Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #41 (10.4)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

While getting something for the band to nosh on before their concert in Houma, Ryan has a heart-to-heart conversation with Abby. See what they're talking about in this week's In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they've been up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #41 (10.4)

“You know something, Ryan? If you weren’t already taken, I’d grab you up in a heartbeat.”
Ryan was shocked to hear those words coming from such a beautiful girl. The girls in his life had always tended to look on as a friend, never a love interest. He was momentarily nonplussed, unsure how to react. Abby reached up and patted his cheek lightly.

“But you are. Very much taken. If Brandon turns out not to be the one, I’ll just have to keep looking. At least I know guys like you exist. That gives me hope.”

Recovering his tongue, Ryan said, “You’ll find someone, Abby. Especially with Aiden watching out for you. You guys are lucky to have each other. I always wondered what it would be like to have a brother or sister.”

Abby’s brows arched delicately as she regarded him in surprise. “But you have Ben, right?”

“I was eight when my dad married Ben’s mom, Ben was only five. I’d asked my dad for a puppy, and what I got was Ben.” He gave her a wry smile. “To be honest, when he first came to our house, I didn’t want anything to do with him, and I wasn’t very nice.” He couldn’t help but cringe at the thought of their first meeting, how he’d pushed Ben down and run away in tears.  When they’d moved Ben him into his room, he’d thought it was the end of the world. “But there was something about him, something that got to me… We became friends, and we began to grow close. But I never did think of him as a brother. Especially after I f—”

Ryan’s eyes widened as he realized what he’d almost admitted to, his glance falling to the table. Abby raised his chin so he was forced to meet her gaze, and what he saw there was a complete lack of judgment.

“After you fell in love?” she finished his sentence. Ryan could only nod.

“You kept it secret from your father, didn’t you?”

Ryan nodded again. How could she understand him so completely? “I didn’t even tell Ben at first, but I didn’t really have to, in the end.”

“Because he knew, and he felt the same way too.” Abby sighed. “I envy you two so much. What you have… it’s beautiful. It really is. It’s like you complete each other. That’s the kind of love I’d like to have someday.”

They sat in a companionable silence for a few minutes. Maybe this would be a good time to bring up what was on his mind.

“Abby, regarding the book I’m writing….” Ryan began. “Ben wants it to have a bio section on all the members of Salvation…”

“Including you?”

Her question threw Ryan for a loop. The thought had never occurred to him. “Well, I’m not a member of the group,” he finally found his tongue. “It’s not my story, it’s all of yours.”

“I beg to differ, but I’ll let that pass for now,” Abby said. “So,  you’ll be collecting all our stories over the course of the tour?”

“Yeah, that’s the idea.”

“Let me guess. My brother has given you instructions on what subjects you can and cannot ask me about?” Abby leaned forward in the booth, drumming her fingertips lightly on the surface of the table.

“Well…” Ryan hedged, trying to spin Aiden’s words into something less threatening.

“It’s okay, really. I know how protective he can be, and I love him for it. But I’m not a fragile piece of glass, and I won’t break. Honestly.  Yes, there are things I don’t want to see in the book. Things that are no one’s business. Things too painful to talk about… but there are plenty of other things. And I especially want to make sure that people know I’m transgendered, and that lots of people like me exist in this world and lead the same kinds of lives as everyone else. I want people to become so used to the idea of transgender people that they won’t  see us as different or warped… just people. You know?”

“Abby, that’s a beautiful thought,” Ryan said truthfully. “People are people no matter what. Some are good, and some are bad. It doesn’t matter what your race is, or your religion, or who you love. I hope I can convey some of that in my book.”

“I’m sure you will, Ryan,” Abby said. He thought she was about to say something else, but at that moment, he heard his name called. They went to the counter and picked up their order before heading back to the club.

to be continued

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Virtual Book Tour: The Moment Between by Gareth Frank

Good morning and please welcome author Gareth Frank and Goddess Fish Promotions! Gareth will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. The more often you enter, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on the tour, go here.

The Moment Between

by Gareth Frank


GENRE: Psychological Thriller



After four years of mourning, Doctor Hackett Metzger is determined to stop letting his wife's death control his life. He is finally beginning to live again, but his recovery leads to an unexpected fight for his own survival and startling revelations about what happens to all of us in The Moment Between.

