SIGHT UNSEEN available for sale!

I am super excited and pleased to announce that Guardians, Inc: Witch Hollow’s debut book, SIGHT UNSEEN, is now available for sale!

If you’ve been waiting for this book, it’s finally here! You can pick up your copy of the e-book today at any of the following locations:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Desert Breeze Publishing

All Romance Ebooks

Hopefully, it’ll be available in print very soon. I will keep you posted on that front.

If you want to know what the book is about, keep reading:

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, in the midst of a series of bizarre murders, 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.

sightunseencoverart

 

 

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“Manhunt for a Monster” – Excerpt from SIGHT UNSEEN (Guardians, Inc: Witch Hollow)

sightunseencoverartIn 2003, I pitched a novel I’d written eight years before to my then-publisher, about a member of law enforcement who wasn’t quite what he appeared, and a skeptical pathologist with a disdain for the paranormal.

I was told it would never work the way I’d written it, because the characters were too different. My editor at the time tore the book apart and put it back together the way she thought it should be, removing large chunks of the most valuable character development and interaction, and essentially turning it into a completely different book (complete with different character names and professions) I was none-too-happy with.

Now, over a decade later, I’m a great deal wiser about the industry. I know the characters work as I originally wrote them (I always believed so). While working on other current projects, I worked on returning the book to its original context (I did update the timeline from the 1990’s to 2014, with all the technological updates to go with it). The book is now completed, and will be released by Desert Breeze Publishing on October 11.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a little bit of what was removed with you… 🙂

 

“Manhunt for a Monster” – Excerpt from SIGHT UNSEEN (Guardians, Inc: Witch Hollow, Book 1):

 

His cell phone rang, jolting his attention from his recently departed visitor. Punching talk with his thumb, he lifted the device to his ear. “Caulder.”

“I thought you were on a manhunt.”

“I was. I am. But I’m not sure he’s a man, anymore.”

There was a pause. Then, “I think you got his attention.”

Jonathan frowned at the tone of his boss and friend’s voice. Damion George didn’t beat around the bush like this. He wouldn’t even call unless it was necessary. Necessary, with Damion, meant either Crucibani or demons. Given his choice of words, Damion obviously knew which, too.

“You know who it is, don’t you?”

The sound of papers being shuffled around carried through the line, then Damion sighed.

“We don’t have any reports of Para activity in that area, if that’s what you mean. At least…” There was a pregnant pause.

“At least what?”

Another pause, another sigh. “You’re not going to like it.”

“Try me.”

“Well, Witch Hollow’s notorious for various Para activity. There are several Paras located up there.”

“Why do I hear a ‘but’ in there?”

“The Paras in that area aren’t the problem. Not exactly.”

Jonathan’s heart sank. He knew it. From the moment Mac identified his description of Ramsey Parrish’s murderer, he knew he’d located the bastard. “Hailatus.”

” ‘Fraid so.  You don’t sound surprised.”

“Someone’s already been here about him. A Dr. Faith MacKenzie.”

What?”

“She didn’t ask about him by name. She came for help solving a murder. She says there was a faint smell of incense at the crime scene — I still haven’t determined what kind. The perp didn’t leave any other accidental clues, and no one saw him.”

“The latest alias I was able to uncover for him is Rene Haley. Some kind of businessman, from what I was able to find.”

“Damn.” Jonathan scrubbed a hand over his face, anxiety gnawing at him.

“What’s the matter, Jon? I’d think you’d be happy we finally tracked him down.”

Normally, that would be true. Any other time, under any other circumstances, he’d be relieved to finally have a bead on the monster of his father’s making. But if Hailatus was involved in Ramsey Parrish’s murder, things were about to get complicated, quickly.

“I’ll have to get back to you.”

Another silence, punctuated by the click of computer keys. “All right, I’ll keep an eye on things. Meanwhile, see if you can pick up anything you don’t have to report to the Bureau, if you get my drift. And keep me posted on what you find out.”

Jonathan signed off with an affirmative, and tossed the cell phone on the coffee table as he plopped down on the sofa. Great. This just kept getting better and better.

“Serial Killer” – Excerpt from SIGHT UNSEEN (Guardians, Inc: Witch Hollow)

 

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!

sightunseencoverart

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.

