Mind Fields by David-Matthew Barnes


Mind Fields 
David-Matthew Barnes

Genre: New Adult, M/M Romance, 
            Suspense Thriller
Publisher: Blue Dasher Press 
Date of Publication: May 18, 2021 
ISBN: TBD
ASIN: TBD
Word Count: 48,500
Cover Artist: Darn Good Covers

Book Description: 

Sometimes love can blow you away. 

When struggling college student Adam Parsh accepts a tutoring position, he is lured into the unknown world of a wealthy family. 

Fighting off the sexual advances of Dario Vassalo, a Greek tycoon and patriarch, Adam finds himself the object of the dangerous desires of one of the most powerful men in the world—his married employer.Torn between his attraction to Dario and his deepening love for his best friend, Victor Maldonado, Adam is forced to choose between right and wrong. 

Surrounded by lust, glamour, and greed, Adam uncovers dark secrets strong enough to destroy many lives, including his own.


Excerpt

Although the schedule at the Ravenswood Metra station said the commute was only 54 minutes, the ride felt much longer. Adam was seated with a window view, heading north on the Union Pacific line towards Great Lakes, to the wealthy shore side suburb of Lake Bluff, a place he’d only read about and heard others mention.

It was early but Adam had made a point of buying a large cup of coffee at 7-Eleven before jumping on the commuter train. The coffee warmed a chill inside of him he hadn’t been able to shake since waking up.

While Stacey was still passed out, Adam had stumbled around the tiny apartment, half asleep and full of lingering concerns. He showered, got dressed, ate a bowl of instant oatmeal, and headed to the train station. He checked his phone more times than usual. No voice mail or text from Victor.

Maybe I should’ve let him stay last night. I could’ve woken up in his arms, next to his warm body. We could’ve made love for hours.

Adam barely took notice of the sights as the train continued on its snow-filled journey to the North Shore. Instead, he sipped his coffee, listened to overly sentimental love songs on his iPod, and tried to imagine what life would be like if he and Victor made a commitment to each other. He knew, more than ever, that’s what he wanted. Being with Victor made sense. Like so many people had said before, they made a great pair.

Questions and fears heightened Adam’s anxiety, racing through his mind at the same speed of the train. Were they too young to be so serious? To be exclusive? What if Victor decided he was bored and restless and wanted to date other people? What if he was tempted and unfaithful? That would leave Adam hurt and damaged beyond repair.

His phone buzzed.

Finally.

False alarm. It was Stacey. I can’t wear my new shoes today because it’s snowing outside. I hate February. But I love you. Where you be?

He texted back. On a train heading north.

She responded within seconds. I hope you’re not running away from home just because the rent is due.

He smiled and texted back. Job interview. Wish me luck. Otherwise it’s noodles and tap water for us until March.

The train was nearly empty now. A young woman wearing a red knitted scarf and matching cap was sitting a few seats away. A business man in a gray suit was reading a newspaper he’d folded in half. He was balancing a leather briefcase on his lap. His black-framed reading glasses looked as if they’d slip off the tip of his nose at any second.

I wonder what their lives are like. Is she in love with someone she can’t have? Is he unhappy in his marriage? Are they terrified of dying alone someday?

Adam glanced down at the pleated slacks, button-up Oxford, black pea coat, and Italian leather shoes he was wearing. He was dressed like a preppy boarding school student. He felt like an impostor. He’d assumed someone else’s identity in Chicago and was now on his way to fool a rich family into believing he was one of them.

They’ll see right through me.

Adam wondered why Dario Vassalo had extended the invitation to him. Given they’d only spent a few minutes together in Becca’s new office and their conversation had been brief, Adam tried to figure out what it was he’d said or done to inspire the wealthy man to consider him for the tutoring position. Was he replacing someone who’d been fired or quit? Were ulterior motives at work? Was the position created just for Adam as a way for Dario to see him again?

Adam shook his head, silently dismissing his absurd theories. Yet, in the back of his mind, he knew there was a thread of truth to them. He’d felt an instant heat for Dario. It was powerful and intense. He was almost certain the attraction was mutual.

