Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Undertow (The UnderCity Chronicles Book 1) by S. M. Stelmack Excerpt

Undertow (The UnderCity Chronicles Book 1) by S. M. Stelmack
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Will be $0.99 Through http://ereadernewstoday.com/ on October 26th!

Lindsay Sterling's niece is missing in the New York underground and the cops do nothing except pass along a name Jack Cole. Twenty years ago they were good buddies but horrors have changed them both. Lindsay lost her entire family except for her niece in a car accident, and Jack was held captive in New York’s underbelly for nearly two years by demented sub-humans. It was a soul-sucking experience that’s left him a shell of a man. He refuses to descend into that hell again, especially for a girl who’s probably dead anyway. But when Lindsay is nearly killed there after going it alone, Jack feels compelled to save her skin. Jack navigates Lindsay through a strange territory, populated with the eccentric, the insane and the desperate. Each encounter takes them closer to Lindsay’s niece but also closer into the clutches of the mad creatures that will enslave them.


Jack swung himself into a sitting position and picked up the lighter. As he bent over the candles, she noticed on his left shoulder a crimson tattoo…no, a brand. It looked like one of the symbols she had seen in the tunnels, and on Dee’s jacket. The mark was large, about the size of her hand, its shape vaguely resembling that of a spider.

She instantly rearranged her face into a mask of blandness the second he looked up, a hint of mischievousness playing across his features. “Turn off the lights. The tree, too.”

She raised an eyebrow, but did as he instructed, leaving the room in candlelight.

“Now look at the jacket again,” he instructed softly. Jack held it up near the flames, and Lindsay grinned. It was magic. Dee’s handiwork had reappeared in the dark, brilliant and beautiful.

“That’s how it was made,” Jack said, his voice still low. “By candlelight. It’s not meant to be shown on television or in some store window. It’s a work of subtlety.”

She nodded, understanding. Without thinking she sat down beside him on the makeshift bed to better see the jacket. She became instantly aware that their bare thighs were only a handspan apart. To jump up would appear awkward to say the least, so she focused on her purpose for sitting down.

“What do all these markings mean?” she asked, running her hand over the woven symbols.

“They represent places in the underground,” he answered, pointing. “That one is the MTA’s money room, that’s the gang tunnels under Chinatown, that’s the labyrinth beneath Columbia University. Some are real, like Sumptown. Some, like the Burbs, used to exist once upon a time. And some are legendary, like Beach’s City. They all carry a deeper meaning, too. Each place has a certain mood and history and imagery…” He trailed off. “Damn, I’m starting to sound like a professor again.”

“You know, that’s not a bad thing. You are a professor, Jack.”

He shook his head, his profile dark and stony in the flickering light. “No. I’m not. Not anymore.”

“Why not? What’s keeping you from going back to work, or writing a book, or—”

“Maybe a talk show appearance?” he continued sarcastically. “Or perhaps an article in People?”

Any urge to wrap herself around his body was utterly gone. Unless it was her hands around his neck. “I don’t get you, Jack.”

“I know,” he replied. “And trust me, that’s a good thing.”

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