Pages

Featured Post

SUBMISSION CALLOUTS

SUBMISSIONS WANTED FROM AUTHORS, WRITERS, AND EVERYDAY PEOPLE Anthology about Real People! Real Lives! Real Tragedies! in an effort...

Saturday, June 29, 2019

NEW RELEASE by Tony Brassington: White Horses Live Forever

Third Book in the Well-Travelled Book Series Released June 24, 2019

White Horses Live Forever



ABOUT TONY BRASSINGTONRecently a winner of the Distinguished Toastmasters Award, Tony Brassington is a one-of-a-kind entrepreneur. He is the owner and operator of Mind and Achievement LTD, traveling, performing public speeches and attending conventions as a Life Coach and a Self-Help Mentor on “How to set your mind for achievement”. Tony writes both fiction and non-fiction books on the topic, discussing fundamental universal laws and teaching that our thoughts DO speak louder than words and managing those thoughts in a productive way is crucial to -not just setting goals, but reaching them. And with his own successes, he continuously proves what he preaches to emphasize on both the show and the tell.

His Well-Travelled Book Series is the first of its kind and makes a whole new meaning out of ‘Spreading the word.’ He is currently working on his third book of the series.

When Tony isn’t attending conventions, performing conferences, assisting people as a Life Coach, or writing books, he’s revering in classics, such as the Carpenters, enjoying spending his time with his wife and two daughters, and travelling to and researching the locations of beautiful landmark, tourist-attractive areas filled with history and artifact magic.








Friday, July 20, 2018

ADIRONDACKS LOCAL AUTHOR APPRECIATION AT OLD FORGE - From internationally acclaimed authors to National Geographic Kids' Books

Every year, the Old Forge Library hosts an author appreciation event that attracts authors from all around the area - some local Old Forge residents, others traveling from 120 miles afar in and around the Central New York region. Izzie (Isabella) Worthen, the former director, celebrated her retirement this year after 42 years of service, so it was Linda Weal, the new director, that put this year's event together, and she did an amazing job, with nearly 20 authors in attendance. 

What is so great about so many authors coming together under one tent is the diversity and variety of books for small kids all the way up to our treasured elite familiar with the area's history. Books range from historical fiction and non-fiction, memoirs, children's books, tales of haunted places, the spiritual and the mystical, national geographic kids' books, adult thrillers and young adult dystopian novels, and even a collection of superior photography to reveal the highlights (and contrasts:)) of local venues and … bathrooms?

For those of you who weren't able to make is this year, this blog features pictures of our local talent with their books and links to learn more about the books/authors.

Old Forge Author Appreciation Book Fair 2018
Charles E Herr: Author of The Fulton Chain: Early Settlements, Roads, Steamboats, Railroads, & Hotels
His author bio alone and how he came to put this extraordinary and intricate book together is enough to entice you into wanting to buy it.

Nancy Pulling Best is the author of Bob, the Bumblebee, Pepper the Dragonfly, and many more. 
Lily the Grasshopper is her most recent release.
You can find her at www.nancydidit.com

Mart Allen is the author of Adirondack Character, and his most recent release, Give Your Children Words to Live By.
If you're in the Old Forge area, you can find his books featured locally. 
Left: Pieter David Gaskin is the Author of Adirondack Luau. a luau is a traditional Hawaiian festivity. He's also a musician, but that beautiful 4-stringed instrument wasn't purchased in a store. He made it himself! Check him out at www.pieterdavidgaskin.com

Right: David Siegenthaler is the author of More of Everything Else, A Trip Through Leatherstocking Country, NY State's Mohawk Valley, and More. You can find some of his books here




Dennis Webster is a paranormal investigator( www.cnyghost.com), an author, a Harley Davidson owner, and more. He is the author of Haunted Utica, Haunted Old Forge, Haunted Mohawk Valley, but he also dabbles in fiction anthologies with the Adirondack Mysteries Volumes 1-3, and more. You can find his works here.
Dennis will also be hosting a TV production, GHOST & TOAST, as executive producer.
You can learn more about it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ctwXXrPUMw or stop by their Facebook page at 


Left: Carol Ann Root is the author of New Beginnings, a contemporary religious & inspirational family saga. You may find her work here.

