Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Clowns and Cowboys (A Miranda and Parker Mystery) 3 - now available!

I'm thrilled to announce that Clowns and Cowboys, the third book in the Miranda and Parker Mystery series, is now available.

Please enjoy a sample below.

If you'd like to be among the first to be notified of my new releases, feel free to join my mailing list.


Heart Wounds Clowns and Cowboys (A Miranda and Parker Mystery) #3
Fulfilling your destiny…one killer at a time.


When PI Miranda Steele gets a call from an old “friend” in Dallas and decides to take his case, her boss and husband Wade Parker is none too pleased. Especially when she insists he stay home due to his recent injuries.

No way, Jose.

But when southeastern sophisticated meets southwestern country, tempers blaze hotter than Texas chili sauce, sending Miranda into turmoil. How can she solve this case with the clash between her past “friend” and her present husband raging? She needs to figure it out soon.

The murder of a circus clown is about to lead her to something not even Parker could have predicted.

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iTunes, Australia
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Chapter One

“Death values a prince no more than a clown.” Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

“I’ll see what I can do.”
In her cube at the Parker Agency where she was now a Level Three investigator, Miranda Steele hung up the phone and stared blankly at her computer. The text on the screen—data from the super boring worker’s comp case she’d been piddling over—blurred before her eyes.
Soft typing and voices floated over the fabric-covered walls, but all she could hear was her heart pounding in her ears. She was shivering all over, like she was coming down with the flu.
But it wasn’t the flu. It was that phone call.
Her old pal Yosemite Sam, as everyone used to call him on the work site, was in trouble. She hadn’t seen him in, what? Ten or eleven years? Not since they’d been in Phoenix together. She smiled at the memory playing in her head. Cruising down a dusty Arizona highway with Sam on a pair of motorcycles.
He’d taught her how to ride.
Talk about a blast from the past.
Then her smile faded. Sam was in Texas now, outside of Dallas—where there had been a murder.
He needed her help.
Her mind buzzing, she tapped her fingers on the smooth gray surface of her desk. What in the world was she going to say to Parker?
She and her sexy husband had just come back from a case overseas and he’d wanted to take a break. He needed it, so she’d agreed. He’d been beaten up pretty bad and wasn’t fully recovered yet.
But this call from Sam?
She couldn’t ignore it. Even though she had a feeling Parker wasn’t going to go for it. Well, she’d just have to face Parker head on.
Straightening her shoulders, she rose, picked up the notepad she’d scribbled some data on, and headed for her boss’s corner office. Double time.
###
At the end of a row of cubes near the coffee maker, Miranda barreled around the corner—and nearly collided with someone who should have been watching where he was going.
She looked up and saw her buddy Dave Becker.
“Oh! Steele. I—I’m so sorry,” Becker stammered in his typically nervous way. He’d had his big nose buried in the e-pad thingy he was carrying and hadn’t been watching where he was going.
She took in his jeans and T-shirt and noticed his hair was growing over his ears. Plus his eyebrows looked bushier than she remembered. She realized she hadn’t seen him in quite a while.
She pointed at his outfit. “Out of uniform today?”
Not that she relished the dress code herself or policed her coworkers. It just seemed odd for Becker not to be in the required suit and tie.
He blinked at her as if he’d just woken up. “I guess you haven’t heard, what with you and the boss being out of town so much. I’ve moved to Digital Forensics. I’ve been working with Jenkins in the lab.”
“Digital Forensics?”
“Yeah. You know. Cyberstalking, hacking, data recovery. We just closed a missing persons case tracking the guy’s emails. He was alive, in a hotel down town. Not kidnapped, as his wife feared. Marriage is in trouble, though. He’d been emailing a hooker, seeing her on the side. Was at the hotel with her, if you get my drift.”
“Yeah, I get it.” The scumbag. But Miranda was impressed. She’d never thought of her old buddy Becker as a techno-nerd.
She waved a hand at the tablet. “You’re really turning into a geek there, huh?”
He blushed shyly. “I think I’ve found my passion.”
That was cool. Everybody needed a passion. But Becker seemed out of place by himself. “Where’s Holloway?” The two used to be inseparable and were her first buds at the agency when she started.
“In the field.”
So Holloway hadn’t followed in his sidekick’s geeky footsteps.
“With Wesson,” he added staring at his screen.
“Wesson? Really?” Definitely not one of Miranda’s favorite people. She wondered how Holloway had gotten teamed up with that bitch.
“Yeah. Oh, Joan wanted me to ask you something.”
“O…kay.” Miranda poked at the carpet with the toe of her shoe. She hadn’t talked to her best friend in a long while and Fanuzzi was probably pissed about it.
“Let’s see. What was it, again?” He stared down at his e-pad, gave something a swipe.
Yep, Becker was getting to be a real absentminded professor.
Something came to him and he brightened. “Oh, I remember. About the party.”
She folded her arms defensively. “What party?”
His eyes grew round. “I wasn’t supposed to tell you. Or maybe they decided it wasn’t going to be a surprise. No, that’s right. They couldn’t make it a surprise since you and the boss are travelling so much nowadays.”
She folded her arms tighter. “What the hell are you talking about, Becker?”
“Your anniversary. Joan wants to throw you a party. She wants to set a date for it and start planning. She wants you to call her.”
“Anniversary?”
“Yeah. You know, wedding anniversary? Ours is coming up, too. Right around the corner. But we might postpone our celebration...” His voice drifted off as he stared at his pad again.
Miranda blinked at him.
Had it really been a year since her friend and Becker had tied the knot? Since she’d walked down the aisle in that awful gown? And…wait. Her friends wanted to throw a party? Hadn’t the wedding itself been enough?
“Uh, it’s not necessary. I’m sure Parker will have something planned.”
The corners of Becker’s lips turned down and he suddenly looked like a lost puppy. “Really? Joan is going to be so disappointed.”
Oh, good grief.
When she’d first met Fanuzzi—Miranda couldn’t shake the habit of calling her by her maiden name—they’d been on a road crew together. Joan Fanuzzi was the Dump Person and had directed the heavy machinery. She was one tough broad. The last thing Miranda had expected was for Fanuzzi to drop the crew, go into catering, and live for putting together fancy parties.
But she couldn’t disappoint the woman. Fanuzzi had been loyal to her when she didn’t deserve it. Besides Miranda wasn’t good at making friends and didn’t have many. She didn’t want to lose her best one.
“Okay. Tell her to call me sometime.”
“How about now?”
Miranda curled a lip. Since when did Becker get so pushy?
She glanced down at the pad in her hand. The paper one. Not possible. Sam needed her help. “Can’t right now, I’m on my way to see Parker.”
Becker’s face faded from a scowl into that schoolboy awe he used to wear when they were in training whenever she’d mentioned the top investigator he fairly worshipped. “Got another case?”
Couldn’t talk about this one. “Maybe. We’ll see.”
And she stepped around him, leaving him staring at his tablet for an answer.

