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The Cover and Excerpt for My Third Novel TIME OF THE SEASON

TIME OF THE SEASON
A Plot to steal 10 million dollars. A man down on his luck. A woman with a plan. A lethal affair that could only end badly.
Ben Lyons is down on his luck, but his luck changes when he meets Lauren Tinsdale, the wife of loan shark and former boxer Freddy “The Beef” Tinsdale. Seduced by Lauren, Ben finds himself caught up in her plan to steal a large sum of money and then skip town. But is that all Lauren wants from Ben? Or does she have another plan…one that involves taking her husbands life?



EXCERPT:

1. 
BLOOD ON THE PAVEMENT 

The first hit came from his left making a hard contact to his face. Unexpected of course. Ben’s head turned as blood splattered from his mouth. Then the next fist came at him from the front and made contact with his stomach. Ben coughed and spit. He held his stomach and went down into the fetal position on the pavement. The gutter. That’s where he’s at. Gina had always said he would be found in the gutter dead one day and she was right. Well Partly. Ben wasn’t dead. Not yet. Not by these rejects. They started to kick him and even one of them took the time between kicks to land a few hard punches into his side, back, face and arms. Ben just laid there and took it. He was like a possum laying in wait for the bigger animals to leave so he could run back to safety. 

“Three against one,” he said earlier. “Come on guys that’s not even a fair fight.” 
“Fuck you bitch. You owe us money and since you can’t pay right now we will have to give you a taste of what’s to come,” the skinnier of the three men said, smirking as he cracked his knuckles. He had one huge ruby ring on his left hand that he also adjusted. “We don’t really like to leave you with any surprises.” 
“How kind of you,” Ben said. He tried to move between the three men, but they had him cornered. That’s when the one on his left threw the first punch. The men laughed at him as he just lay on the pavement taking the hits. 
“Fucking pussy,” one of them said. Ben hated it when they called him that. He was no fucking pussy. He was one of the best boxers in his high school class. He also played football. He was good at that too. There wasn’t a sport that Ben Lyons wasn’t good at. But he just lay there as the three guys pounded away at him. Why just lay there if he could take them? It was because Ben was no dummy. He was a smart man. He let them beat on him so they would give up and leave him alone. He should have never left the apartment this morning. 
Gina was still asleep when he got up and dressed. He wanted to play the card game he had heard about from Bob the night before. Bob being the one man Ben could trust. Bob being the one man who took care of Ben when his mother left him alone with his father. She ran off with another woman. How crazy was that. Ben didn’t think he would have even lived it down. His mother a fucking dyke. He was teased on a regular basis over it. Maybe that was why he took to sports—to prove he was no pussy—pansy. 
He knew Gina was going to be mad with him—even hate him after leaving her in bed alone so he could go play a game of cards. He could have just stayed home and made love to her, but the cards were calling his name. He could hear them as he tossed and turned in the bed and even when Gina slipped his cock into her and rode him like a bull, he could only think about the card game. How it would have felt to win the pot. How it felt to be inside her as she pushed against him and in his mind he won both pots. But he still left her in the bed asleep. 
The three men stopped beating on him. 
“Pathetic,” the taller one said with the scar across his eye. “I thought you would at least put up a fight.” 
“Sorry to disappoint you,” Ben mumbled from the pavement. He was furious though. Letting them beat on him like a sack of potatoes. That’s how he learned to train for boxing. His trainer wanted him to be better than all the other high school kids so he had him punch a sack of potatoes everyday for practice. Ben wanted to jump up and start pounding into them. He knew he could do it. He knew that they were tired from beating on him. It would take nothing to beat them to the ground, but he held back. It was something else he needed to control. His anger. It wasn’t worth going to jail over. Besides these guys were nothing to him. So what if he lost. So what if he owed them money. Who doesn’t he owe money to? 
“Listen up pussy,” the short one said. “We will be looking for our money in another week so be prepared for another beating if you can’t pay up.” 
“Sure thing, haus,” Ben said not looking at any of them. He wanted them to think he was a pussy. The men walked away laughing. It was going to be a long day for them and they had all day to talk about Ben to all their friends. At least he made someone happy today. Ben pulled himself up onto his feet. He propped himself against the brick wall of the building he cowered next to, with one hand as he wiped at his nose with his other. He pressed one finger against his nostril and blew from his nose. Dark red shot from his nose leaving blood on the pavement. He then did the other side. He coughed a little from blowing the blood from his nose as he pulled himself together. He needed to get back home before Gina woke up. Later on tonight, he would go pay Bob a visit. Bob the man who got him a stripper for his birthday so he could lose his virginity. Man Bob was going to pay. 