Hackett, a brilliant neurologist, is a skeptic. He doesn't believe he will one day be reunited with Jean, or dwell with God in heaven. What he does believe is that he should have seen the warning signs of her heart attack; he should have saved her. He also cannot accept the possibility that his clinical study of near death experiences could prove the existence of a conscious afterlife. When Hackett falls for the mother of a patient, grief finally begins to fade. But he has no idea his new love is hiding her dangerous past. Will Hackett's damaged spirit endure another heartbreak?



Yu Lai’s eyes radiated sadness, and there was a slight tremble in her lips. Hackett could see her trying to flush out her emotions before speaking.

“Nobody really knows what death is, when it starts or when it is complete,” she said. You and I both know the body dies gradually. Under the right circumstances, someone whose brain stops functioning and whose heart stops beating can be brought back to life an hour later, even more. The cells of the brain don’t just die the second blood flow is cut off.”

“What are you saying, Doctor? Are you advocating that we outlaw transplants?”

“No. You know I’m not. I guess I was just spooked by the way her arms lifted up. It was clear that Mrs. Carrollton wasn’t coming back, but I don’t know if she was truly and totally gone.”

Hackett wanted to yell, wanted to shut her up. Death was death. When the brain died, the conscious mind went with it. Hackett had learned the hard way that it was better to face that fact.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Gareth Frank is a former union organizer and administrator. He received a Master's Degree at the University of Wisconsin and later studied at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The Moment Between is his first published novel. His short stories have been published in various journals and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize as well as the Silver Pen Write Well Award.




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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #40 (10.3)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Salvation is about to play a concert at an underground club in Houma, Louisiana. Ben sends Ryan and Abby to pick up some food from a local restaurant before they go on. Good chance for Ryan to get to know Abby better. See what their conversation brings in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they've been up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #40 (10.3)

The general consensus of the other members of the band was they’d be fine with whatever Abby and Ryan chose to get, so they decided to go with that.

At her request, Abby drove. Ryan didn’t mind. She knew how to use the GPS system better than he did anyway. He’d never had one before, in St. Louis. When he needed to go somewhere unfamiliar, he relied on Mapquest.  When she put in the address of the restaurant, they learned their destination was only fifteen minutes away. Traffic was light to moderate in this part of Houma, swelling a little as they went. The restaurant was no great shakes at first sight, but judging from the smells that hit their nostrils as soon as they walked in the door, the food was something special. A number of the tables were full, even as late as it was. The atmosphere was relaxed and tension-free. Ryan was sorry they didn’t have time to sit here and enjoy their meal.  Another time, hopefully.

Studying the menu, they decided to get a selection of appetizers: crab claws and stuffed jalapenos, fried pickles and fried cauliflower, as well as oyster brochettes. Just in case someone wanted to satisfy a sweet tooth, they also ordered some funnel fries. If they were still hungry after the show, they could always find something else then, but there was no sense in loading up too much right before they went on. Ryan placed their order, then handed the girl behind the counter the credit card Ben had given him to use, not surprised to see Cameron’s name imprinted on the plastic. Once he gave her his name, they found a table near the order pick-up where they could wait.

“What are those brochettes? I’ve never heard of them,” Ryan confessed.

“I’ve had them before. They’re skewers of oysters and bacon, deep fried, usually served on some kind of toasted bread, with a sauce,” Abby replied.

“Sounds good. I’ll trust your judgment.” He smiled at her.

Abby gave him a long studied look, not saying a word.

“What?” He glanced away, wondering if he’d said something wrong.

“I was just thinking how much you’ve changed in just the few days I’ve known you, Ryan.”

“I have?” He’d picked up a salt shaker, sliding it idly back and forth across the table, from one hand to another. He looked up at her in surprise.

“You seemed nervous and apprehensive at the airport. Kind of unsure of yourself. Not unhappy but not happy, either, if you know what I mean. Now… well, now you’re positively radiant. Not that I don’t know the reason why.”

Ryan’s cheeks warmed. He knew exactly what Abby meant, but he hadn’t realized how apparent his new outlook on life was to the other members of the band. Must be pretty obvious, since they really didn’t know him at all. Not like Ben did.

“Don’t be embarrassed, I think it’s wonderful.” Abby reached out and laid one of her hands over his. “I see how you and Ben look at each other. He’s just as happy as you, trust me. He hasn’t glowed like this in…. well, ever. Not since I’ve known him.”

