Tag Archives: thriller

Calamity, First Chapter

Calamity - FullRes 6 x 9CHAPTER ONE

Friday, February 14th, 2:32 p.m. MST.

Denver approach air traffic controller Art Contu watched the blip on his radar screen. Contrails Airline’s flight 1917 had passed through its assigned altitude on its descent. Contu keyed his mic, “Contrails 1917, your crossing restriction at Fulla intersection is thirteen thousand. Climb and maintain thirteen thousand.”

Neither pilot responded. Contu frowned. “Contrails 1917, Denver approach. The crossing restriction at Fulla intersection is thirteen, one three thousand feet. Climb and maintain thirteen thousand.”

“Contrails 1917 has a dual engine flameout.” The pilot’s voice was hurried. “We’re declaring an emergency and need vectors to land immediately.”

Contu leaned closer to his radar screen. He had worked numerous aircraft with emergencies, but not one that had lost power to all of its engines. “Contrails 1917, Denver international is three o’clock and ten miles. Turn right heading two six zero. Say fuel and souls onboard.”

The pilots didn’t acknowledge his instructions. The blip on his screen continued south, taking the Contrails flight away from the only airport to which they could glide, if they turned now.

Contu swallowed. Were the pilots too busy to reply? “Contrails 1917, Denver is at your three thirty and fifteen miles. Turn right heading two seven zero.”

“Two seven zero.” The Contrails pilot’s voice was high. His words strung together. “We need the fire trucks. We have no power.”

The blip on Contu’s screen turned toward the approach end of runway two-six. “Contrails 1917, the emergency equipment has been alerted. Turn right heading two eight zero. Say fuel and souls on board.” The rescue workers needed that information to know how big a possible fire might be, and how many passengers, babies, and crewmembers would need to be pulled from the aircraft.

“United 865 going to tower,” the pilot of another flight said.

Contu mentally kicked himself. He’d been so wrapped up in Contrails’ emergency, he had ignored the other aircraft he was sequencing onto final. United should have already been told to contact the control tower for landing clearance. After acknowledging United’s transmission, he gave instructions to a couple of other flights, picked up the phone, and speed dialed the controller responsible for giving takeoff and landing clearances.

“Tower.”

“Contrails 1917, an ADB-150, has a total power loss.” Contu realized his voice was as rushed as the Contrails pilot’s. “I’m vectoring them for two-six.”

“They’ll be landing in a twenty-knot crosswind. The runway hasn’t been plowed in an hour and has two inches of snow.”

“At the rate they’re losing altitude, they’ll be lucky to make it to any runway,” Contu hung up. “Contrails 1917, runway two-six is eight miles. Turn right two nine zero.” The crosswind pushed the flight south, away from the runway.

The snow that had been falling hard over the last several hours had finally let up. “Contrails 1917, Denver twelve hundred overcast, five miles in blowing snow. Wind three three zero at twenty gusting to thirty.” Contu wiped the sweat from his forehead. During a normal landing, the pilots would have balked at landing on a snow-covered runway with a crosswind that strong. Now they had no choice.

Although the pilots didn’t acknowledge Contu’s instructions, their blip turned further north.

Contu squirmed; Contrails’ altitude read-out indicated they had descended to eight thousand feet. That put them twenty-seven hundred feet above the touchdown zone of two-six. At the rate they were losing altitude, they would slam into the ground short of the runway, tearing the airplane apart.

***

Denver air traffic tower controller Bradley Messano cleared United flight 865 to land on runway three-five-left, then looked out the tower’s windows to the east. He lifted a pair of binoculars and through them spotted the landing lights. The Contrails ADB-150, an aircraft similar in size and appearance to a Boeing 737, descended at a rate that lodged his heart in his throat. It would hit short of the approach lights. The foot of new snow would cushion its arrival but would make it almost impossible for rescue workers to reach the passengers and crew.

The flight aimed at the end of the runway but continued to drop too fast.

When it appeared the aircraft would impact, Messano braced himself on the counter surrounding the tower.

Except Contrails didn’t hit.

The aircraft flew at what looked like inches above the snow drifts. Then the right wing and nose rose. The left wingtip dragged through the snow, sluing the aircraft left.

The aircraft rose, the wings leveled, then banked right to realign with the runway.

The nose swung left and right with the wings rocking.

The aircraft cleared the approach lights by a few feet and continued to climb. “They’re going to make it,” Messano yelled out to no one in particular.

When over the end of the runway, the nose dropped. It swung to the south, pointing the airplane to the side of the runway. Messano braced himself again. The aircraft would touch down on the side of the runway. The snowbanks lining its edges would pull it off into the unplowed snow.

