Sunday: Wewriwa!

Hello! Check out today’s eight sentence excerpt for Weekend Writing Warriors taken from Hunting Heartbreak:

Kas stumbled noisily toward the man’s car. She giggled to herself and wobbled as she approached him, letting her jacket fall and reveal the large amount of skin her blouse did not cover. The movement caused the long jacket sleeve to conceal the gun in her hand, a help and hindrance. Even now he failed to notice her. She kept her pace and stumbled between the vehicles. With a lurch, she let herself fall heavily onto his car.
“Hey, honey.” She moved closer to him. He began to pull the phone from his ear, but before he could turn his attention to her someone yelled from the other end. “Do you know where I parked my car?”

Check out more from the Mark of the Yakuza Series:

 

Hunting Heartbreak
by Marie Hampton

On the flashy Las Vegas strip, Kasumi Yoshida tracks down her marks– assassinating gamblers who pay their loans with their lives.  Business becomes scarce when a past lover and fellow Yakuza member betrays the honor system and rescues Kasumi’s future clients.

Her boss insists she works with Ryan, a hired gun, to find the cause, but Kasumi becomes distracted by his arrogant charm, and soon her adrenaline-filled world of death and motorcycle racing is muddied by her obsession with the past and her uncontrollable attraction to her partner.

Kidnapping, torture, and betrayal allow the enemy to capture Kasumi, and she is forced to trust in friendship and love to free her from guilt so she can take her revenge.

In the second book of the Mark of the Yakuza, Kasumi Yoshida is fresh from the fight and training for the opportunity at revenge. The appearance of an Oyabun from Tokyo scatters small sense of normality Kas had gained.

With Oyabun Shinto in Las Vegas, Kas and Akira have no choice but to play nice with Jiro since Shinto insists the two lines forget their differences and work together to strengthen the Yakuza. He offers a new position of power to combine the lines. Everyone turns to the problems Shinto’s ideas create, but Kas can’t push aside her intuition that Jiro is involved in something more sinister.

Kas reaches out for someone to understand but even her friend Hak refuses to turn from the problems with Shinto. Ryan is the only worker that makes Shinto happy, but Kas knows he plays both sides. Akira trusts Ryan, but Kas cannot decide if he is worth her trust, or her heart.

Throwback…uh, Saturday?

WARNING: MATURE CONTENT

Hey everyone. For some reason this bit of a story I wrote on Halloween for my Throwback Thursday ended up saved instead of published. I thought it was a neat little story, so I didn’t want to discard it. It talks about Kas’ first kill, except for that one little accident. If you like this and want more please check out the Mark of the Yakuza Series!

 

A dark and stormy night battled the neon lights of the Vegas strip. Kasumi Yoshida walked by herself through the obnoxious crowds outside the casinos. The desert rain had soaked through her black jacket, draping her like bat wings. A devil’s mask covered all of her small face, hanging past her chin, bumping on her chest as she walked. She clenched her hands and released them over and over again. The gun at her back burned her, fraying her nerves.

She followed him for hours. Waiting. Hunting.

Akira had taught her to be patient, wait until the mark turned in for the night and left the brightness of the strip. Finally, after multiple clubs, casinos, and parties, he walked away from the crowd toward the lot where his car was parked. Kas followed, the soft pad of her shoes undetectable due to the sound spilling from the strip into the side streets.

The man wobbled, his clean suit and tie the perfect contrast to his messy hair and sloppy movements. It would be easy. It would go fast. All she had to do was catch up to him and pull the trigger. She picked up her pace and drew her hand back, fingering the cold gun at her waist. Just as her finger grabbed it a crowd of giggling woman, all too old and saggy to be dressed so provocatively, rounded the corner.

One of the woman bumped into her, not allowing enough room to pass. Kas shoved her into her friend.

“Hey!” The woman caught her friend from falling, but Kas had pissed her off. The woman started after Kas and grabbed her by the arm.

Kas said nothing, and she only allowed herself enough time to look back at the woman to aim. She struck, flat handed, the side of the woman’s neck, jarring the nerve. The woman dropped to the ground. Her friends gathered around her, and tried picking her up from the floor.

