Elizabeth Burgess

Misfire: Counterplay Book 4

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00025]

mis·fire

verb

ˌmisˈfī(ə)r/

  1. (of a gun or missile) fail to discharge or fire properly.

noun

ˈmisˌfī(ə)r/

a failure of a gun or missile to fire correctly or of fuel in an internal combustion engine to ignite.
 

Revenge. Murder. Sex. Lies. The Counterplay Series continues when Rachael and Graceanne are nearly killed by the malevolent O’Malleys and the younger Douglases rally together to help them. Invariably, Gregory Adams offers advice and assistance to his godchildren, and reaches a crossroads in his volatile and clandestine relationship with their mother, Arianne.

Rafe Gaudet reveals a startling truth to Millie Douglas that changes absolutely everything. While Millie grapples with the fallout, Jamie Caissy acts to prevent their joint secret from coming to light. As always, the O’Malleys are a step ahead, though, and will use any tools necessary to destroy Jamie and the family he holds dear.

The embers of deception have grown into a raging flame. No one is safe. No one can escape.

When you start a fire, be to windward of it. – The Art of War

The Counterplay Series follows the Douglases, Adams, O’Malleys, and Caissys – four intertwined South Louisiana families and their struggle for power, love, and revenge. Your move.

Misled: Counterplay Book 3

🔴AVAILABLE NOW
mis•led

 (mĭs-lĕd′)

1. To lead or guide wrongly; to lead astray

2. To give false information

Discouraged over the direction the Douglas murder investigation is headed, Gregory Adams reaches out to Jamie Caissy for help.

Moving forward, Millie Douglas focuses on the relationship with her daughter, Sydney, and finds an unexpected new friend.

After the death of her son and loss of her beloved Gregory, Arianne Douglas spirals downward into a dark depression and finds a secret way to cope.

With the “Operation” still reeling from Nash’s death, the O’Malleys regroup and Sol takes the helm, but unbeknownst to him or his father, another “Operation” is in the works.

Everyone has a past. Each one a secret. The truth will set them free or ignite the spark for a slow burn. 

The pieces are moving. 

*This is the third book in the Counterplay Series. These books are not standalones.

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Housekeeping, Happy Birthday, and a Bloody Caduceus  

If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will. 

Happy two-year-old book birthday to my very first book formerly known as The Waiting. When I began publishing two years ago, I was young and naive regarding the ways of the book world and honestly believed within 6 months, I’d have made my editing investment back and readers would be clamoring for the second installment. Neither of those things happened.  It. Was. Depressing.

I wanted to quit. 

Like seriously, wanted to throw in the towel and walk away from writing forever because in my mind, not only had I wasted money, I’d wasted my time and my editor’s time. But thanks to encouraging friends and family, I didn’t give up, because there’s nothing in this world that brings me as much joy as creating stories. Over the next year, my family went through our lowest time ever. We struggled personally, financially, emotionally. Through it all, I kept writing… pulling the hurt and frustration from my own life and pouring it into the pages of these books. 

Bet you think this story ends with some motivational spiel about how I made it to a bestsellers list or sold thousands of copies of my books. It doesn’t. Not yet, at least. But give me time. Age brings wisdom for sure and experience puts you in touch with those wiser than you. I’ve been blessed with both of those things recently.

My first series (The Waiting Series) is undergoing a complete makeover. In an effort to match the outward packaging to the inward machinations, backstabbing, and revenge we all know these books to be, I’ve changed the name of the series to COUNTERPLAY. For those of you who don’t know much about chess, Counterplay is  is defined as defined as active maneuvering by the player in an inferior or defensive position.

Could that be any more perfect for this tumultuous cast of characters? 

In addition to the series name change, the titles and covers will be different as well. Kathy, my beloved editor, will be making a pass over each book again, and Sarah M. Cradit (who did Witch Dance’s cover) has created compelling and poignant cover art, that nearly took my breath away. The above Cadduses is for the prequel and this is the art for the first cover. 