Right: Eileen Parsons is the author of the First Rose of Summer, a beautiful piece of religious & inspirational fiction. You can learn more about her and her work at https://parsonpapers.com

Jeanne Selander Miller is the internationally acclaimed author of her memoir trilogy, A Breath Away, A Million Miles From Home, and The Healing Path Home, as well as the author of Privileged: A Novel. Go to www.jeanneselandermiller.com to learn more.

Irene Morrison is the author of One More Time Saint Pete, a humorous story, and Pony Up! A Mystical Life - Just this little blurb made me want to purchase it. "An Adirondack Mountain woman speaks her truth. Based on a near death experience in her sixth year, it was obvious that Irene Morrison’s life would be a lot of things; boring wasn’t one of them. Out-of-body travels, meditation, energy healing, clairvoyance, and a powerful interest in dreams analysis convinced her that, in the words of her spirit guide, every life is ‘magnificent’ and a cause for celebration." 

Inspired by her grandchildren, Connie Watkins is the author and the illustrator of books like, A Duck Named Eddie, The Icebox Snowball, Joey Days, Happy Was His Name, and That Was, The Kitten, That Was. She even brilliantly features her cute grandchildren on some of the covers.

Holly Gaskins memoir, as well as her books, In the Deep North Woods, and My Life With Cats can be found at www.hollygaskin.com

Kimberly Suwek definitely captured my attention with her unique display, and her work is just as unique, capturing humorous and eye-catching photography of Utica establishments meant to showcase the highlights of what city-living really has to offer with her 'Utica Show 'Em What We Got'. Most interesting is she's sure to send a lot of people on a scavenger hunt in search of the locations of these photographs, because she leaves the viewer to discover it themselves from black and white photos that will not only lead you to these places, but bring you back in time. Check her out at www.kimberlyjan.com.

Letty Kirch Haynes is the author of A Rock In My Pocket, Memories of Inlet, and Memories of Inlet Common School. You may find her work here.https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&text=Letty+Kirch+Haynes&search-alias=books&field-author=Letty+Kirch+Haynes&sort=relevancerank
Aline Alexander Newman rocked the author fair with her National Geographic Kids Books, such as How To Speak Cat, How to Speak Dog, Rascally Rabbits, Lucky Leopards, and More. The kids just couldn't get enough of her! You can find her on amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Aline-Alexander-Newman/e/B006KXMMKC

If you didn't get to make it this year, you can always come next year (2019). 
Thank you Linda Weal, authors, and, of course, our beloved readers, for making it such a special event.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Thousand Thank You's For All Your Support - Guess What? It's OFFICIAL!


I want to thank everyone for their support throughout the one-time only Independence Week(end) promotion. A whopping 14 blogs went out and were promoted/shared on 8 social media and business accounts, as well as multiple-paid promotions, and an aired-radio and podcast press release on the Modules Series. For those that follow business and personal pages in addition to Twitter, Goodreads, and other accounts, that’s a whole lot of you getting the same stuff in your different feeds, alongside email notifications, so Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your patience.

On the bright side, I hope you were all able to take advantage of the promotion and get your free books. FreeBird Express Publishing, formerly NewAge Publishing, has given away nearly 10,000 books since 2015, mainly targeted toward those whom have provided so much support and patience throughout the course of this unexpected journey. Some of you were there long before the idea even manifested. Some of you were there when I first began toying with designs and trailers and covers and providing free reads on our first business page, Almondie Incorporated. Everything done under one name for the longest time, although there are many of us (hence the Incorporated), while working towards building a business from scratch, building our client-base, becoming skilled and educated in all aspects of the trade, developing a following and resources through networking, and learning the most and least effective and efficient marketing strategies.