That was good to know. The thought warmed Ryan, inside and out. He knew he must be flushed pretty red, but he didn’t mind. Abby was hardly judgmental.

“Love is a grand thing.” He couldn’t read her tone, it sounded somewhat enigmatic for all her talk of romance. She squeezed his hand, then withdrew her own.

“Are you in love?” he asked without thinking, then wished he hadn’t spoken. “I’m sorry. That’s none of my business. Forget I asked.”

“No, it’s okay. You can ask me anything.”

He raised his eyes from the table apprehensively. She wasn’t smiling, but she didn’t look angry either.
“I have a boyfriend, if that’s what you mean,” she replied.

That wasn’t exactly an answer to what he’d asked, but remembering Aiden’s rules, he wasn’t about to press the issue with her. Not unless she seemed willing to discuss it.

“Brandon?” he asked. He ran his thumb over the top of the salt shaker. Some of the holes were caked with old salt, he noticed. Maybe the humidity caused that.

“That’s the one,” Abby said lightly. “There’s a chance you might get to meet him tonight. He said if he could, he’d come to the show.” She shrugged, as if his attendance wasn’t of great importance to her one way or another. Ryan wondered what sort of relationship they had. Just thinking about being with Ben made him smile. Shouldn’t she be a little more eager to see this Brandon?

“It’s complicated,” Abby said slowly, as if she’d read his mind. More likely, she could just follow his train of thought. “You see, I’ve been saving money for a while now… to get… the surgery I need…”

Ryan nodded, not sure where this was going, but it answered the question of just what surgeries her dad paid for. Top, but not bottom, apparently.

“Brandon… has different ideas about the surgery then I do. He doesn’t want me to get it.”

That was a surprise. And very confusing. “But… but why… I mean, if it’s something you want…”

“Exactly.” Abby offered him a sad smile. “He tells me he likes that… little extra I have. He doesn’t understand that it isn’t part of who I really am, it’s part of me that should never have existed.”

That made sense, but it was also sad. If this Brandon loved her as she was, why would he want her to keep something was anathema to her? What kind of love was that? Why was it that all the men in her life, other than Aiden, were no good?

“If he doesn’t understand that, then he doesn’t deserve someone as special as you,” Ryan said without thinking.

Abby’s eyes glistened.  A lone tear trickled down her cheek as she offered him a sad smile.

to be continued

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Virtual Book Tour: The Mages Tales Prequel

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ilana Waters will be awarding a $75 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

From USA Today bestselling author Ilana Waters:

Vampire. Witch. Hero. Monster.

Titus Aurelius is all of these things. Ever since he rose from the ashes of ancient Pompeii, this former Roman general has fought for survival.

A few millennia later, bloodseeker Titus isn’t looking for trouble—just a quick meal. But when his path crosses the witch Abigail’s, that plan gets shot to Hades. They find out the Paranormal Investigation Agency (PIA) is plotting something monstrous—something that involves exploding gas mains, lethal bird-shifters, and sadistic vampire minions.

Will they uncover the PIA’s murderous secret before every supernatural in its path is destroyed?

And what is Titus and Abigail’s connection to the mage who, almost twenty years later, is exiled to a paranormal boarding school? Can this mage solve a mystery concerning a stolen potion and ghostly figure before students—including him—wind up dead?

Together for the first time, the Mage Tales Prequels: Books 0-II are action-packed, edge-of-your-seat suspense stories shot through with a megadose of snark. If you love authors like Kevin Hearne, Lev Grossman, and Ilona Andrews, give these a try! This box set contains one novella and two full-length novels:

When Darkness Falls
Blood and Magic
Mage Lessons

Read an Excerpt

From Blood and Magic:

Abigail knew it would take more. They had to make the current even stronger. What was it Mom said about never dropping a hair dryer in the bathtub? She was about to do the equivalent—on a much larger scale.

I need you, she thought to the sky, the sea. The whole world. To magic, to energy, to life itself. We need you. Come to us!

The rain hit the ship like a meteor. Waves rose up over the sides. Tunnels of water bore down. The ship lurched violently from side to side. Abigail rose in the air a little so she wouldn’t fall onto the deck. The sound of thunder filled her ears.