In addition to allllll these awesome things, I finally have a newsletter. Promise to keep it relevant and spam free. Sign up HERE and receive a COUNTERPLAY short story. 

What I’m working on: 

  • I’ve had the privilege of alpha reading Sarah M. Cradit‘s latest novel, Secrets Amongst the Cypress, and while Sarah is away on business, I’m making a run through. If you like paranormal and New Orleans, you’ll love her. Seriously. 
  • Revising ALL six of the available COUNTERPLAY books, plus editing next one to be published. Not much will be different, but for creative reasons, a few names have been tweaked and situations changed within the series. 
  • Writing COUNTERPLAY’s seventh installment. 

So…two years later, I’m not quitting. I’m not giving up. I’ll keep writing my stories and do whatever it takes to get them seen. But I can’t do it alone, so thank you to all the people who constantly encourage me or listen when I complain. This isn’t an easy profession, but there’s nothing else in the world I’d rather do. ❤️

Fun Facts…Chapter Three

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Three

The evening sun shining in the car window warmed Bob on his drive home from Lochlann’s in Slidell. The end of February and early March had been unusually brisk and dry for South Louisiana, which had him slightly concerned for his crawfish farms outside Bayou Des Allemands, and even though his partner hadn’t contacted him, Bob made a mental note to call him over the weekend. He’d been trying to reach a more important person for the past hour—his eldest son. Living in Dallas, Dr. Sol O’Malley couldn’t be as involved with the “Operation” as much as either of them would have liked, but his successful plastic surgery practice and a volatile marriage to River’s head OB/GYN Dr. Christine Caissy made living out of state rather appealing. Deciding to try him again, Bob dialed the number and waited.
“Hey Dad, sorry I couldn’t answer. I was on the phone with Sloane,” Sol said, speaking of his seventeen-year-old daughter. “How’d your meeting with Andrew go?”
“He’s cautious, but that won’t be a problem. We’re in. We’re really in.” Bob’s voice was bursting with excitement. “I can’t believe it. After years of planning, this is finally a reality.”
“You and Millie have put in a lot of hard work into making it happen,” he added. “Still a lot left to do, but getting in Rivers—that was our biggest hurdle.”
“As much as I hate to admit it, Nash has really been an asset. Of course, I’d never tell him or Millie that, especially since it was her idea to bring him in,” said Bob.
“Watch those two, though. I’ve never trusted Millie. And anybody in Andrew’s circle—well, you know how I feel about him.”
“I know, Son. Me too. Seems like a lifetime that we’ve been waiting for this. Andy Douglas and that bastard Jamie Caissy, they’ve taken so much… so much from us, but, our time is now. And Sol, you just don’t know Millie the way I do.” He smiled thinking of the woman who had been in his life longer than any other. Their beginning had started out rough, but she eventually found her way back to him. As she always would.
“I’m glad you’re so confident, Dad. But be careful. We all lie and cheat to get what we want. Some of us more so than others.”
Bob laughed. Sol, at thirty-seven was practically his mirror image, in every way.
Following in his father’s footsteps, the boy had joined the Marines after college, but proved to have better control of his temper than his father. “Yeah, you’re right. Speaking of, I’ll call our “friend, the congressman” soon to let him know it’s started. I believe he’s already arranged for the purchase of a house in Mandeville.”
“Good. Glad you’ll have him there, since I can’t be. May’s the earliest I’ll be able to break away from Dallas, and that’s out of necessity for Sloane’s graduation.”
“Hey, I understand. Besides, having you in Texas gives us more contacts there. We’ll talk soon, Sol.” Ending his call, Bob grumbled driving past a red Chevy Silverado parked in front of his house. He knew who owned that truck and was not looking forward to this conversation.

