No, he wasn’t really thinking about cutting him. The poor bastard was just messed up, wondering how things had gotten so crazy, so quickly. Wondering what was real anymore. What was real.
“Do it,” Cal said.
Despite the nelson driving his head down at an insufferable angle, Kain could see Cal’s bulging forearms plainly enough. Sunburned, just like the fat man’s face; like the fat man’s hands. Like most of the others. He supposed he should have been thankful for dim lights and drink. Either no one noticed, or no one cared.
Still … he knew better than to use the Turn. Turning back time was rarely a good idea, certainly not for something so frivolous as to give him second chances at shots he’d blown shooting stick. And as the lone long-haired freak in a joint full of stone-drunk hicks and big-boned bad asses, it probably wasn’t the brightest one.
“Do it, goddamnit,” Cal said.
The fat man drew closer and brought the tip of the blade to Kain’s chin. “I want what’s mine, sir.”
Sir, Kain thought. How down-home respectable. And here he was, shitting where the man ate.
He eyed the name tag stitched on the man’s wrinkled brown jacket. Owner-operator of Most Truck For Your Buck, Ron was a regular one-rig shipping magnate from Willow Springs, a lovely place Ron’d called “the best of the best” of this fine state of Missouri. The guy had been a pretty good egg, with an honest smile and an honest laugh; had been kind enough to pick him up in that miserable rain, even buy him the first round. But the fact was, a good dozen beers in and getting squeezed by his hustle, he had wanted to level the cheating prick.
Oh, yes. He’d been a mark from the get-go, the guy sharking him at just the right moments. A cough here, some chatter there, just enough to distract him. Before he knew it he’d fallen into a forty-dollar hole, and instead of taking it up the ass any deeper, he’d clawed his way back and was up twenty. But now the guy was on to him. Ol’ Ron knew he’d been hustled, and from the look on his sorry mug, probably had some crazy ideas on just how that had happened—ideas that were making him question his sanity.
Kain cursed himself. He should have bolted when he’d had the chance. How many times had he Turned? Small wonder his head was pounding. And what the hell was that damn static? It was coming in fits now, like a circling pack of wild, growling dogs.
Dizzied, he held dead still against the tip of the knife. The smoky air sickened, but didn’t he crave a cigarette, suddenly. Still, after all these years. He didn’t really want one, of course, but what he wouldn’t do to ease the agony in his head.
He looked to the barkeep in the slim hope of a hand. The man regarded the goings-on with but a cursory glance, clearly more concerned with that looker at the end of the bar, chatting her up the way he was. In fact, save this intimate little gathering near the pool table, most of this questionable clientele seemed entirely disinterested. Not good.
“Come on,” Cal said, pressing the nelson. “Bleed this cheatin’ bastard.”
Here we go, Kain thought. Over the edge. Over a couple of sawbucks.
The fat man seemed to panic, then slit him with a quick flick of the blade. It stung. Blood dribbled down his throat to his chest. The nelson tightened, that throb in his neck crushing like a boatload of bricks coming down on him. If the Turn had given Cal a case of the body aches, he sure wasn’t showing it. The man was a bull.
Kain shook it off. He looked up past the knife, past the looker, to the glowing GUYS AND DOLLS sign that led to the restrooms. There was a jukebox on the way, a big rounded Wurlitzer, “Big Bad John” blaring out of its speakers for what must have been the tenth time tonight. Jimmy Dean had been all over the radio these days, would likely hit the top of the charts, and while the man had undoubtedly penned a great song, by this—the twenty-seventh of October, 1961, the biting wind howling hell’s breath beyond the gloom of this place—Kain had pretty much had his fill. And more than enough of this night.
“Twenty and we’re square, sir,” the trucker said, politely as sin. His voice held a touch of that approachable Missouri, but that honest smile had long since fled. His searching eyes narrowed. “I figure it’s likely more. But we can’t know for sure now, can we. Can we?”
At this the man glanced about to garner agreement. Not a word was spoken, but some of the patrons, the rats, mostly, seemed to concur. The eyes—sickly or not—never lie.
Kain capitulated with a nod. His long chestnut hair, cradling the shoulders of his weathered denim jacket, slipped down in front of his face. He held a menacing bad-boy look, and the looker, long since bored with the barkeep, stirred on her high bar stool. She bit down teasingly on her lower lip, handing him a breathless gaze with those perfect green gems. She had no idea how lucky she was; the redhead’s eyes were creepy little pissholes now.
“You win,” Kain said, feigning exasperation.
“No more tricks,” the fat man snapped. He drew the knife back with a step. Nodded to Cal.
Cal let Kain go, giving him a mild shove. “You’re one lucky fuck, drifter.”
Kain gathered himself. He had one chance to get out of this. He just hoped he had the juice.
With a small smile to the looker, he reached for his breast pocket in an innocent gesture of settling up, figuring to give Cal an elbow to the gut before he snatched up his knapsack and bolted for the exit. He was just about to when thunder rumbled and the place went black. Mild chaos turned to utter chaos when the lights didn’t come, and amid the ruckus of shouting, shuffling, and confusion, like a finely tuned magician, the audience astir, he summoned the magic ... and popped the rabbit out of the hat.
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