Welcome to this week’s Mid Week tease courtesy of Sandra Bunino. I got back late last week and missed the linky link, so this week, I’m reposting last week’s and adding a touch more. On His Watch was released on Monday.
The Blurb to remind you:
What starts as a quiet evening alone watching football turns into the night from hell for FBI agent Jason Spark, who is covering sheriff duties for his honeymooning brother. He thought the 911 call was a butt dial but instead stepped into a bloodbath, complete with writing on the wall. It’s a scene straight out of a slasher movie—a dead physician, his son, and his wife so badly beaten, it’ll be a miracle if Nikki Hart survives.
When Nikki Hart awakes from a coma, she’s terrified. She doesn’t know her name, recognize her face, or remember anything about herself and her past. She clings to the memory of the angel who comforted her in her darkest moments, but no one in the world she wakes up in resembles the good guy.
Evidence in the case leads Jason to The Butcher, a hired assassin usually contracted by the Sicilian mob, a man who doesn’t quit until the job’s done. News of Nikki’s recovery puts her in the killer’s sights again. Jason will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he’s learning to love. But can he save her from a vicious killer intent on earning his million dollar fee and his employer bent on revenge?
And when the smoke clears, can Nikki ever forgive the secret role he played in her injuries?
Last week’s tease:
Five minutes later, Jason pulled up in front of the brick and clapboard two-story house and turned off the siren. The garage door was open, and a late model BMW was parked inside next to a small minivan. The outside porch light was on, as were those on the main level and the one in the room upstairs. He took the steps to the veranda two at a time. He admired the porch swing hanging from the ceiling. Rick should have one of these. He’d talk to Junior down at the lumber store and see if he could buy him one as a wedding present. He’d have to think about moving on soon—either going back to work or retiring and starting a new career. His six month sick leave was almost up. The last thing newlyweds needed was a crusty, unemployed bachelor invading their privacy.
The lush baskets of flowers beside the doors bespoke a green thumb. The place was neat and tidy—well cared for as his mother would have said. Even the kids’ bikes were standing straight in their rack. Kids well trained or is it Mom? From what he remembered of the doctor, the man was fastidious and would insist on everything just so. He’d never been in such an orderly medical clinic in his life. Even the magazines had been lined up and stacked according to date.
The doorbell rang loudly, easily heard through the open living room windows. Jason frowned. The sheer curtains blew into the room. It was windy and cool out. Why hadn’t they shut the windows? If they’d gone for a walk, they’d have locked up the house. Larosa might be safe, but people still had to be careful. The hair on the nape of his neck stood on end.
Something was wrong here—something was very wrong. He went down the steps and walked over to the garage. He didn’t notice anyone in either car but, through force of habit, he walked over to check them. The minivan was closest, and it was empty and locked. He moved over to the silver BMW and cursed, choking on the wad of gum he swallowed in his surprise.
Through the open window, he saw the doctor lying in a pool of blood in the backseat. Jason didn’t have to touch the body to know he was dead. The man’s throat had been slit from one side to the other, almost deep enough to decapitate him, his face contorted in pain, his mouth taped shut. Every one of the man’s fingers had been cut off.
“Son of a bitch!” He pulled out his gun.
Why hadn’t he moved his ass? Why had he assumed it was nothing? Hadn’t he learned not to jump to conclusions? Rick was wrong. He wasn’t ready to get back to work; hell, he might never be, and now he’d have this on his conscience, too. Jason stared at the blood on the door knob of the door leading into the house and reached for his cell phone.
The time display read 9:45. Whatever he found in there was his fault, his alone. He continued to stare at the door, knowing he’d have to go inside, terrified of what he was sure he’d see. He listened to the call ring. When he heard Molly’s voice, he cut her off.
“Molly, get Buck over here and try to get hold of Pete. We need everybody on the job now. Have Lisa stay on patrol, but don’t let her come anywhere near the place. Get the state troopers on the line and have them send a forensic team here as well as backup. Call the coroner. We’ve got a massacre on our hands.”
This week’s tease:
Jason looked down at the floor. Dozens of bloody footprints crisscrossed the light gray ceramic tiles. He tried not to step on any of them, tried to stay out of the pooling blood, but it was hopeless. The forensic techs would have to have his boots. He walked around the table, and his heart all but stopped. For a second, he was caught in a vicious nightmare, reliving a scene that had haunted him for the last twelve years. He shook his head. This time, the woman’s hair wasn’t black. He pushed the memory back where it belonged. He didn’t want to believe the disfigured, bloodied creature on the floor was the doctor’s wife, but the few strands of red hair not caked in blood gave her away. She lay on her left side, curled in the fetal position, her right hand inside her pajama top pocket. It looked as if she’d been used as a kickboxing dummy. Stuff like this didn’t happen here.
A finger lay in the blood near what was left of her face. Like an automaton, he moved to the fridge, opened the freezer, and grabbed the ice cube tray. He dumped the ice into the empty fruit bowl on the table, gently picked up the severed digit, and placed it on the ice, the way he’d been told to do in his first aid course. It dawned on him it wouldn’t matter to a dead woman if he’d preserved her finger. They wouldn’t reattach it before they buried her.
He placed the bowl on the table and turned back to the body, vaguely aware of the sweat running down the side of his face and his back. The strong coppery scent of blood filled his nostrils. He noted a slight glow flickering through the blue silk of her right pocket. A cell phone? The call he’d thought had been an accident might have been the last thing she’d done before dying. Her right hand was still inside the pocket, as if she’d tried to hide the phone’s light.
Why hadn’t she tried to protect her head? He should wait for the coroner, but he had to make sure this was the phone he was searching for. He reached into the pocket doing his best not to disturb the body. Her top slipped open, revealing her belly. She’d been pregnant. She’d tried to shield the child. Horror filled him and tears ran down his cheeks.
My God, this is my fault, too—an innocent child.
His stomach roiled. He ran to the sink and vomited. The similarity to the Tate-Bianca murders chilled him. What the hell was this? Some sick copycat replaying one of California’s most gruesome murders?
God almighty! What kind of animals did this?
In more than fifteen years of police work, he’d never seen anything like it. Tears ran down his cheeks. He turned back to the body, reaching once more for the cell phone, and his hand halted its movement when he heard her faint moan.
Jesus! She’s still alive!
He stared at her battered and bloody face. Most of the damage seemed to be on her left side. She was looking at him. Tears pooled in her right eye and trickled down her bloodsplattered cheek. He didn’t dare touch her. Who knew what kind of injuries she’d sustained.
I’ll find whoever did this if it’s the last thing I ever do.
On His Watch is available from
Here’s an extra treat. Your chance to win all of Crimson Romance’s August Releases: Just click on the link for the rafflecopter. Don’t forget to come back and check out the other Mid Week Teasers. It’s lots of fun. Want to join us? It’s easy. Just sign up for next week’s Mid Week Tease with Sandra Bunino.