The right wing dipped, the nose slued to the north, rolling the wing further. The wingtip contacted the runway, yanking the nose further north.

The aircraft slammed down. The nose began to turn toward the center of the runway until the right main gear caught the snowbank on the side of the runway and yanked the aircraft off the pavement.

“Shit!” Messano yelled.

The nose gear snapped off, dropping the nose. It plowed a furrow, sending a cloud of snow into the air, making it impossible to see what happened for the next few seconds.

Character Emily Stone, By Jennifer Chase

Dark Minds Jennifer Chase Dead Burn Jennifer ChaseSo far, I’ve read and loved two of Jennifer Chases’ novels: Dark Minds and Dead Burn, both with Emily Stone as the protagonist. I’ll read more of her books as my “To Read List” shortens.

Since I’m such a good reader and write reviews of books, (yeah, I’m encouraging others to do the same) I contacted Ms. Chase and pointed her to my website so she could read my reviews.

From this acquaintance, she asked if I’d like to participate in a blog hop. If you go to her website listed below, you can read the first chapter of my upcoming novel, Calamity.

But before you leave this page, click on the You Tube link below to watch a short video that introduces you to, Emily Stone. It’s worth your time.

Thanks for stopping by.

Crime has a new nemesis and her name is Emily Stone. She will continue to hunt serial killers and child abductors as long as they are out there.

This is her life. Tag along with vigilante detective Emily Stone in a first time ever “live action” novel short film.  Be sure to watch it full screen, turn up the volume, and enjoy.

 http://youtu.be/OCbpk4jwtZY

 ***

Check out the Award-winning EMILY STONE THRILLER SERIES available at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords, and most online and book retailers.

***

You can find Jennifer Chase and all of her books at:

 AuthorJenniferChase.com/

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Cover Reveal, Calamity

Calamity - FullRes 6 x 9I’m pleased to reveal the cover of my next airline thriller, Calamity. The amazing David C. Cassidy took my vague suggestions and worked them into this eyebrow-raising, smile-inducing cover.

 I’ve sent the manuscript off to be edited by Susan H. Gottfried, the editor of my previous novels. I look forward to seeing the magic she works. I’ll post the first chapter of the novel after I get the manuscript back from her.

 

Link

I enjoyed reading this novel. Ms. Woods wrote a compelling story that engaged me from the beginning and didn’t let up. The characters were interesting and fleshed out throughout the book so that I came to love and cheer them on, or hate them.

The Devil of Light Gae-Lynn WoodsThe plot, set in a small Texas town with some strange murders taking place, was intriguing. Throughout the book I hoped the protagonist, Cass Elliott, and her fellow police officers would discover who was doing the evil deeds they investigated. Ms. Woods used enough detail in setting scenes that I could easily visualize them without long paragraphs of scene building.

The other thing I found satisfying was very little backstory. There is just enough for the reader to know there is more to the main characters that drives them, or has given them their point of view, without pages of backstory. You learn most of the characters past through conversation with other characters which makes for a more interesting read.

If I had something bad to say about the story, it is the abrupt ending. It comes to a satisfying conclusion, leaving the following novel, Avengers of Blood, to pick up where The Devil of Light left off. But it left many questions that I would’ve liked to have seen answered. This was probably Ms. Wood’s intention as I feel how Cass Elliott answers those questions will be quite involved and will make this reviewer read the sequel soon.

I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a good mystery revolving around cult-like activity.

 

The Brutus Conspirace, Novel Review

ImageReaders who love mysteries involving powerful groups that influence the courts and governments will love this story. Add some solid writing surrounding legal antics and aviation with authentic details and you have a pager turner of a novel.

 

Mr. Lane followed the ole adage to write what you know. Being a lawyer and a pilot allowed him to write an engaging story I read in a couple of days. The stories pace is rapid.

 

The only reason I didn’t give the novel a five star rating is for a couple of reasons. Although the characters are believable, I wasn’t as emotionally attached to them as I would’ve liked. That is an aspect of writing that is difficult to do well, but I don’t doubt Mr. Lane will learn this craft in his future stories. There was also some repetition in the stories details I feel were unnecessary.

 

Overall I enjoyed the story and look forward to reading more of Mr. Lane’s books.

 

 

Fantastical Reading Event

Starting today, February 1st until February 8th, these writers are being presented on M. E. Lorde’s Fantastical Reading Event.

ImageThe author being sponsored today is Elise Stokes, author of three young adult superhero series, Cassidy Jones. I’ve read all three of her novels, Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, and Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant, and can’t wait for the fourth one to be released this year, Cassidy Jones and the Luminous. Although listed as young adult, any age reader would enjoy the antics Cassidy and her genius best friend Emery get into. Reading these books will deepen your smile and worry lines. There are some very tender scenes that’ll make you want to give Cassidy a hug. I hope you enjoy her books as much as I do.