But that was nothing compared to the fireworks of electricity coming from the net. The addition of the rain had made it absolutely lethal. The wind blew Cunningham’s hair and clothes behind her, as if she were standing in front of a giant fan. She fought not to go backward into the web of death, and even managed to advance several steps. Abigail’s heart hammered against her chest. Blood raced like quicksilver through her veins.

“She’s getting away!” Abigail shrieked. “Dammit, Titus, do something!”

About the Author:

Hi! I'm Ilana Waters, USA Today bestselling author of the Mage Tales.

I write urban fantasy for those who like it fast, funny, and fierce. If you're into cross-blended creatures (think witch-vampire hybrids and half-breed mages) and supernatural ass-kicking, I'm all over that. Ditto if your book turn-ons are equal parts creepy and action-packed (think ancient cities and crypts combined with beheadings and bombs).

Sign up for my newsletter here, and I'll give you a free book:


Buy link:

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #39 (10.2)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Today, we return to In Pieces, after my tribute to Aaron Burr last week. Ryan and Ben are pretty happy and looking forward to Salvation's next gig at an underground club in Houma. Catch up with them in this week's chapter. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #39 (10.2)

“What’s on the schedule for tonight?” Ryan asked Ben as they crossed the back lawn, hand in hand.

“We’re playing at a place they call The Dive,” Ben replied. “It’s an underground club in Houma, about an hour and half from here Sorry, we’ll have to go across the bridge again. That’s the fastest way there.” He glanced at Ryan, offering him an apologetic smile that was also filled with concern.

“No worries. It’s not scary at all when I have you beside me,” Ryan said sincerely. He stopped moving and gave Ben a kiss of reassurance. “Besides, it’s time I got over that. I’m not a kid anymore. I’ll be thirty in less than two years.” Sometimes he found it hard to believe he was actually that old, he didn’t feel any different then when he was in high school.  But at other times he felt older, like time was slipping by him too quickly. At least he felt that way until he found Ben.

“Yeah, but fears are fears,” Ben countered. “You can’t always make them go away by wishing. “ He returned Ryan’s kiss with one of his own. “I’ll always be there for you, just remember that.”

“I will,” Ryan promised. “Same goes for you. There’s nothing you can’t tell me, nothing I wouldn’t do for you.” As he squeezed Ben’s hand, he thought he saw a shadow cross Ben’s face. Ben mumbled something he couldn’t quite make out, but Ryan thought he heard him say it wasn’t as easy as that.

“What did you say, Ben?” Ryan asked.

“I just said I love you very much,” Ben replied. “I hope you don’t get tired of hearing that. If you do, just let me know.” His last words were spoken in a light-hearted tone, but Ryan sensed something darker beneath. They’d reached the one-time storage building now. Ryan could hear voices from inside. He started to ask Ben to wait a minute so he could frame his next question, but Ben reached for the door handle before he could get it out.

“Once more into the fray,” Ben said. “Shall we?” Not waiting for an answer, he pushed open the door and they entered the dimly lit interior. The moment had passed. Ryan was pretty sure Ben wasn’t being entirely honest, but he didn’t feel the need to argue the point. He wasn’t big on confrontation. Why spoil a good thing? If that made him a coward, then so be it. He was probably making a mountain out of a molehill anyway.

The practice went well, including the changes in the light show that Keanu proudly showed off and which met with everyone’s satisfaction. Several hours later they headed out to Houma. The Dive was situated in an industrial-looking area which seemed rather desolate, surrounded as it was by boarded-up buildings whose walls were drenched in colorful graffiti—from stylized art to pornographic ditties—as well as small houses  crammed together  in an uncomfortable intimacy that had obviously seen better days.

“There’s better parts of town,” Ben said. “Beautiful mansions, the whole nine yards. But this works for them, I guess. Road less traveled means the people who do show up are supposed to be here. Hopefully to see us.”

That made sense if your intention was to keep out the more mainstream people. Some of them could be somewhat judgmental when it came to people and things they didn’t understand. The idea of church metal itself was innovative and different, so Ryan realized it was open to be misunderstood. Salvation would probably be considered by some to be a fringe music group, while other people might downright hate them for what they thought the band represented. Didn’t mean Salvation couldn’t catch fire and make it big. Ryan believed in them. He knew they’d succeed. How could they not, with Ben to lead them?

