Monday, March 25, 2013

Egg-cerpt by Stacy Juba

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today by Stacy Juba

Should we dig for the truth when Pandora’s Box is a coffin of buried secrets?

Kris Langley has always been obsessed with murder. She blames herself for the violent death of her cousin when they were kids and has let guilt invade every corner of her existence. Now an editorial assistant and obit writer, Kris stumbles across an unsolved murder while compiling “25 Years Ago Today” items from the microfilm. Determined to solve the case and atone for the death of her cousin, Kris immerses herself in the mystery of what happened to Diana Ferguson, a talented artist who expressed herself through haunting paintings of Greek mythology.

Not only does Kris face resistance from her family and her managing editor, she also clashes with Diana’s suspicious nephew, Eric Soares – until neither she nor Eric can deny the chemistry flaring between them. She soon learns that old news never leaves the morgue and that yesterday’s headline is tomorrow’s danger, for finding out the truth about that night twenty-five years ago may shatter Kris’s present, costing her love, her career, and ultimately, her life.

Available in e-book and audiobook formats from retailers including:


Barnes & Noble:

More retailers, reviews and book trailer at:


Cheryl came up behind Kris. Her voice sounded sad and tired. "Please don't tell my mother too much, even if you're making progress. I don't want to raise her hopes."
Kris glanced back at Irene, who hunched on the couch, turning the locket over in her hand. "I'll be careful with what I say. My aunt would've been eager, too."
"How was your cousin killed?"
"She was strangled, kidnapped by a neighbor while walking alone. We were twelve."
Cheryl heaved a sigh. "I'm sorry. I remember reading about that. It happened locally, didn't it?"
"I know you're a terrific writer. I couldn't have been happier with the business story. I'm just concerned about my mother."
"I understand," Kris said. "I won't let you down."
She trudged out to her car and brushed off her windshield. She waited behind the steering wheel as the defroster warmed the interior. Not knowing Diana's whereabouts must have tormented Irene. Kris's family had agonized over Nicole's disappearance. As one day blended into the next, Nicole had seemed further and further away.
Finding her was worse.
Kris had learned a new phrase that May, a litany that surged back into her mind, drumming to the beat of the windshield wipers. If only.
If only it hadn't rained the afternoon Nicole had disappeared.
If only she hadn't climbed into the car with Randolph Coltraine.
If only Aunt Susan had been home when Nicole called for a ride.
Kris swallowed the metallic taste in her mouth. If only I didn't trick her.
She chose the long route home, driving fast. She hadn't driven in New York and had forgotten the thrill of a climbing speedometer. Her first week back, she'd landed a speeding ticket.
Kris skidded onto the Fremont State College campus, her tires kicking up tufts of snow. She passed dorms, tennis courts and the library before parking in front of the deserted baseball field. White trees cast shapeless shadows across the broad expanse of snow. A chunk of ice slid off the roof, hitting the front window. Kris jumped, her hand to her heart.
"No one's out there," she murmured, gazing into the woods. "Not now."
But once.
Beyond those trees, Diana had lain dead.
Police had crowded the scene, their search over.
Middle-aged reporter Dex Wagner had scribbled in his notebook.
Twenty-five years ago today.

Thanks for stopping by Stacy,


Friday, March 22, 2013

Excerpt for Mona Karel

My Killer My Love

Mona Karel

Black Opal Books

Paranormal Romance/326 Pages

When an immortal enforcer is sent to punish an innocent woman, she wakens the soul he'd forgotten he possessed.

Published May 22, 2011

When an immortal enforcer is sent to punish an innocent woman, she wakens the soul he'd forgotten he possessed.

Paranormal Romance
Ultimate Sacrifice
Eternal Struggle


She hurt and feared on so many different levels. Poor Mykhael, not able to deal with one part of his heritage,shunned by the other part. Poor Kendra, who’d kept herself uselessly locked away from the rest of the world. For what?

Two incomplete souls, lost in their own world, locked away from any other. There was some sort of a message here, maybe even a solution to many of their problems. She was too weary, or her mind was not yet ready to understand.

Straightening her legs, she stood, using the wall for a partial support. Mykhael watched, but didn’t step forward. This she had to do on her own, she realized. He’d made so many first moves. Now it would be her turn.