Some of you were there throughout the development of the website, and the first book release. Many of you have even been attendees at events. Ten books were published under the Almondie Shampine name while working out all the kinks and then two years were invested in trying to build capital for the business via an outside job while working with other writers and authors on their path to publication. Five books by Tony Brassington, one by Andre Gussekloo and Esther Jacobs, and one by Jasmine Lewis, were published during that time. Tony’s currently working on his third book in his Well-Travelled Book Series, and Jasmine Lewis has six projects she’s been alternatively working on, while FreeBird Express Publishing is currently working with several writers/authors for the next Real Lives! Real People! Real Tragedies! charity anthology, and of course, continuing to welcome submissions for the anthology, as well as the ‘Everyone Has a Story to Tell’ feature.

That’s why we offered the entire six-book Modules Series for free and have given out almost 10,000 copies of all ten of the Almondie Shampine titles, so for those of you who have been there throughout the years, you should have been able to get all ten books without paying a dime!

But here’s the big news: FREEBIRD EXPRESS PUBLISHING IS NOW OFFICIALLY A CERTIFIED PUBLISHER with a whopping 100% on the final exam. While you were getting your free books or biting your tongue about the continual week-long promoting showing up on your newsfeeds :D, I was reviewing for the big final. Publishers aren’t required to be certified. In fact, technically, anyone who publishes even a single book themselves can call themselves a publisher. That makes it really tough for authors/writers looking to be published to have to filter through all the different publishers to determine who’s legit or not. Even in the publishing realm, there are SO MANY SCAMMERS! … And so much misleading information.

In addition, I learned so much more of the insider trade and the business than I did previously, which can be of much better service to the currently-represented authors and those to come, so the investment of money and time was definitely worth it!

www.freebirdexpresspublishing.com is now the link to the website, and the Starving Artist blog is now at www.almondieshampine.com.

Now that we’re certified, in the next few days, I’ll be posting a FreeBird Express Publishing FAQ – The Hybrid Model – for authors, writers, and everyday people that may be interested in learning the specifics of exactly what kind of publisher FreeBird Express Publishing is, and the different services and publishing routes that are provided in order to clear up any and all misconceptions -such as FREEBIRD EXPRESS PUBLISHING is NOT a VANITY PRESS. There is a lot of confusion surrounding these things now-a-days. The industry has changed so much and so fast in only six years that articles from even a year ago are outdated and no longer accurate, because traditional and non-traditional is no longer simply black-and-white, and if a publisher wants to be successful for the different types of authors out there, we now have to offer a variety of different routes; hence – The Hybrid Model.

Look for it in the next few days. It’ll also be available on the website in the About section.

Friday, July 6, 2018

NaTuRaL DeSiGn - FREE READ & REVIEW CHAPTER - Final book in the Modules Series


Natural Design by Almondie Shampine
The Final Book in The Modules Series
Last Day to Get the Entire Series for FREE






It was a completely secured military barracks, with million-dollar homes, that we touched down on. We were instantly surrounded by a dozen armed military guards.

Everyone, but myself, was dressed in the uniform of the Military Mods. John had taught everyone how to stand, salute, and even hold their weapons, as he’d been former Military that had joined the C-team after his parents had been imprisoned for attempting to keep his little sister from being taken by the Recruiters.

“Stand down,” one of their guards told the others. “We were not advised that any more men would be joining us,” was spoken to John.

“We’ve brought someone the new President has been expecting.”

“Who?”

That was my cue. I pulled off my piloting gear, shook my hair out, and smiled big. “Me.”

“Catina Salsbury,” the Officer guard said with reverence. “So the reports are true. You’re alive.”

“Obviously,” I said dryly. “I wouldn’t be standing here if I wasn’t.”

“I don’t understand. Why would he have you come here? This location has been kept under lock and key.”

“I found the key,” I said simply. “Let’s just say he’s been expecting me, but not expecting me here. I had hoped to surprise him. Will you be ruining my surprise?” I teased, all the while continuing to grin at him.

They looked at one another. I saw momentary misery on their faces. Then the military guard pointed at a house. “Only you. You’ve got a one-minute head start,” and then he winked at me.

