I released my first full-length novel, Ambushing the Vigilante, a short while back. This volume brings together my historical archaeologist, Rose Brashear, with Savio Mendes, my former soldier-turned-mercenary. Each has their own stand-alone novella but when these two strong personalities meet in Ambushing the Vigilante, well, things slide a bit sideways for both of them. The second in the series (A Scattering of Bones) will be arriving this spring, so if you haven’t picked up your copy of Rose & Savio’s introduction, here’s a teaser:
He kept the glasses trained on her until the muscles in his arms burned.
She surveyed the landscape, faced away from his direction, before she picked her path back toward the steaming water. Savio positioned his legs straight in front of him, adjusted his position and rolled his body down against his thighs, tucking his palms on the bottoms of his boots. He stretched three times to force major muscle groups to expand and retract as years of conditioning taught. Several sets of breathing exercises followed before he resumed his study. This time he drew up his knees and rested his elbows for balance, reducing arm strain.
Disappointment swelled when he didn’t find her. She must have returned to the parking lot. The glasses caught her on the second sweep. His breath choked in his throat.
She perched on the end of the wood planks, face directed toward the pond. Wind whipped her uncoiled hair in a tangled maelstrom of strands. Clenching the binoculars in reaction, he wanted to fist his hands tight in the long mass and pull her close.
Savio did a mental face slap and surveyed the scene. He needed information. More than a decade of training shifted into action.
First was to determine if the woman knew the dead man.
Perhaps they worked as colleagues. Scientists always spouted rhetoric about working together to conduct research for the common betterment of the world. He pondered what conventional knowledge researchers gleaned from study of the sparse flora and fauna in this place. Other than birds and a dozen or so varieties of plant life, little stood out to him.
He shifted to the next idea.
She might be a specialist in crime scene analysis.
Unlikely. She neither acted nor moved like someone with law enforcement experience. She was observant and adept in the environment but no one skirted legalities or fought criminal elements without developing a strong sense of self-preservation. At least not for long and survive. This female lacked obvious instinctive defensive impulses. Even from Savio’s distant locus she was oblivious to her blind areas and unaware of how easily danger appeared out of nowhere. He could walk up behind her, wrap a thin cord around her neck, choke her unconscious or worse, and depart in under a minute.
Savio’s shoulders tightened again. He gripped the binoculars with intensity. This was absurd behavior. He forced himself to consider another option.
The man who took the water samples might have been her lover.
He rejected this idea almost immediately. Last night she had slept with ease, alone in the large bed, a woman unaccustomed to a nighttime partner. An absence of rings or visible promise markers of any kind, adorned her fingers. Most conspicuous, she portrayed a lack of tears and sorrow. A lover, no matter how poor, who expired under such circumstances, should wring at least a tear from his intimate.
Not to ignore her clear display of appreciation toward him a few hours earlier, but Savio’s rush of pleasure had been followed by a contrary disgust at his interest. Yet he continued to watch her with avid focus until she climbed to her feet five minutes later. She raised her arms over her head in a stretch, then bent over stiff-legged to retie her left boot.
The woman had a fabulous ass.
He held the glasses to his eyes and followed the swish of her backside as she walked down the trail. Seized by the same impulse he’d encountered last night, he obeyed. He rose from his place of concealment and loped after her.