Dr. Andrew Nash Douglas III stood tall and proud against his truck, clad in green surgery scrubs. Today, he was wearing wire-rimmed glasses. With his dark hair and hazel eyes, Nash resembled a young Andrew. Following in the Douglas tradition, he was in his first year of residency at Rivers. Driven and dashing like his father, he had his pick of women and never wanted for anything else either. Bob always thought Nash needed to be brought down a notch or two… or ten.
“Where’s Millie?” Nash asked as he met Bob by the garage. “I thought she was coming.”
“Do you see her with me, Nash?” he answered in his most caustic voice. Unlocking the door, the two men entered the house.
“I don’t know if she is inside. Don’t get an attitude with me. I just came over to see how it went with my dad.”
“Good. We’re in at Rivers. Now, all we have to do is get Millie hired back and we’re good to go. You’re sure St. Tammany’s anesthesiologist has privileges at Rivers too, huh?”
“Yeah, according to what I saw on the hospital mainframe, he did a surgery with my dad a few months back. But in my opinion we need another anesthesiologist in New Orleans,” Nash stated. “And your guy can stay at St. Tam.”
“Oh… really?” Bob shot back. “Pray tell why do you, Mr. First Year Intern, think we need a second anesthesiologist?”
“Why are you jumping down my throat, Bob? Jesus. I’m working with you, not against you.”
Nash sat on the couch, crossing his legs. “I’m just trying to think of ways to fly under the radar. That’s all. Dr. what’s-his-name will need to do some non-Operation related anesthesia cases with us so people like Gregory don’t start questioning the types of surgeries he assists with.”
Pouring them a glass of Gentleman’s Jack, he replied, “Don’t worry about Gregory. Your idea was excellent and he’s got more than enough on his plate to keep him occupied.”
“Thanks,” Nash said, taking the drink. “What did my dad say about Millie?”
“He didn’t. I didn’t ask.”
“Shit… Bob. We gotta have her in. Dad can do surgeries and it’s good to have Christine to harvest eggs and shit, but we need Millie’s privileges restored at Rivers.”
“Don’t you think I know that, Nash?” He sneered, tired of this arrogant and smartass child telling him how to run his business. Nash’s skills were invaluable—especially his ability to hack into almost any computer—but at the moment Bob could do without him. “The Hope Benefit is a week from tonight, and my goal is for Millie and me to walk arm-in-arm on a red carpet they’ve laid down especially for us.”
He laughed. “That’s a lofty goal. Won’t be a problem to convince Dad that she should come back. But Greg?”
“I told you not to worry about him,” Bob yelled, irritated that Nash was acting as if he were the leader of their group. He knew a way to shut him up. “Plan B is always available… if this doesn’t work out.”
“I hate Plan B,” Nash muttered under his breath.
“You agreed to it, and I swear if you breathe a word to anyone…” Bob glanced out the window when he heard Millie’s silver Lexus turning in. “Especially to Millie… I will kill you, Nash.”
“Shit…” He held up his hands as if in surrender. “I won’t, man.” Nash hated Bob—eclipsed only by the hatred he had for his own family. His blood. The ones who had shunned him and sent him away. The ones who preached tough love but offered none. If he had any success in this world, it wasn’t because of his parents, but because of the woman who entered Bob’s home now. She was his father’s ex-wife—Dr. Millicent Douglas. Their friendship began thirteen years ago when a young Nash hitchhiked his way to Slidell, and she had become the one person he trusted with his life.
Bob attempted to kiss Millie’s lips, but she turned her head so he got her cheek. “Hey sweetheart.”
“Bobby…” she said, writhing away from his embrace and extending her arms to a standing Nash. “Hey baby, I brought you some chili and cornbread for work tonight. It’s out in the car so don’t forget it on your way out.”
“Thanks Mills. You didn’t have to,” Nash said, kissing her forehead, “but I’m glad you did.”
“Well, I know you won’t eat until tomorrow if I don’t.” She patted his chest. “You tell that girlfriend of yours, I said she should start taking better care of you.”