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iTunes, Australia
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Monday, June 16, 2014

Heart Wounds (A Miranda and Parker Mystery) 2 - now available!

I'm happy to let everyone know that the second book in the Miranda and Parker Mystery series, Heart Wounds, is now available.

I had a great time writing this story and I'm so excited to share it with my readers. Below is an excerpt from the first chapter.

Right now, I'm hard at work on the third book in the series. Next time, Miranda and Parker are going to Texas. Can't wait to see what they'll get into there. We're planning a fall release for book 3, so stay tuned.

If you'd like to be notified of my releases, feel free to join my mailing list.





Heart Wounds (A Miranda and Parker Mystery) #2
Fulfilling your destiny…one killer at a time.

Miranda Steele probes the British upper crust in the second Miranda and Parker mystery.

In the London Museum of Antiquity a heart-breaking event occurs. Someone steals the priceless, newly acquired Egyptian dagger used by Marc Antony to kill himself over Cleopatra. Beside himself, the museum director calls in Parker and Miranda to investigate.

Miranda realizes someone could kill for a relic valued at over five million pounds. And that the first victim might be—her. The threat sets Parker’s nerves on edge and he doesn’t hesitate to show it. And Miranda doesn’t hesitate to flare up.

Can the detectives work out their issues before the theft escalates to murder?

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iTunes, US
iTunes, Australia
Kobo





