Friendly Fire by Cari Z.

It’s a plot twist, wrapped in snark!

I’ve never really been a mystery reader.

Okay, that’s a bit of a lie. I read some mysteries, big, well-known ones like Sherlock Holmes or the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. These are larger than life mysteries. Gutsy, enigmatic, awe-inspiring mysteries. Mysteries that actually take you by surprise, which given the genre’s astute readership can be hard to do. When I got down to business with Friendly Fire, I pretty quickly realized that while I needed an element of mystery to make it work, I’m no Arthur Conan Doyle.

Therein comes the development of “the twist.” Plot twists are, imho, the best thing ever, because they’re all about adding intrigue and providing leeway at the same time. A plot twist still has the setup of a mystery and incorporates a lot of the emotional punch, but for me at least, I can be a little less meticulous in ensuring all the right breadcrumbs are dropped in the right places. A plot twist takes advantage of a larger plot arc, something built into the bones of the book, and emerges with a surprise. If you time the surprise right, the readers are left pleasantly engaged with your story. Time it wrong, and people don’t hesitate to tell you you’re jumping the shark. As someone guilty of jumping the shark a time or two in the past, I’m pretty invested in getting this aspect of things right these days.

Friendly Fire is less of a mystery and more of a twisty kind of book, with a lot of focus on character interaction and dialogue (and snark, so much snark). I think, under the right circumstances, a few well-placed twists can be just as emotionally satisfying to the reader as a convoluted mystery can. I hope that the curveballs I throw at my characters fit the bill.



Elliot McKenzie is the king of reinvention. Five years after losing his job and his lover and almost going to prison, his self-help program, Charmed Life, is more successful than he’d ever dreamed. He thinks he’s put his sordid past firmly behind him, until he starts receiving cryptic threats . . . and realizes it might not be as over as he’d hoped.

Security expert Lennox West has been lost since a deadly skirmish in Afghanistan led to his forced retirement from the Army. His PTSD makes helping his ex raise their daughter a challenge. When his ex’s sister asks him to set her boss up with a security system, Lennox isn’t expecting anyone like Elliot McKenzie—a man who captures his attention and makes him feel relaxed for the first time since leaving the service.

But Elliott is dangerously stubborn. Even as the threats against him escalate, he refuses to involve the police, and Lennox fears that stubbornness could kill him. A battle of wills ensues that brings them closer to each other than either man expected. But if the threats turn real, they might not live long enough to get their future together.



Friendly Fire is available from Riptide Publishing:


Chapter One

Excerpt from Shockwave reporter Clarissa Hanes’s article on Elliot McKenzie, founder of Charmed Life:





Elliot McKenzie could, and sometimes does, lay claim to all of these labels, the contrasting pieces of his complicated public persona. He’s one of the up-and-comers in the psychospeak community, a self-made self-help guru of the modern kind. His company, Charmed Life, has been called “Facebook for felons,” and it’s managed to turn a person’s criminal history into an exclusive entrance pass to the hottest social media site in years. Applicants are admitted on a case-by-case basis, and while you won’t necessarily be denied if you don’t have a record, it does make it a lot harder to get access.

McKenzie runs his self-help business out of a communal office space in a converted firehouse in downtown Denver. The unalloyed brick interior gives the place a rustic feel overall, but there’s nothing rustic about McKenzie’s eclectic office. There are hints of the Victorian in the antique wooden desk that sits apart from the center of the room, kowtows to the East in the Hokusai prints on the walls, and elements of a frat house playboy in the beanbag chairs that sit next to demure black leather couches on the blue-tiled floor.

The air smells like expensive coffee and cologne, and along the far wall, on top of a cocktail table, is his fabled shrine to a silver-screen star from Hollywood’s golden age, Wilhelmina VanAllen. I go to get a closer look, but before I can take two steps, he’s here.

* * * * * * *

“Where the hell have you been?” Serena hissed at Elliot the moment he walked in the door, jumping to her feet and coming around her desk to yell at him with her hips. He didn’t know how she did it, but his personal assistant’s hips could speak more clearly than most people’s mouths. Right now, with that slight cock to the left and her fingers tapping along the seams of her skirt, they were calling him a fuckup. Not that he didn’t agree with them at the moment. He ran a hand over his navy silk tie, checking its line as he set his briefcase down on Serena’s desk.

