Monday, August 28, 2023

Book Tour: Crimson Scimitar by: N.P. Grogan


Action-adventure-romance-political-terrorist-thriller of American television culture versus the War on Terrorism—the Awakening Epic of Our Times…

Title: Crimson Scimitar: Attack on America 2001-2027
Author: S.P. Grogan
Publisher: Addison & Highsmith Publishers
Publication Date: September 5, 2023
Pages: 680
Genre: Current Historical Fiction/Action/Adventure/Thriller

Crimson Scimitar by S.P. Grogan is an expansive action-adventure terrorist thriller that tells the ‘what if’ story of the al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden. What if, in 2011, instead of being killed bin Laden is captured and put on trial, what would American justice look like, and would the outcome be as expected? What if prior to his capture he and al Qaeda were planning to launch on America worse than 9/11? Who could stop it? In Crimson Scimitar is the chase to capture bin Laden, the ‘Trial of the Century’, the diabolical Crimson Scimitar plot in action, and climactic ‘gun battle at the bridge.’ Author S.P. Grogan’s writing seamlessly blends the political War on Terrorism events of 2011 into a realistic landscape that features strong women characters, an eccentric multi-millionaire, reality television stars, SEAL members on the attack, battling defense and prosecution lawyers, CIA agents, the President of the United States, and an ambitious jihadist who will begin a violent transformative journey. More intriguing is how the terrorist plot was crated that will lead to stock market manipulation, attacks on amusement parks, and nuclear waste poisoning. And amid it all there are romantic challenges that must be faced to create strong bonds to fight against evil. Crimson Scimitar is labeled as the ‘Awakening Epic of Our Times’, reminding readers that a 9/11 could happen again and that we must be vigilant.


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Book Excerpt  


EPISODE ONE – Prologue

Scene 1: On That Day, Where Were They?

Setting: September 11, 2001, New York, Chicago, Jalalabad

Booker Langston, defense attorney

He was angry with her. Not really. His Tuesday schedule went into flux with his fiancée’s casual request (non-negotiable demand) for a mutual shopping appointment before his afternoon court session, where he was set to deliver his closing argument, defending the accused. 

Judy said it would be a quick decision on her final choice of the wedding gown design. But he knew women. Maybe he didn’t. He did know that he was in love with investment banker/trader Judith Yu, her brilliance of mind, her beauty, the warmth of her smile, and her malleable body. The perfect cultural match: 3rd generation Chinese, she a math whiz, to merge by wedding vows to a 2nd generation African, his family political refugees, the elite of the previous regime, from a civil war in Liberia. Now, totally Americanized, successful though not yet rich, ‘Bookie’ was gaining a rep as a savvy defender of the legally entangled downtrodden of New York City. Complacent in his happiness within this work day, he had agreed to meet her in the lobby of the World Trade Center, North Tower. She would ride the elevator down from her currency exchange executive position in the financial trading office of Cantleigh & Fitzpatrick on the 103rd Floor. He checked his watch. 8:40 am. He picked up his pace, grinning. This time he would be early. Surprise her. He had flowers in his hand, a small bouquet.

The shadow of an aircraft momentarily darkened his steps. A grumbling scream filled the skies above his head, and then….

Hugh Fox had done it. A little fakery, not fraudulent, but the bankers would not have loaned the funds to a 19-year-old kid, who some called an ‘erratic genius,’ where others colored him as wild and driven, tinged with unpredictability. The bankers were under the impression that the product he was developing and marketing was ‘transistor type’ because one of the contracts he had signed was with Radio Shack, giving comfort for a relationship with a major retail corporation and thus credence to an asset valuation to support the collateral…

Hugh Fox felt, no, knew that with this lending capital, he could now succeed. He was in a buoyant mood. Then, just as his finger hit the elevator’s down button, he looked out the hall window to see American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower.

