His debut novel, Ashes and Asphalt is a story about brotherhood, about reconciliation and honor. Mike and Kyle Byrne's father has died and requested that his estranged sons bring his ashes to the annual Sturgis Bike Rally...together. Naturally, this does not please the duo, but they do honor the old man's request.
They have five days and two thousand miles to cover. If they can elude a pissed-off biker from New Orleans, a trio of whacked out carjackers, and the police, then they might just survive...unless they kill one another first.
The excerpt below is from the beginning of the novel.
"I'll bet you twenty bucks that you won't mess with that old man by the bar."
The large man looked to where his friend pointed. He noticed a few bikers around him and shook his head. "I'm not messing with bikers, bro."
The smaller man took out his wallet and slapped down two twenties. "Toby, would you pull at his jacket for forty?" He pulled out another twenty. "I'll even buy another round. Besides, all you have to do is tug a little at the jacket. If anything, you could play it off as an accident... Pretend you're drunk or something."
"Fine, but make it eighty."
Toby got up and eased over to the bar. No one stood near his target, and the old man slumped over the bar with a beer still in his hand.
Toby approached the bartender and ordered another round. The bartender gave him two bottles and left him to tend to the other patrons. With a swig from his bottle, Toby staggered and gripped the old man's sleeve.
The bar sounds faded as everyone witnessed Toby's move, especially Billy Byrne, who dusted off his sleeve.
The brawny upstart rubbed his swollen jaw, sneering as a pound of pain coursed against the alcohol. "I never expected an old man like you to have such a strong right hook."
Billy Byrne pulled at his opponent's jacket, drawing Toby in close enough to smell the cheap beer on Billy's lips. "I never expected some young punk like you would be dumb enough to grab my jacket."
The bottles slipped from Toby's hands, crashing onto the floor and staining both of their jeans.
Billy locked his eyes with the guy before him. "Lesson number one about biker bar etiquette is you never touch a biker's jacket." Billy's bony fist connected with Toby's not-so-tough stomach and he doubled over. His eyes bugged as he clutched his ribs, gasping.
The old man cracked his knuckles. "Lesson number two is you never knock over a biker's beer, especially on the same jacket you touched."
Toby's friend pushed Billy and got into his face. "Look, asshole. You don't mess around with Toby!"
Billy's friend, Mack, lunged forward, slicing through the air with a cobalt blue custom pool cue. Billy darted right as the stick connected with a tall gutter punk's back. The lanky kid spun around, his mouth open as he struck the tabletop.
Billy looked down at his opponent. "And you don't mess with a Gearhead and his crew."
"Hell, man," said a large black man with the short dreads. "You smashed my stick!"
Billy smiled at Mack, who shook the broken stick in the air. "Don't sweat it, Mack. I'll get you a better one." Billy ducked a blow intended for his face. "Behind you!"
Mack spewed forth unintelligible words. A chair smashed against his neck.
A boy in brown trousers and a collared shirt wiped his hands and dodged another biker's right cross. He didn't take into account a second biker whose fist connected with the boy's stomach, sending him to the floor.
Jason, the bartender, emerged from the back room with a few tequila bottles. A full beer can flew past his head, spraying its contents onto his shirt. He ducked behind the bar and rummaged through his drawers, searching for a few shells for Old Bessie. He gazed at the red cartridge between his thumb and forefinger and readied his shotgun.
Before Billy's fist struck a preppie's face, a blast exploded from the bar, saving his nose from certain fracture. Bits of ceiling sprinkled from above, freezing everyone in mid-fight. The jukebox wound down, leaving the thud of the fainting preppie to fill in the sudden silence. The remaining customers turned as the bartender pumped the shotgun, ejecting the spent shell onto the ground.
"Now that I have your attention, I want to point out that you lot have done some heavy damage to my place."
Broken glass littered the beer-soaked floor, sparkling beneath the few fluorescent lights that were still working. The neon beer sign above the door flickered a few more times before giving up with a final defiant spark.
"Don't be shy," Jason said as he waved his piece. "We accept most major credit cards."
Silence filled the room.