Who is Jake Longly?
Jake Longly is the protagonist of my comedic thriller series (DEEP SIX, A-LIST, SUNSHINE STATE, RIGGED, THE OC). He’s an ex-pro baseball pitcher with an overpowering fastball until a rotator cuff injury ended his career. He then purchased Captain Rocky’s, a bar/restaurant on the sand in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
His major life goals now are running his bar and chasing bikinis. Worthy goals for Jake. His father Ray feels otherwise. Ray has some murky background in the US military world of black ops and now runs a P.I. firm in Gulf Shores. He can’t understand why Jake won’t work for him and is constantly trying to drag Jake into his world.
From SUNSHINE STATE:
Here’s the deal. Ray thinks I’m a wimp. Has for years. The best I can remember it began around the time I left major league baseball. For several years, I pitched for the Texas Rangers. Could really bring the heat. A hundred miles an hour. Zip, pop. Loved that sound. Loved that the catcher would often shake his hand out after snagging one of my fastballs. That was me. Jake Longly, baseball stud. Everybody said so. Even the ESPN folks.
Not so Ray. He never actually used the word wimp. Pussy. That’s the one he preferred. Four weeks ago being his most recent assessment.
Jake has an ex-wife. who he affectionately calls Tammy The Insane. We met her at the beginning of DEEP SIX, Jake #1. Jake has been roped into doing a stake-out of an adulterous woman who happens to live a few doors down from Tammy and her now husband attorney Walter Horton. Tammy takes issue with Jake being near her home.
From DEEP SIX:
I recognized the grating voice even before I looked up into the face of my ex. Tammy’s the name; crazy’s the game. I’d lost four good years listening to it. Mostly whining and complaining, sometimes, like now, in a full-on rage. She had a knack for anger. Seemed to need it to get through the day.
She gripped the five iron with both hands, knuckles paled, cocked up above her shoulder, ready to smash something else. If history offered any lesson it was that she might graduate from the side window to the windshield and so on until she got to me. Tammy didn’t have brakes. Or a reverse gear.
Cute according to everyone, except maybe me, she was a beach-blond with bright blue eyes, a magic smile, and a perfect nose. Some plastic surgeons were gifted. Expensive, but gifted. I knew. I’d paid for the nose.
But cute Tammy had a short fuse. She could go from zero to C4 in a nanosecond.
Jake has a girlfriend. Nicole Jamison. Insanely beautiful, but no bubble-headed bleach blonde. Not even close. Smart, clever, tough, and she doesn’t suffer fools well. They met the same night Tammy The Insane shattered Jake’s Mustang window.
From DEEP SIX:
I raised one hand to shield my eyes from the headlamp glare. The car, a shiny new red SL Mercedes, rolled to a stop. The deeply-tinted window slid down, revealing a young woman. Her straight blond hair hung like silk curtains to her shoulders and framed a face that could grace the cover of Vogue. Definitely not what I expected.
“That was interesting,” she said.
“You saw that, huh?”
She laughed. Soft, almost musical. “Hard to miss a woman beating the hell out of a classic Mustang with a golf club.”
I looked back up the street, from where she had come. “You live around here I take it?”
She brushed a wayward strand of her from her face. “Just back around the bend.”
“You on a beer run or something?”
Another soft laugh. “Heading out to see a friend.”
“A little late, isn’t it?”
“He’s a bartender. Doesn’t close up until one. But he’s not nearly as interesting as this.”
“Bet he’d be happy to hear that.”
She shrugged. “He’d get over it.”
I reeled in my first response—that a woman as beautiful as her probably didn’t have to worry too much about pissing him off. No one would put her on the road for being late. Instead, I smiled.
“So what was that about?” she asked.
“My ex. She’s insane.”
Jake has a best friend—-Tommy “Pancake” Jeffers. Big doesn’t cover it. He’s six-five and 275, with unruly red hair and crazy computer skills. He also knows how to handle any confrontation.
“Good day gentlemen,” he said, smiling. A true salesman. Probably would do well with aluminum siding. Or as a midway barker.
We introduced ourselves, Ray saying we were P.I.s and needed to ask a few questions to which Rag Man said, ““I don’t got to talk to you.” His head swiveled up and down the street. Like he didn’t want to be seen talking to us.
“No, you don’t,” I said. “But we’d appreciate it.”
“Go appreciate something else,” he said.
“It’s about your business,” Ray said.