Get that ridiculous idea right out of your head. He’s a married man. You have Victor now. And, you love him. You need the job. If you have to flirt a little to get it and keep it, you’re only doing what needs to be done. You can make this situation work for you until graduation.

Even if the train ride is forever and these stupid shoes are already killing your feet.

Adam finished his coffee. He looked out the window at the passing neighborhoods, wondering what was happening inside the houses and apartments within eye line of the tracks. Was someone brewing coffee, cracking open eggs, pouring pancake batter over a buttered grill? Was a child running late for school, worried they were going to miss the bus? Did someone decide to call in sick for the day, add another log to the fire, and curl back into bed with a good book and a cup of peppermint tea? Maybe a car wouldn’t start. An alarm didn’t go off. A husband didn’t come home.  

The train pulled into the quaint, historic Lake Bluff station. Adam said a silent prayer, stood, and exited. Outside, the biting morning air was even colder than it had been in the city. There was a thin mist, floating and mingling with the falling snow flurries like a tentative ghost trying to decide whether or not to make an appearance.

Adam slid both hands into the pocket of his pea coat, cursing himself for not remembering to wear gloves or a scarf. He moved around the crowd of Chicago-bound commuters waiting to board a southbound train and made his way to the front of the train station.

Adam checked his phone and reread the instructions his mother had texted him.

A cab will be waiting for you at the station. Don’t be late.

On the train, Adam worried there’d be too many taxis to figure out which one was for him. He was relieved when there was only one idling at the curb.

There was an older woman standing next to the cab. She was short and squat. She was wearing a purple windbreaker, powder blue polyester slacks, and a pair of blinding white sneakers. The strange ensemble was completed with a white visor she wore low, just above her eyes. Her hair was short and tightly permed. It had an Easter blue tint to it.

She looks like an over groomed, mean poodle.

She glanced him up and down, cracked a sunflower seed between her front teeth, and spit the shell out on the sidewalk. “You Adam?” she asked. Her voice was nicotine stained and coated with a thick New York accent. At once, she gave off a strong vibe that even though she was short and could’ve been someone’s grandmother, she was tough and shouldn’t be messed with.

Adam was hesitant with his answer. “Yes. That’s me.”

“Name’s Myrtle,” she said.

“Myrtle?” Adam repeated, trying to hide his amusement.

No one is really named Myrtle, are they?

“Myrtle Brubaker,” she said. “You heard of me before?”

Adam couldn’t tell if she was joking. Was she a gangster or a cab driver?

Myrtle Brubaker had been through some hard times. It showed on her face. She looked weathered like someone had left her outside for too long in the snow. Beneath her haggard appearance and red, blotchy cheeks there was just a sliver of the attractive young girl she probably once was. Yet, it was clear Myrtle had never been a debutante. Adam imagined she spent her nights on a bar stool, shooting the breeze, chain-smoking, and killing off a bottle of bourbon. Or two.

“Get in,” she instructed. “You don’t wanna keep the missus waiting. She’s got a busy schedule.”

Adam complied. He slid into the backseat of the cab. It was like sitting in a closed box of sweet-smelling cigars. He rubbed his eyes, coughed a little, and asked, “What does she do?”

Myrtle found his eyes in the rearview mirror. “Who?”

“The missus,” he said, already speaking Myrtle’s language. “Mr. Vassalo’s wife.”

“Name’s Evangelina.”

“That’s pretty,” he said.

“Doesn’t even do her justice, if you ask me. She’s a knock out. You’d think her husband would pay more attention to her, but whadda I know?”

Adam grinned. “You seem to know a lot, Myrtle.”

“I love three things in this world,” she said.

“Is one of them bourbon?” Adam guessed.

            “As a matter of fact it is,” she said. “I love bourbon, a good horse race, and Nancy Sinatra.”


About the Author:

David-Matthew Barnes is an award-winning author, playwright, poet, and screenwriter. He writes in multiple genres, primarily young adult, romance, thriller, and horror. He is the bestselling author of twelve novels, five produced screenplays, three collections of poetry, seven short stories, and more than sixty stage plays. He graduated with honors from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and English. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. He attended the Professional Program in Screenwriting at UCLA. David-Matthew divides his time between Denver and Los Angeles. He is represented by Hoop Earrings Entertainment.