She hesitated, halfway across the room and asked the question plaguing her for so long.

“When you go back, will you be accepted as a worthwhile member of the exalted group, or will you continue as an outcast?”
He shrugged, and it seemed as though it truly did not matter. “I am not exactly certain. At one time, that was my greatest ambition. Now, I find my existence has taken a new direction.”

She stepped forward the rest of the way, stopping close enough to him to feel his heat.

“What direction? What are your goals now, Mykhael?”

Hesitantly, he lifted his hand and touched the side of her face with infinite gentleness. For a moment, it seemed as though he would speak, defining their relationship in concrete terms. Instead, after a moment, he dropped his hand to her shoulder, supporting her unobtrusively.

“I cannot speak most of them clearly as yet. You, Kendra? Do you know your ambitions?”

“They have also changed, long range at least. Although, if we don’t solve the Atrahasis’s problems, long-range is a deceptive term. Short range, I believe I’d like to take you up on your offer of a while ago.”

“To sleep in your bed together?” A new, soft smile softened the lines of his face. “You would not be treating me as a bimbo, would you?”

She considered it as she took his hand, leading him unresisting toward the cot. “Perhaps. But if we are both mindless bimbos, we will match perfectly, and nothing else will matter, will it?”

She was not allowed to walk the last few steps.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Egg-cerpt for Collapse

COLLAPSE by Richard Stephenson


Over 5K paid ebook downloads since July of 2012!
Top 10 Paid Bestseller in the War, Political, Dystopian, and Political Thriller categories!

BOOK ONE in the NEW AMERICA series.

What would it take for the United States to fall from within? In a not too distant future, America is put to the test. With the American people deep in The Second Great Depression and two of the most powerful hurricanes on record to contend with, the United States is in no condition to deal with hidden terrorists on its soil, maniacal politicians, and the most formidable military threat the world has seen since the Third Reich.

This is the story of three men from three very different walks of life: Howard Beck, the world's richest man, also diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome; Richard Dupree, ex-Navy SEAL turned escaped convict; and Maxwell Harris, a crippled, burned-out chief of police of a small Texas town. At first, they must overcome their own struggles and fight for their survival against impossible odds. In the end, the unlikely trio must band together to save their beloved country from COLLAPSE.

Empires topple. Nations crumble. Civilization is fragile. In 2027, America will fall.


"Sweeping, character driven apocalypse." "Stephenson starts with a bang and doesn't lose momentum." Steven Konkoly, best selling author of "The Jakarta Pandemic" and the "Black Flagged" series.

"Outstanding futuristic thriller." "Mr. Stephenson grabs you - literally pulls you - directly into the novel and gets your pulse racing right into the heads of his character." Michael Gallagher, Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer and his "Kindle Books and Tips" blog has been the #1 bestselling paid subscription blog in the Amazon Kindle Store since 2010.

"Collapse is a real page-turner. Stephenson does a masterful job of building a suspenseful ending to each chapter and then shifting to another character's story; this makes it difficult to put down this book." Blaise Ciabaton, Editor of

"Vivid characters, fast paced story." Lisa Bedford, editor and owner of The



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Egg-cerpt from Lizzie Starr

Wild Keltic Carouselle
*lizzie starr

Just when Bryce decides to give up looking for the masked dancer who captured his heart and get on with his life, his darlin’ daughter climbs onto the lap of a captivating woman in a coffee shop and calls her Mommy. He certainly wouldn’t mind exploring the possibility.

Carrie’s vacation is over. Although she loves her job, she dreads returning. Especially when a blonde-haired cherub insists she’s ‘Mommy’. Add the girl’s intriguing father, and Carrie believes she’s finally ready for a real relationship. But memories of a horrific attack surface, bringing doubt and fear.

Then one of Bryce’s fathers is kidnapped by a cult. Not knowing if the abduction was of human or Fey origin, Bryce must chance seeming crazy and losing Carrie with tales of the Faerie Otherworld. Dare he take her to Faerie and declare his love—or are the forces aligning against them too much to overcome?

