The MADness is a dystopian romance that takes place in the not too distant future. The United States has merged with the former countries of Canada and Mexico to form four major cities, each one headed by an Electorate. Each city is further separated into an Upper City, where the elite cluster, and a Lower City, where the poor are left to fend for themselves.
Check out a sneak peak chapter below!
Delilah set her bags down on the ground next to her table in her favorite sidewalk café.
“I’ll have a coffee, extra cream please,” she told the waiter as he pulled her chair out for her. This was one of her favorite places to sit after a day of shopping. It had a quaint little patio area that looked out onto the busy sidewalk of the most exclusive section of the Upper City. She always loved to people watch. To see what they were wearing, see how they rushed about. The sun was out today, making it a perfect day to sit outside and people watch with the perfect cup of coffee as she rested her feet.
She was reluctant to return home tonight. She knew Nikolai would be there when she got back and she wanted to avoid him. Something about the way things ended with Mr. Sakamoto didn’t sit right with her. Was her husband being unfair? Was Mr. Sakamoto really a cold-blooded killer for hire like he claimed? Delilah couldn’t see it. He seemed like such a nice man and Delilah was sad that she would probably never see him again. She picked up her purse, unzipped it and dug inside for a moment before pulling out the little paper rose he had given her. She had decided to keep it, against Nikolai’s suggestion of course, and now she was glad that she had. A smile crossed her lips. Origami, Nikolai had told her it was called, the art of folding pieces of colorful paper into wonderful little objects. It was something people used to do, a past time that had been forgotten by the passing of time, but Delilah mused that perhaps she could resurrect it in some way. She eyed the square paper napkin on the table. She set the rose down, using it as a guide and began to crease little folds in the paper napkin.
The first attempt didn’t produce anything remotely close to a rose. The second and third attempt wasn’t any better. On her fourth attempt, Delilah began to get frustrated. She had watched Mr. Sakamoto do it, so she couldn’t understand why she couldn’t do it herself. She was so focused that she barely noticed the waiter bring her coffee and set it on the table. It cooled as she continued trying to remake the little paper rose. Finally, frustrated beyond belief she crumpled the worn little napkin and tossed it on the ground.
“I don’t think that is how it works,” she heard an eerily familiar voice say from behind her. She snapped her head around to catch the blue green glint in Beni’s eyes as he peered down at her with a toothy smile. “Want me to show you?”
He pulled the chair out next to her, the legs screeching on the concrete as he dragged it and pulled the attention of the other patrons. Delilah felt her heart pumping faster.
“What…what are you doing here?” she asked breathily as she tried to get the words out.
“First, you need a crisp napkin,” he said, ignoring her question. He reached over to the next table.
“I’m just gonna borrow this,” he said to the couple occupying the table as he snatched a napkin from their table, much to their’s and Delilah’s social horror.
“Bring me a beer, would ya?” he said, waving his hand at a waiter as he began to fold the little napkin.
“Excuse me,” Delilah said, struggling to keep her jaw off the floor at this man’s brash interruption of her peaceful evening.
“You gotta fold it in the right order,” he said, looking up at her for just a moment before his attention returned to the little paper napkin. He made a crease, turned it over, folded the paper and then held it up to Delilah. She was shocked to see a perfect little white replica of the red rose Mr. Sakamoto had given her. She reached out and grabbed it from his outstretched hand.
“How did you—“
“Keep this up and you’ll have a whole bouquet soon,” Beni said, smiling at her as he leaned back in his chair. It was a genuine smile, a kind smile and Delilah couldn’t help but feel attracted to him. She quickly shook the thought from her mind, remembering where she had first met Beni, in a police station being accused of murder.
“How did you get out?” Delilah asked, her eyes looking him over warily.
“What?” Beni said, throwing his hands up. “I told you I would beat it.”
He was still smiling at Delilah, as if he knew her. She didn’t know whether to trust him or not. The police had seemed convinced that he had done it. And to her knowledge, they didn’t just let accused murderers wander the streets.
“That still doesn’t—“
“Where’s my beer?” he said, interrupting her with a scowl coming over his face as he looked around the outside of the café.
“Look, I don’t know what you want, but you need to leave,” Delilah said.
“Oh come on,” Beni said looking at Delilah with a cock in his neck. “Don’t be like that.”
“Be like what?” Delilah said, her voice rising with her frustration of this strange man. “I don’t know you and if my husband—“
“What do you think about this MADness that’s going around?” Beni said, interrupting her yet again to change the subject. She sighed, not responding and giving him a glare that would send most people running.
