Genre: Supernatural Horror
Number of pages: 386
Word Count: 91,000
Cover Artist: Brianna Strawn
Sometimes, only bad guys can beat the Devil…
The plan is simple: get the money and deliver the car. What could possibly go wrong?
Things start to go south when Sam Drake realizes that his brother Johnny is hiding something, a secret about Sam’s troubled childhood that goes beyond his most feverish nightmares…
Then Johnny’s girlfriend, Ash, starts sending Sam the kind of mixed signals that can only lead to big trouble…
As the trio of small time crooks falls deeper into an abyss of betrayal and violence, they will discover that the greatest danger they face is not of this world.
With everything he believes about himself and the world around him shattered, Sam will become the unlikely champion in a battle with true evil, a fight to save a soul that has already been forfeited to darkness.
Available at Amazon
The silver barrel of the Colt .45 glimmered in Johnny’s hand. The obese clerk behind the counter held his arms up, eyes darting to each of our faces. His brown-stained, white t-shirt clung to his sweaty man tits. Moisture dripped off his scraggly goatee onto his protruding gut. The ceiling fan above him worked hard, trying to cool down the un-air-conditioned, Arizona shit-hole that smelled like armpits and rotting cheese. A large bullet hole from Johnny’s warning shot sat two feet from the clerk’s head, along with the standard wall of cigarettes and liquor bottles acting as a reminder of the poor bastard’s purpose in life.
Johnny’s smirking mouth twitched with excitement. He had a scary look in his eyes—a man possessed with rage.
Ash clung to him, her blond hair draped over his shoulder. Her hand gently palmed his shaved head as she leaned toward the side of his face.
She whispered something in his ear.
Butterflies sliced the inside of my stomach with razor wings. This wasn’t the way we did things. We were escalating. Normally, I kept everyone cool, levelheaded. All control had gone out the window.
Simple Bob behind the counter sobbed, looking terrified. Part of me felt pity for the guy, but it was too late to turn back. “I don’t wanna be a part of no trouble, now,” he said. “Why don’t y’all take what ya need and go? Please, I got a family.” He glared at Ash. Four kids.”
Johnny cackled. “Family? You hear this guy, Sammy? He’s got a fuckin’ family.” Johnny gestured toward me. “That’s my family over there. My little brother. I practically raised the pecker. Parents were killed… come to think of it—by a fat, drunk piece of shit like you. So don’t talk to me about family.”
I glanced at the clock above the entrance—eight minutes had passed. “Johnny, come on man.”
Ash sneered at me. “Not now. This is grown up time. Go grab us some food or something.” Her dismissive tone dug into my nerves.
“Go fuck yourself!” I spat. The last thing I needed was that crazy bitch feeding Johnny’s frenzy.
“Quit it, bro. I got this,” Johnny said.
As usual he sided with the short jean shorts and tight, red tank top—a little cleavage and ass were all it took for him to forget about his own brother. “Get the cash and let’s go,” I said. “Stop messing around.”
Johnny glanced at me. “You think you could do better?”
I froze, unable to come up with a response, probably because I knew I couldn’t. Johnny took care of the hold-up. I collected the goods and kept us on point. That was our system, and it worked. Ash, on the other hand, was new to the mix. All she managed to do was waste time and get Johnny more amped than a rabid pit bull on cocaine. How he decided that was helpful, I have no idea. Things ran smooth before she stuck her pretty ass in the mix. Now instead of in-and-out with hands full of cash, we were wasting time scaring some poor, fat slob half to death. And for what, I wondered, shits and giggles?
I glanced back at the clock. Ten minutes in, and we were still dicking around. I started to tell Johnny our time was running out. From the corner of my eye, the clerk reached beneath the counter.
“Hey!” Ash shouted before I could react.
Johnny swung his arm, smacking the butt of the gun across the fat bastard’s face. “What did I tell you? Huh!”
The clerk stumbled back. The weight of his body slammed into the wall of cigarettes and cigars. He slid to the floor as dozens of boxes rained down around him.
My heart pounded. I took several deep breaths. We’d never had a close call like that before.
Ash pulled out her butterfly knife and flipped it open. “We need to deal with him.”
Johnny clenched his jaw as he leaned over the counter, pointing the gun. “Get up! Now!”
The blubbering man slowly rose up, his hands in the air, snot dripping from the pubes on his chin.
“What’s your name, buddy?” Johnny asked, switching to a calmer tone.
With a big smile on his face, Johnny slammed his fist on the counter. “Tony! That’s a strong name. Like Tony fucking Soprano.”
Tony jumped and backed into the wall behind him again. His flabby arm knocked down a couple liquor bottles. He flinched as the glass shattered on the tile floor. I reminded myself to at least swipe some good booze when we were done.
Johnny grabbed the knife from Ash’s hand and gave her the gun. “Hold this for me, baby.”
I glanced at the clock—twelve minutes. “Bro, we’re coming up on fifteen. Forget him. You don’t have to do this.”
“We’re in the middle of nowhere. We’re fine! And for the record,” he twirled the blade in his hand, “I’ll do whatever the fuck I want!”
I’d had it with Johnny’s unchecked arrogance. He always screwed with people, but he didn’t hurt anyone unless he had to. Tony may have been a liability, but if we’d stuck to the plan it wouldn’t have come to this.
Ash put her arm around Johnny, resting the gun on his shoulder, conveniently pointing it at my face.
I took a step toward the counter, out of the line of fire. No way I trusted that bitch with a gun in her hand.
She flashed a smile in my direction.
“Put your hand out on the table.” Johnny said.
Tony extended his shaking arm. Johnny grabbed his wrist, pulled him forward, and slammed his hand onto the counter.
Tony yelped. “Please.”