A hole-in-the-wall office, on the second floor, in the Garment District. The name on the glass kept simple. S. Carlisle, Creative Fashions. Sam, as she was known to amiable friends, Sammie to her family, wasn’t satisfied with the moniker for a future fashion trademark. She would scribble out words, match, and juggle, but nothing screamed, ‘famous apparel stylist works here.’ Sam was smart, smart-alecky, with a natural dose of ambition. One had to be bold, if not brash, if not outlandish, to succeed in this world of couture glam.

Eve, one of her two seamstresses, arriving late, rushed in, slurring out her sentences.

“A plane hit the World Tower. And not a small plane, a big jet. You can see the smoke from the street.” So, all three of them did just that. Sam, Eve, and Madeline, the other seamstress and the occasional part-time bookkeeper. She saw others were straying outside, glancing, peering down to the end of the island. And yes, black smoke appeared from not just one but both towers. ‘How could one plane set both buildings on fire?’ thought Sam, now hearing the emergency sirens from all directions heading towards the ‘accident.’

… She turned her attention back to the television. Good God, it is Dante’s Hell, as she saw ‘ghosts’ coming out of a tsunami cloud of grey ash. Her eyes focused on two men, stumbling toward the camera, neither one recognizable, even to what ethnicity they might be. Leaning, holding each other up, strangers clinging. Aloud, to no one, shaking her head, she mourned, “Everyone is grey confusion, like amnesiac ghosts.” Then thinking as a fashion designer might, seeing the perspective of all people now running. “No ethnics; no discerning tribes, no stuffy cliques, no Benetton colors of culture. The world has gone drab.” No one was around to hear what she later called her epiphany. She threw in a couple of curse words to emphasize a world gone crazy. And then, thinking more, she gained direction, “I will use a grey-black fabric background with minimalist color slashes, walking art of a chained political statement, of starkness representing sadness personified. Disturbed Valentino embraces nihilist Versace.” And Samantha Carlisle began to sketch, ignoring the wail of distant sirens.

For his part, Barack Obama, Illinois State Senator, remembered it beginning as probably an ‘unremarkable day.’ He was driving on Lake Shore Drive on his way to a required yet probably tedious Illinois Legislative Committee Meeting on Administrative Policy. The radio’s music channel switched to ‘Breaking News,’ and he first learned of a plane crash into one of the World Trade Center buildings in New York. By the time he arrived at his meeting, it had been canceled, and people were milling outside, many of them staring at Chicago’s Sears Tower, wondering, as he put it later, ‘Would this building go from workplace to target’?

Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, Pan-Islamic al-Qaeda leader

He had called his mother the night before. “You might not be able to reach me for some time.” She asked no questions. They had a pleasant visit about her life, his wives, and children. “No, they will not be coming with me for a month or so.” His mother did not ask why. He ended the call, both of them exchanging endearing goodbyes. Neither said they loved the other. That was not a ritual done in the bin Laden tribal clan. Yet, the call placed him in a good mood, as did other events yet to be. 


