Today,I'm going to post the prologue to the new book, BEFORE it's released.
I hope you all enjoy it!
Here it is....
Darkness of Truth (book 6) in the FBI/Romance series
The scene had been set and the trap was laid. The victim would be coming soon to commit his offenses. He’d watched him every week for months to learn his patterns and routines. At first he’d come to the land once in a while, taking only for personal use, and it was overlooked. Then as time passed, he became greedy. Monthly foraging became weekly and that became daily. Soon it was nothing more than pillaging what wasn’t his to take.
I hope you all enjoy it!
Here it is....
Darkness of Truth (book 6) in the FBI/Romance series
Red River Indian Reservation
Darkness is never to be shunned, especially when you spend all your time creeping through its inky blackness, working your magic. These skills were the essence of their kind and had been for hundreds of years. They were passed down from one generation to another in the form of myth and story.
Only it wasn’t legend in this case. It was truth and it was fact. They existed and were on the hunt to right the wrongs that were committed against them so long ago.
Their people endured.
They continued on despite it all.
And they held a wicked grudge over the man that restrained them and crushed their dreams.
Now it was time to take that step from the darkness, seeking revenge on those hell bent on destroying what was never theirs to begin. Soon they would pay with the ultimate price.
He stood beside the fire, built to offer warmth as the cool air circulated around him and his next victim. Soon his captive’s time on this side of the spirit world would come to an end. It was simply how it must be.
When you committed the ultimate sin, you paid the ultimate price. There could be no bargaining or making of deals.
What’s done was done, sealed in blood, and offered up to the hands of fate.
Pulling out his deerskin sack, he rolled it out and inspected his tools of the trade. The blades were sharp and glinted in the moonlight and firelight. Everything was there and ready to be utilized in his quest.
Running his finger over the edge of the knife, it drew a single line of crimson blood. Immediately, he placed it in his mouth, tasting the salty essence of life drawn from his body. It gave him pleasure and joy to feel the power in the sacred fluid.
It was all about that blood.
The sacred fluid was with us from birth until death.
In life, some were born to Native mothers and others born of the outsider, but what it all came down to was who you were inside the shell, and what you could become.
Destiny could be decided with one moment of fate.
He had chosen to be one of the dark wanders and that meant everything to him. His father had been the same, passing it to him in secrecy. Always warning him to not get caught, as so many wouldn’t understand why it needed to be done.
Protect their people.
Uphold his heritage.
Be strong and indestructible.
Remain a shadow, hidden in plain sight.
In life there were many hidden secrets and deceptions needed in order to endure. That is true of all the ones who came before him, and those that were destined to follow. Existence is all about working your way to the top of the food chain and holding on for dear life.
It was exactly what he intended to do.
Remain at the top.
Be the predator and not the prey.
He took the herbs from the pocket of his pants and tossed them into the fire, watching them burn in the flames, filling the air with the acrid smoke.
Inhaling deeply, he reveled in the ancient strength it gave him to carry on with his plan. Already the mix began taking effect. His vision wavered, his head fogged, and he was beginning the transformation. It was time to start the ritual, and doing what needed to be done.
Tonight was about protecting his people once and for all.
With a few words in his native language, he blessed himself, knowing he was indeed ready to take care of the prone victim, lying on the ground. With more spoken language, unbeknownst to his captive, he prayed to his ancestors for the strength to take the life before him, granting him the ultimate prize of his energy.
Stripping down to almost nothing, he dipped his finger carefully into the ash of the fire, smudging it onto his chest in symbols that his father had taught him years ago as a boy.
They stood for justice.
They offered power.
They revealed the truth for all to see.
Now began the ritual, and the start to the beginning of the end. He danced around the flames, tossing more sacred herbs into the fire, needing more intoxicating smoke as he enjoyed the ritual as much as he knew he’d enjoy the killing.
Ultimately wasn’t that what it was all about?
Taking a life and making the energy yours was a thing of beauty, and something to be relished and enjoyed. Anyone could steal a life, but absorbing the good and the bad energy and building your own strength was a finely honed skill.