My heart raced as my brother hovered the knife over Tony’s hand. “Come on bro…”
Johnny’s finger shot up, motioning me to be quiet. “Tony. I’m going to teach you a little lesson in trust.”
Character Name: Riley (Joe Riley)
Character Bio: Riley is a hardened outlaw who’s been on a mission to stop Aleister and his followers from unleashing hell on earth. As a young man Riley’s entire life changed when he came in contact with an elemental that ravaged everyone and everything he loved. Since then, he’ll stop at nothing to exact his revenge. He has an unusual sidekick, Ezekiel, who’s possessed by one of the very creatures Riley’s fighting against. On the surface, Riley is selfish, crude and dead-set on his goals. Beneath his rugged exterior lies the most humanity of all the characters of the novel.
Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?
What is this a loaded question? I am who I am. Take it or leave it. I put my goddamn life on the line to save your ass. How’s that for my best quality?
What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?
That I’m hung like a rhinoceros. Next question.
What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?
So I’m supposed to reveal my biggest secret on some fucking website? It’s called a secret for a reason. I’ll give you this: I know that every night when you go to bed in your quiet, comfy home, feeling safe and secure, that all of your worst nightmares are real. You’re not safe. Never sleep easy. There is something under the bed and it’s looking to gash your ankles when you go take a midnight tinkle. That noise in the closet is only trying to lure you closer so it can chew the eyes from your skull. How’s that for a secret? Share that bit of info with the kiddies. This way they know to run.
What are you most afraid of?
Everything and nothing. I’ve seen too much. I’m numb. But I trust nothing and no one. If only you knew… I used to be afraid of all kinds of stupid shit. That kind of fear is a luxury. Count your damn blessings if you jump like a little bitch when a spider crawls in the room. You mind if I smoke? Don’t answer that. I don’t actually give a shit.
What do you want more than anything?
To not have to answer your stupid questions. Sorry. You kinda lobbed that one up for me. I want my friends back. My family. Can’t replace shit like that. Puts holes in you. I fill ’em with revenge and alcohol. So far it’s working out fantastic.
What is your relationship status?
What the fuck did you just ask me? Next question. You wanna know all this lovey-dovey crap go talk to Sam. I got more important shit to deal with.
How would you describe your sense of fashion?
This black hoodie. I like to be inconspicuous. Plus, I don’t have to worry about being caught in white after Labor Day.
How much of a rebel are you?
Rebel? Not at all. I’m a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen. My high school principal instilled in me a strong moral compass and a firm respect for authority. That’s why it was so hard to watch my best friend eviscerate the guy and wear his intestines around his neck like the world’s worst puka shell necklace. So, yeah… I know it’s lame, but I’m just a real goody two shoes.
What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?
Remember that bit about the thing under your bed? I’ll let you know when you can rest easy. That would be an achievement worth celebrating. Until then, I’d like to use my hands for more important things than patting myself on the back.
What is your idea of happiness?
A good glass of whiskey and that first drag of my cigarette. You gotta find ways to enjoy that small shit because there isn’t much else.
Oh, and I know you’re probably going to ask this later so I’m just gonna get it out of the way if you don’t mind. The glass is half full. I definitely consider myself an optimist.
What is your current state of mind?
What is your most treasured possession?
I got this lighter. Fancy little fucker. Don’t work no more. But it was very valuable to the thing I took it from. I take pleasure in knowing I have it, and it doesn’t.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My charming personality and unrelenting kindness.
What is it that you, most dislike?
Ha! Interesting question. There’re a lot of fun things to hate. What to choose, what to choose… OK! The roulette wheel in my mind landed on THE FUCKING GODLESS CREATURES TRYING TO DEFILE HUMANITY! Damn! Are you fucking serious with that question?
Which living person do you, most despise?
Aleister’s responsible for all of this. One day, he’ll feel all of my pain. Then, I’ll find him in hell and make him my personal bitch.
What is your greatest regret?
When I watched the only girl I ever cared about get sliced apart by the hand of my best friend because some malevolent fuckstick slid up his ass and used him like a puppet. If I had a gun in my hand, I think I’d have eaten a bullet right then. This war will end for me in one of two ways: victory or horribly slow and bloody. And I haven’t been winning many battles lately, so you do the math. Bullet sounds good about now.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
I like ’em big and hairy. They call me the Big Bear Hunter back at the ranch.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
See my answer to greatest regret. And don’t ask me another question like this.
Who is your favorite hero in fiction?
Have you seen that one where those psychopaths trespass on that quaint, little farmhouse in Texas? Can’t remember the name of it. But there’s this hero with a chainsaw who slaughters them all and protects his land. He’s definitely in my top five.
Which living person do you most admire?
Myself. And don’t try to tell me I’m an asshole for saying that. That’s everyone’s answer. Who do you spend the most time thinking about? Exactly. I’m not gonna wax on about some great mentor of mine or some shit.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I’d like to be more in touch with my emotions.
What is your motto?
Nothing worth having ever comes easy, so stop complaining and do something about it.
Andrew’s a horror fiction writer who is also a massive fan of the genre. He’s been writing short stories and working on his novel for over 5 years. He has several short stories published, as well as some editing credits. He moderates a writing workshop in Phoenix, AZ where he’s been exposed to many different forms of fiction, which have broadened his influences. He aims to write stories that creep out his readers, while offering well-developed, rich characters they can sink their teeth into. He’s also a fan of experimenting with form and structure to create something uniquely my own.
Andrew grew up on Long Island in New York, and has lived in Arizona for the past 7 years. His professional background is in psychology where he’s carved out a nice career for himself. However, writing has always been his passion.
Currently, he’s hard at work, developing additional content to publish. He hopes to find an audience that loves the genre, and is up for a good scare.