I'm proud to report that I've finally managed to complete draft one of my first novel length project, The Cortez Case!
The editing process has begun, and will take much time to perfect I'm sure. I am excited to have seen the story through, and hope this may one day be in print or E-book for all to enjoy. I cannot share an achievement like this and leave you, the faithful readers, hanging... so, without further ado, here's a previously unreleased clip of The Cortez Case.
Spade shaped leaves hindered Susan’s vision of the garden shed. To the left, up the slope of backyard lay the Cortez mansion. The right rolled downhill into the night, the dock and private yacht obstructions against the moonlight on the sea. She dug her way onto the property under a boundary of solid stone wall.
She had to return. All her federal belongings were tucked away in the safety of the garden shed.
The Cortez father and daughter would never venture into a shed dedicated to their staff; and Gerard the gardener would not be so curious as to check the deepest reaches of the loft. Everything she needed to defend herself lay just twenty feet into the backyard, and inside.
She listened for the yapping of the poodle’s response to her preplanned deterrence. Susan arranged pizza delivery. She crept to the outer wall of the shed and around the corner facing the ocean. She shimmied to the shed door.
The door was ajar. A dim light shined from within.
She knew the hinges to have a terrible creak. She stepped back from the building and sidestepped to peek through the crack between the doors.
Her knapsack contents were sprawled across a folding table beside a lantern. The wet suit, passport, spare cell phone… all right there, in the open.
A closely-shaven man examined her pistol, peered around in caution, and shoved it into the backside of his belt.
Susan knew she could take him… if she could get to him. As soon as she touched the doors, her presence would be known. Would Gerard shoot her? Had Gerard ever shot anything? Was his allegiance to Cortez that strong? Did he even know what was going on? Surely Sierra had been found by now. Would the information of the traitor-maid be privy to Gerard’s ears?
Perhaps she could waltz in as if she hadn’t made herself a public enemy. Gerard would think no different. The maid, showing up near eleven PM in the garden shed, in Sierra’s clothes. Damn that Sierra. Of all Susan’s belongings in Gerard’s possession, she most coveted the spare cell phone, since the little diva Latina managed to drop the miniscule phone from her garter belt into a fish tank before Susan bound and gagged her. Bitch.
She released a measured exhale to remain silent. Gerard paused to listen before continuing examinations.
No. She could not risk it. She did not trust him. She did not know anything about him. She wasn’t the only one on high alert. No doubt Gerard might panic if discovered by a Cortez agent right now. His nerves might just get the best of him, and he’d shoot at whatever entered.
The spare phone beeped quickly.
An incoming call. Oh no, Ed!
Gerard eyed the cell for several seconds. He finally answered.
Now was her chance.
“Non, je parle francais. Parlez-vous francais si’vous-plait?”
Susan threw the door open. An agonizing creak ran through the shed. Before she could step inside, Gerard swung around, gun drawn remarkably fast.
She threw herself sideways and ran. The gardener fumbled into the backyard.
Gerard shouted, “Monique, arête!”
She yelled over her shoulder, “ACTIVATE PHONE SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE!”
“Eh?” Gerard paused as if to interpret her words, and gasped. “SELF ZEESTRUCT?” He tossed the phone onto the grass and dove.
Gerard covered his head.
He finally opened his eyes. The phone sat innocent on the soft grass, still illuminated with a call in progress. Susan had disappeared into the brush.
He retrieved the phone, stared awkwardly, and brought it to his ear.
The phone went dark.