Today we’re hosting a book excerpt for Deliver Us, a suspense novel by author Santino Reynolds.
“It’s hard to say exactly what landed me here in prison. My mom believes it was my good nature. I say it was an instinct I didn’t know I had. My good friend Thomas believes fate put me behind bars. But if that was fate then who is the 250 pound black guy guarding the cells? Prudence? Jake probably thinks it’s all the extra batting practice from the ninth grade. Well, scratch that. Jake can’t think anything since he’s dead. I probably shouldn’t say things like that. The doctor here says that compensating for my feelings of guilt and self-loathing with crude comments and resentment isn’t very healthy. Call me crazy, but spending my life locked up with rapists, skinheads and the deranged isn’t either.
My name is Ryan Goodman. Believe it or not, I’m not some kind of an animal. I led a pretty normal life before I was arrested. Killing Jake (my best friend’s brother) was never in my day planner and it was never my desire. It’s hard to recall the blur that some people call due process. Funny, because the month before it is as clear as day.
Fairfield, Arkansas is known for several things. Its endless dirt roads, its searing heat in the summer and complete lack of tourist attractions are all among those things. Colleges never made that list. It’s the only explanation for a 19 year old man, which made decent grades, to be working in a car shop instead of a student union at some ridiculously priced university. Well, that, and my folks never uncovered any oil shooting at squirrel so I grew up hillbilly without the glamorous Hollywood upgrade. We’ve even been in the same trailer park my whole life. The only way out is college. The closest one unfortunately is a community college. So I had to stay behind and earn at least a little money that could help get me out of Arkansas. The repair shop I worked at belonged to Jake. I got the job on the account of his brother Tom, who was my best friend in high school. His large brain and family’s money is why he was fortunate enough to leave Arkansas and go to college. Now I know what you’re thinking. Well if they had so much money why would they be in Arkansas to begin with? They weren’t rich now. I’m sure though, that if they wanted to move they could have. But for some strange reason they were happy being in Fairfield. I warned them about drinking the tap water. But I digress.
It was a normal morning at the shop consisting of inventory, and slack-jawed, slow-paced, simmering misery when Jake came bursting into the storage room.
“Man is today bitchin’! Guess what. Guess what. I betcha can‘t guess?”
“Let me guess,” I said while putting down a box of spark plugs to entertain him. “The next issue of Guns, Gristle and Girls just came out?”
“I found out that’s not a real magazine at all, stop teasin.” He walked out of the room scratching his hair and forgetting the news I was supposed to guess. I followed him onto the repair floor. He opened the refrigerator and grabbed a beer.
“Hey, Dillinger. The news…?”
“Oh yeah, tomorrow Tom will be here. I can’t hardly wait.” He took a long sip of his beer. “He said he has surprises for all of us. But I’ve got the biggest surprise. I’m gonna throw him a bash. Man it’s gonna be great. Just like old times.”
I remember thinking to myself his beer must have gone straight to his head. There were no “old times.” At least none that included him. Jake is four years older than Tom and I. When we were in junior high he would always bully us around, but once he graduated he took over his father’s repair shop, grew up and left us alone. That is of course, if you consider drinking on the job “all grown up.”
“Today is a special day,” he continued. He’ll be here tomorrow morn so we need time to set-up for his party. And I do mean ‘we’ because I’m gonna need your input. So that means half day today.”
“A half day?” He sat down in a chair and put his feet up on an old engine block.
“Sure, we’ll close up at lunch time.”
“But that’s what we’ve done all week.”
“You’re right.” He sat upright and put his beer down. He scratched his goatee and thought for a few seconds. “So the only way today can really be special is if we leave right now.”
“But what if we actually get a…” I stopped myself, remembering we hadn’t had a customer since they closed Victor Road due to the latest off-roading tragedy. “Let’s go.”
We closed down the shop and Jake gave me a lift to his mother’s trailer. The only double wide on the block. Jake himself had a small house down the road no more than five minutes away. He moved away from the trailer park when the business flourished, right after they opened up Victor Road two years ago.
“Morning boys. You two putting in a hard day’s work at the shop?” Jake’s mother, Sheila, put her cigarette and drink in the same hand and used the other to tussle Jakes hair.