“I ain’t got no business.” Another glance up the street. “I suggest you move along. Get out of my face. Might not be healthy for you white boys to hang around here. Know what I’m saying?”
I love watching Pancake work. It’s a true work of art. Mostly he’s a gentle giant, wouldn’t hurt anyone. Even go out of his way to avoid trouble. Then there were times he did stuff that made you stare in disbelief. Even if you’d seen it before.
This time, he simply grabbed Rag Man’s arm and tossed him into the alley. Just like that. Like a kid having a tantrum and tossing a doll across the room. Rag Man rolled and bounced a couple of times but to his credit quickly scrambled to his feet. Pancake was on him. He poked his chest with a finger. “No, I don’t know what you’re saying.”
“Hey dude, you can’t do that.”
“I’m just getting started.” Pancake palmed his chest, pressing him against the wall.
And now we come to the 5th in the series: THE OC.
Jake and Nicole are headed to Orange County, CA for a little R&R. Of course, it doesn’t work out that way.
From THE OC:
“She likes you.”
“Everybody likes me.”
“Yeah, but she likes you in that I-want-to-sit-on-your-lap way.”
“So do you.”
“Hmmm. Sounds like a plan.”
“These seats aren’t that big.”
Okay, a little perspective here. I’m Jake Longly, ex-pro baseball player, restaurant/bar owner, and lover of women. Well, the one sitting next to me anyway. That would be Nicole Jamison. Funny, smart, and insanely beautiful. Sometimes annoying. Actually, she excels at that.
We were seated in first class, Row 5, Seats A and B, on an American Airlines flight into Orange County, California’s John Wayne Airport. The OC, baby.
We had started out early this morning in Gulf Shores, Alabama, where my restaurant Captain Rocky’s sits on the sand, and where we both live. This trip was in part a vacation from—I’m not sure from what. I work very little. My manager Carla Martinez runs the joint so I have essentially zero to do. Except hang out with Nicole and Pancake. Nicole is my girlfriend, or whatever. We haven’t yet decided what we are. Let’s say, she likes me. See? I told you everybody likes me. Tommy “Pancake” Jeffers is my best friend. All the way back to when we terrorized the neighborhood as kids. He likes hanging out at Captain Rocky’s too. Mainly because the food and drink are free. My god, that boy can eat. Gnaws on my profits. If there are any. I’m never very sure since Carla rarely tells me. I don’t worry too much about it since the place is always packed. Also, I share the profits with her, so I figured that if we were bleeding out she’d let me know.
Nicole, besides being smart and hot, and at times snarky, also writes screenplays. That’s the other reason for our trip to the left coast. Her new film was teed up to begin shooting in three weeks. Her other two screenplays had been minimalist productions, indies that made it to a couple of small film festivals. This one was on an entirely different level. It would be shepherded by her uncle Charles Balfour, the A-list producer and CEO of Regency Global Productions, RPG for short. He’s the driving force behind the multi-billion dollar Space Quest series. Yeah, billion with a B.
Me and Uncle Charles go way back. I’ve never actually met him but I’ve spent many a night in the home he owns near Gulf Shores. That’s where Nicole lives. Or hangs out anyway.
Nicole also lives in The OC, in a Newport Beach condo, but she’s rarely there. For the past year or so, that’s how long we’ve been together, she’s mostly stayed in Uncle Charles’s mega-mansion very near my Gulf Shores home.
“These seats aren’t that small,” Nicole said.
“There’s no leg room.”
“That’s because you have long legs.”
She laughed. “If memory serves, you do pretty well in tight spaces.”
I looked at her “I’ll let that one slide by.”
The flight attendant returned, smiling, saying, “Can I get you anything?” Her gaze locked on me for a beat too long. Her name tag said she was Maryanne.
“I think we’re good.” I smiled back.
She moved on down the row.
Nicole elbowed my ribs. “See? What’d I tell you?”
“Maybe she’s using me to get to you?”
“Could be. Maybe I should be glad you have the aisle seat,” Nicole said.
“Pancake’s better at running interference. He’s built for it.”
“In this situation, I think you’ll do fine.”
I invite you to jump into Jake’s world. Lot’s of crime, craziness, and fun.
Original Post on Mysteries & My Musings: https://mysterysuspence.blogspot.com/2021/11/author-guest-post-dp-lyle.html
All 5 Jake Longly comedic thrillers are Kindle Monthly Deals for November. Only $1.99 each.