Flash Friday – Update and Excerpt

I’m back! Sort of! Sorry I’ve been absent. I hope to get back to my regular blog schedule soon.

Truth is I’ve been battling sinus headaches again, so when I’m not busy I’ve been taking it easy. I’m also behind on things but I hope to get back in the groove soon. Headaches are no fun.

In the meantime, here is a sweet excerpt from one of my in-progress short stories called “Blazing Heat.” Happy Valentine’s Day!

(Any undrafted mistakes are mine.)


The revolving door burst open, and Sal nearly knocked her over as he came inside next to her. “Bernice! Jill! Go home for the day! We don’t need you complaining anymore and we ain’t got customers for you to jaw at!”

Anna watched the relief on the two women’s faces as they stopped pacing around for a chance to relax in the freezer, and they sighed after thanking Jesus and then running to the back to grab their stuff. Anna furrowed her brow, wishing she could go home too, knowing at least her air conditioning unit in her apartment was functional. She’d love to just sit in the living room by the window where her unit would hum at her while it blew sweet, chilly air into her face. She’d catch up with her favorite TV shows, take a nap and just enjoy the chilly air, and the fact that every pore in her body wasn’t leaking sweat.

Alas, she was stuck at work with two other waitresses who looked just as peeved as she was toward Sal at not giving them a break like he did Jill and Bernice.

“Now the rest of you get back to work,” Sal said, and he turned to Anna. “Styles, come with me to the back of the bar. I need your help.”

She sighed. She knew exactly what kind of help he needed her for too. She was the tallest waitress, therefore she was the best choice to help him wipe off the bottles and clean the higher shelves on their booze cabinets. Anna couldn’t back out either; it was obvious Sal was in a cleaning frenzy, channeling his anger through wiping down his bar until Bob came in to fix the A/C, if that would ever happen. Anna would bet her next paycheck Bob was chilling in his own air conditioned home, swearing at Sal and taking his sweet time to come at all. Knowing he’d be dealing with Sal’s hot temper, she’d bet Bob would avoid it as much as he could.

“Yeah, I’m coming” she said, and she followed him out into the bar. Surveying the area, Anna noticed four customers in the whole bar. It was the slowest moment of the day. All four were regulars, and all four of them were carrying their pieces. They also had a few beers in them too, and the ice cold beer seemed to stave off the desire to leave the bar at any point.

Anna trailed after Sal as he sauntered to the largest booze cabinet. A small step stool was waiting for her, but most of the shelves she could reach. She thought perhaps Sal was also torturing her for complaining earlier but she hoped that maybe this would get her mind off the heat. She felt another drop of sweat run down her forehead and she groaned. Perhaps not.

She lowered her gaze, watching Sal walk and then turn toward her as they stopped in front of the cabinet. She had a second to enjoy that ass in tight Wrangler jeans, and she appreciated it just as quickly, adding it to all those other times she’d sneaked a peek at it.

He cleared her throat, drawing her thoughts toward him. She met his eyes, wiping the sweat off her brow in the mean time. She wiped it slow and pursed her lips at him, hoping he got a good look at her misery.

Unfazed by her suffering, he threw her a damp, clean towel. “Get started on that top shelf and work your way down.”

“What are you going to do?” she asked bluntly, hoping the words came out more playful than mean. He didn’t seem to take it that way, but he rose to the challenge.

He smirked. “Enjoy the view,” he said, and she blinked when she got the joke. She should have expected it. When anyone teased Sal, he teased right back, only playing dirtier. Anna felt her cheeks go warmer, if that was possible. She didn’t even want to entertain thoughts of where she could take that remark – where her imagination could take it further. Damn, Sal! She hated that he was smooth. She hated that he was good looking and the heat was getting to her.

She also hated that he was paying his sole attention to her when he rarely ever did. Uh oh.

‘He must really be mad at me for complaining so much today,’ she thought, biting her lip.