“Nobody will ever compare to you, Mills.”
Bob sipped his drink and made a sour face. When Nash was around Millie, Bob might as well be dead. He was her pride and joy. Her prodigy. And she was his unattainable angel. The one woman who would never return his feelings. Bob suspected that Nash had been in love with her since he was a teenager, but Millie’s connection to Nash’s father kept his jealousy at bay. She’d never cross that line—even if she wanted to. Bob was sure of that.
“Do you have time to stay and visit?”
“Wish I did, but I gotta be back in an hour,” Nash replied, opening the outside door. “Thanks for the drink, Bob. And Mills, thank you for my lunch.”
“Anytime, Nash. Be careful,” Millie said, returning to the couch.
When Nash drove away, Bob relocated next to Millie and inconspicuously began to rub her arm, surprised she didn’t slap his hand away.
“How was your day?”
“Long. Had back-to-back open heart surgeries today. Pass me Nash’s drink.”
Bob reached for the glass and watched her down it. She was in the mood to get drunk tonight and nothing pleased him more. Millie was always amazing in bed, but alcohol enhanced her ability to be free. No inhibitions. Quickly, he handed her his drink.
“You want me drunk, Bobby?” she asked, reclining against the couch, white-blonde curls framing her face.
“I want you to stay with me tonight, yes. And if getting you drunk will do that, then I’m not protesting,” he admitted, kissing her neck, up to her cheek, then her lips. “You taste so good.”
“You’re tasting the Gentleman’s Jack.” She licked her lips and closed her eyes. “Was Nash here to find out how it went with Andy?”
Exhaling loudly, Bob huffed, “Yeah…”
“What?” She opened her eyes, certain he was pissed that she’d mentioned Andrew or Nash. She didn’t care.
“Can’t we go one evening and not talk about the Douglas men? I can’t get away from them,” he said, turning to face her.
“Excuse me? I asked one question, Bob.”
“Did I get any chili and cornbread? Did you cook for me? No. But after a hard day at work… you… you cooked for Nash. I bet if he hadn’t been here, you’d driven all the way to Rivers to take him lunch.”
“And you’d be right. He’s just as precious to me as my own children. Maybe even more so because he has no one.”
“He’s got a whole damn family,” Bob screamed.
She stood and carried both glasses to the kitchen. “I don’t have to answer to you about my relationship with Nash.”
“He’s in love with you, Millie.”
Slamming her hands on the counter, she returned an acrimonious smile. “I’m not having this fight again. You are a paranoid, insecure, poor excuse for a man. And you need to know your place.” This was an easy game with Bob—she always had the upper hand, and always got what she wanted. Millie knew he was serious about Nash and his feelings. She thought there might even be some truth to his accusations, but their relationship was none of Bob’s concern—ever, and apparently he needed to be reminded of that. “I came here for one reason, and one reason only, and if you can’t get your ass up and give me what I want, I can find someone else who will. So, what will it be, Bobby? Can you give me what I need?”
“Yes… Millie,” he whispered in a meek voice.
“Yes, what O’Malley?” She hissed.
“Yes ma’am.”
“Now, show me what you’re wearing underneath your pants,” she demanded, sauntering towards Bob. He was fumbling with the button on his jeans.
“Hurry the hell up. I don’t have all day.”
Pulling down his boxers, he revealed an indiscreet bulge in a pair of lacy light blue panties.
“You look absolutely ridiculous, and you can’t even follow directions.” Covering her eyes, she laughed and attempted to get back into character. “Twenty lashes.” Millie pointed to the bedroom. “And no climax again tonight.”
“What? That’s what you told me to wear today,” he complained. “I did what you wanted. The blue ones.”
“No, Bobby.” She grinned, following close behind. “I said wear the dark blue. Those are light blue. Our actions yield consequences, and unfortunately…” Millie opened the closet, retrieving a leather whip from the top shelf. “These are yours. Now, lay your ass down and take it like a man.”

