“The First Fire” — Excerpt from UP IN FLAMES

UpInFlamesCoverArt

A serial arsonist’s path of destruction has turned into an eerie serial murder, and jurisdiction falls to the FBI’s resident expert on the bizarre, and the only forensic lab in the country equipped to handle tracking down a renegade psychopath. Are Doctor Faith MacKenzie and her team ready for what they’re about to uncover?

A mysterious serial arsonist has been setting fires over the Witch Hollow area for months, and when a charred body turns up at the most recent arson scene, Faith and Jonathan are called to the scene. While Faith begins the process of identifying the victim and determining cause of death, Jonathan suspects the danger runs deeper than either of them could have predicted. As the number of fires, and the body count, grows, the partners will have to ask themselves what’s most important — bringing down a killer, or finding the truth.

“The First Fire” — Excerpt from Guardians, Inc: Witch Hollow, Book 2: Up In Flames

The blare of sirens jerked Doctor Faith MacKenzie from sleep. Through sleep-blurred eyes, she watched the whirl of colored lights dance across her bedroom wall and disappear, then closed her eyes again. She needed her sleep. Since the Bunker joined forces with the FBI a month ago, on a case so strange it left her questioning her own reality, her sleep was sporadic at best. More often than not, memories of events she still couldn’t reconcile tore any chance of sleep from her, leaving her in her studio at all hours, trying to forget the images of an obsidian knife biting through flesh, and blood covering her hands, clothes, and the floor of her lab.

She touched her fingers to her throat, aware the soreness lingering there was little more than memory, even if the yellowing bruises were not. Faith shuddered. She often woke unable to breathe, with the phantom sensation of hard fingers digging into her throat, or the impossible pressure of a hand as cold as the grave wrapped around her heart.

If only those were the worst of her recent memories, she might be able to ignore them. After all, Rene Haley was dead, the case closed. However, for the past week, the memory of a brutal dismemberment case they just wrapped up four days ago plagued her sleep. She still couldn’t say for sure what caused some of the marks on that body, regardless of her new partner’s assurance they had enough evidence for a conviction.

She started to drift back to sleep, only to be jolted awake again by the shrill tone of her cell phone, on the nightstand beside her bed. Fumbling for the device, she punched accept without looking and put the unit to her ear as she fell back against the pillows with a muttered, “This had better be good.”

Special Agent Jonathan Caulder’s wry chuckle filled her ear. “Good morning to you, too. I don’t suppose you heard the sirens screaming through town.”

She refused to open her eyes. He would go away, if she just pretended he wasn’t there. Then, with a sigh, she realized he was waiting for an answer. “Mmm. And if I was a firefighter, I might be concerned.”

“C’mon, Mac. Batter up — we have a dead body.”

She swung her legs out of bed, and groaned as she sat up. “No way can they know that yet. I doubt the flames are even out. Besides, what can’t wait until a decent hour? And what’s this ‘we’? Since when are fire-related deaths considered an FBI matter?”

“Since a scorched body ran out of a burning building, screaming about demons.”

Ice plunged through Faith, and she groaned again, in disbelief. Not again. “Demons.”

“Yup. Up and at ’em, Mac. Wetherly already signed over jurisdiction. Meet you at the crime scene — I’ll text you the address.”

Before she could protest that bodies neither ran nor screamed, he hung up, and her phone beeped, indicating an incoming text. Glancing down at her phone, she pressed open and her eyes widened at the address showing on her phone’s screen.

Look for this second book in Guardian, Inc: Witch Hollow

Available Now! 

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“Bombshell” — Excerpt from UP IN FLAMES (Guardians, Inc: Witch Hollow)

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What happens when you bring together the best independent forensic lab in the country, one of the leading pathologists and criminal profilers in the world, and a Federal agent with a very unique skill set, and a gun loaded with Slayer bullets?

Welcome to Witch Hollow!

A serial arsonist’s path of destruction has turned into bizarre murder, and when local Law Enforcement decides they’re in over their heads, the case is turned over to the FBI’s resident expert on the bizarre, and the only forensic lab in the country equipped to handle tracking down a madman backed by one of the world’s largest religious organizations. Are Faith and her team ready for what they’re about to uncover?

“Bombshell” – Excerpt from UP IN FLAMES (Guardians, Inc: Witch Hollow, Book #2) –

Joe stared in disbelief at the towhead little boy with the impish grin who stood in the doorway. Shock radiated through Joe in waves, and a terror unlike any he ever felt pushed through him. Even the nightmares of a downed plane in a burning field couldn’t suck the air from him, this way. Surely, she would have told him…

“Hi!” The kid didn’t seem to share his hesitance, his grin widening as he half-swung from the door handle. Clearly, the boy was a livewire, and the concept of standing still foreign to him. Joe pegged him at about four or five years old. And he didn’t want to think she’d moved on quite that quickly.

“Joey, how many times do I have to tell you to not open—“ Joyce’s scolding Texas twang died off in a horrified gasp as she rounded the end of the staircase. She froze, the dish towel in her hand dropping to the floor at her feet, and a panic in her eyes Joe couldn’t find explanation for. “Omigod. Joe.”

She flew into motion, snatching the boy back to her, and the wariness in her eyes punched Joe in the gut, hard, even before she demanded, “What are you doing here?”

He frowned. This didn’t sound like the Joyce he knew. “I stopped by the Bunker, and Faith told me you went home. We got a break in the case. Mark identified the accelerant.”

He saw her tense, her grasp on the little boy tightening, as his gaze dropped curiously to the kid again. His frown deepened, and he couldn’t halt the flash of betrayal. “You never told me you got married.”

She sucked in an audible breath, then sighed heavily. “I’m not married.”

Those words jogged another detail into place, and something she said before hit him at last. Joey. She called the kid Joey. A blond little boy with a daredevil’s fearlessness. Five years… Aw, hell.

His gaze lifted to hers, and the fear in her eyes suddenly make a hell of a lot more sense.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

She didn’t back down, her chin lifted proudly. That was the Joyce Lindon he knew. Joe nearly smiled, until her next words wiped away every trace of humor.

“Because I didn’t want you to know. I’d think that was obvious.”