Now Available: Stand By Your Man

STAND BY YOUR MAN

A THRILLER

CLINT WESTGARD

Tammy Fairchild left Loverna to escape her reputation and make a new life in a new town. But problems seem to follow her wherever she goes.

Starting over, she finds herself a new job and a new man, someone she can trust. For Kevin Burscht is not like the other men she’s known. He is caring and considerate.

But not everything is as it seems with Kevin. He has a mysterious past filled with dark secrets. And Tammy finds that she is the one who will pay the price for his wrongs…

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Excerpt: Stand By Your Man

In advance of the publication of Stand By Your Man on February 24, here is a short excerpt:

HER PARENTS NAMED her Tammy after the singer of Stand By Your Man, a song which she never had much taste for. Country had never been her thing. In high school she acquired another nickname, “trucker fucker”, after a rumor started that she waited outside the hotel bar in Loverna for the truckers to come out so she could give them blowjobs. That was not true, or at least not entirely. There had been one guy she gave head to, but she was fairly certain he worked on a seismic rig.

It hadn’t mattered though, the name and the story that went with it had stuck and for the rest of high school she was one of those girls. The girl that every guy thought he should try his luck with at a party, whether or not he had a girlfriend. She played the part a few times, mostly out of spite with the boyfriends of girls who taunted her for her sluttiness. It all backfired predictably, with the blame all coming her way.

After high school, lacking the grades and the money to go off to college, she moved into town off her father’s farm and took a job at the UFA gas station out on Highway 41. She decided she was done with school and boys and all the drama and nonsense that went with. Now that she was out of school, not interacting with the same one hundred or so horny, judgmental idiots, the nickname and her tawdry reputation began to seem things of the past. She was treated as an adult, accorded that respect, and she began to get it into her head that she deserved a man not a boy, though she did not quite know what that meant. Continue reading

In A Flash: Only Love Can Break Your Heart

“Hi. Anjali?” A lopsided grin and uncomfortable eyes.

“Yes,” she says, her own eyes downcast, but taking him in all the same. “You must be Ryland.”

“That’s right.”

A pause, both of them waiting for the other to speak. They both start at the same time and stop together, wincing.

“Shall we?” Ryland says, gesturing and gulping for air.

Anjali nods and leads the way to the nearest table. They sit across from each other, taking the measure of the situation. A buzz of conversation settles over them, reminding each of them of their own silence. They look away at others, trying to ignore the awkwardness.

A waitress flits by and smiles conspiratorially. “How are you guys tonight? Can I get you started with some drinks?”

Relief. They order. He gets a beer and she has a mojito. The waitress nods, pleased by their choices and disappears. Ryland watches her go, before reminding himself not to and turns his attention back to Anjali.

“So, how was your day?” he says with an attempt at joviality. He winces at the sound and hopes she doesn’t notice.

Anjali suppresses her own grimace. These same damn questions. “I’m just glad it’s the end of the week.”

“Any big plans?” Ryland says, not wanting to lose the momentum he feels he has started.

Anjali shrugs, knowing she can’t say she will most likely spend the day on the couch in her pajamas watching Criminal Minds reruns. “I’m just getting together with some friends.” A safe, non-specific lie. “What about you?”

“Not too much planned,” Ryland says, considering and rejecting several possible answers, none of which involve him staying up until two in the morning playing video games and drinking beer with his roommate. “I was thinking of going on a bike ride on Sunday.”

The waitress arrives with their drinks and asks if they would like food. The both decline and she leaves them alone. Anjali asks about where he likes to go biking and he provides an overly long, detailed answer that he knows is utterly boring her and yet he cannot stop himself from seeing through to its end. He asks her what she likes to do for fun and she tells him something.

God this awkward, she thinks. This isn’t going as badly as I thought, he thinks.

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon

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In A Flash: An Afternoon Shower In The City

The first spatter of rain hit Aada on the arm as she walked down 35th Avenue. She grimaced and looked up at the sky where ominous clouds were gathering. The first signs of the coming storm had been there when she ducked out of her apartment to run a few errands, but she had hoped to beat its arrival—the grocery store and bakery were only ten minutes away after all. Now, her arms heavy with full bags, she faced the prospect of a downpour, or worse.

It was only a little more than five blocks to her apartment, but she had no umbrella and could not run, loaded down with groceries as she was. And she did not want them, or the contents of her purse, to get soaked. The rain started, a few drops here and there splattering down, and she told herself that maybe this was all it would amount to. Even as she was thinking it, the drops turned into cascades of water and she drenched. She saw a flash of lightning on the horizon and heard a low rumble of thunder in response.

A few white pellets of hail bounced off the pavement as well, telling her that things could very quickly turn ugly if she did not find some sort of cover. She cast about and saw that she had just passed a three story building that had a short awning extending out over the stairs leading up to its entrance. “That’ll do,” she said to herself and ran, as best she could, toward it.

It was only once she was up the stairs and at the building door that she saw she was not alone. A man stood in the corner of the entryway, leaning beside the intercom, staring out at the falling rain. He straightened as she came up the stairs, and gestured to the buzzer. “You need this?”

She shook her head, her long damp hair flapping into her eyes. “Thanks,” she said, as she set her grocery bags on the steps.

As Aada straightened up, turning to look out at the descending rain, she could feel the guy’s eyes upon her. She was suddenly conscious of the fact that her clothes were soaked, the t-shirt she was wearing now accentuating her form more than she was comfortable. Pushing aside the sinking feeling in her stomach, she shot the man a quick glare, and set her expression at what she hoped was a solid, don’t fuck with me kind of indifference.

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon

Image Credit