I knew blogging would be hit or miss these last few weeks and probably the rest of the month. Mom’s doing well after her surgery but there is still a lot of things she can’t do for herself, at least not alone. Being right-handed and suddenly unable to use that hand or arm is difficult under the best of circumstances. If you are as profoundly right-handed as my mother, it is almost impossible. But she is learning and, best of all, she is doing so (usually) with grace and humor.
The downside has been the impact on my time to work. Yes, I have gotten some work done. In fact, I have finished two Mossy Creek stories. They need to sit for a bit so I can look at them again with fresh eyes. But I hope to have them out by the end of the year. I have also finished the rewrite and edits on Tracked (formerly Hunter’s Duty). I am in the process of pulling together the cover flat for the print edition. I promise it will be out later this week in both print and e-book editions.
Making matters worse, AT&T had some sort of catastrophic failure yesterday that wiped out land lines, internet and Uverse service across the DFW area. Service was finally restored after 12 hours or so, but it too had an impact on work.
Finally, I have gotten some writing done. Nocturnal Revelations, the final book in the current story arc of Mac Santos and friends, is coming along nicely. It has taken some twists and turns I wasn’t expecting, but then don’t they all? Here is a snippet from the beginning. I’ve rewritten part of the opening sequence, expanding it a little here and there. This is a very rough draft and it just came off my keyboard, so to speak. So there will most likely be spelling and punctuation errors. I guarantee there will be changes before publication. But at least it will give you a taste for what’s to come.
As always, this work is copyrighted and the usual disclaimers apply.
“What’s your day look like?”
Mackenzie Santos Caine turned and smiled at her husband. As she did, she shook her head slightly. After almost a year of marriage, she still found it hard to believe. But then, most of the last couple of years would be hard for anyone with a modicum of sanity to believe and that was saying a lot for a cop. She believed it only because she’d lived through it all, even it a couple of times it had been by the skin of her teeth, literally and figuratively.
All of which paled at the sight of Jackson standing in the doorway to the bathroom, a towel slung low across his hips. Skin still damp from his shower, he smiled and stepped into the bedroom. For a moment, Mac considered locking the door and taking him back to bed. Before she could smile again, she sobered. The day was going to be hard enough to get through without thinking about what could have been.
She turned back to her closet and reached inside, her hand closing over the uniform carefully tucked away in a garment bag. “This morning I’ve got court.”
And wouldn’t that be fun? The prosecutor demanded her testimony against a perp who never should have been walking the streets. If the system had done its job the first four times he appeared before a judge, he’d be sitting in prison. Instead, three women had been raped and murdered. Unfortunately, the judges had believed the baby-faced young man when he promised to follow all the rules, swearing he had been rehabilitated since his last court appearance.
She unzipped the garment bag and withdrew her dress uniform. For a moment, her eyes lingered on the captain’s bars and a pang of loss tightened her throat. She should consider herself lucky this was the first time she’d had to wear those bars at another officer’s funeral, but she couldn’t. Not when looking at them reminded her of the loss of her own captain. Michael King had been more than her captain, he’d been her mentor and friend and her pride leader. She now sat in his chair as a member of the Dallas Police Department but she knew she would never be able to replace him.
“Frank Malone’s funeral is this afternoon.”
Jackson nodded, his expression serious. “Do you want me to go with you?”
Mac started to shake her head and then stopped. Jackson understood the demands of command, sometimes better than she did.
“Thanks. I’d like that.”
She’d been fortunate since taking over command of the revamped Crimes Against Persons division. Not one officer had fallen in the line of duty. Malone had died when a drunk driver hit his motorcycle on his day off. In some ways, that made it easier. She didn’t have to live with the knowledge that he’d died carrying out orders she was ultimately responsible for. But it didn’t take away the pain of knowing he left behind a young wife and three small children.
She cleared her throat, pushing the memory of Missy Malone crying as Mac broke the news to her out of her mind.
“What’s your day look like?” And she prayed it wasn’t going to be too badly messed up by him attending the funeral with her.
“Meetings. Nothing important.”