 

“Serial Killer” — Excerpt from SIGHT UNSEEN (Guardians, Inc: Witch Hollow, Book 1):

She lifted one brow and stared him down expectantly.  He fought the urge to chuckle. She was adorable, when she was pissed. Not that he was about to admit it to her.

“All right.” He threw his hands up in mock surrender. “You’re right. I had the forensic accountants go over his financials, and it doesn’t look like your pal, Adam, had any reason to want Parrish dead.”

“Good.” She turned back to the samples on her workstation. “Now maybe we can get back to finding the real killer.”

“Like Patton.”

She shot him a withering glance over her shoulder. “Would you let it go, already?”

“Why? Even you admitted he matches your profile of the type of person most likely to want Parrish dead.”

She turned toward him again, her arms crossed over her chest and her gaze cool. “Perhaps. But if he’s Ramsey’s killer, what’s his connection to Carol-Ann? Or the other five victims?”

“You found a solid link?” Jonathan straightened, instantly on alert. Mac wasn’t able to link the cases more than peripherally, before. Not enough to convince her they were connected, and he wasn’t about to argue with someone with her credentials, when it came to these things.

“Not conclusive, no. But I had Mark run gas chromatographic analysis of the clothing of four of the other victims, and there are consistent levels of the same incense components in all of them as we found on Ramsey.”

“What about the others?”

“Carol-Ann’s body was submerged in the Monongahela for so long, all chemical traces were washed away, and one of the other victims was little more than a skeleton. We barely found enough clothing fibers to confirm she was definitely clothed at the time of burial. Beyond that, there just wasn’t a big enough sample to get a definitive test, and we can’t be sure there wasn’t any environmental contamination of the sample.”

Jonathan reached into his pocket for his cell phone. “Consistent is good enough for me.  Thanks, Mac.”

Even as he dialed Damion’s number, Jonathan squashed the uneasy feeling in his gut. This was almost too easy. What kind of sick game was Haliatus up to, now?

Look for SIGHT UNSEEN, coming from Esther Mitchell and Desert Breeze Publishing on October 11, 2016.

“The Seer’s Curse” – Excerpt from SHADOW WALKER (Project Prometheus)

ShadowWalkerCoverArt

Their mission is to search out and bring down those who trade in terrorism, fear, and human suffering by whatever means necessary.  To do this, they must be willing to give up their freedom, and even their lives. They are a mercenary unit with a mission, and a motivation that has nothing to do with what they get paid, and everything to do with the innocent lives they save. Meet the men and women of…

Project Prometheus

Trevor Watkins is the miracle of the hour; the survivor of an unassisted coma.  But he awakes in a strange place, with no memory but one – the smiling face of a woman with jade-green eyes he has a dreadful feeling he’s supposed to hate.  Trapped in a living nightmare from which he believes there is no escape, he finds himself face-to-face with a betrayal he can’t help but forgive, and a secret he can’t hide from.  Now, the jade-eyed beauty from his past can set him free, if he’s willing to let her step into a world that could take her away from him forever.

“The Seer’s Curse” -Excerpt from SHADOW WALKER (Project Prometheus, Book 3) —

Smoke curled up from the city below, and the distant sounds of death and battle filled Ausar’s ears.  His nostrils flared with the scent of burnt flesh and fresh blood, and rage coiled in his gut to know that Onuris’ minions were the genesis of this slaughter.  As the Crophines‘ Seer, his was the responsibility to guide Ali-Antos towards a bright future.  Why had he not foreseen this?  Why did he receive no warning, no way by which to prepare the people of Ali-Antos for battle?  It was as if the Great Gods mocked him, reminding him that, while he was immortal within the confines of Aermornosa, he was still fallibly human.  Now, the people he was sworn to guide and protect were helpless lambs at the altar of Onuris’ lust for blood and power.

A low, lupine growl rumbled through his chest, and his pupils drank in the light as the wildness within gripped him.  If not for his position, he would be down there, in the thick of battle.  The Gods gifted him with an ability that could turn the tide of the struggle in the city below.  But the weight of the Medicine pouch slung across his chest reminded him that he was bound by other covenants.  He must defend his charge, regardless of the cost.  Which meant he must leave this place.  When the Sodalitas Arachaena arrived at Aermornosa’s gates, they must find nothing of use.