Below is her bio, an excerpt from book one, and some reviews.>

Cassidy Jones Series

Elise Stokes cassidy jonesCassidy Jones and The Secret Formula

Elise Stokes lives with her husband and four children. She was an elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time mom. With a daughter in middle school and two in high school, Elise’s understanding of the challenges facing girls in that age range inspired her to create a series that will motivate girls to value individualism, courage, integrity, and intelligence. The stories in Cassidy Jones Adventures are fun and relatable, and a bit edgy without taking the reader uncomfortably out of bounds. Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, and Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant are the first three books in the series. Book Four, Cassidy Jones and the Luminous, will be released in 2014.

DescriptionCassidy Jones and The Secret Formula
One Girl. One Accident. One Incredible Superhero.  
     

Cassidy Jones is your typical fourteen-year-old– that is, until a seemingly harmless accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist turns her world upside down. 
Discovering incredible strength, speed, and enhanced physical senses that defy logic, Cassidy embarks on an action-packed adventure that has her fighting for answers…and for her very life.

Excerpt-

Chapter Nine: A New Friend

Summary: Cassidy takes Emery into her confidence.

We sat on opposite benches, our knees a foot apart. Emery watched me curiously while I considered how to start. I resorted to small talk. 

“Uh, Emery, so where do you live?”

“We rent a condo near Wallingford,” he answered patiently, making no attempt to elaborate. 

“Oh.” I touched my forehead. “Were you born in Seattle?”

“No, Washington, D.C.” Placing his forearms on his knees, he leaned forward. “How did you hurt your forehead?”

I dropped my hand. “Funny. That’s what I want to talk to you about.”

Intently looking at my face, he waited for me to continue.

I touched my nose. “Before yesterday, I had freckles. They were light, but they were there.”

Narrowing his eyes on my nose, he attempted to decipher.

Taking a deep breath, I continued, “Sorry, that didn’t make any sense. Let me put it this way—I had freckles when I went to your mom’s lab with my dad.”

His expression became so intense, frightening almost, that I hesitated. My feelings about him were conflicted. He made me uneasy. Everything about him was so foreign.

Emery’s voice took on a soothing tone. “I understand that you injured your head in my mom’s lab. Please, tell me how. You can trust me. I want to help you.”

I searched his eyes. It was difficult to penetrate through the blackness, adding to my unease. “I don’t think you can.”

Impulsively, or maybe intentionally, he grabbed my hand, holding it between his. “Please, tell me,” he repeated.

I took another deep, tortured breath. “Your mom had something cooking in beakers on that Bunsen burner near the coffeemaker. While Dad interviewed her, I sat on a stool next to them. The stool collapsed and I fell, knocking everything over onto the table. When the liquids ran together, they formed this white cloud, and I breathed it in. It’s difficult to explain exactly what happened. My whole body felt like it was on fire, melting from the inside, and then everything went black. I guess I passed out or something. Afterward, I was…changed.”

“What do you mean by ‘changed’?” he asked, slowly and calmly, squeezing my hand.

Pulling my hand from his grip, I lifted it to my fore-head. “When I passed out, I hit my head on the edge of the counter. My forehead split, or at least, that’s what Dad and Ben said, and with all the blood, I don’t think they were wrong.” My fingers trembled against the gauze. “The doctor at the ER said it was only a surface wound. He thought Dad and Ben had been fooled by the blood, thinking it was worse than it really was. Heput a bandage over it and this gauze.”

Emery’s gaze fixed on my unsteady fingers, watching as I pinched the surgical tape and hesitantly pulled the gauze away, exposing my forehead. His eyes filled with disbelief.

“How did this happen, Emery?”

Shaking his head, his gaze dropped to his hands in his lap.

Quiet minutes ticked by. With each passing one, I sank deeper into despair. When I couldn’t take the silence anymore, I pleaded, “Please, Emery, say something.”

“Be patient. I’m thinking.”

“Well, think out loud.”

Smiling slightly cock-eyed, he said, “Trust me, you don’t want me to do that.”

Does he think this is a joke? Furious, I slapped the gauze on my forehead. “Trust you? Apparently that was a mistake.” Abruptly, I stood up, causing the swing to sway.

Emery commanded calmly.

Glaring, I sat. I had nowhere else to go.

“Trusting me is the right thing to do. Aside from my mom, I’m the only other person who understands anything of depth about Formula 10X.”

“Formula 10X?” I said with hope. “That’s what was in the beakers?” 

“Yes, or at least, a variation of it. I don’t know for certain, because she kept her latest experimentation with the formula undisclosed.”

