I hope you've all had a great summer so far. Things are winding for the Cooper Clan while things are about to get ramped up with Corps Justice again. The Novels Live team and I have completed roughly half of the new Daniel Briggs novel, Fallen, and the plan is to get it to you before the end of August.
Until then, get some more free stuff and see what's going on in Corps Justice land below.
Don't forget to go to the bottom of this post and read the first chapter (unedited) of Fallen to get your fix.
Designed Just For You
Thanks to some motivated readers who prodded me for more Corps Justice stuff, I came up with a new manifesto and a couple posters for you guys. There's simple and there's retro-ish. Now, I did the writing, but someone much snazzier than me did the designing. Feel free to copy them, print them, share them on social media, or send them to your congressman.
I hope to have some fancy posters made soon, and even some more versions, but for now you can swipe the files and use them as you wish.
Just click on the images to download. Enjoy.
A Huge Thanks
The release of Papal Justice was our most successful to date. Thanks to everyone who bought a copy. If you haven't gotten a copy yet, all the links to purchase are HERE. If you've read it and haven't written a review, please consider doing so. Reviews fuel the success of these novels.
The Zimmer Doctrine (Book 11)
Just got the new cover done for the upcoming eleventh book of the main Corps Justice series. Check it out along with the book blurb. Expect an early Fall release.
A world unraveling from within...
A president ready to challenge his enemies...
A warrior who is needed, but is lost in his misery...
The Middle East. Asia. Europe. South America. Everywhere President Brandon Zimmer looks there is corruption and the threat of spreading gloom. With a world economy teetering from instability within the European Union and the Chinese financial system, hidden powers seek to capitalize on this weakness, and harness it for their own gain.
While The Zimmer Doctrine stands as a beacon against said enemy, its architect still needs his most important ally at his side. But rocked with personal loss and a nagging sense of doubt and inevitability, Cal Stokes may no longer be the man to stand with his friend, or to lead his warriors at The Jefferson Group. What does the future hold for this once stalwart patriot?
Unedited Excerpt From Fallen
(CAUTION: The following contains unedited material that may be unsuitable for the grammatically inclined.)
Old Orchard Beach, Maine
A seagull screeched overhead as I downed the shot of Jack Daniels from a cheap plastic shot glass. The vessel matched my surroundings, suitable but far from grand. I’d arrived in Old Orchard Beach just after one o’clock in the afternoon. No real reason, other than the fact that I wanted to get off the Amtrak train and stretch my legs. Getting a few drinks and some food was a bonus, but the plan was to walk right back to the platform and keep heading north when I was done.
I asked a local where I could get a good view of the ocean, and the guy told me the best you could get was on the Pier. “But stay away from the Pier Patio Pub,” the guy had said, “It’s not good for tourists this time of year.”
I’d ignored his second recommendation and headed straight for the Pub. The guy was right. The place was full of locals, and every head turned when I walked in and asked for a table with a view. The hostess pointed to the stairs and said I could pick any spot I wanted.
The good news was that my table did overlook the Atlantic, and the mid-May sky was fresh and clean, like someone had given it a good scrub and left me with a squeaky clear view. I love the water, always had. Along with my good friend John Daniels, they were the two best things I had going. Not a bad deal considering what I’d been through.
Despite being the only obvious out-of-towner in the joint, the waitress was attentive and soon brought out a bottle of Jack when I slipped her a twenty.
“You promise you’ll keep track of your drinks?” she asked, not really concerned, but saying it because she had to. I imagined she was probably happy to avoid the up and down journey in exchange for a little risk.
“Scout’s honor,” I said, putting three fingers up in the air as I hoisted another shot in my left hand.
She looked at me funny, like she was going to change her mind about the three quarter full bottle on the table, but she smiled instead, and headed back inside where I kept catching hints of French being spoken.
Must be Canadians, I thought, gazing out over the water, wondering how cold it was and how far out I could swim. At that time of year, still cold, but I bet I could make it out a couple miles, maybe more. The return trip would be a bitch, but that might not be necessary. I sat, I dreamed, and I drank. Just another day.
I sloshed the quarter remnant around in the bottle, the bitter taste of the booze long gone. As I watched the brown waves inside the squared glass cage, my ears perked in and out, like a radio receiving bit of broken traffic. The incoming news might’ve disturbed someone else, like someone who actually cared, but I didn’t. I had my ocean and John Daniels. Maybe the minor annoyance would go away.
A couple minutes later a brunette walked outside. She pretended to be looking at the view, but I saw her cook eyes wander over me more than once. She could’ve been looking at my messy blonde hair or my scruffy beard, but she wasn’t. All legs and tight clothing, the girl was on the downswing from hot. She’d had her day for sure, but I sensed the tired crow’s feet highlighting her eyes, and took in the high heeled sandals that had definitely seen better days. She was a like a Barbie doll who was cast aside after four or five years of spirited play at the hands of a toddler.
I kept swirling the bottle and refilling my plastic cup. Three drinks later, she came over.
“Do you have a light?” she asked.
I didn’t look up.
That didn’t change her course.
“Mind if I have a drink?”
I shrugged and handed her the bottle. She was either mustering up courage or trying to add to her new hard look, because she ignored the extra plastic cups on the table and drank straight from the bottle. No flinch. No hard swallow. A pro…like me.
“Thanks,” she said, handing the nearly empty bottle back. “Mind if I have a seat?”
“I’d rather you didn’t,” I said, “Just enjoying the view and then it’s back to the train.”
She stiffened just perceptibly, but then played it off by putting her hand on my shoulder. I kept swirling the bottle.
“Are you sure you don’t want some company?”
I raised the bottle again, a peace offering.
“Take this, I’m done.”