 Deacon and Keanu arrived at the same time as they did and backed the van up as close to the building as they could get. Ryan was prepared to help them schlep the equipment in, but Ben caught his arm before he could grab anything. Apparently he had something else in mind.

“I was just thinking,” he said. “There’s a Cajun restaurant not too far from here. I read about it on the Internet.  Menu looks great, and the reviews are pretty stellar. Since we didn’t yet, I thought we should something a little better than bar food before we go on. Would you mind going there and picking up some dinner? Take Abby with you, why don’t you? We have plenty of time before the show. I’d say let’s go and eat there rather than do the carry-out thing, but I’m afraid I’d be tempted to stay too long, sampling the menu and the drinks.” Ben laughed.

“That’s a great idea.” Ryan liked Abby. He didn’t mind the idea of spending time with her. This could be his chance to get something from her for the book.  And nothing about the taboo topics Aiden had warned him about—California, becoming transgender… or family. Didn’t mean she couldn’t bring it up herself, though, did it? Maybe she’d be more open than her twin gave her credit for. That would be up to her, naturally.

He turned toward Abby, who stood beside her brother. She made a very beautiful nun, he thought. If he were into women, he could see himself being attracted to her. Maybe that was messed up, though. Nuns weren’t supposed to be looked on a sexual beings, were they? Didn’t matter. He wasn’t drawn to women, and that was that. In fact, there was only one person who held any allure for him, and that was Ben. End of story.

“Do you mind coming with me, Abby?” he asked, not wanting to assume.

“Not at all. Let’s pull up the menu and see what everyone wants.”

“Thanks, baby.”When Ben kissed Ryan’s cheek, he couldn’t help but smile.

to be continued

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Guest Blogger: Carol Pedroso

Please welcome my friend and fellow Briefer, Carol Pedroso, who is here to tell us about the release of her newest story, Wrong Becomes Right!   


Wrong Becomes Right is a contemporary short read, great for a lazy evening on the couch with a nice hot drink to escape the cold winter.

When Kevin receives a message meant for someone else, little does he know how his life will change.


Kevin receives a message via a dating app, but his hopes are dashed when he realizes it’s meant for someone else. The guy sounded perfect. He tells the guy he has the wrong user and thinks nothing of it until he gets another reply, and then another. Before he knows it, he has a new friend in Brian. Brian is as perfect as he first sounded, and if Kevin harbors lustful thoughts about his new pen pal? Well, no one knows but him. Right? Then a fall and an interfering sister intervene. Add in an unwanted birthday party and an overeager twink, and who knows what will happen?

Buy Links


About the Author

Carol is a stay at home mum from the UK, as well as an active volunteer within her community. She started writing gay romance in 2014, when she came across the Wednesday Brief Writers Group on one of their member’s websites. She has since started her own blog and also posts to When she isn’t writing she enjoys all sorts of activities, including; crocheting, walking, and of course lots of reading. She is very thankful to her husband and daughter for all their support and for not complaining too much when she ignores them for long periods of time. She always loves to hear from readers and enjoys getting to know them better. You can find Carol on the internet at: le/21914-caz-pedroso/ a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: Waiting for Theodosia

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

This week, I'm stepping away from my usual flash. But don't worry, In Pieces will return promptly next week, never fear! Today, however, is a special day, so I wanted to commemorate it in a special way. Today is the birthday of my favorite founding Father - Aaron Burr. Born Feb 6, 1756, he is 263 today. Happy Birthday to Aaron. I hope you enjoy this little tale. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Waiting for Theodosia

Spring in New York City was iffy at best. Surprisingly lamblike at times, more often it revealed the face of the lion in its chilly ferocity. Tonight was a night of infinite leonine grace. Aaron Burr pulled his cloak tighter about himself, fending off a stiff breeze. The cold in and of itself was not worrisome to him. He’d endured far worse as a soldier during the ill-fated march to Quebec. His concern was entirely for his daughter, Theodosia. She would be arriving soon, and he did not wish her to catch cold.

The docks of New York were quiet at night, silent ships riding gentle lapping waves. A stark contrast to a time when British ships held sway. So many ships they’d resembled a veritable forest.  Thirty-two thousand troops under the joint command of the Howe brothers. But that was long ago now.

