Friday, March 21, 2014

Excerpt & Giveaway: Running with the Enemy by Lloyd Lofthouse

In this suspense thriller set during the Vietnam War, Victor Ortega is a rogue CIA agent, and he needs someone to blame for his crimes. Recon Marine Ethan Card is the perfect patsy. As a teen, Ethan ran with a Chicago street gang, and he has a criminal record. He also has a secret lover, Tuyen, who is half Vietnamese and half French.

Tuyen is a stunning, beautiful Viet Cong resistance fighter.

Since she was a young child, Tuyen has lived under the control of her brutal, older, sexually abusive half-brother, Giap, a ruthless and powerful Viet Cong leader, who has forced her to kill Americans in battle or die if she refuses.

When Ethan discovers he is going to be court marshaled for weapons he did not sell tothe Viet Cong and Tuyen will be arrested and end up in an infamous South Vietnamese prison, where she will be tortured and raped, he hijacks a U.S. Army helicopter and fleeswith Tuyen across Southeast Asia while struggling to prove his innocence.

Victor Ortega and Giap-working together with the support of an unwitting American general-will stop at nothing to catch the two, and the hunt is on.

The star-crossed lovers travel across Laos to Cambodia's Angkor Wat; to Bangkok, Thailand, and then to Burma's Golden Triangle where Ethan and Tuyen face a ruthless drug lord and his gang.

In the rainforests of Burma, Ethan also discovers Ortega and Giap have set in motion a massive assault on his Marine unit's remote base in South Vietnam with the goal of killing the man he admires most, Colonel Edward Price, who is the only one who believes Ethan is innocent.

Ethan must risk everything to save Price and his fellow Marines. Will he succeed?

Book Details:

Publisher: Three Clover Press (February 1, 2013)
Category: Vietnam War, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller
Tour Dates: Mar/Apr, 2014
Available in: Print and ebook 384 Pages

Amazon Purchase Link:  (Currently on sale for $.99)
Running with the Enemy


From Chapter 23
(paperback pages 280 – 283)
Setting: the Frank Sinatra Coffee Shop, Bangkok, Thailand

Ethan moved toward the screen door at the far side of the kitchen that opened on an alley, knocked up the latch and went outside, where he turned and walked toward the street behind the coffee shop. Before he'd entered the Frank Sinatra, he'd done a casual recon of all the escape routes and had noticed this alley went from the front street to the one behind the Sinatra.

He heard Mickey yell and the woman with him scream. The crack of a Colt .45 sounded.

The damn cast on his right leg slowed him, and he wanted to tear the fucking thing off. He stumbled into a trash can. The clatter made a horrible racket, but it was dark in the stinky alley, and it would be almost impossible for anyone to see him from the street on either side. Another shot sounded.

When he reached the far street, Ethan stopped. The city had come alive. People were everywhere. A cute girl that must have been about ten years old went by, lugging a heavy bag of books. She wore a white blouse with a black bow around its neck and a black, ankle-length skirt. Ethan stepped out and kept pace behind her. Taking off the Captain's bars, he dropped them into the girl's book bag. She didn't notice. Ethan forced his legs to move faster and turned the next corner, always moving away from the Sinatra.

An old woman with a cone-shaped, woven, bamboo hat stood against a light pole. Ethan offered the Air Force cap to her in trade for it. She accepted. Stepping into the gutter, Ethan scraped up a handful of muck and smeared it on his shoes and pants.

The signs hanging above the sidewalk talked quietly to him in Thai, Chinese and English. None of them offered an escape route. He pushed into the crowd on the sidewalk and moved toward the whorehouse, standing out as he towered above them. Cars filled the street and crept along honking horns and belching billows of fumes. Telephone and electric wires created an unorganized spider web above the street.

Ethan slouched to match his height with everyone else. He stared at his feet and moved at a shuffle with the flow of humanity.

A young man on a motorbike left the crowded street and raced down the sidewalk. People moved to one side or the other. Some shook fists at the rider.

