Today’s Tale is based on a picture prompt. The one I chose is an old train station. I’m still working on the Pensacola based story. Interestingly, one of the hotels in downtown is built attached to the restored downtown train station. This station has been around a long time and when the hotel was built, the builder made the station the lobby entrance. It’s a beautiful place and I’m happy to have worked it into my story both with this photo and with the plot I already had in my head when the picture was posted. Read the other posts here. We are limited to 300 words for the picture prompts so I had to cut out a lot of the action of the scene to get that short.
She ran on, her feet thudding across the sidewalk near the civic center and across the street to the hotel that was constructed from an old train station. One foot hurt and she limped a little in a funky loping run. She would’ve laughed if she wasn’t in so much danger and if she didn’t hurt so bad.
As she moved toward the train station, Margot didn’t hear anyone pursuing her but didn’t take the chance to look over her shoulder as she pumped her legs to get herself to safety. No reason to waste those precious seconds.
Arriving at the door to the hotel lobby, Margot flung it open and stepping inside the lobby, almost fell due to the slickness of the tile floor and her ruined shoes. She chanced a look at what she could see of herself and was appalled to find sticks caught in the hem of her dress and clinging to her little cover-up sweater. Dirt streaked down her legs and one shoe was missing a heel. She couldn’t begin to imagine what her hair and face showed of her ordeal in the cemetery but she was positive that she would frighten small children and maybe even grown men.
Margot walked through the lobby that was lined in deep mahogany wood and furniture that evoked the years the train station was operational. The front desk had to be through this foyer, she was sure it had to be close. She hobbled on.
Today is release day for Tequila Mockingbird so I apologize to the folks who would rather see a Friday Fact. We will return to your regularly scheduled program next week. BUY LINK
Two years ago, Kestral Falco was an up and coming prosecuting attorney in Los Angeles. His life was set until he found out his fiancée cheated on him. In a misguided attempt to be chivalrous, he let her put the blame on him, never imagining the repercussions. Treated as an outcast, he leaves the practice of law and moves to Mexico where he’s recruited to join the Drug Enforcement Agency and go undercover to fight the war on drugs. His code name is Mockingbird.
Rachel Newsome, a defense lawyer who blames Kes for breaking her friend’s heart, has a client who desperately wants to find out Mockingbird’s true identity. When Rachel’s sister is kidnapped and taken to Mexico, Rachel becomes desperate to find her. She’s more than a little upset when she’s forced to team up with Kes as he has the knowledge Rachel needs to help save her sibling.
A week after the fiasco at the bar, Rachel strolled down the corridor at the courthouse after her motion hearing concluded. Her briefcase bulged with the file from hell. This case would be the death of her. Both of her opposing counsels were named Michael but one went by Mike. They were also like little boys in a playground. She thought of them as two kids playing tug-of-war while she sat back on the swing set and watched the action. She was convinced that eventually she would win the case and it was just a matter of how bloody it would get between them before the final bell rang. Good thing she liked her client.
As she strolled alone she waved to several colleagues who passed by. She turned the corner. Up ahead she recognized several male lawyers congregated around the area near the stairwell. They were laughing and making a lot of noise. Her stomach clenched when she recognized one of them.
Orry Falco leaned against the wall with one hand in the pocket of his dress slacks. She’d seen him off and on in the courthouse in the two years since his brother Kes had jilted her friend at the altar and left town but the easy friendship of the past was gone. Kes had left a swath of bitter feelings in his wake and a lot of relationships changed due to his selfish actions.
Rachel hoped Orry wouldn’t notice her but no such luck. Almost as soon as she arrived at the stairs with the intention to sneak past the rowdy group, he turned. His eyes widened and he jerked his head back around.
Now a little peeved, Rachel wondered what the heck that was all about. Really? They couldn’t even be cordially distant now? He was going to flat-out snub her?
She stopped in her tracks and peered around his back to see who else was in the crowd. She sucked in a breath when she saw the profile of a buff man with a ponytail and a scruffy beard. Could it be the same man from the bar? The one she’d thought was so sexy getting into the cab?
The crowd parted and the man with the ponytail turned around. Rachel did gasp then. Loudly. She dropped her briefcase. It landed with an echoing thud at her feet.
“Rachel Newsome. What a pleasant surprise.” The tone of Kestrel Falco’s voice told her that he was anything but pleased. He bent down and picked up her briefcase. “Yours, I presume?”
She snatched it from his hand. “Yes.” God, he’d changed physically. He’d always been handsome but gone was the staid lawyer in the three-piece suit with the short haircut. In his place was a man in a pair of jeans and a white shirt who could be a god from Mount Olympus. He’d bulked up, his long hair in the ponytail was dead sexy and she didn’t even want to think about what the scruff on his face would feel like if she touched it.
