Excerpt From “500 Miles to Go” by J. Conrad Guest

500 Miles to GoGail had been Alex Krol’s girl since high school. She fell for him before she learned that he risked his life on dirt tracks during the summer months to the delight of the fans who paid to see cars crash—the more spectacular the wreck, the taller they stood on their toes and craned their necks to see the carnage. When Alex makes his dream to drive in the Indy 500 come true and he witnesses the death of two drivers in his first start, he must ask himself if his quest to win the world’s greatest race is worth not only the physical risk, but also losing the woman he loves.


“I’ve never danced with a boy before,” Gail whispered in my ear as the band played “Goodnite Sweetheart Goodnite,” a Spaniels song that was popular. I couldn’t believe how wonderful Gail felt in my embrace.

“That’s okay,” I said, “I haven’t either.”

Gail laughed, the sound tuneful.

“You’re funny,” she said.

“Well, looks aren’t everything.”

“No, they’re not.”

“Although I have to say, you’re the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen.”

“Thank you.”

When the song came to an end, we made our way to the punch bowl.

“You know,” Gail said after taking a sip, “you’re my first date.”



“Not to call you a liar, but I find that hard to believe.”

“Oh, I’ve been asked once or twice.”

“Only once or twice?”

“Okay, several times. But I’m very choosy.”

“Huh,”I said, with a grin. “And here I thought I’d done the choosing.”

“I could’ve chosen to turn you down, you know.”

“True enough. So how come you said ‘yes’?”

Gail blushed and looked down.

“Oh, my… Be still, my beating heart,” I said. “Do you do that of­ten?”

“What?”she asked, looking up at me again.


She rolled her eyes and said, “Unfortunately, yes.”

“Well, I think it suits you. I hope it’s something you’ll do only for me.”

Gail smiled and blushed a deeper shade. I came to her rescue – that’s who I was in my youth, a rescuer.

“So why did you say ‘yes’?”

“Promise me you won’t laugh?”

“Scout’s honor,” I said, holding up my right hand, palm out.

“I liked the way you looked at me yesterday when you asked.”

“How was I supposed to look at you?”

“I’m not expressing myself well.”

“That’s okay; I have that effect on people.”

Gail laughed. “I imagine you do.” And then, “It was obvious when you looked at me that y’all liked what you saw. But you were respect­ful.”

“Why wouldn’t I be respectful?”

“You didn’t leer at me.”

“Oh. My turn to apologize. Sometimes I’m slow on the uptake.”

“Telling me I looked like Gail Russell didn’t hurt your cause.”

“I’m very honest,” I said.


“Uh-oh…, there’s an ‘and’?”

“I’ve seen you around school, and you seem one of the better boys.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“What, that you’re one of the better boys?”

“No, that you’ve seen me around school. That would mean I’ve missed seeing you, and I can’t believe that.”

“Do you always flirt so outrageously?”

“Only with you.”

“Good answer.”

Just then, the band segued into “Honey Hush,” a Joe Turner song that had been popular in 1953.

“Come on,” I said, taking Gail’s hand. “Let’s dance.”

The evening came to an end all too soon. We danced and talked and got to know each other, and we liked what we learned.

We held hands as we made our way across the parking lot to where her dad sat behind the wheel of his idling car, a 1950 Ford Zephyr Six.

We stopped about ten feet from the Zephyr Six to look at each other; I held both Gail’s hands in mine.

“What I wouldn’t give to kiss you,” I said.

“Why, Alex Król, what kind of girl do you take me for?” Gail said with a smile.

“The kind I’d like to kiss.”

Gail grew serious. “I know,” she said, glancing at her father, who was seated in the car with his hands firmly gripping the steering wheel. Perhaps he knew this day had been coming, when his little girl would grow up to meet the young man who might take his place.

Gail rose up on her toes to kiss me on the cheek.

“Another time, I promise,” she whispered. Then she gave me a quick hug, her breasts feeling firm against me, and made her way toward her father’s car.


J. Conrad Guest, author of: Backstop: A Baseball Love Story In Nine Innings, January’s Paradigm, One Hot January, January’s ThawA Retrospect In Death, and 500 Miles To Go has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to write stories of action, love, mystery and morality; tales that cross genres, seizing the imagination of the reader. Though his novels are varied and original, the reader will find that each is full of life’s lessons—full of pain and humor, full of insight and triumph.

Excerpt From “Call Sign: Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning)” by

Adventures of CIA Special Operations Team, Call Sign: Wrecking Crew. All members of the team are former military special operations from the different branches of the armed services. They are sent overseas on a Top Secret mission. Once the mission is completed, they rapidly realize they are merely Pawns in an International Chess Game that turns into a Political Firestorm. As a result, they are disavowed. Accompanied by Firefights, Fate, and Faith, they finally find a way home. After arriving, they discover governmental abuses of the Constitution. Will they survive long enough to thwart these enemies of the State?


Genre: Fiction Military/Action/Adventure/Political Intrigue
Mature Audience rating is recommended

Excerpt from Chapter 1
Call Sign: Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning)
by David McKoy & Lynn Hallbrooks

It is the beginning of a blistering hot Sunday in Houston, Texas. Mac, J.T., T.K., and Deb completed shooting at their favorite range. Despite the fact that they claim their only objective is to maintain their certification, they are heard squabbling over each other’s scores in a manner reminiscent of siblings fighting over a favored toy.

J.T. says, “Mac, I can’t believe that she beat my score.”

“I know, I think I trained her too well because she’s even beaten mine.”

Deb retorts, “Listen here, Mister. You didn’t train me. I already knew how to shoot long before you ever came into my life. I’ve just been waiting until the right time to show you.”

“Yeah right, Sister! Let’s go one more round and I’ll show you who trains who around here.”