Short excerpt

A faint pink covered Carrie’s cheeks and she glanced away. Bryce took the opportunity to study the woman cradling his daughter so carefully in a completely relaxed, natural embrace.

Her highlighted, golden brown hair was pulled back with a clip. Strands had escaped the confinement and trailed loosely around her face and down her neck. A tiny spot of whipped cream, a remnant from her beverage, hovered just above her upper lip. A shapely lip, poised above the lush, kissable pout the lower.

Yep. Definitely kissable.

Her lips moved and pulled into a wide smile. Guiltily, Bryce lifted his gaze. Chocolate brown eyes twinkled as if she fought to control some hidden amusement.

He’d been caught.

“Uh, sorry for staring.”

“’S okay. Actually, I’m used to it.”

He could believe that.

“But, it’s not usually my face being stared at.” Carrie chuckled, a low throaty sound that insisted he respond. He did, in a pure, naturally male way. His gaze dropped to her breasts. She chuckled again, her body moving against the soft material of her shirt.

The Sahara Desert would seem lush and tropical in comparison to the sudden dryness in his mouth. Her breasts were—perfect. Neither overly large, nor small enough to need padding. Nope, there was no padding there. In fact, if she even wore a bra, it had to be one of those soft athletic things. He could see the tantalizing, firming peak of...

This is *lizzie starr 

*lizzie always made up games and stories to keep her company, so, a witch lived in Grampa’s weather research station and was only held at bay by waving a certain weed. An ancient road grader morphed into boat a carrying wild adventurers to islands filled with sheep that turned into lions and cannibals. Now, filled with fantasy and love, the stories of her imagination have found their way into the mundane world. And when *lizzie has to return to that mundane life, she’s *the Lunch Lady* at a private school. Author and lunch lady~~what a combination!                                          
*lizzie adores hearing what you think about her tales of romance with a sparkling twist. You can visit her blog at, her  website at or contact her

Thanks Lizzie for stopping by you know I love your books,


Monday, March 18, 2013

Egg-cerpt for Rhinoceros Dreams: Stories

Rhinoceros Dreams: Stories by Jessica Knauss


Blurb: These three charming stories celebrate and defend some of the world's largest and rarest animals. 

"Rhinoceros Dreams" tells how Allie, a woman fascinated with rhinoceroses, finds true love in the human world with a bookworm. Can he ever truly understand her? Can she make her rhinoceros dreams come true? Previously published in This Mutant Life and Jake's Monthly Anthology.

"Not Extinct Yet," available exclusively in this collection, happens in an alternate world in which animals can talk. Intrepid rhinoceros linguist Suzanne takes on the responsibility to save her African rhino friends from extinction by mindless poaching. When you want to know something about a rhino, you should always ask a rhino!

"A Business Venture in Glue" is a weird flash fiction that uses a rhino escaped from a zoo to suggest themes of collectionism and possession. Previously published in Stanley the Whale.

The magic of rhinos lies not in superstitions about their horns, but in their majesty and in all creatures' basic right to live.

“This story is so original and surreal that it’d be a crime not to accept it. This is high-quality, intriguing-premise Magic Realism at its finest.” —Jake Johnson

Find it at


Excerpt from “Not Extinct Yet”


Suzanne came into the kitchen dressed for work in a sensible suit. With bitten-down fingernails, she had affixed a pin showing the two-horned face of an African rhinoceros, surrounded by a heart, to her lapel. “Hey,” said her husband Derek, rustling his daily news at the table. “The British are at it again.”

Suzanne sighed. “Always with the sheep.”

“Yep. Apparently, there’s a law for debate in Parliament this time.”

“Not legalization?”

“Marriage between human and ovine may soon be a reality! Get this.” He started to read aloud. “An anonymous source recounted his personal experience. ‘Miranda was out in the moor grazing with the rest of the flock when I looked deep into her eyes. It was love. We fell to talking and we’ve never been apart since.’ The Miranda in question gave no comment.”

“Call me traditional, but there’s something not quite right about that,” said Suzanne as she buttered some toast.

“Sure, she can talk, but does this guy let her? No. It’s the same old story. Control, control, control.” Derek crumpled the paper and took his plate to the sink.

Suzanne kissed her husband. “All right, off to the university’s salt mines with you.”

