Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Paranormal suspense romance
Heat level: Contains some sensual sections
Buy link: Shadow On The Floor
What does an ex-special ops agent turned lawyer have in common with a woman hiding from an ex-husband who means to kill her? Can it be a ghost?
Special Ops 7 Devlin Longridge hated jungles. He’d been in too many and hadn’t liked any. This Central American one was usually as noisy as the rest, croaking and chattering, weird bird calls—you name it. Today was sticky hot as usual, but silent, which he mistrusted. The four of them, on a scouting mission, had been halted, waiting, for all of ten minutes now. Finally Dev heard a guttural bird cry, and then the monkeys, high in the tree canopy overhead, began to chatter again. His buddy, Cy, in the lead, started off again, and soon they were all slogging along a primitive path though the thick foliage.
No more silence, but a bad feeling began to build in Dev, a sensation that had twice saved his life. His pace slackened, causing Mal and Joe, in back of him, to slow as well. Cy, now several yards ahead, raised his right hand, only his thumb and forefinger showing, meaning all clear, but use caution. Dev shook his head. Something was wrong. Since no-talk was in effect, he’d have to jog up to Cy and…
An overwhelming sense of evil sliced through him. Without conscious thought he yelled, “Drop flat! Roll to cover!” As he threw himself down and rolled, he heard the two behind him do the same. But just before the green foliage closed around him, he saw Cy had turned around to look instead of dropping. Then the telltale death rattle of MK47’s shut out all other sound…
Natalie West drew her jacket closer around her before she lifted the heavy bronze door knocker and let it fall on the plate again. Chill wind for May—wasn’t this supposed to be spring? Mr. Barker had told her he used a cane, but she’d expected the nephew he’d told her about would be with him when she arrived for the interview. Apparently not. She was reaching for the knocker one more time when the door opened.
“Thought maybe you’d changed your mind,” the elderly man with the cane said. “Wouldn’t blame you, not a bit, gal. I’m a cantankerous old fart.”
At that, most of her trepidation left her. Charles Barker, her possible future employer, was not at all the helpless oldster she’d been expecting to see.
“Since you got here, you may as well come in.” He stepped aside so she could enter.
He waved her on to a moderately disordered room to her right, saying, “My den,” and followed her in. She avoided a dark spot on the parquet floor as she headed for a chair. When they were seated, he asked, “Why in hell would you want to come to this old place out in nowhere to help me?”
She chose her words carefully, telling a part of the truth. “I don’t have many skills, Mr. Barker, but I believe I’m able to cook, clean and help you with whatever you need done, as long as it doesn’t involve nursing care. I’ve never been trained in that area.”
He nodded. “That’s just what I don’t need. Some kind of nurse hovering over me, thinking she knows what’s good for me better’n I do. So what d’you say we give it a try, Natalie? No need to be formal. Call me Charles. You can start right now, far as I’m concerned.”
What a relief. With barely any money left, she’d checked out of the motel, planning to sleep in her car if she had to. “My things are in the car, so I can move in, if that’s all right.”
He positively beamed. “Looks like I got me a winner on my first try. Never could stand wishy-washy gals. Go get your stuff. You can pick out any room you want upstairs, except the master bedroom in the front of the house. Not that I use it—I can’t even get up those damn stairs any more. Dev—he’s my nephew—wanted to buy some contraption that’d slide me up and down the banister rail, but I vetoed that. Got a perfectly good bedroom down here.”
“Makes sense to me.”
“By the time you get settled in, I expect Dev’ll be here. He insists on meeting whoever I hire, and there’s no putting a lawyer off, is there? But I’m the one paying your salary, so you can be sure you’ve been hired, no matter what.”
“On a trial basis.”
“That’s what we agreed, but I suspect I’ll get along with you a damn sight easier than you’ll get along with me.”
Natalie grinned at him. She’d truly loved her grandfather and had been the only one he tolerated. Cantankerous Charles, she believed, would be no trouble at all. The bonus was that he lived in this isolated old mansion outside of the town. A perfect hideaway.
She rose to head for her car. As she started to cross the floor on her way out, she saw the dark spot she’d avoided was just a shadow, but she still hesitated to step on it, so detoured around again. Behind her, Charles said, “You’re perceptive as well. Used to be a jeweler. Haven’t lost the touch—still can spot a real gem from a fake one.”
Natalie exited without replying. Was he referring to her avoidance of the shadow? She shrugged. So Charles might be a bit kooky. No problem. Grandpa Ivar had been, too.
After carrying her two suitcases and overnight bag upstairs, she settled on a spacious room next to the bathroom. All the furnishings were old fashioned, but in reasonably good condition. After hanging up the clothes that needed it on old wire hangers in a huge closet, and putting the rest in dresser drawers. She found clean bed coverings in a hall linen closet and made up the bed.
She’d heard a car arrive and someone enter the house, so she figured the lawyer nephew had arrived. Time to go back down and face him. She doubted he’d approve of her, but Charles had more or less said it didn’t matter. Hoping that was true, she took a deep breath and marched down the stairs.
Shadow on the Floor is the start of a four books series about the men in the prologue when each of them returns to civilan life. Watcher At The Door is Mal's book and will be out soon. Terror From Before is Joe's book and under construction. Stranger On The Shore is the last and is Cy's book, even though the other three men believe him dead.
**Jane has graciously offered to share a FREE ebook of Shadow On The Floor with one lucky commentor, and anyone who’d like an excerpt CD of her other books can contact her at: jtoombs (at) jamadots (dot) com
Jane Toombs, the Viking from her past and their grandcat, Kinko, live in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula wilderness across the road from the south shore of Lake Superior. Jane has ninety published novels and novellas to her credit and hopes to reach one hundred before she leaves this planet.
Author website: www.JaneToombs.com
Thank you again, Jane. Have a great week everyone!
Stacey Joy Netzel