Chapter One


“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Leo Tolstoy

If all went as planned, it promised to be a most monumental day.
Sir Neville Ravensdale sat on the wide rear portico of Eaton House in Surrey, England breakfasting with his wife of nineteen years. He was dressed in his best silk suit, an Ascot cravat of cobalt blue arranged carefully at his neck, a color Davinia once told him made his eyes sparkle.
He had barely touched his croissant or his single poached egg. He hadn’t heard the warblers singing in the hawthorns or smelled the fragrance of the blossoming bluebells or noticed the neoclassical design of the hedgerows, which he greatly admired.
All he could think about was the dagger.
It was Egyptian, just as his years of study told him it would be. The gleam of its ornate hilt flashed in his mind just the way it had when he’d first seen it two years ago on the excavation site, the foreign dust in his throat, the sun’s heat forming sweat beads on his brow, his heart racing madly with excitement of the discovery and trepidation of what might lie ahead.
Just the way it did now.
He rested his fork across the Eaton china plate and picked up his teacup. “Positively everyone will be there, Davinia. I do wish you’d come.”
Not even a flinch.
Wearing a pale chiffon morning dress, her dark hair pulled back in an artful chignon at the nape of her swanlike neck and looking as graceful as the statue of Artemis in the Louvre, his beloved wife stared out at the gardens studying her climbing roses with an empty gaze. They had bloomed too late for Chelsea but would be in time for the Hampton Court Palace flower show.
But Davinia probably wasn’t thinking that far ahead. No, she was thinking of how she’d show off the flowers during her Wildlife Rescue Charity meeting tomorrow.
At any rate she wasn’t giving a thought to what was before him today. For the hundredth-and-first time in what seemed like so many years, he forced himself to admit the truth.
The love of his life no longer cared for him.
“I still can’t believe my good fortune in acquiring such a find. Imagine. The very dagger Marc Antony used to do away with himself in 30 BC. And this morning, the museum shall have it on display.”
Again Davinia’s only response was a sip of tea.
What did he expect? She hadn’t taken an interest in any of his projects in years. And why should she? She had been Lady Eaton before the Earl passed. She’d been born the daughter of a duke. Why she had chosen a lowly museum curator as her second husband, he’d never know.
He was far beneath her.
“Don’t you agree that the excavation in Alexandria was a godsend? Think of it. The very instrument the Roman leader used to attempt suicide. Found right in Cleopatra’s mausoleum. It will bring the museum to the public’s attention once again.” The institute had suffered from financial difficulties in recent years. After today that would change. “Can’t you share in my enthusiasm just a little?”
Davinia sat up. “Oh. Yes, very nice, dear.”
She hadn’t heard a word. Her look of sheer boredom was as painful as what Marc Antony must have felt from that dagger when he sliced open his own abdomen.
To be sure, they’d fallen in love when they’d met. Deeply, passionately in love. But after three or four years of marriage the fervor had died away. The only explanation he could think was Davinia had come to regret having wed a mere commoner. And now with her at fifty-seven and him at sixty-two, there was little hope for rekindling any romance.
Pushing away his breakfast, Sir Neville rose to his feet. “Well, my sweet. I must be off. Cannot be late, you know. Not today.”
He strode across the terrazzo floor to give her a peck on the cheek.
She smiled thinly, her first natural response to him this morning, and lifted her hands to straighten the Grand Cross pin on his lapel. His knighthood several years ago was a poor substitute for real noble blood. “Do make sure you look your best, Neville.”
His best. Of all things in life Davinia cared most about keeping up appearances. He returned her lean smile. “Yes, dear. I’ll do that.”
And with that, he left and headed out for the car.
###
The drive to London was uneventful and when the chauffeur dropped him off at the museum’s rear entrance and Sir Neville stepped out of the car, his heart swelled.
He inhaled a deep breath of city air as he smiled up at the tall ionic columns, the Greek Revival gables and cornices, the expansive wings of the sprawling building. The London Museum of Antiquity. This place was much more of a home to him than Eaton House. That was Davinia’s domain.
The museum was his. And today would be his greatest coup to date. The acquisition of a dagger worth millions of pounds, though its historical significance was much more important than money. The story of Antony and Cleopatra, the two star-crossed lovers, had been revived in the media and all the country was abuzz with anticipation.
This was something he would be remembered for.
His dreary home life forgotten for the moment, he hurried up the steps with a spring in his gait.
Inside, the first person to greet him was his Chief Collections Manager, George Eames.
“Sir, I’m so relieved you’re here.”
The man was as much as a friend as a colleague, ever since their days at Cambridge together. He had a sturdy frame some people would call big-boned. Taller than Sir Neville with a heartwarming rounded belly stretching the waist of his worsted wool suit, he had the deep-set eyes and heavy jowls of an old English bulldog.