I recalled my conversation with Garrett when I’d been questioning why our own military would willingly bomb our own citizens, and he’d said at that time, “They’re not doing it willingly, I assure you.”

“30 seconds too many,” I said, taking off at a run.

I quickly peered through the windows of the massive home and saw his silhouette on the second floor. I could have tried the front door, being as how in this secure facility it was probably unlocked, but what would be the fun in that?

Instead, I used one of my new toys. State of the art, top tech glass cutter. Not intended for use on breaking into others’ homes, but the Commanding Officer of High Intelligence always spoke of technology developed, even with the best intentions, could be used as a weapon if placed in the wrong person’s hands. My hands.

And just like that, I was in, leaving me with plenty of time to look around, get the layout of things, and plant what needed to be planted.

Their phone rang. It was sitting, unsupervised, on the coffee table.

I answered it. “You looking to speak with George?” I said to the guard.

“Catina,” he said in shock.

“One moment, please. I’ll go get him.”

“George?” I heard a weary female voice.

I turned toward the voice. “Ah, you must be Mrs. Wilson. Is your husband here? The phone’s for him.”

George showed up next, wearing only a towel.

“Catina. What a – Did you let her in?” he turned to his wife. She shook her head.

“You should probably take this.” I handed him the phone.

He took it wearily. “Yeah … I know, she’s already in the house. Anyone else I should know about? … Don’t let anyone else out of your sight. … No, it’s fine. I was just caught off guard. … 15 minutes.”

“So, I hear there’s a medal you’d like to give me?” I said.

“Garrett said that he – He was supposed to call me around this time to arrange our meeting with the media. How – how did you locate me?” he demanded, still shaken or perturbed over my unexpected presence.

“If I didn’t know better by your proud press release, I’d say you’re not very happy to see me? Aren’t I supposed to be the hero that you were going on and on about, my service to our country, blah blah blah?”

“Oh, of-of course,” he stumbled. “I’m just surprised, but it’s a pleasant surprise. Do you – do you mind if I compose myself?” He gestured toward just-the-towel he was wearing.

“Go ahead. I’m sorry if I startled you. I was under the impression that the government had an open-door policy. Your door was open, so I walked right in.”

He scrunched his eyes at me. “I’ll – uh – I’ll be right back. Can you answer this if he calls?” He handed the phone to his wife.

The wife stared at me. I stared at her. She was pretty in that false-regal-I’m-the-President’s-wife way.

“Not much of a sense of humor on that guy, is there? It’s probably just a politician thing. I’m sure he’s hilarious in private,” I maintained conversation.

She cleared her throat, “Ah, can I get you a drink?”

“Yes. I would love a drink. I’ll take your most expensive bottle of water. Charge it to the taxpayers, please.”

I followed her into the kitchen, which was bigger than most hotel suites, where she placed the phone on the marble island.

It rang.

I snatched it.

“Hello, Garrett. What did I tell you about not calling me while

I’m working?”

“Cuh – cuh – Cat,” he sputtered. “What’re you doing -?”

“George is indisposed at the moment, but he should be right down.”

“Do you mind?” George’s wife said all snooty-like, putting her hand out for the phone.

“Do you? I’m trying to have a conversation with my husband.” I turned my back on her.

She left the room. Probably to tattle to her hubby.

“How did you find him? I told you to stay put and I’d arrange a meeting, where you’d be safe, and nothing would happen. I thought we were going to start working side-by-side. I tell you my suspicions that it’s a trap, so you find him at his home?”

“Exactly. He wasn’t going to trap me at his hidden hideout, because then he would have compromised the anonymity of everyone else. So, instead of letting him surprise me, I surprised him. Duh. It’s not rocket science. Why you gotta be such a nag? You mad I found it first? Huh? Is this about your ego again, Garrett? It’s okay, baby, don’t cry. It’s not your fault I’m better than you.”

“Do you have protection?”

“I’m not going to sleep with him,” I feigned insult.