Fun Facts
– The picture isn’t of Slidell (where Chapter 3 is set), but it is of an old sugar mill on the Northshore.

– Chapter 3 is one of my favorites in Book 1 because you get a feel of the dynamic between the characters mentioned. Though I adore the relationship between Millie and Nash, Bob and Millie’s interaction is some of the most fun (and controversial) to write. I must admit, I held my breath when I sent the manuscript to the editor the first time. I felt sure she would be offended and think I was disgusting. Luckily, she ‘caught the vision’ early on in the book, and viewed their storyline as plot enhancing – which was my goal.

– Sol’s name (pronounced ‘Saul’ not ‘Soul’) came from a local doctor named Sol that I worked with at an outpatient surgery center. Ironically, the real Sol and the literary Sol are similar in height and build. I didn’t plan that.

– From the first moment of their interaction (even in the very first draft of The Waiting that will never see the light of day), Millie and Nash had an undeniable chemistry. I had no intentions for their story to be so central, but despite all the reasons they are wrong for each other, there are a million more that make them right. Out of all the friendships I’ve written in this series, the one between them is the most balanced. They compliment each other perfectly.

That’s it for fun facts.Today I start the outline for Book 3 of The Waiting Series…The Wanting. Honestly, I feel that this book has the potential to be even CRAZIER than The Watching. We shall see. Have a great day!!!

The Waiting: Book 1 – Chapter 1 Fun Facts

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One
Three weeks earlier…
Watching Dr. Andrew Douglas roll out of bed, Rachael sipped the vodka she’d poured thirty minutes before. Blinking back tears, she wished for a high to make her forget how far she’d fallen—sleeping with her ex-husband, Nash’s, father. No amount of mind-altering pills could achieve that magic. They were a convenient pair. She knew what he brought to the table, and craved it as if it were air in her lungs, but all she had to offer him was herself. Andrew had always said that everything had a price, and for Rachael it was her sex. Having no intentions of being alone with her thoughts and vices, she threw back the drink and flung the sheet off, baring her breasts. “Stay awhile, Andrew?”
Glancing over his shoulder at the young woman trying her hand at seduction, a small laugh escaped his lips. “Maybe next time, Rachael. Ari wants me to grill tonight,” he said, buttoning his white dress shirt.
He wasn’t the oldest man she’d ever been with, but he was the strangest. Rachael found that Andrew’s public persona as Chief of Surgery at River City Medical Center was quite different from the man dressing before her now. In their six month affair, he’d never kissed her on the lips or held her afterwards. They undressed and dressed like a surgical procedure—meticulous and well-thought out.
“Room’s paid for and you’re welcome to it,” he added, rolling up his sleeves to fasten the silver cufflinks that had been a twenty-fifth anniversary gift from his wife. Rachael’s eyes darted around the room. Andrew always provided excellent accommodations. This Northshore bed and breakfast overlooking Lake Pontchartrain in Slidell was no exception.
“Andrew,” she whined, a perfect pout on her face. “It would be better, if you stayed.” Sliding her arms over his shoulders from behind, she kissed his neck and unbuttoned the top of his shirt.
Spinning around, his mood snapped from hot to cold. “You refer to me as Dr. Douglas, Rachael,” he fired back. “I told you, I have to get home to Arianne. Your prescription is on the bedside. Now, for God’s sake, put some clothes on.”
Dejected, Rachael turned toward the nightstand and spotted the small piece of paper. Immediately, she recalled why this tryst was taking place and started dressing.
“That script is for three months. See if you can stretch it longer this time. Arianne will take Gracie for a full month, starting tomorrow. Have her ready in the morning by eight, please. You are not to have contact with her per our agreement. Don’t pack anything. We have everything she needs,” he said, snatching his keys.
“Tomorrow? I can’t talk to my daughter for an entire month?” she squealed. “She’s my child. I’ve never been away from her that long.”
“She’s eighteen months, Rachael. You only have one-way conversations with her anyway. She’ll be fine, and so will you. Seems there’s plenty to keep you occupied,” he said, a touch too defensively. “Arianne will take better care of the child than anyone. Enjoy your free time, hon. Do you know how many young women would love to drop their kids with their grandparents for an entire month? Go out with girlfriends. Hell, go to the Caribbean. Graceanne will have a great time with her Mémère. And you, my dear, can return refreshed and revitalized.” Andrew opened the hotel door, absolutely certain he’d convinced her.
Reaching for the pills and vodka, Rachael forced a half smile and thought maybe he was right.

