• Pro By Jenni Prange Boran

    It was one of those monochromatic days. Gray upon gray. Wet. The kind of day that makes old wounds ache. The kind that calls for a thick hooded sweatshirt. Gloves. And maybe a ski mask. None of these items would be a particular cause for concern on a day like today. The first red flag upon his entering the convenience store would be that classic motion, the reach around his back to retrieve his 9mm. The cashiers all know that motion. It’s not even like they’re trained to know it. But they’ve all seen television. Still, despite what they show on television, very few cashiers have the wherewithal to reach…

  • Ashes to Ashes by Christian Carvajal

    She arrived when my office girl Margie was out to lunch, as if that narrows it down. I welcomed my latest possible client with an enthusiasm I usually reserve for good brandy. “Mr. Wainwright?” she asked, her voice perfect for radio. “I answer to that moniker. Dylan, too,” I said, smiling. I ushered her into the office and gave her the twice over. She had a figure like Beethoven in Braille, and a mug you could use to sell lipstick. Helen of Troy would’ve asked for her autograph. I should’ve known she was trouble before her rump left that valentine-shaped impression in my office chair. She wore black—-short black dress,…

  • Dressed To Kill by L. Lisa Lawrence

    She drew the riding crop slowly, teasingly down the center of his chest to his groin, which she playfully circled before bringing it down on his inner thigh hard enough to raise a welt. He felt a surge of arousal and anger. As he lay on the four poster bed, naked, in biting leather restraints he looked at his wife of 20 years with amusement. He hadn’t wanted to bother with her on this day, much preferring to spend it with his current mistress, a much younger and more sexually adventurous woman, but she had surprised him by delaying her trip a few hours so that they could spend part…

  • Run Away by Jack Cameron

    Mom, I’m sorry you have to find out like this. If I were half the man you thought I was, I’d be telling you my plan of how I’m going to make everything right again and pay back that bastard for what he did. But I’m not and I’m not. I hope when you get this that you’ll do the smart thing. Don’t try to find me. I’m not worth finding and will only bring you trouble. Kayla was always the good one. I’ve tried to trace back my actions and what happened to see if any of it could have been prevented. Was it the conversation after the funeral?…

  • The Wolf by Karen Tully

    Justice fled through the dim, emergency lighting in the halls of the Long Beach Super 8. She heard a door shut down the hall behind her. “Justice?” Toby’s voice called. She knew the machete from his cheerful, sticker-covered knife case would be in his hand. “Please Pet, don’t run.” Justice, given name Petunia, ground her teeth at the hated nickname. But she didn’t stop to correct him. Something hanging from her jeans pocket slapped her rear under her flannel as she ran and opened the stairwell door. She reached behind her and felt – stiff work gloves? She didn’t take the time to wonder where they came from, but dashed…

  • Assumptions by Joshua Swainston

    What is that stupid saying? Never assume, because it makes an ass out of you and me. Well that pretty much fits the bill, except the only ass here is me. I was brought in, I thought, to handle the money. An intermediary. Winslow, the guy who hired me, runs some sort of coke outfit out of Vancouver, BC. The idea was to collect the cash and make sure it crossed the border at Blaine, Washington. I’d heard about the job from a friend of a friend. Winslow needed “a nobody.” I was told he was too heavily watched to take chances transferring his own cash. I didn’t ask who…

  • Red by Melissa Thayer

    The gun was clean. Loaded. Double-checked. His knife, the one he had carried always, she held a moment before strapping it to her belt. There were five who must die today. Outside her blinded window, dawn was about to break over the minarets. The muezzin sing-songed beckonings to adhan. The men who took him last night hadn’t seen her. His body would not get cold before she enacted her revenge. The first was Gadi. He was a whore-lover. The second was Azzam, he had a scar across his face from his penchant for bar fights. Zero was famously addicted to opium. Marid sold carpets at the bazaar. Jibril was a…

  • Eleventh Hour Brother – An Arthur Beautyman Mystery By Erik Hanberg

    The state of South Dakota would have executed an innocent man if Arthur Beautyman hadn’t cleared the alleged killer’s name from a sofa three hundred miles away. Deidre Kirkpatrick, a wealthy 96-year-old recluse, had been found with a charred cantaloupe-sized hole in her chest. The list of suspects was short. Her only visitors anymore were her two sons and the medics who were regularly summoned by her medical alert pendant. When the police located her son Ethan, they discovered his left hand was blackened and missing two fingers. A result of the same explosion that had killed his mother? Had Ethan rigged a miniature explosive device to kill her, accidentally…

  • Augie by Jack Cameron

    “This is a great apartment…” There was a pause after he said it. Augie was fairly certain the boy could not remember his name. Augie didn’t mind. He wasn’t sure of the boy’s name either. Tony, Troy, something with a ‘T’. He watched from the bed as the boy walked around his apartment. The boy had his shirt off. Augie was enjoying the view. This boy was probably half Augie’s age with skin so white it looked like milk. He had that farm-boy-in-the-city look to him. Augie wondered how many times the boy had done this sort of thing. The boy picked up a framed photo from the dresser. Augie…