“You know what I mean.”

“Would I come any other way?”

He chuckled, “No, I guess you wouldn’t. I know I’m supposed

to be respecting that you know what you’re doing, and let you do it,

but I still worry.”

“Well, Gare Bare, as much as I’m enjoying our lovely chat, George is looking none-too-pleased at me for using up the battery life on his phone. And he looks like he wants to talk to you very much. X O X O. Kiss the kids for me.”

“Cat -.”

I handed the phone to the President. “What is this, Garrett? I’m not one for surprises. I thought the arrangement was for the three of us and the media to meet in Washington. … You can’t control your wife? That’s your excuse? I don’t find any of this funny. … I do appreciate everything’s she’s done, and I’m well aware of the fact that I would not be President, if not for the two of you, and I’m deeply indebted to you, but this is not only unacceptable, it’s highly inappropriate. … I’m having a hard time believing that you didn’t know anything about this.”

“No, it’s true,” I said. “He hardly ever knows where I am or what I’m doing. I believe in the principle that absence makes the heart grow fonder, so I stay away from him and like to play hide and seek. He’s it.”

“Excuse me. What?” he said in irritation.

“It. As in, tag, you’re it. It’s another game we like to play. You should try it,” I looked at his wife. “Men like the hunt much more than they do the catch. If you want him to be faithful, you’re going to have to make him think he hasn’t caught you.”

This time, her eyebrows spiked on her face, and she looked at

him.

He shook his head at her rapidly. “Garrett, the whole purpose of our meeting was to give her the award and have her make a speech over live television. What’re we supposed to do now? … Talk to her about it? Fine. I’m putting you on speakerphone. … Catina, in order for you to receive your award, which is the most honorable medal you can get, we have to do it with public exposure. That’s the whole purpose of it is to honor you and prove to the people of America that you’re alive, so that they’ll trust that I’ve got this situation under control and that we’re on the same side.”

“I know that. I took care of it,” I said.

“What do you mean you took care of it? You arranged a press conference for us?”

“Well, yeah, the government doesn’t own all the media, you know. How do you turn this thing on?” I pointed at the TV with the remote.

His eyes opened-wide, but not as wide as his mouth.

“Oh, nevermind, I figured it out.”

And it was that priceless expression on his face that stared back at him from the TV.

Too many seconds too long, he recovered from his shock, and plastered a big smile on his face.

“What channel, sweetheart?” Garrett asked over the phone.

“Every channel, Garry Barry.”

“Easy,” he snickered.

George composed himself from his shock and scowl and that look that full-grown adults get when they suddenly want to start throwing a tantrum like a little kid, along the lines of, ‘No, no, no, this isn’t what I wanted.’

“Excellent. Then I am proud to honor you.” He gestured toward his wife, and she took off. “America, Citizens of the United States. As promised, I bring to you Catina Salsbury, our country’s hero, alive and obviously very, very healthy. I will be presenting her the highest congressional honorable medal for her heroic efforts of removing tyranny from our democracy. Tyranny, in the name of William Burrell, who no longer poses a threat to our government or our country.”

My face entered the screen as I focused the button toward me. “A country I will continue fighting for until all those responsible are brought to rightful justice. Catina Salsbury. Peace out.”

I snatched the medal from his wife’s hand when she returned and was out the door before he could even recover his speechlessness and rifled pride.

When I returned to the Chopper, everyone was laughing, and Toby was looking at me with awe-struck eyes.

“Stop drooling, Toby. I don’t look like Angelina Jolene anymore, thank God.”

“I thought you looked like Cindy Crawford,” John stated.

“I saw Nicole Kidman,” Tony added.

“I’m not – I’m not drooling. I’m … amazed. You not only

pulled it off, but you pulled it off with … with …”

“Purple Pizazz,” Tony finished for him.

“I don’t know where you were these past few months after the explosion of the President’s plane, but … you’re different. You’ve changed. It’s like you’re confident that you know exactly what you’re doing,” he commented.