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Ambrosia by David-Matthew Barnes


Ambrosia 
David-Matthew Barnes

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Chick Lit
Publisher: Blue Dasher Press 
Date of Publication: April 7, 2021 
ISBN: 9798732649086
ASIN: B091WFG8B8
Number of pages: 217
Word Count: 56,400
Cover Artist: Kingwood Creations

Book Description: 

On the night of her 30th birthday, Tina Duncan is dumped by her musician boyfriend and left with nothing. When her best friend dares her to accept every date she’s asked out on for the next year, Tina accepts the challenge only to confirm her theory that the perfect man no longer exists. 

Tina’s life soon becomes one terrible date after another until she accidentally meets Oliver, a beautiful stranger who arrives at her front door to return her purse he’s found in a cab. Before realizing Oliver might be the man to prove her theory wrong – and is indeed the perfect man for her – he slips away and disappears. 

Convinced she’s lost her one shot at true love, Tina embarks on a city-wide search for a man she hardly knows but is quickly falling in love with.


Excerpt:

Sex was an evil, dirty thing and because I had so much of it with Geoffrey the Waiter, I knew I was going straight to hell. To make matters worse, Geoffrey was only nineteen, a sophomore at DePaul University (a Catholic school at that) and lived in a dorm room, which is where the immoral act took place. Of course I didn’t know any of this when I left work and jumped on a bus taking me south on Michigan Avenue.

As promised, I met Geoffrey at five o’clock. He walked out of the restaurant through the revolving door. To his misfortune, he saw me standing on the corner beneath the yellow blast of a street lamp. I stood there, surrounded by a buzzing swarm of hungry and overstuffed Christmas shoppers who continued to flow in and out of the restaurant like cattle. Despite the fact he was wearing a thick winter parka, a cow-patterned scarf, a knitted black hat, and matching gloves, he was still sexier than I’d remembered. He stood there for a second, just staring. It was at that moment I realized I was still wearing the ridiculous Santa hat.

“Merry Christmas.” I felt my chest tighten. I sounded way too enthusiastic. My loathing self-critic began its usual mantra in my head: Oh God, he thinks I’m desperate.
He took a long deep breath, as if he were standing on the edge of a pool and had no idea how to swim. He moved toward me slowly through the crowd. I could see his hesitation. There was dreaded fear in each step. His cheeks were flushed pink from the cold. His hazel eyes held reflections of streetlights and neon signs.

“I didn’t think you’d show up,” he said.

“Sorry to disappoint you.”

He offered me a soft smile. “No, I didn’t mean it like that.”

Nervous, I looked away. A woman with blonde hair was dragging her crying child down the street by the arm, swearing profusely. I turned back to Geoffrey and strands of my hair flew into my mouth, nearly gagging me. I brushed them away and tried to smile. “I made a horrible first impression on you and I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” he decided. “I forgive you.” He smiled again. His dimples practically radiated, warming a frozen spot inside of me. He brushed at a few flakes of snow that had fallen on my cheek, stuck there like wet pieces of tissue paper. He wiped them away with his left index finger. I shivered when the knitted fingertip of his glove made contact with my almost frostbitten skin. “You’re cute.”

I knew I was blushing. “You don’t have to lie.”

“Why would I? I hardly even know you.”

“We don’t have to do this. I mean, if you want out…” I shifted in my heavy black snow boots. I shoved my hands into the pockets of my old winter coat that was missing a button.

He looked at the top of my head. “Nice hat.”

“I was forced to wear this and I’m having a bad hair day.”

“Where do you wanna go?”

I shrugged. Then, like an idiot, I giggled. “I don’t know.”

“Are you hungry?”

“A little.”

“You want to get a drink?”

“I’d settle for some hot chocolate.”

“I think I can arrange that. I have some hot chocolate back at my place.” He reached for my hand, which was numb from the cold, and he held it in his. The softness of his glove rubbed against my palm.

He signaled for a cab. We were on the curb, directly across the street from the massive Art Institute. Beyond that I could see the cold, silver surface of Lake Michigan. “You have beautiful eyes,” he said. His words and breath fell onto my lips in a small blast of warm air.

