New ebook "Little Miss Witness" now available!

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Dr.Minimizer
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New ebook "Little Miss Witness" now available!

Post by Dr.Minimizer » Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:22 pm

The ninth book in Dr. Minimizer's Tales of Scale, "Little Miss Witness," is now available on the Amazon store.

Eva Celeste enjoys the good life as the girlfriend of mobster Luke Castillo, until the day she witnesses a murder. She offers to testify against him in exchange for protection, but the witness relocation program is a bit more extreme than she expected...

This is a full-length novel co-authored by Susan Stealth. I'll post the first chapter here as a teaser but to read the rest you'll need to head over to Amazon to grab a copy. Here's the linkage:

Kindle E-book reader page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DTKNH5W
Paperback version (USA): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DSS7FY4
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Re: New ebook "Little Miss Witness" now available!

Post by Dr.Minimizer » Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:34 pm

Chapter One

Eva Celeste paused in front of the department store window, pulling her sunglasses down slightly. In spite of her frazzled nerves, she couldn’t help but admire her reflection. The Issey Miyake coat, bought only yesterday for $3,000, suited her petite frame perfectly. Her straight, brown hair sat sleekly over the expensive fabric. She pulled out her phone, holding it up to take a picture, ignoring the exasperated sigh of a pedestrian trying to get past. The angle had to be just right for her Instagram followers, after all.

As she slipped the phone into her Gucci handbag and headed into the store, she couldn’t help but pause for a moment to wonder about Instagram. She idly supposed that she’d have to delete the account, and the thought caused her brow to crease slightly. How annoying, having built up such an army of followers! Well, surely witness protection would be temporary, and once her boyfriend Luke Castillo was safely behind bars, she could re-activate her account and assume her own identity again. Now there’s a story her adoring fans would surely enjoy!

As she moved further into the store, waving away an assistant’s offer of help, she nodded to herself. Eva was used to getting what she wanted, so why should it be any different in witness protection? Especially if she provided valuable information to the police, right? She smiled to herself at the thought of having that little bit of extra power. In a way, that made her the one holding all the cards.

As she looked around, trying to spot the customer service counter, she inwardly congratulated herself on getting out at just the right time. Luke Castillo, one of the most feared members of the Mob in these parts, had been completely entranced with her ever since she attended one of his insanely lavish parties last year. The last few months had been a blur of more parties, penthouse suites and trips on yachts, sunbathing and shopping and drinking cocktails…every girls’ dream lifestyle come true. Folk had remarked how long she’d lasted in Luke’s favor, since he’d been known to switch girlfriends like other people got haircuts.

“There’s something different about you, though,” he growled into her hair one night as they lay together, coiled in a post-coital haze on the rug in front of the fire. She shivered slightly as she recalled the touch of his fingers trailing down her thigh. “You’re special. You won’t let me down, will you, my love?”

“Of course not,” she breathed back, nuzzling into his chest. “You don’t ever have to even think of that, my handsome king.”

He liked it when she called him that. He liked it when anyone stroked his ego. So the fairy tale had continued, week after enjoyable week, and Eva enjoyed all the benefits of being on Luke’s arm.

Until a couple of months ago. Until she walked in on the murder.

She’d breezily trotted into the beautiful suite of rooms they shared together, gossiping happily, her arms full of shopping, and stopped short, the bags tumbling to the floor the exact same instant the body kneeling on the carpet crumpled forward. She stumbled back, hands to her mouth, as Luke lowered the gun, calmly unscrewing the silencer...

Shortly after, he stood before her, his hands gripping her upper arms, shushing her quietly as she watched the body dragged away by a pair of faceless cronies. “I’m so sorry to bring business into our home, baby,” he said quietly, his dark gray eyes looking searchingly into hers. “You take a moment. Take all the time you need. You keep this one quiet for me, okay?”

She nodded, mutely, but he pulled her chin up to face him. “Swear it.”

“I swear it, sugar,” she replied, trying with all her might to suppress the fear on her face.

He seemed satisfied, but ever since that awful night he wasn’t answering his phone to her like before, and Eva had been asked to come to him less and less. She found herself slowly growing uneasy—let’s just say she wouldn’t be the first person to mysteriously vanish from his inner circle. She’d known, deep down of course, that these things were going on—but to actually witness murder, to know without a shadow of a doubt what Luke Castillo was capable of, had definitely shaken her up. Time to get out.

Eva had her own share of skeletons buried in the closets of her past. She had to hope they stayed buried, with what she was about to do next. She took a deep breath, for she’d spied the customer service counter, and began to walk purposely toward it.