“We must go.”

He turned toward the voice, to meet the dark gaze of the Musir to his left.   Sargon.  The Warrior among them.  Quickly, his gaze flashed over the rest.  Lugh, Mykalos, Csilla.  These were the only family he knew, and he would defend them with his life’s blood.

“It is time, Shadow Walker,” Sargon nodded toward the hidden tunnel that led to the docks only the Elder Musir knew existed.  There, boats would carry them to the far reaches of the Earth, to hide their charges.  They would never see each other again.  And the darkness that filled Ausar had only one bright spot of light.  He had seen the future, in his mirror.  One day, the Gods would bring the five sacred artifacts back to Aermornosa, and return the balance.  Peace settled over him.  That knowledge was comfort enough.

Get ready for the next Chapter of Project Prometheus

SHADOW WALKER

Available 12/21/2015

Discover Project Prometheus today!  Join the struggle between light and darkness with IN HER NAME

“Confessions in Blood” — Excerpt from SHADOW WALKER (Project Prometheus)

ShadowWalkerCoverArt

Every once in a while, as an author, you encounter a scene that just blows you away. This scene was that for me — totally unexpectedly. I originally intended for Trevor to come around alone, to have to battle his thoughts and personal demons completely alone, to illustrate how much inside of himself he’s gone in order to retreat from what he can’t understand or face. Instead, his disappearance dragged Jaye into the mix, and this amazing bit of character exposition developed all on its own.

“Confessions in Blood” — Excerpt from SHADOW WALKER (Project Prometheus, Atlantis Silver, Book #3) —

Ten minutes and a gurney trip later, Jaye frowned in true worry as she realized Trevor was still dazed and not at all himself.  Even worse, the bright fluorescent lights illuminated the blood on his dark skin that the moonlight and shadows masked.

Helping him to his bed, she left him just long enough to collect gauze, warm water, and antiseptic.  She doubted he lost enough blood to need emergency surgery or a transfusion, though the amount was alarming to view.  She frowned.  Even knowing it was probably a superficial head wound, and looked worse than it was, she was worried.

Standing before him, she dipped a piece of gauze in the warm water and began gently cleaning the blood from his face.  If she could get through the blood, she could find out if he needed stitches or not.

Trevor flinched with a hiss, and she raised startled eyes to find him regarding her with clear eyes, as if he’d never been the animal she found hidden in the bushes.

“Jaye?”  His voice was weak, and his hand trembled as he lifted it – the only signs he was actually unwell.  He glanced toward the window, and his brow furrowed.  “What time is it?”

“About two in the morning.”  Jaye bit her lip.  He lost track of time, and she didn’t like that.  Losing time was a bad sign in psychiatric medicine.  She wiped away the last smear of blood, and a chill passed through her.  There weren’t any wounds.  Not a single laceration.  She swallowed past her trepidation, but her voice still came out small and breathless.  “What happened to you?”

He tensed. “I don’t remember.”

The tone of his voice alerted her something was wrong, even before she met his gaze.  His eyes were clear, but evasive.  Damn it, he was lying to her.  “Trevor…”

“No.”

She loosed a small cry of exasperation.  Zero-two-hundred hours, when she barely slept last night, was not the time for him to start pulling his stoic routine on her.

“You never were a good liar.”

His gaze darkened as he stared her in the eye.  “And you must have a lot of practice at it.”

Those words drove the breath from her even more than his bitter tone did.  Had he finally remembered Somalia?  Did he know what she did?  She sought blindly for a place to sit as her knees weakened with fear.  “What do you mean?”

The anger dropped from his face, and he reached out to her, oblivious of the blankets dropping, leaving him naked from the waist up.

“Hey, I’m sorry… I don’t know what that was.  I just… I don’t want to talk about where I went, okay?”

For a reason she couldn’t explain if he asked, his secretive attitude annoyed her.  She went back to cleaning the smaller blood smears from his face and neck.  “Great.  Fine.  Do you want to at least tell me how you ended up naked and covered in blood?”

“Not particularly.”

“Damn it, Trevor!”  She threw the gauze into the bio waste container with more force than necessary and glared at him.  “This isn’t a game.  I’m trying to help you.”

“I’m fine.”

