Monday, October 14, 2013

Splits in the Skin

Bounty Hunter Ellis Hardigree is charged with apprehending a fugitive that's holed up New Eden, a closeted community in the North Georgia mountains. Ellis soon finds out there's more to Moses Bailey and New Eden than meets the eye. The entire town takes family relations to a forbidden extreme, and employs a lethal take-no-prisoners policy when it comes to trespassers. Befriended by a dysfunctional family in nearby Tunnel Hill, Ellis makes a desperate attempt to bring Moses to justice.

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Ellis Hardigree (good guy) is being led to Moses Bailey's (bad guy) small mountain village by Smitty, his love interest with ties to Bailey  ~~~~~~
          An hour later the encroaching darkness slowed their trek. He compared the gradual nightfall to switching a three-way lamp to its dimmest setting every twenty minutes. They finally reached an area dominated by a massive granite wall that seemed to spring up out of nowhere and extend for miles. Smitty dropped the bags, rolled her shoulders, and turned to face him. Seeing the two small points jutting from her t-shirt, Ellis wondered if she was more excited about making camp or being with him. He hoped the latter.
     “We’ll stop here for the night,” she said, scanning the surroundings. “First we’ll get situated and look for some firewood.” She took his arm and led him to the discarded duffels. “Go ahead and roll out the sleepin’ bags and pull out the food and drinks I brought. I’ll fetch the kindlin’.”
     Despite his pain, macho Ellis came to the forefront. “I’ll get the wood, no biggie.”
     “You’re hurtin’ bad, Sweetie.” She rubbed his chest and smiled. “Rest up. You might need to save your legs for later,” she chuckled, ‘just in case we have to run from a bear…or a Bailey.”
     Smitty’s arms encircled his waist. Ellis dropped his walking stick and clutched her slender hips. She beamed, stood on her tiptoes, and gave him a quick peck before nuzzling his nose. He slipped his hands around her bottom and lifted her up. She gasped, wrapped her legs around him, and released a flurry of alluring giggles.
     “Why hasn’t some lucky guy snapped you up, Smitty?”
     “I’m just waiting for the right guy to come into my life.” She locked her wrists around his neck. “And I’m getting terribly impatient.” She laughed. “Can’t you tell?”
     “And what’s your ideal man?” he asked. “I hope I’ve got a few of his qualities.”
     Ellis watched her lips purse as she twisted her hips against his waist. While his dick wasn’t quite at attention yet, he wondered if she felt it rising to the occasion. She turned her head to spit out a wad of gum, exhaled a burst of cinnamon into his face, and moaned.
     “Tall, dark, and mysterious are the big three,” she said, her voice as light as a feather. “He’s also got to be genuine, respect me, baby me when I want it, leave me alone when I’m irritated, and one really, really important thing.” She swallowed as her expression darkened.
     “What’s that?” he murmured. Even though his leg was back to its previous state of agonizing pain, there was no way he was letting her go. “The dealbreaker?”
     Her serious visage gave way to a brilliant smile that outshone the sun. “He’s got to tell me he loves me…and mean it.” Her grin wavered. “I have to see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice and,” she leaned forward and brushed his lips with hers, “feel it in his body…when we fuck.”
     Ellis kissed her. His hands dug into her shifting ass while her hardened nipples scraped his chest. Smitty’s slippery tongue danced an erotic tango inside his mouth. His settled for a more seductive waltz until they broke the kiss to suck in needed oxygen. While the fresh air failed to clear the cobwebs her very presence seemed to smother him with, Ellis loved spending time in the clouds. His dizziness abated when she gasped. He looked up, seeing her staring at something behind them.
     “Babe,” she whispered. “Remember what I said about running for our lives if we have to?”
     What the hell? Her widened eyes made him turn around to stare at their unexpected company. Shit, we’re screwed.

At first glance, Splits in the Skin is about a bounty hunter searching for his prey in a small North Georgia mountain town called New Eden.  In it's sometimes difficult to read subtext, each of the main characters live in a dysfunctional family. Ellis Hardigree, the protagonist, is an army veteran coming off a bad divorce and is systematically being denied his children by his ex-wife. Moses Bailey, the antagonist, lives in an ultra-religious family/village that has been brought up since the Civil War to seek love and affection from their own rather than strangers. Smitty Sprayberry, the love interest, chooses to live with her father and brother, despite how they've mistreated her in the past. Splits in the Skin examines the three families intimacy, family dynamics and emotional trials that are unique, and somehow closely related to each other. Ellis and Smitty are looking for the elusive love they've been denied in their lives while the Baileys thrive in their close-knit but forbidden relationships.
     I wrote Splits in the Skin knowing that many people would be turned off by the difficult subject matter and decided to publish it anyway. I only ask that you put your beliefs aside and give this novel you attention. Much like life itself, my novel is full of warm, heart-wrenching, and totally shocking scenes that I hope will keep your attentions and make you think about something that should be near and dear to all of us - Family.

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