Good morning, people. I hope you’ve been having a great time. I’ve been spending my own time growing my career as a novelist. As I’ve mentioned before, I love to read and write. The novella I’ve been working on is on its way to be self-published. I’m very happy with the results. It’s not the first book I write, but it’s the first that I make public. I posted a tweet before advising writers against publishing their first-ever book. Very few authors can produce a first manuscript worthy of being published. It requires talent, which I have, but it took time to, for lack of a better word, ‘train’. Fine-tune, if you will.
With about two weeks to go before the cover reveal of “Base Duplicity,” I’m going to give you all a sneak peek. This is an excerpt from the first chapter. I hope you all like it. It’s just a small taste of what’s to come when you read the full book. Here it is:
The bell rang at last. Valerie controlled herself to keep from jumping out of her seat and dashing out the door like a certain book hero she secretly liked.
“See you tomorrow,” said a girl from behind. Valerie turned to see her best friend, Bianca Olavarria, waving at her as she adjusted her backpack.
“See you too,” Valerie replied, and then turned. She dashed happily out the door.
Despite having two or three (she was being modest) literary heroes, there was no one Valerie loved more than the person she was meeting outside, someone waiting near the parking lot. When she got there, she saw him already waiting, his back towards her. Valerie walked towards him. He turned when he noticed her approach.
“Hi, Sunshine,” Bryan said, hiding his right hand behind him so Valerie could not see what he was holding in it.
“Hi, Bryan,” Valerie replied, blushing. She always did that when he used his pet name for her. Bryan revealed his hand, handing an envelope to Valerie. She grinned.
Gee, I got another love letter!
Valerie looked up at him, beaming. Her boyfriend, Bryan Peralta, was a born romantic, and she liked it that way. Even though it was 2013, Valerie was a rather old-fashioned person. She still loved to talk with Bryan on her smartphone for hours at night—just like virtually every lovesick schoolgirl out there—but she preferred to receive handwritten love letters, rather than e-mails or texts. What could be more personal than that? You could attribute it to her penchant for classic romances. She could never have enough of them.
Valerie and Bryan had been dating for over a year now. She marveled at having reached the milestone. They met during the sixth grade and quickly became great friends. The two slowly developed an attraction to each other. It wasn’t until four years later that Valerie felt sure enough about her feelings to ask him out. Bianca and their other bestie, Sam Hamilton, had helped. They had both been like, “Finally!” when Valerie and Bryan officially started dating each other.
Bryan admired Valerie as she put the envelope in her bag.
“Are you still up for our date?” he asked, looking at Valerie. His eyes were flashing the kind of affection that he reserved for her.
“Of course. It’s tonight at 6, right?”
“Yes. Meet me at the Monument Café.”
Oh! That was one of Valerie’s favorite places to go out. She and Bryan frequented it. The café had become their place.
“Unless you want me to pick you up,” he added.
“That’s fine. I’ll ride there.”
The two of them stood up from the bench. Valerie leaned forward so that Bryan could kiss her on the lips. Then they broke apart.
“You turn more beautiful every day,” said Bryan, stroking her dark brown hair and catching a strand, playing with it. The sky was cloudy that day, so the sun couldn’t bring out the red in her hair. “What’s your secret, babe?”
Valerie laughed softly.
“There’s no secret. I probably have lucky genes.”
“I’ll see you tonight,” he said, starting to walk in the direction of the parking lot. Valerie waved at him, unable to shake the joyful grin off her face. To anyone who happened to be looking at her, they would think she had a crush. Valerie knew better. After almost six years of knowing Bryan, she was sure she truly loved him. Life would now be unbearable without Bryan by her side. Valerie knew he felt exactly the same way about her.
Valerie looked at her watch. It read 3:51. Another day at Georgetown High School had gone by. Valerie adjusted her messenger bag and walked to her bicycle. She usually drove her ’95 Ford Escort to school, but it was currently being serviced. She’d had it since her junior year. Valerie didn’t mind riding the two miles home, though. The exercise was very welcome.
Maybe that’s my secret, she thought, exercise. She hadn’t considered it as a contributing factor to the beauty Bryan saw in her (Valerie thought of herself as average). It was just important for her to stay fit, especially if Valerie wanted to continue ascending through belt ranks (she studied karate).
Valerie rode home, listening to Demi Lovato on her iPod. It was a nice Friday in April. Friday, Valerie’s favorite day of the week.
After walking a bunch of blocks, Valerie turned a corner into her street. Her house was a one-story building with a reddish brick façade. A small patch of sparse green grass and a few trees decorated the front, with a path leading to the garage on the right. Valerie knew it housed the family’s Chevrolet suburban. There was no fence on the front of the house. The neighborhood was quiet and pleasant, as far as neighborhoods went in Georgetown. Nothing to write home about, but Valerie liked it.
Valerie reached the front door and knocked. Seconds later, her mother answered.
“Good afternoon, honey. How was school?” Diana asked as Valerie stepped inside and put her messenger bag next to a sofa.
