I’m participating in Excerpt Monday, organized by the lovely Bria Quinlan and Mel Berthier from Romance Divas.
Today’s excerpt comes from Chapter One of my fantasy/paranormal romance Deeper Than Bone.
Boyd Harbor, New Jersey, Earth:
Catherine Lecuyer jolted awake, her hand reaching for the baseball bat leaning against the night stand. Wait—
She was home. She was safe. That was the past.
Heart pounding, she sagged back against the down pillows and focused on the television blaring with a careening car chase and the sharp crack and bang of gunfire. Some cop drama had replaced the cheerful romantic comedy she’d found to keep her insomnia company. She had finally drifted off and missed the last fifteen minutes and the happily ever after.
It figured. She clicked the remote. The picture tube’s grey light faded, leaving her bedroom cloaked in shadow. Dark. Quiet. She took a sharp breath. Exhaled slowly.
She could do this. She tossed to her side. The clock’s red glow glared. 2:13. 2:14. 2:15. 2:16. All quiet.
Too quiet. The baseboard heat ticked and gurgled with the deeper hum of the furnace in the basement. Her ears strained for each tiny noise in the old house.
Stop it. You’ve absolutely nothing to be anxious over. She lived next door to a cop. How much safer could she get?
She was tired of being afraid. Tired of being tired.
“So get over it.” She turned on the lamp, punched her pillows into shape and crawled back under the covers.
A revving car engine followed by a screech of tires jarred her off the pillow. A firecracker banged.
Darn it, hadn’t those teens down the street learned their lesson? She untangled herself from the bedding.
Tires squealed again and the car sped past her house.
By the time she peeked through the front window blinds, the noisy-makers were long gone. Her frost-hazed neighborhood slept peacefully in the moonless November night. Stray snow flakes idled through the pools of street lights. John Morris, her police officer neighbor, was finally home from work.
Everyone was sleeping. So should she. Letting the blinds fall closed, she eyed her rumpled bed. Maybe some tea first. She pulled on her fleece bathrobe and slid into her slippers.
Tires shrieked, ending with a odd bang.
She pushed aside the blinds. A red sedan perched askew over the curb, front bumper creased against her old maple tree.
Officer Morris must have heard the crash. She glanced next door. Porch light spilled over his tidy front lawn. He was still up. He’d be outside any second.
The driver shoved open the car door and stumbled out. He held onto the car door.
Oh, come on, Morris. Where are you? You had to have heard it. She grabbed her phone and dialed Morris’s number as she hurried downstairs. His answering machine picked up. Good. He must already be out the door.
She fumbled the two locks and the safety chain. She peered out the door.
Ignoring the damage to his car, the man walked away in long, jerky strides, his attention fixed on the stretch of dark roadway near Morris’s Jeep.
The hair on the back of her neck prickled. Let Officer Morris handle this. You can’t. It’s not your job.
Cat hesitated on the threshold, unable to let go of the doorknob. Her breath fogged in the icy air.
Don’t go. You know what’s out there in the dark.
I’m supposed to help. “Hey, are you okay?” She pried her fingers from the doorknob.
“Oh, God!” The driver’s voice broke. His knees hit the wet pavement beside a dark crumpled form lying just outside the pool of amber street light. “Call 911!”
Cat punched the numbers and took unsteady steps along the slippery front walk. A man, face down.
Her stomach tied in a hot knot. Her Sight fought to open, drew her on. She fought the Seeing back.
The driver, his young face chalky, pressed his fingers to the man’s throat. “Shit! No pulse. I can’t find a pulse. Shit. He’s not breathing. Oh, God, please.”
The white of t-shirt showed through a rip in his dark blue long-sleeved shirt. One black shoe was missing.
Disbelief stole her breath. It couldn’t be–
The driver eased the man over onto his back revealing the bloody, slack face. “Oh, God, a cop.” Choking back a sob, he launched into CPR.
Not just any cop. John Morris. Blood blackened his military-short sandy brown hair and glossed his uniform shirt. Light gleamed on the grim puddle beneath him. Too much blood.
This couldn’t be. A calm voice in the phone reached Cat and tugged her back. “An accident. There’s been an accident.”
The voice in the phone asked so many questions.
A black gun gleamed in the leaf-clotted, ice-scummed puddle by the Jeep’s rear tire.
“Please, tell them I didn’t hit him! One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six . . .” He chanted the count with each forceful chest thrust. He breathed into Officer Morris. “Hit the tree. One. Two. Three. . . Saw something. Thought a deer, a dog. Hit the brakes. Hit the tree. Not him. Oh, breathe, please. One. Two. Three. . .”
John Morris had waved to her in his brusk no-nonsense manner on his way to work, just hours ago. He’d flashed her one of his far too rare smiles that ignited his ice blue eyes and brightened the bad-boy sensuality of his lean rugged face, transforming him from uptight defender of the law and major anal-retentive neighbor to out-and-out temptation.
The first thin siren rose wailing in the distance.
Too late. Officer Morris was dead. Her unwelcome Sight knew. He was dead. The driver’s diligent CPR efforts were hopeless. Officer Morris was gone. Not a wisp of his aura remained.
This couldn’t be. Just hours ago, he’d smiled, and she’d thanked God she was immune to fickle alpha-male charm.
She shuddered, forced the Seeing away.
Gone. A cry choked in her throat. No more lectures on her leaves in his yard. No more rare flashing smiles. No more newspapers neatly lined up on her porch.
“. . . Six. Shit, oh man, oh shit. Oh, come on, breathe, man. One. Two . . .”
Everyone wants to play along with Excerpt Monday! If you’d like to join in, visit the Guidelines page for more details.
Excerpt Monday links:
Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.
For all Excerpt Monday links, go HERE
A random sampling of the many wonderful writers from varied genres to explore are:
Bryn Donovan, Paranormal (PG)
Kaige, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Adelle Laundan, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Crista McHugh, Paranormal (PG 13)
Aithne Jarretta, Paranormal (R)
Inez Kelley, Contemporary Romantic Comedy (R)
Photo: Karoly Mezei