Early praise for Encounters: Relationships in Conflict by Fred H. Rohn

While we work on a few things and before our official launch, take a look at this early praise for Encounters: Relationships in Conflict. Thank you Tracy Ewens, smart romance author, for this lovely review!

“This collection is charming, and yet the author does not shy away from the social mores of the past. From The Depression to world wars, these are stories of people connecting both good and uncomfortable. I loved the author’s voice and the elegance of his writing. I was there at the cocktail reception and the old man’s apartment. Quaint isn’t enough for these stories. They are like tiny windows, complete with all the silent and not so silent goings on. A wonderful read.” Tracy Ewens, author of Tap, Smooth, Brew and eight more “Smart Romance. Happy Endings”

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Friday Fiction – Launch – Chapter 2 Part 2

Today I’m sharing the second half of Chapter 2 of Launch, an unpublished book I wrote a few years ago. Two weeks ago, we met Cindy Clarke and got a look at her life. She’s in the middle of a launch from stay-at-home mother to the working world. Last week, we met her husband Ted and got to see how things look from his point of view. He has a big work crisis at Spring Technologies and it looks as though his top programmer, Anders, has skipped town before an important deadline.

I hope you will take a look to see what happens and if you want to start at the beginning, click on the links at the bottom of this post. We begin as Ted’s boss, Steve, catches Ted in the office before he has a chance to sneak out.

Thanks!


Launch – Chapter 2 – Part 2

“Hey Steve!”  Ted smiled the broad smile that went with his greatest asset.  No need to show the boss that your department is crumbling.  “Just working hard, that’s all.  What’s up?”

“Well I just wanted to check in with you and make sure your team is all set for Monday.  How’s the demo going?  We want to make sure it’s all up and running for our meeting.”  Steven was an intense boss.  The kind of boss he’d had for his entire career.  Always asking how it was going, but never in a social way.  Always wanting to know just how long it would be before the next project would be finished.  It was part of the job, being accountable to your boss.  Ted accepted that and he usually met those deadlines on time.  It would be a small miracle if his team would be meeting Monday’s deadline.

“It’s all good, Steve.  The team’s working out a few glitches but we should be ready to go for the meeting.”  What a ridiculous lie!  Ted looked straight into Steve’s eyes when he said this, hoping to work some magic with his boss, hoping Steve wouldn’t detect the nervous twitch pulsing out of control under Ted’s eye.

Steve’s eyes drew into Ted’s face, in that way he had in looking for the true story underneath the spin.  His brows tightened in an intense focus.  “Well, can I see what you’ve got so far?  It would change the mood of my weekend if I could go home knowing what I’ll be showing Haskell and his group on Monday.”

Shit. Stay calm.  Think about how to answer.  “Let me talk to Wayne, see what he’s got for you to look at today.”

Steve’s focus didn’t let up.  “Where’s Anders?”

“I sent him out on an errand, to pick up the new Ethernet cables for next week.  He should be back late this afternoon.”  Ted hoped this quick lie would buy him time, but he worried.

“Hmm, well okay.  I’ll be here until 5:30, so send it up to me when you get it, okay Ted?”  Steve detected a problem.  He was certain something was up, but he wanted no part of it.  He wanted the demo and the less he knew about the problem the better.  It wasn’t up to him to solve the problems of the IT Department.  He’d joyfully shed himself of those worries when he’d been promoted to VP.  Let Ted sweat it out, whatever it was.  But Ted better damn well have a demo up in his office at 5:30, he was sure he made himself clear.

Ted and the IT team had an emergency meeting.  The department patched together a demo, but Ted knew it wasn’t what Steve wanted.  But maybe it was enough to buy him some time over the weekend.  They needed Anders.  Part of their program was missing and he was the key.  Ted couldn’t imagine why Anders had left, but he felt sure they were on their own.

“Here you go, Steve.”  Ted handed him a flash drive.  “It’s still a little rough, but it will give you an idea of what Haskell will see on Monday.”  Ted had groaned at the thought of working all weekend, but he knew he’d have his entire team, minus Anders, in the office for as long as it took, piecing together the parts that were hanging.

“Well, okay, thanks Ted.  I’ll look at it in a few minutes.”  Ted looked at the clock, hoping he could get out of there before Steve saw just how rough the demo was.  It wasn’t a tactic he liked, but he knew he was going to have to buy some time and he wasn’t going to get anywhere having to explain the situation to Steven Colby.  He had a feeling Steve didn’t want to know anyway.

Ted took a breath.  “Great!”  He didn’t know why he was saying great.  It was his instinct.  A small celebration for producing something for his boss, something he’d done countless times.  “I’ll have my team in here tomorrow, working out the kinks, Steve.”

“Okay, make sure you get Anders to run it a few times after everyone’s finished.  I want him to check it out thoroughly.  You know what they’re like over at Haskell.  We need to be sure it’s seamless.  They’re doing us a favor by coming here on Monday, so we’d better make sure everything works.”

“No problem, Steve.  I understand.  I’ll make sure it works.”

“I know where to find you if it doesn’t!”  Ted knew that Steve was only partly joking.  It was part of the corporate culture at Spring Technologies.  Even if it was outdated and cliché, the threat still held strong.

Thank you for reading.


Click on the chapter links to start from the beginning:

Launch – Chapter 1
Launch – Chapter 2 Part 1


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All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

The Surrogate
by
Louise Jensen

Rating:

How far would you go to have a family?  After trying for years and two failed adoptions, Kat and Nick wonder if they will ever become parents. Kat is shattered and Nick wants to take a break, until Kat’s friend Lisa shows up.

Did you ever think about surrogacy?” she asks.

It seems like the perfect solution, but in any psychological thriller, reader beware. Nothing is at it seems.

Set in England, The Surrogate is a tale of lies, deception and secret painful pasts. Kat and Lisa were girlhood friends, but now there’s a wall between them because of a deadly car accident in which Kat’s boyfriend Jake died. Kat left town to shake off her misery and meets Nick, a chance for happiness.

Nick has his own secret past, however and something isn’t right about Lisa. What to do? Keep reading this exciting story in which even the most imaginative reader won’t guess how it ends.

As the pregnancy progresses, Lisa’s motives come into question. Why is she so evasive? Why does she keep asking for money? And something isn’t right with Nick. Secret text messages and lies about where he’s going make Kat think the worst. Is she being paranoid? But what about the scary figure lurking outside their house?

The author mixes in plenty of side characters with murky and abusive tendencies and the story proceeds with great momentum, as Kat continues to make foolish decisions that dig her deeper into a dark and complicated character dynamic.

I enjoyed reading this fast-paced and entertaining thriller, loaded with twists and turns and plenty of opportunity to get mad at Kat for her bad decisions. Instead of trying to figure it out, I went along for the ride and was rewarded with a wild finish. I also love the cover, which made me want to dig right into the story.

While I thought the story was excellent, I was frustrated with an assortment of grammar mistakes, particularly involving the use of “me” and “I” as well as misplaced apostrophes. These errors take away from the polish of the story. I received my copy of The Surrogate before its September 25 release, so perhaps these mistakes have been corrected.

I recommend The Surrogate to readers who like modern suspenseful stories about relationships.

I received a copy of The Surrogate from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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