Ben walked from out of the alley he was standing in and onto the sidewalks. It was as if the world started up around him. Everything loud and busy. He could hear the older Italian ladies bitching at the men for walking on their clean floors and that they had no fucking manners. What’s up with the world today. No one gave a fuck about other people’s shit. Ben laughed as she popped the grown man, who was obviously her son, across the head with her hand. She called him a name in Italian, which Ben translated as her calling him a dumb ass. The grown man looked upset and he seemed like he would cry. Ben tried not to stare, but it was too entertaining. He wiped at his nose again, looking at the blood that stained his fingers and without warning, he stepped right into her. 
Oh, she was nice. He first saw her shoes. Black stiletto heels. Her feet fit perfect in them. His eyes moved from her shoes to her legs. She wore no hose, they were bare and beautiful. There was a shine that came off her skin that kept his eyes on them. He moved to her waist, where her thin tan belt caught his eye. The belt had specks of what looked like gold thread through the stitching. She wore a tight white mini-skirt and a pink floral blouse, which was loose on her. He could see her breast cradled in a black bra. He finally settled onto her face. His face. Ben cocked his head to the left as he looked at his reflection in her sunglasses. 
“I look fucked up,” he mumbled. She smiled at him and removed her sunglasses. Her eyes glared at him with intensity. They were a brownish green color—today more green than brown. He didn’t know her, but he wish he did. She stood tall with her black hair pulled behind her shoulders. Her skin was tanned and she looked like a lioness as she stood over his slouching posture. Ben felt small to her. Only if he was in better form he would be able to meet her eye to eye. 
“Excuse me,” she said. Her voice was like music to his ears. 
“I…” Ben started to say, but someone pushed him back. Ben narrowed his gaze at a tall beefy man. He was six feet eight inches tall and wore a black t-shirt with BEEF written in the right corner just above his huge peck muscle. 
“Step back, asshole,” he said in a deep voice. He sounded like his tongue was too big for his mouth when he spoke. His brow was wrinkled as he stared Ben down. This guy was huge. There was no way Ben was going to start something. He wouldn’t even survive the beat down BEEF would give him. 
“Sorry,” Ben said. He looked from BEEF to the woman standing a few inches behind him. Damn she was fucking hot. “I didn’t mean to walk on this side of the street. I had no idea that it was taken.” 
“You’re a smart ass,” BEEF said. He grabbed Ben’s shoulder and tightened his grip on him. Ben smiled and winced in pain. “I chew guys like you up and spit them out.” 
“I’m sure you do. No woman would let you,” Ben said as he winced in pain over the man’s grip. 
“Bruno, what is going on here,” another man said walking out of Vinnie’s restaurant. This man was shorter than the woman, but he was a big man himself. He looked familiar to Ben as he caught a glimpse of him. “I leave you alone for a moment and you are already causing trouble.” The man looked at the woman when he said it. “Bruno let the man go.” 
“Yea, Bruno let me go,” Ben said. Bruno obeyed in disappointment. 
“Sorry sir, he was too close to Mrs. Lauren,” Bruno said. 
“Did he hurt her?” 
“No sir, but I didn’t want to take that chance.” 
“Hey you,” the man said. He walked over to Ben. Bruno followed along with another big beefy guy. A car pulled up next to them. The driver got out of the car and ushered Mrs. Lauren into it. She stood for a moment looking at Ben smiling. She was enjoying every moment. There was something about a woman who loved to watch others get hurt. 
Bitch. 
“Hey I’m talking to you.” Bruno pulled Ben by the arm. The man was now close to Ben and Ben could smell the man’s breath. He had just finished eating something with heavy garlic in it. The smell was over powering. 
“Yea,” Ben said trying to look away. He felt himself gag over the smell from the man’s mouth. 
“You like my wife,” he asked. Ben looked over from him to her. She sat in the car looking at them from the window. “Hey…hey look at me when I talk to you.” Ben looked at him. “You want to fuck my wife?” He wanted to say yes, but then that would be wrong. But hell what did Ben have to lose other than maybe his life. 
“Freddy,” she called from the car. “Leave him alone. He didn’t do anything. Let’s go or we will be late.” Freddy looked at her irritated. He clenched his teeth. 
“You have a problem?” 
“No,” Ben said. Just with your breath right now…he wanted to say. But he held back. He didn’t know why, but he just did—pussy. 
“Good boy,” Freddy said. There was something about Freddy that made Ben hate him. He was a short beefy man who wore a lot of gold and white. The woman, Ben figured, was Freddy’s wife. How did a hot piece of ass end up with that guy? Freddy backed up from Ben as his bodyguards walked him over to the car. “Take care boy and watch where you’re fucking walking next time.” Freddy gets into the car and then his bodyguards followed. The car drove past Ben as he caught Freddy’s wife smiling and staring at him as she raised the car window. Too bad the windows were tinted. Ben wouldn’t of mind to continue staring at Freddy’s wife as they drove off. She was hot, but there was something off about her. 
