Thursday, April 03, 2014

My Brothers Keeper: The First Three Rules (Book #1) by Adrienne Wilder ~ Review, Chapter One Reveal & Giveaway


Title ~ My Brothers Keeper: The First Three Rules (Book #1)

Author ~ Adrienne Wilder

Genre ~ M/M Paranormal Romance

Published ~ 26th March 2014

Rating ~ 5 Stars

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This is book one of three. All books are full-length novels and must be read in order. All books are available now.

The My Brother's Keeper Trilogy

The town of Gilford has a Big and Terrible secret hidden in the ground.
Infecting those it touches.
Exploiting their darkness.
Consuming their souls.
It’s hungry. It’s vile. It’s evil.
And it wants out
Book One: The First Three Rules

Marshal Jon Foster lost his purpose and his sanity the day he saw the image of his dead brother. The distraction saved Jon’s life but cost the lives of innocent people including his best friend and partner. It was a price for survival Jon couldn’t live with and was sure he’d never understand.
Driven by grief and guilt he tried to escape his past by fleeing to a small town in the middle of nowhere. Only instead of peace, the memories festered.
Then the offer of a stick of gum from a stranger changes Jon’s life and puts him on a road out of the nightmare he’s trapped in.
Ellis Harper has lived the past twenty years isolated from the outside world and sole caretaker for his mentally disabled brother, Rudy. While Ellis loves his brother, he longs for a life he’ll never be able to have.
Shut away, his days consist of chores, endless cartoons, and games of Go Fish. A world that seemed to have no end until an innocent misunderstanding turns Ellis and his brother into a target for a town bully.
It’s a fight Ellis can never win on his own but thanks to a chance meeting with a stranger, he doesn’t have to.
What begins as a new journey in love for both men quickly unfolds into something neither of them could have ever imagined.


Macky’s Review

'One day you will understand'

WOW! Just WOW! ... I knew that I was going to love this book when I downloaded the sample to test the waters, and met the three main characters who dominate this intriguing, thought provoking story... (Marshal) Jon Foster, Ellis Harper and his uniquely special and childlike brother Rudy, who had me the moment he sat down next to Jon in the park, at a pivotal moment in his life and offered him a stick of gum. An insignificant offering on the surface but nevertheless an event that stops Jon from doing something terrible, setting up a series of events that will obviously become more clear as the series progresses... I could tell it was going to be good but I didn't realise just how much this was going to get under my skin!

The conundrum now is how to tell you about this story without giving too much away? First of all this is the first book of a trilogy and I have to say its quite hard to pigeonhole it into a category as this certainly isn't your common or garden paranormal m/m romance, but one thing it isn't, is a standalone, so when you pick this one up be prepared to be in it for the long haul. I can't call the ending a cliffhanger as such but you will be left with the feeling that this is only the tip of the iceberg and NEEDING that next instalment like you need air to breathe!

Because this is book one, the supernatural threads may appear to be subtle, but don't be fooled. They're simmering ominously in the background. Scattered moments of "weirdness" that raise their heads every now and again just to remind you that later down the line they're probably going to erupt in some heart stopping way, which makes this a very clever introduction to the three part series. The majority of the story is centred around Jon and Ellis' slow burn relationship and Rudy's influence on it, in fact if it wasn't for the anomalous interludes, you could very well be reading an extremely emotional contemporary romance between two flawed complex men, and it would still be an awesome read... but oh no! This drama is much  more than that!

Both of them are carrying life changing issues and heavy emotional baggage that's affecting their day to day lives. For Jon its a form of PTSD relating to three significant tragedies in his past. The death of his brother, a horrific traffic accident and a police raid that goes horribly wrong, resulting in the violent deaths of his best friend and partner and a group of very young girls who had been used as hostages in the situation, all fed to us in little teasing bites over the pace of the story but still never fully explained in this book so there's obviously more to be revealed over the next two. Jon is a haunted man...In more ways than one. At each of the last two tragedies he's seen a strange figure he thinks is his dead brother and at each of them, out of all the carnage, he's been the only living survivor. The guilt of this being too much for him to bear and at times a voice in his head goads him about it all. Is it just psychological mind fuckery or is there something preternatural lurking behind the scenes?!? Meeting Ellis seems to be the balm to soothe his soul...

Why was he here? The only reason John could think of was because he had to be. He didn't know why, but he wanted this man in his life. There was a strength in his heart Jon needed. "I guess because I need a friend."