She could her Akira admonishing her if he had been there. “Sloppy, Kasumi. What if they remember you?”

It was Halloween and she was in disguise. Let them track down the devil and have him pay for her deed. She shook off the confrontation.

The women were frantic, but the man ahead of her didn’t notice them, so Kas ignored them and continued following her mark.

Kas increased her pace, and once they were just inside the entrance to the lot, behind a large pillar, Kas kicked his legs from underneath him. The man fell forward, and before he had time to turn or flop over Kas wrenched his arm up behind him and ground his face into the pavement.

“Do you have it?” She made her voice as neutral as possible, trying her best to conceal her accent.

“Have what?” The man asked frantically.

“What you owe him.”

“A–Akira?”

Kas yanked on his arm making the man squeal. She wanted no names involved. “Do you have it?”

“I–I have most of it. If you just let me up I can…” The man bucked wildly then, and Kas lost her grip. Before he could do anything she was on her feet. Still, kneeling, he held his hands up in surrender. “Please! I have a family!”

Akira told her they would say it, every single one of them. They would all have some little boy or girl waiting at home, waiting for a bedtime story. Kas pulled the gun from the waistband of her jeans, and his eyes grew wide.

“What do you have for him?”

“Please, I’ll give—I’ve got two thou–” Kas cocked the gun, “Three, three thousand in the bank. I’ll get it.”

Kas scoffed. Not even a tenth of what her owed.”No good enough.” Kas kicked him solidly underneath the chin.

He fell back, but before Kas aimed his eyes rolled open then fluttered. “What?” He was confused. “The–the devil?” His groggy voice changed to panic.

“Yes. Happy Halloween.” Kas aimed at his forehead and pulled the trigger.

 

In case you are wondering what a strike to the side of the neck can do, check out this World’s Dumbest Criminals video.

Soundcheck Sunday: The Red by Chevelle

Hey there everyone! I am just posting once this weekend. I forgot to sign up for Weekend Writing Warriors so I don’t have a blurb for that. Instead I’m going to put some more music out there with an excerpt from the end of Hunting Heartbreak. So, SPOILER ALERT! The song featured this week is Red by Chevelle. Enjoy, and don’t forget to grab a copy of Push for Power, the second book in the Mark of the Yakuza Series.

Excerpt:

The reddish glow of the sun began rising nearly three hours after Kas had entered her disconnected meditation. A sense of calm engulfed her, and she opened all of her senses waiting for the sound of a disturbance, something that would announce Akira’s arrival.
Kas need not listen for subtleties. Only a few moments after Kas noticed the lightening of the sky, and alarm shrieked from within the house, something Akira likely tripped on purpose to signal Kas of his arrival. Thundering footsteps echoed like trampling elephants, breaking the heavy silence. With one last deep breath, Kas left the bed, toppled the small table, and grabbed hold of one of the legs. She winced at the pain in her ribs, but refused to let it stop her from her goal. Bracing her foot on one side, Kas yanked at the leg from the other side, using her weight to pull the shaft of wood upward. It took three tries, but finally the wood splintered free.

Kas limped to the large window, braced her palm on the wide end of the busted leg then jammed the solid wood into the window pane, backing the blow with her weight. It took nearly five blows, but finally the glass webbed then burst in a tinkling fountain, some shard hanging like icicles from the window’s frame. Kas grabbed one of the larger shards and limped over beside the bed.

Taking the remainder of the towel she had shredded before, Kas wrapped the end of the glass so she had a better hold. She hoped to sit for a moment and breath through some of the pain, but the door burst open and five men rushed inside: Jiro, Ichiro and three others. Anger livened Jiro’s face, but fatigue wore at him, his eyes red with dark sacks below.

Kas wasted no time. If she was going to get her freedom she had to take out the man giving the orders. Akira would likely be coming through her window soon. With a rush of speed Kas charged Jiro, holding the glass braced at her hip aiming to sink it into Jiro’s midsection.
None of the men were able to snag her in time to stop her progress, but Jiro was able to dodge to his right. Still, Kas drew blood from his side, and the shard of glass remained whole. She turned again, determined to harm him as much as possible, if not kill him.