“Funny.  Your boss doesn’t think so.”

“I said, I’m fine.”

“Bullshit.”

His eyes narrowed.  “You never used to swear.”

She bit down on words that would turn the air blue, and instead snapped, “Yeah, well I had to get tough.”

The frown on his face pulled her attention from her anger, even before he hazarded, “Because of me?”

She flinched, in spite of her attempt to remain neutral.  She couldn’t help it; she’d run from the truth for too long.  “Yes.”

His gaze turned away, toward the window, and he looked truly ill for the first time.  “I’m sorry.”

The words hit her out of nowhere, and stung because he had no idea how little she deserved them.  She should be the one begging for his forgiveness.  Jaye bit down hard on her lower lip, and stepped closer.

“Don’t apologize,” she whispered as she stroked his cheek gently.  “Not to me.”

Want to know more?  Find out how it all starts in IN HER NAME, currently available from Desert Breeze Publishing.

“Accidental Vampire” – Excerpt from CRIMSON ROSE (Project Prometheus)

Project Prometheus BadgeGeronimo Black and Claire Vernaud are two of my more unusual Prometheans. While most of my Prometheans are as normally human as you and I, Gerry and Claire have unusual traits, for human beings. One of them was born with a rare variety of an unusual condition, and the other was transformed by a difficult and dangerous event.

 

“Accidental Vampire” – Excerpt from CRIMSON ROSE (Project Prometheus)

“You are a vampire.”

She sounded  skeptical.  Hell, she looked skeptical.  Geronimo sighed. No one ever said this confession stuff was easy.  Might as well bite the bullet.  “Yeah.”

Claire rolled her eyes.  “And you cannot come up with a better lie than that?”

“It’s not a lie!”

Juste.  A vampire who walks in daylight.”  She threw up her hands in disgust.  “Now I have heard everything!”

The problem dawned on Gerry, then, and he cursed beneath his breath.  This wasn’t about her not believing in vampires.  This was about what she believed about them.  A dark smile tugged his lips.

“There’s more than one kind of vampire, Claire.”

One slim, blond brow lifted.  She still looked unconvinced.  “C’est fait?  I have not heard of vampires who are not…how would you say? Allergic to sunlight.”

He leaned against the tree, following her restless motions as she paced in a tight circle.  “You’ve got Hollywood brainwashing, is what you’ve got.  Nosferatu can be killed by sunlight, supposedly.  They’re essentially dead, anyway, which I guess makes them susceptible.  I am not, and nor have I ever been, dead.  In fact, I’ve never met a Nosferatu.”

She whipped about to face him.  “Then how–?”

This was more difficult.  “About ten years ago, I was investigating a chemical weapons facility as part of a team like START.  I assume you’ve heard of them?”

She nodded.

“Yeah, well, some people aren’t as accommodating as the Russians were.  The entire team stumbled into an unshielded nuclear site.  Radiation poisoning killed everyone else on the team.  Somehow, I got lucky.”  He couldn’t keep the scornful irony out of his voice if he tried, so he didn’t.  “My blood was irradiated.  The doctors never saw anything like it, before, and they weren’t sure what to do with me.  They figured they could treat it like leukemia.  Just give me a bone marrow transplant and new blood.”

“It did not work?”

“Hell, no.”  He ran a hand through his hair.  “Some kind of mutation had already taken place, and the new blood just kept dying.  Even worse, I was drained all the time, so tired it took more effort than I had just to lift my arm.”

She looked curious now, and at least she was listening again.  “How did they fix it?”

“They never really did.  Matt found someone who’d developed a serum that slows the rate of blood death, and allows me to function longer without a transfusion, but I still need blood.  And I need energy, which I get by feeding off the energy of others.  A psychic vampire.”

The tip of her tongue darted over her lips, and her eyes telegraphed nerves her expression didn’t otherwise show.  “And how do you… feed?”

Hunger and humor blended in him as he watched that tongue move.  This probably went way beyond what she was ready to accept about their partnership.  His desire for her certainly did.  “Blood or energy?”

“B-both.”

