Wednesday, February 17, 2016




Gregor shrank back in his bunk as Rual came for him, pulling the long knife from her belt.

But then – to his enormous relief – Shaklin stepped between them, blocking her.

A nasty grin creased Rual’s face. “Don’t mind doing you first,” she told Shaklin. “You and your teammates are always acting like you’re better than the rest of us.”

“Now, now,” Zheng broke in. “We here all be shipmates. Very rich shipmates, soon to be. Quarrel, we must not.”

He put a restraining hand on Rual’s knife arm. “Shaklin, a good man is he,” Zheng said in his most soothing voice. “In his head, he lives. In his church, he lives. Beings, all equal, he believes.”

Gregor could see the war going on in Rual’s face. She badly wanted to kill Gregor and didn’t give a damn one way or another if Shaklin had to go first.

Whether Shaklin was a good man or not had no bearing on what was going to happen next. But by sheer force of will, the canny Zheng was getting a far more important message across.

Without Shaklin and his crew the whole enterprise would fail and they’d all soon be against the wall facing an Imperial firing squad.

Rual sighed and stepped away, sheathing her blade. Now Zheng turned to Shaklin, who was clearly furious at being threatened. Zheng gave Shaklin’s shoulder a comradely squeeze.

“Mind not our Rual’s temper,” he said. “Sometimes, too hot it becomes.”

Rual’s face reddened and Zheng hastily added, “And good reason for this temper, she has.” He indicated Gregor. “Much suffering, this man has caused our Rual.”

Gregor snorted. This was too much. “It’s not my fault she’s a gambling addict,” he said. “I put in that gaming area in the Rec Room for the entertainment of the crew. And at my own expense, I might add.”

He pointed an accusing finger at Rual. “She’s in there every minute off shift dumping credits into the machines. Why, I even caught her in there gaming during work hours. Having her fun on company time.”

Fury once again overtook Rual. Drawing her knife, she pushed past the other two men and would have buried it hilt deep into Gregor’s chest if Shaklin hadn’t intervened – grabbing Rual’s wrist and spinning her around.

While Gregor cowered in his bunk, Rual struggled with Shaklin, screaming curses and threats. She nearly broke away. But then Zheng jumped in and helped Shaklin disarm her.

Rual collapsed, shedding bitter tears. “Gone, gone,” she moaned. “Every credit I had in savings. My pension fund. I even took money from my own family.”

She jabbed an accusing finger at Gregor. “The machines are rigged,” she said. “The concessionaire at the last port told me so himself. He was chuffed because the captain made him pull his machines – machines with fair odds approved by the company – and installed his own.”

Frightened as he was, Gregor couldn’t help but feel a flash of pride. It had been one of his cleverest moves. Not only had he fixed the odds so they were more favorable to the House – meaning Gregor – but he’d installed a special program that targeted certain individuals. It sussed out weak-willed scrotes like Rual and played them like a cat toying with its prey. Letting them win a few rounds – sometimes even for large sums of money.

Then, wham! The gaming fist would come slamming down. The Mark would be taken for every credit he possessed and then a loan program would pop up, offering usurious interest rates for immediate gratification. And when that was gone, the hacked names and contact numbers of friends and relatives would appear, and the Mark would be enticed to contact them immediately and beg for money.

The program even offered suggestions the Mark could use to wheedle money from those who hesitated. A fictitious daughter suffering from an equally fictitious malady. Or, the Mark might be encouraged to say he had been kidnapped, or injured. The wheedling possibilities were endless.

It wasn’t Gregor’s fault that Rual and her ilk were all such willing liars. Such low class beings that they’d bankrupt their own loved ones to feed their filthy habit. They were born victims and would more than likely die victims.

He shook his head in disgust. “Not my fault,” he whispered.

To his horror, it seemed that Rual had only been shaming. Waiting for her chance. As the others gaped at Gregor for speaking so foolishly, she jumped for him.

Somehow the knife was in her hand again, sharp blade gleaming in the cabin light.

The blade swung and Gregor screamed in pain as the sharp edge slashed across his chest. Hot blood spilling.

Once again, the blade slashed at him, but somehow Shaklin got there in time, and grabbed Rual’s wrist.

Then Zheng stepped in, embracing Rual, and the fury drained away and she collapsed into his arms weeping and sobbing that she was sorry, so sorry.

And Zheng was saying, “Never mind. Never mind. Soon, put right all will be. More credits than dreams you will ever have. And fixed, your family will be. Proud of you again, they will be.”