“Most people would respond with a thank you.”
“Thank you.” She came back to herself and snapped the answer more harshly than she’d intended.
“Oh, dear. She didn’t sound very grateful, did she fellows?” one of the men in the crowd asked.
The rest of them all guffawed their agreement.
Rachel tucked the briefcase under her arm. “You all do know this is a courthouse, right? You’re all making way too much noise. This isn’t a bar or a men’s club.”
“Well, not to be mean, Rachel, but it really is a men’s club. Or at least it was until you walked up,” one of the men she didn’t know said.
“How do you know who I am?” she asked the rude jerk.
“Everyone knows the ice princess.” He sneered.
“Ice princess? What does that mean?”
“It’s the reputation you have around here, Rach,” Orry said.
“And you know, princess, if it was truly a men’s club, we’d have some hot chick here half-naked, not a prissy stuck-up female lawyer who probably hasn’t been laid in five years.” The jerk lawyer stepped forward and into Rachel’s personal space.
Before she could react, Kes moved closer. “Cut it out, Jack. That was uncalled for and rude. Apologize to the lady.”
“Why should I? Why should you defend her honor anyway? Isn’t she Deidre’s pal?”
“She is but that’s no reason to be rude.” Kes’s voice lowered an octave, which actually scared Rachel. She’d never seen him so tense and wired. He acted as if he was going to lunge at the man.
Jack raised his hands in front of his face in a defensive posture. “Sorry, Kes. I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“Don’t apologize to me. Apologize to her.” Kes, fists clenched, tilted his head toward her. “And you better be sincere about it.”
“I’m sorry I called you an ice princess, Rachel.”
Kes literally growled. He sprang forward. His brother grabbed him. “Let it go, bro. He’s not worth it.”
“I’m going to head to my hearing now.” Jack sneered again and walked away.
Rachel looked up at Kes. She didn’t remember him being that tall before. Maybe it was all the new muscle definition. “Thanks for trying to make him apologize. Some people are cruel and there’s no dealing with them, but I appreciate your effort.”
“You’re welcome.” Kes bowed. “I better go now. I have a meeting with one of the prosecutors to discuss my testimony tomorrow.”
“So you’re here for a case?”
“Yeah, I am. As a witness though, not a lawyer.”
“Interesting change of position there, isn’t it?”
“Sort of but not really. It’s not like I’m on trial.”
“Good luck then.” Rachel moved down the stairs.
Before she got more than three down, Kes called after her. “You can’t even say it was nice to see me?”
Today’s word for Tuesday Tales is savage. We’re still hanging out in Pensacola in the book Til Murder Do Us Part. This time we’re at one of my favorite local restaurants, Sam’s Seafood and Steak.
I hope you enjoy this week’s offering and don’t forget the other entries here.
They both laughed and in a few moments, Janette and Regina passed by the table on their way out the door on the “A” Street side of the restaurant. Regina spoke first. She placed her hand on Philip’s left shoulder. “How are you doing?”
“I’m adjusting. Thanks.”
“How long have you been back in town? I heard you were coming home but wasn’t sure when.”
Richard could tell Philip was trying his best not to look at Janette but to focus on Regina by keeping his eyes firmly on Regina’s face. “I’ve been back a week or so. Richard was good enough to allow me to return to live at his house and even adjusted his place to meet my needs.”
“I hope you’ll come by the courthouse and visit sometime. The judge was talking the other day about you and wondering how you were getting along.” Regina tapped her index finger on Philip’s shoulder.
“Like I said, I’m good. I even went in to the station today for a while and talked to the chief and the guys.”
“That’s wonderful,” Janette said as she stepped from behind Regina. “Does that mean you’re going to go back to work?”
Richard noticed Philip’s face harden when his former fiancée spoke. He opened his mouth to beat Philip to an answer in case the man was going to be rude but before he could make a sound, Philip responded, “I’m not sure. It was a nice visit but I’m not sold on the job the chief has offered. Thank you for asking.”
Janette had started to smile when Philip addressed her but by the time he finished, she looked crestfallen at his icy tone and seeming brushoff.
Regina placed her hand on Janette’s upper arm. “Let’s go. The waitress is on her way with the food for these two. We should get out of the way.” It seemed to Richard that Regina was practically pushing Janette to the door.
“See you ladies later,” Richard said. He watched them until they were outside then turned to face Philip to compliment him on how he faced Janette without falling apart. Stunned at the expression on his roommate’s face, Richard almost choked. His face was so red the man could very well be having some kind of stroke. Richard had never seen him so angry.