“My lunch meeting ran late! I texted you from the car.”

“I got that, and don’t text and drive. You don’t need to be in an accident,” she scolded him. “But you should have let me know sooner, so I could have had a plan in place for when Stuart showed up!”

Elliot groaned, internally at first and then externally when that just didn’t cut it. “Stuart Reynolds?”

She rolled her eyes. “How many other Stuarts do you know? Yes, Mr. Reynolds. He brought you a cupcake.” Sure enough, there was a red velvet cupcake in a silver foil wrapper, topped with a perfect swirl of cream cheese frosting, sitting on the edge of Serena’s desk. Elliot frowned.

“I told him to stop doing that.” Stuart Reynolds had a greater capacity to cling than dog hair on a wool suit. “How did you get rid of him?”

“I told him you were out for the rest of the day and that I’d let you know he stopped by. He and Ms. Hanes missed each other by a few seconds, thank God. I got her into your office the moment I saw him coming.”

Elliot’s greatest and most inconvenient admirer and a hard-nosed, unsympathetic reporter in the same room together? It would have ended in bloodshed. “You are the light of my life,” he told Serena with complete seriousness as he buttoned his suit jacket. “Now tell me truly: am I hopelessly rumpled?”

“Hopelessly,” she said with a little smirk, “but it’s Zegna, so you get a pass.” She adjusted the angle of his fedora, then nodded. “Go, impress, be charming like you always are.”

“I’ll do my best.” He shut his eyes for a moment to get his mind back to where it needed to be, then picked up his briefcase and walked into his office. “Ms. Hanes!” He smiled brightly as she turned to him, ready to set her at ease.

It wasn’t necessary. Clarissa Hanes was a dark-haired viper in crimson silk, snapping her fangs before Elliot could so much as apologize for being late. Her whiskey-colored eyes narrowed as she looked him over. “Mr. McKenzie. You move very fast for a man who’s been shot twice.”

Ah, so it was going to be one of those interviews. Elliot bought himself some time by unlocking his desk drawer to put his briefcase away. Interviews generally tended to come in three flavors, starting with vanilla, which were safe and dull and easy on everyone. Vanilla interviews were decent press but boring to do, and he preferred to avoid them unless he owed someone a favor.

Chocolate interviews were fun, full of oddball, zany questions that ran the gamut from fluffy (mostly about his dog) to semiserious (the transition from lawyer to self-help magnate) to truly bizarre (his favorite Disney princess, what he liked best in a cheese). Those ones could get him trending if he answered just right. BuzzFeed’s piece on him three months ago had done more for his business than a dozen vanilla interviews could.

Then there were the chili interviews. They were the ones that made Elliot sweat, the ones that cheerfully raked him over the coals of his history, holding his feet to the flames of every poor decision he’d ever made and asking him, yet again, to justify himself. As far as he was concerned, doing these interviews was a form of penance. If there was a god, Elliot hoped he took note.

“I made a full recovery,” Elliot said as he finally locked his desk up again, keeping his smile on but toning it back a bit. Charm wasn’t going to help him here. “And neither of the bullets hit me in the legs. Would you care for something to drink? Serena can bring water, tea, coffee . . .”

Ms. Hanes hmmed thoughtfully. “A martini, perhaps?”

He shook his head. “No drinking alcohol of any kind at work. It’s a firm policy of mine.”

“Because of your issues with addiction, Mr. McKenzie?”

Shots fired, shots fired. He changed tack. “Please have a seat.” He pointed to the leather lounge chair. “And do call me Elliot, Ms. Hanes.”

“Clarissa is fine.” She sat down and crossed her legs with a raised eyebrow. “You’re not going to offer me a beanbag chair?”

“I wouldn’t want to insult your dress. It would clash so terribly with the paisley pattern.” Elliot sat across from her. “Now. What would you like to talk about first, my being shot or my addictions?”

Clarissa tilted her head slightly, examining him. He bore the scrutiny without blushing. His life was an open book: all his triumphs, all his many, many mistakes out there for any interested party to know. Relentless personal honesty was his platform; it was what he’d built his new reputation on. He wasn’t going to be intimidated by the past.

