Why am I reading so much? Must have something to do with the fact that I’m in the middle of a synopsis. The only surprise is that I’m not cleaning toilets instead. I am now the proud possessor of ALL FIVE of Alison Kent’s SG-5 bad boys. Aren’t you jealous? AND they’re autographed. I can sell them on eBay when I’m done! (JUST KIDDING, Alison!! LOL.) They’re up next! For now, I’m reading Shiver by Cynthia Cooke . It is SO GOOD! This is a March book, people (Intrigue!) so rush out and grab it! The only thing wrong with it is there is not a full-page ad for Cole Dempsey’s Back in Town in the back of it. How strange. What are you reading and what’s up next in your to-be-read pile? And what do you do to avoid other things you don’t want to do? I might need more ideas…. (And if you click for more below, there’s a little excerpt from Shiver .)
And via Amy Garvey’s blog , this “found pictures” site is really cool!!! Oh–and this makes me think, let’s play a spontaneous blog giveaway game! Be the first to guess which THREE of the books in my backlist were edited by Amy Garvey and win one autographed book, your pick, from my backlist. (You have to get all three books correct.)
Excerpt from SHIVER, Intrigue, March 2005
Chapter one, scene one.
The French Quarter, New Orleans.
Thunder boomed overhead and electricity crackled through the air, prickling the hair on the nape of Detective Riley MacIntyre’s neck. The large drops of rain wetting his shoulders didn’t relieve the stickiness of the hot August night as he approached the crime scene. Someone yelled for a cover and umbrellas were quickly opened above the body and a tarp was stretched over the area.
Sweat, partly from the heat and partly in expectation of what he’d find, ran down Riley’s back dampening his shirt as pulsing red and blue lights flashed on and off centuries-old brick in a strange melodic symphony. He stepped over the yellow caution tape encircling the crime scene and made his way toward the group of people congregating in front of the Bourbon Orleans Hotel.
Mike Parker, a young officer from the Eighth District, approached him, his footsteps matching beat for beat the music echoing down Bourbon Street. “We have everything under control, Detective MacIntyre.” A hint of wariness creased his eyes. “We can handle this. You don’t need to be here.”
Riley cocked a smile but couldn’t quite soften the edge of annoyance in his voice. “The last time I checked, this was my case.”
“We haven’t established if this is part of the night-stalker case. This one is, uh . . . different.” Parker looked down, fidgeting.
Riley frowned. “You obviously need some time off, ’cause you’re not making any sense. All homicides are handled downtown. You know that. It doesn’t matter if it’s related to the night-stalker case or not.” He patted Parker’s shoulder, then strode off, annoyed that his routine crime-scene approach had been thwarted. He liked to walk a scene to get a sense of the perimeter–the sounds, sights, smells, before approaching the victim. Sometimes the brutality of murder deadened his perceptions. Then all was lost, his case compromised.
He tried once again to recapture the scene, absorbing the music, the scent of onions and garlic and simmering jambalaya, a constant yet comforting smell in the Quarter. As he approached the building, a roach popped out of a broken stone tile in the sidewalk then scurried into a cracked grate.
In the crevice between the structure’s brick wall and the steep cement steps leading into a doorway, a body leaned haphazardly, the face hidden beneath a thick mass of blond curls. Blue-jean clad long legs stretched out on the sidewalk. His gaze lingered over turquoise spiked-heels adorning perfectly shaped feet. His gut twisted; sweat dampened his palms.
He took a step closer, though for the first time in his career something urged him to turn away–some gut-instinct that was his strongest, most prized possession as a detective in the New Orleans Police Department. He looked back at Parker who was still watching him, shifting from one foot to the other.
Something wasn’t right.
He took another step. Tony Tortorici, his friend and partner, stood from his examination of the victim. Suddenly, Riley could see her clearly–her deep purple shirt, loops of bright beads hanging from her neck. With his pulse racing, he saw how two strands of gold and green plastic dice entwined tightly around her neck, pushing into delicate skin.
His breathing went shallow as he took in the ugly purple-red bruises beneath the beads and the gold locket lying snug between her breasts. Tony walked toward him, his arms hanging limp at his sides, his eyes filled with sympathy. Riley couldn’t move, couldn’t swallow, couldn’t draw enough of the thick, foul air into his lungs.
He focused on the mass of blond hair; hair that he remembered could look like silk billowing in the wind. A sharp twinge shot through him. In her lap. her hands, crossed one over the other, rested against the light blue fabric of her shirt her pinkies interlaced. The position was strange, but before he could think on it further, his eyes locked on the contrasting colors between the top and the bottom of her shirt.
Pain surged through him, slicing his heart as surely as the night-stalker had sliced her throat, turning the blue fabric dark purple with her blood. Blood that had pumped from a heart he’d known since childhood.
“I’m so sorry, man,” Tony said, as he reached him.
The compassion on Tony’s face hit Riley like a blow to the stomach. Anguish loosened his neck muscles and his head rolled back. As he stared into the night sky, drops of rain pelted his face. Agony welled up inside him and broke free in a heart-wrenching roar.