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Special Smashwords Edition
A Girl Like You
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.
A GIRL LIKE YOU
Special Smashwords Edition
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Copyright © 2011 by John Locke. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical without the express written permission of the author. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.
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Edited by: Winslow Eliot
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ISBN: 978-1-935670-49-0 (eBook)
ISBN: 978-1-935670-50-6 (Paperback)
If You Like A Girl Like You, You’ll Love Follow the Stone
Follow the Stone, by John Locke, became Amazon/Kindle’s Number 1 Best-Selling Western in the world only seven days after publication!
Praise for John Locke’s Follow the Stone:
“FIVE STARS! Butch Cassidy Meets City Slickers! Uproariously funny! Not since Lonesome Dove have I had so much fun reading a Western. Highly recommended!
“FIVE STARS! A well-researched, faithful-to-the-genre Western, and still (as to be expected from this author) entirely original and intriguing. Still fast, funny, furious—but also charming, interesting, and 100% unputdownable.
“FIVE STARS! Fun, original story of love, loyalty, and life in the early western United States in 1860. Meet Emmett Love, a rugged rough trail driver who escorts mail-order brides and ladies of the evening to the untamed lands out west. Meet Shrug or rather Wayne, a tragically disfigured man with a heart as tender as any man's can be. Meet Rose, an intelligent resourceful woman who many suspect may be a witch. Meet Phoebe, the mail-order bride from Philadelphia headed for her arranged marriage in Wichita. Each of these characters is delightful and well written as well as the cast of other characters included in this unique book. The story is a fun adventure that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page.
“FIVE STARS! Another outstanding book by John Locke. I have never been one to pick up a Western to read but I am glad I did! Of course I love all the other books by John Locke and this is the reason I wanted to read Follow the Stone. What a fun, fast-paced page turner. This book has a little bit of everything in it. A western suspenseful adventure with romance!
“Author John Locke only improves, like an aged wine. John Locke's writing draws you in. You fall in love again on every page, and it is never predictable. Except that I am always left satisfied.”
BOOKS BY JOHN LOCKE
Donovan Creed Series:
Now & Then
A Girl Like You
Follow the Stone (An Irreverent Western Adventure)
Every novel John Locke has written has made the Amazon/Kindle Best Seller’s List. Every ten seconds, twenty-four hours a day, a John Locke novel is downloaded somewhere in the world.
For previews of upcoming books by John Locke and more information about the author, visit http://www.SavingRachel.com
“When the world outside my arms is pulling us apart,
Press your lips to mine, and hold me with your heart.”
—True Love Never Runs Smooth, by Bacharach/David
Special thanks to Ricky Locke, for his enthusiastic support and advice, and for understanding Donovan Creed better than I do. Thanks also to my spirited editor, best-selling author Winslow Eliot, who inspires me; and to my amazing publisher and cover designer, the incredibly talented Claudia Jackson, and her wonderful company, Telemachus Press; and their remarkably capable assistant, Terri Himes.
Seeking a word that goes beyond thanks to recognize my best friend, my son Kross, who diligently searches the internet many times a day to report the current standings of my novels; who lovingly reports every 5-star review as if it were a national news story, and is sweet and loyal enough to be heartbroken when I receive anything less.
Warm, loving thoughts to my mother, Maurine Locke, who always looks beyond the language and subject matter I write about, and sees only my heart.
Most people would think getting bit on the balls by a water moccasin while sitting on the toilet in their own home would be the worst thing that could happen that day.
Sam Case knew better.
After hopping around like a Zuni Indian rain dancer and shrieking himself hoarse, Sam called 911. The dispatcher, a young man with a velvety voice named Earl-Please-Calm-Down-Sir-I’m-Only-Trying-To-Help-You, tried to make sense of Sam’s call. It wasn’t working, but Earl had the good sense to tell Sam to unlock his front door.
Sam did, then passed out.
Hours later in Brightside Hospital, Sam pressed the button on the morphine pump and turned his attention to the detectives standing at his bedside.
“Did you catch the snake?” Sam said.
“Not our job,” one of them said.
“You’re going to what, leave it there?”
“Don’t you have a housekeeper or something?” the other one said.
Sam glanced at the second detective. Maybe it was the angle, or the drugs, or the hospital lighting—but the guy appeared to have no eyebrows. Was that possible? He fixed his gaze on the man’s face.
“What happened to your eyebrows?”
“Fuck my eyebrows,” he snarled.
Sam frowned. “You can’t just walk around with no eyebrows and expect people not to pose the question.”
The first detective chuckled.
“You think that’s funny?” the second one said.
“Sorry, Gene. But yeah, it’s funny.”
Sam said, “A job like yours, you must encounter children.”
Gene said, “So?”
“Kids are honest. They say what’s on their mind. What do you tell them when they recoil in horror and shriek, “Oh, dear God! What happened to your fucking eyebrows?”
Gene’s face reddened. “Listen, asshole. We can either be friends or I can use your nuts as a speed bag. Which sounds better to you?”
“One would be as unpleasant as the other,” Sam said.
“Relax, both of you,” the first detective said.
“Who are you?” Sam said to the less-creepy detective. “And why are you here?”
