A Cold Winter’s Day
I love creating new characters, and Winter of the Drill brought forth Jax Weston. Jax is the right hand man of villain Duncan Malone, and Malone relies on him to handle the various dirty deeds that are required to grow and maintain his adult entertainment empire. But Jax is beginning to question his loyalty to Malone, largely due to Malone’s attempts to gain ownership of the nightclub owned by Rudy Valdez.
In the following excerpt from my upcoming novel, Winter of the Drill, Jax has stopped into a downtown tavern to do a little alcohol fueled soul-searching. Tinker, the bartender, strikes up a conversation that hits a little too close to home.
I hope you like this peek at Winter of the Drill.
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Tinker grinned, showing yellowed teeth beneath his untrimmed moustache. “I haven’t seen you in here before. We usually get the guys from the docks, and a few wayward truckers looking for action on the strip. You don’t fit either category, so I guess you’re part of our third group.”
Jax looked up, curious in spite of himself. “What group is that?”
Tinker chuckled, his eyes reading Jax’s with the insight gained from thirty years of watching people come and go through assorted tavern doors.
“Trouble,” he said simply. “You’re trouble. But somehow…I think you’re mostly trouble for yourself. And no amount of booze is gonna change that.”
Jax stared back, his interest rapidly giving way to irritation. “You don’t know me.” His voice took on an unpleasant edge that Tinker did not seem to notice. “You don’t know anything about me. So what gives you the right to judge me?”
Tinker studied his face for a moment, then shook his head with jaded recognition. “I ain’t judgin’ you, boy. Hell, I was you, back in the day. I lived your life ’til I wised up and got out. So I don’t have to know you to know you.”
Jax picked up his glass and scowled at the liquid inside, disliking the man intensely. He had come for a few drinks, not a lecture, and he deeply resented the bartender’s intrusion into his personal space.
But the silence that followed Tinker’s last sentence soared quickly from uncomfortable to unpleasant, hovering there until Jax’s already frayed nerves could take it no more.
“Okay,” he snapped crossly. “You know me so well, tell me why I’m trouble.”
Tinker shrugged, his expression saying that he was only stating the obvious. “You’ve got a good build, and the scars on your hands tell me that you didn’t put in the gym time just to get girls. But your face is clean. Your nose has never been broken, and you’ve never had a cut deeper than a surface scratch. This tells me that you don’t fight anyone who’s in a position to fight back. So…you’re not a boxer, a cager, or any other kind of ring fighter. And you’re not a guy who fights just for fun ‘cuz if you were, you’d have the scars. That leaves hired muscle for one of the idiots that think they own the streets around here.”
He shrugged again, eyeing Jax appraisingly. “You’re dressed nice so whoever pays you has some green behind him. That leaves out Deaf Tony, Carl Dawes, Len Morgan, or the Mason twins. It also leaves out the popcorn pimps like Dark Daddy, King, and Ricky Roy. So…process of elimination tells me you answer to one of the big guns like Duncan Malone or Dane Kinney. Maybe even the Drill, though I’d be surprised if you did. He treats his people pretty damn good, but you look like you’re hatin’ life and everyone in it. It’s usually girl trouble what drives a man to drink, but I see somethin’ in you that goes way deeper than that.”
He paused to pull out a battered comb and make a quick pass through his thinning hair. “Boy, if you’re tied up with Kinney I’d say be careful and leave it at that. But if you’re one of Malone’s dogs then all I can say is watch your back and sleep with your eyes open. ‘Cuz life with Malone means you’ll always have to be choosin’ between what he tells you to do and what you’re willin’ to do. And no matter how you play it, sooner or later you’ll choose wrong, and then I’ll see your blood on the sidewalk right next to Milo VanDiepen’s.”
The mention of the notorious enforcer, who had died in a hail of bullets not far from the bar in which he sat, brought a frown to Jax’s face. A frown that did not go unnoticed by the man who had read him with such disturbing accuracy.
“You’re still young, boy,” Tinker continued. “Watch your step, and you might live to get old.”
Jax jiggled the glass, watching the alcohol swirl around the ice cubes, and wondered how many more he would have to drink to dull the misery that threatened to take him down to some emotional hell from which there was no escape.
I could drink a gallon and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, he thought dismally as he swallowed the liquid and signaled for yet another refill. He’s right about Malone. I gotta get away before he changes me completely. Before he kills everything I am.
A brutal experience transforms an unproven young tough into a ruthless killing machine. For 15 years he waited, building his body into an unstoppable weapon so that vengeance would be had through the strength of his will and the power of his hands.
Rhani D’Chae is a visually impaired writer, reader, and lover of cats. She is currently working on the second book in the Drill series, about an unrepentant enforcer and the violent life that he leads.
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