His thinning brown hair was neatly combed, his brows trimmed, his suit pressed. But he looked tired. Well, he’d been working late here last night.
Sir Neville wished he could have been with him. He should have been here last night. But Davinia had insisted on going to the philharmonic and as usual, he’d given in.
“Everything in order, George?”
“Yes, yes. Of course. The reporters are assembled in room seventeen, the designers, the security staff, everyone is there. We’ve just been waiting for you to check everything out before the presentation.”
“Excellent.” He followed his man down the labyrinth of corridors, down two short flights of stairs, and into the holding area of the storeroom.
There in the center of the large expanse, among other deliveries, stood a cart covered in black velvet. Perched atop it was a small crate.
“Is that it?” Sir Neville whispered with reverence.
Toby Waverly, a young intern with longish, curly red hair nodded with his broad, friendly smile. “It is indeed, sir.” He looked very smart this morning in his dark vest and crimson necktie.
A woman in a severe, dark blue skirt suit consulted her clipboard. “The plan is to roll the crate out first, then you’ll be introduced, sir.” The pleasant hint of her Indian accent under the crisp British reassured Sir Neville of the efficiency he relied on.
“Very good, Emily.” Sir Neville gave the nod and followed his staff through the large double doors and inside the lift. When it opened, two workers rolled the cart across the Great Hall and into Room Seventeen, the Special Exhibitions room.
He waited at the door and peeked inside.
There among the hieroglyphics, the ancient coins, the busts of assorted pharaohs, and the newly constructed replication of Cleopatra’s mausoleum, stood a crowd of people.
Friends, patrons, and reporters. Everyone from the BBC to the London News.
Excitement coursed through his veins as George made some introductory remarks that were far too flattering. Then George gestured to him and Sir Neville entered the room to loud applause.
The press of the crowd combined with the smell of artifacts made him feel a bit dizzy. No, it was what that crate held that was doing that. The most important acquisition of his career. If only Davinia were here to share this feat.
“Thank you,” he said smiling brightly. “On behalf of all of us on the museum staff, thank you all for coming today. As you know, it’s been over a year and a half since the artifact we’re receiving today was first discovered.”
Briefly, he detailed the difficulties of the excavation, the tedious negotiations with the government, the rivals who demanded the piece be put up for auction. “But in the traditional British spirit, we have carried on and weathered those storms. Thus we stand here today about to put this historic find on display for all to see. And so, without further ado, I give you, Marc Antony’s dagger.”
Emily handed him a hammer and he worked the claw against the metal braces, loosening them one at a time. One, two, three. His heart soared. He thought of the Roman legions, the ships of ancient Egypt. Antony and Cleopatra at the helm, then the lovers being driven into a tomb.
He could feel antiquity at his fingertips as the last brace came loose. He handed the brace and the hammer to Emily, and lifted the wooden lid.
The container was filled with Styrofoam peanuts as was usual. Emily showed him a plastic bag she was holding open. He nodded and began to scoop the peanuts into the bag. One handful. Two. Three. When he’d emptied half the crate, he stopped.
The dagger should have been in the middle of the crate encased in bubble wrap for additional protection. He shot a frown of concern to George. His brow was always furrowed but just now, the creases were deeper.
Perhaps the packers weren’t exact. The dagger must be somewhere. He scooped out more peanuts. More. More. He could see the bottom of the box. Surely he hadn’t missed it.
Emily handed the peanut bag to Toby and began frantically searching her clipboard. “The bill of lading is right here,” she whispered, showing it to Sir Neville.
He scanned it. Everything looked intact.
And then his heart stopped as he realized what had happened. The troubled excavation, the rivals, the publicity. Spasms of confusion and panic and embarrassment reverberated up his legs, into his torso, through his chest.
Merciful heavens, was he having a heart attack?
The crowd began to murmur as he reached for the side of the box to steady himself. He gasped for air.
George rushed to his side. “Sir, are you all right?”
Sir Neville reached out for the man’s hand and whispered in his ear. “Call Scotland Yard. The dagger has been stolen.”
George’s eyes went wide with shock, but he knew it was true. “Take care of the crowd,” he said to Emily and began to lead Sir Neville out of the room.
She nodded and turned to the crowd. “Ladies and gentlemen, it seems there’s been a slight mishap.”
As Emily’s voice rang in Sir Neville’s ears and his head spun wildly with bewildered dismay, another thought stuck him.
By the time they had crossed the Great Court he knew, in addition to the police, he had to make another call to an old friend. To his friend’s son, actually.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cute puppies galore!

