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Tangled Webs

8b2bebda29e13b0960b05284f44d0d72cc0da236

The Basics
Release Date March 17, 2010 (webseries); June 19, 2011 (ebook); March 1, 2015 (re-release)
Tagline "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive..."
Theme Song Apologize, by One Republic
Interlude(s) Fireworks, Part Two
Wordcount 52,330
Casualties Lance Englund (stabbed)
Preceded By The Beginnings
Followed By Innocent


Independence Day, Book Two: Tangled Webs released as a webseries on March 17, 2010 and as an ebook on June 19, 2011. It contains ten chapters and the second part of the Fireworks interlude trilogy.

It was re-released on March 1, 2015, revised and expanded. The original version of the book was pulled from sale on this date.

Synopsis:

Julia managed to play off the encounter with Jeff, her heart pounding. Jeff, meanwhile, paid a visit to Lance to ask him for a job. In turn, Lance venomously threw Jeff's numerous scams in his face and vowed that he wasn't going to allow himself to be fleeced any longer. Lance's callous refusal to a sincere request set Jeff off and an argument ensued. Furious that Lance would kick him while he was down, Jeff fired off that he was a smug son of a bitch, then stalked out of the office - but not before uttering the cryptic promise, "and you can quit worrying about the damn money I owe you. You'll get it...and you'll get a whole lot more too!" Later that evening, Jeff threw himself a pity party in the park and was quickly joined by Julia. Aware of his plight, she passed him some cash and he let her in on his plans to leave town. Julia did her best to talk him out of it, but he seemed rather set on the idea and they bid one another a brief, but painful, goodbye.

Meanwhile, Lucas noticed Terri's strange behavior and called her on it, to which she confessed that she and Lance had been to a marriage counseling session earlier. An irate Lucas reminded her that she claimed to have already made her choice and accused her of still having feelings for her husband. Terri repeatedly apologized, to which Lucas reminded her that people that betrayed him usually got hurt. Later that evening, he went out in all black and was armed with a knife. He refused to tell Terri what he was up to, despite numerous requests. Additionally, he left her with one of his two knives and imparted strict instructions not to open the door to anyone, no matter who they were. While he was gone, Terri spent the night grieving the life she'd left behind before passing out from her heavy drug use. When she awoke, a battered Lucas was tearing through the house in a panic, insisting they leave right now. He refused to tell her why, other than to say something did not go as he planned it. Terri went along with him.

Marnie returned home to find Evan in the midst of another breakdown. After a few frightening moments, when he again mistook Marnie for Francine, Evan seemed to return to reality for a moment, and he dramatically left the house, saying that he needed to take care of something for the both of them. Marnie stayed up half the night worrying about him and fiercely berated him the next morning, when she found him passed out in the driveway. One look at him revealed he'd been in a scrape the night before, but much like Lucas, he refused to tell her what had happened. Furious, Marnie would not take no for an answer and they argued briefly before she vowed to take up this discussion another time, when she could remain calm.

After the encounter with Jeff, Julia cried herself to sleep, worrying over what she'd gotten herself into. She believed that Brett was asleep beside her the whole time, but his pointed reference to how long she'd been gone in the next chapter clued readers in on the fact that he wasn't. The next morning, his unusually sour mood sparked her paranoia, but she was quick to write it off, insisting to herself that there was no way he could have known but she was up to.

Shane was awakened by a call alerting him to another murder, and when he got to the crime scene, Lance's bloody body proved to be the least of his worries. It was in The Chair Emporium's ransacked office that he first crossed paths with Detective Michael Goldman, on loan from Laramie to take over the Mathison case. Shane did not handle the situation well, and the day only got worse from there. He paid a visit to the church, to ask Brett if he knew where his sister was. Almost immediately, he was struck by Brett's subdued nature and disheveled appearance, but Brett was quick to draw attention away from himself. Shane told Brett that Lance had been murdered and hinted at Terri's possible involvement, but asked him to keep this to himself, a promise that Brett reluctantly kept.