“Why would she keep it a secret from you?” I asked, truly interested. 

He smiled to himself. “That’s the way she is. I assume she wanted to prove out her new theories before bringing me back in.”

Strange, I thought. He says this like he didn’t ask her about it. Why wouldn’t he ask? “Well, she did it. It works. I’m living proof she succeeded.”

“No, I don’t think she did,” he disagreed, sounding regretful. “How the formula has affected you would not have been her intention.” Pausing, he looked thoughtful. “However, it’s premature for me to come to that conclusion until I know precisely how you’ve been affected, or changed, as you put it. Tell me everything.”

“Everything” poured out at once. I ended my twenty-seven-hour saga with this: “At the police station, I thought you’d figured it all out. The way you looked at me all intense, it seemed like you guessed everything that was going on.”

Shaking his head, Emery smiled. “Though I admit I did find your behavior odd, I wouldn’t have guessed this in a million years.”

Despite the situation, I laughed. He found my behavior odd? I also thought the “million years” was an exaggeration. I had a feeling Emery wasn’t in the dark about anything for long. “Okay, now you know everything. What do you think?” Silence was his only response as he studied my face. His scrutiny reminded me of his mother’s—clinical, detached—like he observed me under a microscope. This was disturbing, to say the least. 

My brow furrowed. “Stop staring at me like that. I know I’m a freak.”

“Cassidy, you are not a freak,” he contradicted, his expression softening. “Don’t ever say or think that. I certainly don’t view you that way. I’m only astounded by how you’ve been affected. From a scientific perspective, it’s impossible.”

“It can’t be.” My eyes welled. “Look at me.”

Alert to the coming despair, Emery placed a reassuring hand on my shoulder. “But that doesn’t mean we won’t find a solution. I promise you, we will.”

Emery spoke with such earnest confidence that I couldn’t help but believe him. Nodding agreement, I dabbed my wet eyes with my sleeve.

It a human recipient by choosing genes that represent different strengths of the nonhuman and infusing those genes into the weakened cells and tissues of the human. For example, a human who is crippled would perhaps be infused with puma genes, since they are known for their agility and strength. The goal is not to make the human like the puma, but to restore the human’s function and health within a normal range.”

“Well, why am I like a puma, then?”

“I don’t know exactly. Obviously, by your intense physical reaction when initially exposed, something in the formula overloaded your nervous system. Maybe 10X affected you so extremely because you’re a young, healthy girl who received the formula in its entirety. What I mean is, you would have never been a 10X candidate, since you suffer none of the disabilities and ailments an appropriate candidate would. Also, the recipient would have been administered the formula in small doses, tailored to their needs. Your exposure was radical, and now you’re experiencing the full potent affects of 10X. Do you understand?”

I nodded. “I think so. It’s like a glass half filled with water, slowly having more added until it reaches the rim. I was already a full glass, and 10X was an entire pitcher poured into me at once.” Dread brewed inside me as I continued. “And now that the water has spilled, there’s no way to tell where it will go or what will happen to it.”

“That’s one way to look at it,” Emery said, dismally looking at the woods. For several seconds he didn’t speak, lost in thought.

During those quiet seconds, I stared at the ground, not thinking, only waiting. When I felt his eyes on my face, I looked up. His expression was determined.

“None of this makes sense, but obviously, it isn’t impossible. As you pointed out, you’re living proof. Since it isn’t impossible, there is an answer and solution. Tell me again, in detail, what you experienced when the liquids converged.”

Quickly, I explained again. Finishing the account, I held my breath expectantly.

Smiling slightly, he shrugged. “I have nothing.”

My breath rushed out in an offended gust. “What? Do you think this is a game or something?”

“No,” he quickly clarified. “I’m sorry, Cassidy, that came across as glib. I truly have nothing, and it frustrates me. I understand the compounds turned to a gas, but I have no idea why. And I have no idea what they formed or why your nervous system reacted so violently when you inhaled the gas. There has to be an unknown, a catalyst that pushed everything over the edge. What that catalyst is, again, I haven’t a clue…Cassidy, are you listening to me?”

Actually, I wasn’t. A black cat near the path leading to the woods had caught my eye. Low to the ground, it focused intensely on something in the tall grass. I recognized what it was doing because I had done it myself. The cat was hunting, stalking its prey. After commando-crawling toward its victim, it sank low in the grass, anticipating the kill. Opportunity arrived. Black fur gracefully glided through the air. The cat easily landed on the unfortunate victim: a brown field mouse.

I watched the cat excitedly toss the mouse in the air, remorselessly tormenting its victim. Dread slid through my stomach. “Emery, you mentioned pumas. Do you think there was cat DNA in that stuff I sucked in?”

