I have a lot of material coming out this summer: THE IRON HUNT (Hunter Kiss, June 24), HOTTER THAN HELL (anthology, June 24), THE WILD ROAD (Dirk & Steele #8, late July), not to mention my stint with Marvel Comics—NYX Volume 2, which hits shelves in August. Heck, it’s officially May 1st. Time flies. But in the best possible way.
So, I posted a brief excerpt from THE IRON HUNT the other day. Here’s a clip from THE WILD ROAD, which is a sequel to A Dream of Stone and Shadows (and one or two other Dirk & Steele stories):
She smelled it still, when she opened her eyes. A bad way to wake. She lay motionless, stunned and disoriented, lost in a dark room, stretched on a bed. Shouts filled her ears, footsteps pounding. Sirens wailed. The woman flexed her hands and gripped rumpled covers. She wiggled her toes. Her feet were bare, though she wore other clothing.
Her head hurt. So did her heart, like she had been crying. Or maybe that was her lungs. Smoke was in the air, faintly illuminated by some ambient light far on her left. Her eyes stung. Her mind tried to catch up with what she was breathing and seeing.
“Shit,” she muttered hoarsely, and the sound of her voice�rough, awful, hardly discernable beneath the cascading sirens�felt like a baseball bat against her back. One good swing. Move it or lose it. Live or die.
The woman scrambled off the bed, landing hard on the floor, keeping below the thickening smoke.. The carpet felt odd. Wet and sticky. She could not immediately see why, but when she moved a fraction to the left, her hand hit something solid and warm. She ignored it and started crawling until she bumped into another, similar obstacle. Only this time, something inside her screamed, choking on more than smoke. She reached out blindly, jaw clenched.
Her hand landed on a face. Rough with stubble, a sticky nose, broad forehead. The woman froze, horrified�then shoved the man, hard.
“Hello,” she whispered.
He did not move. She fumbled for his neck, searching for a pulse. Instead of finding a heartbeat, her fingers dipped into a wet ragged hole.
The woman gasped, scrabbling backward. Terrified. She tried to remember what had happened. She tried to remember how she had gotten here.
Nothing. She had no idea where she was. Not one clue. No memory of where she had been before this room.
No time, whispered a small voice inside her head. Go. Get out of here.
But she did not. Coughing, eyes burning, she spun around on her knees, fumbling her way back up the length of the bed. She found a nightstand and grappled for a light. Switched it on. Wished immediately she had not.
At first it was like being blind. Blinded by tears and light, startling splashes of color. Bodies. Her mind could not adjust, could only soak in the numbing horror, a sight that could not be real. Three men in dark clothing, sprawled dead. The carpet beneath them�beneath her�saturated dark with blood. Her mind could not adjust, could only soak up in numb horror a sight that could not be real.
The woman slapped a hand over her mouth, trying not to scream. A sharp metallic scent instantly invaded her nose. Her fingers were wet. She remembered touching the man and recoiled from herself, choking, staring down at her hands. Her palms were covered in blood.
The knees of her jeans were soaked with it, too, the denim hot and wet against her skin. Something was pinned to her blood-spattered jacket. A piece of paper. The woman touched it, hand shaking, leaving red fingerprints. She stared at the word written in big black letters.
RUN, she read.