“You know he made up that name. Who ever heard of a sheep who called herself Miranda?”

Ever since the Discovery, the lines between domestic animals and their supposed owners had blurred. In 1999, a team of researchers in Borneo discovered that the parrots there could actually connect thought to their speech, that it wasn’t mere copying. An international community of scientists carried out the same experiment with parrots all over the world and found it to be true among all species. To the delight of the pirate movie industry, most parrots were endowed with a biting wit and loved the camera. It wasn’t long before some of the more serious-minded parrots claimed exploitation, and the pirate movie fad ended, almost exactly on schedule with public taste.

The parrots’ cover was blown, and animal specialists everywhere turned to the back yard, the farm, and the wild to make contact with their favorite objects of study. Over the next decade, more than half the world’s known non-human animal species were found to have some degree of speech capability.

Suzanne had led the rhino discovery team in South Africa. Over the course of months, they tracked several family groups – called “crashes” – of white rhinoceroses, using satellite equipment and a rusty truck. They finally zeroed in on one family group in particular. Every night, they brought the truck a few feet closer to where the family was resting.

On a moonlit night in the middle of 2006, Suzanne followed her heart and stepped out of the truck into a little copse of trees where the family was sheltering. Her boots made scraping sounds on the dirt as she crept ever so slowly toward a beautiful rhino cow who seemed to be standing watch, a little separated from her crash. As Suzanne stepped within a yard’s distance, she hardly dared breathe. The rhino flicked her tail. Suzanne stood still. Her throat like sandpaper, she whispered, “Hello?”

The rhino snorted and tossed her head as if she were shooing flies. The moonlight made her eyes sparkle. Suzanne began to shake.

“Um, the parrots have talked,” she continued. “We humans have found out that most mammals have the power of speech….”


Jessica blogs at, where you can find her Twitter and Facebook addresses as well as many more places to see her and her books.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Eggcerpt by Tonya Callihan

First let's learn a little about Tonya.

She has been writing all of her life. At the age of 13, on Christmas break she snuck one of her mom’s romances from a box brought over by her grandma. The novel she read was ‘Montana Sky’ by Nora Roberts. Once she finished reading that book she knew someday she would to be a published romance author. She has been writing every since.

Now a single mom she balances her time between her 10 month old son, Mason, writing, work, and the Internet!

Tonya loves to help support some of her favorite authors and is very involved in several street teams and posts book reviews over at her

Her first novel was published in January 2010,
Night Promises, the first book in her Night Pleasures series! After a long wait her second book from MuseItUp Publishing, Claimed will be coming out Spring 2013! With hopefully, more releases this year as well.

My Links:

Author FB:









“Our new girl is looking good out there.” Mac handed Kelly a bottle of water from the small fridge in the corner of their office.
“That’s good. I wasn’t sure about hiring a human. The last one quit within the first hour, but she’s made it through two nights.”
“Our last one was more concerned with whether vampires really existed or not. With Cammie, I believe she’s got a real interest with vamps and respects us.”
“How did your date go last night?”
“There won’t be a second one. For a three-hundred year old vamp, he has no charm and absolutely nothing but blood and the sport of finding the next meal to talk about.”
“I think Micah is interested in you.”
“What makes you say that?” “When I arrived at Connor’s, Micah asked me how you were. I told him you were on a date, and he looked upset and got short with me.”
“Well, I’m not interested in him.”
“Is there such a thing as life mates?”
“Did he say we were life mates? I tell you what; he didn’t get the hint seventy years ago, but he’s going to get it now.” She tossed her water bottle in the trash.
“I’ll take that as a yes and a no. He didn’t mention you two were life mates.”
She stood in front of Kelly’s desk. “There are rumors that life mates really exist. But I’ve never felt that pull, I guess you could call it.”
“Can humans feel it with vampires?”
“I don’t think so. I’ve never heard of it. As much as I hate to admit this, Micah would be the man you need to talk to about this type of stuff. He’s been around longer than I have, and he knows how it works.”
“Do you not want to know?” “I’m not interested in settling down. Honestly, I don’t believe vamps are capable of settling down.”
“Why not?”
“Because we are creatures of habit. Sex and blood. We need both and very often. We can’t stay with the same human for a long period of time, or we will kill them or be forced to turn them against their will. Vamps can feed from one another during sex, but the vamp will still have a strong hunger for human blood.”
“That answers my questions then.”
“Do you think you and Connor are life mates?”
“No, I don’t. I’ve never felt a pull, as you said. I was more curious about a lasting relationship between a human and vampire.”
“I hate to let you down but it’s almost impossible. If you and Connor are life mates, you would have to let him turn you.”
“But as you said, we would still need human blood.”
Book Reviews:

Buy Night Promises

Secret Cravings Publishing


 Barnes and Nobel

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Egg-cerpt - Revive - Was it a Bad Date?

Needing to revive her life and jump start her heart, Jennifer Larson is facing the biggest challenge of her life, moving into an unplanned future. While the rest of the Executives Wives' Club continue to mourn their husbands, Jen is tempted into the future by a sexy chiropractor, Hagan Chaney.
But does he love her or her money?

“No, but it doesn’t appear as if Hagan feels the same way about your date as you do.” Brie cocked a brow and nodded approval. “He goes all googly-eyed when he looks at you.”

Jen shook her head, uncertain if Brie had read the signals correctly. Could he still find her attractive after their date last night?

Surely not.

Yet, she couldn’t forget the inviting strength of Hagan’s body lying over hers on the floor. “I wish, but he’s only being kind.”

“Wrong,” Brie whispered and lifted a container of steaming spaghetti sauce. “The man looks hungry, and it’s not for my pasta.” She walked out of the kitchen.

Jen stood, staring after her friend.

Could Brie be right?

Would Hagan ask her out again? And if he did, should she go?

She strayed to the door of the dining room and her gaze narrowed in on Hagan like a homing device. His strawberry blond head bowed low, he sat listening to the constant chatter of his young dining partner.

Jen waited for a moment for him to glance at her. When he didn’t, she searched the table for an open seat.

Why would he want her? She had nothing to offer.

Yes, some men might find her attractive because of the funds she’d received from Craig’s life insurance. However, as a doctor with a successful practice, Hagan didn’t need her money.

“Mrs. Larson, sit by me.” Ethan’s reminder of her married named slashed through her desire to get serious with any man. She nodded and strayed forward. Her marriage to Craig hadn’t been perfect. So why fall into the same old trap with a new guy? Maybe the EWC members’ opinions about dating again were right.

She should’ve waited.

Jen walked around Brie, who sat at the end of the table, and slid into the seat next to Ethan. “Everything looks great, Brie.”

“Thanks. Why don’t we past the salad around this way?” Brie handed the bowl to Jen and glanced around the table as if afraid she’d forgotten something.

“Mr. Cheney, can you please put some spaghetti on my plate.” Allison batted her eyes and offered him a shy smile.

Sitting across the table from them, Jen couldn’t help but notice the young girl’s hand sprayed delicately on his arm, the twinkle in her eyes, and the small smile, which fluttered repeatedly over her lips.

How could anyone resist her youthful charm?

Jen gripped the tongs a little tighter, angry for being jealous of a seven-year-old. She selected a few extra croutons and stared at the green leaves.

A man as sexy as Hagan could have any woman he wanted—one less than half his age. He didn’t need her problems, money, or hang-ups about having kids. He could choose a wife who would gladly give him a horde of kids.

Good for him. She didn’t need a husband she’d only like to have a little fun.

Purchase ebook at:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Egg-cerpt Exchange with Zrinka Jelic

My second novel, a pirate’s romance titled “Treasured Chest” has just been released on November 24th and is now available at Black Opal Books Amazon Barnes & Noble AllRomance eBooks Smashwords and Kobobooks




The last thing Captain Sirena expected to find on a desolate island was...him!


When Carmen Ventura takes up her post as commander of the Strega, she becomes the new Captain Sirena, the legendary pirate most people think is just a myth created to scare children. Her first quest is to search for the “treasured chest” hidden by her predecessor. But before she can even begin the hunt, she runs into Marko Lucin, captain of the Levant and Carmen’s most insane adventure yet.


How can the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen be a bloody pirate?