Turning back to him, I saw that he had been watching the cat, too. He replied, “She experimented with feline DNA.”

I took this as a yes. Oh, geez.

“There is another thing I’ve noticed different about me,” I began hesitantly. Emery looked back at me, and I could feel my cheeks warm under his gaze. I really didn’t want to bring this up, but thought I should after what he witnessed at the sports field. “I don’t usually have meltdowns. I’m not one of those emotional girls… at least, I wasn’t…I have no idea why I started bawling like that.”

His response wasn’t hesitant at all. “The changes you’ve experienced are not only physical, but chemical, so it stands to reason you will be more prone to mood swings and extreme reactions. And it will be more difficult—how should I say it?—to shove feelings down.”

I stared at him in surprise. He had pegged me. I was the queen of shoving down unwanted feelings. “If you’re right, Emery, poor me—poor everyone.”

To this, he only smiled, and then said, “It’s about time you showed me what you can do.” Glancing across the sprawling lawn, his eyes settled on a couple lying together on the grass. They were far enough away that their facial features were indistinguishable. “Tell me about them.”

Rising to the challenge, I adjusted the couple until they appeared a few feet away. On their stomachs, they turned their heads in so they were nose to nose.

“Okay, the guy has shoulder-length, brown—”

Emery interrupted, squinting his eyes. “You’ll have to do better than that. Even I can see his hair.”

“Well, can you see he has a silver hoop through the right side of his bushy, black unibrow? And there’s a mole smack in the middle of his left cheek.” I grimaced. “Geez, he should have that removed. Okay, his girlfriend has multiple piercings. She looks like a pincushion. There are three small hoops through her left eyebrow. One. Two. Three. No, four diamond studs on the left side of her nose. Gross. A gold hoop hanging between her nostrils—”

With a look of distaste, Emery cut in. “You’ve convinced me with vision. All right, they appear to be talking. Can you hear what they’re saying?”

“No prob.” I smiled confidently, weeding through surrounding noise. After a moment, I tuned into the man’s husky whispers. “Okay, got them. He’s saying—” My jaw dropped. Immediately, I severed the connection, but not before turning bright red.

Emery laughed hysterically.

Still blushing, I watched him sternly. Every time he looked at me, he laughed harder. Child prodigy or not, ultimately, boys will be boys.

Taking a deep breath, he suddenly composed himself. “Sorry, Cassidy, but your expression was hysterical. You’ve convinced me that you heard them.” He grinned.

In response, I scowled.

“Again, I apologize,” he repeated with an amused grin. “All right, let’s move on to another test.” Scanning the park, his gaze settled behind me. “Don’t turn around. Behind you, that toddler is now eating something.”

Closing my eyes, I sniffed the air. There were so many competing scents. “Is it sweet?” I asked.

“Yes, it is.”

Nodding, I took in a deep breath. Distinguishing scents, I pinpointed a sweet, edible one close by. Opening my eyes, I grinned. “My, you’re tricky, Emery. First of all, that isn’t called eating. That’s called drinking, and he’s drinking apple juice.”

Emery gave me an impressed look. “I can’t see the juice box from here, so I’ll take your word for it.” Grabbing my hands, he stood up, pulling me to my feet. “Now, let’s test strength.”

 “Are you asking me to toss you off here or break your fingers?” I teased, slightly squeezing them.

Grinning, he pulled his hands away. “Definitely not the fingers, and I think tossing me from this swing is too public, though I admit it would be a good show.” He nodded to the woods. “We’ll find something more discreet in there.”

While following the path through the woods, Emery’s eyes roamed for that something discreet. About a hundred feet in, he suggested, “Let’s get off this main path. Over there.” He pointed to a thinly trodden trail cutting through thick growth.

 Following Emery, we pushed our way through the growth. Obviously, no one had come down this overgrown trail in a while. I got the brunt of the overgrowth as the branches Emery pushed forward sprung back at me. After getting slapped in the face with one, I was prepared to demand that I lead, when Emery said, “Yes, this will work.”

Stepping into a clearing, he pointed to a fallen tree twenty feet ahead.

Smiling, I decided to show him leaping before strength. “Stand back,” I warned, pushing him aside. Then, running forward, I leaped for the target. Leading with my right foot, my body glided easily through the air. The exhilaration I had felt while speeding around the school track returned, and that strange, pent-up feeling released. For whatever reason, this very unnatural thing felt as natural as walking to me, and incredibly freeing, as if I had been meant for this.

My right foot touched the top of the massive trunk,and my left pulled in next to it. The landing had been perfect, steady and strong, without even a hint of balance loss. Pivoting on the trunk to face Emery, I smiled smugly.

Walking toward me, he exclaimed, “That was incredible. You move like a cat.”

