Usually, when one opens a closet door, one expects to see neat rows of clothes, or shelves with sheets or towels, or maybe a vacuum cleaner and assorted pieces of junk jammed into one small space.
What one does not expect to see is an office—desks, filing cabinets, state of the art computers.
Or people, staring back at them.
At one desk sat a woman with an angular face, close, cropped brown hair with gold highlights, a wide mouth, deep set blue eyes. Tiny gold hoops with small diamonds, possibly real, twinkled in her ears, and I noticed her fingers tapped at them quite often. She wore a pair of tight fitting gray trousers and a simple white shirt. Pinned to the shirt was a gold badge. Around her shoulder was a harness, in which reposed a nasty looking stunner.
The occupant of the other desk, however, was what made my mouth drop open.
He had to be well over six feet—I was guessing six three, maybe even six four. You could tell that by the way he was jackknifed into his chair. He was broad-shouldered, with thick hair the color of molten lava drawn back from his face and twined into a casual ponytail. The face was what got me. It was all angles and planes, and looked as if it had been sculpted out of marble by one of the great artists, maybe even Michelangelo. He had a firm jaw, a sloping Roman nose, eyes that were wide set and greener than grass. And the lips—oh, yeah, baby! It was the lips that really got me. Full and sensual, they looked both capable of delivering a threat and kissing a woman into submission. I stared, unabashed, as the man rose, walked over to the other desk, and perched himself on its edge.
Oh, yeah. Definitely six four.
The blonde looked up and waved a sheaf of papers under his nose. “Here’s the latest report, Finn, and it’s dated two months ago. He was last seen downtown, near his usual haunt—the docks—in the company of a young woman, name of Alex Steed. Quinn followed them for a block and a half and then—poof! They went into one of the deserted buildings there and he lost them. Has no idea where Aega could have taken the girl, and no one’s seen either one of them since. If she’s been bitten…” her voice trailed off and her shoulders lifted in a shrug. “I hate to think about it—about what she could become.”
The man called Finn frowned, shaggy red brows drawn together in a V effect. He rubbed his thumb against his lower lip and I felt my insides go soft, thinking of his thumb—hell, his entire hand—tracing lazy circles all across my body. I felt moisture between my legs and groaned. I couldn’t remember the last time a man had done that to me. “This has been going on for far too long. We still can’t figure out his game. The only thing we know for certain is—“
“What are you doing in my closet?”
I whirled around, automatically slamming the door shut behind me. Standing in the doorway, accompanied by Randy Hicks, one of the
police, was Jetta. She had her hand on her hip and the expression on her face was most definitely not a friendly one. Carolers Falls
“I—Sorry. I didn’t mean to intrude.” I fished my badge out of my pocket, held it up. “Recovery. I was just taking a look around.”
Jetta’s expression softened when she saw the badge. “Oh. I didn’t realize you were an agent. No wonder you came to my aid so quickly.” She smiled. “Most people would have ignored me, a crazy woman yelling on a stoop. If she makes it, it’ll be thanks to you.”
The cop stepped forward, extended his hand. “Randy Isles. We weren’t aware the Recovery had an interest in this case.”
I slipped the badge back in my hip pocket. “The Recovery tends to take an interest in any incident that might involve a demon.”
Jetta’s eyes went wide. “A demon! Really? Is that who attacked Alex?”
The name startled me. “Alex?”
“We all call her Alex. Short for Alexandra.”
I felt a tingle along my spine. “And her last name?”
“Steed. Alexandra Steed.”
I set my jaw. Could it be coincidence the victim and the person Finn and Darla had been talking about had the same name? Was there a chance it could be the same woman?
As I debated this, Jetta moved past me toward the closet. “I can’t stay here—crime scene and all that. So they’re setting me up in a really nice hotel. I just came by for a few things.”
She started to twist the doorknob. “Wait,” I cried, and she turned toward me, eyes wide. “Do you happen to know where your roomie met this man?”
“The one you think is a demon?” Jetta shook her head. “She didn’t know him long—just a few days.” She barked out a short laugh. “First time I saw them, they were huddled right here.” She tapped the closet door. “Twined together so tight you couldn’t’ slip a stamp between them. I didn’t trust him. Something about him…his eyes. She told me I was just jealous, but—guess I was right, after all.”
With that, her hand snaked out and jerked open the door. I bit back a cry of surprise mingled with disappointment.
Gone was the office, the blonde, the sexy redheaded man. Now there were just rows and rows of neatly hung clothes, and an assortment of expensive shoes littering the floor.
About The Author
Hello! I’m Toni LoTempio, author of Paranormal Romance/Romantic Suspense/YA Fantasy! I’ve been writing ever since I was old enough to read, when I didn’t like the endings of the stories my mother read me I simply rewrote them. Even though I write mainly in the paranormal genre, I have also written straight horror, as well as contemporary romance/suspense.
In 1995, I joined the staff of SUSABELLA PASSENGERS AND FRIENDS, a pulp magazine for collectors of antique children’s literature (Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc.) Currently I’ve written over 300 articles for that magazine, and I was the first recipient of their Margaret Sutton Award for Distinguished Writing in 1998. I joined the staff of NIGHT OWL REVIEWS IN January 2011 as the suspense reviewer/columnist. My column, DARK STREETS, which features articles on suspense authors and their novels, is featured on a monthly basis. I love to spotlight new talent, so if you’re a suspense author, please contact me!
In 2007, Whiskey Creek Press published BOUND BY BLOOD, a tale of possession, and EBONY, which deals with zombies and the dark side of man. EBONY was #2 on the Fictionwise bestseller list for e-books for the month of July 2007, beating out Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story. (and no one was more shocked than I, LOL) In 2010, after countless attempts to land another agent, I took the advice of a fellow author HP Mallory, and self published NO REST FOR THE WICCA, which has been on Amazon’s list of top one hundred in Occult since March 2011. My short story, THE SACRIFICE, appears in the e-published anthology KISS ME KILL ME, and I also have a YA fantasy, MY SUPERHERO SISTER on B&N and Amazon. A complete listing of my books appears at the end of this bio.
Currently single, I work full time and live in Clifton, NJ, with my muses: Rocco, Maxx, Gata and Trixie. (Rocco is also known as Rocco the SciFi Blogging Cat and has appeared on the SciFi Saturday Night website and radio show, and also on the Kids Need To Read website where he holds the distinction of being the first (and possibly only!) blogging cat to support this charity!)
Toni LoTempio Books:
Bound by Blood – Whiskey Creek Press, trade paperback & e-book, Feb. 2007 (paranormal suspense)
Ebony – Whiskey Creek Press, trade paperback & e-book, July 2007 (paranormal suspense)
Witch’s Pawn – Echelon Press, trade paperback & e-book, December 2008 (horror)
Nom de Plume – Whiskey Creek Press, trade paperback & e-book, November 2008 (contemporary romance)
It’s in the Cards – Whiskey Creek Press, e-book, February 2010 – (paranormal romance)
Out of the Ashes – Whiskey Creek Press, e-book, May 2010 – Fantasy
No Rest for the Wicca – Amazon & B&N Pub-It, e-book, September 2010 – paranormal suspense
My Superhero Sister – Amazon & B&N Pub-It, e-book, Trade Paperback - January 2011 – YA Fantasy
Kiss Me, Kill Me – Amazon & B&N Pub-It, e-book anthology –February 2011 – Short Story, “The Sacrifice”
Raven’s Kiss – Amazon & B&N Pub-It, e-book, & Trade Paperback April, 2011 – Paranormal Romance
Next Stop : June 27 – In The Name Of Books