Monday, January 16, 2017

Live and Let Bite, Chapter 6 excerpt: In Cold Blood

Remember when I said that things were going to be coming to a head?

What you're about to see is part of the reason why.

For reasons that will become apparent within the book itself, Amanda hasn't exactly been keeping close tabs on Marco, or his dealings in San Francisco. But she has concluded that she needs to come back, and protect him.

She's going to discover that Marco has not exactly been acting normal ... normal for Marco, anyway.

I should remind people that presales for Live and Let Bite ARE CURRENTLY UP AND RUNNING.

If you want to preorder the book, click here, and now's the time to do it.

Oh yes, and for the record, when Amanda arrives in San Francisco, she finds one of Marco's people doing something stupid.

Amanda finally guided Yana to her dorm room, and had her open the door.
As they entered, Amanda was caught flat-footed. Yana’s girlfriend Tara was curled up on top of her sheets, curled up into the fetal position. This wouldn’t be a problem if she weren’t wearing only a bikini.
Of course.” Amanda rolled her eyes and closed the door behind her. “Now, tell me all about Marcos decline in my absence.”
Yana gaped, and blinked, and frowned, not having expected to think this late at night. “I have a video.”
The video was on YouTube. The only title on it was “Bad@$$ Student Drops Bully like a Ton of Bricks.” The date was from early November. The opening of the video started with someone who was easily 69” and a basketball player striking his girlfriend in the middle of a hallway.
The only reason that Amanda noticed Marco in the background was the walk. He was the only one who was obviously approaching in a controlled, oh-so-casual manner. It was so casual it was obviously faked. He kept his hands in his white windbreaker the whole way. When he finally came close to the attacker, the height disparity was painful to look at. There was being a head shorter, and then there was Marco coming up to the man’s armpit.
Marco looked like he was going to simply take another step. Except the knee came up past his hips before shooting straight out. The kick hit the basketball player’s knee on the side, hyperextending the knee joint.
The attacker almost went down, but quickly adjusted to the injured leg. He whirled on Marco, backhanding him. Marco had met the strike with both forearms, then grabbed the offending hand. He dug his thumbs into the back of the hand, with his fingers digging into the palm. Grip established, he twisted the arm, and the sound it made was like very loud Rice Krispies.
Then Marco folded the wrist forward, almost so it was flat against the forearm.
Marco moved closer, and then Amanda saw the eyes. The dark blue eyes she so liked about him were even darker, and colder, like an overcast day in the arctic.
Marco said something to him. Even though Amanda couldn’t hear it, she could read his lips. “Touch her again, loser, and you’ll wish I was this gentle.”
The attacker reached back for the small of his back. Marco saw the movement, but Amanda could see the knife he was reaching for.
Marco waited. He knew there was something coming, but couldn’t have known what. But Marco waited for it to happen. Marco wanted there to be a weapon.
This was no longer a fight. This was an excuse.
The knife hand came up into Marco’s grasp. He took the hand and guided it, turning over the hand, and slammed it into the attacker’s opposite shoulder. Amanda winced. The knife point had gone into the ball joint.
Marco’s knee came up again, and he stomped once more, into the other kneecap, dislocating it as well.
Worst of all? It wasn’t that Marco’s smile didn’t even flicker. That was normal. The worst of all was that Marco could have stopped him with the first—maybe the second—blow, without crippling him. The basketball player would never fully recover, and would require months of physical therapy to regain even normal functionality of all of his limbs. If ever.
How did this man with the knife stay standing after?” Amanda now asked.
PCP, it seems.”
What happened after?”
Yana frowned. “Nothing. There was talk of lawyers, and someone said that, practically, Marco was well within his rights to kill him once the knife came out. But that none of the hits before the knife were really that bad. 'Reasonable force,’ as though any of that was reasonable.”

I need to talk to the others.”
The first one Amanda talked with was Tara. She had to be awakened.
Tara was a dirty blonde, with wide, sad eyes, broad forehead, and something very drab about her. With makeup, there was always just something about her that was off. She was pleasant enough, amiable, but so relatively low-key that Tara was almost a void in space and time. Most people emanated some sort of life force. Tara almost nullified it. If Amanda could see auras, she would lay money that Tara would be made invisible by hers.
Tara gave her insecure little smile. “Marco’s been giving off bad juju for a while now.”
Hi. Have you met Marco? I knew he was different from the first moment I entered the same room. And you’re insisting that you’re a perceptive, aura-reading Wiccan? You wouldn’t make a good high-school guidance counselor.
How so?” Amanda asked.
He’s been getting angrier and angrier. If I thought he was sexually active, I’d say he wasn’t getting any. But it’s more like he’s frustrated with the world. He wants to do harm to something. The best thing I can say about him is that he’s only hurting people who won’t be stopped any other way. He’s not even picking fights, you know? He sees something, he doesn’t say something, he just stops it.” Tara looked at Yana. “But he was like that a little when he got here. Remember that rapist? He stopped that one cold, then stomped on his junk a bit? I think it was our first night out with him?”
Amanda nodded. That sounded like something Marco would do. “But now?”
Now?” Tara answered. “I think the rapist would have needed an ambulance in order to leave the cemetery. Its like that thing with the ax.”
What ax?”
* * * *
Once the raw video footage of Marco in the alley with the ax was over, Amanda cleared her throat. “Well. That was ... horrible.”

If you haven't read book one and two in the series, they're available below.

And if you have, now's a great time to review them.


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