“Actually, I was wondering about the Gauloises.” She nodded toward the little table in the back, one eyebrow arched as she took in the crumpled packet of cigarettes.

Elliot’s smile fell away for a moment. “Those aren’t my bad habit. I keep them around to remember another time.”

“And another person?”


“Hmm.” Clarissa took a recorder out of her purse, turned it on, and set it on the table between them. “Tell me about meeting Wilhelmina VanAllen in rehab.”

Elliot had a spiel he liked to give whenever he talked about Willie, but Clarissa had already brought up the addictions angle. She wanted to play? They’d play. “She was a chain-smoker when I met her. Smoking was no match for the morphine addiction but by that point she was convinced she was dying anyway, so why should she give up one of her last pleasures in life? She used to smoke Picayunes, the brand that Audrey Hepburn’s character smoked in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Once she couldn’t get those anymore, she switched to Gauloises, which use the same sort of tobacco.”

“You call her your inspiration for Charmed Life,” Clarissa noted. “How is a former movie star turned chain-smoking morphine addict who, if I remember correctly, committed suicide not long after you met her, a logical choice as a muse for second chances?”

Ooh, the redirection game. Yes, let’s. “Willie died at the age of eighty-eight, in the time and place of her choosing. Given some of the demons she fought against her whole life, that should be considered a triumph, not a tragedy.” He could handle people coming at him for his mistakes―he did every day―but Willie’s circumstances had been different. “She was born during an era when struggling with depression could get you institutionalized. It did get her institutionalized, several times, when she was a young woman. Her family actually tried to have her lobotomized at one point. The fastest way out of that bad situation was marriage. Her first of five, in fact.”

“A serial bride,” Clarissa noted. “Even after she found success in films with the help of her second husband, who was a director, if I remember correctly.”

“Willie was someone who wasn’t afraid to strive for what she really wanted out of life,” he said. “Someone who wasn’t afraid to fight for a second chance. And her success was entirely down to her own skills as an actress, not nepotism from her husband,” he added. “They were divorced before she ever got a starring role in a film.”

Clarissa glanced back at the table again, and Elliot followed her gaze. It had the cigarettes, a copy of her favorite poem, and a picture of Willie lying back against a couch wearing enormous white sunglasses on her gaunt face with her dog in her lap. “And did she achieve the life she wanted in the end?”

He shrugged. “I couldn’t say. I can’t speak for anyone but myself.”

“And what would you say about yourself?”

Ah, back into familiar territory. “That’s what starting up this company has been all about: living a better life than I had before, and helping other people to do the same. It’s about being more genuine in everything you do, and letting your present actions speak louder than your past mistakes.”

“Hmm.” Clarissa wrote something down on her phone. “Do you think you’re a more honest person now?”

“I think that honesty, especially with yourself, is a vital part of living a more genuine life. Honesty toward everyone else can be a little harder to follow through on, but if you want to make connections that will help you move forward in life, then you need to come to terms with being open about your life. At least professionally,” he amended, because while his skeletons were all very much out of the closet, not all of his clients’ were. And considering who some of his clients happened to be, ruthless honesty wouldn’t always be in their best interests.

Clarissa smiled slightly. “What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told about yourself, Elliot?”

He smiled right back at her. “That I thought I could ever truly be anything other than an opportunist.”

She arched her eyebrows. “You admit that you’re exploiting people, then?”

“No more than they’re exploiting me,” he said. “Charmed Life is a company made to facilitate networking between like-minded individuals with similar, challenging histories. We don’t only specialize in romance, work, or everyday life, though―we specialize in betterment, in helping our members climb up from the very bottom rung of the ladder. Charmed Life is about how to commit yourself to the path you’ve chosen, how to persevere where others would get knocked back. How to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and emerge stronger and more focused than ever. My company is about providing second chances, and our members share their success with the next generation of seekers.”

“It sounds lofty and high-minded when you put it like that,” Clarissa said. “But you rather pointedly market to celebrities, don’t you? I don’t see Charmed Life reaching out to halfway houses or prisons and working with the people there.”

“Believe it or not, I have great compassion for that segment of the population. I almost ended up there myself, after all,” he said candidly. “But you can’t force someone to make a positive change in their life; they have to decide that for themselves. I’d like to offer classes and maybe mentorship in prisons, particularly for juvenile offenders, but currently I’m focusing on growing other parts of the business.”