Hubby and I were watching these adorable puppy videos the other day on youtube and I just had to share!

Daisy and Cooper go to McDonalds:


Mom and Dad and the kids in the yard


A place for everyone and everyone in their place...more or less.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

All Eyes on Me (A Miranda and Parker Mystery) 1 - Now Available!

I know so many of my readers have been anxiously awaiting the first book in the new Miranda and Parker series. I'm so pleased to let everyone know that it's finally available on all major distribution sites.


Right now, I'm working on the second book in the series. Also a new Dandy Frost-Ninja Assassin book will be out in March.

Thank you so much for your interest in my books. I love being able to create entertaining stories for you and I truly appreciate your support.

All Eyes on Me (A Miranda and Parker Mystery) #1

Miranda Steele’s story continues!

Fulfilling your destiny…one killer at a time.

Eight months after nearly dying in a New England hospital, Miranda Steele is raring to get back to work. Real detective work, that is.
When a once famous pop singer is found dead in the Las Vegas desert with a bizarre disfigurement and Miranda and Parker are called in to help find her killer, Miranda is exhilarated to have their first consulting case after her long recovery.
But Parker has some secret reservations about this new venture. Especially when he suspects there’s more to this murder than meets the…eye.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Steal My Heart (A Romantic Suspense) is now available on Amazon!

I'm thrilled to let everyone that my latest romantic suspense, Steal My Heart, is now available on Amazon. I really fell in love with these characters and I hope you will, too.

Steal My Heart (A Romantic Suspense)

It’s the worst thing that could possibly happen.

New York newspaper columnist, Paige Dunbar, can hardly breathe when she learns her precious three-year-old daughter has been kidnapped. She'll do anything to get her back, including steal the famous Fantasia necklace the kidnapper wants. No one can stop her. Not even her sexy ex-jewel-thief-ex-husband.

Mark Storm feels lucky to have been pulled out of prison and hired by the FBI for a special assignment after they interrupted his career as a jewel thief. When he sees the beautiful woman who divorced him after his arrest stealing the Fantasia necklace, he’s too stunned to smell the setup he should have detected. Besides, he’s certain he can distract Paige with his charm and steal the necklace back before she gets into real trouble.

But when he follows her home and once again experiences her fiery kisses, he wonders if they're enough to make him go straight for good.

And Paige wonders if she can forgive him enough to accept his help and let him back into her life.

Read more on Amazon

What's Next?

