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If you enjoy the stories of Mickey Spillane or Sue Grafton, you will find The Marine Letsco Trilogy an intriguing read.
In Book Two, Marine Letsco has begun to have flashbacks. Moreover, she thinks she saw the ghost of Ana-Geliza, her cabin steward that she thought she killed at the end of the cruise in The Fire Within.
To complicate her life, she must start a new job as a firefighter. What else could happen? Who else will suddenly appear in her life? When will Marine get her memory back? Where is Drake? Will she stay in New Brook or leave for Europe? The answers to these questions and more take you on a journey through fire, murder, and revenge as Marine searches for a purpose in her life.
Excerpt from The Fire of Revenge
Chapter One – Have You Seen Her?
The New Brook Christmas parade began to make its way down the long, dark main street at six o’clock in the evening. The street was lined with children and parents. A brisk, cold winter air seemed to find crevices to seep through bringing a chill to the bones. The spectators were ready to greet Santa Claus and cheer for their favorite floats. They stomped their feet, patted glove-covered hands, and moved around to stay warm. Once the parade reached the crowd, the event sprang to life. Santa perched high on the New Brook Fire Department’s ladder truck, waved while Christmas music was piped through the truck’s PA system into the streets.
Sixteen well-groomed horses of various breeds followed at a proper distance. All were adorned with Christmas decorations, silver-trimmed bridles, and the riders were dressed in different costumes from elves to western wear. The regal horses’ costumes were finished with brightly colored ribbons and lights woven in their manes and tails. The lights appeared to flash to the beat of the music.
Marine Letsco marveled at how well-mannered the horses were until the parade started. Then, her work began. Serving as the tail end of the parade, Rotary members, who were active citizens of the community—judges, lawyers, bank presidents, hospital executives, and local business owners—made up the Rotary parade entry lovingly called the Pooper-Scoopers. Annually, the Rotary offered this service to the community. Considered a dirty job by some, others thought it was a lighthearted end to a celebration that signaled the beginning of the Christmas season. It was their job to walk behind the horses along the parade route and scoop up the manure as it was dropped. It was then deposited into a trailer that was being pulled behind a member’s John Deere Gator utility vehicle.
“I can’t believe you talked me into doing this, Chet,” Marine said as she shoveled a horse’s lovingly deposited present. “What will Aunt Betsy do with this when we get it home?”
“You are a good sport for helping. And, yes, we will use it. We will place it in a special composting pile where we will allow it to age. Next spring, this will make an excellent supplement for the garden. Aunt Betsy has used these gifts from the horses for several years now. That is why our garden is so productive. At least, that is what she will tell you.”
Marine shook her head and wondered just how much more productive a garden could be. When she first met Aunt Betsy, after arriving in New Brook eight months earlier, she marveled at all of the work that went into planning, preparing, and tending a vegetable garden. Aunt Betsy knew how to turn soil into black gold, as she called it.
The parade continued down the street. Marine looked into the faces of the people standing along the side of the street waving to Santa and even cheering the Pooper-Scoopers on as they walked along doing their chore.
“Marine, are you okay?” Chet said as he came up beside her.
Dr. Chet Henegar was Marine’s doctor after she suffered a fall while on a cruise in the Caribbean. Marine had lost her memory because of that fall. Chet began to treat her with a memory recall method. When the cruise ended, Chet offered Marine a place to stay with Elizabeth James Lanter, his Aunt Betsy so that he could continue her treatment. Chet lived in his own apartment in the Southwest Virginia town of New Brook nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains—a suburb of Evansham, a growing metropolitan area. His office, located in a cottage at the back of Aunt Betsy’s Victorian home, was where Marine and Chet met. As a result, he and Aunt Betsy had become close to Marine.
“Yes. Chet. I’m sorry. I’m fine. I could have sworn I just saw—no, it couldn’t be.”
“No. Not Drake. He said he wouldn’t be able to attend the parade tonight.”
Drake Bianchi had also befriended Marine while on the cruise. He would drop in from one of his trips for a visit every so often since she’d moved to New Brook in April.