“The lucrative parts, you mean.”

“The self-directed parts.” Clarissa could dig at his business model all she wanted; Elliot could doublespeak with the best of them. Not that that was the purpose of his work, but it was definitely the way to survive a chili interview without getting bad publicity.

“I see.” With a tiny toss of her hair, Clarissa changed the subject once again. “Let’s talk about your sister.”

Oh boy. He hardened his smile and straightened his spine. “What would you like to know?”

* * * * * * *

Seeing the red soles of Clarissa’s Louboutin pumps vanishing two hours later gave Elliot a far greater sense of relief than her exodus really merited, but damn, that had been rough. He was an old hand at interviews at this point, but none of his experience had prepared him for anything quite as thorough, or as diverse, as Clarissa Hanes had managed. It would either be the greatest article he could ever ask for, or public perception of his company would tank the day after it was published next month.

It was after hours, but Serena was still there, parsing through the usual pile of snail mail that seemed to accumulate more quickly the closer they got to the Meetup. Elliot had embraced a paperless format for communicating with his clients, but some of them wouldn’t be dragged into the future even if he tied their feet to the back of the Mars rover. He sat down on the edge of Serena’s desk and sighed heavily. “Why did I ever let you convince me to do an interview with Shockwave?”

“I didn’t convince you of anything―it was your idea,” Serena said, wielding her letter opener like she was cutting throats. “I said to avoid Clarissa Hanes at all costs: look what she’d written about Zuckerberg, remember what she had to say about the guy who wants to make those mobile apartments. But you told me—”

“Hey, in her defense, mobile apartments really are a terrible idea,” he said. “Why bother moving your tiny box of a home from New York to LA when you could put a down payment on a new tiny little box for less than the price of shipping? It doesn’t make sense.”

“See? You have being very opinionated in common, so the results might be better than you think. I can’t believe that she convinced you to give her an invite to the Meetup. The way she snatched it out of your hands, I thought you might lose a few fingers.”

“She said she’d persuade her editor to make it a feature.”

“Maybe she will,” Serena allowed. “But you’re rolling the dice on whether it would be complimentary or not. You haven’t even read what she’s going to be writing about you, but you’re willing to subject the company to that kind of exposure?”

Honestly, he had started having second thoughts about inviting Clarissa to the Meetup almost as soon as he’d invited her, but if there was one thing she was good for, it was press. She’d been an award-winning investigative journalist for twenty years before abruptly pivoting to specialize in writing about startups and tech companies a year ago, and she had a wide audience for her work.

He shrugged. “Too late to back out now. Is there anything interesting in the mail?”

“Let’s find out.” Serena sliced open a large black envelope and poured the contents onto her desk. “Ah, it’s the vendor confirmations from the Studio Loft, excellent.”

Charmed Life was about to have its first annual Executive Meetup for Elliot’s top tier of clientele. He’d chosen a venue inside the Denver Performing Arts Complex, since there was nothing like combining dinner with a show, and the theater was less pretentious than shoving all his guests into a gallery and expecting them to make intelligent conversation about modern art. He repressed a shudder just thinking about the latter.

“Check and make sure their numbers are right,” he said. “If I’m paying a premium for these services, then I want to make sure we don’t leave people underfed and parched.”

“With the amount of alcohol you’re providing, no one is going to be left parched, but I’ll check,” Serena assured him as she moved on to the unmarked package on her desk. She cut through the plain brown butcher paper and pulled it back to reveal an equally nondescript cardboard box.

“If this is a covert attempt by Stuart to sneak you more baked goods, I’m going to laugh,” she warned as she took the top off the box.

Inside weren’t cupcakes. It was a pair of shoes cradled in tissue paper instead. Serena frowned as she lifted one out, examining the tag. “Did you order these? Why did you have them sent here?”

Elliot stared at the gray and black Nikes and a familiar, slithering unease wrapped around his lungs and started to squeeze. Another one, and this time at the office. Fuck. He’d been okay as long as it had just been at home, when he’d been the only one to know . . . having something like this show up at his office felt like a far worse violation.

“Elliot?” Serena’s fingers on his hand snapped him out of his unpleasant reverie. “What’s wrong?”