“I’ll be working on that cabinet,” he said, interrupting her thoughts again, and he pointed to the cabinet to their right, which was about the same height. He had a step stool waiting for him too and another towel. “It’s faster with two.”

“Got it,” she said with a sigh, and she moved past him and got to work, stepping on the stool, finding her balance and grabbing the first dusty bottle: Johnny Walker Blue. Soon, she fell into routine cleaning the bottles and wiping off the shelves. They weren’t really dusty, but when she cleaned them up, they definitely looked clearer, and the light reflected off them giving them an iridescent glow. She stepped off the ladder and began working on the third shelf from the top with two more shelves to go. Anna snuck a glance to her right, watching as Sal came down to the floor and caught up with her on his row.

Oddly enough, she enjoyed his company even though he was completely silent. She could hear him breathing, a little more labored from the heat, and he’d finally started to sweat. Sweat shimmered off his tanned forearms and she found herself catching a long look at one of her favorite tattoos: a detailed, realistic looking leopard.

“Anna,” he said, and he only needed to say her name in that commanding tone for her to snap back to work.

© HK Rowe

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Excerpt Sunday – Killer Orange

From my final draft of my dark romantic comedy Killer Orange.


“Herb, look at your girl, she’s as white as a sheet,” he said, motioning to his brother, her father. “Don’t you let her play outside? She’s gonna get anemia if you keep her locked up indoors all the time.”

Rebecca froze, feeling strangely frightened as he put her on the spot.

“Leave her alone,” Herb replied with a dismissive wave. “Her skin is sensitive, just like her mother’s. Even the doctor said not to keep her in the sun for too long.” Her father took a swig of beer and tossed a Frisbee to her grandmother’s new Husky puppy.

Rebecca got up from her spot on the deck, wanting to join her dad with the dog. As she neared her uncle, he suddenly grabbed her arm and pulled her next to him. She shrieked.

“Calm down, girlie, and sit with your uncle Bob,” he commanded her. “Sit in this sun and get some color.”

“I don’t want to, uncle. I want to play with the dog,” Rebecca whined, trying to get up.


He wouldn’t release his hold on her, which only served to frighten her more. She gritted her teeth as she gazed out, seeking any help she could find.

Her dad’s back was facing her, and he was too engrossed in the dog to pay attention. Her mother was inside napping, probably from too much sun, and her cousins had left to buy ice cream and play at the nearby park. Her grandmother was nowhere in sight either, probably in the house grabbing a refill in snacks.

She was alone with her uncle Bob, and she didn’t like how his rough tanned skin rubbed against her as he held her down beside him.

© HK Rowe 2015

Excerpt Sunday – Autumn Fire

From my Work in Progress Romance novel, Autumn Fire.


The dream shifted, and Sam was staring at Jon and Dori again in their kitchen, laughing and teasing each other. The sunlight seemed to drown them all in ethereal light, so bright that Sam could barely see Jon’s face. He saw Dori’s clearly, but not Jon’s.

He was heading out, beckoning Sam to come with him. When they’d gotten in the car, Sam could feel them driving – rolling through an endless tunnel of white light, cocooned in an unknown void. When the impact hit them, shattered glass littered around him, cutting through flesh and singing through the air. When he looked up, darkness killed the heavenly light, and Jon was slumped over in the driver’s seat, the metal fragment piercing his brain, spilling out his blood into the car and onto Sam. Sam could feel his own pain dulling when he’d seen his lifeless friend.

Over and over again he saw Jon die. The dreams, the memories, the fear played on an endless loop, trapping him in an amber web of his own terror, his own guilt that his young friend had died that day and some higher power had spared him.

Suddenly, he felt very wet, and he wondered if he was covered in blood, but instead, Sam was weeping, almost endlessly, the cries of horror and agony coming out in small whimpers, echoing through the black corridor as his friend laid lifeless beside him.

He couldn’t save him. Sam had saved him once from alcohol addiction. He’d saved him and helped him, and Jon had finally become a wonderful man – a soldier, a caretaker, and a loyal friend. Sam couldn’t save him from this. No matter how much the dream looped, Sam couldn’t save Jon from a fate like this.