“Ok,” Beni said, tossing his arms up in surrender as the waiter finally returned with his beer. “I tell you what, have this one beer with me, and if after this you want me to leave, I will. I’ll never bother you again.”
Delilah sighed again, considering the proposal with arms crossed over her chest. She tapped her foot as she stared at Beni. She could have just told him no, told the waiter that she didn’t know him and that he was bothering her, but she found herself reluctant to do so. Something about his smile, his confidence, the fact that he had been accused of murder, intrigued her. It was worth the time to drink a single beer for her to find out what it was about him that had her so interested.
“Fine,” she said. “One beer. Then you go.”
“Deal,” Beni said, picking up the bottle and raising it to her. “But,” he said, raising his brows at her, “you gotta be nice.”
“Fine,” she said, uncrossing her arms and picking up her own cup.
“So are you gonna answer my question then?” Beni asked, taking a sip from the amber colored bottle.
“You never answered any of mine,” Delilah shot back, her frustration still not abated.
“That’s because they were boring,” Beni said. He took another sip. “Why aren’t I rotting in a jail cell? Where did I learn to fold a napkin into a flower? Blah blah…who cares? But this MADness, now that’s something interesting to talk about.”
“How is it interesting?” Delilah asked, her tone still angry. “It’s frightening, and sad. London, all of Britain, will probably never be the same—“
“Good,” Beni said, with a smile and a laugh. “It was a boring country anyway. At least now they’re doing something that sparks interest.”
Delilah shook her head in disbelief. Any thoughts that this man could be nice went out the window. “How can you say such a careless thing?”
“It’s the truth,” Beni said, shrugging his shoulders and taking another sip. “I’m sorry your highness is offended by it.”
Delilah bristled at his comments. She pulled her lips tight, trying to think of something she could say back at him that would make him realize how callous he was, but she just shook her head and gave up.
“I bet you did do it,” she said, her voice low as if she was afraid for him to actually hear her. Her eyes averted his gaze.
“Now that’s not a very nice thing to say,” Beni said, wagging his finger at her as she shot him an angered glare under her lashes. She clenched her jaw against the onslaught of names that she wanted to scream out at him. A commotion at a nearby table pulled them both out of the heated conversation.
“Alfred, calm down,” a woman was saying to her dining companion, resting a hand on his arm.
“I don’t want to calm down, damn it woman,” the man screamed at her. He whirled around to the poor waiter who stood beside the table. “Now, I said I wanted purple, and that is what I shall have.”
“But sir,” the waiter said, looking nervously around, “we don’t have any food that is purple—“
“Goddamned excuses,” the man said, standing up and throwing his napkin on the table. “What in the hell kind of establishment does not stock purple?”
The man stomped around the table a few times as the patrons stared on in shock. Delilah had completely lost any anger that she harbored for Beni as her shock and curiosity took over. She and the rest of the people watched as the man glared around the outside café. His eyes landed on a spot just outside and his face lit up.
“There,” he exclaimed with a pointed finger at the flowerbed that was planted as a separation from the café and the sidewalk. He gave the waiter a glare before he mumbled under his breath. “Tell me there’s no purple. I see the purple right over there. I’ll get me some, whether you like it or not.”
“You see Delilah,” Beni said, motioning to the irate man. “Interesting.”
Delilah’s mind registered the statement and reconciled it with the scene she had just witnessed.
“You think…” she looked from Beni to the man as he shuffled over and began to munch away on the flowers, his wife and the waiter both trying to stop him.
“That’s how it is,” Beni said, before Delilah could finish her thought. She looked back at Beni. He casually sipped his beer and she noted that he was almost finished with it. “One day, you’re normal. Kicking along like all the rest. Then- bam- you’re full blown insane. It’s got my interest.”
Delilah narrowed her eyes on him, her brows scrunching. “I don’t think it works just like that. Dr. Melmon says—“
Beni began to laugh, stopping Delilah from saying another word. His laugh was genuine, not mocking and Delilah grew confused, then her anger returned.
“What does that coock know?” he said. He took the last sip of his beer and set the bottle down on the table.
“I don’t know,” Delilah said, sitting up straight and picking up her bags. “But that beer is finished, and so is this conversation.”
She stood from the table, preparing to leave. She didn’t want to spend anymore time talking to this man.
“Fair enough,” Beni called after Delilah as she rushed out of the café. “But I’ll be seeing you again soon, gorgeous.”
Delilah ignored his comment. She had no intention of ever seeing Beni again. If need be, she would get her husband involved. He would find a charge that would stick and keep him imprisoned for a long time if he refused to leave her alone.
**If you enjoyed this preview, check out the rest of the book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OV5LC6G