He must be off his game. That was the only reason he answered honestly: “I don’t know who those are from.” But he knew why they were here. “I went jogging in City Park yesterday evening, and my right shoe’s sole came off. I had to walk over a mile back to my car, half barefoot.” He smiled, but his heart wasn’t in it. “I was a bit of a spectacle, I suppose. The plan was to buy another pair after work today, but it seems like someone beat me to it.”

Serena looked unimpressed with his candor. Worse, she looked concerned. “Someone? Someone who’s willing to spend around two hundred dollars on a pair of sneakers?” She pulled the other shoe out and compared their tags, and her concern darkened to actual worry. “Someone who knows your right foot is a size smaller than your left? How the hell did this mysterious someone figure that out?”

“I threw the shoes into a garbage can in the parking lot,” Elliot said easily, forcing himself to stay relaxed. “They must have retrieved them.”

Serena shook her head incredulously. “Are you honestly telling me that someone went searching through the innumerable bags of dog shit filling those cans to fish out your busted sneakers, just so they could anonymously send you a new pair today? Is that what you’re telling me?”

He shrugged. “What can I say? I seem to have attracted a secret admirer.”

“No, no, no.” And now Serena was standing and oh, there went her hips, shimmying into disapproving overdrive. “A secret admirer is someone who leaves you cute notes on Valentine’s Day or the occasional sinful, delicious cupcake.”

“Which I notice is gone, by the way.”

Serena humphed. “Not the point. And please, Stuart couldn’t be more blatant if he stuck heart-shaped Post-it notes to his eyes―he’s not keeping anything a secret. And besides, you hate red velvet, so I feel no guilt. No trying to distract me.” She came around her desk and stood in front of him, shoes in hand. “Expensive gifts in unmarked packages indicating that someone is watching you without your knowledge? That’s creepy. Not romantic, not admiring, nothing other than unsettlingly creepy.”

“I never said it wasn’t also creepy,” he said defensively.

“I think there might be a lot you didn’t say.” She glared at him over the tops of the shoes. Elliot hadn’t quailed this hard since the last time he’d seen his sister. “Is this the first present you’ve received?”

“I get a lot of fan mail.”

“And you have it sent here because you’re not stupid enough to give out your home address. Stop avoiding the point, Elliot. Just talk to me. Please.”

Serena’s please was a mortal blow, and she knew it. If there was one person in his life he had to come clean to—personally as well as professionally—Serena was it. “There have been a few other things.”

“What kind of things?”

“Only pictures, before this.”

“Pictures.” Her voice was completely flat. “Pictures of you?”

He nodded. “And my house. My car. My dog.”

“And how were you given these pictures?”

“My mailbox, mostly,” he said. Serena shifted, her posture shouting obscenities at him as she waited. Elliot sighed. “And a few stuffed through the letter slot in my front door.”

Serena’s dark eyes went wide. “Elliot, this is stalking! You need to take it to the cops.”

He was shaking his head before she’d finished her sentence. “Absolutely not. A few pictures and a pair of shoes don’t constitute a threat to my safety.”

“You have no idea what kind of person this is. And they know where you live; they followed you on your evening run—”

“It’s not like I live in a gated community,” Elliot reminded her. “Anyone can drive down the street there, even if we are a ways outside of town.” Golden was growing in size fast, but Elliot’s little subdivision still consisted of older houses with nice, private plots. “And City Park is open to the public. Whoever this is, they haven’t trespassed.”

“But the police—”

“I can’t.” Elliot shook his head. “You know I can’t. Not right now.” Not with the election for district attorney coming up. He wasn’t going to sabotage things for his sister again.

Serena tossed the shoes onto her desk with a weary sigh. “You don’t think she’d rather have you alive and well than win a damn election?”

“I don’t like to postulate about what Vanessa wants for me,” he said. “But I do know I’m not going to rock the boat unless absolutely necessary. I’m fine. I doubt I’m in any danger.”

Serena opened her mouth, but Elliot was done arguing. “So! I’ll take those―” he swiped the shoes from where she’d left them “―and go home.”

“Tell me you’re not going to wear them jogging.”

“They’re nice shoes,” Elliot pointed out. “And just my size. Of course I’m going to wear them.”

Serena scowled. “At least check the soles for razor blades, all right?” Idiot, her tone added, but Elliot was an expert at ignoring negative subtext.