Donning his sunglasses, Andrew rushed to his black Tundra. If the traffic cooperated, he’d be on time to his next appointment. With his truck in gear, he glanced at his phone. Two missed calls—both from his best friend, Dr. Gregory Adams. Clicking Gregory’s name and the “send” button, Andrew turned the radio down before speaking.
“Hey Andy,” Gregory said. “Meetings go good today?”
“Yeah. Real good. Headed to my last one with Bob right now.”
“Thought you were supposed to save the best for last… not the worst,” he joked.
“No doubt, buddy,” Andrew agreed, excluding the real reason for the meeting and drinks with Bob O’Malley. “You know he’s the single largest contributor to the Hope Foundation, other than Doc Caissy.”
Gregory laughed. “Well, that’s because they’ve been in a forty-year competition to outdo each other.”
“Got a point there. Hey, y’all still coming tonight, aren’t ya?”
“I am. But I don’t—”
“Hell, Greg,” Andrew interrupted, “don’t pull rank on me because you’re Chief Medical Officer. I’ll call Human Resources to get the girl’s number so I can invite her myself.”
“Andy…”
“Greg, bring her. This would be the fourth time you’ve made excuses for the poor thing, and I know Ari is dying to meet her. What’s her name again?”
“Tiffany,” Gregory muttered. It wasn’t that he didn’t want his friends to meet his girlfriend. He did, but meeting his friends meant meeting Andrew’s wife, and Gregory wanted to delay that introduction as long as possible.
“It’s time, Greg. Gotta meet us before you take her to your mama,” Andrew teased. “You know Arianne is a good judge of whether or not your girlfriends meet Atlee Adams’ qualifications.”
Reluctantly, Gregory conceded, “Okay… okay. We’ll be there.” Tonight would be the night that the love of his life met the other woman.
“I just pulled up at Lochlann’s, but I’ll see you… and Tiffany, at seven.”
“Yeah, man… Seven.”