A U.S. Army MP stood at the far end of the block. Ethan stepped into the recessed entry of a building and rattled the door, only to discover it was locked. Squatting, he stared at the concrete beneath his feet and crossed his arms over his chest. There was a crushed paper cup next to his right foot. He grabbed it and straightened it. Taking some change that he had found in the Captain's pocket, he dropped the money in the cup and shoved it out where people on the sidewalk could see it. A moment later, the MP's spit-shined shoes came into sight and stopped in front of him.

Ethan hoped the peasant's woven bamboo hat would hide his American features. He'd lost several pounds since being wounded. Maybe that would help him pass for a Thai. He tensed. This was it. A vacuum threatened to open under Ethan and swallow him whole. He could sense the prison cell closing around him—trapping him for the rest of his life.

The MP dropped a quarter into the paper cup—then his spit-shined shoes moved away. Ethan relaxed.

He stayed there for several minutes, and a few more coins landed in the cup. Then he picked up the cup and joined the crowd again, letting the human current carry him along. His right leg ached, and his strength was flagging, but he gritted his teeth and kept going.

A small boy carrying a load of flowers in a wicker basket appeared next to him. "GI want flowers?" The boy wore an oversized American Army shirt with First Cavalry Division patches on the sleeves. "I sell jasmine to help you find dream woman. Guaranteed bring luck. Plenty good boom-boom pussy."

"Here." Ethan shoved a pocket full of dollar bills at the kid. "Give me everything you got and here's twenty for the shirt. You also get my jacket and shirt in exchange."

The boy's face blossomed into a smile. He draped a dozen garlands around Ethan's neck, then took off his First Cavalry shirt and handed it over. The jasmine garlands hid the lower part of Ethan's face while the woven-bamboo hat hid the top half. The shirt completed his transformation. He was a different man from the one who left the coffee shop.

"Your luck start now." The boy turned to leave.

"No," Ethan said. "You come with me for two blocks. There's a whorehouse near here that's also a bar. I'll pay you another twenty bucks if you get me to the right one."

The boy's smile stretched wider. He grabbed Ethan's hand and towed him through the crowd.

While crossing the next street, another U.S. Army MP glanced at Ethan. He wanted to avoid the man's gaze but didn't. Their eyes met, but the MP's eyes continued searching. Ethan breathed easier.

He limped the length of another block.

"We gone two blocks," the boy said. "This is place. Give me money you promise. You then have lucky boom boom."

What the hell? Ethan put the money in the boy's hand, and the child vanished.

In the distance, an MP's whistle shrilled. Ethan pounded on the wood slab. A moment passed while every muscle in his back twisted into nervous knots.

More whistles. Ethan pounded more urgently on the door and sweat broke out all over him.

About the Author:

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran, served in Vietnam as a field radio operator in 1966. Back home, Lloyd was a heavy drinker until 1981, never talked about the war and suffered from PTSD. In the early 1980s, he confronted his demons by writing about his war experiences in an MFA program.

Running with the Enemy started as a memoir and then evolved into fiction.

His short story, A Night at the "Well of Purity", named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards, was based on an event Lloyd experienced in Vietnam.

His novel My Splendid Concubine has earned ten honorable mentions in general fiction-a few examples: the 2008 London Book Festival; 2009 San Francisco Book Festival; 2009 Los Angeles Book Festival, and the 2012 New York Book Festival, etc.

In 1999, his wife, Anchee Min, the author of the memoir Red Azalea, a book that was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1994, introduced Lloyd to Robert Hart, the real-life character of My Splendid Concubine.

After an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marines in 1968, Lloyd went to college onthe GI Bill to earn a BA in journalism, and then worked days as a public school teacher for thirty years (1975 - 2005) in addition to nights and weekends as a maître d' in a Southern California nightclub called the Red Onion (1980-1982).

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Teddy Rose said...

Thanks for taking part in the tour and hosting Lloyd!

The Teacher said...

Thank you for hosting "Running with the Enemy" on your site during its March tour.

Sapphyria said...

You both are very welcome!