Cover Art Reveal | Back in Blue – G. R. Matthews with Excerpt

This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but I realized I scheduled it to drop at the wrong time, and I’m also heavily medicated after a pretty rough surgery. The two elements combined and, instead of fixing the time this post was supposed to drop, I accidentally deleted it, and then I got really, really tired and spent the entire day sleeping.

So, it’s a day late. I AM SO SORRY, G.R. MATTHEWS!

Anyway, onward with the fantastic cover art reveal.

About the Book

Corin Hayes is back and he’s not happy about it.

In the corporation owned cities at the bottom of the ocean, life can be a struggle. The rich have it all, the poor have little but the air in their lungs and even that is owned by someone else. When war erupts between the corporations, Hayes finds himself caught in the middle of it all. Back in the navy and sent on missions which utilise the destructive power of his Fish-Suit, his life is in danger every moment.

An old comrade and a young recruit stand beside him as the submarines set sail and Hayes faces up to the truth of war. 
Nowhere is safe and death is a single mistake away. However, the biggest threat may not come from the enemy across the ocean, but from the traitors and spies embedded in his own military. If Corin wants to survive the war, he must find the traitor and end their life before all is lost. 

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Buy Links
Corin Hayes Back In Blue
Corin Hayes Omnibus
Forbidden List Trilogy
Outlaw Mountain (Free)

Words from the Author

Corin is a broken hero… actually, he isn’t a hero, he’s just a bit of wreck who tries to do the right thing even when it is wrong. This little excerpt of Book 3 – Three Times The Trouble – might give a clear insight into his psyche.

“You got a death wish?” the leader said.

“So my psychologist told me,” I answered. I stared him right back, noting that even his eyebrows had developed visible muscles. My heart was hammering in my chest and I could feel everything south of my belt retreating back to safety. “She also said that I am sucker for a hard luck case, have no sense of my own safety, and an occasional paladin complex, and no I’ve no idea what the last one meant either. Now, my beer, the lady and the child. I don’t know what you’ve got against her, and I don’t too much care. What I do care about is my beer and the fact that three grown men,” I could afford to be generous as the phrase ‘small dicked, drugged up, brain dead, school yard bullies’ which I wanted to use would probably not endear me to them, “are terrifying a small child. You have business with her, fine, but don’t drag the child into it.”

“Last chance,” he said in return. “Fuck off.”I swung the basket right at his head.

Each book can be read as a standalone, including this one, but there are little clues in each that give a wider view of the story and the world. A discerning reader might notice those and link them all together. A true fan, and there are few (I’d love more… hint hint… anyone…. oh, come on) might spot the links between the Corin Hayes and Forbidden List series – between the Scifi and the fantasy set in far-flung past of the far east.

Now that the Omnibus of the Books 1 to 3 is available readers should be able to catch up quite quickly and get ready for book 4 which is due for release on 30th April 2019 – that’s this month!

And as long as I’m flinging covers around, check out this gorgeous cover for the Corin Hayes Omnibus!

Excerpt

Corin Hayes 4: Back In Blue by G R Matthews

CHAPTER ONE

I saw them first. Which just goes to prove my luck isn’t always bad. Occasionally the gods smile upon me instead of spending their idle moments pissing on my parade.

Two heavy set men wearing the dark blue uniform of the Navy. The boys in blue who put their lives on the line keeping us safe from the myriad threats which loomed in the dark ocean beyond the domes. That one or two, at least in my experience, enjoyed blowing the shit out of things and generally hurting people was often glossed over. In truth, if you ever went into battle, you’d be glad to have those bastards by your side. It would be a damn sight safer than fighting them.

Right now, I wasn’t so sure so I did a smart one-eighty and headed in the opposite direction. Handily, this was back towards Tom’s bar and my two favourite things. Beer and whiskey. And quiet. Privacy. The simple pleasure of being alone. Actually, my five favourite things. Makes me wonder why I don’t live there, though I reckon Tom, the barman and owner, has a no sleeping rule. If you’re too drunk to stay awake, go home or collapse in a gutter somewhere. Just don’t sleep in the bar. You might find your credit line is cut off.

“Hayes.” My name was shouted down the corridor in a tone that brooked no argument. I didn’t argue, I ran. Always play to your strengths. That’s my motto, if I had one that is. I didn’t but it would do for now.

As is typical of the kind-hearted and generous people of the boxes they started shouting and pointing. Those ahead of me stepped aside, allowing my escape, but pointed and called out to those chasing me. Helping both sides but committing to none. By far the safest choice, to make no choice whatsoever. I could have cursed them, but I’d done the same. Amongst the crowd were a few people I knew. Not friends exactly, more like human beings I’d once nodded to in a corridor. Some even wore half-apologetic faces while they shouted to the Navy boys that I was, in fact, running away.

I had a destination in mind, but I needed a few corners to lose my pursuers. Running in a box, the hastily built, leaking, and best of all, cheap residential additions to the domes of the early city, was never the best plan. I mean, sure if you wanted to get some distance between you and the thug with the knife, run. Generally, however, running just got you noticed and down here, on the less exclusive levels of the box, it was better to be anonymous and hidden.

The Navy boys knew where I lived, so it didn’t matter too much. Distance was my friend right now. I could slow and hide when I’d gained a few corridors, twists and turns on them. I could hear the heavy footfalls of my two chasers amongst the shouts. They weren’t being subtle and I noticed the mood of the crowd turn against them. You don’t piss off a box crowd, they’ll turn on you in a heartbeat. Once riled, they act as one and the results aren’t pretty.

Security did police the boxes but it was far simpler to shut the bulkheads and stop the oxygen. Lethargy and the sharp spike of a carbon dioxide headache usually quelled a nascent riot. Of course, by then, the one who had been the target of the crowd’s displeasure was already dead and strangely the cameras never got a good look at the people responsible.

A Fish-Suit demands a lot of lung power to operate. QxyQuid, the oxygen rich gel which kept me alive out in the deep, took one hell of an effort to drag down into my lungs and even more to expel it. I could run for years. Not fast, but stamina was not a problem. The small child who stepped out into my path was.

The corridor’s walls, ceiling and inhabitants all wheeled about in my vision as the floor handily broke my fall. I didn’t stop to count the bruises, there’d be time enough for that later and another bruise was nothing new to me. Scrambling to my feet, I checked on the little lad.

“You all right?”

“Fuck you, mister,” the scruffy little urchin responded without anger. The added exclamation mark of a raised middle finger was, in my opinion, not needed.

“Yeah, you’re fine.” His parents must be so proud.

I got moving again, hurrying through the crowd to the next corner. A glance over my shoulder and I saw the two buzz cuts forcing their way through the people. I’m not a big man, my shoulders aren’t broad and my arms are not bulging with steroids, so moving through the people of the box, all of them doing their best to stay out of trouble, wasn’t too hard. For the two mountains of men following it was tougher and the insults I heard being hurled against them were growing louder.

Ahead, the shopping district of this box came into view. Here there would be camera’s, bouncers and shoppers. Everyone going about their daily business of making a living and staying alive. The shop I wanted was at the back, down a side corridor which did not deserve that lofty status. It was dark, damp and the sickly odour of rot pervaded the air. If you came down here it was for reasons you kept to yourself.

“Hi, Frank,” I gasped as I staggered in through the door.

“Hi, Corin,” the proprietor of the shadiest shop in the box greeted me.

“I need,” and had to pause to hawk out the globule of runners flem from my burning throat, “to hide.”

“Not here to buy?” Frank said.

“I’ll buy something later,” I said, ducking my head out of the door and checking the corridor. The flicker of the sign above the door gave the whole scene a putrid green glow.

“What are you after? Have a new lady friend?” Frank’s eyes darted to the other customer in the shop, a tall figure who shifted down the racks of manufactured goods picking up an item, a box, a can, a spray, examined at it for a moment and put it back.