He was gone. Jon was gone and Sam still couldn’t breathe or think the moment he realized his friend was gone, that he’d seen his death wedged in his mind like a cancer, haunting him and making him weep.

“Sam!”

He’d inhaled a sharp breath and his eyes opened in surprise. His cheeks were wet, and he turned to Dori, whose hands were on his shoulders, bringing him awake.

“You were crying,” Dori said. “I’m sorry; I didn’t realize you were sleeping.”

“No, it’s okay,” Sam said in a small, crackled voice.

“No, it’s not. Jesus Christ, Sam. Is this every night for you? These dreams about my brother?” she asked, and she slid next to him on the couch. Her thighs lightly grazed against his, and he felt stilled from the touch.

“Yes,” he answered her, unsure of how to feel about her closeness and worry. He’d always dealt with his demons alone, and he couldn’t burden her with knowing that her brother’s death had literally changed his life. And not for the better. He’d struggled every day with it, the memories, the trauma – and he couldn’t tell this sweet woman that her brother’s death had brought him so much struggle and pain.

© H.K. Rowe

Excerpt Sunday – Autumn Fire

It’s a little late in the day, but here it is! I had to tackle many things today but I finally found a moment to update. 🙂

From Autumn Fire, my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel ~


After her brother’s accident, Dori was plagued with dreams of him. He’d be facing her in a sunny field, and she couldn’t see his face. The sunlight was so bright she had to squint, but she knew he was smiling.

Jon was smiling and telling her that he loved her. She remembered the hug he forced on her before he’d left that day of the accident. She wished it burned in her like a tattoo. Only now it was a dull ache.

Sam, on the other hand, was in such a critical state that he’d never made it to Jon’s funeral. Maybe he had been there in spirit. The accident left him unconscious mostly, on medication and slowly healing from his injuries. He’d broken his legs, had several injuries to his ribs, and he’d been in surgery to repair his ruptured lung. He’d scraped his face in spots where he’d need surgery, and he’d broken his hand.

Many people came to Jon’s funeral. Not including her dad though. As usual, Dori and Jon’s father was still gone. Dori wondered if he’d show up at least to make peace with his son, to do one last good act as a father when he’d never been one to them before.

She at least wanted to see her dad’s new wife and family. She wondered if they were better then them. At least they were alive. One part of their remaining family was dead.

“The best part,” Dori said, and even though her brother had struggle with his alcohol addiction, he’d kicked it. It was thanks to Sam’s friendship of course, but Jon did most of the legwork. He worked harder than all of them to fight and defeat his demons.

He was going to be a brilliant soldier too, and protect and serve their country. He was truly a good man, and Dori felt it terrible and unfair he had to die like this in a car accident.

The driver who’d hit her brother’s car had shown up to the funeral. He looked haggard and unkempt. She didn’t know what he was doing here, but he never said a word to her or her mother. He looked over at them and averted his gaze. He’d walked up to her brother’s open casket, made the sign of the cross, and said a prayer.

©HK Rowe

On Schedule

The release date for my book Unbridled that is set for tomorrow appears to be on schedule. I’m doing my last minute formatting tonight, and then I will upload to various distributors, check formatting at those places, and then finalize some marketing.

It must be fate because on Sunday I got called by my supervisor at the IT company I work for that they will need me to go to a career show tomorrow from 12 to 7 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Which means she doesn’t need me into work until around 10 in the morning. I will have the early morning tomorrow to release the book and post at various social outlets. I’m nervous but it seems like the opportunity is falling right into my lap.

I was talking to a co-worker today (one whom I thought didn’t like me, lol) and he was surprised that I was releasing a book, let alone that I wrote something that could be about 250 pages. He was even curious about the process. I’m shocked myself, buddy!

Haha, and here I was thinking 250 pages was too short.

Okay all, until later.

H.K. Rowe