“I do know exactly what I’m doing. When have I ever not known what I was doing? Nevermind, don’t answer that.”

“Did you plant the tracer mic?”

“Sure did,” I grinned. “Here, check this for bugs,” I handed him the medal.

“Wow, this is impressive. … Nope, app’s not detecting anything. You used his phone, though. What if he checks it or tosses it?”

“He can do with his phone whatever he would like. It’s not where I planted it. Officer. Military Guard people. A pleasure,” I saluted them. They returned the salute. And Toby returned to his barf bag.

This time, instead of listening to the radio, we listened intently to the new President’s reaction to my intrusion. “How much of it was aired?” He spoke on the phone. “You mean to say that me wearing a towel was broadcast live to the entire nation? … She can’t get away with this. America was supposed to see that we’re on the same side so that they’d stop with this revolution, in order for us to rebuild. Instead, she blatantly disrespected and undermined me in my own

home.

“… Obviously, I underestimated her. Tell me how I am going to fix this. … How are we supposed to get her on our side? You think we haven’t tried? … We did offer her something she wouldn’t be able refuse. We gave her the congressional medal of honor. What else could we possibly offer her? … Alex – er – Mr. Bartley, I do greatly respect your standing. I meant no disrespect by questioning you. I’m just upset right now. Listen, our base has been compromised. How quickly can you get us relocated?

“… Yes, as much as I don’t want any further delays, there’s no way we can have the meeting here, now. I’ll tell the others. We’ll be ready by 3:00 am sharp.”

“Toby,” I called.

“On it,” he said weakly, typing in the Bartley name. “Oh boy, nearly a million hits on that name, spelled three different ways. Looks like I have my work cut out for me. I’ll run it through category filters, restricted sites, etc., to see if I can pinpoint the one we’re looking for. What meeting do you think they were talking about?”

“We’ll soon find out. 3 am they’ll be moving out, so as soon as we find out their new location, we’ll stay in the area until we can get a lead.”

Suddenly, the low fuel light was blinking fiercely red.

“Uh oh,” I said. I knew there was something I’d forgotten.

“What is it?” Tony asked.

“Oh, it’s nothing.”

Then at that moment, the automated voice began to sound, “Warning. Low Fuel. You have 20 minutes to land. Warning. Low Fuel. You have 19 minutes to land.”

And the Chopper turned to screaming, shouting chaos.















Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Revolution - FREE READ & REVIEW CHAPTER - 5th book in the Modules Series


The Revolution by Almondie Shampine

book 4 in The Modules Series






“This girl is seriously going to be the cause of my death,” the Commanding Officer raged, while crossing the parking lot to go the back way into the hotel. “The most intelligent female in the world, with an IQ even higher than mine, but I have to constantly protect her from her emotional stupidity. All the pain-staking effort it took to make everyone believe she was dead and she does something so stupid as to blatantly place her name over that public broadcast.

“We’ve got six-hours tops before it all goes viral. We need to get her as far away as possible, because she just pulled a signature Cat move, without recognizing what it is she’s really done. Bust down the door. Capture her and bind her – it’s the only way she’ll cooperate,” Garrett sighed.

As much as it had hurt him, he’d let his Purple Cat go to figure things out on her own. He’d believed that with the amount of training he had provided her, she’d be able to stay safe, while also keeping her monitored to ensure her safety. He’d tried to tame her, and that had been his biggest mistake. A cat in the wild was free in one sense, but had dangers lurking at every moment. Untamed, that cat had the automatic survival instinct to maintain defenses and stay alive. A wild cat tamed would still have that freedom in their blood, without the appropriate defenses in place any longer to keep them alive.

Now, Cat was going to be the target for thousands of top officials, politicians, and everyone that was at that meeting, which practically captured every branch in the federal and state governments. No one’s life was safe now. Not after what she’d done, but her life was in far more danger than ever before.

“She’s not here, sir,” one of his men stated after searching the room.

“What do you mean she’s not here? Of course she is. She has to be.”