Never one to pass up an adventure, especially where pretty women are concerned, Marko finds his ultimate challenge in Carmen. Not only does he fall for her courage, spunk, and intelligence, but the lady pirate can also help him get what he wants—the famous treasure everyone whispers about. His only problem—how long can he play the charming captain before she discovers his true intentions?




She was ready to walk away and leave him stranded...but the man had a treasure map. What if it was real?


Sirena’s mind raced. Even with different colors hoisted, after the last night’s raid, she ran the risk that the Strega’s sails would be detected as soon as they appeared on the horizon. Her ship could not approach the city’s defensive walls. Not until all the rumors settled and no survivors would recognize them. On the other hand, she couldn’t pass through the Pila Gates as a lone woman. Last time she had spoken to her brother, he had said he’d be docking in Ragusa’s harbor on the second Sunday of August. Still two days away, but she should pay him a visit. Maybe he’d been home and had news.


“I possess a map.” The man’s voice snapped her out of her planning.


She lowered her sword, and her glance, to his feet and flicked a crab into the sea. “Charts are of no interest to me.”


“Ah.” He stroked his chin, leaving sooty fingerprints on his blond beard. “But this is not an ordinary map.” His grin exposed a row of white teeth, a rarity. “It leads to a treasure.”


“Treasure means different things to different people.” Something familiar reflected in his eyes. She stepped back. Now, where had she seen him before?


“True,” he said, “but I believe this map is real.” The same sparkle flashed in his eyes, reaffirming that flicker of recognition, but she still couldn’t place the sense of familiarity.

“What makes you so sure?”
“I’ve had it all my life.” He shrugged and gave a shy smile. “Call me a captain, but I’ve never been able to make any sense of the damn thing.”


Treasured Chest is captivating and action packed. The scenes were so vivid I felt the ship’s deck rolling beneath me while shouting commands to the crew and dreaming of being thoroughly kissed by Captain Marko. Treasured Chest is an exciting story, a shelf-keeper. – JJ Keller, best-selling author of Trade Agreement

I liked the character development and the plot, and it is obvious that Jelic did her homework as the shipping terms, etc., appear to be very authentic. I didn’t once come across something and said, wait a minute this is supposed to be historical—as sometimes happens with historical romances. Treasured Chest is fun and entertaining and the plot has some nice twists and turns. – Taylor, reviewer

I found Treasured Chest to be a strong second novel for Zrinka Jelic. While I enjoyed her first book, I think Jelic’s writing is much stronger in this second book. The character development is excellent, the dialogue convincing, and the plot intriguing. – Regan, reviewer

Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction—which leans toward the paranormal—and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic’s love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that’s about the only break they get. “Alas,” Jelic says, with a grin. “Some rain must fall in everyone’s life.”


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Watch the book trailer: Bonded by Crimson


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Egg-cerpt for "Coinage of Commitment"

Coinage of Commitment: Contemporary Romance by Rob Costelloe



Wayne and Nancy grow up on opposite sides of the country, each certain they must have love better than what others will settle for. Something stronger, something richer, something worth searching for. During the turbulent nineteen-sixties, they meet while he is attending blue-collar Drexel, and she is at neighboring, Ivy League Penn. Although irresistibly drawn to each other, they must overcome obstacles posed by the class and social differences that separate them, as well as opposition from both families, and later, a twist of fate that will be the cruelest test of all. Can they reach the emotional heights they seek? Can they overcome time's downward pulling inertia? Coinage of Commitment is dedicated to all who ever wondered about the altitude love might soar to.

Find it on Amazon at:



Setup: Late Friday night, 1968, at Philadelphia’s 30th St. Subway Station. Wayne is looking from the trolley station, where he stands, to the adjacent subway train (El) platform. 

As he watched absently, the girl from Sullivan’s came down the El station steps opposite him. She paused at the foot of the stairs, getting her bearings. Although adequate lighting bathed the platform, most riders took stock of others in the vicinity for safety’s sake. It was a natural precaution, instinctive for most, and especially important this late at night. She saw him, signaled recognition by a parting of her lips that was not quite a smile, then she lowered her gaze, turned, and strolled slowly out of sight to the other side of the stairway.

