With a Little Help from My Friends

If I Should Die is the working title for book two in the My Soul to Keep series. I’m having fun writing the first draft which is approximately 30,000 words long and growing. And I hope you will enjoy this short, sneak peek. Keep reading after the excerpt. That’s where, with a little help from my friends, the story will get more interesting.

The Story Sentence

A peace-loving woman caught in a civil war, comes face-to-face with an evil she’d thought dead and must resort to violence to save lives or stick to her principles and sacrifice many.

The Set-Up

Like the first book, My Soul to Keep, this story has more than one viewpoint character. It takes place about two years after the first book. The excerpt you’re about to read comes in the first quarter of the story. Miranda’s sister, Irene, has returned to the United States.

The Setting

If you follow my Facebook page, you know I’ve been researching caves. The Kansas City area has many former limestone mines that have been developed into underground businesses, warehouses, and storage.

Parts of this story take place underground. Recently I had the opportunity to visit one of the local underground storage and warehouse caves. The picture below was taken during that visit.

With a little help from my friends, I recently had a chance to tour this underground storage and warehouse cave.Image is of the caves rock walls at an intersection complete with signs directing you to different businesses.

Sneak Peek: If I Should Die 

©2019 Lynette M. Burrows

The Kansas sun magnified by the limo’s windows raised beads of perspiration on Irene’s upper lip. She fanned herself with a piece of paper. 

“I turned up the air for you, ma’am,” the driver’s tinny voice came through a speaker below the glass partition.

Irene nodded like her mother, Kara, used to, then thought better of it. “Thank you.” Seated next to her, Sandra squirmed and pulled her skirt up, baring more of her legs. Another deliberate, slow wriggle of bare skin against the seat made the leather squeak.

Twelve-year-old Annabelle, the antithesis of Sandra’s fair skin and strawberry blonde hair, sat across from Irene. She rolled her eyes at her younger sister’s antics.

Burrrp! Sandra giggled and met her mother’s look. “‘Scuse me.”

“That’s unbecoming behavior,” Annabelle said.

“Yes, it is.” Irene flashed a smile at Annabelle and turned back to Sandra. She tried to give her daughter a stern look but Sandra’s mischievous grin revealed the new gap where her front teeth had been. And just like that, Irene’s resolve melted. “Remind me never to give you a soda pop before a sermon,” she said and tapped Sandra’s nose. 

“She knows better.” Annabelle’s nose tilted up and her mouth curved downward.  “She deserves more than a bop on the nose.” 

Irene reached across to stroke her adopted daughter’s dark brown hair. It’s gotten so long. “We’re all tired of traveling, darling. Remember, good Fellowship members forgive the minor misdeeds of others, especially when they are family.” She cupped Annabelle’s chin in her hand and gave her a warm, loving smile.

They’d left the District at nine o’clock last night. The girls had slept most of the way. But that was yesterday. Now, a little after one in the afternoon, they’d taken barely an hour meal stop at the dining room of Kansas City’s Savoy Hotel. And here they were in the car again. But Dr. Moore had insisted she be at the lab by two this afternoon. If she’d been alone, she would have taken an airplane but with the girls it had been more economical and less attention gathering to drive. 

Shortly after the limo crossed the Missouri River, they turned east again. The vehicle trundled down a narrow two-lane road between limestone bluffs on their left and the river on their right. “Look girls,” she said. “Inside that bluff is where we’re going.” She pointed out the north window at the sheer rock bluff. In the sun crystals within the limestone glinted. 

They passed two asphalt drives that led to gigantic garage doors built into the limestone. The limo turned onto the next drive. 

Twenty-five feet in front of a closed garage door, the limo stopped alongside a post with a covered keypad. The driver punched a half-dozen keys and the garage door raised. 

The limo rolled through the entrance. Instantly, the sunlight vanished. After a moment, Irene’s eyes adjusted to the glowing white orbs of artificial light strung along the center of the high ceiling. Annabelle rolled her window down and peered at the rough, putty-gray rock walls and ceiling. 

Sandra rolled her window down, too. The cool, dry air had a slight mineral scent.

They rode down a smooth concrete drive wide enough for two semi-trucks to pass. And when they came to a railroad crossing, the limo stopped for a moment before moving on.

“A real train can come in here?” Sandra sounded shocked.

“It’s so they can bring in and carry out supplies. If you’d studied, you’d know that.” Annabelle always prepared for the trips they took. “The train tracks run along the front of the cave with spurs that reach further back.”

The walls opened up to a well-lit area studded with massive rock pillars. The limo turned. From then on they traveled a wide road between pillars. The road stretched ahead of them until it vanished in darkness. In the rocky recesses to the right and the left, doors or man-made walls of brick or glass or steel appeared. Offices and warehouses. Every third or fourth space, they passed the huge, roaring fans that moved the air through the cave. They passed personal vehicles parked near man-sized doors. Semi-truck trailers backed in warehouse docks. And miles and miles of rock. 

Irene’s insides trembled. She’d tried to prepare the girls for what they were about to see. But now she worried that Sandra, at least, was too young.

I hope you enjoyed that excerpt. I have an ambitious (for me) schedule and plan to have If I Should Die published by early fall of 2020. 

A Little Help, Please

Here’s where I ask for a little help from my friends. Please comment below, tell me what you think of the excerpt and what you think will happen next. Who knows? Your answer may provide inspiration for a chapter or two.


  1. I love the set up, but I’m clueless as to what will come next.

    The lab? In an underground business district? I’m guessing she’ll see something to do with the Azrael? Maybe something that will reveal that their world is much darker underneath… Making the cave appropriate foreshadowing.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I’m delighted you love the set up. Good guesses and a great suggestion about the foreshadowing. Er, I mean, yeah–I’m doing the foreshadowing thing. lol. Thanks for your comments!

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