Ben continued on his way to his own car. Freddy was stuck in his head. Where the hell did he know him from? It was going to bug him and maybe tonight he will ask Bob about him. Bob the asshole who fucked him over this morning. Oh, man he is going to pay. Ben clenched his fist just thinking about what Bob got him into today. Ben found his car, hopped in and drove off back to Gina, who he hoped was still asleep or at work. The worse thing that could come out of it would be that she got up and saw that he was gone. She dismissed it and went to work. He would bring her flowers. He stopped long enough to buy some flowers at the newspaper stand along with the paper. He liked looking at the fights and sometimes he even liked to bid on them. But that was something he hid from Gina. She would kill him if she found out. 
He would give her the flowers though to make up for the fact that he was not in bed next to her when she woke up. He should surprise her at work after he cleaned himself up. It would be bad if he showed up at her place of work bloody and bruised. “I’m going straight,” he will say to her. “I’m not going to bet on anymore games, baby. I’m all yours.” Wait. He said that already. He said that a few nights ago. He said it just before he heard about the card game from Bob. Just before he won fifty bucks off a dart game. His brief winning streak. They say that you will have a winning streak, but Ben thought it would have lasted longer than a night. Well maybe he won twice that night if you counted the fact that he had sex with Gina. 
“No…no no no,” Ben yelled as he pulled up to his apartment. Tony’s truck was parked outside the building with boxes loaded in the back. Ben parked his car and started running up to the building. He immediately ran into Tony who was making his way to the truck with a box. 
“Hey man, no you don’t go up there,” he said. 
“Tony, no she can’t be doing this to me,” Ben said. He looked over Tony’s shoulder. He couldn’t see her, but he knew she was in there. The window to the second floor of the apartment opened and Gina stuck her head out. 
“Go away Ben. I don’t want to see you,” she yelled down to him. 
“But Gina,” he whined. “C’mon, girl. I love you. You can’t do this to me.” Ben held out his arms. The flowers were still in one hand. “Look babe, I bought you some flowers. Please forgive me. I love you.” 
“No…no Ben,” she yelled. “I can’t do this anymore. You ruined my love for you with your card games. You said you were going to change. That you weren’t going to gamble no more.” 
“I’m not gambling no more, babe. It’s just me. See,” he said holding up the flowers. Gina rolled her eyes. She pulled herself back into the apartment. “Ah, Gina, c’mon!” 
“I think you should leave man. I think you should leave and let her get her stuff out of the apartment,” Tony said. He was breathing heavy and turning red in the face. 
“What are you doing Tony?” 
“I’m protecting my sister,” he said looking serious. 
“I’m not going to hurt her. I love Gina,” he said. “Look I bought her flowers man. Why would I hurt her?” 
“The flowers are a nice gesture, but they won’t work this time. Just leave and let her get her stuff out of the apartment.” 
“Tony, what is this. Me and you go way back. We played ball together man. I don’t understand why you aren’t trying to help me out here,” Ben said looking at Tony trying to convince him that everything was okay. And everything would be okay if he could get into the apartment and talk with Gina. All he needed to do was talk to her. He could convince her that he was going straight. That there was no more gambling. It was just him and her. 
“I know man and I’m sorry about that. But this is my sister and she comes first.” 
“Alright man, I understand.” Ben stood for a moment and then walked off back to his car. Gina finally came out of the apartment with a box. She handed it to Tony and started for the truck. Tony placed the box into the back and got into the truck himself. Ben ran over to them shoving the flowers into Gina’s face. She flinched. 
“Ben, I’m going to kick your ass,” Tony said with a serious face. He threw open the car door and stepped out. 
“I’m sorry baby. I’m so so sorry. Please forgive me,” Ben pleaded softly to Gina. She looked at him. She almost seemed like she was going to take him back, but then she tossed the flowers onto the road. 
“No, Ben it is over between us. I am done with you and your games.” Tony grabbed Ben by the collar and pulled him away from the truck. He fell to the road—hard. Gina slid over into the driver’s seat as Tony got into the truck. “Leave me alone Ben. It’s over! And don’t call me. And don’t call my mother either you asshole,” she screamed as they pulled off down the road. Ben sat for a moment on the road. Someone laughed from one of the other apartments. 
“Ha ha, very funny,” Ben mumbled as he stood up. He stepped over the flowers Gina tossed onto the road and walked into the apartment. He closed the door and walked through the first floor of the apartment. The place was empty without her there. “Oh, man.” Ben shook his head out of irritation. He ran upstairs to the bedroom. He looked around for a moment pulling up bed sheets and looking in the bathroom and even the closet. He then ran to the window that was still open. “Larry! Really, Gina, you took my cat.” Ben yelled as he slammed the window shut. Now his life was shit. His winning streak peaked and died quickly. He won no money off the card game and he lost his girl. Man, Bob was going to get it.
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