It’s the first Wednesday in June, so you know what that means, right? It’s WIP Wednesday!
The rules are simple: please keep your snippet to under 500 words (I know sometimes that’s not a good stopping point–a little fudging is allowed) and no graphic sex–let’s keep the tone PG-13 for the general reading population.
I’m offering a snippet from my upcoming release, Ghost of a Chance, another in the Redclaw Security series. In this story, Sarah Atwell has been given a second chance at a life she left behind when her grandmother leaves her the family horse farm–only it comes with strings attached. She must fulfill the terms of the will or the farm go to horse trainer Casey Barnes instead. What they don’t know is that outside forces aim to tip the balance–and in doing so, create a dangerous situation for them both.
Fortunately, Casey is a former Redclaw Security agent–and the bad guys won’t know what hit them…
A quick recon of the tracks indicated the stray horse had turned back onto the path the others had taken, so Casey wheeled Indy back to rejoin Sarah.
How had the horses escaped the dry lot? Why were there so many canines involved in chasing them? Wild packs of dogs existed, and coyotes were becoming bolder, but nothing about the steady drive of tracks toward the road made sense. Initially, Casey’s distrust of the semi-feral Shepherd had led him to believe the dog was behind the escape, but the sheer number of paw prints dispelled that notion. The dog might have been present, but she wasn’t alone. If the animals chasing the horses meant to hurt them, they would have caught up with them by now. None of this was consistent with wild animals making a nuisance of themselves. If the horses in the dry lot had been attacked and had fled in desperation, there would be fences down. The gate wouldn’t have been standing open.
That required human hands.
The forced movement of the missing horses toward the main road smacked of deliberate manipulation. But why? What did anyone have to gain by doing something like this? If it hadn’t been for the fact one of the missing horses was Athena, it would be easy to dismiss his concerns as fanciful. But the entire inheritance hinged on keeping Athena safe through her high-risk pregnancy. Which beggared the question: who would benefit if something happened to Athena?
As far as he could tell, the only person was him. And since he knew he wasn’t behind the series of “accidents” that left him without answers.
Now it’s your turn! Share a little snippet with us!
Looking around, there was nothing out of place, no obvious tracks or anything else to suggest that anyone had been there but me. And, obviously, him. I couldn’t help it anymore. I needed to look at him more closely. Maybe they would understand me touching him to try to check for a pulse.
Hesitant, I walked up to where he was swinging and reached up. So close to him, the smell of piss and defecation caused me to retch. I covered my face with my shirt and tried again, even if it didn’t help much.
On my tip toes I could just reach his wrist enough to try to feel for a pulse. It had been a long time since I’d taken a first aid class, but I felt compelled to try. How cruel would it be to leave him swinging there if he could be saved? I just had to try. I wouldn’t want someone to stand by if I was dying.
No matter how many different ways I tried, there was no pulse. His skin was cold as ice, colder, I thought, than what his body should be if the temperature around them meant anything. At once, I was reminded of my childhood. My mother used to raise rabbits and every winter, we’d have baby rabbits die. They would be rejected by their mother and tossed out of the hutch we’d built for her, or they’d fall through the cage floor and land in the manure below.
Whenever I saw them, I’d rush to gather them, prayers racing through my mind. If they weren’t already dead by the time I’d found them, they often died soon after. Newborn rabbits are hairless and wrinkly and susceptible to the open air among so many other things. But thing I remembered most in this moment was how utterly cold they felt when I would pick them up. Their fragile little bodies seemed unnaturally cold, the kind of cold that infected you too and drilled itself down into your bones.
That was the exact kind of cold that I felt now as my fingers fumbled around the rubbery skin of his wrist. I felt it seeping in and, giving up on him anyway, I stepped back and rubbed my hands against my pants. As if the cold could be wiped away. It was hard to think of him as just a body, although it was all the more terrifying to think that there was once a person in there.