Ichiro grabbed her around the midsection and Jiro moved in closer. Kas remembered Jiro’s words, how Ichiro hired Ryan to spy on them all, and though he helped her from the warehouse, his betrayal stung Kas, because she began to care, too. Kas flailed and slashed at Ichiro, and landed a solid kick to Jiro’s temple. Jiro fell, and Kas broke free in time to round Ichiro and ram the shard into the meat connecting his neck and shoulder. Blood spurted everywhere, and before Kas could bask in her revenge, Jiro lunged at her.

During her attack Akira appeared, a golden ring of sunlight encircling him; he was her hero. Another of his security climbed in behind him and they both engaged the guards in the room as Kas continued to struggle with Jiro. Both of
them fought exhausted, on too little sleep, too little energy, and the fight would leave them both drained.

Jiro used her momentum to shove her into the wall, and she was not able to get the shard of glass out of the way in time. It dug into the flesh by her hip and blood bloomed over the intricate design of the kimono. Pieces of the glass broke and fell to the ground, leaving Kas with a somewhat dull, round shape. Regardless the shape, if Kas could get close enough to run it across Jiro’s neck she could kill him.

Again, Kas tried rushing Jiro, but he caught an opening and punched her hard in the ribs. The pain made her drop to her knees, the glass shard held loosely at her side. Kas tried pushing the pain away, catching her breath, but she knew an attack from Jiro came, so she braced for it. Instead Kas heard a man yell, and Jiro went flying to the side.

Hak burst through the window, brandishing her discarded tanto. He must have pulled it from the warehouse. He fought clumsily, but with strength Kas would not have expected from someone of his stature.

The distraction made it easy for Kas to rush up behind Jiro and shove the glass shard into the soft flesh of his already injured side, jamming it up under his ribs. He screamed then started coughing, and blood trickled from his mouth. The injury fueled his rage, and he turned and backhanded Kas then kicked Hak in the groin. With a groan he pulled the glass from his side and lunged at Kas. The glass became imbedded in her stomach, and Kas could feel the warmth seeping from her. Jiro kicked Hak in the face, making sure he was down then pulled a gun from somewhere, aimed it between Kas’ eyes, but something made him stall. He did not fire, but studied her with a sense of longing. Perhaps behind all that was wrong with him, he did sincerely care for Kas. Whatever the cause, Kas was glad he did not shoot.

Akira finally downed the guard he was fighting, knocked the firearm from Jiro’s hand then jabbed him with a sharp blow to where Kas had stabbed him with the glass. Jiro fell.

Kas let Akira grab her by the arm. “We have to get out now!”

Noise enveloped them, and the sharp smell of smoke burned Kas’ nostrils. “Hak, come on. Let’s go.” She stretched her arm out to him, refusing to exit the room until he grasped her hand. Between Akira and his men, they were able to help everyone down to the ground. Kas looked around, finally noticing the orange glow did not come just from the rising sun, but from the large fire that was slowly consuming the entire house.

“A fire? Akira, when the Sha–”

“I did not set the fire.”

Before Kas had time to answer, Ryan burst from one of the office windows, coughing and hacking to free his lungs from the pollutants and smoke.

Soundcheck Saturday: Fight

Hey there everyone. I’ve been listening to the band Icon for Hire a lot lately, and I thought I’d share one of my favorite songs with you. I feel it really fits Kas’ character. To read more about Kas and what she’s been through don’t forget to buy a copy of Hunting Heartbreak, and remember Push for Power is out for purchase October 20th. Enjoy!

Excerpt:

Kas hoped Jiro had no more guards at his immediate disposal, but even if he did, she would not have cared. For days now she had longed to get her hands around his neck. He stood at the shelf, his back to the door, studying the jar. No doubt he plotted some way to present them to Kas. The way he felt would scar her most.