About the Author

S.P. Grogan in 2008 gained recognition with his first novel, Vegas Die, a Quest Mystery, in which the writing were clues that led the 'Questor' to seek out a dagger hidden somewhere in the Vegas Valley to be redeemed for $25,000 cash. Launching a fan-based treasure hunt Vegas Die became a best-seller, and an award for 'Best Regional' fiction. S.P. Grogan calls himself an eclectic storyteller in that he seeks out blending history and romance into various genres to create unusual plotting. In 2019, academic publisher Histria Books negotiated to acquire the author's existing catalogue of four novels for re-issuing and an option on the next several stories he might create. Lafayette: Courtier to Crown Fugitive tells the coming-of-age story of the young Marquis de La Fayette, 'France's richest orphan' and delves into his quest to revenge the death of his father, and his unbridled ambition to escape the intrigues of the court of Queen Marie Antoinette and go to the American colonies to find glory. In 2022, Captain Cooked, A Hawaiian Mystery of Romance, Revenge and Recipes won "Best Novel" from Gourmand International Cookbook Awards. Here, the author writes from the first-person perspective of a twentyish LA woman who is filming her father's top cable cooking show when she stumbles into the murder of a famous Hawaiian singing star (think 'Iz'), and struggles with romantic 'love on all the wrong beaches' when she has to choose between a thief, a king, and a murderer. Best-selling author Anne Hillerman said of Captain Cooked: "It reads like Janet Evanovich morphing into Rachel Ray while filming a remake of Perils of Pauline. Coming out in August 2023 is Atomic Dreams at the Red Tiki Lounge, an elaborately crafted Hawaiian fantasy-thriller set in post World War 2 Honolulu with the gods fighting against mutated demons, star-crossed romance, where future famous people pass through the doors of the Red Tiki. There's even Russians seeking to steal an Atomic Bomb. Artwork illustrations provided by famed surrealist artist, Brad 'Tiki Shark' Parker. Finally, is Crimson Scimitar, which has been described as 'the awakening epic of our times' to be released September 2023. Multiple story lines including Hollywood Culture takes on Terrorists. The reader will be amazed how the author can take current history and give it resonance to today's events and still provide a thriller with unusual twists including the warning: '9/11 can happen again.' Author S.P. Grogan lives in Henderson, Nevada, and is working on his next novel.






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Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Book Tour: The FIve Waches by: John R. York


What might happen if a handful of people living in different eras became entangled in time?

Title: The Five Watches
Author: John R. York
Publisher: DocUmeantPublishing
Pages: 316
Genre: Time Travel

What might happen if a handful of people living in different eras became entangled in time, some intentionally and some accidentally? The nineteenth-century scientist, Dr. Wilhelm Gussen, is passionate about improving the welfare of mankind, and so he begins a journey through time in a quest to learn about future advances in epidemiology. Physicist Emory Lynch, from the twenty-seventh century, studies an old pocket watch, said to be a time travel device, and accidently stumbles into the twenty-first century. In 2019, Jim Zimmerman, the de facto neighborhood go-to guy, finds himself caught in the middle of a clandestine, future conspiracy. True to his character, he becomes inextricably involved in future affairs that involve saving humanity from itself—dragging his wife and a few neighbors along for the ride. Thus, begins a time travel adventure that examines the stubborn predictability of human behavior and how some things, even over time, never seem to change.

My Thoughts:

This book is really about different people who get brought together some on purpose some on accident.  Will the future get fixed or remain a mess?  This book was very captivating pukka you in and won’t let you go until you find out what happens.


The Five Watches is filled with interesting characters and enchanting tapestries woven into the fabric of time itself. John explores not only the ravages of time but more importantly the impact of individual kindness, caring, and selflessness towards others that is heartwarming. I enjoyed this suspenseful page turner, the connection to everyday people and to imaginable heroes that we can all strive to become. Uplifting! – Jim Richards, Beta Reader


Book Excerpt  

Excerpts from three different parts of the book:



The alchemist stared at the blood pooling steadily beneath his body. The increasing pain from his injuries heightened his awareness of the fragility of this human body he was inhabiting. A sense of regret overcame him, not due his likely death, but because the experiment of being human would soon end.

Another man knelt beside him. “Master Votava! Oh, my God! Master Votava, you have been badly injured.” Distraught, the man was rocking back and forth overcome with grief. “Oh, look at you.”

“Calm yourself, Baysongur.” This interruption in fully experiencing his death gave him a moment to realize there was something he needed to do. “Go, gather the charm quark warp appliances. You must take them away from this cursed, violent city. Take them far away.” Votava coughed, wincing with pain as he did so.

“I must try to save you,” Baysongur pleaded.

“You cannot save me. If you must save something, save the stones. Do you understand? Go, get the stones.”

“Yes, yes, but what should I do with them? Where should I go?”

“I don’t know,” Votava growled with irritation. He wanted to get back to concentrating on this unique process of dying. “Take them to Leipzig.”

“What should I do with them?”

“Keep them safe. If you need help, find somebody you can trust, perhaps a scientist.” Where the stones were taken didn’t really matter. Votava would find and recover them once he was released from this frail casing.