Then you have Ellis and what life has dumped on him.The death of his parents at the age of twelve and subsequently the fall out of having, at that time, to take on the responsibility of his loveable but mentally retarded brother and (with the help of a family friend) find a way to keep them from being separated. A brother thirteen years his senior but a small child at heart. Now in his thirties, gay, lonely and looked down upon by most of the townsfolk, Ellis has foregone a normal life for the sibling he loves dearly and because of it is treading water. Seemingly calm enough on the surface but paddling frantically beneath it! Until Jon arrives in his and Rudy's life, bringing a ray of hope that he's frightened of acting upon until the force that is Rudy steps in and a tentative friendship starts, leading to possible love for them both.

my brothers keeper

The last (but far from least) of the trio is Rudy... Adorable, funny, poignant, unique, hard-work Rudy! 45 years old but with the mental age of a five year old he's the heart of the story and the glue that holds it together. Through Rudy we get some of the books lighter moments, he's got the charm, innocence and naivety that as well as bringing the tears, can also make you smile , the way the antics of a small child make you laugh when they're being so spontaneous. He's literal in his observations and guileless in his nature. He hates the colour yellow, doesn't like bananas, won't go out if he's 'wrinkled', can't eat marshmallow cereal because it turns his poop blue, avidly collects baseball cards and loves cartoons and Ice cream. But he's also a handful, can't sit still for long, touches things he shouldn't, unconsciously embarrasses Ellis when they're out shopping, and gets distracted by 'shiny' things. How can you not fall in love with a character like that and Adrienne Wilder writes him so vividly that he comes alive on page. He tests Ellis to the limit and because of it has put them both in the firing line of some of the red neck locals and the local sheriffs department where two of the deputies are less than clean. Rudy has three rules that Ellis drums into him: the first three rules.....

"Don't Talk. Don't wander off. And don't touch"

Simple enough for most of us to follow but for Rudy... not so much! Sometimes the funny feeling inside him tells him things. Sometimes it tells him where to find things that Ellis hides away from him. Sometimes it tells him things about people that they don't tell anybody else. Just... sometimes.....

The three of them together blew me away. Watching the relationship between all three of them unfurl was emotional, raw, perplexing, at times heartbreaking and fascinating. Ellis and Jon gravitate together because of, and despite their conflicts and even though there's doubts and fears from both sides, you see this is a relationship that's meant to be.... Rudy knows that... but how, and why? Adding the paranormal rumblings to the mix is just making this even more addictive. If I had to make a comparison, I'd say this is more like the horror stories, without the gore, that I used to read when I was in Stephen King mode ... but of course it's M/M! And yes there is sex, and its sensual, passionate and gratifying but really its the story that drives this book and pulls you in. There's something evil in the woodshed, its not fully emerged yet in this volume but its showing its head and its orchestrating the drama, but what is it? Why is it there? How is it going to affect the budding relationship? Is it's influence showing in the town and on its population? Will we see more of that in book two? Are there going to be allies who help them? What's Rudy's part in all of this? Is he the key to what's happening? What is the significance of Jons sightings?

Questions, questions, questions!!!

All I know is that I have two more books on my kindle waiting to give me the answers so that's it! I'm off... because seriously... this is REALLY good guys!

I'm hooked.

Purchase Links



Grab a coffee, get comfy and prepare to be WOWED! 

Chapter One

It was a beautiful day to die.

Clear blue sky overhead and budding leaves. The ground covered in tender grass and bright yellow patches of daffodils. There were a lot of flowers in the park. Almost overnight they had created mounds of color between the trees.

The small town of Gilford started early when it came to making the place welcoming. Tourism was big in the area, although Jon Foster wasn’t sure why. It didn’t matter. Not today. Or tomorrow.

He closed his eyes and lifted his face. Broken pieces of sunlight touched his skin, chasing away last night’s chill. Soon the Georgia heat would rise and days like this would disappear until fall.

For some reason fall always made him think about Danny.

Jon brushed his fingertips against the cool metal of the .38 in his coat pocket. It was the only firearm he had left. After the botched takedown at the warehouse, Jon had to turn over his department issued gun. He sold the rest and put the money in the account set up for Alex’s wife to help cover the funeral bills.

Alex shouldn’t have died that day. Him or Detectives Franco and Cruise. They were the ones supposed to be alive right now, laughing with their families, driving their kids to school. The only rotting body should have been Jon’s.

He leaned back and the aged slats on the bench curved against his back. A breeze made the trees sway and the light dance across the ground. The earthy scent of cut grass filled him with every breath.

It was definitely a beautiful day to die.


Jon yanked his hand out of his pocket.

The stranger sat beside him. Dressed in a button up and khakis, he could have been any man on the street but the smile he gave Jon belonged to a child. The man rocked and worked his oversized hands around the deck of baseball cards he held.

“Would you like a piece of gum?” He dug in his pocket until he came up with a stick of pink bubble gum. Lint clung to the edges. “It comes with the cards, but Ellis says I can’t chew it because I swallow it. Ellis says gum is for chewing not swallowing, but it’s hard you know. I just chew and chew and then I forget. Maybe I’m thinking about pie or cookies.” He waved the candy around.

“No, thanks.”

The man’s happy expression crumbled. “You don’t like gum?”

There was no reason for the lie to be difficult. Lying was all Jon did these days. To himself. To the people around him. “I’m allergic.”

The man’s eyes widened. “Wow. I’m allergic to bees. They sting. And they hurt.”


“My name is Rudy.” He stuffed the gum back in his pocket and held out his hand.

Jon shook it then wiped the sticky residue left behind on his jeans.

“Are you going to tell me your name?” Rudy hugged the cards to his chest and his bright blue eyes crinkled up at the corners. “Or is it a secret?”

“Is what a secret?”

“Your name. Is that why you won’t tell me?”


Rudy bounced and kicked his feet. “So it is a secret.”

“No. I mean. Never mind. Jon. My name is Jon.”

“Jon. Jon. Jon. I have to say it three times or I’ll forget. I’m bad with names.” Rudy stared at his feet. His lips moved and his brow scrunched up. “I think I can remember it now.” The smile returned. “Would you like to get ice cream? Ellis promised me ice cream today.”

“I don’t think so, but thanks.” Jon stood.

Rudy said, “Are you allergic?”

“What?” He took a step.

“To ice cream. Is that why you don’t want to go?”

“No. I just…I really need to go. Sorry.”

Beyond the clump of bushes and trees someone yelled Rudy’s name. “That’s my brother Ellis. You’ll like Ellis.”

On the other side of the bushes, a man with his hands cupped around his mouth hurried across the wide green lawn. “Rudy!”

“I’m over here!”

Jon winced and pressed his fingers against his temple. With the numbness he’d found in solitude broken, every splash of dappled light stung his eyes and the sound of leaves brushing together might as well have been twisting metal. He turned to get away from the chaos and almost ran into Ellis. He had the same color eyes as Rudy.

“Hi Ellis!” Rudy waved.

Jon went right and so did Ellis. They exchanged a look. Jon went left and Ellis cut around him. “Jesus Rudy. I turn my back for a minute. You know you’re not supposed to wander off. Rule number two remember? Don’t wander off.”


Ellis took Rudy by the arm and he stood. The brothers were almost the same height. But where Rudy was built soft, Ellis had more definition. And instead of child like wonder in Ellis’s eyes there was wariness. The kind found in someone who carried too much for too long. Jon had seen those same eyes in the mirror for over two and a half decades.

“This is my friend Jon.” Rudy out held a hand in Jon’s direction. “He’s allergic to gum.”

“That’s nice Rudy.” Ellis took him by the arm. “C’mon, we need to go.”

Rudy pulled back. “But Jon’s going to get ice cream with us.”

“I’m sorry.” Ellis’s face reddened. “I didn’t mean for him to bother you.” He tugged on Rudy’s arm again. “Please Rudy. We need to go.”

“He wasn’t bothering me,” Jon said.

“I’m sorry anyhow.” The flush in Ellis’s cheeks darkened. “Rudy. Let’s go.”

“But we were going to get ice cream.”

“It’s nine o’clock in the morning. There is no ice cream.”

“Paulie’s Diner,” Jon said.

Finally Ellis brought his gaze up. Jon was wrong about their eye color being the same. Ellis’s had streaks of gray so when the light hit just right, they looked pewter.

“Paulie’s Diner. They serve ice cream all day long and they’re open for breakfast.” Why was Jon telling Ellis this? Why did he even care? Jon stuck his hands in his pockets. He brushed the gun and yanked them back out.

“Yeah, I know where it is,” Ellis said. “We’ve eaten there a couple of times.”

