Happy Sunday, everyone. I hope it's not as muggy where you are as it is here. So much for autumn rolling in - it's hot! A certain baby boy doesn't "do" the outdoors when it's muggy and hot. I tell you, Dobermans are born spoiled rotten. So we're having to play with toys indoors, being careful not to mess up the wrapping on his freshly posted ears. I'll have before and after shots soon.
So Keeping Bad Company hits the market September 12. It was my greatest hope to have it ready for an August release, but with my computer troubles, that just wasn't possible. I've got my final proof, and am doing one last run-through. I think all the edits will make it well worth that wait. I'm so excited to share it.
But during my laptop hiatus, I had some time to reflect on some things, and some time to play around with a story I wasn't sure I'd ever bring back to life. I ended up doing a lot of writing by hand, and some writing on my old iTunes-only computer. I had a bit of a revival, if you will. The Russells might not return until next month, but this Friday, I have a super secret project to share, one I am so excited about, and I hope my readers will enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.
To get ready for it, you need to meet two new faces. If you've read the first four chapters of KBC, you've met Walsh. Now meet Mercy:
From Keeping Bad Company
Copyright © 2014 by Lauren Gilley
All the guys were up in the clubhouse, ranged around the common room’s centermost tables. Johnny spotted the two new faces right off: a tall, darkly tan guy with shiny black hair pulled back into a short bun, sleeves cut out of his shirt, and an unassuming dark blonde with scruffy cheeks and narrow blue eyes who couldn’t have been taller than five-nine. He was even shorter than Jaeger. Both wore cuts. The tall dark one had the Black Dogs dog tatted on one impressive bicep, surrounded by a series of tribal swirls that flowed down to his elbow. The blonde wore a chambray shirt with a collar that stood up, a pack of smokes rolled into one sleeve. The tall one glanced over as Johnny entered with curiosity. The blonde’s expression was too guarded to tell.
“Preppy,” Danner greeted from his perch on a table. “Come be social.”
Rev stood. “Johnny, this is Mercy” – the big one – “and Walsh” – the smaller one. “Boys, this is Johnny Russell. They’re from our New Orleans chapter,” Rev continued, motioning to Mercy. “And Knoxville.” That was Walsh.
Mercy stepped forward first. “You’re Ray Russell’s nephew, huh?” His accent was flavored with New Orleans, warm and Cajun. He extended a massive hand that swallowed Johnny’s and gripped hard. “I like Ray. Lawyer turned outlaw.” He laughed.
Johnny tried not to wince as he retracted his hand and flexed his fingers. “Yeah. That’s me.”
“They call you Preppy?”
He plucked at the collar of his American Eagle t-shirt and twitched a half-smile. “Yeah.”
“They’re real creative, huh?” Mercy winked.
“Ain’t none of ‘em ever got my name right. It ain’t Mercy. It’s Merci.” His accent spiked the word, highlighted the French version of it.
“Thank you?” Johnny asked.
“By the time he gets done with someone, they say ‘thank you’ for the kiss of the knife,” Doc explained with a grin, dragging his finger across his own throat to demonstrate.
“Only the rednecks can’t ever say it right,” Mercy explained, still grinning a wide, white grin. “So I’m ‘Mercy.’ It ain’t so bad.”
Johnny was half-impressed, half-intimidated. He glanced over to Walsh, who jammed his hands in his jeans pockets and said nothing, just kept staring with those strange, light eyes of his.
“Walsh is our money man,” Rev explained. “He sets up businesses for the club. The whole club.”
Recognition dawned; Johnny had heard talk of him. Originally from the London chapter, he was ex-air force and a genius with financial planning. Anywhere within the Dog sphere, if there was a startup happening, he was called in to consult.
“They’re gonna take over the Elephant for us for a while. Get things rolling with Quinn and his crew.”
Coffee churned in Johnny’s empty stomach. He nodded. “Okay.”
“And you’re gonna help.”
“Yeah. There’s not anything to do around here today. Go load the van and be ready when they’re ready.”
Mercy slugged him on the shoulder in an affectionate, friendly gesture.
Walsh lifted a foot and studied the underside of his boot, finding something he plucked out of the treads with careful fingertips.
Johnny wished he’d run into a telephone pole on the way over.