Ignoring the chaos of the riots still churning just outside the shop, Baysongur hurriedly collected the stones and stuffed them inside his old leather valise. After a moment’s hesitation, he also grabbed all the documentation his employer had created regarding the mysterious devices. Finally, he added a few articles of clothing and a loaf of bread sitting on the apothecary’s counter.

“I should stay with you,” he said as he knelt back down next to Votava.

“No. Leave now but be careful of the mob outside. Protect the stones.”

“God be with you,” Baysongur said earnestly, a tear rolling down his bearded cheek.

Votava smiled. “Go.”

As he lay on the floor thinking his mortal life would end at any moment, he focused on all the sensations of being in this carbon-based body. Upon further reflection, he couldn’t really say it was a comfortable existence. The sentient beings on this planet were inherently violent and the living conditions left much to be desired. Yet, a biological body was quite novel.

Several hours passed before a lone figure entered the shop and found him lying in a pool of blood on the floor. To his shock and growing concern, he was still alive. Two men eventually placed him on a stretcher and carried him out to a horse drawn ambulance. The degree and length of his suffering was unbearable. His original essence could not be released until the biological body expired. Although this lingering death was unexpected, there was little chance it would impact the recovery his precious Star Stones. After all, what could go wrong?


Jim walked into the house and plopped down in his recliner. He was tired. The afternoon was all but gone and he wasn’t sure he felt like starting any new projects. Perhaps he would go relax in one of the lounge chairs on the back porch and have a cold beer after all. On second thought, maybe the porch was too exposed, too accessible. He could go to the garage, leave the light off, get into his car, and recline the seat back low enough that nobody would be able to find him. Jim smiled at the idea.

His next conscious thought was a vague awareness that someone was knocking at the back door. Where were Zoe and Michael? He got up from the recliner, trying to shake the cobwebs from his mind, and saw Emory standing on the other side of the sliding glass door. Now what?

Jim rubbed his eyes. “Hello, Emory. What is it?”

Emory stood stoically for a moment, regarding him intensely, but saying nothing. After what seemed like an eternity, he continued, “May I speak with you, privately?”

“I have something very urgent to discuss with you, and it must be a private conversation.” Emory’s gaze was so intense that Jim felt mildly alarmed.

“Um, uh. Can you tell me what it’s about?” Jim was now searching the backyard for some sign of Zoe or Michael, but nobody else was around.

“It is something very important, but quite unusual,” Emory said just above a whisper. “Please.”

“Okay, okay. Come in. I have a small office at the front of the house. We can talk there. There doesn’t appear to be anybody else home right now anyway.” 

Jim led Emory through the house to his office and shut the door. “Have a seat.”

Emory perched precariously on the edge of an armchair positioned next to Jim’s desk, and Jim sat in his plush leather chair and waited expectantly. 

Emory began. “First, allow me to tell you that I have selected you out of several potential candidates. I have been here for about a month, looking for someone to help me, someone trustworthy, strong of character, and pure of heart.”

These words surprised Jim causing him to feel a little self-conscious. “Sounds like you’re looking for Sir Galahad,” he chuckled. “Well, I hope you have the right guy.”

“I do,” Emory said flatly. “I am here from another time, a time far in the future, and I am going to need your help.”

After taking several seconds to let Emory’s unexpected announcement sink in, Jim was thinking he should be laughing at the incredulity of such a claim, but for some reason he wasn’t. Perhaps it was the solemnity of Emory’s demeanor and the conviction with which he spoke. Given how the rest of his day had gone, this actually didn’t seem so unusual. Just another person in the neighborhood assuming he would help without question.

The silence stretched between them as Jim mulled the announcement over and Emory waited for a reaction. Jim tried to process this in his typical analytical manner, but there was ‘insufficient data’.

“Let me ask you a few questions, Emory,” Jim began thoughtfully. “First of all, are you human?” He asked this as a mostly serious question because of this man’s unusual features.

