Animal Helper “Scat Cat” from Survival Instinct

Each Time After Time book includes a helper from the animal kingdom.  Meet Winter’sIMG_0606

Winter swiped a heavy hand against the sandpaper abrasion wetting her cheek.

A cat meowed

Her brows drew into a frown. Meow?

More sandpaper, then a nudge on her cheek from a wet, somewhat smelly head.

The sound of the ocean registered, and as she struggled to pry her eyes open, memories of the early morning events filtered through her brain.

She squinted up to the sky. The sun was at about ten a.m. Obviously, she hadn’t made the start of her shift, first day.

She could still smell rain in the air but the storm had passed and now the skies were blue. Only in San Francisco.

Another meow.

She turned her throbbing head and met the unblinking golden eyes of a calico cat. “Scat Cat?” she asked in confusion, realizing the second drug hadn’t targeted her vocal cords.

The undernourished, soaking wet cat purred, long and loud.

“You can’t be Scat Cat,” she murmured, reaching up and scratching the feline under its chin.

It couldn’t be the same cat. It was impossible the alley cat who had followed her to and from school since kindergarten, followed her back and forth from her part time job each and every day, then even to the bus stop the very day she had left town, was the same cat.

Scat Cat, because Winter had shouted the words to the cat, along with a hissing noise and a stomping foot, each and every day, worried the fool cat would get hit by a car by following her around everywhere.

SurvivalInstinctCoverArtEverywhere, that was, except her home. Oddly, when Winter was home, the stray cat never lingered.

She shook the cobwebs from her head and sat up. She had been wedged between two large boulders, completely hidden from the spread of beach where she and her captors had gathered earlier this morning.

Her rain gear was gone, as was the bloody clothing underneath the gear.

She had her own clothes on, right down to her combat boots and she shuddered to think who of the twelve men had striped her and replaced her clothing.

Clearly they had breached the high tech security apartment on the third floor of one San Francisco’s Victorian ‘Painted Ladies’, to get her things. Her hand-held hologram cell phone lay at her feet, along with a sealed bag holding a manila envelope, with the word “Evidence” in bold letters stamped onto it at an angle.

It didn’t take much of a guess to know inside the envelope would be the photo of the man she was supposed to bleed for information, then kill.

She shuddered and scooped up her cell and the bag.

The cat continued to stare at her, almost like she was studying her. Unnerved, Winter waved the cat away. “Scat, cat!”

Just as with the cat back home — and no, she was not ready to consider this was the same cat — this cat simply sat and stared.

AnimalInstinctCoverArt_1“You will have a helper from the animal kingdom.”

Winter lunged to her feet and the world went dark at the edges of her vision. She pivoted, her combat boots crunching wet sand and pebbles as she scanned the empty beach for who had spoken.

The cat meowed.

She jerked her gaze to the cat, sitting serenely at her feet, large golden eyes fixed up at her.

Winter pointed to the cat. “You didn’t just speak to me.”

Winter had had enough. She was late to work, and she’d been drugged twice. She was going to drag herself into the precinct late and looking like — she glanced at the cat again — like something the cat dragged in, and everyone one would put it off to too many drinks last night.

Download on April 11 to read the rest of this story.  Or read about Winter’s grandmother, Dr. Allison Green, a veterinarian who also bore the Heartmark and was fated to face the enemy who chases the women of the Heartmark through time.

Love in the Midst of Turmoil – Detective Forced by Crooked Cops

SurvivalInstinctCoverArtWill Winter be forced to do their bidding?

Winter tried to shake herself awake. She was standing, barely, kept on her feet by two sets of meaty hands lodged under her armpits.

It took a moment to realize the roaring in her ears was coming from the Pacific Ocean.

She blinked the ocean into focus, and then turned her gaze to the semi-circle of people in front of her.

They were all tall. She counted ten of them in the dawn light, an even dozen counting the two holding her upright, all dressed in hooded police-issue rain gear. The cloth badges glued over their hearts were getting soaked with the mist and the steady, light downfall of rain.