“I’m not sure, but I thought it was Ana-Geliza.”
“Ana-Geliza. I have not heard her name in a while. She was your cabin steward on the cruise, right?”
“Yes. And, well, I thought she was—”
“Oh, never mind. We had better catch up with the group. We are definitely the tail end of the parade now. People behind us are starting to leave and get in their cars.”
During the rest of the parade, Marine kept looking into the crowd hoping that she would catch a glimpse of Ana-Geliza again. It had to be her. But how could it be, she wondered. Drake, a photographer for the cruise, had helped her the last night on the ship when she was almost killed by Ana-Geliza. He had told her Ana-Geliza would not hurt her again.
Marine thought back to that last night she was on the ship. It had been three days spent in the ship’s infirmary after falling and losing my memory. Then unexpectedly, Ana-Geliza, who was my cabin steward, forced her way into my cabin that last night and attacked me. I thought I killed her. I knew I’d never forget her face as she looked at me as she fell over the balcony railing of my cabin to the deck below. How could it be her? Why was she after me?
The parade ended. It was time for Marine and Chet’s job to switch from scooping poop to securing the shovels on top of the pile of horse manure they had collected, and then to get the manure back to Aunt Betsy’s barn at the back of her property.
“This is a horrid job, Chet. I can’t believe you talked me into doing this. The smell is so strong I can almost taste it. Yuck!”
“It is rather stinky. But, it is a service and Aunt Betsy likes having her manure.”
“All I’ve got to say is I sure hope those garden veggies will appreciate our labor come spring.”
They prepped the Gator in order to drive the manure to Trout House Falls, Aunt Betsy’s farm.
“Marine. You seemed preoccupied through most of the parade. Are you okay?”
“Yes, Chet. I guess I’m just so nervous about tomorrow.”
“You have nothing to be nervous about. You have started a new life here. Now, you are on the verge of beginning a new career, one of service to your community, as a female firefighter. You should be proud.”
“I am. But, I’ve got to get through that speech tomorrow.”
“You will do fine. You have written a good speech and one that will highlight the importance of trusting your fellow firefighters. What are you worried about?”
“Have you ever had a feeling that something was going to change and it wasn’t going to be good?” Chet nodded his head. “Well, I feel a cloud of change hanging over me.”
“Change is what happens in life. The smart thing to do is to anticipate the good changes and not brood about potential bad ones. Tomorrow will be a good change for you. Come on. We need to go meet Aunt Betsy at the firehouse. I believe they have hot coffee and cakes for us. And then, we’ll haul this back to the barn.”
As Marine turned to walk with Chet to the firehouse on the next block, she caught a glimpse of the figure she saw earlier. She took off in the direction of where the person walked—weaving in and out of the crowd. Every now and then, Marine thought she caught another glimpse of the mysterious person. Within a few minutes of trailing the figure, she turned down a dark alleyway between two tall buildings that lead to the local park. She stopped. I shouldn’t head that way without backup or at least some kind of protection. Of all the times not to have a gun. She stood there and argued with herself about the need to be safe and the desire to find out if the lone figure was Ana-Geliza.
“Marine? Marine, where are you?” Chet called for her.
“I’m here, Chet. I’m coming.” She would have to wait until later to find out who it was. But it couldn’t be Ana-Geliza, could it? Marine looked back over her shoulder and shook off the feeling she was being watched.
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The Fire of Revenge is the second book in the Marine Letsco Trilogy, a series full of intrigue, romance, and a little murder mixed with thrills to keep you turning the page, which is now available on CreateSpace from my Author Page at this link in paperback format: https://www.createspace.com/5405568
If you would like an eBook copy, visit my Amazon author page or use this link: http://www.amazon.com/Pam-B-Newberry/e/B00I1M0OT6
Locally, autographed copies are available to purchase from these fine locations:
Museum Gift Shop – Wytheville, VA
The Farmer’s Daughter – Wytheville, VA
Big Walker Lookout – Wytheville, VA
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After you read about Marine’s adventures in New Brook, plan to return and visit with Marine in the last novel, A Time for Fire, Book Three of The Marine Letsco Trilogy.