“Yes, Jim, I am human. I am what nearly all humans look like in the place and the time from which I came. I am aware that I do not look exactly normal, as you would probably define it. My appearance is due to an extended period of genetic engineering, and, of course, centuries of evolution. This condition is partly why I am here asking you for help. I realize that most people would assume that I am not mentally stable in making such a claim.”


After his narrow escape, he immediately made his way to Ronald Reagan Airport and purchased a ticket to Orlando, a place he already knew would be one of the last outposts of human civilization. When he arrived at the Orlando airport, he immediately reset the watch he’d used to escape his would be captors and inserted the key. 

After the jump in time, the bustling airport he’d been standing in just moments before had become an overgrown ruin of crumbling buildings connected by the metallic skeletons of structures no longer recognizable for the function they once served. The crowds of people were gone, the aircraft were gone. The terminal’s cacophony of sounds had been replaced by soft whisper of the wind and the songs of distant birds. The contrast was unsettling.

He'd chosen this time, 2616, because he was determined to find out what had happened. Why had humans become nearly extinct? What were the living conditions this far into the future? How had we evolved?

A patrol of securitymen found him wandering along a path about a mile or so from the Compound, and not a moment too soon. The subtropical air was hot and humid, and the heavily wooded area was teaming with unfriendly wildlife.

Although glad to be rescued, Wilhelm was apprehensive about the demeanor of the men escorting him. They seemed stiff, stern, and displeased with his presence. Only one of them said anything at all, and that, he presumed, was a simple question: something to the effect of “Who are you?” Although he didn’t exactly understand what the man said, he responded instinctively with his name. The same man then barked and order that he assumed meant, “Follow us.”

When the Compound came into view, Wilhelm felt relief. The place appeared quite substantial, like a walled city. Everything within sight was entirely white. After a quick exchange between his escort and the city guards stationed at the entrance, they passed through a large, solid gate, and then on to an official-looking building. Once inside, he was escorted through a large, austere anteroom, down a long hallway and, finally, deposited into a room containing little more than an ornate desk and chair enthroned upon a dais-like platform.

His escort filed out and shut the door behind them, leaving him standing alone in the middle of the room. Wilhelm looked around, trying to determine the room’s purpose. There were a few chairs lined up against the walls on both sides of the platform and a door in one corner of the back wall. Heavy, white draperies adorned the back wall immediately behind the desk chair creating the impression that somebody important normally sat there.

The back door suddenly opened, and four men entered. These men looked nothing like the guards, but they did look remarkably similar to each other in their physical appearance and dress. They all wore khaki-colored trousers and white pullover shirts with lace ties below the neck. The clothing reminded Wilhelm of the way simple workingmen dressed in 1868, except these people were much cleaner.

Perhaps the most striking thing about them was that their features appeared stretched: their faces, necks, arms, and hands all appeared elongated. They all had large, dark eyes and long, dark hair that was styled, or perhaps just grew, in a thick mane along the top of their heads and down their necks. They could almost be quadruplets, he thought.

Wilhelm and the four men stood and stared at each other. He was dressed in twenty-first century business attire, and he realized he must look as strange to them as they did to him.

“Hello, gentlemen,” Wilhelm said in German-accented English.

They all exchanged a look but said nothing. The door at the back of the room opened again. An older man, dressed in white trousers and a knee-length tunic, strode to the desk, closely examining Wilhelm as he went. He sat in the chair and motioned for the others to come forward. The four men ushered Wilhelm closer.

The man at the desk, clearly the person in charge, said something to Wilhelm he could not understand, although he thought it sounded a bit like English.

Wilhelm shook his head slightly. “I am sorry, I do not understand the language you are speaking. Sprechen sie Deutsch?”

The man looked at him, tilting his head as if trying to figure something out.

Wilhelm tried again. “Tu parles Français?”

The man in charge looked at the four men standing by Wilhelm, apparently expecting some assistance.

The one closest to Wilhelm spoke something unintelligible, and the man in charge nodded as if this seemed to solve everything. Then he closed his eyes for several moments.

