Excerpt from my latest book, the first in the cozy paranormal mystery series, SDF, coming on the 15th! (I’m not freaking out, no, not at all 🙂
“Excuse me, Ariana, is it?”
My jaw turned to jelly and my knees weren’t far behind.
The man in front of me was about six feet of pure, lean muscled goodness. He had short, soft blond curls that begged to be touched, chiseled features, and the prettiest eyes. Large and expressive, they were an impossible mix of green and blue.
I wanted to bathe in those eyes.
And that purr of a voice was most definitely the guy I’d heard in my vision. The voice slid over my skin like satin and I wanted to stroke his throat just to get closer to it.
The jeans and green button-down were obviously tailored and showed off his long, lean body.
I grinned. “Ariana, yeah, that’s me.”
He smiled back, flashin’ dimples and little boy charm.
Why was the song ‘Black Velvet’ suddenly playin’ in my head?
“I’m a private investigator and I need to ask you a few questions, Ariana.”
He opened the door next to the men’s room and gestured for me to go in.
“Ummmmmm.” I looked around.
Shouldn’t Grant be sayin’ go in or not?
“I’m going back on soon,” I said.
“Oh, I assure you, this will only take a moment.”
I walked into a small office that didn’t look like it got used often and he closed the door behind us.
“Please sit,” he said, taking a chair in front of the desk and wavin’ a hand at the other.
“Len already said he could spare you for a few extra minutes, and this won’t take long.”
With that voice, you can ask me anything you want.
I blushed and cleared my throat. “Okay. What about?”
“Just relax, please.”
I frowned as he turned his chair to face mine.
Well that was a non-answer if I’d ever heard one.
He looked deep into my eyes and all thoughts but one shot straight out. My heart raced. Could he hear it?
“Ariana Finn,” I said. “Didn’t Len tell you that?”
Fear spiked my blood and my stomach lurched.
It’s okay, the guys have my back.
Though, they were outside and would have to fight past a beefy guy who was probably a vamp to get in and save me.
“Are you a singer, Ariana?” he asked, forehead creasing.
My head ached from the inside out, like someone was pushin’ too much inside my brain and it was trying to expand outta my ears.
I rubbed my temples. “What’s going on?”
His eyes flashed and his frown deepened.
That’s not a good look to get from a vamp holding you in a backroom. I smiled. Apparently he wasn’t getting whatever he wanted here.
He stared me in the eyes again and my breathing picked up.
With that same confused look, he grabbed my right wrist.
I marched through the forest.
It was cold and my feet were starting to tingle even through the boots. The eyes (my eyes?) swept the sun tickled forest until I saw the boar.
My heart thundered and my vision sharpened. My arms pulled back a giant bow and let go, straight and silent, getting the animal between his eyes before he knew I was there.
I loaded him onto my sled with the rabbits, and started trekking home.
It was my first big kill. My father’s spirit would be proud. My sisters would have food. I was no longer just the son of a dead carpenter.
I was a hunter.
I gasped, heart pounding.
I’d never had a vision where I saw through their eyes.
I couldn’t breathe!
My brain sweated inside my skull, threatenin’ to boil right over. I could still smell the boar’s blood, practically taste its meat in my mouth.
I knew his oldest sister was named Helen; she took over the household when his mom and dad died and was a highly skilled seamstress and cook. She would make a stew with the rabbits and he’d sell the boar at market.
“What are you?” Quil asked, resting a cool hand on my forehead. “You’re burning up.”
He took a deep whiff and cupped my cheek with his other hand.
We stared at each other for nearly a minute, him breathing me in, and me cooling down.
Finally he asked again, “What are you?”
Have you ever had one of those moments where you ask yourself just a split-second later, “Why in the blazes did I do that?”
I opened my mouth, perfectly ready to lie and say I had an infection, when instead I said, “I’m a psychic.”
He drew air through his teeth in some strange parody of a hiss. “You know what we are?”
“Why are you here?” he asked.
“I’m trying to find out who killed Jo,” I said.
Why am I answering him!
I took a deep breath. What was it Grant always said? The best lies are mostly truth.
“I’m a fr… was a friend of hers. I figured out she worked here and I was hopin’ to get in and… I don’t know… look around. Find out what killed her.”
“You mean a vampire?” he asked.
I gulped and nodded. “I saw her body. She had two holes in her neck.”
He blinked quickly.
“You didn’t know that?” I asked.
“Two holes in the neck?” he said.
I nodded again.
“What did you see when I touched you?” he asked.
Change of subject. Interesting.
“I saw you hunting,” I said. “You took down this huge boar and you were really proud of yourself.”
His eyes met mine again. “That explains it.”
“Why I can’t hypnotize you.”
“Hypnotize?” I asked. “You guys can actually do that?”
He didn’t answer.
“Hello! You’re a vamp; unless that whole thing about your hearing being fantastic is a myth, you can hear me. Don’t ignore me.”
Okay, hollerin’ at something that’s about twice as strong as the average human is stupid.
He sneered and before I could blink, he was leanin’ in front of me, face inches away.
My heart skyrocketed, hitting the moon, actually, it probably made it to Mars and planted potatoes.
“You would do well to mind your manners, little one.”
“I will if you will.”
Yes, I’m that stupid.
But he actually smiled. It was cold and made his eyes sparkle like snow.
His lips parted and slender fangs slid out, framing his two front teeth like pillars.
I gasped, breathin’ so fast I’d need a paper bag if this kept up. His eyes looked almost red for a moment as he stared me down.
Then the color and the fangs were gone and I wasn’t sure if I’d imagined them or not.
“Fair enough.” He was across the room in a flash, reclining against the wall like he’d been there an hour. “I’m investigating her death as well.”
I didn’t say anything.
“You’re not surprised?” he asked.
My eyes danced and his face turned cloudy. He was behind me in two seconds and I jumped in my seat.
How did they move that fast!
“I could make you tell me,” he whispered in my ear, ticklin’ the small hairs with his breath.
He took a deliberate sniff again. I tried to stand, but he put a hand on my shoulder soon as I twitched.
Where were the guys?
His cold fingers twiddled my ear and I froze solid as he took out the earbud and hung it in front of my face.
“Now tell me,” he said, “where does a college girl get something like this?”
“I don’t like being lied to, Ariana.”
He closed his fist over the small electronic right in front of my face and it snapped, crackled, and finally popped.
“The back rooms are protected from bugs, but I hope that made my point.”
So maybe the block made it fuzz out in the hall too and that’s why Grant didn’t say anything when the vamp took me back here?
He dropped the broken bug to the floor and walked around, sittin’ in front of me again.
“The point being, we don’t like spies in our midst.” His voice was still so quiet.
Oh yeah, I got the point.
I wasn’t leavin’ this room alive.
It’s coming on the 15th! And leading up to the new release, I’m continuing my month of sales. Evie Jones and the Rocky Roulette is on sale this week for $0.99!