Meanwhile, Lucas whisked Terri to Casper in the middle of the night, where he assigned them new identities as Paul and Nancy Robinson. As Terri thought out the ramifications of this disappearing act, she began to have second thoughts and did her best to appeal to Lucas about them. He refused to hear that, convincing her that this type of life but not be difficult, as long as they remained together.

Jeff, still set on his idea to leave town, went to pay a visit to Carol's children, to tell them goodbye. That proved to be much harder than expected, especially when Jeff made the connection that he was acting like his own father. Still, he told himself that leaving was the best thing for everyone involved – until Stan got into it, telling Jeff he was a sorry son of a bitch and having a talk with him. This talk effectively changed Jeff's mind about leaving town.

A few days later, Michael paid a visit to Brett, finding him unusually cheery for someone whose sister was on the run. He asked a number of questions about Terri, including her relationship with Lance and possible involvement with Lucas, while Brett grew more agitated by the moment. He told Michael that while he did not mind helping any way he could, he had no reason to believe his sister was involved with the crime. He also did not appreciate Michael's very personal line of questioning. Michael later told Shane about the session, noting that he expected someone far more bereaved than Brett. Shane explained his long history with Brett and said that he'd always been that way.

Haven Park went insane the idea of Lance being murdered so soon after Carol, and many speculated that Terri was either somehow involved or dead herself. Marnie, who fielded many of the phone calls, was in the midst of a lengthy conversation with her mother when a disheveled Evan walked in, bearing both the mail and flowers he brought from her. He said that he needed to talk to her and apologized for his spectacle of a few nights before. Marnie found the courage to ask him to stop drinking, be more honest with her, see a counselor and start dismantling his shrine to Francine — and Evan agreed with her on all points except the last one. He said that he couldn't imagine doing such a thing, and that he would rather she asked him to cut off a limb. Hurt, Marnie tried her best not to let it show, but still mulled it over for the rest of the day. When she returned home, however, she found that Evan had, rather surprisingly, complied with her request. He told her that he'd been scared to let go of the shrine, out of fear that it would mean he didn't love Francine anymore. He insisted, though, that he was ready to do it now. He asked Marnie to take all of the photos and hide them in the attic, something she immediately complied with.

Jeff paid Julia a visit to tell her he wasn't leaving town after all. He attempted to rekindle the flame, only for her to tell him to leave. Before he could, however, Brett arrived home, much earlier than expected. Jeff made a hasty getaway, and Brett made a number of pointed references to his mere presence. Julia, still unable to believe that her husband knew her misdeeds, did her best to apologize. Brett unleashed a sarcastic tirade, then left in a huff. He ended up, after a few drinks, going to see Shane, where conversation turned from Michael's suspicions to Julia's indiscretions. Shane refuse to believe that Julia would do something like that, but Brett confided it was true and vowed to ruin Julia's life, much the same way she had ruined his.

The next morning, Michael paid another visit to the church, hoping to speak with Brett. Brett wasn't there, though, so Michael turned his attention to the attractive church secretary. Marnie, incredibly uncomfortable both by his line of questioning and the way he was leering at her, was less than helpful and they sparred for a while, before Michael left — but not without leaving her his phone number. Marnie, disgusted, placed a call to the mayor's office, intent on getting Michael off her back…and off of Jeff's.

That morning, Shane dropped by Frazier's office to let him in on what he'd discovered about Lucas — that he did not exist at all. Rather, he was Caleb Hennessy, a fugitive from Cheyenne, missing since Christmas of 1965. Frazier was impressed by the information, asking if Shane knew where Lucas might be hiding now, and what alias he might be using. Shane had to admit he did not, but promised that they were working on it.

In Casper, the strain of being on the run and not having any drugs began to eat away at Terri and she and Lucas argued. Desperate for a fix, she attempted to take matters into our own hands, but he stopped her, saying she didn't know what she would be getting herself into. That night, he finally went to secure some drugs, and they enjoyed a very late night of partying. The next morning, a house keeper knocked on the door, awakening Terri and asking some uncomfortable questions. She offered up a complimentary newspaper and with and its pages was the story of Lance's brutal murder. Horrified, Terri put the pieces together and realized this was what Lucas had been hiding from all this time.

