From Malice: Book One of the Southern Comfort Prequel
They headed back down the stairs and Jesse glanced over at the spot where he’d pinned Jillian against the wall and distracted, bumped into the table, spilling the fruit basket and several of the wooden dolls onto the floor.
The same table she claimed to have bumped into last night while hallucinating.
“What?” Brian said when he realized that Jesse had stopped.
“Weren’t there seven of these doll things?”
“I don’t know,” Brian admitted. “I picked up the ones I could find and put them back on the table.”
“There were seven,” Jesse said. “So either one is still missing, or one of the cops took one.”
“Does it matter?”
“Maybe not,” Jesse admitted. But something, some feeling he couldn’t exactly identify, made him want to locate the other doll.
The doorway to the parlor stood on the other side of the table, and Jesse glanced around that corner, scanned the floor. He remembered Jillian saying that she’d dropped it. In the throes of her hallucination, she’d imagined that it had turned a different color, and when she picked it up, the doll’s face melted. Or appeared to melt. So she’d dropped it on the floor.
Jesse bent down, saw a small roundish shape on the far side beneath the chair. He reached under, drew it out.
The face was, of course, intact. That little Mona Lisa smile.
A blue Mona Lisa smile.
Jesse glanced at the other dolls on the table. The very red dolls.
“Son of a bitch.”
His furious tone brought Brian closer, and Jesse glanced over his shoulder. “She wasn’t hallucinating everything. The bastard’s been in the house.”
From Mr. Write: Book One in the new Sweetwater Series.
"The cat purred, and Tucker scratched its belly. He guessed it was kind of cute, despite the Jabba-the-Hutt thing it had going on.
Tucker’s head came up.
“Useless, where are you, you obstinate little butthead?”
Fighting back a grin, Tucker looked down toward the ground. Sarah stood near the hedge, glowering toward his house.
“Looking for someone?” he called down, satisfied when she jumped.
Shielding her eyes, Sarah looked up through the branches. A stray beam of sunlight turned her hair to flame.
“Not you, though it’s nice to know you recognize those qualities in yourself.” Then a little less sassily, “I seem to have lost my cat again.”
“Does he look like this?” Tucker held the animal up to the open window.
“I can’t believe you named your pet that.”
“He’s a neutered male. Don Juan seemed cruel.”
“He got stuck in my tree.” Tucker tried to resurrect his earlier resentment, but between amusement and the purring cat, he just couldn’t find it in him.
“I ran into the house for something and he made his escape. Guess he was hoping to catch you in the shower again.”
“You want to come up and join me, I’ll be happy to let him watch.”
“That’s very generous, but I have some paint I need to watch dry.”
He grinned. “Sooner or later, Red, I’m going to make you eat those words."
From Admit One: Book Two in the new Sweetwater Series.
Her hand bumped against something hard, something that made a sharp, hollow sound as it rolled away. A glass bottle, she thought. Like a beer bottle. That was the other scent she’d smelled. Had Harlan…
No. Allie refused to believe it. Harlan was almost six months sober. He’d worked too hard to get sober to fall off the wagon now. She only wished they’d realized he’d had a problem before it got so bad. He’d started drinking in high school, but that wasn’t so unusual. Most teenagers –
Allie froze. Teenagers. Drinking.
Her head spun, and she had to grab it with both hands. The dizziness passed, but behind it came a rush of horrified awareness.
The mausoleum. Someone had broken into the mausoleum. She’d stopped to see if they needed help and…
A whimper emerged from Allie’s throat, the sound of a wounded animal.
She knew exactly where she was.
From Circumstantial Evidence: Book Three in the new Sweetwater Series.
Will made the final turn onto the dead end street. “Not that I don’t appreciate your fortitude, but we all get scared from time to time. And something like what you saw the other night would rattle anyone. It’s okay to lean on someone when you need to.”
“Do I what?”
“Do you lean on someone? Because you saw what I saw, too. And probably a whole lot more. I know you’re a cop, but this stuff has to get to you after a while.”
He braked and slid the gearshift into park. “We’re here.”
Cam could hardly fail to notice that he hadn’t answered, but as the lights from his SUV illuminated the gates – closed and padlocked and made further unwelcoming by yellow police tape – she figured she had more pressing concerns at the moment. Like how to make her legs stop shaking long enough to carry her back to that garden.
She startled when the passenger side door opened, surprised to see Will standing there. She hadn’t even realized he’d exited the car. After looking at her, he hunkered down, took her hand into his. “If this is too much for you, it can wait.”
“You said it was important.”