His shrug told her different, but she knew better than to argue. Instead, she turned her attention to dressing. She knew wearing her uniform to court would earn her a few more digs from the defense attorney. It would be interesting to see how the jury reacted when she explained she wore it because she would be leaving the courthouse to go straight to the funeral of one of her officers. Even now she could imagine all the objections Laird Naylor would raise, everything from prejudicing the jury to who knew what. It might even be worth it. Naylor had been a pain in her ass since the first time she testified against one of his clients. The would be no different.
“Don’t forget your vest.”
With her back to her husband, Mac rolled her eyes. Then she turned, her objection forgotten as he dropped his towel and started dressing. One of the best days of her life had been the day they met. Of course, she hadn’t known it at the time. All she’d known then was he – or, rather, his jaguar – had encroached on her territory. That night her jaguar let him know exactly what she thought about it, taking the fight to him. Later, fully human, she’d been drawn to him. Now they were married and she still couldn’t believe her luck.
Even if he did tend to be more than a tad overprotective.
“Jackson, I’m not going to be out in the field.” She reached for her shirt and started to pull it on, stopping only when he shook his head, his expression determined.
“And I will remind you that not only is it policy but that it is your policy for all uniformed members of CaP to wear their vests.”
She ground her teeth and then nodded. He was right. She’d reinforced departmental policy on her first official day as head of CaP. Grumbling under her breath, she grabbed her Kevlar vest from where it rested on the top shelf of the closet and pulled it on over the thin tank top she wore. Then she smiled as Jackson stepped up to help her settle it in place.
“Thank you.” He lightly pressed his lips to the curve of her neck.
She nodded and finished dressing. Once she had, she slid her service weapon into a pancake holster at the small of her back. Her back up slid into an ankle holster. Hopefully, she wouldn’t need either in a hurry.
“Do you want me to meet you at the church or at the office?” Jackson asked as she reached for her cellphone and slid it into her inside jacket pocket.
“The church. I may have to go there straight from the courthouse.” She glanced at her watch. “I’d better get going. Jael will be here any time.”
Jackson nodded and crossed the bedroom.
She smiled and lifted her face to his kiss. “Let’s take time tonight to plan a long weekend away from here,” she suggested.
“Sounds good.” He brushed his lips against hers and then sighed as the doorbell rang. “Jael’s here.”
“I’ll talk to you later, love.”
Mac grabbed her purse and briefcase off the chair near the bedroom door and hurried downstairs. As she did, she checked her watch once again. Unless traffic was bad – unfortunately, that was the norm these days if you lived anywhere near Dallas – they had time to stop for coffee before she had to be in court. Even if it was bad, they’d take the time. Something told her she was going to need all the help she could get to make it through her testimony that morning. Past experience with Naylor taught her he had little respect for cops. He would do everything he could to discredit her testimony. Somehow, she needed to keep her temper in check while making sure she gave the jury everything they might want in order to put Naylor’s client away for good.
A few moments later, Mac opened the front door and stopped short. Instead of seeing her former training officer, Sergeant Jael Lindsay, she found herself face-to-face with a man about her height wearing the non-descript uniform of a delivery service. He smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes.
Run!her jaguar ordered, sensing danger a split-second before Mac did.
Mac’s purse and briefcase dropped to the floor. Her right hand moved toward her gun, pushing aside her jacket in the process. As her fingers closed around the butt of her Glock 19, she stepped back and to the side.
Her focus narrowed to the gun in the man’s hand. It tracked her movement, never wavering. The hammer pulled back. Time slowed. Death waited. She’d known it could happen one day, but she never thought it would be in her own home.
The sound of a shot deafened her. For a split-second, she could almost see the bullet leave the muzzle of the gun before time sped up. Pain ripped through her as the man fired again and again. Blood blossomed from her chest and one corner of her mind told her that was bad, very bad. At least one of the shots had penetrated her vest. Then, as if from a great distance, she heard Jackson yell. A moment later, darkness swallowed her but not before she saw her attacker smile and turn away, satisfied the job had been done.