He’d expected to sight Theodosia’s ship earlier in the day, but so far there had been no sign of the Patriot. Delays at sea were not uncommon, so Burr was not overly concerned. She would be with him soon, and that was all that mattered.


Lost in thought, Burr had failed to hear anyone approach. He made a graceful pirouette to face the speaker. Being recognized was a common occurrence for Burr, especially here in New York where he had spent so much of his political career. And of course his stint as vice-president of the United States carried its own infamy.

This was one face he hadn’t expected to see, however.

“Hamilton!” Burr exclaimed. The two men shook hands.

“Damn cold out here,” Hamilton complained. “Just when you think winter is over and done with, it comes creeping back like a thief in the night.”

Burr repressed a smile at Hamilton’s outrage. He knew the other man was more bluster than anger, although he could be hotheaded and one would do well to be wary of him at those times.

“I’m surprised to see you down here at this hour,” Hamilton continued. “Taking the air? Sea air, that is?” He smirked, as if he’d said something very humorous.

“I’m awaiting my daughter,” Burr replied, not bothering to address the witticism. “The Patriot is expected today, but she must be running a little late.”

“Ah, Theodosia,” Hamilton said. “So much like her dear mother, isn’t she? And yet very much her father’s child.”

“I like to think so,” Burr murmured. Theodosia, named for his late wife, was indeed the apple of his eye, his reason for living. He had missed her sorely since her marriage and removal to the wilds of South Carolina. The only blessing which had been bestowed was his one and only grandchild, Aaron Burr Alston, whom he nicknamed Gampy. The child had taken to calling Burr Gampy as well, which was sometimes confusing to everyone but the two of them. “As much as her son is like his mother.”

“Indeed,” Hamilton said. A brief silence ensued. Burr eyed Hamilton curiously. No wonder the man complained of the cold. He was dressed as though he’d just come from the theater, bright colors and jewels, but not so much as a warm coat. What had he been thinking? Come to think of it, where had he been? With his latest mistress, perhaps? Maybe his sister-in-law, Angelica Church?

“What brings you here at this time of night, Alexander?” he asked.

Hamilton seemed momentarily taken aback, as if he’d not expected to be questioned in return. He fidgeted slightly. Burr, feeling sorry for the man, deftly changed the subject.

“How are you succeeding with your notion of starting a bank?” he asked solicitously.

Hamilton relaxed slightly, as if on more solid ground. In the wan moonlight which struggled to pierce the clouds which shrouded it, he still seemed more than a little furtive. What did this portend?

“I have gained my support,” he said cagily. “All is well.”

That was interesting news. Burr made a mental note to see what he could find out about the matter. If it was true, it might pave the way for others to do the same. After all, what sense was there in committing all of one’s eggs into one basket?

“You haven’t seen my son, Phillip, have you, Burr?” Hamilton’s next question seemed odd, being asked without any sort of context. Burr was momentarily confused.

“Seen your son?” he echoed. “No, that I have not.”

A frown marred Hamilton’s otherwise smooth forehead, his eyes uneasy. A heartbeat passed between them before Hamilton’s expression became peaceful once more. “Ah, young men. I’m sure he’s out and about, doing the sorts of things we did at his age.”

“Still do.” Now it was Burr’s turn to smirk. “Do you remember the time we were both seeing the same young lady, but neither was aware of the fact?”

“How could I forget? She played us both like a rare violin, did she not? Whatever became of her?”

“Last I heard, she married well and moved west. Maybe as far as Ohio.”

“That far?” Hamilton whistled softly.

Or was that the whinny of a horse?  The sharp clop-clop of hooves. A wandering traveler, perhaps? Or someone else waiting for the Patriot?

Burr turned back toward the sea. Where was that ship? A feeling of unease rose in his chest, a feeling of panic mingled with sorrow that he could not explain. A deep sense of dread.

Anxious for no reason he could name, he turned toward Hamilton. But no one was there.  Realization flowed through Burr like a chill.

How could he be? Burr had shot him in a duel, back in ‘04. His son dead two years before that, defending his father’s honor. Poor little Gampy dead of malaria at the age of nine. And his darling daughter Theodosia lost at sea. No matter how often he roamed the docks in search of her.

Gone, all gone.

Feeling incredibly alone, Aaron Burr fell to his knees and began to sob.

Happy Birthday, Aaron!


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