Category Archives for Sample Chapters

Post Traumatic Stress – Chapter One

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My new novel, Post Traumatic Stress, will be available on August 1, 2017. You can pre-order it now directly from Silver Empire, or wait until July 25th to pre-order it from Amazon.com. Either way, today you can enjoy a sample chapter. The prologue is below.

It is through suffering that the soul is purified.

Every soldier brings demons home from war. But when Sergeant Michael Alexander came home to Athens, Georgia from Afghanistan, his war demons started kidnapping local college girls. Things got crazy when Michael tried to stop him.

Then the dragon arrived.

Post-Traumatic Stress delivers on its title. Newquist drills deep into the head of traumatized former soldier Michael Alexander as he tries to adjust back to normal life. The perspective is so tight that readers will feel immense connection to the character. Tension builds with the story at a pace like a landslide. At first, one’s not sure if Michael is crazy or if he’s the one at fault for a string of murders involved. Then comes the incredible action with demons, vampires and zombies! Once the plot explodes, it’s impossible to put down.

Jon Del Arroz
Author of the bestselling For Steam and Country

Sample Chapters:

  1. Prologue
  2. Chapter One

 


Chapter One

A bead of sweat rolled down Michael Alexander’s cheek, dripping onto the orange petals of the Tiger Lily in his hand. Despite the early hour, the temperature and humidity had already launched their neck and neck race for triple digits. He’d missed a lot of things about Georgia. The August heat was not among them. Despite growing up here, he’d never truly gotten used to the southern summers.

He heard a noise behind him and turned, greeting the older man with a nod. The pair stood in silence for a time, paying their respects. His friend had spared no expense on the beautiful stone, nestled in amongst the others in the small private graveyard. Some of the well-preserved stones dated back to pre-colonial times.

The older man broke the silence.

“After all this time, I still never know what to say.”

“I always know what to say,” the younger man replied. “But no matter how many times I say, ‘I’m sorry,’ it’s never enough.”

The older man frowned at him.

“It wasn’t your fault, Michael.”

“If I’d made the flight, she’d have been at the airport to pick me up. She’d have been well out of the way.”

“Sometimes we have less control over things than we think we do.”

Michael shifted awkwardly and looked away. The point hit too close to home. James Covington let it go. The silence loomed over them for a moment. Again James spoke first.

“How long are you home?”

“For good.”

Covington’s momentary shock quickly transformed into a genuine smile.

“Finally came to your senses?” he asked.

Michael shook his head, but his face showed a faint hint of genuine humor. “No good sense here at all. Medical discharge. I fought it all the way.”

“Ah.” Captain James Covington, US Army retired, tapped his right leg with his cane. “I’m all too familiar with those.”

The cane and the injury that necessitated it served as a constant reminder of his eighteen months in the Hanoi Hilton. He paused and waited for the young man to elaborate. When nothing followed, he changed the subject tactfully.

“I’ll have a room made up for you.”

Michael gazed up the hill at the massive house. The Covington family had lived on this land for centuries. Over time, they’d accumulated quite the fortune, becoming one of the richest families in the state. The nearby town was even named for one of them – James’ great-great-grandfather, or something. The generous offer tempted him.

“Thanks, but I’ve got Pa’s place,” he answered.

“You held onto it, then?”

“It made a great rental property,” Michael shrugged. “And it was completely paid for. The last tenants left it in good enough shape. It needs a little work, but not too much.”

“Got any plans?”

“Back to the University to finish that history degree.”

“Good choice. Look up Abigail while you’re up there. Turn on that charm you used to have and lure her away from that obnoxious rich boy.”

Michael actually laughed at that one. “He must be pretty bad if you’d prefer me over him.”

The older man smiled back at him. “You were alright, even then. I had to be hard on you. You were about to marry my little girl, you know.” He turned somber again. “Besides, that little punk boy died the same day Katie did.” He pointed at the stone. “Boys don’t become men when they hit a magic age. Men are made – in blood and pain and struggle. Abby’s pansy ass boyfriend is the son of some rich oil sheikh. He couldn’t struggle his way out of a paper sack.”

“Probably very pretty, too.”

They shared a laugh again as Jim nodded.

“That always was her type,” Michael continued.

“True enough. But I’d still much rather be welcoming you into the family. Her sister always did have better taste. Hell, considering that you were two weeks away from joining it, you might as well be family already.”

Michael David Alexander and Catherine Virginia Covington had planned to wed on September 29th, 2001. United Airlines Flight 175 derailed those plans a few weeks early when it crashed into Two World Trade Center. Katie had been on the observation deck. All they ever managed to find of her was a half-melted cell phone. The beautiful stone before them marked an empty grave.

