What is the first curse word that comes to mind? How often and why do you use it?
God dammit. Too much. Force of habit, really. There might be a psychological element to this—my parents were strict about forbidding that curse word (and others).How would you spend ten thousand bucks?
Probably use it to make some home repairs. No matter how much I spend on this house, it’s always ready to suck down another $10 grand.What are 5 things within touching distance?
Computer keyboard, coffee cup, iPhone, my Bose noise cancelling headphones, and an Edward Cullen/Twilight mouse pad (don’t ask me why).Do you have a crush on anyone?
No. I may have fantasies, but they fall short of crush territory.What is your least favorite word?
Currently, I’m on the warpath against overuse of the words “suddenly” and “just” in my writing. Those are usually useless filler words that communicate little or nothing, and they’re often strewn throughout a book like garbage along the interstate.
Win the Rings
by K.D. Van Brunt
Jace has been the property of the U.S. Army since they found out about her when she was five, and now she has become one of its most valuable weapons. But Jace is not the only one of her kind. Gray is one too, but with the help of his sister, he has spent most of his sixteen years hiding from the Army.
Now, the Army has found out about Gray and they cannot allow him to roam free. Operating on the theory that it takes one to catch one, Jace is sent out with a special ops squad to hunt Gray down. But Jace is not the only one pursuing Gray, and the competition is after her too. What ensues is a desperate chase through city after city as duty and honor collide with love and sacrifice.
Read an excerpt:
“I’m Mark,” he says.
“Tina,” I blurt out before I know what I’m doing.
“Princess Tina from the kingdom of Berwick,” Mark says with a wolfish grin.
I can’t help myself. I shoot him a flirtatious smile. I’m about to tell him that he looks like Justin Bieber having a bad hair day, in a kind of blended compliment-insult thing, when Nia’s words crash into my head.
Gray, I think it’s him.
By Au Bon Pain. He has a dark green trench coat on, but I saw a flash of the hoodie underneath.
“Shit,” I say out loud, grabbing the wheel back from Tina. I toss the paper and bolt for the restaurant.
“Hey, wait a sec,” the Biebs shouts to me.
As I turn the corner of the newsstand, I hear Nia’s frantic words.
He’s pulling something from his coat.
I see him now. He’s standing in front of a plate glass window looking in on a crush of people inside, sitting at tables and queued up behind counters to buy lunch. He’s pulling back a slide on an automatic assault rifle, preparing to pump the first of a hundred rounds of bullets into the crowded restaurant. There’s no time to find a policeman. In seconds loony tunes will be shooting.
We have to stop him, I say, and then I see Nia sprinting at him like me.
We both slam into him at the same time just as he’s leveling the gun to fire, and all three of us tumble to the hard, icy concrete. I’m lying on my side facing Peter Eklend and he’s on his side facing me. I’ve wrenched my shoulder and it’s too painful for me to sit up. Peter Eklend shoots a glare of such hatred at me that I flinch. Then I see that he still has the gun in his hands. Nia is on her feet now, but before she can do anything, Peter pulls the trigger. The explosion brings a sudden quietness to my ears, as if I’ve just gone deaf, and I feel a stabbing hot pain in my chest, as if I’ve been impaled on a red-hot fireplace poker. I cough, sending a froth of blood spraying out of my mouth. I need to breathe, but my lungs aren’t working.
Then my ears start working and I hear Nia scream. Others are now wrestling with Peter. Another shot goes off. It doesn’t hit me.
Gray. Shift. You have to shift!
I’m losing consciousness. I can’t breathe. My lungs are filling with blood. This body is dying. I can feel it. I’m seconds away from the last, icy embrace of death. I have to get out of this body, leave it behind and flee to another body—a healthy, unwounded body. I need to shift now. With one last shred of will power, just as awareness winks out, I shift back to me.
A crowd has gathered around me by now, and I hear a collective gasp when they see me shimmer and change. I’m lying on the ground in a sticky, syrupy pool of blood, but I’m back in my own body now—my own bullet-free body. Nia is immediately at my side pulling me to my feet. Some of Tina’s blood stains my pants and sweatshirt as I roll away from Peter Eklend. I’ve shifted away from death in the nick of time. A strange exhilaration causes my skin to tinkle and a rush of adrenalin floods through me. I’ve evaded eternity by mere nanoseconds.
Run! Nia says, bringing me back to the moment.
K.D. Van Brunt has been writing professionally his entire career and has published an extensive list of nonfiction works. Win the Rings is his first fiction book. When not writing, he reads and listens to audiobooks during his daily drive through the sea of gridlock that is commuting in and out of Washington, DC. A long time resident of Maryland, he can often be found tromping around the many civil war battle sites in the area. To find out more about K.D. Van Brunt, including bonus content relating to Win the Rings, check out his website--www.kdvanbrunt.com--and follow him on twitter-- @KDVanBrunt.
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