Book: FATAL STRIKE, by Shannon McKenna
Subject: Miles Davenport
Interviewer: Thanks for coming in on such short notice, Mr. Davenport. I know Sveti roped you into doing this for my journalism thesis project as a favor, and I am really grateful to both of you. Particularly after I read the articles about the Greaves Foundation event! Wild stuff. I’m so glad you got through it all right. And I would love to learn more about your incredible adventures!
Miles, looking dubious: Uh, yeah, I guess. I don’t know how they covered it in the newspapers, so I can’t speak to what they said about what happened.
Interviewer: Well, they told the truth, right? Did they not? And if not, what did they miss? Or fudge?
Miles: No clue. I was in a coma when they were writing about it. I’ve been trying not to think about it ever since. So, I’d rather refrain from questions about that. If you don’t mind.
Interviewer, crestfallen: Okay, I guess. Well, then. (consults notes) Then let’s just get back to basics. Say, how would you describe your family? Your childhood?
Miles, shifting uncomfortably on his chair: My parents were great. They still are great. They worry about me, but I can't explain what I’m going through to them. I think it would scare them. I don’t have any brothers or sisters. It was a completely functional, normal childhood, which makes it hard to understand why I came out so weird.
Interviewer, giving him a flirtatious onceover: You don’t look weird to me.
Miles, snorting: Give me time. So, yeah. There is no explanation for my many problems to be found in my family background. It was great. No complaints. Moving on.
Interviewer, scribbling notes: Right. So, what’s your greatest talent?
Miles, shrugging uncomfortably: I am a mega-nerd. I’m not sure if you can call that a talent. It might be better described as a medical condition requiring urgent treatment, depending on your point of view.
Interviewer, looking him up and down: You look like an athlete to me, not a nerd.
Miles: Nah, not me. I do martial arts and outdoor sports, but my main thing is the tech. I fixate on things, and I just have to understand them, or else I go totally bat-shit with anxiety. Which is really great for problem-solving and hyper-productivity, but sucks when it comes to, you know. Inner peace.
Interviewer, blinking in confusion: I see. Do you have a significant other?
Miles, silent for a long, tense moment: I’d rather not talk about that.
Interview: Yikes. I’m sorry. I didn't mean to touch a sore spot.
Miles: It’s OK. I’m just one big sore spot these days. I was with a woman for years. Totally hung up on her, ever since college. She was beautiful, smart, sexy, fun. Plays a hot saxophone. Sister-in-law of one of my best friends.
Interviewer: She sounds great. Oh. So, ah, why did you—
Miles: She was sleeping with other guys. A lot of other guys. An endless regiment of other guys.
Interviewer, wincing: Oh God, ouch. Sorry I asked. I’m so embarrassed.
Miles: It’s okay. I’m handling it. It’s in my rear-view mirror now. I just have to stop looking back.
Interviewer: So, ah. Okay. The next thing on my list is, ‘what’s your biggest challenge in your relationship, but ah...
Miles, smiling briefly: Yeah, we’ve covered that one. It was a challenge, for sure.
Interviewer, flustered: So, ah…where do you live?
Miles: Nowhere, at the moment.
Miles: It’s not like I’m living out of my car or anything. I’m doing fine. I could buy a nice house with cash, if I wanted to. I have more work than I can handle. I just haven’t gotten around to finding a new apartment yet. Not since I broke the lease on the one I shared with Cindy. I don’t want to commit until I decide whether I want to stay here in Seattle, or go check out other places for a while. Preferably someplace really far away. New Zealand, maybe, or Iceland, or Patagonia. So most of my stuff is in storage, and I’m crashing in an Air B&B in Capitol Hill, for now.
Interview: I see. (glances at list) So. Do you have any enemies?
Miles, thinking about it for a second: To be honest, I’m not sure.
Interviewer, eagerly: Oh, you mean, the Greaves Foundation thing? You don’t know?
Miles: Yeah. That whole thing put me in a coma, so nobody bugged me afterward. I was thoroughly neutralized. But now that I’m back on my feet again, I have this feeling that eventually, someone is going to remember I exist, and try to finish me off. But to be honest? I can’t be bothered to worry about it. I have more pressing problems.
Interviewer: Like what? Wait…are you okay? You look like you’re in pain. Do you need something? Some water, a cup of coffee? I think I might have some Advil in my bag.
