Boy, this has been a week. Between real life commitments that have eaten a huge portion out of every day, screwing up my shoulder–again. Getting old is hell–state politics, trying to find time to write and sleep. . . well, sleep and writing have taken the back seat. So much so that yesterday, I hit the proverbial wall and found myself doing a lot of navel gazing without the mind ever kicking into gear. Today, fortunately, looks to be better which is necessary because I have an editing job to get out the door and can’t do it with the brain disengaged. So, what else. . . .
I did finally manage to get Hunted put out wide. Well, to be more accurate, it is in the process of going wide. As of the time of writing this post, it was up in not only Amazon (where it’s been) but also Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and several others. Here’s the link:
This is a universal link that will direct you to the various stores where the book is available. It will also update as more stores are added.
The other books in the series will be released wide over the next several weeks. For now, here’s a snippet from Hunted:
They were here.
Despite all my precautions, despite all the times I’d moved and left no forwarding address, they’d found me. Again. I’d done everything possible to live off the grid and for what? All it took was one small mistake or someone catching my image on a cell phone video and there they were.
Damn it. I didn’t have any choice. I had to move and move fast.
Assuming I lived long enough.
My heart thudded and a bead of sweat ran down my spine. Every instinct screamed for me to run. I pushed the urge down. Running would only make it easier for the trackers to pinpoint my location. People might hurry down the streets of Fort Worth but they rarely ran and certainly not without a destination in mind. No, I had to continue walking as if nothing was wrong.
A few hours ago, I’d been thinking about the upcoming weekend. I looked forward to a couple of days off after working without a break the least two weeks. I didn’t even mind that my roommate, Dana, had set me up on a blind date with her cousin. Not that I expected anything to come of it. Nothing ever did. Either my demons interfered or the trackers did. Like now.
Damn it, what’s a girl got to do to have a nice dinner and maybe some good sex?
Who was I kidding? I’d settle for having something close to a normal life and never having to look over my shoulder again.
Without breaking stride, I merged into the early afternoon foot traffic. A quick glance right and then left didn’t reveal my pursuers. But they were there. I felt their eyes on me. The back of my neck prickled. There was that itch between my shoulder blades I’d learned long ago not to ignore.
Instinct had kept me alive this long. Would it be enough now?
I’d been foolish to believe Michael Jennings had forgotten about me. Even if he hadn’t, I’d hoped he finally decided it wasn’t worth the effort to keep looking for my latest hiding spot. I should have known better. I’d embarrassed him when I refused his advances. Worse, I’d done so in front of others. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been so easily dissuaded.
Bile rose in my throat at the memory of that long ago night. If I closed my eyes, I could still feel his hands on me. I smelled his scent as he’d pulled me close. He’d been over-confident and hadn’t expected me to fight back. It was over almost as quickly as it had started. That night I’d fled the only home I’d ever known, leaving behind family and friends. I knew it was the last time I’d see them. My only consolation was the sight of Jennings lying on the cold tile floor, bleeding and nursing what I hoped was a very sore pair of balls.
I might not have looked back, but I did keep a look out. I knew Michael wouldn’t just let me go. But I’d never expected him to keep up the chase this long. God, would I never get my life back?
I jogged across Commerce Street. Less than a block away was the county courthouse. There would be plenty of police there who could help me. But that assumed the trackers let me get that far. Unless they were fools, the least thing they’d do was let me near the courthouse. That meant I needed another plan, one with a better chance of success.
Hoping I wasn’t making a mistake, I turned right. One more block. If I made it that far, I’d be at the Bank of America Tower. The building offered several advantages. I had reason to be there. I knew the building. It offered thirty-eight floors I could lose myself in and, better yet, it had a parking garage I could use to get away.
If I was lucky.
Fort Worth had been lucky for me, at least until today. I’d pulled into town almost a year ago, hoping to lose myself here. After close to ten years on the run, I was tired. I wanted nothing more than to settle down, find a mate and have a life. The thought of moving again, of having to establish yet another identity was almost more than I could bear.
Had I gotten careless because I was tired of running?
How it happened didn’t matter. Jennings had found me and this time there’d be no escape. In his mind, he had to bring me back. Otherwise, he’d lose face with the rest of the clan. They’d believe he wasn’t strong enough to control a mere female. If he couldn’t control a female, how could they trust him to be a strong enough of an Alpha to protect the clan?
None of that mattered. Only one thing did. I had to get away. The next person to bump into me could be one of the trackers. I’d never been one to act like a lamb awaiting the slaughter and this was no time to start. I might not be the Marine my father had been, but he’d taught me well. He and my mother, God rest their souls, had taught me how to act under fire, real or metaphorical.
It was time to remember who and what I was. I was the daughter of the clan’s previous Alpha and his mate, an alpha in her own right. Let the fools Jennings sent for me learn just what that meant.
If they wanted to play, I was more than happy to oblige.
I paused before the main display window for Vintage Gallery and glanced around, careful not to be too obvious about it. Yes, someone was definitely there. Again. As much as I’d like to believe whoever was watching me was more interested in my good looks—hah!—or even in stealing my backpack, I knew better.
I’d screwed up. I’d felt their presence for a week now. Never at the same place and never at the same time—and never this close. Each time, I’d told myself I was imagining it.
Damn it, I had gotten careless.
Fortunately, so had they. They were close enough now I could scent them. Yes, them. There were at least shapeshifters close by. I should probably be flattered Jennings decided a single tracker wasn’t enough to bring me in. Hopefully, three wouldn’t be enough either.
I didn’t have time to wonder why Michael had changed tactics. Had something happened within the clan to force his hand? Or had he, like me, grown tired of the hunt?
God, why couldn’t this be over? I like a good hunt as much as the next person. But only when I’m the hunter. This being the hunted didn’t sit well. One way or another, I needed to end this game of cat and mouse. But I had to bide my time. Downtown Fort Worth wasn’t the place for a confrontation, at least not the sort this could quickly turn into. So, unless I wanted our secret made public, I needed to find some place secluded and I needed to find it soon.
Fortunately, Fort Worth, even downtown Fort Worth, wasn’t without out-of-the-way areas where I could put my plan into action. All I had to do was get to one before my unseen trackers made their move.
Now it’s time to get to see what my alpha reader thought of the final version of Victory from Ashes before sending it off to the beta readers. Until later!