A moment later, he saw the displayed ring, and the scribbled note attached to it. ‘ForNever and Always – Cat’

“Dammit, she figured out the ring, too. This was a set up.” He couldn’t help but grin. Always one step ahead his Cat was.

“You looking for me, Garrett?” I said lowly.

Garrett turned, smiling, at the familiar voice he loved, and there was his Cat, standing at the open-door, gun pointed at his head.

“Darling, seeing you again takes my breath away. I’m so glad you’re still alive, Cat.”

“Don’t call me that. Name’s Catina. Use it.”

He took a step forward. I removed the safety. “I wouldn’t do

that if I were you,” I warned. He looked like he had run his hand through his hair a thousand times, it was so disheveled. And he had deeper forehead wrinkles than when I’d seen him last. I had that effect on him. But I had to stare at his forehead and not meet his eyes. I didn’t want to have to see his lies.

“Honey, you’re in so much danger right now. You need to come with me. It’s the only way I can guarantee your safety.”

Like I didn’t have two eyes that could see two of his guards slowly creeping toward me on either side. In two seconds and two bangs later, they were floored, having shot both of them in the foot.

“What the hell, Catina,” Garrett cried out.

“I’m done playing nice, Garrett. Don’t make the mistake of thinking I won’t shoot you, because it would literally be a fatal mistake to finally put an end to your fatal attraction. You’ve been tracking and recording everything. Manipulating and lying to me every step of the way. Give me one good reason for why I shouldn’t kill you right here and right now.”

“Because shooting me wouldn’t be any fun for you. That’s not the way you’d do it. I know you, Cat – Catina.”

“Do you?” With a flick of my left wrist, the knife sliced through the air.

He chuckled, “You missed.”

“Did I?”

And the retard actually fell for it. He looked behind him to see

what I’d hit with the knife, giving me enough time to swipe his legs

out from under him and get him in a chokehold.

He laughed with limited air supply. “All right, you got me. You called my bluff. What do you want?”

“I told you. One good reason for why I shouldn’t break your neck the way I broke Dr. Samson’s.”

“Dr. Samson? You dare to compare me to the monster that -.”

I choked him off abruptly.

When I eased up, he started coughing, “Easy, Cat. You’ll crush my -.”

I cut off his air supply again.

“You think this is a game, Garrett? That I’m just playing around? I can’t believe this. Your ego is just that big that you seriously think I won’t kill you? What is it with you guys that want the upper hand all the time, and then even when the girl has the upper hand, you won’t acknowledge it or take it seriously. Seriously, what is wrong you guys? Just like Charlie, vowing his love to me one moment and then ditching me the moment someone else is more available to him. All the time I stayed loyal, acting as your wife, but never giving you the privileges and he just hopped in the sac with his arranged wife and got her pregnant.

“I bet he slept with that Kristine girlfriend he had, too. And she was a Pink! All the while, here’s Catina, staying completely loyal and faithful, trusting him. And then I’m the idiot. I’m the fool that practically hands myself to him on a silver platter. And all he has to say is – Like my feelings didn’t even matter. Like nothing ever

mattered.”

Finally, after Garrett quite much more resembling that fish and flopping around on the floor, the fear entered his eyes, the fear I needed him to feel. The fear he’d made me feel as ‘Just another test.’

So I let him breathe again. “One reason, Garrett, and it better be a damn good one,” I said, suddenly feeling very tired.

“I know the coordinates of where your sister is,” he said between gasps of breath and coughing.

 “I know the exact address of where she is. She just so happened to find a way to communicate with me at the same time you just so happened to show up in my hotel room, so you’re going to have to do better than that.”

“I didn’t take her, Catina, I swear. You have to believe me. Please listen to me and give me a moment to explain. I know you have no reason to trust me, because of all the secrets we kept -.”

“It’s Cat, you idiot. YOU have been keeping tabs on me ever since I was a 12-year-old child!” I yelled. “You’ve done nothing but use, manipulate, and lie to me. There’s one memory I never told you. The person that knocked me out that day at my sister’s graduation ceremony that resulted in the torture I endured was you. You forgot to take your signature Purple ring off. This entire time, even throughout our farce of a marriage, I’ve always known it was you. You realized your mistake, so you got rid of the ring, then tested my memory to see if it could lead to you.”