Miles: No, no. Thanks, but I’m okay. What happened to me…it did a number on my brain. It just made me hypersensitive to light, smells, and electro-smog. So I can get overwhelmed sometimes.
Interviewer: Yeah, Sveti mentioned that in her email, so I was careful not to use perfume.
Miles: I appreciate the effort, but everything is loaded with perfumes and chemicals, and I can smell all of them. Your deodorant, your detergent, your fingernail polish, your fabric softener. Your tablet and phone are throwing out this huge whanga-whanga hum that makes my head pound like a bass drum.
Interviewer, distressed: Oh, dear. I’m so sorry. I had no idea it was so bad.
Miles, chastened: No, I’m the one who should be sorry. I didn't mean to complain. It’s not your fault. I decided to schedule this interview today because I promised Sveti I would, but I’m leaving town, so it was today or not at all. It’s not your problem if I miscalculated what I could handle. I’m just sorry if I freaked you out with it. Or bored you by bitching and moaning. I try not to do that. Sometimes I fail.
Interviewer: But...what happened to you? What caused this, ah, disability?
Miles, shaking head: Better not get into it. You wouldn't believe me if I told you. But it scrambled my brains. I’m hoping it gets better fast, or I’ll have to change careers. Give up being a tech nerd and become a Zen monk, or grow organic tomatoes, or repair recumbent bikes, or some hippie shit like that.
Interviewer: That was going to be my next question. What do you do for a living?
Miles: I guess you could say I’m a consultant. I offer my broad-spectrum tech services to whoever needs them. I have a group of friends with complicated lives, and they call on me to solve all their boring tech problems. And until now, I’ve always come running whenever they called.
Interviewer, hesitating: And now? Are you not intending to do that anymore?
Miles: No. Not anymore. Even besides the fact that I can’t stand to be around electromagnetic radiation, I’m just not in the mood to be anybody's gofer these days.
Interviewer: Ah. I see. So, let’s see, what’s next on this list…oh, yeah. What is your greatest disappointment?
Miles, looking down: Ah…well...
Interviewer, waving her hands in distress: Sorry, sorry. Never mind. You already told me.
Miles: No, actually.
Interviewer, confused: Huh?
Miles: What I mean is, my biggest disappointment is not that dumb shit that happened with my cheating girlfriend. It’s actually another thing, believe it or not. A worse thing. Deeper.
Interview: Oh. So, what is the thing? If you don’t mind me asking. I know this is turning out a little more, um…intense than I had intended.
Miles: Yeah, that’s just how I roll these days. Everything is always more intense than I intended. There's this girl. I never even met her. I just found out about her, and learned that she was in trouble. She’d been kidnapped by a monster, and I was asked to do my best to help her. To try and find her, and rescue her, because no one else was doing anything to help. I promised to do it, and I failed. That’s it. That’s my biggest disappointment. I can’t seem to forgive myself for it.
Interviewer: Did you try your best?
Miles: Of course. I tried like crazy. I did every damn thing I could think of. I left no stone unturned. It’s just that there weren’t very many stones to turn. And once they were all turned, well. I didn’t know what else to do.
Interviewer: Well, if you did whatever you could, you shouldn’t feel so bad about it, right?
Miles, shrugging: I guess not. Still sucks, though.
Interviewer, with false cheerfulness: Hey, let’s move on. Let’s see, the next question is…what’s your greatest source of joy?
Miles, just looking at her, shakes his head.
Interviewer, wretchedly: Never mind. Forget I asked.
Miles: Nah, it’s okay. I'm sorry. I can be a huge buzzkill when I have a headache. To answer your question, I’d say, my greatest source of joy is my friends. The ones I told you about, the ones I work with. They’re a very special group of people, very intense and unusual. I almost feel like I fit in with them. I’m glad I have them. They’re like family, for me. They make up for not having brothers and sisters. Their kids are like my nieces and nephews. So yeah. They give me joy. Definitely.
Interviewer, palpably relieved: Well, good. So what do you do for fun?
Miles, wincing: Fun? Seriously?
Interviewer, finally getting irritated: What, is that another sore spot for you?
