The release of Burning Down has been an exciting one for me. After some delays due to life changes and coordinating schedules that are overbooked, finally seeing it on the shelf is pure bliss. I can relax now! Just kidding. This means doing more for my readers by reaching out and sharing more concept art and other fun. For instance, today you’ll get a snippet from the book, just in case you’re one of those who hasn’t gotten their copy yet.
Some of you may have grabbed a copy early, through a special promotion in 2016 that included it in a compilation. Unfortunately, that meant no cover or extras because those files are size limited. To include all the wonderful books, some things had to be cut. This publication sees the maps and glossary returned, as well as an amazing cover to dress it up.
It also means, I can now give you all those lovely pieces you’ve come to expect from me, like that gif on the left. Be sure to visit the book page to find more like this, all downloadable. Have fun!
Holly crossed the street arm in arm with her excuse of a boyfriend. Jett toyed with the idea of letting her know he’s married. He bet that information would go over very well in his favor. He pictured Zaworski’s stricken face. A laugh rumbled in his throat.
The driver waited until the little red sports car took off down a side street. By the look on Zaworski’s face, they would argue before they reached the station. That was when he’d sweep in. From his seat in the back of the limo it was hard to see how their ride played out. The small red car swerved in and out of traffic, speeding up and getting caught by traffic again and again. The city was congested with tourists and it got thicker the closer they got to the train. Frustration would assure the perfect moment. He smiled to himself, eager to play hero.
Zaworski attempted to park his car in a bus loading zone. He swore at a driver telling him to move and helped Holly out of the car. Her cheeks were crimson with embarrassment. Zaworski dragged her roughly toward the terminal. When she tore her arm back, Jett knew that was his chance to arrive. He got out of the limo and made his way after them. Zaworski threw down her bag and shouted at her, coming very close to raising a hand. He reached them just in time. Pulling Zaworski’s arm back as Holly bent down to get her things. Jett shook his head and danced to his other side.
“Where—where’d you come from?” Zaworski asked, confused.
“I saw you getting out of the car and stopped. I was on my way to the airport. Leaving to get back to my shoot,” Jett said grinning, hands on hips.
Jett fixed his ponytail, trying to get her to look up at him.
Holly did. She eyed his leather jacket and old jeans, doubtful. He nodded to her and her pupils widened. He bit his lip, recognizing the sign. She was even more gorgeous in the daylight, and ripe as a peach ready to fall on the ground. She was starstruck, quite aware of who he was. That was good. That made his work easier.
Zaworski quickly took her hand to assert his claim.
“Is this your girlfriend?” Jett said, before they could walk away.
“Yeah. Jett Colburn, this is Holly Greer,” Zaworski said, scowling.
Jett shook her small hand, smiling down at her with his most winning grin. Her eyes sparkled in the November gloom, a gray-blue he could get lost at sea in. She stammered a hello and he laughed a little.
“Zaworski told me a lot about you.”
Jett let her hand go, having held it a beat too long. He held his eyes on hers, signaling his interest.
“I didn’t know he knew you,” Holly said.
“Yeah well, you’re gonna be late for your train,” Zaworski urged her away.
Jett noticed the station workers push the red car out of the bus spot onto the opposite sidewalk. They were sure to impound him in a few more minutes. He pointed.
“Looks like you parked in a bad spot,” Jett said.
“I told you.”
“Shut—I’ll be right back,” Zaworski caught himself, laughed self consciously, and then ran off.
Holly watched him go. They both heard him swear at the workers, like it was their fault.
“Why do you put up with that?” Jett asked.
Holly shot him a glance full of daggers. He held up his hands to stall her words.
“Sorry. I just—none of my business.”
“No. You’re right. I’m going home to think about that,” Holly said. She started up the walk with her heavy bags. “It was nice to meet you, Mr. Colburn.”
“Holly—wait a minute. Let me help you with those. I’ve got time before my flight,” Jett said chasing after her.
Jett took the majority of her baggage and they walked around the corner before Zaworski spotted him making off with her. He was too busy with his precious car to care that someone walked away with his girl.
“So what are you studying at NYU? That’s a big school for a little girl like you,” Jett asked, trying to make conversation.
