Dark & Stormy
Publication date: May 17th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
Faryn Miller wants to build a new life in a small town. It’s her last chance to figure out, of all the roles she’s played in her thirty-some years, which one truly fits. Her aim at simplicity sounds like the perfect medicine until she meets Kai Allen, who’s spent his life doing everything the hard way and never bending for anyone. Lucky for Kai, Faryn has no preconceived notions about what he’s done and who he is, unlike the rest of town.
When cryptic messages start sneaking their way into Faryn’s apartment, then blatant threats, the two of them compile a long list of who could be stalking her. Unable to keep his frustration and rage hidden any longer, Kai explodes on everyone in his path, and Faryn can’t help but wonder if the storm is closer than she thinks.
The start of chapter two.
I watched the bar across the street for a few weeks, often with a cup of coffee in hand. The morning after I moved in, they plastered a help wanted sign in the front window, and I’d chewed my lip over it ever since.
I knew nothing of bartending and worried it would be a busy place, but there’d been no rowdy nights and no drunken brawls. In fact, the influx was arguably heaviest during lunch, and the patrons, for the most part, seemed tidy. It was reasonably lazy there, like about everything else in town. The gas station, grocer, and drugstore all ticked to a slower clock than I was accustomed.
After giving them time to recover from their latest midday rush, I grabbed my keys off the table and locked up, something Leon assured me was unnecessary around here, but a habit I hadn’t yet been able to break. Then I made my way across the street.
The spring air smelled sweeter up here, and the flowers blooming from the ornamental trees drew an upswing to my step. I crossed the street, pushed open the door, and was accosted by stale cigarette smoke.
Whoosh. Just like that: sweet and comforting to pungent and appalling.
But it was clean; this was obvious even in the dim light. The windows were long and thin, set high on the wall near the ceiling; the bar short and to the right. An old cigarette machine sat in the far corner, an array of lottery and arcade games banked the wall on my left, and a pool table sat in a wide empty space. About seven tables scattered the rest of the room, and one man sat at the bar while another stood behind it.
They stared at me.
I stood a little straighter and took the seven steps to greet them. “Hi, I’m Faryn Miller.” I reached my hand out, but the bartender didn’t move so I dropped it. “I saw you were hiring, and I’d like to apply for the job.”
“You got it,” he said.
“It’s yours.” He didn’t blink. “Done.”
“Don’t you want to interview me?”
“You just had your interview.”
I looked at the old man on the stool. He shrugged.
“Lewis?” the bartender asked. “You agree, don’t cha?”
Lewis nodded and wiped a little drool off the corner of his lip with the rounded end of an amputated forearm. No left hand. “Can she make a Dark and Stormy?”
“Yeah, see, I can’t make anything,” I admitted. “But I’d really love the job.”
“I already gave it to you, sugar.” The bartender reached his hand out, and I shook it. “I’m Charles, but you can call me Chuck. All the pretty ladies do. And I own the place, so if I want to hire an inexperienced Greek goddess, well, then that’s what I’ll do.”
I’d never been referred to as a Greek goddess before, so I’d take it, no matter it was coming from a man as slick as this one.
His black hair was smoothed back and gelled down. A silver post hung from one ear and an angel tattoo decorated the front side of his neck, her bottom half hidden under the collar of his black tee. Then again, maybe she wasn’t an angel, all voluptuous and scantily clad that she was, but she did have wings. His nose was a shiny beacon of oil, and his hand even felt somewhat slimy in mine, enough that it was taking all I had not to wipe my palm against my jeans.
“A Dark and Stormy?” I asked. “What’s that?”
What readers are saying:
“Complex characters give way to a brilliantly written story… Incredible writing from a first time author.”
“Great small town setting with an awesome cast of characters. J Mercer masterfully takes you on a journey full of twists and reveals that are woven so skillfully into the story you’ll want to read it again and again.”
“J Mercer combines her gift for poignantly haunting characters with a plot that is intriguingly complicated.”
“I couldn’t put this book down! When I reached the last page, I sat, breathless, stunned.”
“This book had me hanging on page by page. With thought provoking character development and surprises at every turn.”
J. Mercer grew up in Wisconsin where she walked home from school with her head in a book, filled notebooks with stories in junior high, then went to college for accounting and psychology only to open a dog daycare. She wishes she were an expert linguist, is pretty much a professional with regards to competitive dance hair (bunhawk, anyone?), and enjoys exploring with her husband—though as much as she loves to travel, she’s also an accomplished hermit. Perfect days include cancelled plans, rain, and endless hours to do with what she pleases. Find her on Facebook @jmercerbooks or online at www.jmercerbooks.wordpress.com.
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