“It was really great, mom,” she answered. Muffin, their pet Yorkshire terrier, walked up to Valerie. He had been in the family for three years now, which was his actual age. Muffin had been a gift to Valerie from her brother, Gerard Lawrence.
Diana read the tone of glee that was apparent in her daughter’s voice.
“Ooh. What’s got your spirits so high?”
“I’m going on a date with Bryan later today.”
“That’s good. I hope you have a nice time.”
“Thanks. I’d like a snack right now, though. Did you make anything?”
Diana and Valerie walked to the kitchen. The former opened a cupboard, reaching it and then handing Valerie a bag of trail mix. Muffin followed after them.
“Have you got a call from the mechanic?”
Diana shook her head.
“Is dad coming over?”
“I’m not sure. He has a lot of work.”
Valerie clicked her tongue.
“I wish he would eat with us. It’s not like he’s the Police Chief of Austin. This isn’t a really big town.”
“What can I say? Martin enjoys what he does.” Valerie didn’t notice the slightly disappointed tone in her mother’s voice.
“He should take my brother’s example. Even though they’re both cops, Gerard sets time for us,” Valerie said, opening the bag and popping a few nuts and chocolate chips into her mouth.
“Now that you mention it, he didn’t come here for lunch. Maybe he’s got too much work,” said Diana. She looked out the window before exiting the kitchen with Valerie.
As she was heading for her bedroom, Valerie heard her mother yell. She dropped her half-full bag of trail mix on the floor, rushing to the living room.
Valerie arrived in time to see her mom crashing on the floor. A big man in a black polo, dark navy blue jeans, and a black ski mask stood over her threateningly.
The man withdrew a gun and pointed it to Diana. Before Valerie could do anything, a bullet pierced her mother’s back.
Valerie’s body went numb. Part of her world was shattered, so she didn’t know how she summoned the strength to run. As if in slow motion, Valerie saw the man turning his gun to her. Panic increased her heart rate. Without wasting time, the man shot at her. In the last second, Valerie moved out of the way. The bullet flew past the right side of her head. She screamed in fear, but continued towards the kitchen. She needed to get a weapon.
Valerie found a knife and grabbed it. As the tears started running down her face, she readied herself to fight. Although the fight in her was mostly absent.
The man came into the kitchen in a hurry. He spotted Valerie and smiled. His gun was raised. Valerie could only stare at him, frozen. His broad muscles and piercing stare made him intimidating. There was a triple-six tattoo on his right wrist.
Before Triple-Six could shoot, he was distracted by Muffin. He’d come running out of nowhere. Valerie growled in defiance, seizing her chance. She ran at the thug. The guy was a pro, though, and he was ready. Valerie only had time to knock the gun from his hand before he used his other one to grab the wrist in which she held the knife. Valerie tried to punch him. He blocked that. Then Triple-Six threw a straight punch so fast Valerie didn’t realize he’d moved. She took his fist straight in the face, making her fall backward. The knife Valerie held fell out of her hand. She brought a hand to her face, feeling blood on her nose.
The man picked up the knife she dropped. Valerie stood up, willing herself to summon her martial arts training. She watched as the man advanced towards her. He tried to stab Valerie, but she used both hands to hold on to his wrist. Muffin bit him in the ankle. That enabled Valerie to bend his wrists, disarming him. Then she hit him in the face with her elbow. The man staggered back, howling in pain. His nose started to bleed.
Taste of your own medicine, Doctor?
Not about to let him recover, Valerie spun around and landed a kick in his gut. Even with her superior—for her age and gender—strength, Valerie felt like she’d just kicked a concrete wall. The man didn’t budge more than a few inches.
Muffin was still holding on to Triple-Six’s ankle. He shook his leg to shove the dog aside. Valerie advanced towards the man. He analyzed her, and then he threw a punch. Valerie dodged the attack. Looking pissed off, he aimed another punch, and this time she blocked it. She threw her fist towards his face, but he swiped it back. Valerie caught a blow to her ribs, and she staggered back against the wall.
Triple-Six threw another punch. Valerie barely got out of the way. She heard the sound of the thug’s fist sinking inside the wall. He pulled it out, unfazed, and aimed a kick that hit Valerie in the back. She crashed on the floor.
Before Valerie could make a single move, Triple-Six lifted her up by the shoulders. He smashed her against the wall. Valerie gasped in pain.
The thug seized her by the neck. Valerie tried to free herself, to no avail. One of his hands went to his pocket, withdrawing a switchblade. The man placed the blade against her throat.
That’s it for today. I hope you liked this sneak peek into my upcoming novella. The book’s already finished, so I don’t expect much changes (if any) when the book comes out. The release date hasn’t been decided, but I’m aiming to self-publish in November. Stay tuned for updates. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day…oh, and a happy Halloween!
Base Duplicity Copyright © 2013 Ivan Kendrick. All rights reserved.
You can also read this sneak peek at Goodreads by clicking here.