Monday, May 20, 2013

Tour Stop: Excerpt/Giveaway ~ RUMORS by Stephanie Abrams

The lives of ordinary people living in a quiet Long Island suburb are plunged into intrigue and it all starts with "rumors." Conspiracies, secrets, lies, scandals and loves are woven into the web that ensnares the business and personal lives of Frank and his young wife, Maisy, their family and friends, as rumors swirl around them and the company Frank joins in his search for a more comfortable life. Warned by Maisy's dad, a retired Nassau County, NY police officer, that disaster awaits if he accepts a job at this local company, based on unprovable rumors about the corporation, Frank's need to make a better life for himself and Maisy result in the lives of all around them being sucked into danger. Rumors abound, like a tornado sweeping through the family and community, threaten the lives, livelihoods, and love relationships of family, friends, and acquaintances in this Long Island community! A glimpse into Frank's welcoming ceremony into the company sets the stage for the intrigue that follows.

“Welcome to RCA& D, Frank.  You have a home and a future here,” Jason said with sincerity and passion. “We expect big things from you.  As you enter our company, we want you to reflect on the difficulties and obstacles of your past, the promise of your future, and the words Mr. Dugan shared with you about what is important to us at RCA & D.  You will have some time for quiet reflection as you prepare yourself to meet the challenges we will face together on our company team .  Take all the time you need.  There’s no rush. When you’re done, just head home, get a good night’s rest and come in at  eight-thirty tomorrow morning ready to conquer the world. And don’t be late now. Promptness and daily attendance are important parts of that commitment to the company that we expect from you, Frank.”  
Jason had concluded his little speech.  Frank was riveted in Jason’s gaze.  He felt like he was that little boy at Boys Town who was uplifted by the attention, support and caring of a saintly priest.  He really fell in this time, he thought.  He finally got a break.  His ship had come in.  
Jason positioned Frank at the edge of the door opening.  As the giant door opened, Jason’s arm on Frank’s back gently nudged him inside.  With one swift, firm movement, Frank was whisked across the threshold and could feel the closing door on his back.
The room was pitch-dark. Frank’s eyes could not adjust to the darkness.  He could not tell how big the room was or where a step in any direction would take him.  He felt a sense of panic set in and bit his lip to keep from calling out. Keep calm, is all that came to his mind.  Keep calm and don’t move.
First, he tried to find the doorknob, sliding his hands up, down, and side to side over the door.  There was no doorknob.  Pushing on the door did not open it.  Clearly, it was locked from the outside.  
“Why am I in here?”  Frank’s mind raced.
He wasn’t sure he felt any sensation in his legs but his arms seemed to be working.  Extending both arms, he put his palms out reaching across the walls trying to determine the size of the space he was in.  His weight shifted and he lost his balance for a moment.  His right foot pivoted trying to recapture his balance.  He heard the scratching sound of grit and dirt grind under his feet. There was no plush carpet on this floor.
Frank’s mind raced as he tried to make sense out of what was going on.  His breathing quickened.  His heartbeat raced.  Panic was taking over.  He was trapped, he was alone, he was in a black hole.  How did he get here?  And how would he get out?  Were they taping his reactions on infrared film?  Was this a test to see how well he would do in unusual situations?  Stay calm, he thought. Stay cool.  Don’t lose it now.
Afraid to take a step, he stood in place, arms clinging to the walls, back against the door.  It seemed like he passed through the doorway hours ago when only minutes had passed.  He wasn’t sure if his voice would work.  Maybe Jason didn’t realize that the lights weren’t on.  That was it.  How silly. “Jason,” he called.  “There are no lights on in here,” Frank said, trying to sound casual through tight vocal chords.
“Jason,” he repeated, banging on the door with the palms of his hands, not daring to turn or move.
There was no response.
What now.
Think, Frank. Use that head of yours, is all that raced through Frank’s mind.
Finally, he came up with a plan.  He would slide around the edges of the room, clinging to the walls with outstretched palms, blindly scanning the room for a light switch.   Slowly, he extended his right leg sideways, bringing his left leg to meet the  new destination once his footing was established.  Repeating this dance of darkness, Frank glided like a butterfly in two-step motions, arms fluttering up and down the wall.
 As he moved from left to right, Frank could hear the dirt beneath his feet grind. Grit from a rising mound created by his left foot rose and dropped over the top of his shoe, running down into his shoe and creating another discomfort in an already miserable situation.  Dust created from his darkroom gavot began to fill the air.  Frank could taste the dirt and began to sneeze from the unseen cloud forming in the stale air.
Frank moved around the first wall to the corner, then another corner, and finally reached the door again, never finding a light switch.   What now?   Dizziness ensued. Panic welled within him.  Banging on the door was the only solution.
As he turned and faced the door with his raised fists, the room took on a glow. Frank turned again, hugging the door with the palms of his hands and facing the center of the room.  He looked up at the ceiling at the source of the glow as his eyes began to readjust to take in his surroundings.  At the top of the ten foot ceiling was a single, bare light bulb.  It couldn’t have been more than 20 watts, Frank thought.  For a room with a ceiling this high, it did little more than define the space.
 As Frank’s eyes adjusted to the dim light, he saw that the walls were painted, not the decorative gray, green and burgundy he had enjoyed earlier, but black.
The light cast a strange glow and was absorbed by the black walls in the windowless room.  The room looked to Frank to be square in shape and about nine feet in each direction.   
 The floor of the room was completely covered with dirt.  Frank took his already filthy shoe and pushed some of the dirt aside to find the flooring underneath. There was just too much dirt and no sub-flooring to be found.  Frank’s eyes moved slowly from his focus on his shoes in a straight line along the floor to the middle of the small room.  He saw what appeared to be the wooden legs of a carpenter’s sawhorse, the kind of wooden structure they use to control crowds at parades.  There was one on each end of the room.  Frank inhaled deeply and gasped in the silence as  the vision in front of him registered in his mind.  There, balanced on the sawhorses, was a six and half foot long open coffin.   
 Morbidly, Frank stepped closer for a better look.  On the white satin pillow lay a card with bold, large letters.  In the dim light, Frank strained to read the one word message: VACANCY.

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About this author....
Stephanie Abrams is recognized worldwide as a travel expert and has been rated as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Travel. She is the executive producer and host of two nationally syndicated radio shows about travel and has appreared on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC1 Radio and BBC1 TV. She is a sought-after motivational speaker and has given seminars for the last nine years at the NYTimes Travel Show. She is a journalist whose work has appeared in TRAVELHOST, travelgirl, Fido Friendly and WHERE NY. She travels widely globally and in the US and has an award-winning website,which includes the family of brands and

Stephanie Abrams first novel,"Rumors," while a work of fiction, presents characters and events inspired by her world travels and observations of life's experiences, creating believable people and incidents with unexpected twists and turns. The quiet lives of ordinary people are thrown into chaos that all beings with rumors. 

Abrams favorite things in life are traveling with her husband producing exciting radio programming, finding occasions to speak French and kissing her English springer spaniel, Maggie McGee, on the nose. 

Abrams is currently working on a series of travel guides, the first of which is a guide to visiting Ireland, and a sequel to "Rumors."

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