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The Mississippi Gulf Coast Writers Association's


Featured Writer

~ Melanie Atkins ~

    Terry, Mississippi



An Excerpt from Bounty Hunters Book Four: Removing the Mask

by Melanie Atkins

"Cherry, you know I can't talk about wedding plans at work," her fiancÚ snapped in her ear. "How many times do I have to tell you? We'll talk logistics this weekend."

"But you said--"

"I don't give a flying damn what I said," he bit out, his tone so strident she almost dropped the phone. "I can't get into it right now."

"Well, fine." Anger fired to life inside her, yet she somehow found the strength to tamp it down. "Goodbye."

"'Bye." The deep silence that followed told her Mike had already hung up.

Resisting the urge to fling her phone against the wall, she lowered it away from her ear and muttered a curse. What in hell had him so riled up? He'd been acting different lately, sure, but he'd never bitten her head off like that.

"What's wrong?" Crystal Lynn Mayberry, a co-owner of Oopsie Bail Bonds along with Cherry and their friend Addison Hawk, halted on her way out the door. "Was that Mike?"

"Yeah," Cherry said, a crevice of uncertainty opening inside her heart. "Said he didn't have time to talk."

"Well, that's not like him."

"Not usually, but--" She broke off before she said too much and gnawed her lip. "He snapped at me like I'm some criminal instead of the woman he's about to marry."

"Well, that's a first for Mr. Smooth and Laid Back." Crystal's eyes gleamed with a combination of sorrow and amusement. "Addie and I have been jealous of you since day one for landing such a handsome, even-tempered guy."

"Well, he might be handsome, but you sure as heck don't need to be jealous." She blew out a weary sigh. "He's just proven he's an ass."

"Oh, honey, that's not true. Mike's a sweetheart."

"Then what's gotten into him? Why'd he snap at me?"

"Maybe he's just having a bad day."

"Maybe," Cherry said, although she didn't believe it.

The old Mike didn't have bad days. He was the only person she'd ever met who took life and its complexities in stride with a smile on his face. Even their discussions about wedding prep had been peaceful and in sync, even while deciding how much to spend, considering possible venues, and sharing ideas for their honeymoon.

Now, however…Crystal smiled. "I'm sure he'll get over it soon and apologize."

"Hope so, 'cause The Mill just canceled on us. They have some sort of major electrical problem." Cherry told the warning bells going off in her head to shut the hell up and focused on her friend. "That means we have to find another place to hold the reception."

"Holy cow!" Crystal exclaimed with a gasp. "Your wedding is in less than a month."

"I know. Tell me about it."

"I'll be happy to help you look for another place if you want, at least until you can get Mike on board."

"That would be great."

"No problem." Her pal caught her hand, squeezed it, and gave her a reassuring smile. "Best friends, right?"

"You bet. Thanks, Crystal. You're a peach." Releasing another weary sigh as her friend released her hand and left the office with a wave, Cherry sank into her chair and dropped her head into her hands. No matter what she did, the warning bells pealing inside her brain refused to quit.


With Love and Wet Kisses

by Paul E LaViolette

The Wagon Ride

by W. Michiel Hawkins

The Second Generation
by Terry I Miles
Mans Best Friend
by Bruce Wayne Sullivan

Dusty Pages
by Michael Gardebled

One Last Dance

Ayleene Thompson

Purple Passion

by Elva Avara

Holiday Poetry
by Patty Butkovich

Isle of Enchantment

by Henry Heitmann

The Guarantor

by Jay Waitkus

The Coffee House Dinner

by Shannon Rule

Sevan Laws of the Universe
by Linda Eschler

In the Garden

by Celine Rose Mariotti

The Devine Secret

by Mary Ann Sharp

Florida Has Cute Boys

by Lucy Jane Dixon

Roll 'Em, Roll 'Em, Roll 'Em

by Annie B McKee

Baptizing in the Pond

by Fred Prince

Dream World

by Alice Fitchie

Kidnapping of Charlie Rose

by Michael Groetsch

A Southern Baptist Courtship

by Karen Blakeney

Hand Prints

by Joe Brooks


by Elena Ahrens

Something Happened-Cross

by Ed Hennessy

Love Hurts

by Bob Struthers

Veteran's Day

by Brenda Finnegan

by Kristina Mullenix


by Harold McLelland

Up From the Grave

by Betty Wilson Beamguard

Late Edition

by Dixon Hearne

Born Again Christmas Believer

by Elaine Stevens


by Nelda R. Broom

by Douglas Crotty

Archeologist Ruins Labrador

by John Freeman

Mom's Not Chummy With Fish

by Kristen Twedt

Pelham’s Sat. Morning Frolics

by R. F. Marazas

Old Mule Named Blue

by Charles Riley McInnis

On Being A Woman

by Victoria Olsen

In the Fine Print

by Philip Levin

Waiting for Barley Soup

by D. H. Clair

A Duet
by Andrew Badger
by Lewis Stockham
by Jane Blanchard
The Day the Music Ended
by Connie Rainey
by Dixon Hearne
You Gotta Be Kidding Me
by Sharon C. Walker
Run, Redneck, Run
by Sam Irwin


by Judy Davies

Dixieland Murder
by Teresa Lynn
by Elaine McDermott
Afternoon Conversation
by Meg Peresich
The Girl with the Bluebird Tattoo
by Lenny Emmanuel
Ruby Silver (excerpt)
by Randall Reneau
Apple Tree Tavern
by Mary Ellen Gavin
by Frank DeCanio
Excerpt from "Gabe"
by Sue Monkgress
Nevermore, Once Again
by Charles Jones
Days of the Week
by Mandy B. Fernandez

We Went Skydiving...
by Frank Wilem

A Good Girl
by Johnnie Bernhard
by Poppy Herrin