EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT ~ Pinned by Liz Faraim #Exclusive Excerpt #Excerpt #Giveaway

✨ Exclusive Excerpt ✨

from Chapter Sixteen

I blew out a sigh and fiddled with the rim of my mug. “I don’t know what will make it better. I’m just taking it one day at a time. Heck, sometimes it’s one minute at a time.” I shifted my feet and looked out of the window. “It’s not all terrible though. Things are going good with Kristen at least.”

“I’m glad to hear that. You deserve to have some happy in your life.”

“But I just can’t seem to get past this feeling like…like I’m standing on a motorcycle that’s fishtailing. It’s scary.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“No. Hey, you wanna go out and do something?” I looked at her, hoping she’d let me change the subject too.

“Sure, what do you have in mind?”

“I dunno. How about we go bowling or maybe shoot pool?”

“I know a place where we can do both, plus they have food and drinks.”

“Perfect. My treat.”

“I’ll take you up on that! How about I drive? That way I can pay the bridge toll at least.”


I waited while Darcy got her jacket and keys and locked up her place. She led me out to the alley, and I climbed into her classic Volkswagen minibus. The entire thing had been completely refurbished inside and out, and it was a beauty.

Snapping on my seatbelt, I checked out the interior. The seats were two-toned leather in white and teal, matching the exterior paint job. The engine fired right up and sounded clear and strong.

“When did you rebuild this?”

“Oh, I guess it was last summer,” she said as she turned onto the main road, clicking her tongue when she had to veer around a large branch that had fallen in the middle of the road.

She parked at the curb, and I jumped out so I could pull the branch out of traffic. We had to do that a few times before we reached the freeway onramp.

The minibus hummed along on the freeway, and I enjoyed being a passenger for once, able to check out the scenery.

“So, between your post-apocalyptic motorcycle build and refurbishing this bus, I’d say you are mighty talented at this stuff. You ever think about doing it as a business?”

“Nah. It’s a hobby. I prefer working on stuff on my own time and doing it how I want it. That all changes if you start to build projects for other people.”

“Good point.”

“Besides, I like my job at the port. It suits me.”

“Mine too,” I said. “Everything has just gotten so complicated lately. I liked how things were before. No fuss, I would just cruise through work and then had the rest of the day to do whatever I wanted. I was happy, I think.” Stop talking about yourself so much.

Darcy drove across the bridge, which rose high above the water. I looked down at the port directly below, spying a massive cargo ship docked there.

“That’s where you work, right?”


“So, that huge cargo ship is full of brand-new cars?”

“Sure is.”

Past the port were huge lots full of tightly parked cars, many of which were covered in white protective plastic film. I had owned several cars in my day but had never bought a new one. I figured all those shiny new cars would be sold some day but had no desire to have one for myself.

“And that down there is where you park them before they get loaded onto the trains?”

“That’s right.”

“Hm. I think our jobs are kinda similar. We are just moving other people’s stuff from one place to another for them.”

“Ha. Yeah, that seems to be the gist of it.” She nodded. “Hey, open up the glove box, will ya?”


Inside the glove box I found a fully modern stereo system, with satellite radio and all the bells and whistles.

“You sneak! That’s really cool.”

“Put on whatever you want.”

I poked around through the menu of stations and chose one that was playing Dave Matthews Band. We rode along the wet freeway, listening to music and chatting about fishing until Darcy pulled off at an exit and parked in a massive lot that was mostly empty aside from a cluster of Cadillacs and Buicks. The low-slung building was huge and sleepy looking.

“Is this place open?”

“Yeah. It’s early so it’s probably just the senior bowling league in there right now. It’ll get crowded soon with families and stuff. Better to get ourselves set up now while there are still lanes open. Once all the kids start taking over, we can escape them in the bar and shoot some pool.”

“Sounds like you know the drill here.”

She smirked and patted me on the back heartily as we walked under the deep portico and through the glass front doors. I was slapped with the sound of bowling balls hitting pins, cheers and jeers, and Lynyrd Skynyrd on the overhead speakers.

Darcy was greeted warmly by the person working the front counter, and we got a lane on the far end, away from all the rowdy senior league bowlers. We played two games, and I solidly kicked her ass. I’d bowled many years in the Sacramento lesbian league back in my day, and it all came back.

It irked me just a bit that the aches and pains in my joints interfered with my normally smooth game, but overall, I still did great.

As families started arriving for pizza parties we scooted on up to the bar, which was in an enclosed room near the front of the place. The bar was dark and stank of beer and stale cigarettes. The indoor-outdoor carpet was filthy, and my boots stuck to it in a few places. I had been in plenty of dive bars like that and didn’t mind.

I nudged Darcy. “Whoever decided it was a good idea to put carpeting in this bar was an idiot.”

She let out a hearty laugh and led me to the counter. We ordered hot wings and tacos, plus some stout beers. I picked a few songs on the jukebox, and we got a pool table in the back. While I had plenty of experience playing pool, Darcy beat me over and over until the food and beer were gone.

We didn’t talk much, which was fine by me. It was nice to be out of the house and spending time with my friend. The distraction was good. I dreaded leaving, but my watch said it was time to mosey on home. We put away the pool cues and carried our plates and glasses to the bus tub near the exit.

Pinned by Liz Faraim

Series: A Randy Cox Novel ~ Book 1
Release Date: Tuesday, March 28 2023
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Primary Plot Arc: Speculative Fiction
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Length: Novel / 94,000 Words / 346 Pages
LGBTQ+ Identities: Lesbian, trans
Keywords/Categories: lesbian, trams, transgender, mystery, thriller, butch, blue-collar, new release, announcement, giveaway


“Rowdy” Randy Cox, a woman staring down the barrel of retirement, is a curmudgeonly blue-collar butch lesbian, who has been single for twenty years and is trying to date again.