J.T. is about to settle the argument once and for all when all of their pagers go off. They say in unison, “So much for a day off.”


Approximately 15,000 feet above ground, Crazy Larry is doing what he does best, sky diving, when his pager goes off. Looking at the Jump Master, he asks, “If I don’t jump, how long will it be before we land?”

The Jump Master replies, “About 30 minutes.”

Crazy Larry jumps, giving the impression that he did not wish to be late, but in reality he would have done it anyway.


In a small East Texas town, Reverend Martin is giving his Sunday morning sermon. While he reads the text from Genesis Chapter 47 verses 13 through 27 in his NRSV Bible, his pager, which is resting under the pulpit next to his carefully placed .45 caliber pistol, vibrates. Surreptitiously, he pushes the button and it stops. He quickly concludes his sermon as if time was running out for the 11 a.m. service. As he shakes hands with members of the congregation exiting the church, he ponders how many actually heard what he said or were they thinking of the secular things they could be doing, just as he was wondering what this mission is all about.


All members of the Wrecking Crew Team are trained to respond to their pagers by grabbing their gear and meeting at their team house. The team house used to belong to a local “Outlaw Biker” club from whom the team members purchased it. Now it serves as a safe house for them, their weapons, communication devices, ammunition, work clothes and tactical gear. J.T.’s well trained dog, Bear, is on constant guard.

Inside the place looks like the stage manager of the show Sons of Anarchy decorated it with a few female touches. While it isn’t true, some of the team did like the show. After they throw their gear in a corner, J.T., T.K., Deb, and Mac impatiently await the arrival of Crazy Larry and Deano, who are approaching the two-hour deadline for the team briefing.
As Crazy Larry bursts through the door still dressed in his sky diving suit, Mr. Winchester appears on the satellite communication system. The satellite dish is communicating through the 50-inch plasma screen that Deb recently installed. Mr. Winchester says, “Wrecking Crew is being activated. You’re to meet at Ellington no later than 2100 hours tonight. From there, you’ll be embarking a C-5, destination to be known only to the commanding pilots. Your orders will be awaiting you there. Are there any questions?”

J.T. says, “Just this, are we going to be wet and salty or dry and sandy?”

“Dry and sandy,” Mr. Winchester looks around the room, counting heads, “You seem to be missing a member of your team. I believe you call him Deano.”

J.T. answers, “He’s en route as we speak.”

“Very well, you have to be on that flight at 2100 hours, with or without him.”

The image of Mr. Winchester disappears leaving only static on the screen. Deb turns off the plasma.
While awaiting Deano, the team plans what to pack for a destination dry and sandy. Mac says, “Desert gear it is. God only knows what they have in store for us this time.”

As J.T and T.K. nod their heads in agreement, Mac goes behind the bar and reaches for a Kaliber non-alcoholic beer and unscrews the cap. After that, he reaches for a beer tap that has a specially created mechanism. When he pushes it in, instead of beer pouring out, a door unlocks behind him. Mac and T.K. go inside the hidden armory to gather weapons. Mac stacks them onto his rolling cart as T.K., ever the administrator, ticks them off his pre-made list, even providing the amount taken off the walls.

Mac murmurs, “I sure am glad that we have this place well hidden. No one would ever guess this old motorcycle shop is now our armory. The Banditos sure were smart in their set-up ‘cause you know, these days it is best not to advertise where the skeletons are buried, so to speak.”

Suddenly, the wheels of the cart squeal under the weight of the mounting weaponry. Mac thinks out loud, “A little WD-40 should take care of that” as he continues to push his way back to the door, arriving just in time to see Deano walk through the door. As the door closes behind T.K. and Mac, they hear J.T. holler at Deano, who is still in his Sunday go to preaching clothes, “Next time move your chocolate buns a little faster. The Company despises tardiness. I covered your butt this time. Who knows if they bought it or not? Get my drift?”

Mac reaches for another Kaliber and tosses it over to Deano as he says, “J.T., the man was at church doing his thing. What do you want him to do, blow his freaking cover?”

J.T. grumbles under his breath, knowing full well that Mac is right, but as team leader he has to be tough and not play any favorites at all.

T.K. and Mac start stowing the weapons into two boxes along with the appropriate ammo. Efficiently, they place the small arms in one box while the long rifles go into the other. Before they leave, everyone completes their individual check list. They make sure that all their personal gear as well as the tools of their trade is put together. Also, that the placement in their desert gear war bag is secure, for what they figure will be a long rough flight. They don their elite-looking, dark-colored matching polo shirts, khaki pants and black tactical boots. As Mac secures the team house, the others pick up their gear bags and toss them over their shoulders. After everyone and everything is loaded into the team’s Hummer, T.K. swiftly and expertly drives them to their destination.


As 2100 hours Sunday night approaches, the team loads the last of their gear onto a C-5A in one of Ellington’s hangars. This military transport plane was previously loaded with two armor-plated desert-camouflage HMMWVs aka Humvees, plus their two specially designed Desert Patrol Vehicles, which they simply call their dune buggies. Anxiously, the team awaits their orders, wondering where in the world this trip will end and if this desert that they are destined for is familiar or unfamiliar territory. As the aircraft is preparing for takeoff, J.T. is handed a sealed envelope which is stamped DO NOT OPEN. J.T. tosses it in the briefcase and straps in with the rest of his team, who are bound for parts unknown.


Call Sign: Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning) by David McKoy & Lynn Hallbrooks

Website: http://www.callsignwreckingcrew.com
Blog site: http://callsignwreckingcrew.blogspot.com
FB fan page: http://www.facebook.com/CallSignWreckingCrewStormWarning
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/CSWCLynn
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/7zcyAjBdpY0