“There are much bigger things going on that you can’t

comprehend. I’ve spent over a decade of my life trying to get to the bottom of -.” I pulled the trigger and the room fell into silence. The body of the guard that had been slowly crawling toward me collapsed to the ground.

“You’ve lost your mind, Catina,” Garrett said carefully. “He was an innocent.”

“I told you, it’s Cat.”

“No, my Cat would never cold-heartedly shoot to kill. Act impulsively out of emotion, for sure, but she’d never hurt an innocent. She’s passionate and fiery, but she’s not –.”

“An innocent that was going to capture and bind me to go alongside your kidnapping plot. Far from innocent. Perhaps now that you recognize I have no morals against killing people I believe to be bad, you’ll start cooperating.”

“I’m trying to save your life, Catina. That’s all I’ve ever been trying to do. Do you want to know what really happened to the other Purples that couldn’t change their color?”

“That’s the thing, Garrett. You’ve lied to me so much, I can’t trust a thing that comes out of your mouth.”

“And I know that. Why do you think I’ve taken all the measures I can to protect you and keep you safe?”

“Protect me?” I said shrilly. “You’ve been interfering on my life since I was a child. I left you. You knew I loved Charlie, and you knew my weakest spot was my sister, so you took her to try to get

me back, just like all the years before, you used my sister to control

me. When you knew I was communicating with Charlie, you not only set up an arranged marriage for him, but transferred him to one of the hardest, deadliest jobs there are, regardless of his test placement. Just like you bypassed my tests’ placement to do whatever you wanted with me.”

“It’s not like that, I swear.”

He really did sound pathetic in his begging.

“It is like that, Garrett.” And I stupidly broke down crying. I may have just killed a man to get Garrett to start being honest with me, and still, he wouldn’t even give me that. “Ever since you became interested in me, you’ve done nothing but hurt me and separate me from the people I care about, so that you could have me for yourself. You’re a maniac. A sociopath. I don’t care what your color is or how high your IQ is, you’re insane.”

“Cat-.”

“There was a time I actually believed in you, trusted you, looked up to you -.”

“Please understand.”

“There was a time I almost loved you and would have chosen to be with you, but you never could be honest, could you?”

“I’ve always loved you, Catina. You’re my one and only. The only person in this world ever found compatible to me. I fell for you when you were that belligerent 14-year-old child who introduced yourself, saying, ‘I’m the brain of high intelligence, so glad to finally be meeting the head.’ I knew, right then and there, I’d met my match,

but I had to wait all those years for you to be of age.

“Then, when I believed you were dead, I was devastated. I felt so empty, knowing, there would never be another you. When I learned that you were very much alive, I just never wanted to lose you again. Then I realized that I’d gone about everything the wrong way, and I knew that if I truly loved you, then I’d be able to let you go, if that’s what you wanted. So I let you go. And then I left you alone. Like I promised.”

“I didn’t have anything to do with your sister’s kidnapping. I picked up communication. Because she’s your family, I’ve been watching out for her, too, which, yes, for me means tracking. I went to rescue her, but Catina -.” He actually cried. “It’s Kadrin’s body, but it’s not Kadrin. She refused to be rescued. They … they turned her, Catina.”

“What do you mean they turned her?!” I screamed.

He choked on a sob. “They turned her into a weapon … against you. I’m so sorry, honey. Promise me you won’t go after her. The communication was staged. We’ve known about your 1072 am for quite a long time, which means they know, too. It’s meant to trap you. You CANNOT go after her.”

“Lier,” I yelled. “You know, Garrett, I had really hoped that you would come clean in the end, but you’ve been in the game so long, you don’t even know fact from fiction. Goodbye, Garrett.”

Followed by a big bang.












Next Up: Natural Design Free Read & Review Chapter – Final Book in the Modules Series