The Solitaire Series Reminder: Each week, a story will appear on my blog, and be free to read for one week only. The next story will take its place, and the first story will be available on Amazon and other e-retailers. But if you follow this blog, you can read the stories for free every single week! Read more about the Short Story Deal here.

Throughout the series, there will be collections of stories, and we will even be producing some really cool swag along the way. Watch for contests, prizes, and even some fun “in-person” events!

Electronic dance music thumped from the speakers throughout the club. To Jack, it was nearly deafening, rendering his one good ear nearly useless. But there was a game in the back, one he was interested in. The stakes were high, and, well, until he could get some money built up again, he really didn’t want to head back to L.A.

He was being followed. There were two distinct tails, one a real pro, probably from Solitaire but with no orders yet regarding what to do about him. He hadn’t come into the club, which meant either this was not a Solitaire property and probably that operatives from the organization were not welcome here.

The walk to the back room seemed to take a really long time. Leaning heavily on his cane, Jack simply tried not to get knocked over. His unstable leg and ruined right arm made that difficult, not to mention the fact that his missing eye made it impossible for him to see anything on that side of him without turning his head. Add that to his complete lack of depth perception combined with the dark room and the fact that he’d left Boris in his hotel room, basically he was screwed.

Laser lights flashed in time with the music. A long bar lined one side of the room, every spot along it occupied by a writhing body, most of them scantily clad. He staggered along beside them, the clearest place on the club floor, but was still often jostled from time to time.

The second tail had followed him in the club, and that man was not far behind him. It was okay. Jack doubted he knew the password to get into the back room, and if he did, that would be fine. He could get a better look at him.

This man was an amateur. He was dressed in loud clothing that drew attention: a red top hat and coat, a wine-colored scarf, and some classy black and white Oxford’s Jack had spotted when he first noticed the man following him.

The man often got too close and other times Jack lost sight of him completely. He would have intentionally lost him, but he kind of wanted to let him get close so he could determine who he was. Solitaire on him was enough, so he didn’t need any additional surprises.

Truth be told, Jack found the whole thing really annoying. Clearly, he couldn’t hide, not with his mangled appearance, something that was also Solitaire’s fault. He should technically be free, but someone wasn’t playing by the rules. At some point, they would either kill him or want to negotiate some kind of peace.

Whoever the second tail was, clearly he had fuck-all to do with either of those outcomes. By the time he reached the door to the back room, the hat he’d pulled low over his face had nearly been knocked off, his tinted glasses, ones he often wore indoors, sat askew on his half-devastated nose.

He made an effort to straighten both, at the same time shooting a glance backward into the club. His tail wasn’t far behind, easily visible due to the ridiculous hat he wore. He seemed to be having fun, moving with the crowd. The act didn’t hide his intention though.

Jack had seen him at his hotel, rushing out to get in his own car as Jack pulled away.

Well, he’d have a few hours to himself when Red Hat wasn’t able to follow him. Jack was here to play.

He turned to the guard. “Password,” the man said simply, not even blinking at Jack’s looks.

“Three of clubs.”

“Enjoy your evening, sir.” The man waved a badge over a sensor, a click sounded, and the door opened.

Made of thick steel, obviously a security tactic, the back of the door was also covered with a thick layer of cushioned cloth, as were the walls of the entire room. As the door swung shut, the sounds of the club faded.

Jack stopped, and reached inside this jacket pocket, a conservative gray that did nothing to draw attention to him, and removed the lightly tinted lenses he’d been wearing, replacing them with dark sunglasses.

I hope you are enjoying reading this series as much as I am. You can the rest of this story on Amazon here! Stay tuned for another FREE story right here next week. I hope to see you then!

Troy Lambert
Troy is a freelance writer, author, and blogger who lives, works, and plays in Boise, Idaho with the love of his life and three very talented dogs.

Passionate about writing dark psychological thrillers, he is an avid cyclist, skier, hiker, all-around outdoorsman, and a terrible beginning golfer.