If she hadn’t been paying attention, she never would’ve thought anything unusual about the man behind the counter. But, as she drew closer, she realized how out of place he looked among the other staff, who moved about with relaxed postures and bright smiles.

This man was tall and broad, dressed in black, unsmiling, heavily built and sporting an undisguised earpiece, giving him the look of a security guard. But Eva knew he wasn’t one of them, either. She thought back to the hushed conversation on the phone last night, recalling to mind the clipped instructions issued in a deep, serious voice.

“Come into the store, look for the service desk, and then say the words exactly as we discussed. Then we’ll know for sure it’s you, and we’ll go from there.”

Her mouth dry, Eva stepped up to the counter, took another deep breath, and looked into the unsmiling man’s face. “The blue dress, by the door. Do you have it in a smaller size?”

He didn’t smile as he delivered an emotionless reply. “Step this way, and we can have a look.”

* * * * *

Eva found herself ushered into another room and shown to a seat. The room, bare and windowless, resembled a well-maintained cell, lacking only bars to complete the image. She placed her handbag on her lap, folding one exquisitely manicured hand over the other. The broad man and a woman dressed in the same dark attire sat down on the other side of the table, joined by another woman with mousy hair clad in a white coat, like a doctor. She stood motionless in the corner, overlooking the table. Eva found that strange, but she didn’t have time to dwell on it.

The dark-suited woman set a sheaf of papers onto the table before opening the conversation without introducing herself. “Can you confirm your name, please?”

“Um, Eva Celeste,” said Eva, her blue eyes moving quickly back and forth between the two of them.

“Occupation?”

“Influencer,” she answered. The two seated interviewers exchanged the briefest of glances, and Eva rolled her eyes. Judge all you want, she silently replied, but I earn way more than you two put together.

“And how long have you known Luke Castillo?”

“Sorry, shouldn’t this be happening in a police station?” asked Eva, sitting forward. “How do I know I’m safe here?”

“We’ll get to the matter of your safety in a moment, Miss Celeste,” said the grim-faced man firmly, the first time he’d spoken since sitting down. “Rest assured where you’re going, you couldn’t be safer. I’m afraid the Castillo clan keeps a close watch on all our police stations. Taking you there would be disastrous.”

“Oh.” Eva sat back. That does make some sort of sense, she figured. “Well, I’ve known him about a year.”

The woman leaned forward, writing something down. “And in that time, did you witness any criminal activity at all?”

“Psh, how long have you got?” Eva crossed one leg over the other with a short laugh.

The interviewers’ expressions remained unaltered. “A simple yes or no will suffice,” said the still-unidentified woman.

“All right, fine, suit yourself. The answer’s yes.” Eva rolled her eyes slightly, a bit annoyed by the questioning, and checked her nails.
The grim-faced man gave a slight scowl, remaining silent while the female agent continued on with the interview. “And would you be prepared to relate what you witnessed to a courtroom?”

“I’ll do whatever you like if you can get me out of this mess,” said Eva, taking out a mirror and checking her hair.

The dark-suited woman nudged the papers closer to Eva. “Miss Celeste, the witness protection program you’re about to enter is a one-way system.”

Eva snapped the mirror shut. “Oh!” she sputtered, eyes wide in surprise. “Well, that’s a bummer!”

“You think a system designed to keep you safe from dangerous criminals is a ‘bummer?’” asked the woman incredulously, as the heavy-set man raised an eyebrow. “What exactly were you expecting witness protection to entail?”

Eva flashed him a winning smile, realizing only then just how carefully he’d been studying her this whole time. “It’s just...well, that’s not going to be convenient for me. You see, I was hoping that once...”

She trailed off as the man got to his feet, placing both hands flat on the table. She fought the urge to lean back as he spoke, with pained patience, as if explaining something obvious to a toddler. “Let me make this clear, Miss Celeste. You’re staring into a deep pit of trouble if you don’t agree to this program. If you walk out of here today without signing, we won’t be able to protect you, and believe me when I say you’re definitely going to need protection. Our intelligence indicates Luke Castillo is getting tired of his latest piece of eye candy. Not to mention…” he leaned in closer still, and Eva swallowed nervously as he continued speaking, “...if you submit to the program, we’ll be able to wipe your own dubious record clean.”

Shit.

“How… how much do you know?” she asked nervously.