Michael had called her as soon as he’d seen the news. Miraculously, he’d gotten through. He managed to keep her calm down nearly sixty flights of stairs. It proved to be forty flights too few. He’d been on the phone with her when the tower collapsed. That afternoon he’d found himself sitting in an Army recruiter’s office, bound and determined to kill Osama bin Laden himself.

“Don’t hold your breath. I’m pretty sure Abby still holds me responsible.” And she’s right, he didn’t add out loud.

Covington’s eyes bored into him, and for a moment Michael felt certain that he knew. That shouldn’t be possible, but there it was.

“I guess some things are just too much to hope for. Besides, Abby still thinks I’m some kind of racist because I’m not fawning all over the twerp. She forgets that I never liked any of the rich American boys she dated either.”

“I don’t see how she could possibly forget. Who was that one guy? Rowan?” Jim gave him a quizzical look. “You must remember. The one who had a sex change later?”

Covington tossed his head back in laughter.

“Rupert. His name was Rupert. You know, Abby totally melted down over that one. I paid for a year of therapy.”

“Seriously?”

“She even checked herself into the mental ward for two weeks.”

“She always was a little out of it.”

“A little?” Jim shook his head, and then changed the subject. “Why don’t you come on up to the house, get some lemonade and fill me in on what you’ve been up to?”

“I’ve got to make it back to Athens. My first class starts in a couple of hours.”

“You’d better get going, then.”

Michael agreed, but he took one last moment of silence at the grave. Covington watched somberly as Michael said a soft prayer and laid the Tiger Lily on Katie’s tomb.

“They always were her favorite,” the old man noted. Michael agreed.

They began the long walk up the back side of the property to the house. Out of habit, Michael had parked in between the twin garages on the south side of the house. With the morning heat rising, he wished he’d parked in the parking garage in the rear instead. It was much closer, and he already missed the air conditioning of his car. The older man eyed Michael sideways as they walked, frowning.

“So… medical discharge?”

Michael frowned.

“Helicopter accident,” he let out slowly. Memories leapt unbidden into his mind, vivid as the daylight around him. Teeth. Sinew. That glowing yellow nose. He forced them down, but he couldn’t keep the look off his face.

“Ah,” Covington answered, sensing the delicacy of the subject. “Come back by for another visit when you have more time and tell me about it.”

The younger man met his eyes and nodded. He supposed he had to tell someone. Who better than Jim Covington?

“I will. I promise.” They shook on it, and then Michael reached for the door to his car.

“Hold on,” James told him, reaching into his pocket. He pressed a button on the chain. One of the three doors on the larger garage bay opened. “You took off so fast I couldn’t deliver your wedding present.” He tossed Michael a key chain.

“That’s because we never had the wedding.”

“I wasn’t taking this one back.”

As the door rose Michael recognized the car at once. The deep metallic gray body of the 2002 Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo gleamed in the morning sunlight. Once, Michael had dreamed about that model car, lusted after it almost as much as the girls he used to chase.

“I can’t accept this,” he said, preparing to return the keys. Covington turned his back before he could throw them.

“Too late,” he replied, striding toward the house. “The car’s already in your name. Insurance is taken care of. Whenever you want it, it’ll be there.”

“Wait – how’d you put it in my name? I never signed anything.”

The older man flashed an enigmatic grin.

“You can do all kinds of things you’re not supposed to when you’re filthy rich,” he answered, before turning back to the house. He called back over his shoulder. “Take care of yourself, Michael. And keep in touch.”

“I will.”

Michael gazed longingly at the Porsche for a long moment. Visions of racing it down the back roads of Georgia flitted through his head. He grinned. Then he frowned and shook his head, glad he hadn’t gotten the car years earlier. He probably would have crashed it on the first drive.

Eventually, he pressed the button on his new key chain and closed the garage door. A moment later, he drove his beat up Subaru down the long driveway of the Covington estate, thanking God for air conditioning.


Pre-order it now directly from Silver Empire, or wait until July 25th to pre-order it from Amazon.com.

Post Traumatic Stress – Prologue

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My new novel, Post Traumatic Stress, will be available on August 1, 2017. You can pre-order it now directly from Silver Empire, or wait until July 25th to pre-order it from Amazon.com. Either way, today you can enjoy a sample chapter. The prologue is below.

It is through suffering that the soul is purified.

