If Wishes Were Horses...
Just when Neil’s life seems bleakest, his oldest friend, racehorse breeder Jason Keys, is murdered. And Neil becomes the prime suspect.
To avenge his friend, clear his name, and rescue a missing championship thoroughbred, Neil infiltrates the dark underworld of horse theft and illegal breeding. Neil’s friends—his attractive writing teacher, his cooking colleagues, and a freckle-faced teenage horsewoman—offer their support. But their cheers quickly turn to gasps when Neil becomes the hunted."
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A Whisper Of Rage
"Graduate student and part-time chef Neil Marshall only wants to go for an early morning run. Instead he witnesses the near-fatal shooting of legendary Houston private eye C.J. McDaniels, and he fears the gunmen can identify them.
Before long, Neil finds himself in the eye of a hurricane, his quiet academic life ripped apart as he rides a swath of violence that cuts across a mansion in River Oaks to an eerily silent suburban home, from a secret hospital room to the bed of a fascinating woman. In Houston's sultry summer heat a deep-rooted rage is building from a whisper to a roar."
Find all of Tim Hemlin's Books Here
Tim Hemlin is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, having studied with poets Charles Simic and Mekeel McBride. He has published in poetry journals, anthologies, and magazines--most notably in Ellery Queen. Currently he has six published novels, two short stories and is included in an anthology.
By day he is an educator; however after teaching ELA for 22 years he decided to put his master's degree to work and is now a high school counselor. In addition, he is an avid marathoner, fly-fisherman, and outdoorsman. He lives just outside Houston, Texas with his wife Valerie, two dogs and a cantankerous cat.
Excerpt from If Wishes Were Horses:
The morning sky was bleached blonde and the day felt just as cheap. My fights with Susan had been like an alcoholic battling the bottle: love of a destructive force. As bad as the marriage was, though, it still ripped through my soul, leaving me shaky. Six years of life couldn’t be changed over six weeks of hashing it out, or in six hours after the break. This was the beginning of convalescence.
Jason Keys was up early, quietly making coffee and frying bacon and eggs when I awoke. I wrapped the blanket I’d been sleeping with around me and stumbled into the kitchen.
“Damn, if you’re a Houston native,” I said, steadying the clatter of my teeth. “Don’t you believe in heat?”
“You’ve gone soft.”
“I feel like a bucket of Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream.”
Jason was dressed in a denim shirt, blue jeans, and brown Ropers. “We live in Satan’s barbecue pit. Once a year I enjoy a good blue norther, the only decent Yankee export.” He tossed two plates on the breakfast table and set down a bowl of eggs with bacon and toast on the side.
I made for the coffee first to warm my bones.
“Have some grease and cholesterol,” he told me.
“Why not? My blood’s not flowing anyway.”
Simple fair, but damn good. Maybe having someone cook my meal for a change intensified the pleasure. Crisp bacon and warm toast with honey didn’t hurt.
“What are you fixing to shop for first?” Jason finally asked. “Divorce lawyer or apartment?” We sat opposite each other. The day’s milky light tainted a couple of corner windows.
“Apartment,” I replied.
“Playing it safe.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re throwing in a low chip in case you want to fold after the first hand.”
“I was raised to use both feet and take one step at a time.”
“You don’t have to get persnickety,” Jason told me.
“Well, what makes you think I’m going to run back to Susan?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“The hell you didn’t.”
“Shut up, I’ve got a plan. After I talk to Perry about the advance, I’ll call around from work. I don’t reckon it’ll take too long to find an apartment.”
“Good enough.” Jason started his eggs. “You working tonight?” he asked.
“Nope. I’m a guest. Chip Gunn thought I ought to mingle with these folks.”
“I hope you interpret mingling is more than spouting howdy and see y’all.”
Jason cracked a smile. “Maybe.”
“How is Mr. Gunn, your new business buddy?” I forked in a piece of egg, chewed on some bacon.
“Partner,” he corrected.
“And I suppose we have you to thank for tonight’s job.”
“We have enough honest work to last until Memorial Day.”
“You’re bellyaching again.”
“Don’t you have something to do?”
He grinned, then stood and rinsed his dish.
“I’ll clean up,” I volunteered. “You fixed breakfast.”
He left his plate in the porcelain sink. “I’m heading to the stables,” he announced.
I chased the last of my breakfast with the coffee. “Wish I could join you.”
He froze for a minute, then relaxed. “Yeah, too bad, I need help with the colic,” he said.
“Somebody to walk the horses. Give enemas.”
“Maybe another time. I have to go cook so Houston high society can sup tonight.”
Jason picked a dirty straw hat off the tree by the front door.
“Who takes care of the animals when you don’t stay at the trailer or can’t make it out there?” I asked.
“A high school girl down the road. Candace Littlefield. Nice kid. Loves horses. Great little barrel racer, too. See you at the parry, bud.”
“With you on the good side of life.”
“Yeah, the good side. You know where the spare key is,” he called out. And then he was gone.
I didn’t understand Jason’s jabbing. There was a strange feeling between us. A distance. Surely he didn’t really believe I’d bolt back to Susan. Then I realized I’d forgotten to ask him about last night’s phone call. Or I wasn’t given the chance.
After cleaning the breakfast dishes, I got my clothes out of the Bug. It was odd being only a few minutes from work. For years I’d driven miles to reach this life, arty and on the edge, remote from suburbia; now I felt in the middle of the creative community. But the Susan-sore in my heart made me wonder if the move was right.
I caught myself, sat on the couch. Maybe Jason wasn’t so far off.
Tim’s Top-Ten All Around Favorite Things:
- Writing stories and poems
- The Sun Also Rises
- Fish and Chips
- The Boston Red Sox
- Midnight in Paris
- Bob Dylan
- Sunday, sweet Sunday
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