Seeing her again pricked him with an off-kilter joy, uplifting and refreshing, partly because she recognized and acknowledged him, but also because she seemed so buoyantly out of place down here, her bright beauty undefeated by the dank-smelling gloom of the subway. He smiled, turned away, and sauntered to the south side of the trolley platform. The minutes dragged, but no trolley car arrived. He began mentally composing a theme paper for his International Politics course, the only non-technical one he had that semester. Ideas came to him, prancing, and he thought of getting a notebook from his bag.

“Police! Help! Help me!” A woman’s screaming and it came from the El platform.

Thinking frantically of the girl, he ran to the north edge of the platform and jumped the foot or so that got him down onto the trolley tracks. A steel grate fence separated the two transit systems, but it had seen better days. A section was ajar, just ten feet to his left, and he swung it open enough to squeeze through.

Now things got difficult. The El platform was too high and far to jump to. The train tracks gleamed below him, the electrified rail closest, then the two steel tracks. He saw only one way to get there and didn’t slow down to analyze the risk. He threw his bag onto the opposite platform, then leaped forward, over the electrified rail, and down into the square trench that ran a foot and a half below and between the steel tracks. The platform loomed just above him, and the smell of ozone was stronger this close to the electrified rail—the one he must not fall back against. With his momentum still carrying forward from the jump, he kept moving, aware his footing and balance must be perfect. He reached up and grabbed the El platform edge, stepped up on the rail before him, then used his grip on the edge to lever himself up and onto the platform, landing on his right shoulder and side. Feeling no pain, he got to his feet and sprinted west down the platform toward the woman’s screams.

As he ran, he recalled what he had seen: the girl from Sullivan’s, a nondescript man, and three black youths: teens with their heads wrapped in dark bandannas, signifying…he knew not what. They were what fueled his urgency. Where was she? The commotion was still ahead of him.

He ran at top speed past the central vending area and spotted figures near the far steps. He could see her blond mane, somewhat disheveled now, and she stood with her arm across a shorter girl’s shoulder. The nondescript man ran up and joined them.

“He took my purse,” the other girl wailed. “I can’t believe I was so careless to let him get my purse that easily.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” the blond girl said, her arm still across the smaller girl’s shoulder in comfort.

“All my ID. A credit card. And I just got my paycheck cashed today. How stupid can you get?”

Another woman came down the steps and joined the group. As Wayne approached and slowed, a balding, thirtyish-looking man passed him from behind, joined the scene, said he had heard the commotion from above, and that a companion had gone to the toll booths to get help. Then two of the black youths he had seen earlier ran up from the west.

“He high-tailed it onto the tracks,” said the shorter of the youths. “He’s got choice of Thirty-third Street trolley or Thirty-fourth Street El station, so it looks like we kiss that one good-bye. You know what I’m saying? The Fuzz’l never collar that dude now.”

As though on cue, a police officer, complete with German Shepherd, came down the steps and assumed authority. The third black youth also joined the crowd. Wayne held back, not seeing what he could contribute by his late arrival. The blond girl had seen his running approach. Or had she? Her gaze had flicked briefly in his direction, then back to her charge. The tension eased with collective relief, and the officer started questioning the stricken girl, unpacking a notebook as he spoke.

Wayne thought of how the blond girl continued to be too distracted to notice him, and he felt bemused by the irony of his situation. He had arrived about 7.2 seconds too late to be of any use, even to the wrong damsel in distress. His breathing slowed. Still not seeing anything he could contribute, he turned and walked slowly in the direction he had come. He needed to retrieve his bag from where he had tossed it onto the platform. When he got there, he picked up the bag and looked out over the gleaming tracks toward the trolley station. No way, he thought, realizing with a shiver the danger he had risked. The price of another transit token wasn’t nearly worth the peril. And then, as though to underscore the irony, his trolley arrived and then quickly departed. Oh well, might as well climb the stairs to the mid-level pay booths so he could get back down to the trolley station. He took his sweet time since he probably had at least a twenty-minute wait. He approached the corner of the stairway, trying to remember whether the trolleys discontinued service during the wee hours. Suddenly the blond girl stood in front of him, her eyes wide, her expression anxious.

“It just dawned on me,” she said. “How did you get over here?”

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