The man adjusted his shirt as he sat back down. “We know enough. Now, we need to outline exactly how—”

But Eva pulled the papers toward her, turning straight to the back page without reading a single word. She fished a rose-gold pen from her bag, encrusted with diamonds. “Ugh, enough already,” she muttered, fumbling with the unwieldy-looking implement until she got it into her grip. The two agents watched in silence as her elegant signature unrolled across the dotted line. Eva sat back, gesturing with a sarcastic smile. “There, I signed your damn bit of paper. Are you happy now?”

The woman calmly collected the agreement, showing the signature to the tall man, who nodded in confirmation without showing any emotion at all. “Very well, if you don’t want to know the finer details, and you’ve signed, then we have no obligation to outline things further. This completes phase one of the program.”

“Great. Well, this has been fun,” said Eva, getting to her feet. She let out a cry of surprise when a hand pushed down on her shoulder, forcing her back into the chair. She looked up to find that the white-coated woman, who’d remained silent throughout, had produced a syringe. Eva’s eyes grew wide.

“Whoa, hey! What are you—!”

The stone-faced agent stepped closer, narrowing his eyes. “Now we can move on to phase two,” he stated emotionlessly.

Eva gasped in pain as the long needle pushed its way right through her coat and into her arm. After that, everything swiftly faded to black.

* * * * *

Eva opened her eyes.

Everything looked very blurry. She moaned and pushed herself into a seated position, legs folded beneath her.

The first thing she noticed was that she rested upon something soft. Her fingers curled into fluffy fibers, her hands sinking into it almost completely. Some sort of super-thick carpet, then, she considered.

She felt sick and very weak. What happened? Was I drugged? Perhaps to make it easier to move me, she reasoned, though it seems rather a drastic solution.

Something’s really wrong...

Her vision returned very slowly as she peered at her surroundings. She found herself in a room, surrounded by a lot of pink. One wall looked much brighter than the others. Frowning, she blinked a few more times, her shaking hands wandering up to her neck, where something heavy pressed down on her collarbone. Her fingers encountered a circle of smooth, buttery leather that went all the way around the base of her head, with a metal loop set into the side.

Her hands dropped. Am I...am I wearing a collar...?

Trembling all over, her hands roamed across her body, quickly discovering that she wasn’t wearing her own clothes. Blinking even more rapidly, she felt a soft, tight-fitted shirt, as well as leggings that came to the middle of her calves, but nothing on her feet at all.

Her voice felt hoarse as she called out weakly. “H...hello?”

Silence. The silence was thick and absolute, as if she were in a sealed unit. Shakily, she crawled forward, exploring further as best she could. The soft rug extended to the walls. Things came into sharper focus, and she made out a large raised area covered in a nest of blankets, all different shades of pink. A bed...? The walls here looked cream-colored with shapes of some kind. She struggled to make them out—pink hearts...?

This is getting stranger and stranger. Eva hauled herself to her feet, wobbling slightly on the thick rug, the effort of getting up causing the dizziness to return. Slowly she turned and moved forward, squinting at the bright wall. As her vision gradually returned, she let out a squeal of shock, staggering backwards, refusing to believe her eyes.

The bright wall was, in fact, a transparent window looking out into an impossibly huge space, like several aircraft hangars combined. Trembling, she moved forward to peer outside, shaking her head in disbelief at what she saw. “No…no, it’s not real…it can’t be…”

She looked out at what looked like the inside of a shop—a shop for enormous giants. She stood in a position about midway down a curved wall which opened out to the front of the store. The space she could see looked sparkling clean and tastefully adorned—several welcoming decorations hung from the ceiling, while a tall vase of lilies stood on an empty reception desk near the door. Eva numbly guessed that the flowers might be about five times as long as herself. The glass window of the shop appeared frosted, meaning she couldn’t see out into the street and no one could see in. On a right-hand wall, at about her vision level, some glass cases on a shelf contained various tiny doll-house items. On the left wall she could see posters showing illustrations of tiny people in various cutesy outfits, or in bathtubs, or on swings in birdcages. The captions made her head spin:

Treat your pet to a swing from our platinum playground range!
20% off all exercise equipment in our fitness collection!
Available now! Novelty outfits in various pastel shades, including limited edition Alice in Wonderland dresses!


Because the walls curved around the open area, she could see out to her left and right if she got close enough to the window. From there, she saw several other “rooms” like hers stacked along the curved shelves, and she could make out far-off little figures sitting or lying in them.

They’re not rooms, she understood at once. They’re boxes! I’m in a box because…because I’m the size of a mouse!