Meanwhile, Shaklin had rustled up a first aid kit. Skillfully, he stripped off Gregor’s shirt and dabbed the wound with cotton swatches.

“It’s not so bad,” he said. “Maybe only six or seven staples will do the job.”

Gregor gasped as she poured a stinging liquid into his wound. Then he was groaning in pain as she got out the medical stapler and hit him six, then seven, then eight times.

Tears streamed down Gregor’s face. “You could have used the anesthetic,” he said, pointing at the slender cylinder next to the bandages. “It’s there in plain sight.”

Shaklin snorted derision. “You’re lucky I wasn’t holding the knife,” he said. “If anyone has the right to take your life it’s me.” A single tear ran down his cheek. “You are the reason Pegatha was taken from us.”

Desperate, Gregor grabbed the cylinder and pressed it next to the wound. There was a slight sting and then the pain vanished. Gregor sank back in his bunk, drawing in deep breaths to regain a modicum of control.

And with control came a feeling of bitter resentment. Shaklin’s remark had been so unfair. The accusation as false as it was scurrilous. It wasn’t his fault Shaklin’s mate had died. She’s just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. An airlock misfunction was to blame.

True, a port maintenance inspector had spotted the faulty airlock seal. But the replacement would have put Gregor so far behind schedule that his mission bonus was endangered.

Besides, the inspector said it wasn’t that serious and was happy to sign off on the airlock – plus all the Flame’s other maintenance difficulties – for a hefty fee. Well, not so hefty that Gregor couldn’t expect a handsome profit when he received his well-deserved bonus.

Gregor had been taught by his father, Lord Wichman, that profit was life’s Holy Grail. And for profit, there will always be risk. Sometimes risk might cause discomfort for a few beings. But that was the price a being must be willing to pay if he is to be successful.

It briefly occurred to Gregor that Shaklin and the other mutineers might be presently engaged in just that sort of risk taking. Betting their lives against the chance of great profit.

Then another thought occurred to him and he couldn’t help but smile.

And then someone slapped him hard across the face. He reeled back, raising a hand against another blow.

“What was that for?” he whined.

“Smiling, you were,” Zheng said. It was he who had delivered the blow. “Why smile, you?”

“Oh… Oh… It was nothing,” Gregor said. “Just the anesthetic. Feeling a little woozy.”

And he bit his lip against another reflexive smile.

Gregor had just figured out how he might turn all this misery into a pot of gold.

He looked up at Zheng. “Have you started negotiations with the Empire yet?”

Zheng was non committal. “Spoken to them, we have.” he said.

In other words – a big clotting “No.”

“Well, before you get to far along,” Gregor said, “I hope you’ll consult with me.”

Rual snorted. “Why would we do that?”

“Because with my father’s influence,” Gregor said, “I can help you get a much better deal.”

“We’ve already got an offer from Ventura,” Rual said. “I say we just take it and be done with the whole business. Every day we delay, the more dangerous it becomes.”

“But what if I can get you more?” Gregor said. “A whole clot of a lot more.”

Silence fell upon the room. Zheng’s pink tongue flashed out to lick his lips. There was a definite glitter in Rual’s eyes.

Gregor looked at Shaklin, other than fingering his dreadlocks, he showed no emotion whatsoever. He’d sworn to everyone in the cabin that he opposed killing Gregor. So revenge wasn’t his motive.


As impossible as that seemed to someone like Gregor, riches apparently held no great attraction to him.

So what was it that Shaklin wanted?

Suddenly the tall black man straightened and turned to go. “It’s time for the Nav check,” he said, and hurriedly left the cabin.

“A Nav check?” Rual said. “What the clotting big deal? We’ve been – mas o menos – in the same place for the last month. What’s to check?”

“If happy it makes him,” Zheng said, “Care, I do not.” He turned to Gregor. “Now, little cheena,” he said. “More, I want to know about your father.”

And so Gregor told him more, only needing to exaggerate a little. His father was that important.

But in the back of his mind he kept worrying over the Shaklin conundrum.

If money wasn’t his object, what else could it be?

But hard as he tried, Gregor couldn’t come up with a thing.

What the clot could be more important than money?





THE TIMURA TRILOGY: When The Gods Slept, Wolves Of The Gods and The Gods Awaken. This best selling fantasy series now available as trade paperbacks, e-books (in all varieties) and as audiobooks. Visit The Timura Trilogy page for links to all the editions. 