Every soldier brings demons home from war. But when Sergeant Michael Alexander came home to Athens, Georgia from Afghanistan, his war demons started kidnapping local college girls. Things got crazy when Michael tried to stop him.

Then the dragon arrived.

Post Traumatic Stress is a roller coaster thrill ride. It hooks you, clicks up to the peak, then sends you screaming all the way down. Masterfully done.

Daniel Humphreys
Author of the bestselling A Place Outside the Wild

Sample Chapters:

  1. Prologue
  2. Chapter One

 


Prologue

The conspiracy nuts would have a field day with this one. The Major already knew that the truth would never, ever see the light of day. He could already imagine some of the crazy theories they’d spin. But whatever they came up with would never match what had actually happened over the last few days. That thought almost made him laugh out loud. Almost.

He surveyed the strangers around him, still trying to wrap his head around everything. The Monk knelt off to the side, praying in Latin. The Major didn’t understand a word of it. But there was strength in that prayer – strength and power. It rang forth with the clear voice of a true believer. Its energy drew in everyone around him. For a moment, they all believed.

The Old Man calmly directed suppressive fire toward the cave entrance. He set careful fire zones to ensure a clear path to safety for the last handful of fleeing soldiers. He knew his work well. Clearly he’d had military experience in the past.

His team was the best. Today, that hadn’t been enough. Bodies littered the ground around the cave entrance. Plenty more remained hidden underground. But the official report wouldn’t show that. The casualties would show up on another report from another operation on another day. Families would be told their loved ones had died in battles they’d never fought; some of them in places the soldiers had never visited.

Officially, those men had never been here.

The Commander had commandeered his radio after those REMFs back at headquarters had denied him permission for an airstrike. The Major and his team called in air strikes all the time – and they’d called in plenty earlier that day. He didn’t understand why he lacked the authority for this one.

Whoever he was, the Commander didn’t have that problem. He barked a few strange phrases into the radio, obviously code words. A brief moment later, the authorization came back.

His soldiers held their positions, maintaining fire despite their frazzled nerves. Under the circumstances it seemed like a miracle. Yet despite their lack of preparation for the day’s horrors, they really were the best of the best. Now that they’d escaped that death trap, he knew that they would hold. He brimmed with pride at their performance today. Even by their own superhuman standards, every man among them had gone above and beyond.

The buzzing of an incoming aircraft caught his attention. He snapped his head to the sky, and found it quickly. The propeller driven C-130 Hercules flew low for this one – right around six thousand feet. The unguided “dumb” ordinance didn’t have much precision. To be fair, a bomb that size didn’t need much precision. But it did need some, and that meant flying low. And then he saw it – the parachute popping out the rear of the plane, followed by the gleaming silver oblong blob. It even looked like one of the largest bombs ever built.

The BLU-82 packs almost thirteen thousand pounds of GSX explosive into one package. The five thousand foot blast radius and resulting mushroom cloud often confuse observers into believing that they’ve witnessed a nuclear explosion. Developed during the Vietnam War, its ability to flatten even the flowers quickly led to its nickname. They called it the “Daisy Cutter.”

The Major watched the device fall downward toward the mouth of the cave, noting thankfully that his men had all cleared the blast zone. This one would be loud. And jarring. The parachute took almost three minutes to deliver its payload. Those three minutes felt like an eternity.

A shout rose up among the men as a shadow emerged from the cave. All went quiet for a moment, as they recognized the shape that had terrorized them in the darkness. Then the Knight emerged, injured and weary. Despite his obvious fatigue, he launched straight into a ferocious assault on the dark form. The men cheered.

His team didn’t need orders. Every man among them knew they owed their own lives to the Knight. He’d been the one to engage that thing, buying them all time to escape. They shifted their aim and unloaded everything they had into it. Hundreds of rounds of ammunition pounded it, to minimal effect. Still, they fired away – anything to help the Knight, but most of all, anything to keep that nightmare inside the target zone.

The Knight glanced to the sky. He clearly knew what came his way, yet he never wavered. He never even tried to escape. He knew what everyone else knew. If he let that shadowy terror escape, it would all be for nothing. So he attacked with everything he had, keeping his opponent pinned down just inside the cave mouth.

The show ended with an explosive finale. The bombardiers knew their work. The combatants, barely out of the blast radius, found themselves blinded and deafened. If anything, the quiet that followed disturbed them even more. Nothing moved within the blast zone. His men ceased fire. What would be the point? Anything that could survive that would laugh off their remaining weapons.