So what will I be working on next? I'm finishing up a humorous futuristic fantasy spy-novel that will be out by the end of the year. And after that? Yes, another Miranda Steele story. It will be the first in the new Miranda and Parker Mysteries series and I can't want to find out what sort of trouble she gets into.

So stay tuned! For earliest updates on my releases, feel free to join my mailing list.

A big thanks to all my readers!




 


I'm so pleased to announce that Thin Ice, the fifth book in the Miranda’s Rights mystery series is now available - See more at: http://linseylanier.blogspot.com/#sthash.tKxi2rJF.dpuf
I'm so pleased to announce that Thin Ice, the fifth book in the Miranda’s Rights mystery series is now available - See more at: http://linseylanier.blogspot.com/#sthash.tKxi2rJF.dpuf

Monday, July 22, 2013

Thin Ice: Book V (A Miranda’s Rights Mystery) is now available!


I'm so pleased to announce that Thin Ice, the fifth book in the Miranda’s Rights mystery series is now available. I'm thrilled to share the conclusion of Miranda Steele's story with all of you.

I hope you enjoy it. Below is an excerpt of chapter one.

Thin Ice (A Miranda's Rights Mystery) - Book V


A woman’s right to respect.
A woman’s right to be strong.
A woman’s right to her child.

One determined woman.
One irresistible man.
One talented girl.
And one psychotic killer.

Can they stop him before he kills again?

Thirteen years ago, Miranda Steele’s abusive husband stole her baby and gave it up for adoption. Now she’s about to find out exactly what happened to her daughter.


 Chapter One

He stumbled along the dreary path in the dark, groping his way. His limbs ached. His flesh felt as if it would fall from his bones. The air reeked of something putrid. The decay of his own body.
He had been here so long. So very long in this murky hell.
He stopped. What was that? Something behind him. A voice? He spun around and peered into the thick, muddy air.
He couldn’t see anything.
Who are you? He didn’t dare ask aloud.
There was nothing.
He turned around and began to plod forward again. But now he felt a presence behind him. And after a moment, he heard the voice. This time clearly.
I’m disappointed in you.
“Who are you?” Now he said it aloud.
You know.
And he did. “What do you want with me? I’m dead.”
I’m disappointed.
He spun back around, stared into the dark emptiness again and saw nothing. Disappointed. At that wretched word, his chest nearly collapsed in on itself. He fell to his knees, raised his hands over his head to shield himself from the blows. They didn’t come. They would later.
Disappointed? Why?
You know why.
His mind raced. He thought as hard as he could until stray bits of memory formed in his mind. The mission. He’d had a mission. But he’d done everything right. Everything as it should be. As instructed.
You failed me.
No, I did everything right. It was perfect.
You. Failed. Me.
And he knew that was right. “Give me another chance. I’ll do better. I promise.”
That’s why I’m here.
Another chance? His heart began to beat. Could he really have another chance? He would do it right this time. He would not fail again.
Can you do it?
“Yes. Yes, I can do it. I will do it. Will you help me?”
There was no answer. He reached out, trying to find the voice but there was nothing. No, he wasn’t reaching out. He couldn’t move his arm. Couldn’t move his legs. Couldn’t move at all.
Where was he?
His eyes flickered open. He saw flashes of light. Tubes. He heard beeping. People were moving him, turning his paralyzed body over. Nurses? They were—washing him? Where was he?
Then his eyes closed again and he felt nothing.

Thin Ice (A Miranda's Rights Mystery) - Book V



Saturday, March 30, 2013

Available at last! Fire Dancer: Book IV (A Miranda’s Rights Mystery)

I'm thrilled to announce the release of the next installment of the Miranda's Rights Mystery series. Fire Dancer: Book IV (A Miranda’s Rights Mystery) is finally available on most channels. You can read the first chapter below. I really loved writing this book. I hope you all enjoy it!

Fire Dancer: Book IV (A Miranda's Rights Mystery)

What makes you think you deserve to be so happy? 

