“Partnership in Peril” – Excerpt from SIGHT UNSEEN (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!

When a wealthy philanthropist is found dead in a locked room, with no apparent cause of death beyond the faint scent of incense, Dr. Faith MacKenzie and her team have their work cut out for them. As the case starts to go cold, she’ll be forced to turn to a man with abilities in which she can’t bring herself to believe, and credentials that leave her no choice but to accept the possibility he might just be on the level.

 

“Partnership in Peril” — Excerpt from SIGHT UNSEEN (Guardians, Inc: Witch Hollow, Book 1) 

Where was Jonathan? He left to take a phone call, yesterday, and promptly disappeared. She hadn’t heard from him in nearly twenty-four hours, and with the recent arrival of bodies from Allegheny, Monongahela and Wayne National Forests and cryptic messages their arrival was “per Agent Caulder’s approval,” she was steadily going from concerned to pissed off. No one said what bodies came into her lab except her. Even worse, Jonathan sent Linda photographs of the dump sites, but couldn’t be bothered to extend Faith the courtesy of alerting her the bodies were coming, let alone get her approval for the transfer. Damn it, there were procedures to follow!

She frowned as she leaned closer and carefully sniffed the discolored patch of cloth stuck to the most recent body. “Where did Agent Caulder say they found these bodies?”

“That one was buried along the river bank near where you dredged up Carol-Ann, according to the Forest Service on-scene notes.” Linda glanced up from her sketch, and made a face. “Do you have to smell them, like that?”

“That’s not right.” Faith lifted one decomposing hand, turning it over to study the palm.

“I agree.” Linda blinked when Faith looked up at her in confusion. “Oh, you meant where the body was found, right? My mistake.”

“I’m no geologist, but this soil doesn’t look consistent with the samples I took from where Carol-Ann was found.” She peeled off one glove to retrieve her cell phone and hit speed dial, tapping one foot impatiently until Sandy picked up the other end. “I need you in autopsy, to take some samples. We need a soil analysis on the new arrivals.”

“I’ll be right there.”

As she hung up, she turned to find Linda studying her with a concerned expression.

“What do you think is going on, Faith?”

Faith’s gaze fixed on the body, and she sealed her lips grimly over her suspicions. She only knew two things for certain, right now. This victim was never buried near the Monongahela, and Jonathan Caulder was up to something. What she didn’t know was what. But she intended to find out.

“Laurel’s on her way in. When she gets here, tell her I need drawers four through nine sanitized, and pre-autopsy films taken on all the new arrivals before she puts them in the cooler. But she’s not to clean them or do anything else until Sandy collects soil and Mark goes over them for trace.”

Linda frowned. “Where are you going?”

“To find out just what the hell the FBI’s up to, and why they think they can commandeer my lab.”

Look out for the release of SIGHT UNSEEN, and the beginning of a brand new series from critically acclaimed Suspense author Esther Mitchell, coming October 11, 2016 from Desert Breeze Publishing!

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“Dangerous Bait” – Excerpt from DEAD MEN… (Section Psi)

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Calliope McKinney has the dubious honor of being a member of one of Mars’ famous First Families, and Psi.  But when her position as a member of a prestigious family places Calli in the middle of a fight for the survival of all Psis on Mars, she’ll have to decide where her loyalties lay, and whom to trust, because if she’s not very careful, she could end up dead.

 

“Dangerous Bait” – Excerpt from DEAD MEN… (Section Psi, Book 4) –

 

“What are you doing, Calli?”  Cade murmured the words into the headset, aware she could hear him, but that she couldn’t respond while the mark was with her.

“Sounds to me like she’s got his number.”

Cade turned toward MCAR Homicide Detective Stefan Theonides, seated next to him in the surveillance flier, and scowled.  None of these people got Calli – not like he did.  Even the people she worked with; hell, even her own brother, from what he saw of Lance McKinney, didn’t get Calli like Cade did.  He knew what drove her, how isolated she felt out here in the real world.  It wasn’t that she couldn’t relate, either.  She tried harder to be noticed than anyone he ever met.  Like now.

Cade swore beneath his breath, wishing he knew more about Martian culture, so he could properly profile how dangerous this creep was.  The anxiety that threaded through Calli’s voice told him he probably wouldn’t like the answer.

He heard Calli’s sharp intake of air, and a noise like some kind of weapon being released, and tensed.

“Talk to me, McKinney,” he ordered in an undertone.  They’d been unable to set up visuals, in case the perp was watching the park beforehand, and now that lack could put Calli’s life in danger.

“What do you need a shankblade for?”  Calli’s voice came through clear, but Cade frowned at the unfamiliar reference.  He glanced at the man beside him as Theonides swore beneath his breath.

“A shankblade is a weapon crafted up on Satan’s Tit.  It’s a titatone blade, housed in something innocuous-looking, and undetectable to contraband scanners.  Usually, the blades are coated in nuerotoxins.”

Cade’s blood froze.

“Calli, get the hell out of there!”

“I think you know,” came the cold voice of their mark, closer than it shoud have been to the microphone.  Hell, it sounded like the asshole was breathing in her ear.

“What do you want?”  Calli’s snapped response was followed by a rustle of movement that Cade hoped like hell was her moving out of range.

“Why, the Muse, my dear.  She will make such an interesting addition to my…collection.”

That tore it!  Cade was on his feet, and across the surveillance flier’s bay before he heard another word.  He’d just reached the door when a scream reverberated  through the vehicle that sent terror slicing through his soul.

Look for the first book of Section Psi, ILLEGAL PURSUIT, coming from Esther Mitchell and Desert Breeze Publishing, soon!