Lochlann’s Ole Ale House was bustling wall-to-wall with the happy hour masses. Grumbling to himself, Andrew wondered why the hell Bob chose a public place to conduct such private business.
“Andrew.” Dr. Robert O’Malley stood from a corner booth and waved. Taller than Andrew, Bob towered over most people, and he was as crooked as his nose, which was rumored to have been broken by his first wife. Prone to violent and rage-filled outbursts, Bob had been dishonorably discharged from the Marines fifteen years ago when he broke his commanding officer’s jaw. He wasn’t Andrew’s favorite person, but he had money… and power… and today—a proposition that might be difficult to refuse.
“Hey, Bob.” He extended his hand to the older man. “Good to see you.”
“You too, Andy. How’s that gorgeous wife of yours?” he asked, fantasizing about Arianne’s long legs wrapped around his body.
“Good. Thanks. Getting ready for the Hope Benefit next week.”
“You know, I’ve always wondered how a roughneck like you managed to get two of the most beautiful women in South Louisiana to marry him.”
“Stroke of good luck… both times. How is Millie?” he asked. “Been a while since we talked.”
“Hmph,” Bob grumbled. “I’m still trying to convince her to marry me. Any pointers?”
Andrew paused, formulating an answer. Thinking about his ex-wife keeping company with such a deplorable person sent chills down his spine, but he knew that a man would only hit Millie Douglas once. Since Bob sat before him now—it was safe to say, he never had. “Hate to burst your bubble… but Mills, she’ll never marry again.” Taking a long drink of beer, he leaned back, head against the booth. “My mama had to convince her to marry me.”
Bob glared at Andrew Douglas, hatred boiling below the surface. Stealing Millie all those years ago was only the tip of the iceberg. Flashing a strained smile, he replied, “Well, nevertheless I will keep trying. Now, first off—put me down for ten thousand for the Hope Foundation.”
“Doc Caissy gave twelve this year,” Andrew lied.
“Dammit. Fifteen then. But my name needs to be mentioned before Jamie Caissy’s at the benefit.”
Andrew grinned, certain Arianne would be pleased with Bob’s contribution. “Absolutely.”
“Secondly…” He narrowed his crystal blue eyes and lowered his voice. “Our proposal.”
“Yes?” Andrew leaned in, excited to hear more about what his eldest son, Nash, had called the chance of a lifetime.
“As I said on the phone last week, discretion is imperative,” Bob said.
“Of course.”
“An old friend of mine from Missouri, Stephen Mullins, asked if I would be interested in investing and participating in a market… for organs. He’s Chief of Surgery at Jefferson City Medical and has masterminded a plan he calls the ‘Operation.’”
Andrew’s eyes widened. “Well, that’s not what I expected. But please, continue.”
“Say I have a patient with abdominal pain. You know our patients. They don’t ask us why we order labs or tests.” Both of them laughed together at the blind trust most people had in their doctors. “And based on his results, I deem it necessary to order an exploratory surgery. Well, I’ve already done a liver panel work-up and established that his liver is healthy. I also know the real problem is gallstones. So, I extract the stones and what I need, poke around, and close. Document the biliary stone removal and send our liver piece on its way to wherever.” Bob hesitated as Andrew took in the basic idea of their “Operation.” “What do you think?”
Shaking his head, he crossed his arms over his chest. “There’s a shit-ton of problems that could go wrong, Bob. You know that, don’t you?” Andrew said. As interested as he was, he still needed answers. “Do we have specific surgery teams? What about security… funds? I don’t know… It sounds good, but shit… bringing in Rivers… I don’t know.”
“It’s a chance, but the payday is huge. Stephen’s team of docs up in Jefferson City average from $200- to $300-thousand a month. Each.” Pleased to see the younger man’s mouth drop, Bob knew Andrew’s greed would get them inside River City Medical Center. “Of course, we wouldn’t start out with that much. Maybe fifty to a hundred thousand.”
“Are you kidding, man?” he said. “That’s unfucking real. But still, what about everything else?”
“No, Andy, I’m not.” Millie had warned him that Andrew would be resistant, and she told him exactly how to counter his argument. “Take a day or two. Think about it. But Millie says she’d better get her white roses when you say yes and we start making money.”
“White roses, huh?” Andrew chuckled. He should have known his ex-wife would use that information to her advantage. “Well, you can tell Millie her roses are on their way.”
“Does this mean?”
Andrew nodded.
Bob raised his beer in celebration, their amber bottles clinking together. “To our little ‘Operation.’”
“Yeah…” Andrew breathed, hoping for more success than his last botched business endeavor. “To the ‘Operation.’”

Fun Facts
– Rachael’s name was originally Molly. After a suggestion that Molly sounded too much like Millie, we decided to change it to Rachael because what would The Waiting Series be without Millicent Douglas? Rachael is actually named for one of my dear friends who’s been so supportive with reading and offering feedback for the book.

– Since I’m a nurse , the whole “Operation” setup fascinates me. If you think about it, most patients have blind trust when it comes to their healthcare. A word of advice…DON’T. Of course, trust them with your well-being, but make them work for it. Ask your doctor ‘why am I having this test? Make your nurse tell you why she’s giving you that pill. I don’t care if she’s giving you baby aspirin, she should know why she’s giving a medication. Rant completed!!

– Marie chose both Gregory and Millie’s name. Fits them perfectly.

-Bob O’Malley wasn’t intended to be the main antagonist. He wasn’t even supposed to have a very big part beyond being Millie’s sometimes lover, but OH BOY, did he surprise me??? I know most of you hate him, and rightfully so, but I’ve loved exploring his psyche. When I write him, I see James Spader, but my editor will argue me down tooth and nail!! She loves James Spader and hates Bob. I expect her to chastise me for putting this idea in y’all’s head.

– Lochlann’s Old Ale House is loosely based on a tiny pub in a nearby city.

