Here is a sneak peek at the next novel in the Warden Series. I project it to be done by the end of May 2016. Stay posted for links to the finished novel soon
You’ve read All In: The Globe Trot Shuffle. Now be prepared for Cash Me Out: Life and Death in Paradise.
Back cover blurb:
Staring out at the sunset. Water ebbing, and flowing over his feet. John Gabriel Warden finally felt content. He found paradise. Not only did he find paradise, but he bought a house and bar on it. Things couldn’t get better than this. That’s what Warden thought. Until he met her. Warden didn’t start out looking for love, but destiny put them on a path towards each other. What she or Warden didn’t know was that his troubled past would be coming back to haunt them.
In this action packed adventure, Warden and his friends will be shocked out of their relative calm. Just when they put their old lives behind them, they will be forced once again to respond with the violence of action. There is no shying away from it; scores will need to be settled. They will have to see if they can muster enough strength to make it through this one last devastating struggle between life and death. Will they be able to wake from this nightmare, or will their dreams that became a reality be forever ruined? They didn’t start this fight, but they are more than ready to finish it.
SNEAK PEEK of a chapter in the current rough draft. All rights reserved. Copyright 2016. Paul Russell Parker III
It’s 10:00 a.m., and Warden is parking his truck outside of his beach bar. It’s sunny out, and the ocean view is breathtaking. As Warden put his truck in park, he smiled to himself. Warden paused before he opened his door to think to himself. This was a great decision. It ended up better than I could have hoped. Here I am, able to do anything that I want to do. Making my own decisions, and living life the way I want to. He took out the keys, and grabbed his backpack in the passenger seat.
Opening the door, Warden stepped out of his truck. His feet hit the hard dirt, one slippered foot at a time. It didn’t get any better than this. He was dressed in a T-Shirt, shorts, sunglasses, and flip flops. Owning your own beach bar in Portsmouth, Dominica has its advantages. The only business attire he adhered to was wearing his logo for the Four Happy Turtles Bar and Grill on his shirt. The bar and grill staff did the same. But they did wear shoes for hygienic reasons. Warden’s shoes were waiting for him in his back office. For now, he’d enjoy the feeling of the hot sun shining down on his toes.
He usually arrived thirty minutes before any of his staff did, so he could start prepping the bar and grill for the day. Tourist season had just finished, so they ran things at a slower pace. Thumbing through his keys, he unlocked the door, and then he stepped in. He turned the light on, and looked around.
Now this is a fuckin bar! Warden felt more than pleased with the place. Let’s get ready to rock, Warden thought to himself. He walked to his office, and sat his bag down. It was more of a broom closet, but that was fine. Warden liked to stay out of his office as much as possible. He’d either help tend bar if things got too busy, or he’d help the cook in the kitchen. The wall facing the ocean was mostly huge folding partitions. He unlocked where the two walls met, and pushed each side towards the bar’s left and right walls. The partition folded, and he had a wide open entrance and exit into his place. The patrons could sit outside at a table under an umbrella, or inside at a table under a fan.
Warden went through all of the set up procedures he developed. He unlocked the outside closet, and got the table umbrellas out. He set them down as he moved the smaller tables, and chairs outside. After setting up the outside venue, he walked through the place unlocking doors, and opening windows. It was hot, but the cool breeze and fans made the interior of the bar pleasant. Satisfied that everything was ready, Warden went to his office. He sat down, and changed into his loafers.
“Hello Wardy, you in there?” a voice called out.
Every single time, Warden thought as he got up to walk to the bar floor. It was 10:30 a.m., and Warden knew what this was about. It didn’t annoy him, but Warden wished that Charles would just come in. Charles had a habit of waiting for Warden to greet him before he stepped inside. At the main seating area, Warden looked at the window he knew Charles would be leaning into. At least he got his staff to stop calling him sir or boss. You had to pick and choose your battles.
“Yeah Charlie, I was in back. You know you can just come on in right?” Warden asked.
“Oh I know, my favorite boss. I like to make you get up though,” Charles said.
Warden shook his head, and laughed. Charles was grinning wide. He waved Charles in, and Warden walked towards the kitchen.
