Bully Books


Check out the sequel's first chapter below, but first...

Thanks to everyone who have made past events so successful. A portion of all public sales  benefit The Greater Kansas City Humane Society's Ray of Hope program which is a partnership between the humane society and the KCK Animal Control to get misplaced pets out of the city shelter before their time is up.   For more info. about the Ray of Hope program or to donate to the HSGKC visit hsgkc.org.  You can also donate to Ray of Hope at Bully Books donation page http://www.firstgiving.com/bullybooks
Are you a book club member?  Consider inviting the author to your meetings to discuss novel details and concepts live.
Susan often attends book club meetings and other events.  Contact her about this opportunity at bullybooks@gmail.com

READ ON...For a sneak peek at the next Al Marche adventure...

A Marche Against Time



Merry has been searching...searching for Charles, her one true love, for almost 150 years.  Unwittingly, Al Marche stumbles into a wrinkle in time which has been replaying for decades and what follows is an adventure so personal, and steeped in the past, that Al's future is nearly destroyed.   Come along as Al is immersed in a tale of love and loss which explores the phenomenon of past life regression against the tragic backdrop of America's Civil War.  Will all of your favorite characters survive until the mystery is resolved?   Sneak a peek at Chapter 1 of the sequel to Marche's Madness now in progress... 


Chapter 1


So, it was only nine a.m. on a Tuesday and already shaping up to be a banner week.  NOT.  I was pretty sure the FedEx guy had seen me naked; Mom was not having a great day so I brought her to work with me, even though Aunt Rose probably could have easily managed things at home. Rose…alone…at my home…good gravy!  Anyway, to top off my morning, something had possessed our psychotic Pug dog to devour an enormous package of neon Post-It notes the night before.  Now Mom was napping on the couch in our reception area, Rose was building a bomb or something equally catastrophic in our barn at home, and Petey was experiencing a fierce bout of the runs.  I had already walked him approximately fifty-seven thousand times as he urgently left colorful tidbits in his wake.  We were a two-man freak parade, he was the confetti blower and I was the street sweeper.   Thank God I hadn’t purchased an elephant to serve as Mom’s companion three years ago, before she got too sick to care for a pet by herself.  Right now I really needed to get back upstairs to check on both of them, instead, I was standing incredulous, ankle deep in a cascade of frozen chicken breasts, in the basement of my catering business, The Delectable Dish.

“Cass?   What the hell?”  I gestured to dozens and dozens of individually wrapped hunks of meat which had spilled out of our upright freezer and heaped about my feet.  My best buddy, and company co-owner, Cassie, was stationary, halfway down the basement stairs, gripping the handrail, and, for probably the first time in her twenty eight years, she was completely speechless.  In all our years of friendship I had never seen her blush so profusely, or appear so entirely at a loss for words.  Cassie was the kind of person that always had control of herself and her surroundings; she had an answer for everything, observing the world with a hint of barely concealed disdain.  And, most irritating to people like me, who screw up almost everything they touch, Cassie proved to be right nearly one hundred percent of the time. So usually, the shoe was on the other foot and it was Cassie contemplating me with disbelief, confusion or revulsion.

“Well, I’m waiting for an answer.”  I planted my hands on my hips.  Still, Cassie did not speak, her lips just parted a little and her eyes darted nervously around the room, avoiding mine at all costs. Holy crap!  She was really freaked out!  This never happened, and I planned to milk it for all it was worth.  Outwardly, my face was scrunched into the most angry, condescending frown that I could muster.  My stance was rigid, livid and combative; belying the array of happy club dances I was performing on the inside.  Let’s see, there was the Washing Machine.  Oh yeah!  The Cabbage Patch.  Work it girl!  And, of course, the Running Man.  A move which I was neither coordinated, nor brave enough, to attempt again in real life, having once slipped on a throw rug in someone’s living room.  Note to Self:  Spirits dampen and party conversation seriously lags when someone runs, bloody and screaming, from the room.  Unfortunately, that someone is usually me.