His mouth went tight and then he muttered an expletive under his breath. “It is. But so are you. And I don’t want to be responsible for putting that look on your face again.”
She searched his eyes, saw his frustration. And his sincerity. If there was one thing she believed about Will Hawbaker, it’s that he was sincere. He didn’t say something if he didn’t mean it. The fact that his concern for her well-being was currently trumping his professional worries was the final push she needed. “I’ll be fine,” she said, resolved. “Let’s do it and get this over with.”
“Just what every guy wants to hear.”
From Serendipity: Book One in a Series
Jordan looked out the bank of windows behind the kitchen table. The sky was a pure cerulean, softened, as if by an artist’s brush, with thin strokes of wispy clouds. Tulips stuck up like lollipops from the big pots the florist had positioned on the sidewalk. Cars blurred past, people strolled out of the coffee shop carrying fat pastries and skinny lattes, a little girl skipped, hand-in-hand with her mother, toward the preschool on the corner.
A beautiful spring day in a beautiful city.
And somewhere, among the cobblestones and horse drawn carriages,
the haze of history and specters of the past,
lurked a modern day monster.
From Forbidden: Book Two in a Series
Sailboats, wings unfurled, glided past other pleasure craft on the silent waters, which lapped gently along the seawall in undulating waves. A salt breeze blew in periodically, carrying the scents of diesel and brine, breaking the stillness of the air which hung thick and damp after the earlier storm. Lingering raindrops fell from the fronds of the nearby palmettos in a steady, rhythmic patter. A lone blue heron, unfurled wings more graceful than the sailboats’, soared high and far into the heavy cover of dusk.
It was too beautiful a view for a degenerate.
Sighing, Clay loosened his tie from his sweat-dampened collar, trying to catch some of the cooling whisper of air as it sighed past. He was hot, tired and disgusted. More than ever, he’d like to pack it in and call it a day.
But there was a monster still out there somewhere, who saw dollar signs in a young girl’s innocence. And since he had to get into the forbidden corners in the mind of that monster, he, like evil, couldn’t sleep.
From Deception: Book Three in a Series
“One push,” he told her softly. “One push from my thumb and its lights out, Samantha. A shame,” he continued in that conversational tone that was completely divorced from the current reality. “I didn’t want to have to kill you.”
The tip of the needle pressed into the soft skin of her neck, and though he was obviously threatening her to keep her quiet, her throat was too bruised for her to do much more than squeak. He dragged her backwards toward the edge of her brother’s bed, heading farther away from the doorway. Sam looked plaintively toward that opening hoping one of the nurses or orderlies would come in.
But given the noise still coming from the hall she figured she was on her own.
From Nemesis: Book Four in a Series
Screaming like the hounds of Hell were upon her, Sadie forced her battered body to haul ass. She managed to put several yards between herself and her pursuer when she saw another shape lunge out from the shadows near the front porch.
Shit. The second intruder.
Without the least bit of hesitation, Sadie launched herself toward the fence. Grasping the top with bloody fingers, knowing that the rough wood was digging into her torn flesh but currently incapable of feeling the pain, she used every bit of adrenaline-fueled strength she had left to heave herself up and over. Her head and shoulders went first, her left leg closely following, and just when she thought she was home free an enormous hand grasped her right foot.
Howling, crying, feeling those beefy fingers biting into her flesh, Sadie kicked as best as she could manage from her awkward position hanging upside down. Another hand joined the first on her ankle, and she twisted maniacally like a human windsock. Managing to loosen the man’s grip with her crazy wriggling, given the fact that her skin was impossibly wet, Sadie watched in horror-filled fascination as her untied shoe slipped off in his hand.
She hit the ground with another bone-jarring thud, and started screaming Declan’s name.
From Obsession: Book Five in a Series
“Justin.” James’ tone was as neutral as the one Justin had just used on him. “I realize that you are a doctor and your first instinct is to rationalize a situation in terms of potential medical problems. But look at me.” He met Justin’s gaze with a level stare. “I did not make a pot of coffee. Now, normal people who are not trauma surgeons might ask the question: if my brother, who is the only other resident of the house, did not make a pot of coffee, then who did?”
“What are you talking about? Who would randomly, what, break in and brew a pot of coffee? And then leave? And besides, the door was locked.”
“Just like your truck was locked.”
The coffee he’d drunk swished uncomfortably when Justin’s stomach gave a little lurch. He stared at the mug in his hand as if it were a serpent about to strike.
He looked up and met his brother’s gaze. James looked far more serious than he’d ever seen him. “You might not want to drink any more of that.” He nodded toward the mug. “And Bro? Change the house locks, too. Because I think you have a problem.”