“Let’s start the grill, and check inventory real quick. It’s slow now, but I gotta check if we need anything soon,” Warden said.
As Warden and Charles prepped the kitchen, Warden’s staff for the first of two daily shifts trickled in. They waved at him as he helped in the kitchen. Warden smiled, and waved back. Shortly after the staff arrived, it was time to turn on the open sign. Warden turned on the signs, and turned on the radio. He also turned his big TV on over by the bar. He put it on a sports channel, and muted it. Warden heard the main entrance door open, and he turned. A local police officer walked in.
“Wardy, how are you this fine beautiful morning?” the officer asked.
The police officer walked in, and greeted Warden with firm handshake. Warden greeted him back.
“Better now that you’re here Sergeant Cooke. I was just telling Ben how I didn’t feel safe, because of the utter lack of police presence in the community,” Warden said.
Sergeant Cooke howled with laughter, and slapped Warden on the back as they walked towards the bar.
“You’re too funny. You want a big police presence like in your America? Maybe we’ll drive around in those tanks your police have,” Sergeant Cooke said.
Warden and Sergeant Cooke took a seat at the bar. The bartender walked over.
“Mornin Ben. Can we get the usual?” Warden asked.
“Of course. One mango juice, and a soft drink coming right up,” Ben said.
As Ben walked away, Sergeant Cooke turned to look at the beach.
“You know, if you really wanna be Dominican? You have to stop drinking tourist drinks,” Sergeant Cooke said.
Warden laughed at this. He turned in his seat to see the water, and to check out the scores on TV.
“I don’t care who you are, or where you’re from. Tourist or Native alike. No one can ever get enough mango juice. It’s the best freakin fruit I’ve ever had!” Warden said.
The waitress walked out of the kitchen, and headed straight for Warden and Sergeant Cooke.
“And what would you esteemed gentlemen be having for lunch?” she asked.
Warden didn’t even bat an eye.
“I’ll have my usual omelet. I believe Sergeant Cooke here would be having…..” Warden trailed off.
“Yes ma’am, thank you for asking. I would like to have a club sandwich. And come on Wardy, you know you can call me Emit,” Sergeant Cooke said.
“Thanks Nann, you’re the best,” Warden said.
Nann smiled and walked off. As she entered the kitchen, Warden hit Sergeant Cooke on the arm.
“So Emit, are you gonna ask her, or am I?” Warden asked.
Sergeant Cooke smiled, and shook his head. He looked away, and Ben laughed.
“I have no clue what you mean. But has she asked about me lately?” Sergeant Cooke asked.
Ben brought the iced mango juice, and the soft drink over. He set them down, and winked at Sergeant Cooke.
“Oh no, not you too Ben!” Sergeant Cooke said.
As he spoke, Sergeant Cooke laughed, and pointed at Ben. Ben raised both his hands up, and smiled. He slowly backed away.
“I will not be the messenger boy. Talk to her man. I’m pretty sure she’ll be interested in an outstanding young man such as yourself,” Warden said.
As he spoke, Warden heard someone else enter the bar. He looked over at the entrance, and saw his good friend Oliver Cole walk in. Warden called him Olly, which Olly appreciated. Oliver was a name only his mother called him. Olly owned a tour agency, and often took Warden on adventures. They’d scuba dive, or take treks through the mountainous jungle interior.
“You boys drunk already? The sun hasn’t even hit the highest point yet. It’s way too early to be hitting the bottle,” Olly said.
They laughed, and Olly shook their hands. He smiled at Ben, and raised his finger. Ben nodded, and poured a glass of water.
“So what brings you to my neck of the woods this early? You’re usually 100 meters down by now, or half way up some mountain,” Warden said.
Olly took a seat, and sipped his water.
“Season’s over. I’m just waiting for some none season guests to arrive tomorrow. I had time, so I decided to check on you sorry excuse for divers,” Olly said.
Sergeant Cooke coughed, and nearly spit his drink out.
“Oh no! That’s all entirely your fault. Tampering with me hose, I swear it!” Sergeant Cooke said.
Before he could joke back, Olly turned to the beach view entrance. In walked a group of North Americans. Warden could tell by their dress, and appearance. One of the patrons was wearing an old looking, and oversized straw hat that Warden recognized. The girl wearing it wore it when she, and her friends visited his bar when he was renovating it last year.
“There she is Wardy. That one girl you’re always mooning over,” Olly said.
Warden blushed. He took a big gulp of his juice, and set it down. He turned back towards the bar.
“Come on man! Don’t do that to me. I’ve never seen that girl before in my life,” Warden said.
“You guys know them? They’re not tourists?” Sergeant Cooke asked.
Olly shook his head, and nodded in the direction of the group.
“We haven’t met, but they stop by from time to time. They’re doctors I heard. From in town,” Olly said.
“Prince John’s Medical University. They’re doctors doing their Residency training,” Warden said.
“You know that, but said you never seen them before,” Olly said.
Warden’s face reddened again. He just gave himself up. He couldn’t hide it anymore. Nann walked out from the Kitchen, and smiled at Sergeant Cooke. She walked over to the table of doctors in training, and started to take their order.
Warden watched. Olly was right. The girl he saw a few times around the beach, or at the market in town was part of this group. He didn’t think she was taken by one of the guys she sat with. But he wasn’t sure enough to just go start talking to her. There’d be time for that, Warden was sure.
“If you want, I can go introduce you,” Sergeant Cooke said.
“Do it, and I’ll tell Nann that you confessed a crush you have on her to us!” Warden said.
Sergeant Cooke’s eyes went wide with astonishment. He looked mortified at first, not expecting Warden to call him out on that. Then he started to smile.
“You wouldn’t do that, would you friend?” Sergeant Cooke asked.
Warden just looked at Sergeant Cooke and shrugged. Warden had an indifferent look on his face. Sergeant Cooke stood up.
“Well then guys, I have to go. Duty calls, someone has to protect the streets. How much for the meal?” Sergeant Cooke asked.
“Trying to get out of here so fast! What’s the rush? Nann can take your payment,” Warden said.
Sergeant Cooke, looked shocked. Warden laughed.
“I’m just messing with you man. Your secret is safe with me. And it’s on the house. As long as you keep on protecting the people, your meal and drink is on me,” Warden said.
“You can get a free dive if you want,” Olly said.
Sergeant Cooke looked seasick for a split second. He grabbed his uniform hat, and turned towards Warden and Olly.
“Warden, you will go broke if you did that. I’ll pay half. No arguing. And Olly? Keep your invitation. You couldn’t pay me to come do that again,” Sergeant Cooke said.
They all laughed at that, and Sergeant Cooke excused himself. As he left, Olly started talking to Ben. Warden sat in his chair, and looked out at the waterline. He really couldn’t describe how he felt looking at this wonderful view.
Warden decided to use this time to sneak a peek at the table of doctors in training that were to his left. Near the opened wall to the beach. There was a girl at this table that he had seen before. He thought about the first time he saw her. He remembered sitting in this same bar, while it was under renovation. It was a year ago, and he was drinking beer with his old Marine Corps buddies. Marcs, Madson, and Diaz were talking to him about the plan to get the money they took from Iraq, back to the US. And he remembered when that group poked their head into his bar window, and asked if the bar was open. He said no, and watched as they left. He remembered how he saw this same girl back then, as she smiled at him from the window. As he turned to steal a glance at her, he realized that she was staring at him already. It took a second or two, but she finally caught on that he was looking at her while she stared at him. She blushed and looked at her group of friends, with a faint smile on her face.
Wow, Warden thought to himself. That could mean something! He was excited, and happy. But also sad, because he thought about his friends being back in the US. He missed them. But they were doing great. His company had wrote a series of checks in the amount of 2.5 million US dollars per person. His friends used the checks to start businesses, and to become successful. Madson opened his own surf shop down in Southern California. Marcs opened a strength and conditioning gym in south Texas. He was working on expanding his facility now. Diaz started his own professional after hours cleaning company, and runs it with his parents. So Warden probably wouldn’t see those guys in a while. But that’s ok. He just saw someone who he could possibly get to know, and see more often that was sitting right in his own bar. And she was looking at him!