Free Fiction Thursday – A Death in Cumberland

Happy Thursday, everyone! And happy first day of November.

I’ve got a couple of cool things happening this month. The first is the release of my brand-new mystery novel, A DEATH IN CUMBERLAND, featuring rural Nevada sheriff Jill Jordan. To celebrate, this week’s free fiction is an excerpt from the novel. Enjoy!

A Death in Cumberland
Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press
Copyright © 2012 Annie Reed


Chapter 1

Nora Corbitt parked her car at the very edge of the dirt parking lot at Founders Park.  The lot was full, but at this time of night no one would see her back here so close to the street.  The two baseball diamonds on the far side of the lot were lit so bright it looked like the middle of the day over there, but the banks of lights were focused on the playing fields, and the parking lot didn’t have any lights of its own.  Where Nora stood next to her car, she was hidden by the long shadows thrown by the few spindly trees that separated the lot from the baseball fields, and that was just the way she liked it.

It seemed like everyone in Cumberland had turned out for the city league tournament.  Grown men playing softball like their lives depended on it.  She’d seen flyers for the tournament at the grocery store.  Nora didn’t like crowds, and she hated sports and the men who played them.  She wouldn’t have left her house at all except for the cat.

“I have this cat, it’s a stray, but my dad won’t let me keep it.  Can you take it?  I hear you do that, right?  Take in cats?”

The voice on the phone that afternoon had been young.  Nora didn’t trust the young, and she hadn’t answered right away.

“I’m afraid my dad will kill it.  He doesn’t like cats.”

Nora had stroked the calico in her lap, a beautiful cat with only one eye.  The cat was like her, a survivor.  That’s all Nora had ever wanted to do—help the cats survive.

“Yes,” she’d said to the young voice.  “I can take it.”

They’d arranged to meet in the parking lot at Founders Park.  “After the games start.  My dad will be playing and he won’t notice if I’m gone for a few minutes.”

Nora didn’t ask why the meeting had to be secret.  She’d lived in Cumberland long enough to know that people who lived in small towns had their secrets, just like the town itself had secrets.  Nora was one of them.

(read the rest of the excerpt here)

Free Fiction Thursday – They Lie

Good morning, everyone! How’s Thursday treating you this week?

Can you believe August is almost over? This weekend is Labor Day here in the States, a three-day weekend that marks the traditional end of summer, then it’s September and the new TV season. Yay! I’m seriously looking forward to Castle and The Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead; I’m already enjoying the new season of Grimm. Before I know it, October will be here, which leads me up to one of my favorite holidays — Halloween.

This week’s story fits right in with that scary season. Imagine you’re driving down a lonely country road at night, the window in your car rolled down to catch the last warmth of the summer evening. You stop at a traffic light, fiddle with the volume on the radio, then you’re pulled out the window by something out of a nightmare. That’s only the beginning of “They Lie.” Enjoy!


They Lie

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed

Cover Art Copyright Tomislav Pinter |

They lie.

The writers of books like Twilight, of television shows like Buffy and Angel and Forever Knight.

There’s no romance.  No love.  No quests for redemption or pining for companionship or longing to become human again, and no damn sparkling in the sun.  There’s only darkness and fear and an all-consuming hunger that obliterates whatever’s left of your poor, screaming soul.

If you let it.

My maker pulled me out the open window of my car when I stopped for a light on a lonely country road late one night.  I’d spent most of that night watching chick flicks with my best friend, Chelsea.  I haven’t seen her since.  It’s a struggle.  I don’t need to be invited in, and I know the way back to her house.  Even if I didn’t, I could still find her.  I know her scent.

I’m not sure why I stopped at that light.  Chelsea lives out in the sticks.  Nothing but flat farmland for miles.  I could see enough of the road to know that no cars were coming in the other direction.  No cars at all, but I’ve always been a good girl.  A rule follower.  So I stopped and checked for headlights.  Unbuckled my seatbelt for a moment to straighten out a twist while I listened to some inane pop song on my radio.

Then I died.

It wasn’t a quick death.  Imagine being ripped apart by a wild animal, but staying awake for the whole thing.  My maker was ancient and rotted, and he smelled like an open sewer pit.  He chewed at my neck and my arms, and when I tried to run away, he pounced on my back and bit into my spine.

No one came to save me when I shrieked.  No one at all.

(read the rest of the story here)