“Should I check for bombs too?” he asked, then winced as Serena smacked his arm with her surprisingly hard hand. “I mean, yes, I’ll check them. Promise.”

“I guess that’s the best I’m going to get.”

“It’s not your job to worry about me,” he reminded her as he gathered the shoes under his arm and grabbed his briefcase with the other.

“No, it’s my hobby.” She crossed her arms. He could tell she was desperate to reach out, to grab hold and gather him in like she did with everyone in her life, it seemed. Serena excelled at making connections, like Elliot, but where his were all professional these days, most of hers were deeply personal, even if they didn’t start off that way. She could coax a turtle out of its shell or a reluctant investor into exchanging life stories in under an hour, and Elliot appreciated that about her.

He appreciated her efforts to appropriate him into her family far less. Families were messy, and he’d already done enough damage to the one he’d been born into. He didn’t need to tempt fate by getting entangled in someone else’s.

“I’m fine. I’m going straight home,” he assured her.

“Text me when you get there.”

“Serena . . .”


Fucking pleases. “Fine. But just this once.”

She looked relieved, which made giving up a little of his evening autonomy worth it. “Thank you.”

“You only thank me when you get your way,” he complained, and mentally punched the air in victory when he saw her smile. “Don’t stay here working, all right? I’m tired of paying your overtime.”

“You need to hire me an assistant,” she said immediately. “Or at least an intern. Someone I can shove the paperwork onto while I manage your elaborate schmoozing schedule. And don’t worry about your precious budget; there’ll be no more overtime tonight. My sister’s having a barbecue and I’m bringing the chips.”

“The chips?”

Serena sighed. “She said to bring a side and I don’t cook, you know that. This is why I have all my parties catered.”

“Don’t worry,” he assured her with a wink. “I don’t judge.”

Elliot walked out of the office, calling a goodnight to the janitor who was already at work in the other half of the building. He headed down the street to the parking garage where his car, a sleek, modern Porsche Panamera, sat waiting for him.

Elliot stood at the driver’s side door with his keys in his hand, wondering for a moment whether or not he really should check the car, at least, for bombs. After a second he shook his head at himself. He wouldn’t even know what to search for, and they probably wouldn’t try to kill him. Not like this.

“You’re fine,” he said quietly as he opened the door and got inside. “It’s fine.” He set his things in the passenger seat, resolutely not looking at the shoes that he was going to throw in the next dumpster he saw, then buckled up, and slowly put his key into the ignition and turned it.

The car started with a purr, and absolutely no explosions beyond its regular internal combustion. Elliot let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding and pressed his forehead against the smooth leather of the steering wheel for a moment. His car acting normally felt like a stupid thing to be grateful for, but the rock lodged in his throat suddenly melted away.

Before he could second-guess himself, he pulled out his phone and brought up Vanessa’s info. He dug his fingers into his palm as he resisted the urge to outright call her, just to hear her voice message―she wouldn’t reply. She never did, but she’d never told him not to text her either, so he’d made it a ritual for whenever he was feeling overwhelmed. Elliot tapped out a message, Thinking of you, and hit Send fast.

Maybe his note would make her smile. Maybe it would inspire her to reach out to him once the election was over―it was so close now. And if she won, if he didn’t ruin things for her again, if everything went perfectly, then maybe he could have the most important part of his old life again: his family.

Maybe. Elliot turned his phone off, set it aside, and backed out of his parking space. Until Vanessa made her move, he’d be fine. He was fine. He refused to let himself be any other way.



Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She’s still climbing that ladder, but can’t stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.

Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.

Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on, under the name Carizabeth.

Connect with Cari:



To celebrate the release of Friendly Fire, one lucky winner will receive a copy of Friendly Fire signed by Cari Z! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 22, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

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5 Thoughts to “Friendly Fire by Cari Z.”

  1. Trix

    Cool to learn more about your process!


  2. Ami

    I enjoyed the book! Thanks for the chance of winning the print version


  3. Ree Dee

    Thank you so much for the post! I love twisty plots! They keep me really engaged trying to figure things out.
    ree.dee.2014 (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. Serena S.

    Thanks for the excerpt! It sounds good. =)

  5. Lisa

    I love snark! It sounds amazing & I’m looking forward to reading it!

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