“I’m not so little. I’m almost twenty.”
The girl was very young. A freshman or sophomore, perhaps? Though Zaworski never said, he gathered that almost twenty made her more likely a sophomore or junior. Still, she sort of reminded him of a child. The pitch of her voice and how she carried herself warned of inexperience.
“Oh, almost twenty. Old maid.”
“Ha, ha. Anyway—I’m studying writing. I want to be a playwright, mostly. Screenwriter maybe. Just a writer,” Holly said daydreaming.
“Excellent. Have you had anything published?”
“I’ve written lots of things—all of them terrible and, no, nothing published, yet,” Holly reduced herself.
Jett laughed. She was sweet and friendly. His lust ebbed a little, almost guilty for his thoughts. It wasn’t a matter of would he have her. Now it was a matter of when and what he meant by it. He kept his best slanted grin as she led him to the train. When she was all arranged, she offered her hand. He took it, staring deep into her eyes. He could love her. The soft skin of her fingers begged him to. Yet, his heart was mired in the pitch of sin and it was not capable. Was it?
“Take care of yourself, Miss Holly. I’d hate to think of you with a man like Zaworski. Just think about it, good and careful,” Jett said, putting on his best Midwestern charm.
“Thank you. I will.”
“Would it be all right if I called you when you got back?” Jett asked.
Holly hesitated. She smiled and her cheeks flushed. He won.
“Uh—sure. Sure. I have Jett Colburn checking up on me now. Any chance you can get me a job writing for someone?”
“Good—we’ll see, if you get your courses done. School first,” Jett smiled.
Holly stood there a moment. He sounded too fatherly. Then she jumped with a small utterance and searched her bag for some paper and a pen. She found a broken bit of pencil and tore a corner of paper loose. She scribbled her number down and handed it to him. Perhaps, fatherly worked. After all, she responded.
“Please don’t tell Brady. It’ll just make him angry,” Holly said, rethinking the number in his hand.
Jett tucked the number away before she could take it back. He watched her look past him in search of her boyfriend. The conductor called for the passengers to board. It was too late.
“I’ll talk to you soon then,” Jett said, softly gripping her elbow and giving his golden boy smile.
“Okay. I get back next Tuesday,” Holly couldn’t help but smile back.
Jett watched her board the train. She disappeared from his sight but not his mind. She was all he had hoped: a very down to earth, innocent country girl, struggling for her place. She was perfect. Jett reluctantly left the platform. His driver would be out front, as instructed, to avoid any further run-ins with Zaworski. All that was left was to make sure the information about Zaworski’s wife got out in the right places, so Holly would see. He’d call his agent from the car. Flipping a cigarette into his mouth, he left the station.
The limo sat exactly where Jett expected. He climbed in, lighting his cigarette. Dialing his agent from the car phone, he waited for the driver to get back in and take him to the airport.
“Natalie?” Jett said when the line picked up.
“Jett? Are you on your way out yet?” A husky woman’s voice answered.
“On my way. I’ll be there in a few hours. Listen. Can you do me another favor? That kid I had you look up. She’s mixed up with Brady Zaworski. Do you still have that friend at that rag show? Do you think they could switch out the style section? Put him in with his wife.”
“I could try. What’s this about?”
“The man’s scamming her. I just think she should know,” Jett replied.
“Oh, and like you’re innocent,” Natalie laughed.
“Natalie,” Jett drawled.
“Okay. Okay. I’ll see what I can do, but I don’t know why you care. The girl will lay a semi actor and get a thrill. I hear he’s hung—” Natalie came back.
“Not this one, Nat. She’s not like that,” Jett said, gritting his teeth.
“Whatever you say. Sounds like she’s going to lay a pro. If I were half my age would I get a shot?” Natalie said.
“Several. I’ll see you when I get in,” Jett replied, listening to her whisky chuckle.
Jett hung up. They passed the cross street when the limo was able to get into traffic. Zaworski accepted a ticket from a cop, while a tow pulled up his car. Jett laughed to himself. That wasn’t the worst to happen to Zaworski today.
The Trailokya Trilogy, Book Two: Burning Down by K. Williams