The waitress set their food down and scooted away as if to escape the rancor emanating off Philip.
Philip put his head down and dove into the grouper in a savage manner. He ripped the meat apart using his knife and fork as if he were skinning a rhinoceros. The steam wafted across the table in Richard’s direction.
Taking a hint from the way his friend was attacking his food, Richard decided not to say a word while they ate. Philip would talk when he was ready.
Richard reached for the ketchup to put some on his plate to dip his fried oysters and peered through his lashes at Philip. Like a slam to the chest, Richard realized his companion wasn’t angry but was trying to hide his anguish and maybe even a few unshed tears.
Do you know how the Ivy League colleges got their name? Nope, it’s not the fact that the buildings are old and ivy grows on them.
The first Ivy League schools were Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Princeton. They played each other in sports and there were only four of them. They used the roman numeral for 4 which is IV.
When IV League was pronounced, it was said as if written out so it sounded like IVY. Imagine if they’d called it 4 League. LOL
By the way, Veritas means Truth for those of you who wondered about the Harvard logo. It comes from the Roman Goddess of Truth named Veritas. She was the daughter of Saturn and the mother of Virtue. The IV League sure liked their Romans, yeah?
Available now in print at Amazon.com
Back cover blurb:
After an explosion at NASA in Houston that shook her confidence, Olga Quinn tries to run from her demons by moving halfway around the world to a new job in London with the space program there. As a rocket scientist, she wraps herself in her work, and convinces herself her commitment to her job is why she doesn’t date much.
Gabriel Swicord lost his vision as a firefighter when a backlash blinded and scarred him. He’s considered a hero by the family he saved, but he doesn’t want the praise. Demons of another kind haunt Gabriel; demons with a voice that sound far too much like his father. Left to find a new career, Gabriel dives into his love of music and becomes a celebrity DJ in London. He’s content to live alone and take care of himself. He needs no one.
Or so he convinces himself.
Olga and Gabriel meet with more animosity than attraction, but that doesn’t last long for either of them. When someone begins to murder women who have been to the club where Gabe is DJ, Gabe’s new life is thrown even further out of kilter. Olga becomes the target of the killer, and both she and Gabe must confront their demons, or risk losing everything.
This week’s tale is still in the story Til Murder Do Us Part. This week’s word prompt is Lemon. Check out the other entries here.
Once Richard was seated on the driver’s side, he nodded at the floorboard. “Why do you women do that to yourselves?”
“Wear shoes that clearly are too tight or too uncomfortable for long-time wear. It seems to be some kind of punishment you ladies have to do to atone for your sins.”
“If wearing pretty shoes is atonement for sin, I must have really offended someone recently since this pair is actually hell on earth.” She laughed. “I can’t figure it out. They were fine in the store.”
“Not so fine to be making a getaway from a possibly homicidal former brother-in-law, are they?” He turned the key to crank the engine.
“Now that you mention it, yeah.”
“By the way, what color are we calling those? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pair in such an odd shade.” Richard indicated the shoes with a tilt of his head.
“Do you have a shoe fetish or something?”
“You seem to pay a lot of attention to them for someone of the male species.”
“Let’s just say I’ve been with a lot of ladies who have suffered with ill-fitting shoes and I’ve learned to be leery of a high heel.”
“Why is that?” She couldn’t help but giggle at his tone of voice. He sounded as if he had paid some kind of high price at one time as a result of someone’s shoe choice.
“Let’s leave it at my former wife was notorious for buying shoes that were too small for her and call it a day, okay?”
“Someday you’ll have to tell me that story.” Margot grinned, curious about both his former wife and her taste in shoes. “By the way, the shoes are lemon yellow. Or at least that’s what was printed on the box.”
Richard shook his head, muttered, “Lemon yellow, good grief,” under his breath and eased out of the parking space. He made his way around to the exit and out into the street traffic.
The Pony Express was a mail service – it ran in the western part of this country with a starting point of St. Joseph, Missouri. It across the plains and over the Rocky Mountains to Sacramento, California. They used horses and a series of relay stations to travel with the mail, newspapers and other items to California and back to Missouri. It was needed when so many people flocked to California when the gold was discovered there in 1848.
The first trip of the Pony Express began on April 3, 1860. Letters were delivered in 10 days as opposed to the longer periods required by stagecoaches. The cost was $5.00 per half ounce ( $133.00 in today’s money). The riders earned $100.00 a month as pay ( $2,200.00 in today’s money) – this was when most workers made less than $1.00 a day ( $26.60 in today’s money).
There were 120 riders, 400 horses and 184 stations where fresh horses were mounted to continue the mail’s journey.
Happy Anniversary to the Pony Express yesterday.