Miles, rolling his eyes: You know what’s fun? Hiking. Mountain climbing. That’s what I’m leaving town to do, and I’m going to try like hell to have fun at it. I have a pick-up truck parked outside all loaded up with camping and climbing equipment. I’m heading out on a long hiking trip up in the Cascades. I probably won’t be back for weeks. Or months.
Interviewer: Isn’t it kind of cold for that?
Interviewer, glancing at her notes: Okay, then let’s go on to the next one. What's your greatest personal failing?
Miles: Not finding Lara.
Interviewer, nodding: Right. Of course. And what keeps you awake at night?
Miles: Not finding Lara.
Interviewer, pausing for a moment: Okay, so what is your most pressing problem at the moment? Besides not finding Lara, I mean.
Miles; sighing: Oh man. Where do I even start. Let’s see. Insomnia? Nightmares and stress flashbacks? Head pain? Anger issues? Guilt? All huge downers. Do you really want to hear about them?
Interviewer: I guess not, if they make you that miserable. Is there something that you need that you don't have?
Miles, snorting: Nothing that I have a hope in hell of getting.
Interviewer: What’s standing in the way of your getting it?
Miles: You mean, besides reality? The only thing on earth that would make me feel any better about myself right now would be to find Lara Kirk. I haven't had a single break so far. Look, I’m really sorry to have wasted your time. I know that this was definitely not the interview you had in mind. But I really need to go. I’m kind of at the end of my rope, here. Too much light, too many electronics…sorry.
Interviewer: Yeah, and my deodorant and nail polish. It’s okay. I don’t take it personally. It was actually really interesting talking to you.
Miles: If you’ll excuse me. I’m about to hit the road, and I need to go some final grocery shopping first. Thanks for listening to me.
Interview: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Have a great trip.
Miles, turning to go: Thanks.
Interviewer: Hey. Ah…could I ask you something?
Miles, turning around: Yeah?
Interview: If you find out what happened to Lara, will you call me up and let me know?
Miles, smiling at her: Sure. If I ever find out, I’ll call you up and let you interview me again. Deal?
Interviewer: Deal. Thanks. And don’t forget. Really. I won’t sleep at night until I know, either.
If you want to find out what happens to Miles after his hiking trip, and what really happened to Lara, be sure to read Fatal Strike, out on February 28! If you want to find out what the hell happened to Miles before, you can read One Wrong Move, available now on KU! And many thanks to Fresh Fiction for hosting Miles’s interview! And check out Sam and Sveti’s interview, for In For The Kill!
The McClouds & Friends #10
The McCloud brothers have been coaching their protégé, Miles Davenport, for years. It’s finally time for him to claim his own place in their group—and his own love.
Her eyes haunt him….
All that Miles knows about the beautiful young sculptor Lara Kirk is that she was abducted by a madman, in order to punish her parents for their sins. She’s an orphan now, and everyone else on earth who might have fought to find her is dead, so it’s up to him to help her now. Miles is all out of leads, but he is tormented by dreams of Lara…dreams that are starting to feel shockingly real. So real, he decides to try following them…
She can’t separate dreams from reality…
Lara Kirk’s been locked in a cell for months. The only thing that has kept her clinging to sanity by a thread is the stunning, avenging savior in her dreams…the one who can’t possibly be anything but a fantasy. So she tells herself, until the brawny young warrior bursts into her prison and sweeps her away, against all odds.
Lara can’t help but bond with the intense, protective Miles. But their wild passion is a dangerous distraction, and the stakes keep getting higher as Lara and Miles battle with an unimaginable evil that threatens everything they care about…
Romance Suspense [Oliver-Heber Books, On Sale: February 28, 2023, e-Book (reprint), / ]
Shannon McKenna is the NYT bestselling author of seventeen action packed, turbocharged romantic thrillers, among which are the stories of the wildly popular McCloud series and the brand new romantic suspense series, The Obsidian Files. She loves tough and heroic alpha males, heroines with the brains and guts to match them, villains who challenge them to their utmost, adventure, scorching sensuality, and most of all, the redemptive power of true love. Since she was small she has loved abandoning herself to the magic of a good book, and her fond childhood fantasy was that writing would be just like that, but with the added benefit of being able to take credit for the story at the end. Alas, the alchemy of writing turned out to be messier than she'd ever dreamed. But what the hell, she loves it anyway, and hopes that readers enjoy the results of her alchemical experiments.
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