Hours later, after the blast zone had cooled, the strangers led a hunt through the rubble. The blast had vaporized everything. Not a trace remained of the shadow, nor could they find any remains of the Knight. The Major had thought nothing else could surprise him that day. He learned he was wrong when they found it. It gleamed bright after they wiped the ash off. He couldn’t find even a tiny scratch on it.

The strangers brought it out of the blast zone and lay it in a clearing. Kneeling before it, the Monk led a prayer for their fallen comrade. The Major knelt and joined in. His men followed – every one of them, men of all faiths, even atheists. Not necessarily for God or for the Christ that the Monk prayed to, but for this man, this Knight, who had given his life for them. Soldiers, one and all, saluted a fallen comrade. Afterward, the Commander wrapped the artifact carefully and packed it up.

Night would fall soon. The Afghanis wouldn’t support an assault in the dark, even after the bombing. After what he’d seen in the cave, the Major didn’t blame them. They’d send a team down in daylight to sift through the rubble and see if they could identify the bodies.

The strangers joined them silently on the trek back to their base camp. But they slipped away in the night, bypassing even his watch. The Monk, the Old Man, the Commander and the Knight. He didn’t know their names or where they came from or where they went. But he knew what he’d seen in that cave, and it altered his life forever.

The conspiracy theorists would have a field day, yes. But their wild theories didn’t have anything on the truth.


Pre-order it now directly from Silver Empire, or wait until July 25th to pre-order it from Amazon.com.

War Demons – SAMPLE CHAPTER

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Since my first novel, War Demons, is finally nearing completion, it’s time to share a sample chapter. A bit of context:

When he came home, so did they…

Driven by vengeance, Michael Alexander enlisted in the Army the day after 9/11. Five years later, disillusioned and broken by the horrors he witnessed in Afghanistan, Michael returns home to Georgia seeking to begin a new life. But he didn’t come alone. Something evil followed him, and it’s leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

The police are powerless. The Army has written Michael off. Left to face down a malevolent creature first encountered in the mountains of Afghanistan, he’ll rely on his training, a homeless prophet, and estranged family members from a love lost…

But none of them expected the dragon.

Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden collides with Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International in this supernatural thriller that goes straight to Hell!

The following chapter takes place about midway through the book. It’s a tad light on the urban fantasy elements, but it makes up for that with a lot of fun.


The six cylinder, three point six liter turbo charged boxer engine let out a deep growl as Michael pressed the gas pedal to the floor. An all-wheel drive system and four fat contact patches on eighteen inch tires helped transfer most of that power straight to the ground. Even so, the tires squealed on the wet pavement before they stuck.

The country roads just outside the Covington estate weren’t built for high speed traffic. The hills and trees impeded visibility and provided plenty of obstacles that the narrow, winding roads made it difficult to avoid. Fortunately, Michael had spent his teenage years driving these roads at far higher speeds than sanity would dictate.

The wind and rain jostled them around bumps and potholes, but the Porsche Carrera 4 Turbo stayed locked  to the pavement. Michael kept his eyes firmly fixed on the road. Through unspoken agreement, Peter watched for the Land Rover. It had enough of a head start to race well out of sight, and it carried an engine almost as powerful as the Porsche’s. But it also weighed twice as much and couldn’t maneuver along the curves of the country roads like the German sports car.

Their first challenge approached as the road ended into another unnamed county highway. They’d have to pick a direction. Michael prayed as he eased on the breaks and downshifted.

“There,” Peter called out, as he pointed to his right. Michael didn’t even look. Instead he simply threw the car into a hard right turn and gunned the accelerator again. As they power slid through the stop sign at a speed higher than the posted limit, Michael caught the flash of red taillights himself.

Peter slammed his fist into the dashboard in frustration as the taillights dipped under a hilltop about a quarter mile in the distance. But Michael knew these roads. This stretch would be almost perfectly straight well past the horizon. He pushed his foot to the floor. The engine roared as the little car gave him everything it had. The road was hadn’t been paved in some time. At their speed, they felt every bump.

The car rocketed over the hilltop at a hundred and ten miles per hour. Peter gripped the sides of his seat for all he was worth, as raw speed carried them airborne for nearly twenty yards. They landed hard, but square on the wheels. They skidded for a moment on the wet asphalt. Then the tires found their grip and they rocketed down the road.

On every turn, the squeal of tires pierced through, even overpowering the sounds of the torrential downpour. Lightning occasionally lit up the sky. Otherwise, visibility was terrible.

“How can you see anything in this?” The nervousness in Peter’s normally unflappable voice stood out like a sore thumb.

“Last time I did this, I couldn’t even see this well.”

Peter’s eyes popped out of his head.

