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Cable TV personality Ricky Gold has problems. He’s on the run from a bad relationship. He hasn’t shown up for work in a week. His iPhone is at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. And now his life is about to be turned upside down… It starts when he meets Kada – as in Cicada – in the middle of West Texas, and finds himself intrigued by her name, her tattoo, and the way an angry redneck chases her out of a bar.
When someone close to Kada turns up dead their flight begins, first from an assassin…then two…then from every law enforcement officer in a five-state area. Thoroughly unequipped for a life on the run, Ricky and Kada must depend on each other while struggling against their own mutual attraction – a factor that could prove fatal.
Drawing Down the Moon is equal parts Hitchcockian thriller and romantic comedy, filled with memorable characters. It’s a witty screwball noir thriller that follows Ricky and Kada as they fight to survive – and hope to find some really great Chinese food.
“The pace of this murder mystery plot line forces the reader’s eye across the page, but the beautifully painted descriptions and the wry humour beg to be read slowly and savoured.” Fiona Quinn, author of Weakest Lynx
“…a deliciously engrossing story that is part romantic comedy; part hybrid thriller. Faust’s engaging characters will draw you in, and the plotline will hook you.” Lisa Weaver, author of The Billionaire’s Bodyguard Bride
ABOUT THIS EXCERPT:
“For decades I have wanted to have a chase scene where the principals ended up in a grocery store, doing battle with household objects. I was delighted to see something like this in Raising Arizona, but when the chance came to do it for myself, I leapt at the chance. It didn’t turn out the way I thought it would, but it still services the story nicely.”
Excerpted from Drawing Down the Moon by Joe Clifford Faust. Copyright © 2015 by Joe Clifford Faust. Reprinted by permission of the author; no part of this excerpt may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.
It was cooler in the store, and as they ran past the checkout counters, Gold felt more lucid. And the fresh, green smell inside reminded him that it had been hours since he had last eaten, and that he’d never received the steak he’d been promised.
“Plan?” he said, wheezing.
“Stay alive,” Kada said.
They blew past a lone cashier who was working her nails with an emery board. She regarded them down the length of her nose, as if they were in a hurry to buy liquor and a box of condoms. Glitter reflected from her T-shirt, forming letters: ASK ME ABOUT MY SAFE WORD!
“Call nine-one-one,” Gold said. “Call now!”
There was a screech from outside and they saw the Camaro rocking from its stop, headlights glaring through the store window. Kada tugged Gold’s shirtsleeve and cut through one of the closed lanes, neatly hopping over the chain. Gold went over one leg at a time.
Kada was waiting for him by a small floor freezer filled with cartons of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
“Will you call nine-one-one?”
The cashier stared.
“Alright.” Kada grabbed a handful of Cherry Garcias, threw them on the floor and kicked them down the aisle.
“Hey,” the cashier said.
“Call the cops.” Kada lobbed a carton at her.
Gold heard the gears on the electric door whine and he pushed Kada past the freezer cases toward a pyramid of canned pork and beans. “We’ve got to—”
There was an explosion and a can of beans burst right in front of them.
The cashier screamed.
There was another explosion and Gold felt himself splattered with something cold and wet.
Gold and Kada looked at the man advancing on them through one of the empty check stands. The fluorescent light of the store magnified the details. The man stood six-five if he was an inch, with the wide shoulders of a linebacker. His hair was jet-black, and his face had the tint and prominent cheekbones of a Native American. He wore jeans and a bomber jacket with some kind of a Harley Davidson T-shirt beneath it. His arms pointed outward, holding in his hands a small, dark weapon, different from the one used at Kada’s house.
“Wait there. Don’t move.” He turned to the cashier, who was looking at him in wide-eyed terror.
“It’s okay, ma’am. FBI. These two hurt you any?”
She shook her head.
“Make yourself scarce and I’ll have these two out of your way in nothing flat.” He aimed right at Gold while the cashier disappeared into the depths of the store.
The man dropped one hand and reached into the pocket of his bomber jacket. He brought out something silver and tossed it toward them. It landed on the tile floor with a clatter.
“Put those on.”
Gold blinked at the floor. Handcuffs. “I didn’t do anything.”
“We’ll talk about it at the field office. Put those on, one on you, one on her.”
Gold took a step toward the cuffs.
“Don’t, Richard,” Kada said.
“Shut up,” the man said, twitching the barrel of the dark gun at Gold. “Keep moving, buddy.”
Two steps more and Gold was standing over the cuffs.
“Bend down slowly. Keep one hand in sight and pick them up with the other.”
Gold crouched, eyes locked on the man. He groped until he felt the cool metal of the handcuffs and plucked them up with his fingers.
“Back up. Then clamp them on one wrist.”
“I don’t care. Hurry up.”
“Where are you taking us?” Kada said.
“The field office, like I said.”
“The field where you killed Trevor, you mean.”
“Shut up, or I’ll kill you where you stand.”
Gold fumbled with the handcuffs, trying to pull the ratchet apart. “I’m sorry,” he said.
“Other way,” the man said.