– When I wrote the very first poor, pitiful draft that will never see the light of day, I wasn’t prepared for the revelation that Ari and Greg had an affair… or that their love was sooooo strong.

That’s all for now!!
Enjoy!!
Elizabeth

P.S. Marie and I have a Thanksgiving surprise for y’all next week. STAY TUNED!!!!

The Waiting: Book 1 – Prologue Fun Facts

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Prologue
Arianne Douglas stood over her son. Her dead son. Murder weapon in hand. Blood and tears running down her face. Helpless. Powerless. Paralyzed. Recalling his first steps, first words. There would be no more firsts. Her child was dead. Startled by the buzzing of her cell phone next to his body, she answered but did not speak.
“Ari?” her best friend said, “you called but didn’t leave a message. Andrew texted me about the fight between Reece and Nash. I’m on my way to you now.”
Silence.
“Arianne?”
“Lesley, I need you.” Arianne sobbed into the phone. “He’s dead, he’s dead… my
baby… my son… Les, he’s dead… God, please no… I’m so sorry, baby…” Her voice broke with every word.
“Arianne, I’m on my way. Are you still at the house?” Lesley Huff remembered her recurring dream, pangs of regret pelting her heart. A storm was coming.
“Yes.”
“Have you called the police?” she asked, certain Arianne had not.
“No, only you,” she cried. “My… my son…”
“Dammit Ari, call the police. Now.”
Ending the call, Lesley pressed the accelerator, speeding down West Esplanade Avenue. Arianne hadn’t said which son she had found. Thinking of her own two little girls, she choked back tears for her dearest friend.
South Lake Drive was quiet except for Lake Pontchartrain’s choppy waters lapping over the levee rocks. Lesley wrapped one arm around her chest, her breathing stifled by the heavy Gulf wind. Sirens screeched in the distance and the night sky was filled with the blue and red glow of emergency vehicles. She was glad they were close. Parking next to Arianne’s Jeep, Lesley offered a silent prayer of thanks that Arianne’s thirteen-year-old son, Pike, was with his father and nowhere near this house tonight. So was it Nash? Or Reece. Both of their trucks were parked underneath the awning. Fearful, she opened the back door leading to a dark kitchen, and a bloody Arianne cradling the lifeless body of her son.

“Holy Mary
Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners
Now and at the hour of our death.”

So I thought as a little bonus, I’d post a few chapters and add little known facts about The Waiting Series and its characters.

-The Prologue is nearly identical to a dream I had in August of 2012. The only real difference is that in my dream, they were in a glass high rise in the sky.

-Several of the main characters came fully formed in that dream. Arianne was the first and most memorable one. Her best friend, Lesley was next.

-Since setting the book in a high rise in the sky wasn’t an option, Marie and I didn’t brainstorm for very long until she said, ‘why not New Orleans?’ It was the perfect choice, because not only do we have the lush history of one of the most beautiful and mysterious cities in the world, but we also have its surrounding areas. As native Louisianians, learning about places such as Slidell, Darrow, Des Allemands, and Mandeville has been equally as interesting as familiarizing ourselves with The Crescent City.

-Having Lake Pontchartrain in these books was paramount. You know how some people are drawn to places? I’m drawn to this lake. I can remember as a little girl seeing this massive ocean to my left as we’d drive into New Orleans… the sun’s sparkle dancing over the brackish water. And when we’d drive across the Pontchartrain Causeway… it felt like I was on a bridge to nowhere. In our past few trips down south – I still feel the same wonder and amazement each time I see the beautiful lake.

-I wrote the entire first drafts of book one and two on my iPhone, and I didn’t write on my laptop until a temporary phone problem forced me to either write on it or not write at all. I must admit, I felt a little like Samson getting his hair chopped off, but now, I love the laptop. I feel sure I wasn’t our editor’s favorite person while she was working on our manuscript because of alllllll the straight quotes. 🙂

That’s all for today!!! I’ll post Chapter One and a few fun facts about it soon.
❤ Elizabeth