“You are speaking a very old form of English. This is quite odd. Where do you come from and why are you here?”

Wilhelm didn’t understand what had just happened, but he was relieved they could now communicate. “My name is Wilhelm Gussen. I am originally from Germany.” Perhaps countries have different names in this age. “Germany is in Europe, across the Atlantic Ocean. But I came here to Orlando from Washington D.C.”

The man in charge was looking at him in a most peculiar manner. He noticed the other men were also looking at him with the same expression.

Wilhelm laughed apologetically. “Oh, I forgot that everything has changed in this time. I suppose Washington no longer exists or is in ruins like the airport here. I should tell you that I am from the past. I came here from the year 2016. I know that must sound ridiculous, but it is true. I have a device that allows me to travel through time.”

The man in charge continued to stare at Wilhelm without saying anything. Finally, one of the men standing near him spoke.

“Time travel is quite unlikely. To what tribe do you belong?”

“Tribe?” Wilhelm wasn’t sure he knew how to answer this question. “I suppose I belong to the German tribe, although most people no longer think of themselves as belonging to tribes. I believe the American natives, the Indians, as people refer to them, still identify with their tribes I suppose.”

The man in charge and the man standing next to him had a conversation in the language Wilhelm didn’t understand.

One of the other men said, “Do you have something from 2016 you could show us?”

Wilhelm thought for a moment and began going through his pockets. “Well, I have my plane ticket from Washington D.C. to Orlando.” He waved it in the air and the man took it. Wilhelm fished his wallet from his pants. “I have some American money and an identification card. I can tell you these items took many years to obtain and no small amount of gold.”

The man examined each of the items. Wilhelm didn’t produce any of the gold he had left. That was sewn into his coat lining. The items were presented to the man in charge, who examined them carefully.

Finally, he said, “This is quite extraordinary, Wilhelm Gussen. If you are a time traveler, I suppose you are familiar with incredulity.”

Wilhelm chuckled. “Yes, indeed. I began my journey through time in the year 1868. In that time, I am a medical doctor and a research scientist. I have been searching for scientific remedies for the devastating diseases that have plagued humanity for centuries. I presumed that solutions to contagious diseases must have been discovered in the future, and, as I suppose you know, that assumption was largely correct. But as I continued to move farther into the future, it seemed that, despite the fantastic advances, the fate of humankind became increasingly bleak. I am hoping to understand why.”

They all now regarded Wilhelm with tentative admiration. The man in charge spoke again.

“I am Cecil Mandel, Council Chairman of the New Order. If you are, indeed, a time traveler, then I welcome you, and I will be interested in hearing more about your discoveries. These men are from my Social Order Committee. Zachary Jones is the head of this group, and I will commend you to his care for now.”

When the Chairman stood, the men around Wilhelm bowed slightly. Then, Cecil Mandel turned and left the room. The man named Zachary said something to one of the other men, who then led Wilhelm to a small room within the same large building.

“You may stay here for now,” the man said. “Please make yourself comfortable. I must join the others to discuss the situation and we will then determine what we should do with you. Please remain here.”

Wilhelm had many questions, but the man turned and left, closing the door behind him. As he had expected, when he checked the door, it was locked. The room was furnished with a small table and chair, a cot, and a small washroom. There was a slit of a window high on the wall above the cot, allowing a surprising amount of light into the all-white room. These people have a penchant for white.


About the Author

John R. York has been writing and publishing his stories since 2016, but he’s always been a storyteller, even as a kid in Central Ohio where he grew up. His life experiences provided him with a wealth of tales to share with others and resulted in his debut work, Wolf’s Tale. He has since published five more novels, including the award-winning Journey to Eden. A retired high-tech executive, he currently lives with his wife, Paula, in New Port Richey, Florida.



