Thursday, March 20, 2014


One year ago this week my first e-book was released.  I still recall that not-so-long-ago day as a little scary and seriously thrilling, plus filled with doughnuts!

In honor of this personal occasion, I offer to you, Readers, one of my favorite chapters from DARK EXCURSIONS: first set.  Here you will experience a meeting between a former stable boy and a Russian tennis instructor...
Chapter 12

We now take you to a tavern...

    Crop Hoppins sits on a stool in a dimly lit tavern.  It is his first stop since the church, but not his first drink.  He slides the empty glass away.

    "Another?" the bartender asks.  Crop responds with a quick nod.

    "Put that on my tab, Pete."

    The husky accented voice and firm hand on his shoulder startles Crop out of his thoughts.  The broken man swivels on the stool to come face to face with Ivan.  He is amused to see that the tall, blond, muscular man is still dressed for a tennis lesson.  There is an expectation to see a racket somewhere, but one is nowhere to be found.

    Crop waves a dismissive hand, "Sorry…"

    "I do not understand."  Ivan takes a step back and studies him curiously, "You want another drink, so I buy you another drink."

    Crop stares at him with some confusion, “Luchia said—“

    Ivan, suddenly aware, interrupts with a vigorous laugh.  He then lunges forward and grabs Crop's shoulders, giving them an amiable shake.  "If Luchia does not have her way, she will say anything…” a wry grin slides onto his face, “…whether it be true or false.  My offer is a friendly gesture to a fellow comrade of Luchia's wrath."

    Crop furrows his brow in more confusion, “What has she done to you?”

    "Grab your drink and come sit with me," Ivan commands.  Crop swivels and the bartender hands him a whiskey without ice.  He then follows Ivan to a dark booth in an even darker part of the tavern.

    Ivan collects his thoughts, takes a sip of his drink and begins to speak, but not of Luchia.  "My parents left Mother Russia when I was in womb.  They wanted me birthed in the 'land of opportunity.'  In my youth, I learned tennis but never became good enough for Wimbledon or even French Open.  So, I became an instructor."  He takes another sip.  "Luchia hired me for lessons but also wanted me for sex.  I let her flirt and fondle at first, but today I was done.  I told her sex would never happen and she discharged a round of tennis balls upon me, effectively terminating my employment.”

    Crop takes a large sip and shakes his head, "To think she is going to be a mother."

    "Ah!" the husky voice rips through the tavern, "This is what your argument concerned!"

    "More or less.”

    "Are you positive the child is yours?  Luchia is not known for chastity."

    Crop, overwhelmed with the dread of permanently losing Cheryl, had not considered this possibility.  "I know for certain it cannot be her husband's.  As for another man's...maybe."

    Ivan throws his hands into the air, "If she says it's your babe, you must deal with it!"  His large fists slam the table, "Pete, another round!"  He smiles wildly at Crop and slips into his parents’ native tongue.

    "What does that mean?"

    "Drink first—action later!" Ivan loosely translates and then explains. "You need to take action against your frustrations and so do I!"  He offers Crop a business card, "If you ever need a lesson, give Ivan a call."

    He accepts the card and fully studies the instructor, sensing the double meaning in this offer.  As the bartender brings the adult beverages, Crop reiterates to himself what he had told the priest: nothing matters now.

Copyright 2013,  John L. Harmon

For further information on this e-book (available for Amazon Kindle and other Kindle App-compatible devices) please click on one of the following Amazon links...
US    UK    CA    AU   

FR    DE     ES    IT   

JP    BR     IN     MX  


Don't forget to read Chapters 32 & 64 and excerpts from the fourth set...
Be well, Readers, and Freak Out,


P.S.  Click WHIP to read about the excursion behind Dark Excursions.

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