Now I stepped carefully from the pile of poultry popsicles, and advanced toward Cassie.  I stopped just a few feet below her in the basement, to smile upwardly victoriously.  Cass was positively as uncomfortable as a girl could get…and that could only mean one thing.  There had to be a man involved.

“This is about that meat truck I’ve been seeing in the neighborhood isn’t it?”  I took a random guess and was rewarded with her saucer eyes.  Busted!

“It is!  You’ve been buying meat behind my back!”  I accused.  Now I had to admit I was a little pissed.  There was a lot of chicken over there on the floor and I could see more stacked on the upper shelves.  It would take forever to free them all from their tiny, individually sealed pouches before cooking them, and time was evermore a precious commodity as our little catering business continued to grow and thrive.  Not to mention the expense of buying meat that way.  We had a budget to consider.  I contemplated the two chest freezers in the corner near the base of the stairs and started to move toward them when Cassie sprung back to life in a panic.

“No…no…no!  Let me explain!”  She flew down the remainder of the steps with catlike velocity and ninja agility, in spite of her ample girth.  When she flung herself in front of the nearest appliance as I reached for the lid we struggled for a moment, but I gave up and stepped back the second Cassie actually jumped up and draped herself across the top of the freezer, hugging it for dear life.

“I wish you could see yourself right now.”  I shook my finger in her direction as she lay there huffing and puffing.  “I’m actually embarrassed for you!”  I reached for the adjacent freezer and flipped it open before she could scoot on her belly to hold down the lid.  Cassie looked defeated as I surveyed the jumble of steaks, port cutlets and fish fillets before me, all individually wrapped and dumped from their boxes so that she could store them at maximum capacity.

“What is this sickness, woman?” I gasped.  We had a fortune in meat down here!  “This explains so much.  No wonder you haven’t pressured me to sit and do the books with you lately.”

“You hate doing the accounting,” she accused.  “I practically have to tie you to a chair at the end of every month.  You never help me out around here…always leaving on sales calls or to look at venues.  I’m alone all day, or with your mom, unless we have a large order to fill.  Then you’re here, but its all work, work, work.  You don’t understand me, we never do anything fun, you’re always with Alex on the weekends and I’m stuck in this building planning ahead…catching up…”

“Don’t you dare start acting like a martyr!  Don’t you dare!  This isn’t about me…this is about you!  You and your secrets!” I ranted with disgust.  “You’ve obviously been hiding this from me for weeks…maybe months.”  Cassie hung her head in shame and all the pieces began to fall into place in my mind.  “No wonder you’ve been so willing to run up and down the basement stairs to get things we need from down here.  Exercise, my ass…you hate those steps!  And that’s why I’ve been doing almost all the sales calls.  I drive myself ragged…meeting with brides, checking hotel space and setting up Legion Halls…all so you can stay home and have your little tryst.  How long did you think this could go on?  Huh? Who is he?  I’m gonna murder him!  You’re obviously being taken advantage of.  He doesn’t want you…he just wants to sell you meat!”

“Shut up!”  Cassie started to sniffle, then big, round tears spilled down her reddened cheeks.  Still stretched atop the freezer she folded her plump arms, buried her face into the crook of her elbow and began to sob in earnest.  “Leave me alone!” she wailed.

I took a deep breath and held onto my dwindling self righteous anger, resisting the urge to comfort her.  I hated seeing Cassie lose her self-possession.  It was pitiful, but she had been hiding this from me just the same.  “You’ve betrayed my trust, and the trust of our butcher, with the likes of the Schneider Meat Company, no less.  Why didn’t you just tell me you weren’t satisfied with our current vendor?  Why didn’t you feel you could come to me?  For Christ sakes, Cass, you are a professional woman in the food industry and you’re buying our meat, and a lot of it, from a truck.  From a truck!  What were you thinking?!”  I shouted.