Rudy fought off another one of Ellis’s attempts to drag him away. “But Jon is nice and he’s my friend. And he wants ice cream. We never get to go to Paulie’s. I want to go.”

Ellis leaned close to Rudy but his whisper still carried. “We don’t have the extra money. Please Rudy, please be good and don’t make a scene.”

“I’ll buy.” Jon almost choked on his words.

Ellis shook his head. “I’m sorry, we can’t.”

“Please.” Guilt made the gun in Jon’s pocket heavier. What if Rudy had walked up on him a minute later? What if he’d been the one to discover Jon with the top of his head blown off? Was that why he offered? Was he trying to make amends for possibly scarring Ellis’s brother for life with the image of a dead man? If it was, ice cream was a piss poor way to do it, but it was all Jon had.

Ellis knelt in front of Rudy long enough to tie his shoe. “I appreciate your offer. But--”

“I won’t take no for an answer.” Jon smiled and for the first time in a very long time his face didn’t strain with the effort to hold it in place.

Rudy grinned like he knew the battle was won.

“Are you sure?” Ellis almost met Jon’s gaze.


Paulie’s sat on the corner of Main Street, parallel to the old court house, now town museum. Jon had no idea what kind of nostalgia the town of Gilford had that people paid two dollars each for the privilege to gawk at.

Paulie’s lime green trim against red brick clashed with the earth tones of the surrounding shops. From the outside it could have passed for a saloon. A lot of the stores around the square looked like something from the old west. The General Store next to Paulie’s sold cheap tourist items, like pretty rocks and shirts with pictures of the nearby mountains.

Rudy made a dash for the door and Ellis caught his wrist. “No running.”

“But there’s ice cream.”

And bacon, eggs, and toast. The heavy scent of breakfast food left a greasy coating on the back of Jon’s tongue. His stomach growled reminding him he hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday.

Jon held open the door. Ellis looked surprised for a moment before ushering Rudy inside.

The outside of Paulie’s might have resembled a saloon but the inside was a bubble trapped in the fifties. Red vinyl barstools on silver poles lined up in front of a speckled gray counter. A black and white checkered floor added to the chaos.

On the other side, old fashioned soda taps with fat handles displayed the names of available drinks. A flat stove occupied a space in the back corner and a bank of glass walled freezers filled with barrels of ice cream separated the short order kitchen from the dining room. Workers wore paper hats and white aprons with the shop logo.

Rudy escaped Ellis’s grip and made a bee line for the ice cream. He pressed his nose to the glass and spread his large hands on either side of his head.

Ellis ran his fingers through his mop of blond hair as he followed him. This time he was too far away for Jon to hear what he said to his brother. Rudy’s smile wilted as he followed Ellis to the row of stools. He sat beside Rudy. Jon sat beside Ellis.

Rudy dug his baseball cards out of his pocket.

“Put those away,” Ellis said.


“We’re here to eat, not look at cards.”


To Jon, Ellis said, “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

His eyebrows went up. “Do you really have to ask?”

“He’s excited.” Jon shrugged. “It is ice cream, you know. Who doesn’t get excited about ice cream?” Ellis gave him a timid smile. Jon decided it was a good look for him.

“Can I have a sundae?” Rudy asked. “I like cherries. And chocolate.” He tugged one of the menus from the holder at the edge of the counter. Rudy pointed to the picture on the front. “See. Chocolate.”

Ellis gave Jon another apologetic look. “I’m sorry.”

“Will you quit saying that? Let him get a sundae. I’m getting breakfast.”

A large man stepped up in front of them, note pad in one hand and grease stains on his apron. His mustache rolled over his upper lip and down the sides of his mouth in a salt and pepper line. “You ready to order?”

Jon gave his, then Rudy.

“And no bananas,” Rudy said. “I’m allergic.”

“No, you’re not.” To the waiter Ellis said, “No bananas, please.”

“A sundae with no bananas?” The waiter raised both eyebrows.

“Yeah, Rudy...never mind. Long story. Just make sure there are no bananas.”

“Customer’s always right. And you?”

“I’m fine.”

“Eat something,” Jon said.

“No, really. I’m okay.” Then why did he keep glancing at the menu Rudy left lying on the counter?

“Order something, please.” Jon caught Ellis’s gaze. This time he held it without looking away.

“I don’t want to impose.”

“I wouldn’t have offered if I thought you were imposing.”

