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Sports columnist Chase Elliott has earned a reputation around the newsroom of being a person that others can confide their deepest problems. What happens when someone goes over the line? And what if a fellow worker dies from mysterious circumstances?
Elliott tries to deal with all the rumors and innuendos circulating around the newsroom while coming to terms with his own sense of trustworthiness and high ethical standards. Can he discover the truth without betraying confidences?
Chase sat at the bar in Pappy’s and sipped on a cold mug of beer. A George Strait love ballad floated softly from the jukebox. The place was nearly empty, but he didn’t mind because he didn’t want all the noise and chatter. He accepted that would change in the next few hours as more people got off from work and made their way to the bar for a drink or two before heading home for the night.
He felt a gentle tap on his shoulder and turned around. Hannah stood behind him smiling
“Mind if I join you?” she asked. “You look like you could use some company.”
Chase grinned and kissed her on the cheek as she eased on to the bar stool. She slightly shook her head to stir her long brunette hair off her slender neck.
“Would you like to sit at a booth?” Chase asked.
“No, this is fine,” she said. The bartender came over and she ordered a margarita.
“So how was your day?” he asked.
“Very uneventful. I placed a lot of orders for companies. It was rather quiet in the office as well. How about you?”
“Much the same.” He shrugged.
“Is something bothering you? You look like something very serious is on your mind,” Hannah said, resting a hand on top of his.
“I’ve got a few things going on at work but I can handle it.” Chase turned his hand over and gently squeezed hers as a taut smile crossed his face.
“If you need to bounce something off someone, you know I’m available.”
“I know that and I appreciate it,” he said. “It’s just too early to talk about it. I hope it all passes over soon. It may not amount to anything. It has more to do with a friend than the newspaper.”
Hannah patted him on the knee, and then leaned over and kissed him softly on the cheek.
Chase smiled and took another swallow of beer. He felt fortunate to have someone like Hannah because she never pressured him into disclosing things. Although a private person, Chase knew he’d eventually open up to her about personal problems but only when he felt the time was right to do so. And he knew he could always count on her for support.
“So you don’t have a ball game this evening?” Hannah asked.
“No, but I’ve got one tomorrow night.”
“Why don’t you come over to my place for dinner?”
“Yes,” she said coyly. “I can pick up some Chinese carryout. Would you like that?”
“Are you sure it won’t be any trouble?”
“Of course not, silly. You’re never any trouble for me.”
“Okay then,” Chase said as he took a credit card from his wallet to pay for their drinks. “Are you sure I can’t pick up the food?”
“I can do it. There’s a good restaurant on the way home. Just give me time to get the table set.”
“Sounds like a plan,” he said. “I’ll leave about ten minutes after you.”
Hannah slipped off the bar stool, kissed him again on the cheek and left. She turned and smiled before walking out the door. Chase couldn’t help notice that several other men in the bar glanced at her shapely figure as she left.
“Who was that lovely lady?”
Chase turned to his right as Conner Rhodes from the newspaper’s photo department took Hannah’s bar stool and sat down. He was wearing his oversized green photographer’s vest that looked more like a hunter’s jacket.
“Hi, Conner,” Chase said. “She’s a woman I’ve been dating for a while.”
“Nice looking gal,” Conner said with an approving grin. “Not bad. Not bad at all.”
“She’s a wonderful woman.” Chase said, unable to suppress a smile.
“I’d be careful because some guy may come along and snatch her up,” Conner said with a chuckle.
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
The bartender wiped off the counter in front of Conner and placed a frosty mug of draft beer on a coaster. Conner picked it up and took a long swallow.
“Hmm. That tastes good.”
“So you don’t work tonight either?”
“Hell no. I’ve got a game tomorrow evening.”
“Have you heard about the latest office romance?”
“Maybe,” Chase said. “Who’s involved this time?”
Michael Embry is the author of three nonfiction sports books and three novels, including Foolish Is The Heart for Wings ePress in 2008. His career includes more than 30 years in journalism as a reporter, sportswriter and editor. He lives in Frankfort, Ky., with his wife, Mary, and Yorkshire terriers, Baxter and Bucky.
Embry has worked for Kentucky newspapers in Madisonville and Lexington and a national news service, making stops in Louisville, New York, Milwaukee and Lexington. He retired as editor of Kentucky Monthly magazine in Frankfort in 2006 to return to school to become a special education teacher. Among the organizations he is involved in are the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, Golden Key International Honour Society, National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, Sierra Club, and The Friends of the Paul Sawyier Public Library in Frankfort.
Embry and his wife, Mary, live in Frankfort with their two Yorkshire Terriers, Bucky and Baxter.
Michael Embry's honest, open, evocative prose engages readers from the opening sentence and propels readers along a storyline that leads straight to the heart. One of my must reads, but be forewarned, once you start reading A Confidential Man, you won't want to put it down until you finish. --Chris Helvey, eliminations editor for Best New Writing 2009, author of Purple Adobe.
Love, liaisons, death and deceit all find their way into the newsroom where sportswriter Chase Elliott spends his days. Admired for his reticence, Chase fears that the last secret entrusted to him may hold the key to a friend's mysterious death and may have put his own life in jeopardy as well. Michael Embry has crafted a treasure of intrigue and romance in A Confidential Man--a real page turner by anyone's standards. --Cleo Roberson, newspaper columnist and co-author of Muhlenberg County (Images of America: Kentucky) and A Mother's Cherished Memories.
Everybody has secrets! You better be careful who you tell them to. A Confidential Man by Michael Embry looks at the inner workings of a major newspaper. Sports columnist Chase Elliott is the “Confidential Man.” He can keep secrets and give advice. He isn’t like others who love to gossip and some who are direct pipelines to management.
Some secrets are just too big. Chase struggles with his own personal responsibility with secrets revealed to him in confidence. Infidelity and fraudulent news stories become the focus of ongoing office romances and newspaper politics. What should Chase do? What can he do?
His friend, Brett Johnson, special sections editor, dies suddenly. The apparent accident spirals into a murder investigation as each piece of the puzzle is revealed. The action reaches every corner of the newspaper as you turn the pages quickly wanting to know more. Michael Embry weaves an exciting story with shocking revelations. This newspaper will never be the same. --Peter Hurley, Beyond the Rain
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 402