With light steps Kas entered the office and ran at Jiro, the tie of the kimono stretched between her hands. She made to loop the tie around his neck, but he had turned to face her right before she reached him. With a struggling effort she
placed the tie around Jiro’s neck, but he had time to push one hand underneath to save his airflow.

Kas pulled on the tie with all her strength, also using her weight to help strangle him. She ignored the one-handed punches Jiro delivered to her ribs, not caring if she could breathe. All that mattered is making it to where he could not. Kas tried kneeing him in the diaphragm to cease the attacks to her midsection, but Jiro blocked it.

Jiro pushed her into the shelf hard enough the impact knocked the air from her. Kas still held tight, but Jiro used his height to press farther backward. Kas arched uncomfortably, trying to keep her hold, but Jiro had squirmed enough that some slack had loosened the tie.

With a final twisting wrench, Jiro freed himself from the tie. “You bitch.” Kas smiled at the raspy voice in which he had cursed her.

Kas said nothing, refusing to let any words Jiro uttered affect her. She pulled the chopsticks from her hair, and Kas drank in the coolness of her wet hair brushing across the thin t-shirt. Calmness settled over her, and Jiro’s brows knitted together in concern.

Using the wall’s embrace to propel her forward, Kas lunged at Jiro, holding the sticks like a spike, aiming to drill it into his temple or the soft fissure at the base of his neck. Jiro barely managed to raise his hands in time to catch her attack, and they both fell to the floor.

Only an inch separated Kas from her goal, and she knew without the momentum pushing the thin stick forward, she would not likely break through the skin. Still, Kas bent all her weight into the strike aimed at the soft flesh at the bottom of his neck.

“Think of what you’re trying.” Jiro forced the words through his clenched teeth. “You won’t kill me with those. You’ll be dead before you can escape.”

Throwback Thursday: Haruo Yoshida

MC: Hello everyone! Only three more days until the release of Push for Power, the second book of the Mark of the Yakuza series. Today our guest is here to help us look back into Kas’ past. Our guest tonight is Haruo Yoshida, Kasumi’s father. Hello Haruo.

Haruo: Hi.

MC: We’re here today to talk a little about Kas’ past. What was Kasumi like as a child?

Haruo: (Smiles.) She was beautiful, healthy and bright. She loved to dance with her mother out by the coy pond. (Pauses.) She’s still beautiful now, but she’s changed.

MC: You both have changed.

Haruo: Yeah.

MC: What’s your best memory from when you and Kas lived in Tokyo?

Haruo: Haha. I remember one night I came home late from…work. Kasumi and her mother had been cooking all day. She couldn’t have been more than eight.

MC: What happened?

Haruo: I was late and they had been baking. My wife had taken Kasumi upstairs for a bath. The food burned, and I held Kasumi until she fell asleep because she cried and cried.

MC: And this is your favorite memory?

Haruo: Well, yes. I put her to bed and I finished up some work, so I was up really late. I woke up a couple hours before dawn. I thought someone had broken in. I grabbed my–my gun and went downstairs. She was in the kitchen in her nightgown covered in flour baking for me. We stayed up the rest of the night cooking and ate desserts for breakfast.

MC: It sounds like she loves you.

Haruo: Yes. (Pauses.) She loved me.

MC: What took away that connection?

Haruo: The day her mother died.

MC: What happened that day? Tell us more.

Haruo: No, no I can’t. I–I am– it’s something I have to fix. (Rises.) I’ll change it. I’ll get my little girl back. (Exits.)

MC: There you have it ladies and gentlemen. A lok into the past, the childhood, of Kasumi Yoshida. Learn more by purchasing your copy of Hunting Heartbreak, and remember to pre-order Push for Power which will be released October 20th!

Slacker Sunday

Hey everyone! Today I’m posting as a slacker, and an invalid. I have not posted a song for Souncheck Saturday, and I did not make it onto the list for Weekend Writing Warriors.

What DID I do, you might ask? Well, I injured my dominant hand while playing with my six year-old. I’m trying to keep movement to a minimum. I hope to be in full swing by Throwback Thursday.

-Marie