Ellis touched the menu, but he didn’t really look at it. “Grilled cheese and a bowl of chili. Wait, do you have chili this time of morning?”

The waiter laughed. “We got chili all day long. Give me ten minutes and I’ll have your food right up.”

The bells on the door clanged as an elderly couple came in. They traded hellos with two men sitting over by the window.

“So, how long have you lived here?” Jon said.

“My whole life.” Ellis rearranged the silverware. “My parents grew up here.”

Rudy leaned forward. “They’re dead now. I miss them. Mostly around Christmas.”

“Rudy.” Ellis pushed him back. “Stop.”

“But I was talking to Jon. He’s my friend.”

“I know.” He fumbled with the menu and handed it to Rudy. “Here, look at the pictures. If you’re good, maybe we can come back here next week.” Rudy took the menu. “Sor--”

Jon held up a hand. “I told you. No apologies.”

“What about you?” Ellis started to lift his gaze but seemed to catch himself. “How long have you been in Gilsford?”

Jon propped his heels on the foot rest at the base of the stool. “A couple of months.”

“Do you like it?”

“I don’t get out much so I can’t really say for sure.” Sometimes he didn’t get out at all. Most days the sounds were too loud, the sun too bright, and the people too many. Even in a small town, the people could be too many. Those were the days the memory of his brother made it difficult for Jon to breathe.

“Where are you from?”


Ellis’s eyes widened.

“I know. I have a southern twang. I was born and raised in Watkinsville. My parents owned a farm.”

“What made you go all the way up there?”

He needed to escape. He needed to be free. Only the ghosts had gone with him. Jon hadn’t known about the festering wound they’d created. By the time he did, it was too late. “Work,” he said. “I was a cop for about ten years and later on, a Marshal.”

“Oh.” Ellis stared at his hands, and then at a spot on the counter. He picked at it with his thumb.

“I take it you don’t like cops.”

Ellis shrugged. “They’re okay.”

“Something bad happen?”

Ellis pulled some napkins out of the dispenser and placed them in front of Rudy. “Can we talk about something else?”

“Sure, what would you--”

Their waiter returned with food in hand. A woman joined him with Rudy’s sundae. Piled up in a long silver dish, the damn thing was so huge it looked like a yacht ready to set sail. The woman set it down in front of Rudy and both servers left.

Ellis held out a spoon and pushed the napkins closer. Rudy closed his hand over the eating utensil but Ellis didn’t let go. “Eat slowly.”

“I will.”

“I’m serious, Rudy. You’ll get choked.” Rudy made a solemn face. Ellis let go of the spoon. He watched his brother for a moment. With exaggerated care, Rudy spooned up a bite.

Ellis pulled his plate closer. Jon did the same. Biscuits and gravy never looked so good. He dug in.

Damn. And they were good. Just enough pepper and salt to make the flour based gravy kick with flavor and the biscuits melted in his mouth. It had been a long time since Jon had eaten more than burned eggs out of an iron skillet.

While Jon worked to empty his plate, Ellis took small bites of his food. Every so often he’d look over at Rudy. Move a napkin. Reposition the tub of ice cream. Wipe a blob of whipped cream off his brother’s chin.

“Did you come Georgia because of work?”

“Huh? Oh, no.” Jon wiped his mouth. “I just wanted some place quiet.”

“Lot of places to live that are quiet. Why Gilford? I mean, we’re barely a speck on a map.”

“I don’t know to be honest. I just got in my car and drove. When I reached Gilford I stopped.” Jon shrugged. “Figured one small town is as good as the next when all I’m looking to do is pass the time.”

“You’re retired?”

“Do I look that old?” It wouldn’t have surprised Jon if he did.

“No. It’s just…” Ellis poked his spoon into the bowl of chili.

“I resigned.” It was the first time Jon said the word out loud. Resigned is what the department had called it. In reality he’d been relieved of duty because of psychiatric distress. Even after a year of therapy. A year of drugs. They’d refused to let him come back. He was a liability no one wanted to take a chance on.

Jon didn’t blame them but it didn’t stop him from being angry.

“So what do you do now?”

Jon chewed his bite of food and swallowed. “I play the stock market a little.” It wasn’t much but it made him some petty cash. “Work in my garden.” The brown patch in the back yard where he’d thought about growing some corn. “Tinker with a motorcycle I’m trying to restore.” Rust bucket would never run. He had no idea why he bought the damn thing at that yard sale a few weeks ago. “How about you?”