“Thanks,” I replied. My teeth began to chatter but I knew it wasn’t due to the temperature. I was filled with a sudden flash of anticipation.



About the Author:

David-Matthew Barnes is an award-winning author, playwright, poet, and screenwriter. He writes in multiple genres, primarily young adult, romance, thriller, and horror. He is the bestselling author of twelve novels, five produced screenplays, three collections of poetry, seven short stories, and more than sixty stage plays. He graduated with honors from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and English. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. He attended the Professional Program in Screenwriting at UCLA. David-Matthew divides his time between Denver and Los Angeles. He is represented by Hoop Earrings Entertainment.




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Invasion of the Undead by Samurai Dan Coglan


Invasion of the Undead
Death Stalker Chronicles 
Book One
Samurai Dan Coglan

Genre: Horror
Publisher: L’Oste Vineyard Press
Date of Publication: 5-28-2021
ISBN: 978-1-7353896-7-7
ASIN: B08XNS92W5
Number of pages: 242
Word Count: 60500

Book Description:  

Former Marine Lance Corporal Chase Brooks fought the enemy in Afghanistan and lost his unit. 

Now back in America, he fights to keep from losing his mind, as he is repeatedly attacked by the undead that he believes wiped out his men overseas. 

Convinced that what he saw over there was real, he goes to war to wipe out the undead on American soil.

#samuaraidancoglanbooks #invasionoftheundead #deathstalkerchronicles #lostevineyardpress #horror #zombies #horrorbook #zombiebook


Excerpt

“Get those damn charges set, and let’s get out of here,” I growled into my mic.  Shadows moved around me, and a turbaned face appeared out of the murky darkness.  I shot the onrushing insurgent twice and looked around for more.

“Come on, come on, come on,” I muttered.  “We’re past time for evac.  Move your slow asses!” Lt. Rodriquez was suddenly at my side, scowling.  “We’re doing the best we can, Corporal.  Hold on to your hat.”

“Charges set, Lieutenant,” Stevens called out.  “That makes all four; we can blow this popsicle stand!”

“About damn time,” I snapped.  “There are hostiles everywhere.  What the hell is this place, anyway?”

McGavin scoffed.  “It’s a temple, Brooks.  Remember? We had a briefing and everything.”

“Screw you,” I told him.  “This ain’t like no temple that I’ve ever seen.  And it smells like a fucking crypt.”

“No lie,” my buddy, Lance Corporal Jeremy Stevens, chimed in.  

“Marines,” Rodriquez barked.  “Let’s go.”

I led us back out, the six of us in tight formation.  Stevens was on my left flank; Sgt. Bates was on my right, and the Lieutenant was in the middle with the beady-eyed “guide” that the Colonel had stuck us with.  McGavin brought up the rear.

Dead bodies were everywhere; our ingress had come with a high body count.  I ignored them.

Two tours had made me immune to corpses. I had bigger priorities.

There was a commotion in front of us; heard but not seen.  Voices cried out in excitement.  We froze.

Our position was suddenly hit with massive spotlights.  “We’ve been cut off! Break left!” Rodriquez yelled as gunfire erupted all around us.  We returned fire, hot and heavy.
Being in front has its disadvantages.  I got hit three times, twice in the chest and once in the leg.

My vest took the brunt of the two to the chest, but the leg shot really sucked.  I went down but staggered back to my feet and kept fighting.

Stevens took over point; Lt. Rodriquez slid over to his spot and put me in the middle with the guide, who looked scared out of his mind.  I didn’t blame him.   

We raced through the gloom, moving downhill but not having a choice in the matter.  McGavin took a round to the lower back and went down.  I shouted, and the unit took up positions around our fallen comrade.  

We created a semi-circle facing back the way we’d come, weapons up and ready.  There wasn’t long to wait.  The horde was on us quickly, the heavy sound of their AK-47s threatening to overwhelm the sharper cracks of our M-4s.  

It was over in less than sixty seconds, and to my amazement, we were still standing.  There were bodies all around us, and the air was thick with the smell of cordite.  Clouds of smoke from the gunfire obscured our lights even further.  
It was like being in hell, I thought, sweeping the area with my carbine.  Something flashed in my light, and I swung back.