His praise wiped the smile off my face. “Cat,” I grumbled to myself. “What’s up with the cat theme?” With a sigh, I hopped down next to him. “I suppose you want me to move this.” I patted the thick tree trunk.

Emery examined the area around the tree. “It appears safe. I don’t see any danger if you disturb it. First, make sure there isn’t anyone nearby.”

My ears quickly searched. “All clear,” I announced, moving up to the trunk.

Emery stepped back, his face shining with anticipation.

Resting my palms against the trunk, I prepared to move the giant tree. Pulling in a breath, I pushed. The tree was heavy, but with exertion, the giant’s resistance gave way. I rolled the trunk up out of the indented ground. From underneath, something scurried up the trunk near my left hand. Squealing, I jumped back. The thick trunk rolled back into its resting place.

 Emery grinned. “It was only a lizard.”

 “I hate lizards.” I shuddered. “The nasty thing almost ran over my hand.”

“Ironic. You can push fifteen hundred pounds, and you’re scared of a little lizard.”

I gasped. “One thousand five hundred pounds?”

Surveying the tree, he nodded thoughtfully. “At least.”

The information stunned me. “Okay, then. What do you want me to do next?”

For the next couple of hours, Emery sought out all kinds of challenges, from moving boulders and leaping into trees, to distinguishing sounds and scents. He even had me describe in detail what tree bark looked like microscopically.

Something else took place during this time. My unease around Emery disappeared. In fact, it amazed me just how comfortable I felt around him. Though he was my age, he had none of the uncertainties we teens are usually plagued with. For the most part, I walked on eggshells around girls my age. Saying or doing the wrong thing could trigger an instant “girl war.” Even though my friends weren’t petty, instinctively, I was careful. The boys weren’t as sensitive but were every bit as gossipy. So in general, I watched my back, never letting my guard down. It was exhausting. With Emery, I believed I could be myself, say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, and he wouldn’t hold it against me. He really was a breath of fresh air.

After testing senses, strength, and agility, Emery announced, “It’s time for speed. Let’s see how fast you can go through these woods.”

Back at the main path, we parted ways. The plan was for Emery to go to one entrance and me to the other. After listening to be sure the coast was clear, I would tune in to him where he would be looping a countdown out loud. From my end of the path, I tuned in to the woods. All I heard was Emery’s looping countdown. Positioning myself to run, I listened.

“. . . Three, two, one—”

I took off at a mind-boggling speed. Within seconds, I stood before Emery. Wide-eyed, he stared at me like he’d seen a ghost.

“Unbelievable,” he uttered above a whisper.

 His reaction made me edgy. “How fast do you think I ran?” I asked, attempting to sound casual.

 “My guess would be forty miles per hour. Imagine how fast you would be on a solid, straight surface. I’ve never witnessed anything like this.” His mouth pulled down in the corners.

With an anxious feeling in my gut, I studied him. His face held no expression, as if he wore a mask to hide real emotions. The more I looked at him, the more I believed the emotion he hid was fear. If he’s terrified of me, everyone will be, I anguished.

 “What do you want me to do now?”  I said sheepishly.

 “Nothing,” he answered, distracted. “Let’s head out.” He motioned for me to walk ahead.

 With Emery following silently behind, I walked in a daze. I assumed he had me walk ahead to keep an eye on me.I am the most dangerous thing out here ,I bitterly told myself. I’d make me walk ahead, too, and—

Something scratchy brushed my cheek, interrupting the thought. Reflex kicked in, and before a second passed, I was crouched on a tree branch, looking down at Emery. Smirking, he waved a dry tree branch in his hand.

 “What’s the big deal?” I snapped, hopping down.

Tossing the branch, he stated, untroubled, “I assumed you would react that way when startled. We’ll have to work on those involuntary reflexes.” With a grin, he added, “We can’t have you jumping up in trees in public.”

Glaring hard, I grumbled, “Nice. Real nice.” With my shoulder, I shoved past him, stomping down the path.

 “I couldn’t have taken you off-guard if I warned you beforehand,” he called after me. “For your protection, I needed to know how you would handle it.”

 I spun around. “For my protection? Don’t you mean for yours or for the innocent public’s?”

He grinned with understanding. “Oh, you think I’m afraid.” Walking toward me, he continued, “Cassidy, I’m fascinated, hardly afraid. Not of you, at least. I am concerned about you being exposed, though.” He stopped in front of me.

Glancing up at him, I asked, “So you think I should keep this a secret?”

Alarm washed over his face. Abruptly, he grabbed my upper arms. “Cassidy, you can tell no one about this. Absolutely no one.” Bending close to me, he searched my eyes. “Do you understand? No one can know. Not your parents, not anyone. Keeping this a secret is not only for your safety, it’s for your family’s safety, too.”