I didn’t feel like I had the mental fortitude for an existential crisis at that exact moment. Alone, deep in the forest, with only a dead man for company.
EEEEP! That’s so chilling! And of course, my next thought is “Is she really alone??”
It *is* funny the kinds of things that run through your head at a time like that. I too, would have thought of some other dead thing I’d handled. *shivers*
I’m so glad you found it chilling! Thank you for reading! <3
Alone, deep in the forest, with only a dead man for company.
Yep, that’s a great one-liner to grip any potential reader. 😀
Love this snippet, Audrey, thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much, Jay!
Another great snippet, McKenna, can’t wait to read the book! 😀
Thank you for allowing us to share out own WiP snippets xx
This one is from The Shifting Tide book three in my scifi action romance series Dragonus Chronicles.
The van ploughed through morning rush hour traffic like a toddler throwing toys in a tantrum. Pedestrians, courier bikes, cars, anything that got in its way was mowed down, scraped past in a shower of sparks, or shoved aside. Julia watched as the driver deliberately slammed into the side of a truck transporting industrial gas cylinders. The makeshift grenades exploded on impact with the road. Traffic swerved from their regimented lanes in an effort to miss the concussion blasts, spectacular blue-green flames, and each other. Not everyone succeeded. Sideswipe crashes, nose-to-tails, and even the occasional airborne vehicle added to the mayhem on the freeway feeder.
“Suspects are northbound on the thirty-two.” Julia radioed.
“Copy.” Mark answered.
Julia watched from on high with fear-laced pride as her stupidly-brave husband drove the black Suburban like a tank through a blaze of blue flame, accelerated out the other side and continued single-mindedly after his target.
“Holy shit!” Her pilot exclaimed over their internal comms as he increased their airspeed and lowered their altitude.
“Yep.” Julia’s gaze never faltered from the erratic path of the van carrying her children. Every moment the pursuit continued the danger to Aidan and Phoenix increased as the kidnappers’ desperation grew. “Get closer!”
“One, this is Eagle moving to intercept.”
Mark didn’t bother arguing. “Copy that, Eagle.”
Julia heard his be careful beneath the official tone and clutched to the safety grip above her window as the pilot swooped in low over the smoothly flowing traffic of the ten-lane freeway.
The driver continued in his attempts to create a barricade between him and the pursuing authorities by colliding with as many vehicles as possible.
“I’m gonna give him a tap.” The pilot said through her helmet’s intercom and she nodded. “Exit coming up.”
“I see it.”
They were flying six feet above the van’s roof when the first shots were fired.
“Fuck!” The pilot flinched as sparks arced off his half of the chopper’s chassis.
“Shots fired.” Julia radioed and turned as far in her seat as her harness allowed. “You hit?”
“No, you?” The pilot climbed up and away, to clear the overpass. Julia shook her head and spared a glance for the dash; gauges read normal across the board.
“Go again.” Julia signaled to the pilot what she was going to do. His mouth was a tight line of disapproval but he dropped them back, kept pace, right skid level with the rear driver’s side door, while Julia shed her harness and poised ready with her hand on door catch.
“Better make this quick.” She nodded and removed her helmet.
The air pressure worked against her efforts to open the door. She shoved hard, refusing to be foiled by a stupid fucking door. Her boot slipped on the skid and she caught herself on the seat arm. The pilot kept the chopper steady and increased its speed to better their odds of success.
The airspeed slammed into her, shoving her back as she dropped and stealing the breath from her lungs. She crashed on the van’s roof, bashing her chin, elbows, and kneecaps. Alerted to her presence the driver swerved, left, then right, then left again, in an attempt to fling her loose. But she wasn’t going anywhere.
Not without her children.
HOLY CRAP. You had me on the edge of my seat here!! That was just–wow. The cool efficiency combined with deadly determination of both parents… WOW.
That’s the exact reaction I was going for. Being the third book there’s a lot that happens. Mark and Julia better be on their toes for this adventure 😉
Thanks for reading, hun x