A honeymoon in Maui in a luxury beachfront resort with your wealthy new husband. Sounds like paradise, right? But this is Miranda Steele we’re talking about here. And where Miranda goes, trouble follows.

That lovely honeymoon gets hijacked when Miranda finds the body of a popular fire dancer on the beach. Of course, she has to investigate. What choice does she have? But things get more complicated when she discovers Parker has been keeping some pretty serious secrets from her.

Could those secrets lead to finding Miranda’s daughter at last? Or will this Hawaiian honeymoon adventure end in Miranda’s ultimate destruction?

 * * * *




Fire Dancer: Book IV (A Miranda’s Rights Mystery)


WARNING
Stay clear of blowholes. They can lead to death.

Chapter One


He awoke and found himself underwater.
Sharp panic clawed his insides but somehow he was holding his breath. The open shirt he’d been wearing billowed around him, churning with the cold, raging water. He wanted to shiver. Instead, as if automatically, he began to swim.
The blowhole. He was in the blowhole.
As hard as he could, he battled the swirling waves. Harder. Faster.
It seemed like an hour before he broke through the water’s surface. At last his head came up and he gasped in air. He drank in more, more. But just as he thought he’d caught his breath, the dark current seized him again. He managed to take in one more gulp before it dragged him down again—and under.
His lungs burned. The pain was unbearable.
His panic climbed to a frenzied terror. He struggled to keep swimming but the waves battered against him, weakening him until he felt like an old man. Still, he forced his arms to move, his feet to kick. After an eternity, the current reversed and forced him up again.
He paddled with his arms and legs as hard as he could. As the water gushed over him like a geyser, his head finally burst through the surface once more.
He couldn’t see, even in the moonlight. There was too much blood in his eyes.
He threw his head back and once more gasped in wonderful, sweet air. His vision cleared a little.
Rocks.
Right there. The edge of the blowhole. He reached out for them. Slid. Reached again.
The surface was too slippery. His hands were numb. He couldn’t pull himself out of the hole. Another wave would come over the lava wall soon. The waves were monstrous tonight, the sea at her angriest.
Refusing to give up, he reached again.
This time, he found a knob in the formation. Just beyond it was an indentation, forming a sort of handle. The pang of hope in his chest nearly burst his heart. He grabbed onto the knob and struggled to heave himself out of the water.
Part way up. A little more. His chest ached, his arms shook with fatigue. One more tug. Just one more and he’d be out.
But he couldn’t do it.
His arms gave out. His hand slipped. He cried out and slid back down into the swirling water. He could hear the roar of the next wave gathering. His heart pounded.
Think. Think.
He was still wearing his clothes. His open shirt. It might save him. Once again, he reached out for the knobby rock. With the last bit of strength he had, he tied the tail of his shirt around the outcropping. Maybe it would hold him up and keep him from being swept out to sea.
But just as he secured the cloth, the mountainous wave shot over the lava wall and rained down on him like a tsunami. It forced him down, down.
The water rose over his head. His shirt slipped off his body, caught around his neck.
But his shirttail held. He tried to grab onto it, use it like a rope, but his arm was twisted at the wrong angle.
Panic seized him. He fought hard. He had to reach the surface again but his strength was giving out. He couldn’t hold his breath much longer. He thrashed the water with his feet, beat it with his arms. He was so tired. His muscles, his ribs ached like fire. He couldn’t hold his breath. It was too much.
He fought to keep his mouth shut but his throat spasmed. His chest convulsed. Terror pounded in his eardrums. He would not open his mouth. He would not. Just a little longer.
But he couldn’t do it.
Of their own will, his lips sputtered and his jaw snapped open. He gasped and water flowed down his throat.
His body jerked. He gagged and coughed but that only made him take in more water. He was flailing now, his body convulsing. His head felt light. As if he were in a dream. He tried to wake up but he could hardly move. Time seemed to stretch out into an endless vacuum.
His kicks slowed. His arms began to drift. His efforts to breathe ceased. And then there was blackness. He was still.
It was over.
Still tethered to the rock by his shirttail, his body bobbed in the waves as his life slipped out of him and into the sea.