I thought I'd keep it straight forward and give you an except to my back-burner project. Why is it a back-burner project? It's the first book in a new series. *Hangs head* I seem incapable of writing stand-alone books. I already have two series (The Blood Series & The Overseers Series) and I have just contracted a YA trilogy (Black Water) so as you can imagine it would probably be a great idea for me to at least wrap one series up before I begin another.
But, in saying that I love the world. I love the characters. I love the story. I just have to work on it a bit at a time when I have the time, but I think my readers might like it. Naturally, I would love to know what you think.
Just so you know the excerpt is coming from a rough, unedited version. So it is what it is and could possibly change. And on that note, please enjoy chapter one of my WIP.
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Boston Water Front
At the sound of a distinct buzz echoing throughout the entire building; I sighed and lifted my foot from the pedal of my pottery table.
The rain was beating against my windows, and the gray clouds seemed to have swallowed the entire sky. A crystal warning that a storm was already brewing. A warning that I wouldn't be going to the market today after all and that I was going to get a headache. Great.
Again my room filled with the buzz of the doorbell.
I quickly wiped my hands on a ragged towel and stood up, making my way across the upper studio to the stairway. I took my time walking down the staircase, only rushing when I heard the doorbell for the third time, as well as a heavy thud against the gallery door.
Retrieving the keys from my pocket, I unlocked the ground stairwell door, stepping through to the gallery. The room was cold, more so than usual due to the bad weather, but since I was closed on Sundays, heating the room seemed pointless.
Pulling the door shut behind me, I walked over to the window situation near the entrance. Peaking through the beige blinds, I saw the familiar form of Detective Green standing outside the main door. I sighed. Just the man I wanted to see on my day off, not.
The collar of his black coat guarded his neck from the falling rain; the stiff material framing the grim expression on his face as he got up close to the stained glass, trying hard to see inside.
With a muffled curse, I backed away from the window, and dipped my hand inside my apron pocket. I retrieved, and pulled on my thick pair of gray rubber gloves, before switching on the lights to the gallery. The faint pop of the circuit sounded, and the ground floor quickly flooded with soft white light.
The annoying buzz of the doorbell echoed throughout the long hall, for the fourth time.
"Open up Delaney, this is important." Detective Green stated, with yet another heavy knock on wood.
Everything was important to him, but then he was a cop after all; they really had no examples for comparison.
Walking over to the inner doors I quickly unlocked them, and pulled one open for him. "It's Sunday. I'm closed."
"I'm not here to browse." He answered, and walked past me. His focus completely fixed on scanning the shop floor.
I pinched the bridge of my nose, taking a deep breath as a headache started to prick at my temples. "Somehow I doubt this is a social call."
Another minute passed before he finally turned and faced me. His grey eyes locked on to me as if he had found the culprit he was searching the gallery for. His narrow lips were pulled down at the corners, a sure fire indication he was in his usual chipper mood. His ink black hair was soaked due to the vast downfall of rain; stray strands were stuck to his square forehead, allowing droplets of water to crawl down his flushed cheeks.
"It isn't." He reached inside his coat and pulled out a large, brown envelope.
"You know, I should probably be offended at the fact you never come and see me for a simple talk, Marcus." Watching that I didn't step on the small puddles of water he had walked in; I shut the door and slid the bolt into place.
"I don't think we would have much to talk about, Delaney."
That much was obvious.
Walking straight past him, I headed toward my office. "Since you have brought me a present I should ask if you received the one I left at the station for you this morning."
"Yes." A slight expected pause. "Thank you."
As always he sounded like he was chewing on glass, and as always the sound of his irritation caused a smirk to form on my lips. Thank you didn't quiet cover the delivery of a felon he had been trying to catch for the last four months, but it would do.
Light bounced off the carefully placed mirrors as we walked through the long cold room. The pieces of artwork hanging against the white washed walls were vibrant, and bold. Despite the fact that I had looked at all of them a dozen times, my gaze still wandered over each and every piece; admiring the artists who could still find a drop of beauty left in this godforsaken city.
"You're escapades are starting to become front page news." Marcus commented.
"Are you going to tell me you don't listen to the news updates?"
I snorted. "I stopped paying attention to the news a long time ago."
Mostly because it was full of prejudice bullshit; twisting incidents. Making the police look like heroes, and not actually telling the public what they needed to know. Seventy years and they were still feeding the public nothing but fear, and hate.
"Lynthia is the one who keeps me up to date with what is going on in our wonderful city." I replied, unlocking the door and stepping inside my office. I flipped the switch, and walked over to my desk, sitting down immediately to rummage through my draws and look for the painkillers I always kept in there. "Journalists will report what they know will sell and have the most effect, you know that."
"I also know that the Chief isn't happy at the attention you're rubber wearing alter-ego is drawing to herself." He stated, closing the door.
"I'm not drawing attention to myself. Sometimes there are witness', and sometimes the victims sell their story for some extra money, that‘s not my problem.”
“You could stop.”