NEWLY REVISED KINDLE EDITIONS OF THE TIMURA TRILOGY NOW AVAILABLE. (1) When The Gods Slept;(2) Wolves Of The Gods; (3) The Gods Awaken.


Tales Sometimes Tall, but always true, of Allan Cole's years in Hollywood with his late partner, Chris Bunch. How a naked lady almost became our first agent. How we survived La-La Land with only the loss of half our brain cells. How Bunch & Cole became the ultimate Fix-It Boys. How an alleged Mafia Don was very, very good to us. The guy who cornered the market on movie rocks. Andy Warhol's Fire Extinguisher. The Real Stars Of Hollywood. Why they don't make million dollar movies. See The Seven Pi$$ing Dwarfs. Learn: how to kill a "difficult" actor… And much, much more.

Here's where you can buy it worldwide in both paperback and Kindle editions:

U.S. .............................................France
United Kingdom ...........................Spain
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A NATION AT WAR WITH ITSELF: In Book Three Of The Shannon Trilogy, young Patrick Shannon is the heir-apparent to the Shannon fortune, but murder and betrayal at a family gathering send him fleeing into the American frontier, with only the last words of a wise old woman to arm him against what would come. And when the outbreak of the Civil War comes he finds himself fighting on the opposite side of those he loves the most. In The Wars Of The Shannons we see the conflict, both on the battlefield and the homefront, through the eyes of Patrick and the members of his extended Irish-American family as they struggle to survive the conflict that ripped the new nation apart, and yet, offered a dim beacon of hope.



A True Story About A Boy,
A Teacher, And Earthquake,
Some Terrorists And The CIA

LUCKY IN CYPRUS is a coming-of-age story set in the Middle East during the height of the Cold War. An American teenager – son of a CIA operative – is inspired by grand events and a Greek Cypriot teacher. 

He witnesses earthquakes and riots and terrorist attacks, but in the end it is his teacher’s gentle lessons that keep him whole.

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Here's what readers say about Lucky In Cyprus:
  • "Bravo, Allan! When I finished Lucky In Cyprus I wept." - Julie Mitchell, Hot Springs, Texas
  • "Lucky In Cyprus brought back many memories... A wonderful book. So many shadows blown away!" - Freddy & Maureen Smart, Episkopi,Cyprus. 
  • "... (Reading) Lucky In Cyprus has been a humbling, haunting, sobering and enlightening experience..." - J.A. Locke,



THE HATE PARALLAX: What if the Cold War never ended -- but continued for a thousand years? Best-selling authors Allan Cole (an American) and Nick Perumov (a Russian) spin a mesmerizing "what if?" tale set a thousand years in the future, as an American and a Russian super-soldier -- together with a beautiful American detective working for the United Worlds Police -- must combine forces to defeat a secret cabal ... and prevent a galactic disaster! This is the first - and only - collaboration between American and Russian novelists. Narrated by John Hough. Click the title links below for the trade paperback and kindle editions. (Also available at iTunes.)


A novel by Allan and his daughter, Susan

After laboring as a Doctors Without Borders physician in the teaming refugee camps and minefields of South Asia, Dr. Ann Donovan thought she'd seen Hell as close up as you can get. And as a fifth generation CIA brat, she thought she knew all there was to know about corruption and betrayal. But then her father - a legendary spymaster - shows up, with a ten-year-old boy in tow. A brother she never knew existed. Then in a few violent hours, her whole world is shattered, her father killed and she and her kid brother are one the run with hell hounds on their heels. They finally corner her in a clinic in Hawaii and then all the lies and treachery are revealed on one terrible, bloody storm ravaged night.

BASED ON THE CLASSIC STEN SERIES by Allan Cole & Chris Bunch: Fresh from their mission to pacify the Wolf Worlds, Sten and his Mantis Team encounter a mysterious ship that has been lost among the stars for thousands of years. At first, everyone aboard appears to be long dead. Then a strange Being beckons, pleading for help. More disturbing: the presence of AM2, a strategically vital fuel tightly controlled by their boss - The Eternal Emperor. They are ordered to retrieve the remaining AM2 "at all costs." But once Sten and his heavy worlder sidekick, Alex Kilgour, board the ship they must dare an out of control defense system that attacks without warning as they move through dark warrens filled with unimaginable horrors. When they reach their goal they find that in the midst of all that death are the "seeds" of a lost civilization. 



Venice Boardwalk Circa 1969
In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with  a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place “Pepperland,” after the Beatles movie, “Yellow Submarine.” Threatening this paradise is  "The Blue Meanie,"  a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself.

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