“You bet mom, we were gonna close up the shop early so we could plan Tom’s surprise party. And I got big plans momma, big ones.” He pulled his hair back and put his favorite dirty Miller Lite cap on. I hated that cap; it looked like a fish net dragged across the bottom of the sea. There was dirt, oil, algae, just about everything on that cap that didn’t belong there.
“Did you remember to turn all of those machines off this time?” Sheila sat on the couch and turned the television on.
“Course ma. I only made that mistake once.”
“You mean last month when you set that car on fire and closed the shop,” I said passing by them to sit on the couch. “Yeah that‘s no big deal at all.”
“Irregardless, I’m sure your father would still be proud if he could see you now, both of my boys. I never thought this house…”
“You mean trailer.” I smirked as I corrected her.
“…Would ever see a college man and a business man at the same time. Without your father I didn’t think this would ever feel like a home…”
“…Again. But you two boys have done so well. You showed me that this house…”
“…means nothing. It’s just four walls and a ceiling. “
“You mean four doors and a trailer top.” Jake began to snicker and I could see her frustration growing.
“Family is what counts. It doesn’t matter what happens or where we go. It will always be home sweet home.”
“Hush Ryan, I wanna hear more about Jake’s plans.”
I don’t know if you guessed it already but Jake’s father had passed away about four years ago. He had a series of strokes and died leaving the business to Jake. The strokes being the only sound reasoning behind leaving his wife’s financial security and family’s future in the hands of a madman.
“Well, I was thinking we could have a banner here that says: ‘welcome back‘. It can be in all green letters cause that’s his favorite color.” As Jake described the decorations he became more excited and his mom nodded along through his plans
“Oh and over here,” he moved to the table, “…is where we can put the cake and ice cream. Remember it can’t be chocolate. We can stack the kegs over there. And this area can be where the strippers jump out and yell surprise.”
“Hey wait a minute,” Sheila protested.
Hard to believe that dim-witted maniac isn’t around anymore. Thanks to me, he’s with his father now and his mother is all alone. Funny, how quickly I went from living in a trailer to living in the big house. I guess I owe it all to that damn surprise Tom brought for me.
About Deliver Us
Title: Deliver Us
Author: Santino Reynolds
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Publisher: Senzuri Books
Publication Date: October 2012
“I caused this, because I’m too afraid of…him.”
“I caused this, because I sat back and let life pass me by.”
“I caused this, because I let my anger and beliefs get the best of me.”
Three strangers share with you, the events that took place ten months ago that changed their lives forever.
Javier escapes his abusive relationship with Rick. But can he trust his traveling companion as they head to Arkansas for safety?
Ryan dreams of the world outside of Arkansas; his only way out is college. Meanwhile, Ryan’s friend returns for the summer with a shocking gift. Can Ryan stop dreaming and focus on the nightmare brewing around him?
Shawn is a family man whose hate becomes all too consuming. He pays the price for his hatred, but how much will revenge cost him?
Listen to three stories unfold and collide as Javier, Ryan, and Shawn share their thoughts, a twist you’ll never forget, and their fate.
Finding your passion can be quite a long journey, as proved by Santino Reynolds. The Chicago-born young adult traveled over fifteen states, living in many of them. From behind a desk to behind enemy lines, Santino’s vibrant list of accolades includes: becoming the Musclemania middle-weight bodybuilding champion, becoming an Iraq war veteran, learning sign language and so much more. But none of those titles filled Santino with the passion he has for story-telling. Santino first began writing short horror stories at the age of eight. However, his first full length novel was a romance inspired by a close relative “coming out” to him. As he continued to write, romance became more of a background and his love for horror took center stage. Even though the genres may change, Santino Reynolds never will. Remnants, hints and allusions to his earlier works are always evident in his latest books. Try to find the House Of Cards reference in Deliver Us. Santino now resides in Arizona and continues to write horror novels. His lifelong dream is a collaboration with the living legend George A. Romero.
For a list of fun facts and full biography be sure to stop by his website at http://www.AsWriteAsReyn.com and stalk him down on his Twitter handle @AsWriteAsReyn