“You’ve chased a Muslim terrorist down these roads, at three times the speed limit, in the middle of a rain storm at night before?”

“You think he’s an Islamic terrorist?” Michael answered, genuinely surprised.

Peter winced as they entered a windy section of road. Michael rode the center line, which allowed him to navigate the turns as an almost-straight line. Peter didn’t want to think about what would happen if they encountered an oncoming car in the other lane.

As they pulled out toward the end, Michael caught a glimpse of headlights rising over a ridge and whipped hard back into his own lane. Peter knocked his head on the window and let out a groan.

“Well, I don’t know if he’s Muslim,” Peter allowed.

“As far as I know, he’s your typical non-religious, rich son of an oilman.”

“Fine, not Islamic! But those things at the house and that yellow eyed creature seem pretty terrifying to me!” Peter answered.

Michael allowed that he had a point before responding to the original charge.

“No, there was no rain last time,” Michael answered the original question in his calm voice. “And definitely no Islamic terrorists.”

“What were you thinking, man?”

“I was just driving fast for the hell of it. And maybe also because my blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit. So it was actually a lot harder to see.” Michael stated calmly.

Peter stared at the crazy man in the driver’s seat.

Michael didn’t take his eyes off the road – not even for a heartbeat – but he could sense the young man’s reaction. “I was also driving faster. But I know these roads like the back of my hand. We’ll be good, I promise.”

“Were you always so brilliant in your youth?”

“Oh, some of my youthful ideas were far better than that,” he answered sarcastically. Ahead of them, the road came to an abrupt end.

“How did you ever survive to adulthood?”

“My grandfather used to ask the same thing.”

A family of white tailed deer jumped out into the road in front of them. Tires squealed as Michael swerved right and brought the car to a complete stop. Peter’s face turned ashen, but Michael never lost his cool. He’d trusted the German engineering, and the gigantic anti-lock brakes hadn’t let him down. He smoothly shifted back into first gear. The instant the deer gave him an opening, he pressed firmly on the gas pedal and released the clutch.

The engine stalled out.

His right foot continued to press down, but nothing happened. Something blocked the accelerator. He looked down to find that the flashlight had rolled under the pedal. He kicked it out with his foot, mashed the clutch in again, and restarted the engine. He revved the flat six engine high and popped the clutch out again. Four hundred and sixty two horses squealed through the tires at once. When the tires finally stuck, the silver car took off like a jackrabbit on steroids.

The Land Rover was once again out of sight. Michael pushed the car as hard as he dared on the wet country roads. It was faster than Peter would have liked, but he said nothing. Instead, he resumed his scan, trying to pick up any trace of Khalid’s getaway car. Another intersection approached.

“Left!” Peter called out, pointing for emphasis.

Michael lifted the parking brake handle and twisted the wheel, throwing the Porsche into a hard sideways slide. Before they’d even slid through the intersection, he gunned the accelerator again. The wheels screeched on the wet roads, fighting hard for traction, but eventually they stuck. The car rocketed out of the turn.

“I said left!” Peter shouted at him.

“I know,” Michael responded calmly. “These old roads all come out at the same spot.  This way’s faster – we’ll shave off some time and catch up to him.” Without warning, he braked hard and yanked the wheel hard to the left. Peter let out a small yelp and closed his eyes.

“Hail Mary, full of grace…” Peter finished his prayer and opened his eyes again. “We’re not dead,” he noted. “I didn’t even see that road there.”

“This place was still a working tobacco plantation up until the late 1950s. The farm hands had to get around a lot. There are Jeep trails like this all over the place out here.” He flashed Peter a quick grin. “I told you to trust me.”

A moment later, the dirt road ended. Michael took a hard right again. The smoother asphalt allowed them to gain speed, but the road wasn’t much wider than the mud path they’d just left. They drifted around another hard turn before the road opened up. Michael took advantage of the straightaway and opened up the turbocharged throttle.

He pointed across the field at a pair of headlights moving at an oblique angle toward them.

“We’ve got them now.”

They could see the SUV clearly now, even through the rain. The Porsche’s headlights illuminated it enough to be sure it was the right vehicle. As Michael had predicted, the two roads converged at an intersection ahead. Peter flinched as he saw the stop sign approaching.

“Michael, that intersection is coming up awfully fast.” The bulky Land Rover loomed before them, growing quickly in their field of view.

“Yup,” the driver replied. “Please return all tray tables and seat backs to their full upright position and make sure your seat belt is secure.”

“Huh?” Peter said, double checking his belt.

The crash came a few seconds later.