“Listen, Frank,” I said, coming back into the shop and giving the man behind the counter my best smile, “I’ve been a good customer over the years. Any chance you can let me hide out in the back room for a few minutes.”

“Corin, you ran up debts and never paid on time. Remember when the boys had to visit, just to get a down payment on your tab?”

I winced a little and rubbed my ribs. The fractures had healed nicely but working a Fish-Suit with broken ribs was anything but enjoyable. I’d had to work to pay Frank back, the other option was a painful death at the hands of Frank’s boys. “My debt’s cleared.”

“True,” Frank said, “but I’m trying to keep you from sinking back into that sorry state of affairs. A public service, you might say.”

“And I appreciate it,” I said, moving up to the counter and whispered, “but right now there’s two big bruisers who want to have a chat with me.”

“Ain’t my problem.” Frank shrugged.

“They’ll be talking with their fists, Frank.”

“So what?”

“You’ll lose my custom and my winning smile might be damaged forever,” I answered, showing him more of my teeth.

“What did you do to them?”

“I didn’t do anything to them,” I protested.

“Then why are they after you, Corin? Did you open your big mouth again?”

“I don’t even know them.”

“Then how do you know they’re after you?”

“They shouted my name.” I threw my hands in the air, turning around and checking the door again. “Come on, Frank. For all those times I saved your life.”

“Corin,” Frank said, shaking his head, “helping me out of a moon-pool during our brief military service does not count as saving my life.”

“You’d never have made it out otherwise,” I said, giving him the most honest stare I could manage.

“It was your fault I broke my arm,” Frank pointed out, an edge of irritation creeping into his voice.

Sadly, that was true and if I recalled correctly, it might also have contributed to his scrubbing out of the Fish-Suit programme and military in general. Looking at cause and consequence logically, it could also be the reason he now owned and operated the “One Eyed Monster”, a private shop offering the latest in lotions, potions, pills and outfits for the more discerning customer. The sex toys were legal, the drugs he sold under the counter weren’t. They’d got me into debt and a lot of trouble.

“Frank,” I pleaded.

“Who…” Frank began and stopped. We both heard the trudge of heavy feet and curses as someone came down the corridor. The stink and rubbish were a warning system which worked both ways. It kept the people who had no business here away, and it warned Frank that anyone coming into the shop was a determined soul. I saw his gaze flick down to the screen which undoubtedly showed the camera feed from outside. “The fucking Navy?”

“Yeah,” I confessed. “Sorry.”

“I should let them beat the living shit out of you,” Frank snarled.

“It’d make a mess of your shop,” I helpfully pointed out.

“Get in the back and don’t touch anything,” Frank said in exasperation.

I had to turn sideways to squeeze through the little door he swung open into the back room. His boys were sat in chairs where the upholstery was frayed and the cushions sagged, both were focused on the screen in front of them. Holding tiny looking controllers in their big meaty hands they appeared to be playing an old video game which involved going around a track in a small cart. Watching them for a moment, I shook my head. The one on the left had missed the rocket pick-up, sacrificing firepower for speed. His brother was sure to get it and being behind would have the perfect shot. It was not a sound tactical move.

Along the walls were shelves stacked with plastic boxes all mysteriously labelled in some sort of code which must have made sense to Frank and the boys but was nonsense to me. There were no other chairs and I settled for leaning against the wall. The room was sound-proofed, strange wedges of foam stuck out from the wall with the door. Probably to make sure that nothing in here was picked up outside, but it worked the other way too. I had no idea what was going on in the shop.

“Got ya,” the one on the right said in a deep voice which rumbled through the floor.

“Bastard,” replied the one on the left, in good humour, I thought. “Another game.”

“Might as well,” said the one on the left.

I stayed quiet and they seemed happy to ignore me. It was safer that way.

On lap two of three in the next race, the door opened again and Frank stepped in.

“You’re in a world of trouble, Hayes,” he said.

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