“I’m Gene Brightside,” he said, then nodded at the other guy. “My partner, Gene Caruso.” Caruso showed Sam his middle finger and mouthed the words “fuck you.” What Caruso lacked in eyebrows he made up for with an honest-to-God Frito Bandito mustache. Where Brightside sported a navy suit with a red tie and matching pocket square, Caruso had on a brown t-shirt, black leather jacket, and wore a pair of faded Levi’s covered in cat hair.
“Fatty acid supplement,” Sam said.
“You need to upgrade your cat’s diet. A pet’s coat is a reflection of what it eats.”
“What makes you think I have a cat?”
Sam pointed to Caruso’s pants. “You’ve got half a cat. The rest of it is on your pants.”
Caruso looked down at his legs, then back at Sam and said, “Fuck you, Case!”
“Digestible protein,” Sam said. “And a fatty acid supplement. Your pet will thank you. Once that’s taken care of, maybe we can work on your wardrobe, Superfly.”
“How’d you know it was a water moccasin?” Brightside said.
“You’re in Louisville, Kentucky.”
“You don’t find many water moccasins in this area.”
“No shit,” Sam said. Then added, “Shouldn’t you be asking me how a snake got in my toilet in the first place?”
“You get a good look at the snake?”
Sam studied Detective Brightside’s face. “I take Lunesta,” he said.
“Yeah, that’s right. To help me sleep.”
Detective Brightside looked at Caruso, then back at Sam. “What’s that got to do with the snake?”
“Lunesta works best in a dark room. When I get up in the middle of the night to piss, I keep the lights off. I sit on the toilet to keep from spraying piss on the floor.”
“Fascinating,” Caruso said.
“Four o’clock this morning, I get up to take a piss. In the dark. I walk from the bed to the master bath…”
“How far is the bed from the master bath?” Brightside said.
“Eleven steps,” Sam said. “Twenty-eight-point-six feet.”
The Genes looked at each other. “You believe this guy?” Caruso said.
“He’s precise,” Brightside said. “I’ll give him that.”
“You want to hear the story or what?” Sam said.
“Please,” Brightside said. “Go on.”
“I sit on the toilet, start pissing, and suddenly there’s a white-hot pain in my nuts. I try to jump up, but can’t.”
“Because of the three foot snake attached to my ball sack.”
“How’d you know it was three feet long?”
“I reached between my legs and pulled the motherfucker out of the toilet. Squeezed him hard enough to make him detach his fangs. When he did, I slammed his body against the wall two, three times. Then I flung him on the floor and turned on the lights. It was a water moccasin.”
“You kill him?”
“No. He slithered away.” Sam looked at Brightside. “How convenient, right?”
Brightside said, “This hospital was named after my father, Robin Brightside.”
“That’s a random thing to say.”
“I just meant if there’s anything you need, I’ll personally ask the staff.”
Sam said, “If your family’s that wealthy, how’d you wind up a detective?”
“The old man died and left all his money to a bimbo. But the staff is sympathetic to me. Again, anything you need, I can help you.”
“Thanks. I’ll let you know.”
Caruso said, “Did it hurt? Getting your nut sack bit by a water moccasin?”
Sam gave him a withering look.
Brightside said, “The police did a walk through while you were on the way to the hospital. According to them, all the doors and windows were locked, except the front door.”
“I unlocked the front door so the paramedics could get in.”
“After the snake bit you?”
Sam said, “Are you really that stupid? Or are you just fucking with me?”
Brightside said, “I was wondering why the alarm didn’t go off when you opened the door.”
Sam’s look made it apparent he hadn’t considered that fact. “I must’ve forgot to set it that night.”
“You have any idea who put a snake in your toilet?” Brightside finally asked.
Sam knew exactly who put it there.
But what he said was, “I have no idea.”
24 Hours Earlier…
The NYAC is widely considered the world’s greatest athletic club. Located at 180 Central Park South, the 21-story structure boasts 300 guest rooms, a boxing ring, swimming pool, billiards room that overlooks the park, two handball courts, and a number of meeting rooms. The exterior is limestone and concrete, crafted with an Italian Renaissance influence.
When I’m in the city, that’s where I go to work out. You want to find me, come early. Ask for Donovan Creed.
Today I’m miles away from the NYAC. I’m across town, in the financial district, standing in front of The New York Gentlemen’s Gym. The NYGG is twice as plush as the NYAC, if you can just imagine. I’m wearing olive cargo pants and a Dri-Fit training tee, carrying the vintage leather gym bag that had been used on at least one occasion by the Manassa Mauler himself, Jack Dempsey.
Upon entering, the first thing I see is two security guys in the lobby, talking. I stand a few feet away from them and wait politely till they’re finished. Short, wide guy with a hand-stitched tapered shirt is younger, with a no-nonsense air of aggression. He looks me over, sizing me up.
“Need somethin’?” He says.
“Billy King here yet?”
He looks me up and down a second time, then looks at his friend.
Short, wide guy juts his chin toward the double doors.
“Boxing ring’s in there,” he says. “Billy’s in it, poundin’ turds outta some poor sap.”
There’s a check-in area, but no one’s manning the station.
Second security guy is older, maybe fifty. He’s average height, lanky, weighs half as much as his muscle-bound friend. His eyes are kindly, and blue, and framed by ancient scar tissue. In a fair fight between them, my money’s on the older guy.