Today Bethany-Kris and I are excited to share a sneak peek of GUN MOLL. Enjoy.
Deep down into the depth of her core, Melina Morgan could feel a blaze burning hotter and hotter. Her soul was on fire. Soon, she knew it would consume her, but there was nothing she could do. Life had already decided her fate and fate was a real bitch.
A droplet of water splattered her face as she readjusted the black umbrella she was holding. The sky was open, pouring water down all around her, but it didn’t matter. Not much did anymore.
She watched with gritted teeth as the simple maple-oak-finished casket was lowered into the waiting plot in the ground. Melina stood alone as the first and only witness to the final resting place of a great man. A great man who’d been all but shunned and forgotten by everyone except her. Hot tears slipped down her cheeks, and as the thunder clapped overhead, she couldn’t hold them in any longer. The despair and anger she’d been holding inside burst from her lungs like a train running at full speed.
Bitterness filled her mouth as she sobbed. Her knuckles cracked as she clutched the umbrella as if it were the only lifeline to hold her up. It wasn’t fair. Those fucks had betrayed him, stripping him of everything he’d worked so hard for; everything he’d honored and held in high esteem, they’d taken it away. Melina shouldn’t have been the only person at this funeral. It should have been filled with friends and colleagues of Daniel Morgan Jr. There should have been a line of men saluting him and placing the symbol of everything Daniel had ever stood for in Melina’s hands.
But Melina held nothing except a worn, black umbrella that did little to keep the rain from chilling her bones. It was just too bad; the rain couldn’t cool the fire in her soul. As the casket came to its final resting place, the gravedigger started to throw the first shovel of dirt in.
He threw dirt on the top of the casket.
“Damn it, I said wait!” Melina yelled at him.
“It’s raining cats and dogs out here. I’m soaked.”
“Well, so am I. Do you know who you’re burying? Do you know who it is that you’re giving less than a damn about?”
“Look, I’m just doing my job.”
“So did he, and he got no respect for it. No appreciation. But today, you’re going to give me a chance to show him the respect he didn’t get when he was alive. Got it?”
The man glared at her, his muddy brown eyes were hard, but Melina didn’t care. He was going to allow her this moment. Reaching inside her black trench coat, she withdrew a small souvenir. She’d had it since she was a small girl and now she was returning it to the one who’d given it to her. Staring at it with a measure of love and anger, Melina threw the small replica of the American flag down on top of the casket.
“You finished?” the insolent gravedigger asked.
“No, I’m not. You might want to get out of the way for what I’m about to do next.”
“Can you hurry the hell up?”
Melina’s russet brown eyes closed briefly before she opened them again. Reaching once more into her coat, she pulled out a black handgun with a worn grip and aimed it at the gravedigger.
“I suggest you shut the fuck up before you find yourself in a hole out here, too.”
The man raised his hands. “I don’t want any trouble. Please.”
“Then be quiet and let me do what I came here for. You are welcome to continue your miserable excuse for a job, after.”
Melina raised her Smith & Wesson 386 towards the sky and fired one round.
“Lance Corporal Daniel Morgan Jr., thank you for your service. Thank you for believing that no man deserves to be left behind. Thank you for taking a stand and sticking by it, no matter what it cost you in the end.”
Melina blasted another round off into the sky. The gravedigger jumped, but she ignored him. She wasn’t finished yet. Her voice wavered as she continued talking.
“When others would’ve simply turned a blind eye, you stuck to your values and you always did the right thing. When life fucked you any way but right, your spirit let you hold on and keep fighting. Few knew your pain, but I saw it, no matter how much you tried to hide it from me. Few will ever know the real cost you paid for serving your country as an honorable man, but I know and I remember.”
With tears streaming down her cheeks, Melina raised the gun and fired one last time.
“This isn’t goodbye. It’s just an ‘I’ll see you later’ and when we meet again, you’ll be the man you once were. The man who looked at life through shining eyes with the hope and belief that no matter what, doing the right thing would always save you in the end. Rest now and know that the pain of this life is over, and you’re in a far better place. See you later.”
As the rain slowed to a light downpour, Melina put her gun away and nodded towards the gravedigger. “He’s all yours now.”
She turned to walk away.
“Ma’am, I don’t mean to pry, but if he was a vet, why didn’t he have a military funeral?”
Wiping her eyes, Melina swallowed the lump in her throat and faced the gravedigger with the familiar coldness already settling in her heart.
“While in Afghanistan, a small group of men under him were trapped behind enemy lines and ordered to be left behind. He disobeyed orders and went back for them; two of those men died. My father lost his right forearm. Instead of giving him a medal for risking his life for his fellow man and for losing a limb, they discharged him dishonorably. He was an example for other men, and nothing more.”
“That was mighty shitty of them to do that.”
“Yes, it was.”
“What about the men he saved? Why aren’t they here?”
“I was unable to get the contact information for the ones who survived.”
Melina turned away and started to walk.
“He was your father, wasn’t he?” the gravedigger called from behind her.
“Yes, he was.”
Taking a deep, cleansing breath, she started to walk through the graveyard and to her car. It was over and she would never return here. Contrary to what many thought, there was no sentimental value to visiting a grave. The person you loved was gone. There was no lingering spirit, waiting around for you to come visit. Only a body remained. A body that had already begun to deteriorate and would soon return to the earth from which it came.
No, Melina was done here. There was no reason to visit a headstone, especially one that did not even begin to convey the true measure of the man buried beneath it.
The rain continued to slacken as Melina walked back to her vehicle. A loud beep made her stop. Opening her purse, she reached inside. Her fingers closed around a black beeper that was outdated and behind the times, but necessary, according to her boss. The number “711” flashed across it. Putting it back inside her purse, Melina kept walking. She’d just received another lesson from life: It doesn’t matter what the fuck is going on, the world keeps moving. Deal with it.
Sad, but true. Anyone else would have the time to grieve properly, to get affairs in order. Hell, just a little time to sift through their father’s belongings and reminisce. But not her.
It was time to dry her tears and close the vault to her heart permanently. She was in this world alone, and she had to make it the best she could. Even if she cringed every time the numbers 711 came across her beeper. Even if her stomach turned, imaging what kind of desperate fool she’d have to entertain tonight. It didn’t matter. She was an escort and tonight, she belonged to the highest bidder, whoever he might be.
Add GUN MOLL to your TBR List on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29504632-gun-moll