Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Tuesday Buildup!--Shades of Desire Excerpt

Ah, that time of week again. To those who care, I had a very long Thanksgiving week/weekend. Profitable, but long. And my poor body is feeling it. Ugh.

Moving on--this bit below introduces, and reintroduces some characters, as well as throws the first monkey wrench into the works. Question: if it was any other kind of wrench, would there still be the same problems? Something to ponder.

I know, I know, I promised vampires and history and all sorts of stuff. But I'm deep in editing hell, and the sooner I get through it, the sooner you all get Shades of Desire. So, next week, cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye, I WILL share some spooky vampire info with you. For now, enjoy a bit of Jude and the gang.

Detective Duprees turned as I opened the door to the informal parlor, no doubt alerted by the slight groan of the hinges. “Ms. Henries?”
“Detective Duprees, right?” I crossed the room to shake his outstretched hand, not surprised to feel calluses. He had the look of someone who spent a lot of time being active even if he wore a jacket and tie now. His dark blond hair looked in need of a cut, his skin a light tan color speaking more to heritage than the sun.
What caught me were his eyes. A brilliant shade of blue, they reminded me of the blue and white china in one of the hundred and one cabinets of the Crossroads. Full of intelligence and directness, you knew right away he took his job seriously.
The bad guys were so in trouble.
“Yes, Ms. Henries. Your assistant no doubt told you why I’m here.” He scanned the assembly at my back before turning his gaze back to me. “I wasn’t aware you’d be bringing a crowd with you.”
I lifted an eyebrow, amused. Gesturing to a seat, I settled into the sofa, left space for Theo on one side and Celia on the other. On our way downstairs, Celia popped out of her bedroom and announced she was ready to go. In the interest of timeliness, nobody argued.
“Introductions, then, before we continue. Theo Rossiere, my….” Well, hell. Boyfriend seemed so juvenile, baby daddy way too ghetto. “My Theo.” I caught his grin out of the corner of my eye. Guess he didn’t mind his title.
“Celia and Elizabeth Malley. Rian Flannery. And you’ve already met Lies.” Now that I thought about it, I didn’t even know if Lies had a last name. Something to find out later. “Now, Detective. Perhaps you’d care to tell me something about Deiadre.”
 “Like I said, your assistant has probably told you why I’m here. Ms. McKee was murdered sometime last night. Her personal information said to contact you in case of an emergency.” Those eyes were hyper focused on me now. I wanted to squirm slightly, even though I knew I was in the clear on this. “Not her parents or any other family. But you.”
“Deiadre didn’t have any other family. Her parents died a few years back in a plane crash over the Atlantic.” Good thing Elizabeth had a memory for family trees. Although how serious Detective Duprees would take her when she looked like a tart I didn’t know. “Most of the people of the Covenant who don’t have any family have Ms. Henries listed as emergency contact.”
“The Covenant.” It wasn’t a question, but a statement. “In that case, are you, Ms. Henries, the leader of the Covenant?”
The surprise must have been evident on my face because Duprees continued hastily. “I don’t believe I fully introduced myself. I’m your New Orleans Police Department liaison. Any potential criminal issues you’re involved in, I handle.”
“You’re not the same person I saw at the reading of Gillian’s will.”
“Detective Neasterly was only a few months away from retirement. I’d been his partner for the past two years, so when he took early retirement, the department offered me the position.” Duprees smiled, a touch of humor in the gesture. “Actually, the higher ups begged me. They didn’t want to go through the trouble of explaining everything to someone else.”
“Understandable.” And really, it was. It took me more than a few minutes to wrap my mind around the existence of the Covenant, let alone the extent of how huge it was. I couldn’t begin to imagine how a nice, normal person would take the idea of throwing fire and producing gusts of wind with a thought.
“With all that being said, yes, I’m the leader of the Covenant. Now, can you tell me anything about Deiadre’s death?” If he gave me the crap line about early hours of the investigation and so on, I’d have to seriously control my temper. I didn’t like cryptic when things actually were kind of crypticy. Cryptic when it involved people dying really pushed my buttons.
“She was found in St. Louis No.1 by a group of tourists, earlier this morning.”
“She didn’t go there willingly.” Every head in the room turned in Rian’s direction. “Deiadre hated the cemetery. She wouldn’t have gone there at night for any reason, I guarantee it.”
Duprees looked like he wanted to ask a question or two, but decided against it. If he’d spent any time with the Covenant, he probably knew random statements weren’t really random. “That’s the same conclusion that we reached, Mr. Flannery. The cemetery was merely the dump site, which leaves us with more than a few problems.”
“Such as?” Theo’s hand tightened ever so subtly around my shoulders, his heat bumping up a notch.
“Well, the first would be why Deiadre. The second would be why the cemetery. But the big one would be why she was completely exsanguinated.”
Even the high school drop-out knew what that meant. “Not a drop of blood left in her?”
Duprees’ eyes stayed steady on mine. “Not one.”
Well, hell. “I think you should take us to the cemetery.”

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