When I looked up there was fire in her eyes, her pretty little nostrils flared. She stood there for a minute. I could see her thinking. No, not a pro, a wannabe, I thought.
Miss Past-Her-Prime stepped back and slammed the bottle onto the ground. It didn’t shatter like she’d probably expected. The best she got was a split at point where the neck met the body of the glass container. That seems to rile her further.
“How dare you touch me!” she screamed. “I’m calling the cops!”
I sat back and looked up at her, smiling like it was exactly what I wanted.
“Be my guest. I’ll be right here.”
By this time the French Canadian babble from the inside had stopped. I heard chairs scraping and then heavy footsteps like a little troupe stomping my way.
The girl grinned. “You’re in trouble now.”
Five guys appeared at the doorway. I’d seen them when I came in. Local meatheads, or maybe traveling meatheads. There was a tall skinny guy with his flat-billed ball cap turned sideways. Then were the two guys who looked like twins, their necks as big as my thigh. The last two were the most drunk, sporting matching hockey jerseys, still sipping on their beers, pointing at me and whispering in each others ears like I couldn’t hear them.
“Is there a problem?” the tall guy asked the girl.
“Yeah, this guy just grabbed my ass and then said he wanted to bend me over the table.”
The two drunk guys laughed and whispered some more, but the other three stepped forward.
“Hold on,” I said, putting up my hands in a T like a wanted a timeout. “What’s your name?” I asked the girl.
She made a face like she wasn’t going to answer, then said, “Tiffany.”
“Tell me, Tiffany, which one of these guys bent you over a table before I came in for a quiet drink?” I was watching the meatheads, and the tall guy’s eyes narrowed. “Wait, let me guess. The tall asshole with the stupid hat, right?”
Tiffany’s eyes narrowed too. “How dare you…”
“No. How dare you, Tiffany. All I wanted was a few drinks and some time to enjoy the view. Now I have to deal with your trampy ass, these guys are musting the air with their guido cologne, and you ruined the last of my bottle.”
Again, not the response she’d expected. Her eyes darted to her most recent lover, a plea for assistance.
The collective stepped closer. They were now eight feet from where I was lounging in my chair. I didn’t have any weapons, and to give them a little credit, it didn’t look like they did either. By the looks of the hands on the muscle-bound twins, their first usually did the heavy lifting.
Mr. Tall took another step towards me as the girl moved out of the way.
“You got any money on you?” he asked.
“Some,” I answered truthfully.
“How much is some?”
“Fifty seven dollars and sixty two cents.”
Mr. Tall snorted. The drunk duo snickered. Thick Neck One and Two stared at me.
“You always know exactly how much you have in your pocket?” Mr. Tall asked, grinning at his friends like I was the weird one.
“Sometimes,” I said. “You always hang out with the whore you’re tag-teaming with the ambiguously gay duo?” I asked, pointing at the drunks. That stopped the giggling.
“You know what, I was gonna let you off with a little toll, but now I think we’re gonna beat your ass and drag you down to the ATM.”
I shrugged and almost went to grab for the bottle that was no longer on the table. I laughed at my slip, and for show, I half staggered to my feet. John Daniels had done his job, and my body was warm and steady, no shakes, just calm.
“Sorry fellas, but I’ve gotta catch a train,” I said, reaching into my pocket so I could pay my tab.
“You’re not going anywhere, asshole,” said Thick Neck Number One.
My eyes widened in surprise. “It speaks!” Grinning like an idiot, I raised my hands in surrender. “Fine, you win. Like Tiffany over there, I’m lover, not a fighter.”
That brought back the giggles from the drunkos, and a shared look between Mr. Tall and Tiffany. Thick Neck Number One stepped forward. His arms lowered, his guard coming down as I staggered a bit to the left. Bad move Thick Neck.
I shifted my weight back, like I was going to staggered into the railing, but just as quickly, I shifted my momentum, my raised boot shooting in a downward angle, every ounce of my adrenaline screaming forward. My boot caught the side of Thick Neck Number One’s bow-legged knee. I felt the crunch, and moved to the left as he came crashing down. Mr. Tall’s jaw dropped open and I took that as a perfect opportunity to close it for him, courtesy of a driving uppercut. He went up on his toes, his eyes already rolling back in his head, and then he joined his buddy on the ground. Two down, three to go.
Thick Neck Number Two actually snorted like a bull and charged, his arms wide ready to body slam me in to the wooden planks that I’d served up as beds for his companions. He was close, but I waited until the last possible nano-second. Then I dropped to my knees and punched out with both of my fists. I was hoping that the guy didn’t juice too much because I wanted to connected with what remained of his family jewels. Luck was with me and not with him.
He still bowled me over, but not before he’d received a double blast to his most prized possessions. His hands went to his midsection as I pushed him off, rolling to my feet to face the last two. They stood there like morons, unable to make a decision as they stared at their friends on the ground.
“Who’s next?” I asked.
They looked at each other like Dweedle Dee and Dweedle Dumb, and bolted for the door.
Then it was just me and Tiffany standing. I ignored her and searched Mr. Tall’s pockets. There was a pitiful wad of cash and a set of keys. I pocketed the cash and chucked the keys off the pier. The Thick Neck Twins at least had a few twenties each, and neither seemed to care as I stripped them of it.
Tiffany watched me do it, but didn’t say anything. It wasn’t until I was finished, my backpack over one shoulder, that she actually spoke.
“What are you a ninja or something?”
There wasn’t a hint of fear in her voice. She was used to being in the middle of a raucus.
“No, just a Marine.”
I stepped over Mr. Tall, who was just groaning back to consciousness, and went to pay for the bottle of Jack. From there it was either a swim out to see or a warm shower in a cheap motel. Maybe this time I’d leave it up to a flip of a coin to decide. I didn’t care either way.
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