No Grave: Nicole’s Assignment

Hey, guys!  Just another friendly reminder that No Grave is coming out in a few weeks.

Today’s sneak peek goes back to Nicole, the narrator of No Reflection.  She’s a huge part of No Grave, definitely the lead narrator, and has a lot to juggle.  Living an overcrowded life, shut in by a sunset curfew, and struggling to stay ahead of an increasingly dangerous game, Nicole’s journey through No Grave is fraught with danger, confusion, and a surreal descent into strange visions and dreamscapes.

Straight off the bat of No Grave, Nicole is pulled back into the supernatural swing of things, helping her brownstone crew with a murder investigation, but, of course, her life could never be so simple as just that…

(Remember to pre-order your digital copy today!  Available on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Kobo, etc…)

Sneak peek:

 

Goodwin’s phone buzzed, and he peeked at the screen for a second, his demeanor dropping at the sight.  “Well, it seems like I won’t be staying very long, so let’s move on to business, shall we?”

“Let’s.”

He reached down into his leather bag and withdrew a thin folder, sliding it across the table.  “Have you ever heard of a band called The Four Horsemen?  They released two albums, 2002 and 2004, and an unplugged album in 2005.”

“I haven’t heard of them,” Nicole shrugged.

“Ah, well, then…the information is in the folder, but I’ll give you a quick rundown on the basics.  Formed in January of 2002 with their first album release the same year…under the MCA entertainment wing,” he said this last part as though giving her a stern warning, and continued after a beat, “second album in 2004, and a rather messy split in the summer of 2006.  It was a group comprised of four women, if you’ll take a look at the pictures there.”

Nicole flipped through several pages in the folder and arrived at a series of photographs.  There was a photograph of a tall, curvaceous woman with a shock of black hair spilling down to her shoulder blades.  Her pale arms were covered in tattoos, starting at her collarbone, running down both arms, and wreathing her fingers.  The next photo was of a slight, slender woman with shaggy blond hair that arched behind her down to her waist.  Her eyes were narrow, almond-shaped, and her skin reminded Nicole of the bark of a tanned tree.  Nicole thought she’d seen the woman somewhere, before, but couldn’t place it.  She flicked past those photos and found a dozen more of two other women from different angles and in different situations: on stage, in the street, in a promo ad, and at home.  One of them was extremely angular, tall and lean, with a sharp chin, prominent cheekbones, and a jawline that seemed like it could be used as a weapon.  The other had rounded cheeks, an hourglass figure, and full, bright lips.  Crinkled strands of hair fell around her shoulders in loose waves the color of blond coffee.  Her sepia skin looked drained and washed-out, but Nicole imagined men would stare at her, anyway.  The thought made her flinch.  “Who are they?”

“The thin one is named Harley, lead guitarist in the band, and back-up vocals.  The other one is Michelle, bassist and lead lyricist,” Goodwin explained.  “They are not what you would call morning people.”

“I see.”

“Quite.  In any case, I need you to convince them to sign a contract with me,” he tapped his fingers on the edge of the table, “specifically me.  Not the firm, not MCA, just me, Charles Goodwin, Esquire.”

“Did you just refer to yourself by title?” Nicole grinned.

“It helps to remember I went to school for this,” he answered, the everpresent smile tightening on his face.  “In any case, that’s a very important part of the arrangement…because of their history with MCA’s entertainment wing, especially.”

“So you want me to, what?—not tell them what company you work for?”

“Exactly.  Don’t mention MCA to them, at all.” Goodwin folded his hands in front of him, his tone measured and even as he spoke.

“That sounds…like a lie.”

“No, no,” Goodwin rebuffed, “not at all, because they won’t be signing a contract with the company.”

“Just with you?”

“Right.  So it should only be necessary to mention me.”

Nicole’s eyes drifted from the folder in front of her to Goodwin’s face and back again.  “This is very different from the business we usually do together,” she observed, staring at Harley’s face, the hue of her deep, crimson lipstick.

“This is a very different situation from what we’re usually in.  Is that okay with you?”

Not really, she thought, but nodded, anyway, “Yeah…yeah, I can do this.”

“Great.  I’ll be in touch, then.  Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need anything.”

“I won’t be.”

Goodwin stood from the table and pulled his bag from the floor.  “Good, good,” he dug into his pocket and came out with a monogrammed money clip, slipping out a fifty dollar bill and putting it on the table.  “Lunch is on me.  Have a great one.”  He gave her a short nod and was halfway across the restaurant before she could shout a goodbye after him.

Turning back to the folder, she sank down in her seat.  She flipped through pages detailing the life of the now-defunct Four Horsemen, photographs of the principal recruits, and a small CD buried at the back.  She shook her head and closed the file.  As if the case and the line and the e-mails hadn’t been enough…

“Excuse me, miss,” the waiter’s voice snapped her back to the restaurant, “what will you be having this afternoon?”

“Sorry, sorry,” she answered, “could I just have a second to think about it?”

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thesrhughes

I'm a writer of horror, dark sci-fi, and dark fantasy.