Ellis helped Rudy with wiping up the chocolate dripping down the spoon. “I take care of Rudy.”

“Full time?”

“Yeah, I don’t want him to be put in a home.”

“I have a home,” Rudy said. Chocolate ringed his mouth. Ellis dipped a napkin in his glass of ice water. “My home is with you.”

“I know, Rudy. We’re just talking.” Ellis cleaned him off.

“I have posters in my room.” Rudy looked at Jon. “You want to see them? I can show you.”


“I have a baseball, and a football, and Transformers…” He waved his spoon and drops of syrup landed on Ellis’s arm. He took the spoon away, pushed the bowl of ice cream back and cleaned up the mess.

“You have any family?” Jon said.

Ellis finished what he was doing, then gave the bowl of ice cream back to Rudy. “Slow.” Ellis turned. “What?”

“Family? Do you have any?”

“No, it’s just Rudy and me. Our parents died when I was twelve.” He ate the last bit of his grilled cheese.

“Who took care of things when you lost them?”

Ellis stirred his chili.

“Sorry that was…” What did he say? “That was really nosy of me.”

Ellis shrugged.

“My apologies.”

Another shrug.

“Can we go to the card shop after ice cream?” A glob of chocolate mixed with whipped cream slid off Rudy’s spoon and hit the counter with a plop. “Uh oh.” He reached for the napkins and his elbow caught one of the glasses, knocking it over. A tide of ice water washed across the counter. Rudy jerked his arm back. “I didn’t touch it.”

Ellis jumped off his seat but not fast enough to his pants from being soaked. “Damn it, Rudy.”

“I’m sorry.”

Jon used paper towels to stop the expanding puddle. He grabbed another handful and held them out to Ellis. People stared.

Rudy laughed. “You look like you peed your pants.”

Ellis dabbed the paper towels across his lap but it was useless. “Rudy, quit laughing, it isn’t funny.”

One of the servers came up to the counter with a couple of towels. “Here ya go, hun.” She held them out to Jon. He used them to stop the water from dripping off the side of the counter.

Ellis stared at the wet paper towels in his hand like he didn’t know what to do with them. Beside him, Rudy giggled.

“It happens.” Jon dropped the ice cubes back into the glass.

Ellis put the paper towels on his empty plate. “Thanks for breakfast, but we need to go.” He tried to tug Rudy off his stool.

“But I’m not done.” Rudy made a grab for the ice cream. Ellis pushed it away.

“Hang on, I’ll walk with you,” Jon dug out his wallet.

“Now, Rudy.” There was the slightest waver to Ellis’s voice.

“Am I in trouble?” Rudy held his hands to his chest.

“No, it’s just. We need to go, okay? Let’s just go.”

“I didn’t mean to.”

“I know. C’mon Rudy, please.”

Rudy slid off the stool and Ellis towed him out the door.

“Wait.” Jon tossed a twenty on the counter. It was too much but they were leaving a mess. He followed. “You didn’t have to leave. Stuff like that happens all the time.”

“It’s okay. We need to get home anyways. Thanks though.” Ellis walked faster.

“Please wait.” Jon put his hand on Ellis’s arm to make him stop. “Let me take you out to dinner.” Ellis stepped away. Had Jon read him wrong?

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Ellis likes pizza. With mushrooms and olives--”

“Rudy. Stop.”

Rudy put his hand over his mouth.

Jon smiled. “Pizza then.”

Ellis sighed so deep his shoulders rose and fell. Jon was taken aback by the sadness in Ellis’s eyes. “I’m sorry. I can’t. Now please don’t ask me again.” He pushed at Rudy to get him going.

Rudy shook free. “But Jon’s my friend.”

“Rudy, please.”

Rudy pulled his baseball cards from his pocket. “He’s my friend and I have to give him these.” He held them out. “Here, these are my favorite.”

“I can’t take those.”

“Please. You’re my friend. My best friend. You bought me ice cream.”

“But they’re yours.”

“I want you to have them. Please.”

Jon took the cards. “These are really nice. Thank you.”

Rudy pulled a plastic case out of his pocket. “And you have to put them in here. So they won’t get messed up.” He opened the top. “See, it’s a box.” Jon put the cards in the box and Rudy pushed it all into his hand. “You take the box. It will keep the cards nice. And thank you for the ice cream. It was really good. Especially the chocolate and cherries and no bananas.”