There was a figure standing at the edge of the light.  It couldn’t be a friendly, so I shot at it.  I missed, and it ducked behind a pile of bodies.  The Lieutenant motioned, and Stevens and I went out to get whoever it was.  

I’d taken maybe three steps when the figure reappeared, much closer.  I could tell it was a man, head and neck wrapped in a shemagh.  One arm was holding a bundle, and the other was outstretched toward the ceiling.  

His eyes were glowing red.  I blinked.  His eyes really were glowing; it wasn’t goggles or an optical illusion.  Glowing or not, I knew what my job was.  I put that head with glowing eyes in my sights and prepared to pull the trigger.

Our guide, who’d been useless and paranoid the entire mission, started screaming and babbling in complete gibberish.  The only part that I could make out was something about Manziel or manzazu or some such nonsense, but his outburst caught me off guard, and I missed my shot.
Suddenly there was movement all around us.  The bodies of the enemy combatants were stirring.  Impossibly, they were staggering to their feet.  All around us, corpses were rising from the floor, their eyes shining a baleful crimson.

“What the fuck?” Stevens shouted.  “This ain’t happening, man.”  

I put a three-round burst into the chest of the corpse nearest me and blew out his heart.  It didn’t seem to affect him at all; he just kept shuffling toward me, his arms reaching out.  I shot him again, this time doing the Mozambique technique that had been drilled into all Marines.  The two shots to the body didn’t do anything, but the follow-up round to the head dropped it.
I could hear my unit screaming, cursing, and shooting the reanimated dead bodies all around me.

 They were coming at us from every direction.  

We tightened our circle, trying to cover each other as we changed mags and shifted targets.  It didn’t matter; they overwhelmed us. There were just too many of them, and we couldn’t put them down fast enough.

I watched in horror as my best friend, Jeremy Stevens, was pulled down by a mob of freaking zombies and torn apart.  Behind me, Lt. Rodriquez screamed, and then his voice trailed off into a muffled gurgle, and I knew he was gone, too.

My mag ran dry, and I reached for another, determined to keep fighting.  My fingers closed on air.  I was out.  The undead pressed in, their hands clawing for me.  I swung the empty rifle like a club, trying to clear a space.

The undead mob pulled the rifle from my hands, so I drew my Colt 1911 handgun.  It was a fine weapon, and I was good with it, but it only held eight rounds.  Those eight rounds went quickly.

 When the pistol was empty, all sounds of gunfire ceased.

I was the last of the unit standing.  The zombies surrounded me.  To my right, two of the obscene things were eating my Sergeant.  Behind them, more were tearing our guide to pieces.
I spun to my left and saw what was left of Stevens.  Hands fastened onto my vest, and I twisted away.  More grabbed hold of my legs, and I went down.  

The zombies crowded around me.  Behind them, looking on, was the man with the glowing eyes, triumph on his face.  He cackled with glee.

In desperation, I felt around for anything to use as a weapon.  My hands reached above my head and found the remains of the Lieutenant.  His head had been ripped off.  My hands shifted lower and found the detonator on his belt for the explosive packages that we’d set.

I yanked it free and held it up.  The zombies were all over me, and their leader was looking down at me, sneering.

“Fuck you,” I screamed and pushed the button.  There was a distant rumble, a pressure wave, and then the world collapsed on me.



About the Author:

Dan Coglan, A.K.A. “Samurai Dan” is the acknowledged masters of marital… er, martial mayhem.  Dan travels the civilized portions of the U.S., bringing his unique show to curious and horrified audiences alike.

In addition to their high-energy, mostly safe stage shows (where razor-sharp blades and barbs fly),  Dan teaches historical and hysterical panels on the way of the warrior.  Offering a wide range of lectures and interactive workshops, Dan provides joy and laughs wherever he goes. 

Due to a supreme lack of filter, Dan also performs standup comedy in censored and uncensored settings.  A storyteller at heart, Dan is releasing his first book in his Deathstalker Chronicle Series:  Invasion of the Undead.



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