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Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Book Tour: Blood & Water by: Linda Armstrong Miller


It’s about telling the people you love that you love them, because tomorrow is not promised to you…


Title: Blood & Water
Author: Linda Armstrong-Miller
Publisher: Dorrance Publishing
Pages: 266
Genre: Christian Thriller

Lisa Rivers is a genius with a photographic memory. She is the youngest, highest paid computer designer for the Department of Defense. Her program promises no more POWs and can be used domestically. No more missing children. So, how is it that Lisa is kidnapped? How was her identity discovered? Is she still alive and if so, can she be found before it is too late?


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Book Excerpt  


Sunday morning, Sam Rivers and his son Zach ran from the parking lot to the entry of the emergency room. The run had only been a hundred yards but, with the guilt Sam carried, twenty extra pounds, and no sleep in the past twenty-four hours, he found himself panting and sweating as if he had just run a marathon.

He bent over, placed a hand on each knee for support. As he did, sweat joined in the center of his smooth, black forehead, ran down to a point, and dropped off his nose as he held his head first down then up, trying to catch his breath.

The few gray strands at his temple appeared to outshine the rest of his black hair. If this is what getting old is all about, Sam decided he didn’t want any part of it. He stood and wiped his face. The sweat made his skin look like dark shiny caramel.

Breathing less like an asthmatic old man, Sam led Zach through the door-way. Once inside, they felt lost and overwhelmed. They stopped, looked around for a familiar face then tried not to panic when they didn’t find one.

As Sam looked around, he continued to work on controlling his breathing and on the catch that had seized his right side.

There were two areas where they could seek help, triage and the information desk—both busy. Between the two areas was a door sporting a Staff Only sign. Sam thought about trying the door. Before he could, a young woman wearing baggy blue jeans and a sagging yellow T-shirt—Sam could only guess she was someone wanting to be seen but hadn’t—beat him to it.

The exasperated attendant of the information desk turned to her and asked, “Can’t you read?”

“I was just looking for the bathroom,” the lady with the yellow T-shirt said then sucked her teeth.

“That sign don’t say Bathroom.” He pointed down the hall to a sign that did.

With that, the attendant turned back to the young mother of two standing before the information desk. The lady with the yellow T-shirt turned from the door, flipped the attendant a bird then left through the doors Sam and Zach had just entered.

The waiting room was filled with mothers holding babies and with men and women reading magazines as they waited for one of the too-few rooms to become available. Sam and Zach felt like intruders as they walked through the waiting room trying to find a way back into the patient care area; unwilling to wait. On the way to the bathrooms, they passed a man holding his head down as if snoozing, a lady sitting next to him, trying to quiet her crying baby. He never looked up but she watched them suspiciously as they walked through.

After checking the phone and bathroom areas, Sam and Zach had no choice but to go back and wait for someone at either the triage area or information desk to become available. There were two nurses at triage. One, somewhere in her early twenties, was assisting an elderly white-haired lady—who was not making her job easy. For some reason, the lady kept trying to pull her blouse up and show the nurse something underneath. Each time she did, the woman exposed her undergarment. The nurse noticed Sam, smiled then looked back at the elderly lady.

The other nurse, mid-thirties, maybe older, was with a young mother who was holding a runny-nosed little boy. He squirmed, trying to get down. When he didn’t get what he wanted, he screamed for all to hear, “Let go!”

More focused and quicker than the younger nurse, the older nurse finished with the mother who couldn’t control her child then moved on to yet another mother and child combo. When done, she turned to Sam and Zach.

“Sir, may I help you?” she asked.

Her name was Tish, no last name, just Tish. She was light skinned with sandy brown hair, which was pulled tightly into a ponytail. Tish was heavy-set with a pretty face but, for some reason, she seemed unwilling or unable to smile. She looked tired, although it was only 0800.

Tish looked at Sam through the open glass partition which separated them as he approached. “Yes, I’m Detective Rivers. My daughter was just brought in by helicopter.” Sam who was tired and had pain in both his knees and his legs also found it hard to smile at 0800.

The pain in his knees and legs were the least of the pain he felt, the pain that encompassed his heart threatened to encompass the rest of him. He felt all of the fifty-three years that made up his life catching up with him. At least he was no longer panting. He was thankful for that.

