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.


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 Sundays – Killer Orange

As promised, I’m sharing an excerpt from one of my current projects. Killer Orange is one of the closest projects of mine to publication. I’m in the editing stage right now and polishing up the last draft.

Here is an excerpt from one of the earliest chapters.

Sunshine Sands had once been a high-priced community where people bought plots of land and custom built their houses. After the housing market collapsed in 2008, communities like Sunshine Sands no longer held their initial luster. The community became desperate for buyers as housing prices fell and their richer residents abandoned their houses for better, bigger mansions. Sometimes owners rented out their houses, but Rebecca remembered the real estate agent sniffing her nose at the term renters and upon seeing Rebecca’s shock, had quickly moved the conversation forward.

“She really wanted to make a sale,” Rebecca muttered under her breath, when she suddenly realized she’d been talking to herself for a while in the car.

Shrugging inwardly, Rebecca surveyed the area outside the subdivision that was to become her new home. The reality of having her own home didn’t feel real to her yet, and she hoped she could learn to love this house like a favorite pair of jeans. The novelty of its newness excited her, and she hoped her neighbors were more pleasant than the beady-eyed, lip-curling rednecks of Oneco.

“They’d have to be. No one could be that bad,” she murmured with a chuckle, as the country music playlist ended and switched over to hard rock.

Anticipation filled her as she turned down Shasta Daisy Street and headed toward the sectioned off subdivision. Her phone’s GPS beeped and told her that she arrived at her destination. She pulled her Lumina onto the next small street, which immediately stopped her at some steel gates. There was a security guard on duty, and he glanced at her, looking inconvenienced from his copy of Fifty Shades of Grey as she waited for him to verify her ID and buzz her inside.

Rebecca handed him her crisp ID and her community pass, and when he looked at her, she felt like he was surveying her like a hungry bird. Rebecca shrank back instinctively at his steely stare. She met his annoyed expression, and her gaze drifted to his skin.

Gee, for an old guy, he sure is tan! she thought, and it almost sickened her as she pushed away the rising anxiety that was balling up in her stomach.

“So, you’re that new lady that purchased the Baker house on Ray Court.” He sniffed at her, unimpressed by her looks without even trying to get to know her. Rebecca hardly cared; she often received such reactions from strangers. Other than her striking pale skin and cherub face, she really didn’t have distinctive features that impressed anyone.

“Um… yeah, it’s the house where my aunt’s friend Kolee Baker lived. She found a great place on the coastline of Florida,” Rebecca replied. She beamed at him with a fake smile and shrugged. “This housing market, eh?”

The overly-tanned security guard nodded slowly, but his eyes seemed wary of her. He finally returned her ID and pass and buzzed her through. When Rebecca finally drove on, she let out a sigh that felt like a thistle had been stuck in her throat.

“What’s with the judgmental looks?” she mused aloud, and she almost wished she’d taken her friend Sophie up on her offer to move in with her. Sophie would’ve had the perfect snarky comment to put Rebecca at ease. Plus, Sophie would’ve truly scared the daylights out of the guard with her dark eye makeup and scary occult tattoos alone.

Even though Sophie lived on the south side of Chicago, Rebecca didn’t think she needed to bother her friend to come on a weekday and hold her hand while she moved into her new community. Sophie was busy enough with two jobs, and she had helped Rebecca plenty of times already when she’d been house hunting and visiting the area.

Rebecca took a deep breath and drove onward toward her house. She drummed up her internal resolve and encouraged herself to be strong. “I don’t need help from others all the time,” she reminded herself. “I have to learn to live this new life on my own. Without Matthew. Even without Sophie.”

© 2015 HK Rowe