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Spotlight: American Specter by Rasheedah Prioleau

16 Jan

Hi guys and girls, I’m back with another spotlight-post, including an excerpt of the book in question. 🙂 And so, having joined the virtual book tour promoting the novel, here it is!

american specter cover

 

Here’s the blurb:

FBI Agent Audra Wheeler has been haunted for the last thirteen years by a paranormal attack that left her sister, Kendra, in a coma. Mentored by FBI Assistant Director Jonathan Cordero to investigate crimes committed by specters, Audra believes she is on the trail of a ‘serial killer’ specter with a M.O. very similar to her sister’s attacker. The investigation takes her to a small town of Specter, Georgia; a haven for ghosts who exist among the living.

From a review on Goodreads:

American Specter, by Rasheedah Prioleau is full of shocking revelations, specters, mythology, and a conclusion the reader will not see coming. I give this book 5 well deserved stars!

Your interest should be suitably piqued, 😉 And just to get you really hooked, here’s an excerpt from the novel – enjoy!

***

Audra stepped into the four-room mobile home converted into a sheriff’s station
and looked around trying not to let her disappointment show. She let the briefcase in her hand rest on the edge of the sheriff’s desk that was no more than six feet from the front door. There were two other desks in the room marked for a secretary and a deputy, but no one else was there. The walls were decorated with various maps of the town and an ancient filing cabinet took up nearly half of the wall behind the sheriff’s desk.

She pointed to the empty desks questioningly. “Lunch break?”

“Actually we recently lost our deputy to the police academy,” he said. “I haven’t
gotten around to finding a replacement just yet. Things are usually too slow to justify a secretary.”

Audra nodded, taking in the small space and its proximity to the front door. “Is
there a more secure area we can talk and eat?” she asked, lifting her Bishop’s to-go plate.

He smiled and pointed her to the hallway. She followed it to the back meeting
room, a square table with eight seats nearly filling it, and took a seat opposite of the door.

Ethan sat across from her as she opened the briefcase and pulled out four separate files, lining them up in order from the first murder to the last.
She took a small breath as she set the briefcase aside and opened the first victim’s file.

“Amanda Price of Boston, Massachusetts,” she said and looked at the girl’s
postmortem mug shot. Laid out on the medical examiner’s slab her skin was grayish pale and her dark hair was pulled back off of her lean face. The bruising from her own fingernail scratching as well as the strange burn marks around her neck stood out in the photograph like a gruesome necklace.

Ethan took the file and flipped through the first few pages of the report. He put it
down and picked up the next, opening it.

“Jenifer Martin of Newark, New Jersey,” she cited as he took in an almost
identical image of a dark haired girl with graying skin, fingernail scars and burns around her neck.

Audra opened her lunch and began to eat. She could not remember the last time
she’d allowed herself to indulge in barbeque with a side of macaroni and cheese and cornbread.

Ethan flipped the remaining files open and looked at the pictures of Linda Parker
of Charlotte, North Carolina and Regina Fowler of Savannah, Georgia.

“All were alone and in bed at the time of their murders, most likely asleep,”
Audra said.

“They all look alike,” Ethan said in a low voice.

“A serial killer with a type,” Audra agreed. “A type that looks a lot like my
sister.”

Ethan sat back as if a light bulb had gone off in his head. “Your sister was
attacked like this, right?”

Audra nodded.

“You think these are connected to your sister?” he asked, as if he had already
suspected as much.

“I do,” she finally said aloud for the first time.

“Okay, tell me again about your sister’s case.” Ethan turned stone cold serious.
His face was set in an intense yet calm pose that said he was listening to her words, reading between the lines, and watching her body language as she recited the details of her sister’s case.

“I ran to my sister’s room after hearing a crash. She was up in the air grabbing for
her throat. When I flipped on the light she fell back onto the bed. No one else was there. I called 9-1-1 and tried my best at CPR. She was almost nine months pregnant at the time.”

“How is she now?” he asked.

“She’s still in a coma,” Audra said. “Nothing has changed in the past thirteen
years.”

“It wasn’t declared to be specter related was it?” Ethan asked.

“No, specters weren’t known about then. It was labeled unexplained phenomena.”

“Where is she now?”

“My mother moved from New York back to Boston when dad died about a year
ago. She had Kendra transferred to a long-term care hospital,” Audra said.

“My condolences,” Ethan said quietly.

“Thank you.”

“Boston. The same city as the first victim,” Ethan observed. “Was your sister ever
in Newark or these other places?”