Gold grabbed the other cuff and repeated the failed process of opening. “I never had toy ones as a kid. I never got into cop shows.” He shook the cuffs, as if that would make them open. “I’ve never even been arrested.”
“Just freeze, then.” The man started through the checkout aisle toward Gold. “I have to do every damn thing . . .”
The chain across the aisle caught the man mid-thigh. He stopped and looked down, then reached with his free hand to unsnap the chain. When he did there was a sudden clatter behind Gold. He looked back to see the pork and bean pyramid collapsing.
The man looked up, raised his arm and exploded another can. Then Kada was at Gold’s side, a can in her hand, saying, “Go!” and pushing him down the cereal aisle. She threw the can at the man while Gold threw the handcuffs and they ran past a bewildered stock boy. As they got to the edge of the aisle, they heard the man shout “Stop!” and there were two more shots. They ran through a storm of corn flakes.
Gold grabbed Kada’s wrist and pulled her around an endcap. Something exploded in front of him and he fell back into her arms, smelling of Dr. Pepper.
“Back this way,” Kada said. They made their way past the bakery and a case filled with deli meats and cheeses.
“Where we going?”
“Dairy case,” she said, “or meat. If we can get to one of those, we can get into the back of the store and hide. Maybe get out the back door.”
“He’ll kill us.”
“He’s trying to get us out of here first. There’s the dairy.”
It was at the far end of the aisle past a tub of watermelons. They sprinted toward it, ignoring the order to stop until a pair of melons burst into a red, sticky mess.
“He’s got us.”
Gold looked back. The man stood motionless, looking at his gun. He thumbed something on it and it clicked. He reached back and stuffed the gun into the back of his pants, then brought his hand forward and reached for something inside his coat. He pulled out something long and silver.
“Run,” Gold said, and pulled Kada into the nearest aisle, running toward the front of the store. As he ran, products blurred past; flour, powdered sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda. He stopped dead.
“I’ve got an idea,” he said, grabbing a box of baking soda. “Self-defense with household items.”
She looked at him.
“We pour this into a glass bottle of vinegar and cap it, the pressure builds up, and we throw it on the floor in front of him. It explodes and we run.”
She stepped over to him, took the box out of his hand, threw it on the floor. “No. The stuff would fizz up before you could get the cap on.”
“How about using an aerosol can as a flame-thrower?”
“You watch too much TV.” Kada pushed him down the aisle. “Watch for him. You’ve given me an idea.”
He looked back at Kada. She was at the end of the aisle with a large bottle of cooking oil in each hand.
“Come on.” She led him to the front of the endcap and put one of the bottles down. She twisted off the cap of the other and tore off the seal. “Go back and look for him. Make sure he sees you.”
“You want him to—”
“Let him see you run this way.” She rounded the corner to the next aisle. “He’ll try to cut you off by coming around.” She held the bottle out and poured the cooking oil onto the floor across the entire length of the aisle.
“Let him see you . . .” Kada placed herself between the two aisles just in front of the oil slick.
Gold ran to her from the endcap. She grabbed and stopped him and the man appeared at the far end of the aisle.
Kada stared at the man, holding Gold, and took one step back from the oil.
“I said freeze!” He started to run.
“You got us,” Kada said, backing another step.
“Don’t move,” he said, closing the distance.
“Don’t hurt us,” said Kada, continuing her glacial retreat.
“Put your hands—”
The man’s right foot splashed down into the oil and kept going, too fast. The left foot came down and slid too, and for one snapshot moment the man was hanging in midair.
The silver gun in his hand fired randomly into the air. The man finished his plunge to the floor. The gun fired again and spun out of his hand toward Kada. Gold broke away and caught it on the slide, picking it up by the barrel.
The man’s momentum carried him forward, and he plowed into one of the shelves, arms windmilling for leverage. A row of syrups and an entire display of B’rer Rabbit molasses went cascading down on him. One bottle caught him on the back of the head. He grunted and was still.
“Go,” Kada said, and sprinted through an open check stand.
“Sorry about the mess,” Gold said, following Kada. As they neared the door, they could hear a siren.
“Great,” Gold said. “Now we’re in for it.”
“Why do you say that?”
“That guy was FBI.”
“He just said that,” Kada said. The door opened as a police car approached the store, overhead lights flashing.
“What if he was after Trevor because he was making some kind of weapon with his worm farm?”
“Trevor wasn’t a terrorist.”
Gold followed her past the Camaro. The headlights were on and the engine hummed in a slow idle. There were dents and scratches across the front end from the ramming. “How do you know he wasn’t?”
She stopped and looked at him hard. “If you must know, I was sleeping with him. And when you’ve got a man naked in bed with you there are no secrets.”
Light from the police car’s spotlight bathed them.
Gold said, “Boy, are we glad—”
They stopped and Gold squinted against the light. The squad car had stopped with both doors open, making it look like it had wings. Officers were crouching behind the doors, one with a shotgun at the passenger door, the one on the driver’s side with a pistol, both pointed at them.
“I said freeze! And drop the gun!”
“What, are you kidding?” He looked at Kada in disgust. “I don’t have a gun.”
“Richard,” Kada said, “you do have a gun.”
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