At the end of a long, exhausting shift, Randy finds her supervisor, Bryant, pinned and near death at the warehouse where they work. Upon the news of his death, she battles to find a balance between the joys of an exciting new relationship and the struggles of processing her supervisor’s unexpected passing.

The manner of her supervisor’s death leaves Randy unsettled and suspicious as she gets sucked into both a criminal investigation led by the police and an administrative investigation conducted by her employer.

As Randy seeks the truth, trust erodes, key friendships are strengthened, and more loss awaits her.

Warnings: violence, cancer death

Tour Excerpt

“Yeah. You wanna ride the canyon?” Bear asked as she ran her fingers through her wild salt-and-pepper hair. Buck and I both nodded. I stowed my snacks and slid on my helmet.

“Okay. Everybody’s all gassed up, right? Last gas station before the canyon is at the casino.”

“We’re good. Filled up before crossing the causeway. Now stand back,” Bear said as she did a Jackie Gleason style windup before hoisting her short leg over the saddle of her bike.

We’d ridden many miles together and I was happy to see that her bike, a massive 1600cc Road Star, which she had lovingly named Champagne, was still on the road.

Buck fired up her Harley with a bone rattling rumble. I reminded myself to ride in front of her. When I rode behind her the engine noise was too much. I paired up the Bluetooth and Spotify again and picked a 1980s hits channel. Van Morrison sang to me about tupelo honey as I pulled out behind Bear, with Buck taking sweep behind us.

As we rolled slowly by PJ’s, the checker was walking out of the front door, gazing down at her cell phone. She looked up just in time to knock me out one more time with her bright eyes and toothy smile, making my heart race. I had to force myself to focus back on riding as we pulled out of the parking lot onto the main road.

We dodged big groups of college kids on bicycles as we passed through intersections until Dairy Glen turned back into farmland. Long, ramrod-straight county roads that ran between tomato and sunflower fields took us to the next county. The coastal mountains rose in the distance, the only thing to break up the scenery of the flat valley floor except for the occasional barn, well pump, or windmill.

Before long the three of us were weaving our way through the green rolling hills of Capay Valley, the two-lane road gently curving around orchards and dormant row crop fields. I saw some farms with livestock, including a few llamas and emu. We passed through the small towns of Madison, Esparto, and Capay.

Around the bend we got to Brooks, where the small farmhouses gave way to the casino, looming large, overlooking vineyards and the foothills. A massive banner strung across the front advertised an upcoming big-name concert. After the casino we passed through Guinda, and the road narrowed further as the terrain changed from wide-open valley floor to canyon, with steep wooded hillsides. The temperature dropped several degrees in the shade of the hills.

I did my best to stay focused on the ride and the road, but the heart-stopping smile I had gotten earlier in Dairy Glen, those blue eyes locked on mine, were a big distraction. I hadn’t given any woman a second look in years, let alone have one get my heart and mind racing.

Bear cruised along, never in a hurry, taking the curves with ease. I checked my side mirror now and then to make sure Buck was still with us, her aftermarket exhaust pipes echoing through the narrow canyon. There were hardly any other vehicles on the canyon road, though we did pass a few packs of cyclists decked out in spandex, riding fancy road bikes. As we rolled by a group of bikes on a steep climb, I watched one guy’s chiseled leg muscles working hard to pedal. The lady in front of him blew a snot rocket over her shoulder and he didn’t even flinch. I was glad to have an engine between my legs and opened the throttle to climb the last bit of the hill.

At the top of the hill, we zoomed by another gaggle of cyclists, resting after their climb. They were all off their bikes, panting and sweating even in the cold. One lady was throwing up in the bushes. Her jersey said “Veni, Vidi, Vomiti.” The slogan rattled around in my brain, drawing me back to my father trying to teach me Latin as a kid. I figured it meant something like: I came, I saw, I barfed. Another lady stood by, leaning on her bike frame, totally unbothered, sucking on one of those goo energy tubes.

My fingers and toes had started to go numb from the cold despite wearing thick socks and boots, and winter riding gloves. While on a short, straight stretch I took my eyes off the road again to turn on the heated grips. I pressed the button and looked up just in time to see Bear dump her bike over farther than I thought possible. Champagne, nearly on its side, cut over into the opposite lane and back.

I scanned the road for the hazard and had just enough time to register a small rockslide, scree and baseball-sized chunks of rock bouncing down the steep hillside and onto the road. I spotted a small gap and rode straight through, pebbles pinging off my helmet and shooting out from under my tires. I checked my mirror and watched as Buck, who’d had the most time to respond, swung out wide and avoided the whole thing with little fuss. That was Buck for ya.

Bear parked in a turnout a few hundred yards up the road. I pulled in behind her to catch my breath. I yanked off my helmet and pulled the bandana down off my mouth, heart doing somersaults.

Bear slapped her chest and let out a roar that reverberated through the hills and down the canyon.

“Awooo! Jesus Christ! Did you see that, Randy?”

“I can’t believe you didn’t dump it. That was some fine goddamn riding.”

“Wasn’t my first time, won’t be my last.” She gasped and shook her hands out.

“Good thing you’ve been riding since before you could spell motorcycle.”

We laughed wildly, which helped me relax and steady myself as the adrenaline rush faded. Buck pulled in behind us, tires crunching on gravel, and killed her engine.

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About the Author

Liz has a full plate between balancing a day job, parenting, writing, and finding some semblance of a social life. In past lives she has been a soldier, a bartender, a shoe salesperson, an assistant museum curator, and even a driving instructor. She focuses her writing on

strong, queer, female leads who don’t back down.

Liz transplanted to California from New York over thirty years ago. She now lives in the East Bay Area of California and enjoys exploring nature with her wife and son.

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