“For a time we lived in Newark and Boston when we were kids, before my father
was transferred to New York,” Audra said, unconsciously licking the barbeque from her fingers.

“Where are your sister’s husband and your niece now?” Ethan asked.

“They are in Boston with his new wife. I still see Kendra on occasion, especially
her birthday. But it’s painful,” Audra concluded.

“Oh, Rook,” Ethan whispered. It was the nickname he’d given her their first day
together as partners. “As far as you know there is no connection between your sister and this town?”

“The only thing that has any meaning to me here is you,” Audra said and she
could not hide the emotion in her eyes from him. “And once again, I have to say that I do not believe in coincidence.”

“Me neither,” he assured her. “Maybe we should get you checked into the B&B,”
Ethan said, standing and closing the files. He stacked them neatly and handed them her.

Audra took the time to wipe her hands with the single wet-nap supplied by Bishop’s takeout service and put the files back in the briefcase. She was relieved to finally have someone she trusted know what she was facing.

She packed up the remainder of her lunch and they left the station. She followed
Ethan’s truck to the B&B and checked into a room. He followed her to her room and closed the door behind him. He didn’t ask and he didn’t wait for her to ask, just pulled her into a hungry kiss and she felt herself melt against him. He pulled away looking deeply into her eyes. He smiled and she appreciated the kindness and emotion he showed.

It matched how she felt. He backed away from her, taking off his shirt and sitting on the edge of the bed.

His dark skin was pulled tight and rippled over his chest, arms, and abs. His low
key t-shirt had hidden all of the fine-tuning and strength of his upper body. Audra stayed close to the wall. Now that he was there, in the flesh, she felt nervous.

Sitting on her bed with his shirt off, she knew exactly where this was headed.

He smiled and reached a hand out to her. She walked closer to him, kicking her
shoes off, and took his hand. It was as smooth and warm as she remembered.He pulled her to him and seated her on the bed as he was looking into her eyes.

“I missed you Rook,” he said.

He reached a hand up and touched her cheek. She placed a hand over his and
brought it to her mouth, kissing the palm of it. He reached out with his other hand to bring her head down to kiss her lips.

“Ethan,” she whispered, her voice swallowed by the deep and electric kiss that
they shared.

She pulled off her suit jacket and he tugged her silk shirt over her head, dropping
it to the floor. She felt goose bumps travel up her spine as his hands roamed over her back then folded her into an embrace. His skin felt like magic against her. Audra wrapped her arms around him and kissed him deeply as he unfastened her bra and let both hands travel to cup her breasts. She worked to unfasten her gun belt, setting it gently on the floor, then took off her specter shield and tossed it on top of her jacket, unbuttoning her pants and pushing them to the floor.

Ethan smiled as she straddled his lap. She felt his hands trace her body and her
mind let go of everything. It was easy to be with him. Even though it had been such a long time, being in his arms again made it feel like only yesterday. He took his time and went slow, both of them savoring every moment together. She took note of a new scar on his right side, just above his hipbone. Touching it she looked him quizzically in the eye.

He smiled and shrugged, pulling her into another kiss that led to a much-needed release for both of them.

They lay together afterwards for several minutes looking at each other. Audra saw
him drifting off to sleep and let him. Rising from the bed, she was very careful not to wake him as she stepped into the bathroom and turned on the shower. She washed up slowly, recounting every moment of what had just happened, smiling as she blushed with the memories. Stepping from the shower to dry off, the reality of how bad it was that they slept together again began to sink in.

When she emerged from the bathroom she looked at the bedside clock. It was a
quarter past five and Ethan slept as if dead to the world. She didn’t want to wake him and didn’t know if she would be able to cover up her raw feelings with the same nonsense of it not having to mean anything, because it did mean something to her. It always had.

She dressed quickly and left a note with the address to the Daylight Candle Shop.

Strapping the specter shield onto her wrist, she thought that he might be pissed when he woke up, but she would cross that bridge when she came to it.

***

There we go! 🙂

American Specter will be published on the 4th of February by Rocket Press Publishing, so keep an eye out for it! And do go check out Rasheedah’s website here. 🙂

Until tomorrow,

Be EPIC!

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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Excerpt, Spotlight

 

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M.D. Thalmann / Satire and Sci-fi

M.D. Thalmann, a novelist and freelance journalist specializing in satire and science fiction, lives in Phoenix, AZ with his wife, children, and ornery cats, reads too much and sleeps too little.

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