Cassie lay still for several moments then turned her head and looked at me apologetically.  “I’m sorry.  It's not like we won't use it.  I've paid for most of it out of my half of the profits.  I didn’t mean for you to find out like this, Al.  It all started so innocently, and then one thing led to another.  I’ve been miserable.  The lying, the sneaking around behind your back, not to mention the knowing stares of that creepy Dougie kid at the butcher shop.  Obviously I haven’t been placing my usual order.  It’s like he can read my mind.”  Her voice caught and she had to take a moment to compose herself.  “I’ve been so afraid that Dougie might mention something to you, or even one of the neighbors, since the truck is here so often.  It was just a chance meeting, I swear.  I didn’t call him first.  He came to the door one day and I tried to resist…I really did.  I sent him away, but he came back the next week.  He was relentless, and the meat looked okay.  Better than okay, actually.  Al, they were running a really good special.  Twenty-five percent off choice cuts.” Cassie paused and looked at me imploringly.  “Twenty-five percent, Al.”  I forced myself to remain immobile and stony faced although internally I reasoned, twenty-five percent was pretty good. 

When Cassie saw that I was not swayed by the discount she painstakingly continued her sob story.  “So, I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll only buy a bag of shrimp and a couple of loins.  Just this once…just to try it out.  There’s nothing wrong with that, right?  Al, won’t know…no harm, no foul.’  I didn’t intend for it to go this far.  But soon I caught myself watching for the truck.  Wishing he would come.  I started looking forward to placing another order.  I was stealing moments alone to review the menu.  Then before I knew it I was actually scheduling appointments with him when I knew you would be on sales calls.  Eventually, I starting making out your agenda around my meat orders.  I couldn’t help myself.  Oh, I’m so weak, Al.  So weak.”  Cassie sighed forlornly.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Please forgive me.  I’ll stop.  I’ll never see him again.  I promise.  The freezers are full anyway.  I’ve even been storing some of the meat at my apartment.  You have cutlets at your house too.” She admitted quietly.  “I slipped them into your mother’s handbag last Sunday before we went out for lunch and snuck them into your freezer after I drove you guys home.  I didn’t really need to use the bathroom.”  Cassie bit her fist and stared teary eyed into the darkened corner of the basement, so ashamed that she could not meet my astonished gaze.

I gasped and my jaw dropped incredulously to my chest.  “You used the purse of an Alzheimer’s patient to smuggle pork?  My mother was your mule?  I don’t even know who you are.”

“I know.  I know.” She buried her face in her hands and began to sob again.  “I feel so dirty!” 

“Is everything okay down there?”  Cassie shoulders shook harder at the sound of my mother’s gentle voice drifting down the stairs.  “Petey wants to go out and someone’s at the door.”

Cassie and I froze.  We stared at each other warily for nearly a full minute, and then she suddenly leapt off the freezer.  She took me by surprise as she placed a hand in the center of my chest, shoved me like a linebacker and charged for the stairs. “It’s him!” Cassie yelped excitedly.  I was stunned for moment, having fallen backwards into a large tub of Christmas decorations.  I dislodged my butt, struggled to my feet and was soon in hot pursuit.

At the top of the basement steps Cassie was no where to be seen but Mom thrust the human end of a dog leash at me.  On the other end Petey was performing the poopy dance at her feet.  His toenails clicked incessantly on the floor.  He grinned expectantly up at me as only a dog can.  ‘Fifty seven thousand and one,’ I calculated mentally and I grabbed the leash from Mom’s outstretched hand, storming through the kitchen at lightening speed, toward the front of the small house that comprised our business.  Petey easily kept up, as eager as he was to make a trip outdoors.  I quickly spied Cassie patting down her hair, dabbing her eyes, and adjusting her blouse in the reception room.  She grasped the front door handle, then pushed open the screen and smiled brilliantly.  “Hello Matthew!”  I heard her exclaim.
Game on!




for Humane Society donation opportunities.
Please spay and neuter your pets and
consider adoption when selecting a
new furry friend.
10% of any Bully Book event proceeds
benefit The Greater Kansas City Humane
To Order An Autographed Copy Select the "Order Here" tab above to download an order form.  Or, contact bullybooks@gmail.com to arrange an order.
Marche's Madness also available on Kindle, Nook, or at Amazon.com as well as

Lucy's Locket - On the Park Square - Paola, KS