I had the pleasure of meeting Lean Austin when she, Lucynda Storey and myself were taking our first tentative steps into the world of writing. The three of us met at a local writers group and hit it off immediately. Before the meeting broke up, we decided to become critique partners and spent several years sharing our successes and rejections. As life tends to do, things changed. Lena moved away and connected with a new critique group, Lucynda became a publisher and I continue to muddle through with writing, still in the same location and same desk. But the one thing that hasn't changed is our friendship, love and respect of each other. I'm delighted to have Lena here to share her latest release with us.
Sit back and enjoy the talents of Miss Lena Austin!
Lena is offering a PDF of Dire Wolves: Silence, to be drawn from today's commenters.
“One funeral wasn’t enough for you?” said the kidnapper’s note…
Deafened in an attempted murder, Detective Cameron Douglas is involuntarily retired from the force, despite his willingness to continue with the investigation of the murder of the mayor’s secretary. Now, it’s personal.
ENT therapist Noel Miller is a vampire with a few scars of his own. He wants to be more than Cam’s interpreter and instructor in deaf culture. He could help Cam, if only the werewolf will let him into his life and heart.
Then the murderer strikes again. Right at Cam.
“Danse Macabre” was a lousy choice for a ring tone, but Detective Cameron Douglas always thought about it when he had the least amount of time to change the ring to something else. The tune was the last he’d ever hear. Cam didn’t know that sad fact, or he’d have changed the ring sooner.
Cam snatched the phone out of his pocket and flipped it open as soon as he saw it was his boss, Lt. Kraynak. “Hey, Mark! You caught me just leaving the mayor’s office.”
“Yeah?” Mark’s voice always sounded nervous, but at that moment, he sounded as squeaky as a girl. Cam always wondered if Mark was as closet gay as Cam himself. “How’d it go?”
Cam sighed. The investigation into the death of the mayor’s secretary, Margaret Lund, was supposed to be kept very quiet and low-key. “We got the blood from her apartment at the lab, looking for DNA. They seem to be consistent with the defensive marks found on her body despite floating around in the St. John’s River for a while. I’ve got a few good leads.”
He had to be vague. Cam couldn’t exactly tell his boss he was a werewolf and he’d caught an odd, masculine scent in Margaret’s apartment. He knew any sort of masculine odor didn’t belong in that apartment because Margaret and his mother had been lovers for over twenty years. Not exactly what you want the whole world to know. Mom had been in the closet all her life, and he wasn’t about to out her when she was mourning “Aunt Maggie’s” death. Dad would turn over in his grave, the day care she’d run for fifteen years would close, and her life would be in ruins. What she and Maggie had enjoyed just wasn’t ever going to be public, and that wasn’t admissible evidence anyway.
He could see it now. Him, on the witness stand. “Yes, Your Honor. I’m a werewolf you see, and I sniffed this odor…” He winced, even to himself.
“I don’t like it, Cam. You shouldn’t be on this case. Ms. Lund was your mother’s best friend. You could be called prejudiced in court.” Mark popped another gumball in his mouth. Cam heard it rattle against his teeth before it crackled as he chewed it into oblivion. Mark’d been trying to quit smoking again, and kept a gumball bank on his desk.
“I don’t like it, either, Mark. Where His Honor got the idea I’d be the only detective who could do the job is beyond me.” Cam was in sight of his car at last. The covered parking garage across the street from City Hall was a piece of shit like all the rest of downtown. Half the security cameras didn’t work at the best of times, and the roof leaked whenever it rained. So where was he parked? On the roof. In the rain. Of course. So he was wet. It was Florida. Not like he would melt. He was a werewolf, not a witch, and this wasn't Hollyweird.
The beep in his ear made him jump, and the caller ID told him it was Mom. "Hey, I'm at my car. Hang on a sec." Cam flipped over to his mother’s call and sat down on a bench about fifty feet from his car, in the shelter covering the elevator. "Hi, Mom." He frowned and noticed the hood of his car was slightly ajar. That was odd. He distinctly remembered changing the oil the previous Sunday and slamming the hood closed because he hated working in the hot sun.
He never heard her answer. Hell, he never heard anything except the biggest boom on the planet.