Sunday 22 May 2011

Another Sample Sunday

Tell Me A Story - TREACHERY

Sorry to my regular readers, but Sample Sunday is a Twitter hashtag that allows writers to communicate a sample of their books to prospective Twitter readers. This week I've taken a sample from Chapter One of TREACHERY - available from Kindle at 99 cents
TREACHERY - A Romantic Suspense
Katrina carefully put down the huge, fragile volume, still open at the page. It was ancient, a tome: a digest of work from times long gone.
Francine grinned. “So, it might be useful then?”
“Useful? It’s incredible! I’ve been struggling to do something like this for ages. I can’t believe they cracked it so long ago.”
Francine settled into her chair. “If you read on, it tells you something about how they do it. It’s all technical stuff. It doesn’t mean a thing to me, but I’m sure you’ll understand it.”
“I really can’t thank you enough.” Using a tea towel, Katrina carefully twisted the cork from a bottle of Bollinger so that it didn’t pop, tilted Francine’s glass, filled it with froth then filled her own.
“It’s no problem.” Francine took the glass, held it to the light, watched the bubbles for a moment.
“Well it means a lot to me. Where on earth did you dig it from?”
“Aunt Moll. It was amongst the stuff when we cleared the house. She was a hoarder you know, kept anything and everything. There were boxes everywhere. To be honest, I was on the point of throwing it away with other junk, but spotted the samples and thought of you.”
“I’m glad you did.”
“I thought to myself, my friend Kat, she might like this… It’s okay then?”
“It’s more than okay. It’s brill!”
“Moll used to prattle on when I was a kid, telling me tales about her grandmother… I loved it. You know how kids love stories… daft stuff... I think she had the book from her. I’ve no idea where she had it from though, but I know it’s as old as the hills. You can tell by the look of it can’t you.”
“I know. It looks as if Moses made it.”
A sheet of fine paper covered one of the samples. Kat carefully peeled it away, and revealed the delicate fabric beneath. It looked new, as if it had been made yesterday. Childlike, she touched the fabric, letting it hang over her fingers. It clung rather than hung… almost liquid, shimmered in the light.
“Good then?”
“Good?” Kat said, “It isn’t good, it’s fantastic! I think something like this would really add wow-factor to my outfits.”
“I’m sure it would. And just think what it will do for you.”
Eduardo rubbed his nose.
A bad sign. Rafael learned a long time ago that when Eduardo rubbed his nose it meant trouble. He said, too hurriedly, “Like I say, nothing can go wrong. I mean; you have to admit I know my stuff. No-one knows the rag-trade better than me.”
“Don’t they?”
“You know they don’t. I’m the one. I’m the best… and I’m telling you, it’s like nothing I’ve seen before. Man, this stuff is the finest.”
“What about balance sheets, market plans, forward projections?”
Jeez!” Rafael pulled a face. “You’re a hard bitch. Look! These are unknown factors at the moment. It’s a winner though, and I’m sure that…”
“A winner? And just what do you mean by that?”
”I’m telling you. I feel it. Gut instinct says ‘go for it baby’. You know I know my stuff and…”
Eduardo put up a hand to stop him. “I know you’re asking for a bagful of money, with nothing to back it up. No collateral, no plan, nothing. If the job screws up, if you screw up, what is there? Naff all.”
“Why are you talking like this?”
“It won’t be the first time you’ve messed-up.”
Rafael glared, hardly believing Eduardo was taking this attitude. He said slowly, “Well stuff you!”
Eduardo shrugged.
Rafael breathed in deeply. It was slithering away from him. He stared around, suddenly despondent. The office looked out over the busy streets of Valencia. Down there, way below, people scurried, traffic blared, exhausts fumed. Up here, it was calm, peaceful - except for the bile rising between them. On the walls were a couple of original watercolours by some artist whose style he recognized, but crap-knows from where. The office furnishings were sparse; chrome and leather, modern. A calendar hung behind Eduardo, no markings on it. His own calendar was scribbled to high heaven. No wall-charts to be found here, not in this high-tech office, it was paperless, everything on computer, all white, chrome, and damn-all soul.
What happened if there was a power cut? Would Eduardo’s commerce die? Well stuff Eduardo! He hoped they had a power failure every day.
He said carefully, “Okay, I might have got a couple of things wrong in the past. Not this time though… Look… Come with me. See for yourself. You’ll change your mind. I know you will.”
“And what about your Papá?”
Jeez! Rafael held his breath. When was this mess-up going to end? It was a farce. He knew he must sound desperate, but what else, what other way to do it? He tried to be nonchalant. “Damn Papá!”
“Isn’t he the one you should be trying to convince? My interests lie in hotels, not clothes. Fashion just isn’t my scene.”
Rafael’s stomach churned. He didn’t know how to turn the situation around. He wanted to, he badly wanted this thing to happen, but hadn’t a clue how to go about it. He’d been on cloud nine since his discovery and assumed that everything would fall into place. The cloud was drifting away.
He’d convinced himself that Eduardo would jump at the chance. He hadn’t and Rafael didn’t know what else to do; there was no ‘Plan B’
He felt a surge of irritation as he watched Eduardo study his fingernails. It was as if this was nothing, instead of the biggest thing to happen in Rafael’s life. He said, “I wanted this to be my scene, my bit. Up until now, I’ve been at Papá’s beck and call. I want to prove to him that I can hack it on my own.”
“So it’s your way of looking for praise from Papá?”
“I want to show him I’m worth something.”
“Don’t you think it’s a little late for that?”
Rafael stared him out. He eventually said, “Damn you!”
Eduardo shook his head. “Do you honestly think you can feed me bullshit?”
“I wouldn’t…”
“Do you know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking maybe you just want to sneak behind your Papá’s back and steal the show for yourself. You want to set up in competition and…”
“I wouldn’t…”
Eduardo raised his hand to silence him. “And you want me to sponsor it.”
“But it wouldn’t be competition. Don’t you see? It would be a business venture in its own right. Papá doesn’t go for that sort of thing. He likes a quick turnover.”
“Not from what I understand. He deals in quality stuff. That’s not quick turnover.”
The problem was, Papá had flatly refused, said it wasn’t worth the effort, said if the company were in such a bad way, the stuff couldn’t be up to much. 
Rafael took a deep breath, no use telling lies. “Look…” he said. “Papá simply isn’t interested, and you know what he’s like once he’s made his mind up.”
He stuck his hands in his pockets, walked stiffly to the huge window and stared morosely. He watched Eduardo’s reflection in the window.
“That says it all then doesn’t it? If he shows no interest, why should I?”
“You’re not backing me then?”
Eduardo shook his head. “I guess not.”
“That’s that, is it?”
“I guess so.”
Rafael spun on his heels and walked to the door. He’d show him, he’d show them all. This wasn’t something he was going to let go without a fight. There was a fortune to be made and he was damned if he was going to let anyone else get their hands on it.
Rafael paused.
“You're behaving like a complete ass-hole. Put a business plan together. Do it properly, or you'll end on your butt."


Thea Atkinson said...

I'm probably supposed to comment on the story; I really want to comment on the gorgeous layout of your blog. i love the colors and how you've arranged everything.

ajbarnett said...

Thanks, Thea. Glad you like it.