The “Siege of Chicago” and rioting in Miami—and my patrol car was riddled with thirteen bullet holes. Nurses like April Mary Diamond at Jackson Memorial, the county hospital, worked double shifts tending the wounded, injured, and, yes, the dying.

RiotApril had been my girlfriend four years earlier after I arrived in Miami, Florida, riding an 80cc Yamaha motorbike and with a change of jeans and eight bucks in my pockets. I lived in a Skid Row rooming house and worked as a printer downtown while I waited being hired as a Miami cop. April was a student nurse, slender, with blue eyes and roan-colored hair.

Although I had little money, April and I puttered all over Miami on my Yamaha—the beaches, free concerts, museums, long walks in the rain. Only one problem. Her parents thought me a rootless bum and certainly no match for a good Jewish girl who deserved a doctor or lawyer.

And now, four years later, I was a Miami police officer and April was married to a man who deserved her. Rioters were burning and rampaging in cities all over the U.S. Newark, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles… Smoke billowed into the clear tropical skies of Liberty City, a Miami neighborhood, and looters were breaking windows and hauling off cigarettes, liquor, TVs and other appliances in stolen grocery carts.

Tough Miami Police Chief Walter Headley had made the cover of Time magazine for proclaiming, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The news media reported the violence as “full-fledged gun battles, just like in Vietnam.”

For three days, cops and National Guardsmen snatched sleep whenever we could. I killed one man who was shooting at me. And then, while my partner Evans and I were on a late night perimeter, a couple of dudes opened up on us with rifles from the mouth of an alley.

Evans was armed with a .30-cal carbine. He lay down cover fire while I low-sprinted across the wide street to cut off the shooters before they got away. In the dark, I stepped into an open manhole, the cover of which had been removed and thrown through the window of a nearby liquor store. I simply disappeared, like a magician’s act.

Somewhat later, heavily sedated, my uniform caked in blood, I groggily opened my eyes and discovered myself in the emergency room at Jackson Memorial. A nurse stood at my side. I hadn’t seen April in over three years.

She was standing there, her hand on my chest, looking at me while tears ran down her cheeks.

The great Norse warrior, Brak Bloodaxe, is wounded while on a raid against the Saxons. Despite his injuries, he manages to save the life of an enemy princess. They fall in love. Now, the military of two great empires want to tear Bloodaxe and his princess apart—and kill him.”

From The Foreworld Saga: Bloodaxe, by Charles W. Sasser. Available exclusively from Kindle Worlds.