As much as I hate to do it, I’m going to basically bail on the post this morning. You see, I learned something valuable yesterday: the writing gods have very perverse sense of humor. Either that or my dog sabotaged everything he could in order to prevent Sarah from going home. First, he somehow managed to take control of the knife I was using to make salad so Sarah would have something light to eat before getting on the plane. The result of the dog-controlled knife is that I tried to take the top of my index finger off. Lots of blood, probably should have stopped at the doc in the box for a stitch or two and now a finger that won’t let me use it to type or much of anything else either. And, if that wasn’t enough, the washer decided it didn’t like the fact Sarah had left and, as a result, when I returned from the airport, my mother greeted me with the news that the washer had exploded and the kitchen sink had backed up. Now, I am hunting and pecking on the laptop while I wait for the plumber.
So, since you guys have given us some really good topics at our last open floors, I’m not going to throw another one out today. Instead, I’m going to do another snippet from Nocturnal Interlude, my current WIP and the third novel, and fourth entry, in the Nocturnal Lives Series. I promise to be back next week — if not later today — with a real post.
For the previous snippet, click here.
Nocturnal Interlude is © Amanda S. Green 2013. Do not copy, alter, distribute or resell without permission. Exceptions made for ATTRIBUTED quotes as critique or linking to this blog.
“Thank God, you’re all right.”
Jackson’s arms went about Mac the moment she climbed into the rear of the black van. For a moment, she let herself just enjoy the comfort of her mate’s embrace. She’d never forget the worry she’d seen in his eyes as she’d been led off by the feds or the anger. She knew without asking that it had been one of the hardest things he’d ever done not to go after them and force the men to release her. If their roles had been reversed, she wasn’t sure she’d have been able to exercise as much self-control as had he.
“Are you okay?”
She lightly touched his cheek, her eyes searching his. Even though Halsey and his partner hadn’t done anything to him, it had been hard not to worry that another team of agents hadn’t appeared to sweep Jackson up. The thought of anything happening to him, especially if it was because of her, made her blood run cold.
“I’m fine now that we’ve got you back.” He kissed her and then helped her into the seat directly behind the driver’s seat. A moment later, he was seated next to her.
“Mateo, what’s going on?”
Her cousin had taken his place in the front passenger seat and, before answering, he told the driver to get them out of there. “Mac, I promise I’ll answer all your questions, but let’s get well away from here first.”
“Damn it, Mateo!” She bit down on her anger. It was reaction to everything that had happened. She knew it. But that didn’t make his refusal to explain any easier to take. “I think I deserve to know what’s happening.”
“Mac.” Jackson reached out and turned her face so she looked at him. “He’s right. I only know the bare minimum and it’s enough to worry me – a lot. We’re on our way to a meeting where everything will be explained.”
She leaned back and scrubbed her hands over her face. Maybe this was all just a bad nightmare and she’d awaken soon. Then she’d be back in Hawaii and everything would be all right. But that wasn’t how her luck ran. No, this was all too real and she was getting a very bad feeling.
“Fine. Just tell me this: is my family all right?”
“They are. Your grandmother and mother are waiting for you. The twins are on their way back from Austin with a couple of my men,” Mateo answered. “And, before you ask, Jackson’s family is safe as well. I promise.”
Mac didn’t know whether to be relieved or not. On a primitive level, relief won out. She’d come to understand over the last few months just how important family really was. But then the implications of what Mateo said hit her. Why would he, or at least someone he worked with, have already taken steps to insure that her family and her mate’s were all right? Had someone specifically targeted them or was the threat more widespread? And why had the feds taken her into custody?
Without a word, she opened the cover on her tablet PC. Before she could turn it on, Mateo reached out and snatched it from her hands. Eyes flashing, jaw clinching, she stared at him in disbelief. What in the hell was going on?
“Mac, you can’t use the tablet or your cell phone or anything else with GPS capability until we scrub it,” he said, his expression serious.
Okay, now she was starting to get scared. Worse, it was fueling her anger and that was making it more and more difficult to maintain control. It wouldn’t take much more for her to shift. She didn’t know about her cousin, but she didn’t particularly want an angry jaguar loose in a moving van. So someone had better start telling her something before that happened.
“Mac, he’s right.” Jackson’s spoke softly but she still heard how worried he was. “Our families are safe but not all of our friends are. Someone has been moving against them for the last few days. We don’t know who and we don’t know why. All we know for sure is that at least half a dozen of our people are missing.”
For a moment, Mac stared at him, not sure she’d heard right. But one look at him was enough to convince her he spoke the truth, at least the truth as he knew it. After what happened at the airport, she wasn’t sure any of them knew the truth. Still, people they knew, maybe even people they loved, were missing.
“Who?” she asked even though she wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
“Pat’s one of them. The twins are also missing.”
If they hadn’t been in the van, Mac would have been on her feet and pacing. Three members of her pride were missing. Three people she cared about. She could almost understand why Pat had been taken. Not only was she a cop – and Mac couldn’t dismiss out of hand that one of Pat’s old cases from Narcotics hadn’t caught up with her – but she was also the pride leader’s mate. Two very good reasons why their enemies might want to take her. Also two very good reasons doing so could get someone killed.
But why take the twins? They were barely adults. College students. They had no real standing in the pride except as beloved members. They certainly couldn’t be involved with anything criminal. And there were others missing as well. God, this was a nightmare.
“Are they all from the pride?”
“No. There’s at least one lone pure missing as well as two members of the local pack,” Mateo answered.
“How long? How long since the first one went missing and has there been any sort of demand made?” She had to think like a cop. Ask the questions, eliminate the motives and zero in on the suspects.
And not let her think about what the suspects might be doing to the people she cared about in the meantime.
“Two days and no demands, no contact of any sort.” Mateo sounded as grim as she felt.
“Mike? Is he all right?”
The thought of her captain, her pride leader, and the anguish he must be feeling just then kicked her worry up another notch. Because he was also Pat’s commanding officer, just as he was Mac’s, he and Pat couldn’t go public with their relationship. The fact that she was missing had to be killing him and it would be made all the worse because he wouldn’t be able to let his fear show. Add in the worry he had to be feeling about the twins as well and it could be enough to bring him to his knees.
“He’s angry and scared,” Jackson replied. “But he’s coping so far. At least he says he is.”
“Mateo, I have a feeling there’s a lot more to this than you’ve told us so far.” She waited until he reluctantly nodded. “Than you’d better accept the fact that I am in this until we find out what’s happened and we catch the people responsible. Try to shut me out and I promise you won’t like the consequences.”
Damn it all to Hell and back again. This is what she got for going on vacation.
The other titles in the Nocturnal Lives Series are:
Nocturnal Interlude is the third novel and fourth title in the Nocturnal Lives Series. The other installments in the series are:
Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.
Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.
Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.
Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.
In this sequel to Nocturnal Origins, Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.
Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.
Mackenzie Santos has seen just about everything in more than ten years as a cop. The last few months have certainly shown her more than she’d ever expected. When she’s called out to a crime scene and has to face the possibility that there are even more monsters walking the Earth than she knew, she finds herself longing for the days before she started turning furry with the full moon.