My eyes widened. “Why would my family be in danger?”

“Think, Cassidy. Whoever has my mom will want you. You are Formula 10X, and they would view you as a nonentity, something to be acquired. Your personal value and rights would mean absolutely nothing to them. You would become a lab rat. Imagine what they would do to you.”

I tried not to.

“If they become aware of your existence, they’ll do anything to get you. People like this have no boundaries. Everyone and everything becomes free game for them to get what they want. That includes Nate, Chazz—”

“Stop,” I interrupted, shaking my head to dislodge the terrifying images. “I get it. I won’t tell anyone.”

After quick scrutiny, Emery released my arms. Calm replaced the alarm on his face. I believed this expression was his standard mask. For a moment, I studied the mask that showed no signs of strain or worry. As far as facades go, it was a solid one, but I wasn’t fooled. I knew the turmoil that had to be going on underneath.

“Emery, I’m sorry about your mom,” I said for the first time.

Tightening his lips, he nodded acknowledgment.

“Do you know who has her?”

He stared off into the woods. “No, but I know she’s alive.”

“Please forgive me, Emery.” The words wanted to stick in my throat. It was wrong to ask, but I had to. “But how do you know?”

Looking back at me, he stated matter-of-factly, “She’s too valuable to kill. They abducted her because she has something they want. The fact that I’m here talking with you means she must be cooperating to some degree. It’s unfortunate.”

It took me a moment to decode his meaning. “You don’t want her to cooperate, even if it means she’s protecting you? What is it they want from her?”

His smile was a mix of sadness and resentment. “I’ve already told you. They want you. Formula 10X. It is incredibly lucrative, and yes, I want her not to cooperate, no matter the sacrifice. In the wrong hands, 10X is detrimental to the world. Visualize an army of you.”

“But they don’t know about me.”

“And I plan to keep them ignorant.”

Staring up at him, I let his words sink in.He plans to protect me. I’m not alone. With this realization, I threw my arms around his neck, like he was a life preserver. “Thank you,” I said in one grateful breath, tightening my arms.

Grabbing my biceps, he attempted to loosen the hold. “A little tight,” he choked.

“Oh.” Blushing, I released him.

Rubbing his neck, he smiled with ease. “You have quite a grip.” Noting that my cheek shade deepened, he continued, “Please, don’t feel embarrassed. I understand how scared you are. I promise you, though, everything will be all right. You will be all right.”

“Thank you,” I whispered, believing every word.

As he continued to smile, a curious glint appeared in his black eyes. “My mom will shed light on the situation when we get her back,” he said in a casual tone.

Knitting my brow, I rewound his previous statements to figure out what I had missed.

Reading my expression, his smile broadened. “Oh, I didn’t I tell you, did I? You and I are going to find her.”

Reviews-
“Brimful of danger, secrets, a bit of romance and fun, this debut author’s entertaining plot and well-drawn characters not only is all it promises to be, but will leave readers looking for more..” — Gail Welborn, Examiner
“Elise Stokes ranks up there with other YA masterminds!” — Kitty Bullard, Great Minds Think Aloud
“Can I vote now for a movie on this series? With the adventure, the mystery and Cassidy’s super powers, Elise Stokes has delivered everything that a young reader could hope for.” –Stephanie Laymon, Five Alarm Book Reviews

Amazon geo links-

Cassidy Jones and The Secret Formula – http://ow.ly/sDyhv

Cassidy Jones Vulcan’s Gift – http://ow.ly/sDy9K

Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant – http://ow.ly/sDyqI

Contact the Author: Facebook: http://on.fb.me/LGpLhM Facebook: http://on.fb.me/LyQ71E Twitter @CassidyJonesAdv Website: http://cassidyjonesadventures.com/

 

The Cover-Up, First Chapter

Monday, June 14 2:07 p.m.

Chapter One

Monday, June 14 2:07 p.m.

cropped-cover-small-the-coverup.jpg

Chunks of rubber as large as garbage can lids flew from the tire of the main landing gear of the Omega Airline 737.

LaGuardia Airport air traffic controller Sanchez Lopez’s heart pounded as he watched the aircraft continue to accelerate for another thousand feet. Then, slots in the sides of the two jet engines opened and the nose of the airplane dipped, indicating the crew rejected the takeoff.

Sanchez looked to his right. United Airlines Flight 549 crossed the end of runway three-one and began its flare to slow its descent rate for landing. Runway four, which the Omega aircraft barreled down, intersected runway three-one. There was the potential for a collision, or the runway being contaminated from the debris from Omega’s tire. He keyed his microphone. “United 549, go around. Aircraft on the runway.”

