Good morning. Yesterday I finished the line edits on my latest book due out this April. When I submitted it , my editor said she didn’t think I could top On His Watch, but then said she was wrong. The White Carnation is the first book in a trilogy called The Harvester, and I promise you’ll get to see the first clip when it’s available.
As always, I want to thank Sandra Bunino for the opportunity to share my writing with you. On His Watch was my first attempt at what’s best described as suspense with a little romance. My dad has read all my books and this one is his favorite on.
The set up:
On leave from the FBI, Special Agent Jason Spark is enjoying some welcome peace and quiet when he’s called on to help the local sheriff’s department check out a 911 call. Expecting a prank or misdial, he unwittingly steps into a horrifying bloodbath straight out of a Hollywood slasher movie, complete with clues scrawled on the wall.
Nikki Hart’s husband and son are killed, but she survives, badly beaten and barely clinging to life in a coma. When she awakens, she doesn’t know her name, recognize her face, or remember anything about herself and her past. Terrified, and unsure of whom to trust, she clings to the memory of the angel who comforted her in her darkest moments.
The investigation turns up a prime suspect: The Butcher, an elusive hired assassin for the Sicilian mob. As the news of Nikki’s recovery spreads, putting her in this ruthless killer’s sights again, Jason will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he’s learning to love.
Nikki’s beginning to believe Jason might be the angel who protected her in her dreams. But when she learns about the secret role he played in the worst day of her life, can she ever forgive him?
They sit across from one another at a small café, one of her favorite places in San Francisco, and she’s happy, happier than she’s been in a long time. Her angel’s back. He’s going to take her away from the ugliness. He’s dressed in white, his clothing so bright it’s luminous. His wings are furled but everyone walking by stares at him in awe. His halo glows, and she can’t make out his features. She wants to see his eyes. She senses something’s wrong. She needs to know what he’s hiding from her. He reaches for her hand. His large hand always comforts her, but this time, instead of bringing warmth, it chills her.
“You’re safe now. I won’t let anyone hurt you again,” he says, but his voice is different, dictatorial. It’s a voice she remembers, but instead of consoling her, it frightens her.
Feathers start to fly around them as he slips a heavy ring on her finger. She glances down and sees shackles around her ankles and wrists.
“You’re mine. We were destined for one another. I’ve always known it.” She still can’t see the face of the angel across from her, but he’s no longer dressed in pristine white. His garments are dirty, covered in blood, even his wings, and he reminds her of a giant bird. He grips her left hand painfully and instead of removing the ring, his talon holds a bloody scalpel. The pain blinds her.
She begins to fall and spirals through an unfamiliar darkness. Like Alice she’s falling into nothingness. Objects float by her—an easel, a baby carriage, a puppy, a large bouquet of red roses. Flowers from him are a punishment. She hates them, but he insists on sending them. They become an extension of his displeasure. She sees a baby doll dressed in a light blue romper. She wants it, but a little blond girl reaches for the doll as well, so she pulls back her hand. When she looks again, the child holds an infant girl. She lands heavily on her stomach on a sticky surface. She needs to keep her weight off her belly. She tries to stand, but she can’t get up. There’s something on the floor just ahead of her. She reaches for it, but her arm shrinks.
The floor vanishes, and she’s standing in Chinatown amidst firecrackers and smoke. She’s alone and frightened. A huge blue and gray dragon materializes in front of her. The color is soothing, the creature playful. It opens and closes its wings to the beat of the music. The dragon’s face is bisected—one side fierce, the other benevolent. The dragon reaches out its claw and pulls her close to him. She feels safe, protected. She looks up at his large face, both sides blend together, recognizable for a second, and then not. The dragon dissipates.
“Get rid of it or I will,” the two-headed demon yells at her from inside the swirling vortex in which they’re caught.
One head wears Sam’s face, but the other is constantly changing.
“I can’t trust you for two seconds. Who is he?”
“He’s nobody. He’s just a figment of my imagination.” She’s lying, but she’s afraid. If he learns she went to the cliffs alone, he’ll only get angrier. And he’s cruel when he’s angry.
“She used to be such an angel. I don’t know what’s happened to her. This is your fault.” The other head speaks, the voice unfamiliar, but the blurred face dissolves into her father’s. “She’s become willful and disobedient.”
“Give her time,” the head with Sam’s face replies. “She’s mine now. She’ll come around, and if she doesn’t, I’ll make her obey.”
Her father’s face dissolves, and Jason’s visage takes his place. His familiar voice is frustrated, and she watches the muscle jump in his jaw. “Be reasonable,” he says, but there’s iron in his voice, and she shivers. “It’s for your own good.”
Now, she’s in a small dark place, pounding on the door. “Let me out. Please let me out.” Why has Jason imprisoned her here?
“I’m sorry.” She hears his voice outside. “You have to fight to stay here. You can do it. You can survive.”
Light fills the closet and the badly scarred demon with the diamond and finger necklace stands there, sneering at her as another faceless fiend moves closer to her. The door surface is suddenly covered in long, sharp nails that stab into her back, but she can’t pull away from it. She hears the unmistakable crunch of someone eating an apple. The demon raises the knife in his large hand, and advances toward her.
“No, stay away from me.” He grips her left hand, and pain fills her. Blood drips from it. He pulls her tightly to him, too tightly. She can’t breathe. He tangles his fingers in her hair and tugs painfully. She can feel his erection. She has to fight. She has to get away. Her mouth fills with bile. She bites down on his lip as hard as she can and raises her knee. He groans and pushes her away.
“You little bitch. You’ll pay for this.” She opens her mouth to scream, but no sound comes.
“It’s okay. It’s just a bad dream,” says a familiar voice. Out of the void comes the angel, but he isn’t her angel.
“Wake up, Mrs. Hart. You’re having a nightmare.”
Want to read more? Amazon
Now, please check out the rest of today’s teasers: