When the Serpent Bites
by Nesly Clerge
GENRE: Crime fiction, psychological thriller
Frederick Starks has it all—a gorgeous wife who was his high school sweetheart, three beautiful children, a mansion and cars others envy, millions in the bank, respected in his community, admired by his employees, loved and respected by loyal friends. He revels in the hard-earned power and control he’s acquired. As the saying goes, “All that glitters is not gold,” which Starks discovers when gut-wrenching betrayal by his wife sends him over the edge and into a maximum security prison. There, Starks is a new “fish,” stripped of nearly everything he’s always relied on. In that place, where inmates and guards have their own rules and codes of conduct, Starks is forced to face the darker side of life, and his own darker side, especially when the betrayals, both inside and outside the prison, don’t stop. He must choose which path to follow when the line between right and wrong becomes blurred: one that leads to getting out of the physical and emotional hellhole he finds himself in or one that keeps him alive.
Why had he gone to Ozy’s home that night?
Why hadn’t he handled the infidelity differently?
Ozy was still comatose, which left the man’s wife without a husband. Their children were without a father, as were his own children. And as much as he knew it shouldn’t matter in comparison, his actions had destroyed the reputation he’d put so much of himself into establishing. The good results of all his efforts had been more than diminished—there were now forgotten, having been replaced with his notoriety.
Mild-mannered was in the past as well. Now he was volatile, his behaviors irresponsible. His methodical thought process, so keen and beneficial when he’d built his business and the goodwill in the community he had enjoyed, was something he trusted less after experiencing how his emotions could take over.
The words of a TV pastor, heard while channel-surfing, came to him like a slap: “For every choice there is a consequence. Choices are life-changing; consequences are long-lasting. You can make a choice, you cannot choose the consequence. But you must be prepared to live with it.”
Kayla’s betrayal—on so many unimagined levels—had wrecked him and their family. Every day as he’d waited for and gone through his trial, and for far longer than he could believe possible that a story could or should hold interest, the print and visual media played with the headlines and stories about him. They amused themselves in order to squeeze words onto a page or give newscasters a reason to make witticisms at his expense: Tendum Tycoon’s Tirade. CEO’s TKO. Philandering Philanthropist Penned. People were paid to think up these ridiculous sound bites. Other people paid to read them and the stories that followed.
With the exception of Jeffrey, his so-called friends had quickly distanced themselves from him. Sure, his mother, aunt, and cousin had gone to the trial, but neither they nor any other members of his family visited him in jail prior to and during the trial. They had, however, visited him before he left for this place. He’d pleaded for someone to make sure he saw his children before he began his long stint at Sands. Did he ever again want to hear from any of them was a question he had no definite answer for. For now, at least, he’d told the prison, in writing, to refuse all visitors he’d put on his list, unless otherwise notified.
Then there were his children. He ached for them. Not being able to see them, wondering how they were getting along without him, haunted him.
Blake, twelve, was old enough to understand what had happened, and to feel the shame of it. He’d always been affectionate with his parents, so found it especially difficult when they separated, and agonizing when his father was incarcerated. Tears welled in Starks’s eyes as he recalled how Blake kept his arms pinned to his sides when his father hugged him goodbye before he was transferred from the county jail.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Nesly Clerge received his bachelor’s degree in physiology and neurobiology at the University of Maryland, and later pursued a doctoral degree in the field of chiropractic medicine. Although his background is primarily science-based, he has finally embraced his lifelong passion for writing. Clerge’s debut novel, When the Serpent Bites, will be available in 2015, with the sequel to follow in 2016. His debut novel explores choices, consequences, and the complexities of human emotions, especially when we are placed in a less-than-desirable setting. When he is not writing, Clerge manages several multidisciplinary clinics. He enjoys reading, chess, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with his significant other and his sons.
Official site: www.clergebooks.com
Nesly will be awarding a signed paperback copy of When The Serpent Bites to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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