Omega continued through the intersection and raced toward the end of the pavement. It appeared to be going too fast to stop on the remaining runway. The last two thousand feet was built out over Flushing Bay, with a twenty-foot drop to the water.

Sanchez curled his toes as if pressing on the brakes of the aircraft, willing it to stop. Eventually, his training kicked in. He raised his voice to get the attention of the other six controllers. “Omega 918 is going off the end of the runway.”

The other controllers pivoted their heads to the end of runway four.

Sanchez confirmed visually that United 549 was in a climb, retracting its landing gear, before he spoke into his boom microphone. “United 549, fly heading three four zero. Climb and maintain five thousand feet.”

He glanced back in time to see Omega slide off the end of runway four.

“Shit!” Sanchez braced himself against the counter as if he were in the airplane.

The airplane was airborne for two hundred feet, then smashed through the first set of approach-light stanchions. Parts of the engine cowling ripped away as if from an explosion. The plane continued forward, its nose canted down, for another two hundred feet before it collided with the second stanchion. The tail of the aircraft rose before slamming down, sending out a shower of water.

The 737’s left wing sat on the stanchion. The right one lay in the water, canting the aircraft thirty degrees. Its nose looked as if a wrecking ball had smacked it.

Coerced, Chapter One

CHAPTER ONE

COERCED - 1 - FULL RES

Air traffic controller Jacob Crispen looked to the west, out of the windows of New Orleans International Airport’s control tower and observed the black line of clouds two miles away. They continued their march eastward toward the airport. Every few seconds, lightning shot out.

An Omega Airlines flight was three miles from the airport and approaching from the east. If it didn’t land in the next few minutes, the storm would close the airport and they would have to either hold until the storm passed, or fly to their alternate airport.

Omega was several thousand feet higher than other flights would normally be on their straight in final to runway two-eight. It seemed impossible they would lose their excess altitude and make a normal landing.

Crispen considered giving Omega the option of flying a three-sixty-degree turn to give them additional time to lose altitude, but that would have them landing after the storm hit. “Omega 1194, winds two one zero at fifteen, gusting to twenty-five. You’re still cleared to land.” His foot tapped a steady beat.

“Omega 1194,” one of the two pilots radioed back.

The 737’s wings rocked. They were two miles from landing, but their altitude readout on Crispen’s radar showed them at two thousand feet. Most aircraft would be at eight hundred feet. He couldn’t believe they were continuing the approach.

“Omega 1194, wind one eight zero at twenty gusting to thirty.” Crosswind gusts in excess of twenty-five knots made landing difficult.

The plane continued toward the airport.

The wind howled as it rounded the control tower windows. Crispen considered evacuating the tower and seeking the safety of the offices at ground level in case the wind toppled the tower, or blew out its windows. After Omega landed, or aborted their approach, he’d scramble down the stairs.

Omega was a mile from the airport and a thousand feet above it. They should be less than five hundred feet above the ground. The plane’s wings continued to rock. The wall of rain from the thunderstorm was half a mile away. “Omega 1194, wind one seven zero at two two. We just had a gust of forty.” Crispen stood and stepped from foot to foot.

The flight crossed the end of the runway two hundred feet in the air. Most aircraft would’ve been at fifty feet. It continued descending, the wings rolling left and right.

“Go around. Go around,” Crispen said without keying the microphone. He could only order the flight to do so if the runway wasn’t clear of traffic.

Over halfway down the runway and twenty feet off the ground, Omega’s nose aligned with the runway. The aircraft descended fast, hitting the runway with a massive jolt. It bounced ten feet into the air and hovered while continuing on its path, before dropping to the concrete once more.

Do they have enough runway to stop?

The spoilers on top of the wings lifted, and the slots in the side of the engine opened, signaling the pilots had selected reverse thrust.

The aircraft swerved back and forth.

Crispen’s mouth gaped when Omega went off the right side of the runway. Pieces of smashed runway edge lights flew into the air.

The thunderstorm swallowed Omega in the heavy rain. Visibility dropped, making it difficult for Crispen to observe Omega’s roll out.

Without taking his gaze off the ghost-like shape of the plane continuing down the side of the runway, he lifted the phone with a trembling hand and speed dialed a number.

“Fire and Rescue,” a male voice said.

“This is the tower.” Crispen’s voice was louder than necessary. “Omega Airlines 737 went off the side of the runway and may need assistance.”

“Location, damage, and souls onboard?”

“They just came to a stop at the west end of runway two-eight. Aircraft appears intact. Souls onboard unknown.”

“We’re rolling.”

He hung up. “Omega 1194, tower. Rescue equipment is on their way. Do you require assistance?”

No one answered.