He pushed off from the tree, ate up the space between them in a single, fluid motion.  “I get normal blood transfusions.  Drinking blood would be useless.  It just breaks down in the stomach.  As for energy,” he closed the distance until even a breath wouldn’t fit between them.  Hunger churned in him as he stared down into her emerald eyes.  Slowly, he dipped his head and brushed his lips across hers, causing her eyes to widen as she sucked in a surprised breath.  His lips tugged up in a seductive smile.  “I’m afraid I’d have to show you.”

“Blood Sacrifice” – Excerpt from IN HER NAME (Project Prometheus)

InHerNameCoverArtTheir mission is to search out and bring down those who trade in terrorism, fear, and human suffering by whatever means necessary.  To do this, they must be willing to give up their freedom, and even their lives. They are a mercenary unit with a mission, and a motivation that has nothing to do with what they get paid, and everything to do with the innocent lives they save. Meet the men and women of…

 Project Prometheus

Manara Binte Alzena never asked to be anyone’s savior.  So when the destiny to save the world from a great evil was placed upon her, she did the only thing she knew how to escape it — she ran.  Fleeing Ishtar’s temple, she befriended an American spy who could teach her everything a virgin should know to survive, except how to guard her heart.  And when her brother murders their mother and destroys the temple in Syria, Manara knows she must reach the buried temple at Nineveh before he unleashes the evil locked there into the world.  But, to stop him, she must rely on the one man who can break her heart.

“Blood Sacrifice” – Excerpted from IN HER NAME (Project Prometheus, Book 1) —

He called it a situation.  What kind of situation bloodied a man’s face and clothes while sealing his lips?

A few moments later, Manara had her answer and wished she never asked.  Standing beside Matt, her eyes filled with tears and her face froze in horror, Manara viewed the carnage laid out before her eyes and felt ill.  Unsteadily, she groped for Matt’s arm, clinging to him with all the strength she possessed as she stared out over at blood-soaked stretch of land.  A swatch of cloth, like a bloody flag, snapped on the stiff desert breeze from its position in the low desert brush.  It was easier to look there than to see what made up its genesis.

The pieces were almost unrecognizable as body parts from this distance.  At first glance, they looked like nothing more than dust-caked red rocks.  But the carrion birds that circled and swooped in to grab up the pieces belied that illusion.  And then she saw the heads.  Sitting side-by-side, staring toward their home, were the bloody, slashed heads of a man and a woman.  His beard was matted with blood, and her hair was hacked off and clumped near her dismembered head.  Gashes slit open the skin to the bone and their eyes held matching, blank expressions of terror.

Her stomach heaved without warning, and Manara spun away and dropped to the ground as she retched.  Even the temple had not been this grotesque or without cause.  Sobs folded her over long after the illness passed and she rocked back and forth on her knees, wailing for these people whose souls she had not been strong enough to save.

She sensed movement and knew when Matthew crouched beside her by the warmth of his hand on her back.  With another sob, she threw herself into his embrace, and clung with all her strength to his rock-solid support.

“How?”  She cried, as fury rose up to mingle with failure and pain.  “How could this happen?  How could we not know?”

“I found them this morning on the other side of the ridge.  It’s not pretty over there.”

Her eyes snapped to his grim face as he spoke those quiet words.  Her stomach roiled threateningly as her mind painted grotesque pictures, but she forced herself to ask the question she really didn’t want answered.

“There are more?”

“Just goats and sheep.  Animals,” he reassured her quietly as he helped her to her feet, then placed a protective arm around her as she swayed.  Squeezing her gently, he asked, “Are you okay?”

Manara’s stomach heaved again.  Okay?  Anything but, she acknowledged queasily as she turned to stare at the carnage, which was all that remained of the goatherd and his wife.  She didn’t have to ask who brutally dismembered them or their herd.  She already knew.

“It was…it was like this at the temple, too,” she whispered weakly as she clung to Matthew’s steady support.  “Bodies torn apart as if by some terrible beast.”

She took a shaky step toward the bodies but Matthew caught her, pulling her back.  His eyes were tender and filled with concern as he gazed down into her face.  A shadow touched those muddy eyes and she realized that the demon responsible for this evil had already reached across the span of oceans and polluted another heart with such vileness it was driven to butchery.  The horrible memory of Rachel Murray never left Matthew, though he hardened himself against its influence over time.

Pick up your copy of IN HER NAME at Desert Breeze Publishing, today!