“Sir, let me get the patient representative. She’ll be able to…”

“I don’t want the patient representative.” Sam walked away from Zach, meaning for him to stay where he was, and approached the door. Zach followed anyway. "I want to see my daughter, Lisa Rivers. I know she's here?"

Sam looked through the open door into the hallway located behind triage. He wondered where Special Agent Frank Millwood was. Sam couldn’t help feeling angry at Frank. He knew they were coming. Where was he? Why hadn’t he made arrangements for them to be taken straight back upon their arrival?

“Sir, at the moment—” Tish started again.

“There was an FBI agent that came in with my daughter, Agent Millwood.

Where is he?” Sam interrupted her again.

“Detective Rivers, Zach, over here.” They turned and saw Millwood standing in the hallway, at the end of the waiting room. The sight of him immediately made Sam forget he had been angry at him. In fact, he was glad to see him. According to Frank’s partner, Sam couldn’t ask for anyone better to protect Lisa. That kind of praise from one lawman about another was gold.

Saturday night, when Frank was called in, before Lisa’s rescue had gone down, Frank had been dressed in a nice coat and tie. Sam marveled that all he had to show for the day’s wear and tear was a little dirt. As far as Sam was concerned, that made him a lucky man.

Frank had thick curly brown hair with even thicker and curlier eyelashes, the kind that women envied. He had perfect white teeth that flashed easily.

Sam found him easy to like and trust—something he rarely found, especially the first time he met someone.

Millwood was a second-generation FBI agent, joining the agency because it was expected of him. If Millwood was feeling the pressure of walking in his father’s footsteps, it didn’t show.

“Thank God,” Sam said leaving Tish and triage.

Millwood waved at Tish, indicating that Sam and Zach were friends, not foes. This didn’t seem to impress Tish one way or the other, but she said nothing more, allowing the two to pass.

As Sam and Zach walked with Millwood, it appeared that he was either already familiar with this emergency room or he’d done a lot of investigating since arriving. He led them down a long hallway that had no patient examination rooms, just closed doors.

They went about halfway down that hall and turned to the right, which placed them in an area that did have examination rooms. They passed the mother with the runny-nosed little boy. She was chasing him in the hallway while other patients watched her. Some were laughing at her and encouraging the little boy to run faster.

Millwood caught the kid and held him for his mother. He then flashed a look at a young, white male of about twenty-two, sporting tattoos of horned serpents all over his right arm. The look said, I dare you to say another word.

When the mother had her son in the room again, Millwood pulled the door shut and the three of them continued.

They made a left onto another hall and Millwood led Sam and Zach to room 104, where all else ceased to exist for Sam. The door to the room was open and no one in the room seemed to realize visitors were standing outside looking in. Sam and Zach watched the flurry of activity centered on a stretcher that sat in the center of the room.

Lisa laid on that stretcher, attached to three IVs—one in each arm, and another one with four tails extending from it, protruded from her neck. Two one-liter bags, which were almost empty, hung from an IV pole; their fluids ran into Lisa’s veins. A small bag with the word Dopamine and the life saving liquid from two units of blood were also running into Lisa’s bruised and battered body.

As if that weren’t enough, she also had wires running from her small chest to a cardiac monitor mounted to the wall. Other wires ran from her chest and back to another monitor that sat on a red cart. Without being told, Sam and Zach knew what all the activity was about. Lisa had gone into cardiac arrest and now she was being resuscitated. She had coded.



About the Author 

Linda Armstrong-Miller has worked in the medical field for over twenty years. In that time she has worked as a counselor, registered nurse in the emergency room, ICU, Recovery Room, and she has worked with children placed in psychiatric hospitals. She understands when a family is in crisis and she has been with them during their time of distress, depression, anxiety and difficulty. She believes in God and uses her belief as well as her experience when writing. Blood and Water is her second book published. Touched is her first book. Currently she is working on a young adult trilogy.




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