Unemployed with no prospects, Dorian Wells is a young man trying desperately to stay afloat and be a good father to his toddler son. While already struggling to pay the bills and earn proper visitation with his child, Dorian’s tumultuous life is thrown into further upheaval when his mother is suddenly hospitalized.
On the verge of losing everything, it seems Dorian finally has a stroke of luck when he inadvertently learns of a potential opportunity with Jakkaru, a decadent, cut-throat organization that pays handsomely by the body count. Dorian’s lifelong friend, Rafe Ibadiah, is his ticket into Jakkaru and soon Dorian is training to be a professional hitman. But learning how to properly kill for a living is not as easy as it seems, and he quickly discovers the short arms of theory are a far reach from reality as the harrowing journey makes him question everything he believes.
The final test before full acceptance into Jakkaru is a contract Dorian must complete alone. Delivered to him via a small red envelope, the name inside propels the stakes of this dangerous game higher than ever before. Dorian will sacrifice anything for his son, but it’s not until he is ordered to do the unthinkable that he grasps the horrific depth of his commitment.
Award-winning author, K. Baskett, expertly weaves a chilling tale of suspense in Envelope: Red that culminates in a shocking look at the prickly nuances of loyalty. Gritty and authentic, Dorian’s story is ultimately a poignant examination of the human condition – what lies within the heart of us all.
The butler goes to the corner of the room where a small stand holds a glass carafe of water and crystal goblets. He pours some and hands the glass to me, then exits the room, clicking the door quietly closed behind him.
I take a shaky sip, and my parched lips scream with relief. The cool water helps to alleviate my perspiration as well, which has already thoroughly embarrassed me.
“Welcome, Dorian,” says the man seated behind the desk. He is large and stocky, with a bald head and bad skin. He observes me through black, beady eyes that don’t seem to blink. “I am Mr Black, and this is my colleague, Mr Red.” He indicates the man flanking his ornate leather chair. Mr Red nods at me slightly. He is reedy with delicate wireframe glasses perched on his beaky nose.
“H-hello,” I stutter, biting down nervous laughter at the absurdity of their names. My hands tremble so badly I am very nearly spilling my glass of water. I set it down gingerly on the small table beside my chair.
“We understand you are here because you’re interested in becoming a member of our prestigious organization,” Mr Black begins.
“I see,” Mr Black says thoughtfully. “Well, as I’m sure you might imagine, we have to know a few things about anyone seeking to join our ranks. Therefore, we have taken the liberty to peek into your background.”
My saliva dries up, making my tongue swell like a blowfish and stick to the roof of my mouth.
Mr Red lifts an iPad from the desk and begins to read from it. “Dorian Wells, age twenty-five. No siblings. Both parents deceased; most recently the mother, Verona Marshall, from an advanced case of septicemia. One son, Josiah Wells, just turned two. Josiah’s mother, Milan Carter, age twenty-three. No significant work history, just a few minimum wage jobs here and there. Once matriculated at the local community college but no degree. Currently unemployed. Recently granted a full visitation schedule for son, Josiah, by the family court. Girlfriend, Sekoya Williams, age twenty-nine; dating for about a year.” Mr Red stops reading from the iPad and looks directly at me. “Congratulations.”
My stomach is turning somersaults hearing all this detailed intimate information; it’s so surreal. The main thing that sticks out in my mind is that he said, ‘both parents deceased.’ I don’t even know who my father is, and they apparently have not only identified him, but also discovered he is dead. I’m not sure what to say after this recitation, but I can tell they are waiting for me to speak, so I murmur, “Yes, sir. That’s me.”
Mr Black laces his pudgy fingers together on top of the desk. “You should know, Dorian: that was the summarized version.”
Jack of all trades, master of none – save for the art of procrastination – K. Baskett lives by the motto, “Never do today what can be put off until tomorrow.” K. firmly believes that you aren’t really interested in the author’s hometown, spouse, children or pets, and has therefore decided to spare you the details. No Greater Illusion is the author’s award-winning debut novel. Envelope: Red, the second offering, is a gritty suspense-thriller releasing November 2013.
My Devotional Thoughts: Top 10 List (by the author)
10 favourite foods
1. Apples. To me, apples are the perfect food. They are chock full of so many helpful nutrients and they are so juicy and good – not to mention the pretty little compact package they come in. You know how they say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? I think they really are one of the best things you can do for your body.
2. Black Beans & Rice. There’s a special little dish I make that is one of my favorites, and my family loves it too. Black beans and rice topped with cheese, green onions, tomatoes, olives, and sour cream. Simple, complete, and delicious.
3. Spinach. One of the best greens. With a mild, sweet flavor and tasty whether raw or cooked, I add spinach to almost everything and use it instead of regular lettuce. It packs a nutritional punch that can’t be topped.
4. Veggie Whopper. The first time I had one, it was by accident when Burger King got the order wrong and gave me a Veggie Whopper instead of the Veggie Burger I ordered. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to open it up and find nothing but lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions between a sesame seed bun (Veggie Whoppers are nothing but Whoppers without the hamburger patty). I expected it to be unfulfilling and unappetizing. Boy, was I wrong! It was so surprisingly tasty, I get them on a regular basis now. You should try one.
5. Tofu. A wonderful meat substitute. Good for you and super-versatile. Tofu can be used in almost any recipe, comes in several different textures, and absorbs the flavors within the rest of the dish wonderfully. For vegetarians, you can’t do much better than that.
6. Triple-Fudge Brownies. Because who doesn’t love the chocolatey goodness of triple fudge brownies? Pure bliss.
7. Green Smoothies.I recently discovered green smoothies. These are regular fruit smoothies with the added extra of kale or spinach for a nutrient boost. In the summertime, I love to make these almost daily, it’s an easy and tasty way to add more nutrients into your daily intake.
8. Vegan Banh Mi. My favorite restaurant has this fantastic banh mi made with vegan beef. The flavors just explode in your mouth and there is absolutely nothing to feel guilty about when eating it. Even regular meat-eaters have commented on how good this sandwich is.
9. Popcorn. With lots of butter and salt. Especially at the movie theater.
10. Nutella. I just can’t help myself. I discovered Nutella in Paris, France – the street vendors there sell crepes filled with the gooey goodness. I’ve been in love ever since. It’s so fattening and so sugary; but it is also so good. Best thing since sliced bread. Or on it.
I’ve been a strict vegetarian for about five years now, but I started on this journey nearly eight years ago. It has been a fulfilling experience and I’ve learned so much along the way. In fact, I’m still finding out new things so I wouldn’t be surprised if this list of mine looks very different a year from now. It’s been fun sharing this list with you, though – I haven’t really ever taken the time to actually think about what my favorite foods are and why that is. It makes me wonder if any of you have the same faves. Thanks for reading!