“Hey, I didn’t ask to be born with a bad heart, and I didn’t ask for my new one to go psycho after my accident. I also didn’t ask to live in a city pulsing with crime, and inhabited with every possible piece of shit living. But since I’m still alive, and I can actually do something about half the stuff that goes on in this hole, I will.”
God, the man goes on like I enjoyed being a walking electro magnet. He’d damn well think different after a few rubber burns on unwanted areas. I can say with all honesty that rubber really wasn’t meant to be worn anywhere apart from feet and hands.
Finding the packet, I popped two pills out and swallowed them dry. “I won’t stop helping people because your boss is having a fit over the fact that I'm continuing to tidy these street up better than his own men."
I dropped the packet back in the draw, and closed it. My gaze shifted back up to a suddenly tense Marcus. His stubble covered jaw had popped to the side; his teeth clenched.
Honestly, men and their stupid egos.
"The mayor hasn't said anything." I stated, holding my hands up. "In fact I'm sure Lynn said that he was rather thankful for—what the heck have they nicknamed me?"
The slightest hint of amusement danced in his tired eyes. His lips twitched as he replied. "The Spark."
"God, I sound like some eighties super-heroine." I shook my head. "Well, he isn't complaining, and it's not like you've done anything to stop me."
"You saved my life, the least I can do is keep your secret."
I decided it was best not to remind him that he didn't have a choice. Also that I had actually saved his life three times, and if I hadn‘t he wouldn‘t have been bumped from officer to detective.
Sitting back in my seat, I stared at him. "Now, what can I do for you today, Detective?"
Taking the seat across the way from me, he pulled out the documents hidden inside the large envelope he was carrying and threw them on the desk. "I really wish you would get a computer deck." He grumbled, spreading a variety of pictures in front of me. "Do you know how difficult and expensive it is to get prints?"
Here we go again. Always going on like I didn't wish I could have all these nifty little devices everyone else got to play with.
"Do you know how expensive it would be to replace everything that I would keep accidentally frying?"
"How the hell do you keep records of everything?"
"Lynthia has a portable. She brings it in with her and types everything up."
His tension faded slightly at the mere mention of my fiery haired, big-eyed assistant.
He kept his attention fixed on the pictures. "Where is Lynthia today?"
Fighting the want to taunt the interest held in his tone, I simply said. "It's Sunday, she's at home. Now, I know you didn't come here to ask me about my assistant."
He looked up, brow slightly furrowed. "Of course I didn't."
I crossed my legs, and clasped my gloved hands on my knees. "Well then, what's up?"
Flapping his coat, he lent back in his chair, taking on the all too familiar role of a man of authority. My jaw clenched at his ignorant action. Ignoring the small pinch below the surface of my skin, I wiped the droplets of water off my cheek.
He studied me. "How well do you know, Christopher Jackson?"
Every muscle in my body froze. "Chris?” My brows arched in unison, eyes growing wide as I stared at him. “You've come here to ask me about, Chris?" The mere thought of those golden cat eyes, and that wicked smile sent an annoying pulse of electricity around my body; turning every ounce of tension in to liquid fire.
Marcus‘expression remained placid. "You were friends, weren't you?"
The laugh that passed my lips was sharper than blades sliding against one another. "I would hardly call us friends."
He arched his eyebrow. "Would partners be a better way to describe your relationship? Perhaps lovers, is?"
Neither was better, just accurate.
Ignoring the tightness winding around my jaw, I shifted forward and placed my arms on the desk. "Why do I get the feeling you already know the answers to everything you are going to ask me?”
He simply stared at me, completely unfazed.
"I'm honored you would do your homework."
"I make it my business to know everything about a person who decides to take the law into their own hands."
I nodded. "Fair enough.” Not to mention wise, which was why I had done the exact same thing the moment Detective Marcus Green had found out who I was, and what I could do. I took a deep breath, and folded my arms on my desk. "I last saw Chris three years ago, and I haven't seen or spoken to him since."
"Did you part on good terms?"
"Would you care to explain what fairly means?"
"I didn't put him in a coma." Oh how I had wanted to, so badly.
Folding his hands on his lap, he shifted in his seat. An agonizing moment passed, before he continued. "Do you think he is capable of murder?"
I was starting to dislike the direction this conversation was heading. "Anyone is capable of that."
He already knew that. He already knew that if I held on to long—even if it was for a minute—I could kill someone.
Taking a life was a person’s choice. It wasn't as simple as if they could or couldn't do it. You put someone in a situation where they had to fight for their survival, nine out of ten times they would. If you wanted to live and the only way to do so was to injure or kill someone else . . . Hell, you would do it. Didn't mean you would like it, or that you even wanted to do it; you just would.
"You didn't answer my question."
"I think I did."
He popped his jaw. "Has Chris ever killed anyone before?"
"Once; it was self-defense."
"How do you know?"
I arched an eyebrow. "I was there."
"Did you ever report it?"
