Title: Blue Lady’s MISSION under FIRE
Author: Stephany Tullis
Genre: Biographical/Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Diamond TK Publishing
THE MISSION changed. Her COVER is blown.
With NOWHERE to run and NOWHERE to hide, what can she do to SURVIVE?
This time, two teenagers are killed in a small town in Upstate New York. Instead of celebrating the 4th of July, another community vigil is held to celebrate the dead. As the murder rate spikes along with unseasonably warm temps, a new case is added to the growing list of homicides. Community leaders call another meeting. But no one has any answers.
In Blue Lady’s MISSION under FIRE, Angelica Mason, AKA THE BLUE LADY, along with her faithful crony and sidekick Jonathan C. Jarewski (JaRew), face new challenges and stare down old demons.
Dr. Beckham Johnson, Angelica’s mentor, invites her to lead a controversial demonstration project intended to study violence in small towns but conveniently forgets to tell her that the feds cut the funding for her position. Instead, she and semi-street wise cohort, JaRew discover they are two of a cadre of six hand-picked street organizers expected to go undercover.
It starts with a round of tequila shots and a hip swiveling line dance. Did Angelica hear the shots before she felt the shove? Was it an accident? Or was she the target?
Watch the beautiful trailer: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/mission-under-fire-tr
“Can you take me to Daddy's spot, please?"
A laundromat. I can't remember the last time I saw one. I hear JaRew's rejoinder. "You come from a different world, Boss Lady." I don't even try to refute it anymore. He's right.
“SOS, we serve the best.” The unique front window of the tiny eat-in, takeout restaurant catches my attention, but my heart quickens at the huge, larger-than-life black, red, and green RIP mural on the building next to it. It's beautiful. A part of me wants to pull over and take a picture. The power of the billboard-sized weaponry superimposed over a small peaceful community surrounded by tombstones makes me question my attraction to the image. As I reflect on this, I realize my desire to savor the image is my involuntary reaction to the beauty of the artwork. It serves its intended purpose. The message is crystal clear.
"Yo, will you move it, lady? You're holdin' up traffic!"
At first, I think the driver is speaking to me. Another impatient driver on the opposite side of the road blasts his car horn and turns up his sound system.
My heart tugs when I see the cutest little boy struggling to keep up with his mother as she lugs her laundry bag on one shoulder with his sister on her hip. I sigh and think, Bless his little heart. He's doing his share. His bright blue NY Yankees cap is much too big for him and falls off his head as he struggles with a miniature wheeled laundry cart.
The little boy's eyes widen as he scoots in front of his mother. Socks, underwear, and a T-shirt fall from the laundry bag that topples over in his cart. His mother quickens her pace as the driver guns his motor. The driver pulls around me. His dated but buffed black Mercedes rolls over the little boy's hat. Tears stream down the child’s face as he points to his now crumpled cap.
I pull over at the next available spot, park the Escape, grab my keys, and hop out. The Yankees cap is bantered back and forth as the passing vehicles play ping pong with it. I jog down the sidewalk, following the cap, waiting for the traffic light to turn red. I lose sight of it when a black pickup trunk flattens it. I groan but continue my trek. Finally, as the truck pulls off, I see that the cap is lodged against the curb on the opposite side of the road. I backtrack, and once the light changes, I cross the street and pick up the hat, hoping it can withstand a much-needed tumble in the washer. Regardless, it's still wearable, but beat-up for sure. I trot back to the laundry. My little friend sees me from the laundromat window and smiles when he realizes I have his prized possession.
His mother opens the door for me. Baby Girl has slept through all the drama. Her head is settled comfortably against her mother’s chest.
"Hey, little man. Does this belong to you?" He smiles and nods his head, wiping his tears with one hand and snatching his hat with the other.
"Honey, don't be rude. Tell the lady ‘thank you.’"
"Thank you, miss."
For the first time, I see that little man's mother can't be more than twenty. "You're welcome. May I put your hat on your head, or do you want your mommy to wash it first? "
Little man nods and points to his head.
"You sure? I'm sorry it got so dirty." I look to his mother for her okay. She nods.
"Say thank you, Jaylen."
"Thank you." He reaches for his mother's hand.
"You have a good day, Jaylen."
Jaylen rewards me with a huge grin.
His mother thanks me again. And again. Before I can tell her I really didn't do anything, little Jaylen whispers, "Mommy, can we go to Daddy's spot? Maybe the lady can take us."
I look at my watch. I have less than thirty minutes to meet up with JaRew and JL. And I don't have a clue how far I am from the waterfront.
"Honey, the lady can't take us. We have to wash clothes, and she doesn't have the time. She's busy."
She nods and winks at me as though to say, "Don't worry. We're okay."
"Shhh, honey. I told you no." The baby stirs. Her mother pats her back. I feel so sorry for the young mom. I wonder how she's able to wash clothes with a baby on her hip, a whimpering child at her knee, and a missing-in-action husband. I become angry thinking about how women are so challenged by the struggles of day-to-day life. Her husband could have at least watched the kids while she was at the laundry. I chide myself when I realize how quickly I've judged a man I don't even know.
"But, Mommy, I want to show Daddy my hat!" He takes off the cap and rubs it with his hand in an effort to remove the grime.
"He bought me this hat just before that gun shot him. Remember, Mommy? He told me he'd help me keep it clean. So, we could be like twins. I promised to keep my hat clean like his." He begins to cry. "And that car dirtied up my Yankee hat, Mommy. Will Daddy be mad at me?"
He stomps his foot. "I have to go see Daddy, Mommy. I have to tell him. It's not my fault. Please, Mommy."
The baby screams. Jaylen's mom bursts into tears. "Your daddy ain't mad at you, Jaylen. He's dead! I told you he's dead."
OMG. I’m bawling. Does she really mean dead? What does a five or six-year-old know about death?
Now available in print!
Autographed Print copies of Blue Lady’s MISSION under FIRE (10 winners selected by Random Selection).
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Submission deadline: September 30th, 2021.
Stephany Tullis is the USA Today and Amazon bestselling author of character-driven edgy inspirational fiction including The Master’s Plan, A Novel, her What Love Can Do, Angelica Mason and Chandler County Series. Stephany grew up in upstate New York fell in love with books after his first trip to the local library; influenced by her mother who was an avid reader!
Her motto, 'writing with purpose', reflects her intent to have her stories not only entertain readers but to inspire and uplift their spirits. Her readers write: " As is the norm with this author, she has a firm grasp on human nature and what makes them (people) tick.
Stephany currently lives in Metro Atlanta and has an extensive public service and not for profit business management background.
Stephany is energized by the sun, thrives on music (all genres) and is inspired by the serenity of the ocean. She loves to travel and summer is her season. Beach-based outdoor music festivals allow her to creatively combine these interests.
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