Thursday, March 13, 2014

Rashawnda Ungerer

Guest Post and Excerpt by Rashawnda Ungerer

Guest Post

Should the hero always get the girl and the glory? Can villains also be heroes? And if so, can heroes be villains as well? These are just a few of the inquiries that floated close above my imagination as I wrote “The Hard Way”. The answers, however, hovered at a much farther distance.

We have all had villains in the stories of our lives. Perhaps as small children the villain was the sibling that took all of the attention. In school, maybe he was the class bully or an impossible teacher. Now the villain could be a slave-driving boss, a mean-spirited ex-wife or the president of the HOA who's threatening a fine because the lawn is an inch too long. In the story of my life I am the villain…and the hero.

None of us are all bad or all good all of the time. But surely there have been specific moments when we were deliberately and unmistakably evil. The temptation to laugh when an unpleasant adversary stumbles and falls. Speeding into a parking spot that you know another driver had been waiting longer for. Throwing a coworker under the bus even though the fault is at least partly yours.

In hindsight we tend to reason why we were pushed to such behavior with the circumstances that led to the nasty action. The best and worst excuse is usually that the victim deserved it. We endeavor to understand why our conscience was blind and deaf when the sinful deed was committed. Perhaps it was stress or PMS or just an altogether horrible day. We separate the act from whom we are as if our minds and bodies had been somehow possessed. Because only extenuating circumstances could have pushed us so far from our true character, which we would all like to believe is inherently good.

In reality we all carry the villain inside of us as well as the hero. And every minute of every day we are fighting the internal battle between good and evil. As it should be, otherwise life would be quite boring.

In my life’s story the hero always gets the glory, but not always the girl.


She awakened to a pitch-black room that was so thick with darkness she couldn’t see her hand in front of her face. Her back lay against the hard, grainy surface beneath her and the urge to shiver came over her as she felt the cold air biting her skin. While wrapping her arms around herself she felt her bare chest and then her uncovered stomach and legs. She was completely naked. The coarse ground scraped against her back as she sat up. Her earrings, wedding rings and even the ponytail holder that she used to tie her curly, shoulder-length hair back had also been removed along with her clothes. She took a quick self-assessment and felt a strange soreness on the side of her neck. It was tender to the touch and she was sure that there was a bruise.

Cecelia Clark had no idea what time of day it was or how long she’d been asleep. The grogginess and nausea she felt led her to the assumption that she’d been drugged. She could have been unconscious for a few hours or a few days. And who knows what could’ve been done to her while she was so helpless. Considering the fact that her neck was the only part of her body that ached, she assumed that her kidnapper hadn’t gotten around to doing much of anything to her…yet.

She stood up shakily and held out her hands in front of her. Then she started to walk forward slowly. After three unsteady steps her shin bumped into something hard and she backed up a pace. Feeling her way around the short hard object she came to another obstacle.

She felt the cold metal of vertically aligned bars and ran both hands across them back and forth, then downward until it met the dusty, stone floor. Standing upright, she pushed up on her tiptoes and felt more bars above her running horizontally. Following them to the other three walls, she confirmed what she already suspected, drawing the conclusion that she was locked in a cage meant for beasts like the one who put her there.

On the last wall she discovered the cage door. As she searched for the locking mechanism she heard the snap and clunk of a bolt sliding, but it wasn’t the lock to the cage. Suddenly the harsh, grating sound of a door creaking open filled the darkness. A fan of light spread across the floor and then the black silhouette of her abductor moved in ominously like an eclipse.

A mix of anger and terror ran through her mind as her heartbeat started to race against her thoughts. Cecelia’s fingers curled and tightened into fists as her breaths shallowed and quickened and her nails dug into the palms of her hands. She heard a soft step moving towards her, then a second and third step and finally the door scraping against the stone floor, as it slammed shut bringing her back into complete darkness.

While raising her fists in front of her in a fighting stance she heard four pings. It sounded like buttons being pressed on a phone or the keypad to an alarm system. Then there was a clicking sound followed by the squeak of friction between metal. The cage door was opening. She didn’t hear it close. She didn’t hear any more steps. She didn’t hear anything but the beat of her own heart jackhammering inside her chest as the darkness swirled around her.

And then with no warning at all, she felt the tight grasp of a gloved hand around her throat hauling her backwards until her back crashed forcefully into the hard, cold bars. She grunted and winced at the sting in her shoulder blades. She grabbed the wrist of the gloved hand as it squeezed tighter around her throat and followed the leather material to the thumb. She attempted to pull it in hope of twisting it and forcing the grip loose, but the drugs in her system made her too weak.

Reaching in front of her with the other hand, she searched in the darkness for his face, for something soft and vulnerable that she could get a grip on, but all she felt was a hard, mechanical mask. He was wearing night vision goggles so that he could see her without her being able to see him. Scraping at the device, she tried to lift her knees to attempt a kick to the legs or groin, but her muscles were not responding to the adrenaline rushing through her. Her lack of sight and wooziness put her at a great disadvantage. He grabbed her pesky hand and pushed it into the crossbar above her head. Cecelia tried to speak or scream, but she couldn’t access enough air to support either function.

Out of desperation and will of spirit, she managed to grabbed his thumb with her other hand and twisted it outward forcing the gloved hand to loosen its grip. Gasping for air, she released the hold and tried to hunch over but he pressed his forearm across her throat and held her up against the bars. A feeling of warmth brushed against her cheek and then her ear and she realized it was his breath. He was much closer now so she thrust her knee towards his groin, but he blocked it easily and pushing her knee to the side, he slipped his legs between hers and pressed against her.

“Are you afraid?” he whispered menacingly.

“No,” she coughed defiantly as she tried to pull air into her lungs.

He pushed his body off of her and choked her again with both hands. This time he squeezed harder. “You should be.”

The Hard Way
Rahawnds Ungerer


Military/Political Thriller

Word count: 160,900

Cover by: Cherly Sosebee of CCR Design

Barnes & Noble

Book Description:

When the Albanian Mafia targets his family, MI6 operative Gordon Hale starts down a road to retribution that suddenly collides with a rescue mission as he comes across Cecelia Clark, the abducted, strong willed daughter of retired US Army Colonel Frank Clark.

After one of the kidnappers eludes capture, Hale joins forces with the colonel and his elite unit of former commandos to defend Cecelia at all costs.

But when they discover the motives behind the kidnapping, it is her protectors who must keep Cecelia’s enemies safe from her.

About the Author:

Rashawnda Ungerer is the author of the thriller, The Hard Way. She is the only daughter of an ex-soldier and the wife of a former U.S. Marine Corp reservist. Although she has spent the last thirteen years as a stay-at-home-mom, she has occasionally taken the opportunity to surround herself with men and women in uniform and highly respected veterans by working in temporary positions, such as a teller at the Pentagon and most recently with a Virginia-based government contractor in support of the United States Treasury Department. She currently resides just outside of Washington, D.C. with her husband, three children and their very protective boxer, the aptly named Havoc.


Twitter: @R_Ungerer


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