If he had done his homework on Christopher he would already know the answer to that. Christopher was a Gene-Breed, and it wouldn't matter to the cops or the judge if he had done them a favor and rid them of one more crook. They would fry him, simply because he wasn't completely human. Simply because they were repulsed and afraid of him; of what he was, what he could do, and how he came to be.
Twenty-second century, and that was justice for you, or at least it was if you were a Gene-Breed.
I rolled my head in a full circle, listening as the muscles popped. My headache had already started morphing in to a dull throb. "Marcus, I am not a prisoner and we are not in one of you little questioning cells. Also I would like to point out the despite the fact you find it hard to believe, I do actually have things to do on a day to day basis." I looked back at him. "So just get to the point already."
"Chris is wanted for kidnap and murder."
I snorted. "That's ridiculous."
He blinked, genuinely stunned at my reaction. "Kidnap and murder is serious, Delaney."
Not shit detective. "I'm very aware of that, Marcus. I meant it's ridiculous because Chris would never do such a thing."
Even if he was given all the money in the world to bump someone off for someone else, he wouldn't do it. He always said he drew the line at taking a life, and it was the one thing I believed him on a hundred and ten percent. He was an idiot, but not a heartless one.
"Has he ever kidnapped anyone?"
He had taken people to remote places, scared them to within an inch of their lives, but then he knocked them out and returned them to the spot he had found them. Could that be classed as kidnapping?
I scrubbed my hands across my face. "Why are you asking me about, Chris?"
"Like I said he is wanted for kidnap and murder."
"Yeah, I got that, but who wants him?"
"The state of Florida."
"Then why—" I bit my tongue as the answer hit me. Man I was dumb in the morning, or was it during a storm? It didn't matter. Marcus' answer only confirmed my late realization.
"He's in Boston. Why else would I come to you with this?"
Christopher was in Boston; great. He was in Boston and he was on the run from the cops who were charging him with murder; fantastic. What the hell was he thinking coming back to Boston? God he’s an idiot.
"I was hoping it had something to do with the fact you like me in rubber." I had meant to reply in a teasing fashion; instead it came out flat, like I was a comedian who missed the point of my own joke.
"Has he been by, Delaney?" He shifted forward, pressing his arms on the desk; mirroring me. "Don't lie to me."
"No. I haven't seen him." If I had, he would be dead. Dead with a massive bow tied to his corpse ready for Detective Green to take home with him. “I didn’t even know he was back. I swear it.”
He nodded, and it was the only indication that he might believe me. His focus shifted to the pictures before us. Finally I glanced down, my eyes trailing over the images of a mangled body, yet my stomach didn't turn until I saw what the victim was.
Grabbing a picture of the body in full I dropped back in my chair. "This is a child."
"You're trying to tell me Christopher Jackson kidnapped and murdered a child? This child?"
I looked up at him, my lips curling as I threw the picture on the desk. "Bullshit. Chris would never do such a thing. Whoever the hell told you this is lying."
"Maybe he has gone savage." He stated, moving the images about, his focus fixed on them.
My fists clenched. "Not a chance." He was a pure, third generation Gene-Leopard; he had ages before he was suppose to trigger.
"You haven't seen him in three years, he may have changed. Maybe someone is using him. Maybe he is desperate—"
My fists landed on the table, causing him to jump back slightly. "Listen to me Marc, and listen very carefully. Christopher is the biggest asshole I ever met. Yes, he has done some odd—"
I growled. "—Things in his time, but if you had done your homework properly you would also see that whatever he did, he brought the cops right to the men or women who hired him. On many occasions he has helped me. He may act badly, but he is a good man, and he would rather fry than ever hurt a child."
His eyebrow arched. "And you know this for sure, despite the fact you haven't seen him in such a long time?"
God I wanted to punch him. "Yes."
"Why is he running then?"
My jaw tensed. "Christ Marc, if you really need an answer to that . . . . You need to wake up and see how fucked up the justice system is.”
"He's not helping himself by running. If he's innocent—”
“Innocent or not, the judge will just see this as another opportunity to exterminate a Gene-Breed. You’d run if you knew you were screwed either way.” I held the picture before his face. “Christopher Jackson didn’t do this.”
“Every officer in the district is looking for him, and they will eventually find him, Delaney.”
I dropped the picture to the desk. “Well, I guess I better wish you good luck.” Chris would only be found if he wanted to be found.
His expression flattened once more. "Be smart, Dee, and for yours and Lynthia's sake, don't try and help him."
I stood up; all my weight rested on the desk as I leaned in and looked him square in the eyes. "I wouldn't threaten me if I were you." I suggested calmly.
"Ditto." Not moving his gaze from mine, he stood up, and lent in, leaving a breath of space between us. "If he comes here, call me"—he shifted as a spark of electricity popped between us—"and make sure he doesn't leave." He finished, squinting from the small shot of pain. "Did you hear me?"
I straightened. "Yeah, I heard you." But there was no way in hell I was promising such a thing.
"Good." He walked over to the door and pulled it open. Without sparing me another glance he simply said. "Keep the file, I have a feeling you will want to look at it some more."
Charged by Elizabeth Morgan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.