Book Excerpts

 Ralph’s Place II
By C. Michael Bennis

Chapter XIII: Carl Cody

Jake and Ralph parked the red truck at the side of the Victorian mansion while Carl, Cassidy, and Montana pulled their truck alongside and parked as well. The five of them entered into an exuberant, rambunctious scene in the mansion living room. Juan and Daniel were singing at the top of their lungs in Spanish, and Sam was howling (Juan’s singing hurt his ears). Melissa was sneaking around looking for mischievous ghosts while holding a spray bottle of ammonia. Tiger was emitting low-throated growls at Fazzula, who was juggling coffee cups. Jeanne was tipsy and swinging back and forth from one chandelier to another. Meme was following below Jeanne, yelling at her to stop her foolishness. Carla was watching the chaos and yelled, “Incoming!” when she noticed their guests had arrived, whereupon Jeanne let go of the chandelier and dropped into her mother’s arms.

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Ralph’s Place
By C. Michael Bennis

From the back cover…

Ralph Creston is heartbroken as the only life he has ever known disappears in the rearview mirror. He and his family are off to a remote Victorian mansion, where his father has taken a new job.

There, Ralph meets an older boy who can’t stop crying. He urges Ralph to tell a three-legged dog named Sam he’s loved—and then to go talk to the fish in the lake. “You have no idea of where you’re going,” he says. “I didn’t either.”

Soon, Ralph will befriend a pie-thieving beaver, a fugitive vampire, and other mysterious creatures in a wondrous fantasy world—all thanks to a determined college professor who also explored Ralph’s Place as a child.

Dangerous and Desirable
By C. Michael Bennis

When Claudia calmed down, she carried Nieves into the bedroom and bathed her with a washcloth and cleansed the remaining mascara from her face. When finished, Claudia towel-dried Nieve’s unconscious body and placed her gently on the bed between purple silk sheets. Before leaving, she studied Nieve’s color-less face, and then Claudia went on a tear.

Her tears were streaming when she reached the ranch cantina where she heard boisterous partying. Before entering, Claudia set aside her rage and entered into a hyper state of awareness as she drew her matched pearl-handled 1911 handguns Julio had given her and entered suddenly through the cantina’s swinging doors. All sound ceased as Claudia walked to the table where three drunken Spaniards were seated.

Chapter XV Culiacán

Julio stepped off the plane in Culiacán wearing a black T-shirt, Levis 501 jeans, and JP’s Custom Handmade Boots. He was stony-faced as he looked into the sun and put on his dark glasses. During the flight, he recalled the early years with Claudia and Nieves in Madrid, and he again suffered the same recurring pain. Next he recalled Nieves as a child and now as a teenager, and he felt immense pride. Then he thought of Ziv, and he experienced an intense longing. She might be the love he had always waited for. Now, standing on the Culiacán tarmac, he let the warmth of his thoughts flow through his body as he turned his face into the fire of the blazing sun, and he smiled briefly with never-to-be-forgotten memories. Then the memories vanished as quickly as hot water in a quick freeze. He cleared his mind and mentally focused on lowering his heart rate. In moments, his body seemed cold and his mind was clear and vigilant as he entered the Culiacán Federal De Bachigualato airport. At this moment, Julio’s eyes took on the feral look that Ziv saw in the photo of a homeless street urchin in Buenos Aires.

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The Signs of Destiny
By C. Michael Bennis

Chapter I. – Madrid, October 1973

Madrid. It must have been Sunday. The city was nearly vacant and the few individuals I encountered were madly scurrying for shelter from the scattering raindrops. The first day of spring had passed and all of the trees were covered in buds. It was refreshing breathing the smells of the city in the rain for there was a vibrant expectation that tomorrow’s sunshine would find green foliage everywhere.

Periodically fingers of sunlight capriciously poked through gray cloud-boulders above and darted toward mysterious places in the city and then the rain would suddenly hesitate. Madrid was a splendor glistening beneath sprinkling rains and darting sunbeams.

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Rules of Engagement
By C. Michael Bennis

Chapter III, London, July 1964

Alec ventured out into the great metropolitan ambience of London after a full English breakfast that included scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, black pudding, mushrooms, baked beans, hash brown potatoes, half a tomato and English breakfast tea. The morning’s humid seventy-plus-degree weather beckoned delightfully as Alec walked happily amid the smells of exhaust and the sounds of traffic. The morning was an orchestra of sounds. He was now being entertained with the chirping of unseen birds, and the strange dialogue of rapid speaking Pakistanis at the corner launderette. Alec’s keen senses were totally alive. Now he smiled delightedly with the smells of Balkan pipe tobacco, while ahead a young couple stopped to kiss.

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