Her heart thundering in her ears, Eva scurried away from the Plexiglas wall and frantically searched the remaining three surfaces, hunting for a crack, seam, hidden door, or any kind of escape route. Her brain couldn’t comprehend what she’d seen, and a large part of her conscious mind simply refused to believe it. This must be some sort of trick, or maybe a dream—or a nightmare, she insisted desperately.

Her foot landed with a splash into cold water and she gasped. You can’t feel the shock of something that cold in a dream! She looked down, withdrawing her dripping foot, staring in further shock at the little bowl of water, about the size of a paddling pool to her, next to which sat a small cup filled with squishy looking shapes.

She fell to her knees, scooping out one of the shapes, which felt like a big, fluffy marshmallow. An experimental bite revealed that it tasted of precisely nothing.

Kibble and water in a bowl—as if I’m a hamster!

She rose to her feet again, her chest rising and falling as she struggled to calm her breathing. Suddenly frantic, she flung herself at the clear wall, beating on it with her fists as hard as she could.

“Let me out! Someone, please! Help! Help me!”

Sheer panic rather than logic led her to scream out for help. The shop appeared empty, except for the other little people in the boxes. Some of them came to the front of their cages, staring at her with vacant expressions—not comprehending her words, but drawn only by the noise. Eva stared back in wonder. There was a documentary about these little people, she remembered then, though she couldn’t quite recall when or where she’d watched it. They’re called “minis,” she vaguely recalled, though she’d only half been paying attention. They had the intellect of an animal, and as Eva looked, a blonde girl stared back at her with her mouth slightly open, playing with her hair. Eva shuddered, her eyes meandering away, to be caught by some sloping text plastered on the outside of her container. She stepped away, letting the words come into focus, managing after a moment to read the lines backwards. The words only made her moan once more in despair.

Hello, my name is Tawny!
Price: $25,000


“Tawny? No…no, no, NO! That’s not…that’s not my name…! I’m not supposed to BE IN HERE!”

Losing control completely, Eva lunged onto her knees in the direction of the water bowl, and with an enormous struggle, she managed to upend it. She cried out as the water spilled onto the floor of her prison—she hadn’t realized it would soak the whole pink fluffy rug. The entire floor of her cage became ankle-deep in water. Her plan had been to haul the bowl to the Plexiglas and use it to try and break out, but as she quickly learned, she wasn’t strong enough to lift the dish. Sobbing, she slid down onto her side, curling into a ball, the water soaking her hair and outfit. Shivering, she began to cry, helplessly, despair and confusion overwhelming her.

For how long she lay there, she wasn’t sure. A sound at the front of the huge space jerked her upright, her heart beginning to race again.

The door to the shop opened, and two people—two huge giants—stepped inside: A woman dressed in a smart skirt and jacket—for some reason Eva numbly supposed she ran the shop—and a huge, well-dressed, very stocky man. Her heart sank when she recognized him—the burly one from the interview. The intelligence officer, or whoever he was, who met her at the store, back when this whole sordid business began.

Eva felt her blood turn to ice. Even from far away she could see that he was now enormous—like a mountain, or a skyscraper. He spoke in ordinary tones to the woman, the voice echoing about like thunder, and Eva scrabbled back into a corner, listening intently.

“Thanks for your cooperation in all this,” he said amiably.

“Not at all,” replied the woman with a simple nod. “You can rely on my discretion, as always. I need to go upstairs to finish some paperwork. Are you okay to…?”

“Of course, of course. I’ll go and see to her.”

Nodding once more, the woman approached a door to the left of the shop and slipped through it, disappearing from view. The man’s gaze raked the shop, eventually settling on Eva’s wide, terrified eyes. He began walking toward her prison.

Eva, shoved into the back corner and soaking wet, whimpered as he approached. As he grew closer, she could feel the vibrations of his giant footsteps coming up into her box, permeating her very bones. The cliff-face of his torso blocked out the light, and she emitted a frightened cry as he bent down, his face suddenly filling her vision. She sniffed and tried to huddle her knees even closer to her chest as his eyes swept over the upturned bowl, the soaked floor, and finally, her tiny, miserable wet form.

His expression was impossible to read. Eva could make out each eyelash, each crease of his skin, even the individual hairs of stubble on his cheeks. She went rigid with terror.

“W-what have you done to me…?” she sobbed, the tears flowing freely down her cheeks. “What have you done?”

* * * * *

(If you want to read the rest you'll have to go over to the Kindle store! Links are in the first post.)

lefrenchie
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Re: New ebook "Little Miss Witness" now available!

Post by lefrenchie » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:19 am

Thank you !!!!!!!

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