The sound of rain hitting plastic filtered through her stunned brain, and she glanced down at herself.

She was also completely covered with her hooded rain gear.

What was going on?

She tried to make her mouth work, but it was dry and her vocal cords were tight, barely allowing air into her lungs, much less allowing her to speak.

One of the officers at the center of the pack stepped forward. As with the others, she could not see his face through the deep plastic hood.

He reached to his throat and flicked a switch on a VDB, a voice disguising box. “The drug we used to knock you out makes it impossible for you to speak. All you have to do during this little staff meeting is listen.”

Her hood was jerked off her head by the man on her left, and her eyes widened at the leader’s words.

She’d been drugged? Her heart thundered within her breast in panic. She struggled to assess if or how they had harmed her.

He laughed, the sound altered to a robot-like cackle, rather than a person; making it  impossible to identify the speaker or even if be sure he was a man.

“No, not that drug.” He smirked. “We haven’t spent the night taking advantage of you. That would be unethical and we are all sworn to uphold the law.”

Was he serious, or was sarcasm lacing his words?

Her mind raced as the effects of the drug lessened by the moment.

Twelve men, police officers, if the speaker were to be believed, had drugged her and rendered her voiceless.

Why?

“There’s a small task we have decided only you can take care of for us.”

She frowned at him. The cold rain plastered her hair to her scalp and ran into her eyes and down her face, dripping from her chin. Her heart raced so fast she was surprised it didn’t beat out of her chest.

The metallic taste of fear filled her dry mouth and her stomach did a slow churn.

Her knees buckled and the hands holding her up tightened so she could not slip out of their hold.

She was going to have bruises the size of hams when this was over.

“There’s a reporter in town.”

Something in the cadence of his words seemed familiar. Did she know her attackers?

“He is doing some… shall we say investigating…, on our little band here.” The leader’s arm swept out to encompass the other officers. “Your task it to find out what he knows about us and make sure any incriminating information is destroyed, before you get rid of him.”

She frowned at him and shook her head, completely at a loss. Why would a reporter investigate a group of officers? What had they done to warrant the notice of the press?

She tried to ask, to make her vocal cords relax enough to get the questions through.

The hooded officer standing next to the leader reached to his throat and flicked a switch on his VDB. “She doesn’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”

The leader nodded. “Then perhaps we should spell it out for her.”

Five officers took three steps to the left and the other five men of the semi-circle took three steps to the right. There, on the sand, was the lifeless body of the creep who had come on to her last night. Eyes she had stared down in the bar mirror were now glazed with death and sightlessly fixed on her.

Download and read April 11 from Desert Breeze Publishing.

Time-traveling enemy in San Francisco

Counting down to April 11 release of Survival InstinctSurvivalInstinctCoverArt

Meet Winter, Allison and Sean’s grandaughter from the very end of Animal Instinct, the first in the Time After Time Saga with Tami Dee.

She pushed her hair behind her ears and glanced down, considering her faded jeans, black tee, short, silver studded black leather jacket, and beat up black combat boots. It was her usual off duty attire. There was no reason they couldn’t be her working clothes too.

The other detectives had their own distinct looks, mostly casual, comfortable, but each look uniquely their own. They already ribbed her about her fresh, small town girl face, with a body to pull off a sexy as sin; bad girl, biker image. However, that was their take on her appearance, not particularly hers.

In all fairness; the good natured teasing  she had endured for the past five years may have stemmed from that first day, when she roared into the police academy parking lot on a Harley.

She had picked up the hog the same day she’d arrived in San Francisco.

Some guy down on his luck had been trying to sell it. She’d offered him five hundred dollars cash and he’d snapped it up.

Granted, it had looked like a hunk of junk. She allowed herself a wry smile. It still looked a hunk of junk for that matter, but it ran, and that’s all that mattered to Winter.

She chuckled at the memory, especially her ‘crash course’ in learning to ride the thing. Amazingly, she hadn’t killed herself or broken anything.


Survival Instinct releases April 11. Download from Desert Breeze Publishing.