“Rudy.” Ellis took a few steps.

“I have to go now.” Ellis led Rudy away.

When they were out of sight Jon looked down at the plastic box in his hands. It was worn like the cards. He had no idea what he was going to do with them. On the side there was a half peeled label curling at its corners. Jon smoothed it out. It read ‘Rudy Harper’s cards. 2111 Kale Creek Road.’”

Muhammad and mountains came to mind. Jon started to put the box in his coat pocket but the gun was in the way. The smile on his face fell and the chill in the air condensed in his chest.

Because today was a beautiful day to die.


About Adrienne


10168363_763055423713970_852153088_nMy fascination for the big, scaly, and scary began somewhere around the age of three when I escaped my mother's arms and ran down the aisle during a showing of Pete's Dragon, screaming, “Don't hurt my friend!” In my defense, it was the scene where Elliott the dragon is captured by the villains, so could you blame me?

Anyhow, my passion for artwork started around that same time, and I took to drawing my own “Pete's Dragon” on the walls of my room. Something my mother didn't discourage, by the way. The writing came soon after that, when I learned those strange shapes on paper could tell you amazing things. By the time I was in the fourth grade, I was reading full-length novels. And back then there were no books for kids like “Harry Potter” and the ones that were available were never scary enough or exciting enough for me.

It wasn't long before I was sneaking off with my mother's books: Stephen King, Jean Auel, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, Anne McCaffrey, and many more.

Other than my penchant for reading, writing, and drawing, I guess I was just an average kid. I didn't excel in school, except for maybe art, and I was constantly getting notes sent home for “asking too many questions,” “talking out of turn,” and--I kid you not--“over active imagination.”

To keep myself from getting in trouble, I began writing stories. By the time I was in high school I'd written several “novels” as long as seven hundred pages, and in those novels, there were usually big scaly dragons that breathed fire and owned the skies.

I knew I wanted to be a writer early on but I realized pretty quickly it wasn't going to be an easy way to make a living. While I never gave up writing, and wrote many stories between my adolescence and adult years, I didn't pursue getting published until a few years ago. It's a journey that I don't regret and could have never done without the support of my mother and my friends.




Adrienne will be gifting one lucky reader an eBook of My Brothers Keeper: The First Three Rules (Book #1) ~ All you need to do it enter the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I honestly can wait to read this book... it's on my TBR list... it sounds really good

  2. Excited to read this... Just added it to my TBR list- Thanks for the chance!

  3. The description really intrigued me. I really want to check this book out!

  4. Can't wait to read it. It sounds awesome.

  5. Appreciate the giveaway! Loved the synopsis and excerpt! Thx!

  6. can't wait to read this book!

  7. Just put this one on my TBR. What an excellent storyline

  8. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway! The book sounds great!

  9. The books sounds so good please count me in for the giveaway.

  10. Wow, that's a great series. This is definitely one to put on my TBR!

  11. sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing :)

  12. Sounds intense. Thanks for the rec and chance to win!

  13. This book is on my wish list, it sounds amazing!

  14. this book sounds great. I can't wait to read it. I put it on my wishlist. thanks for the giveaway.

  15. Adding to my TBR can't wait to read!

  16. I've been a fan since I read the very first Darwin's Theory title. This one sounds amazing. Complex characters, paranormal elements and a sexy romance to boot. I ask you, what's not to love! :D

  17. This book grabbed me from the start! Thank you for the giveaway :-)

  18. This sounds really good. Thanks for the giveaway

  19. These books are on my wish list - thanks for the chance at winning one.

  20. Very intriguing blurb and excerpt. Definitely one I will be checking out.

  21. Third time trying to post this comment, not really sure what's going on. Sorry if this shows up multiple times.
    The book sounds like a intense and emotional read. I really want to give this a chance

  22. This sounds really good. Count me in please :)

  23. Sounds great. Would love to read this!

  24. Wow! I just loved the first chapter. It is already in my Wishlist and my TBR list. sounds good!

  25. Can't wait to read! Thanks for the giveaway.

  26. Loved 1st chapter would like to read the rest

  27. Sounds great ! I am adding this to my tbr :) Thanks for the giveaway !

  28. Eekk! I absolutely LOVE Adrienne's books so very much! <3 I am absolutely looking forward to this new series! <3 <3
    Thank you for the contest!