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Excerpt – Shiver

I am so excited to announce the new release of Shiver: A Psychic Romantic Suspense

Shiver was the story of my heart. When I was a child, I loved the song “Angie Baby” by Helen Reddy. Yes, I’m betraying my age. But, every time I heard that song, I would imagine what would it be like if you saw things, heard things, and your family thought you were crazy? Okay, maybe I’ve always had a very active imagination. In any case, that was the seed that grew into Shiver.

Excerpt from Shiver:

From the shadows, he watched the blonde sashay down the stone tiles of St. Peter Street. Plastic gold-and-green dice bounced on her chest as her turquoise pumps clickity-clacked in rhythm with her sway. 

“Hey, lady, looking good tonight. Want me to read your fortune?”

The woman glanced at the tarot card readers lining Jackson Square, then threw a cute one a wave. “No, thanks. Tonight I make my own fortune.”

“I just bet you do,” the man responded, laughing.

He watched their exchange, then saw her steal a glimpse behind her, searching for whoever had been following her as she’d left the Café Du Monde and headed toward Bourbon Street. His footsteps had been steady, but in the darkness, she hadn’t been able to make out the source. He’d made sure she wouldn’t.

She slipped her hand under her jacket and shifted the Glock in her waistband. He knew she was carrying; what cop wouldn’t when in the Quarter alone? The way she was dressed, he guessed she was trying to lure out the night stalker who’d been cutting up whores. He’d been watching her for over an hour, if anyone was helping her, he’d have known it. It was foolish of her to go it alone—foolish for her, advantageous for him. Tonight, she’d get more than she bargained for. 

She turned right down Royal, heading for a more isolated street. He smiled at his good fortune. This time of night there were too many hosts standing outside trendy bars and restaurants, hoping to draw in the tourists.

His heartbeat rose in anticipation. Excitement crawled along his skin as she turned left onto Orleans Street, once again heading toward the raucous noise of Bourbon Street. Here, no one would hear her scream.

He closed in. Her quick furtive glances behind her betrayed her fear. She could feel him hunting her. He enjoyed this part of the game, perhaps even more than the kill itself. She quickened her pace. He left her.

From his new vantage point, he watched her turn again. She stopped and listened, becoming aware that his footsteps had fallen silent. She let loose a deep sigh, and the corners of her mouth lifted slightly as she shook her head. She continued up the block to Bourbon Street, toward him. People up ahead laughed and stumbled their way down the neon alley. She visibly relaxed even more. 

As she approached, he stepped out from behind an old-fashioned cast-iron lamppost. Alarm chased across her face. She reached behind her, grasping the Glock’s handle.

“Hey, Michelle,” he said softly and gave her a disarming smile.

She squinted into the dull light from the dirt-encrusted lamp, trying to get a handle on him. Recognition dawned. She relaxed, dropping her shoulders. “Hey. What’s up?”

“What are you doing out here?”

“Just heading to Bourbon Street.”

“It’s not safe to be out here alone. Let me walk you.”

“You know I can take care of myself.” She took a quick glance behind her, then threw him a smile. “But I don’t mind the company.” 

They’d only taken a few steps before he motioned to a doorway on the right. “What’s that?”

She peered into the darkness. Before she could turn back, he seized her. His big hands wrapped around her neck, squeezing as he shoved her up against the wall. She clawed at his wrists. He could feel her heart hammering with fear. She let go of his wrists and tried to reach behind her for the Glock. 

“Oh, no you don’t,” he hissed.

He twisted the beads around her neck, applying more pressure, squeezing harder. Her eyes widened as she choked for air. She slumped forward. He pushed her back, grabbed the gun, and pocketed it.

Breath surged back into her lungs and she gulped it. The blade flashed in the dim light from the streetlamp. In one swift movement, it was over and she slid down the wall. He took something gold and shiny and slipped it around her neck. A gold heart with a rose etched across the front dangled between her breasts, nestling amidst the rivulets of blood seeping from her throat.

Riley swayed as pain and confusion obscured his vision. He stormed through the house, a burning rage pushing him beyond control. He slammed the wad of papers bunched in his hands onto the table. “I want the truth and I want it now.” 

Devra’s eyes widened as she stared at the pages. 

“You were there. You saw the whole thing. Tell me who killed her.”

She stood, her chair falling behind her with a loud crash. “I wasn’t there.”

“Then what is this?” 

“It’s just a scene from my book.”

“Bull. This is a reenactment of Michelle’s murder.”

Devra covered her face with her hands.

He gripped the table’s edge to stop himself from grabbing her shoulders and giving her a good shake. “You know too many details for someone who wasn’t there!”

She tried to back away from him but bumped into the wall behind her. “I wasn’t there. I swear.”

“Liar,” he roared.

She covered her ears and squeezed shut her eyes. “I’m not a liar. I didn’t kill her. I…I didn’t.”

He stepped closer, leaning down into her face. “I want the truth.” 

She swayed before him, her eyes glazed and frightened, “I didn’t kill Tommy, Papa.” The color drained from her face and she collapsed into a heap to the floor. 

Stunned, Riley dropped to his knees beside her. “Come on, lady. Wake up.” He gritted his teeth to restrain himself from pulling her into his arms to make sure she was okay. 

Long lashes fluttered on pasty white cheeks. She opened luminous eyes full of hurt and vulnerability and pinned him to the wall. He felt a need to apologize, to help her in some way. Dammit, why wouldn’t she just tell him the truth? 

“What happened?” she asked with a shaky voice.

“You fainted.”

She sat up, cradling her head in her hands. “I’m sorry. Really I am. I know you want answers, and I wish I had them for you. But I don’t.”

Tears filled her eyes, and damn if they didn’t work. He could feel the fury seeping right out of him. Apparently, he was in worse shape than he thought. He needed sleep. He needed food. He needed to go home, recoup and try to sort this mess out later. 

“Listen—” 

The sound of crashing glass reverberated through the room. Riley jumped to his feet as splintered shards scattered across the floor. Clumps of glass mixed with something red hit the sides of the sofa and oozed down the fabric. Devra let out a shrill scream, shattering Riley’s ragged nerves. 

He turned back to her. “It’s okay.” He bent down and touched the wet squishy substance. Raspberries? “What the hell?” Pulverized red berries covered the hardwood floor at Devra’s feet. Riley looked at her, at once concerned by the blank stare and chalky color of her skin. “It’s only berries,” he said, trying to assure her. “Raspberries.”

She started to rock, emitting a strange moaning sound. Riley watched, a wave of hopelessness crashing over him. There was nothing fake about her pain. Obviously, something bad had happened to her. But what? 

Something he didn’t want to deal with. 

“I’m sure it was just a prank.” He dashed out the front door, expecting to find a couple of giggling boys hightailing it down the block, but the street was deserted. Back inside, Devra was still on the floor, holding herself and rocking back and forth. He placed a hand on her shoulder. 

She looked up and met his eyes. Her face was red, wet, and swollen, but that didn’t bother him as much as the anguish he saw in her eyes. And the fear. Genuine grab-you-by-the-balls-and-squeeze kind of fear. 

This was no game.

“Talk to me,” he pleaded, kneeling next to her. 

For an eternal moment, she just stared at him unblinking and barely breathing. Then she gulped a breath and grabbed the front of his shirt with both hands. 

“He’s back!”

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Excerpt – Shiver

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