Julia tracked down her husband, who was still asleep at Shane's place, and asked him if he would come home so they could talk things through. Reluctantly, he agreed. By the time he arrived home, Julia had come to the sad conclusion that he knew of her affair, and that was confirmed shortly after he arrived. Their long awaited confrontation was intense, but Brett held back on what he most wanted to say. Julia did her best to apologize, but he didn't want to hear it, only going back to bed to ease his hangover.

Just paid a visit to the church to ask Marnie's advice on a woman he called his Aphrodite. Marnie was a bit surprised that he would be so lovestruck by another woman this soon after Carol's death, but did her best to be supportive…until Jeff confided that his Aphrodite happened to be a very married woman. At once, Marnie was put off, suggesting he speak to Brett on the subject. Jeff insisted he could not do that and when Marnie pressed him as to why, he revealed that he could not talk to Brett about this situation because it was Brett's wife that he was talking about. Instantly, Marnie was reminded of the conversation she had with Carol, on the day of her death, but before she could say anything about it, Terri dramatically burst into the church office, demanding to see her brother.

In the second installment of the Fireworks interlude, Carol attempted to bribe Lucas into leaving town, which he did not take very seriously. Carol then raised the stakes by calling him Caleb and thereby revealing that she knew about his criminal past. Lucas refused to be intimidated, however, and grabbed Carol by the throat, yelling that he was not afraid of her. He also told her she might want to think twice about messing with him, because he might have to do something about it.

Julia placed a call to Jeff and once again confided her guilt over their affair. She attempted to end things, but Jeff wouldn't hear of it, convincing her to meet him in the park at midnight.

Marnie weighed the conversation she had with Carol and attempted to talk to Evan about it. However, Evan became distracted by how deeply a conversation with Carol had pushed Francine over the edge and vowed to never let the same thing happen again. Under the guise of going to get dinner, Evan left the house. Where he went remains unknown.

Formats and Pricing:

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook

iTunes

PDF

The book is $2.99 USD on all American outlets.

Trivia:

The theme song for this book was Apologize, by the band One Republic.

The title of this book is taken from a quote from Caleb Hennessy in chapter five: "You'd be surprised how easy it gets. Lies beget lies and tangled webs get woven and soon...soon, you don't even think about it anymore. It becomes second nature."

During the webseries era, I devised what I called The Lyrical Challenge on the Facebook page. The idea was to take random lyrics from some of the songs I grew up with and insert them into the book. The results are as follows:

  • "This is what it's like to finally come alive." - From the song "Feels Like Real Life", by Out of the Grey. This was used in chapter three of book two, but was subsequently edited out when readying the book for publication as an ebook.
  • "It goes on and on and on." - From the song "Once and For All", by Whiteheart. This was used in chapter four of book two, and was spoken by Brett.
  • "You will never lose my heart." - From the song "Here", by Kim Boyce. This was used in chapter five of book two, and was spoken by Jeff.
  • "What's love good for." - From the song "Next", by Buck. This was used in chapter six of book two, but was subsequently edited out when readying the book for publication as an ebook.
  • "The winds of north and south are colliding, right outside your door." - From the song "Doer of the Word", by Dan Peek. This was used in chapter seven of book two, and was spoken by Michael.
  • "Somewhere between the madness and mundane." - From the song "Diamond Days", by Out of the Grey. This was used in chapter eight of book two, and was spoken by Brett.
  • "Like a baby comes into this world, I've been born again." - From the song "Miracle", by Joanna Carlson. This was used in chapter nine of book two (the hardest lyric to place, by a mile), and was spoken by Frazier, reading a quote from Lucas Miller, who was quoting Caleb Hennessy.

Plans were made for a second lyrical challenge for book three, but never materialized. I may revive the idea for book four, as I had a lot of fun with it.

Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Independence-Day-Book-Two-Tangled-ebook/dp/B0056UA20W -- amazon.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/independence-day-book-two-bex-aaron/1104280683?ean=2940012865458 -- barnesandnoble.com

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/67709 -- smashwords.com

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