It was the skill of one of the skinwalkers and the harvesters of the night.
It was that of the witch and warrior.
Most importantly, it was a secret that none should see.
After the dance was done and the stage set, he moved to the body lying beside the tree. His hands were bound behind him, and he was hogtied, so as not to escape. Not that it would matter. Then he’d simply hunt him down. The man had no clue as to where he’d been taken, and to run would simply mean being tracked like some wild animal.
His chapter in the book of life was already written. Fate had its final say and tonight, the gatherer was about to sow.
The reaper was calling and the answer was obvious.
The eyes of the soon to be victim were filled with fear and terror, as he watched in horror at the scene that was unfolding. Now he knew, his life was forfeited and soon to be lost to the more powerful. One minute he had been out checking on his cattle, and the next he was waking beside the fire.
It was funny how life had viciously wicked, twists and turns that no one seemed to see coming. Had he known tonight was his end, surely he’d have stayed inside with his wife.
The shadowy figure picked up one of the horrifically sharp knives, kneeling before his captive. It was time to take care of business.
“Don’t worry my friend; this won’t hurt a single bit. I promise to be fast.” He ripped open the bound man’s shirt, searching for the exact right spot. “You sinned against my people, and now I find you guilty.”
His struggles and muffled pleas were met with nothing but disregard.
There was no mercy.
There was no clemency.
There was only judgment and justification for the sins committed. Now was a time to show them that someone watched and would offer up justice.
With more ritual words, he plunged the knife deep into the man’s chest, piercing his heart. Pulling the blade out, he watched the blood ooze from the wound. The sticky red life ebbing back towards Mother Earth, and the dirt from which all life had sprung. “You’ll go quickly now.”
The victim tried to scream for help, but to no avail, no one would hear him out here. This was the end of his existence, and he had so much more he wanted to accomplish. He watched as the mostly naked man dipped his fingers in his blood and smeared them on his chest and arms along with the symbolic marks made of ash.
His blood was no longer his and neither was his life.
The darkness came and the truth was evident.
He was collected from life into deaths cold hands.
The reaper of spirit watched his victim’s body shudder out his last and final breath, before he cut free the ties that bound him. Now for the part that mattered most. He needed to take one last thing from the man before he could call it a night.
He got to work, doing the job as he was taught years ago. It was tedious and difficult to do it correctly, tearing nothing and making sure it remained in one piece. Each slice in the skin was vital to complete the next.
It was a finely tuned craft.
When he was done, he stared at it in awe and wonder.
It was one more job well done.
Another soul that was now his.
Most importantly it was one more perpetrator taken and tried for his crimes.
The victim’s spilled blood freed him, cleansing the man of the deeds he’d done.
This was a masterpiece worthy of his kind; Native and skinwalker alike.
An evening in late March
It had always been their unspoken law. Take only what you need, waste nothing and leave some for others.
Not this man. He was stealing money from the people that needed it most. He was creeping onto their sacred land and destroying it to dig for his precious prize. The vile outsider thought nothing of taking from Mother Earth, stripping it of all the resources much like his invading ancestors had before him.
The reaper remained still in the bramble, hiding in plain sight as he observed the man digging in glee, finding his ill-gotten gains. Once he located them, he’d sneak back off the reservation until the greed overcame him again, luring him back on the hunt for more.
It had to be stopped.
The pillaging and desecration needed to come to an end.
The judge, jury and executioner had been sent out to sow justice and reap the guilty for their crimes.
Since he’d taken what wasn’t his repeatedly, the favor would be returned tenfold. Watching him kneel beside a tree, he waited until the man was fully engrossed in the act of theft and violation of the Native lands. As he shoveled dirt, brushing away the surface layers, the shadow slid effortlessly across the Earth, taking his place behind him.
It was time.
With a swift strike of a rock, the man crumbled forward onto the ground, never seeing the one that would be voraciously stealing something from him now too. The life he bartered away for the greed of money was now the sought after prize.
He shook his head in sympathy, knowing that it was far from a hunt and sport when it came to the outsiders. In their minds, they deemed the Natives weak and complacent. Well, their naivety would be their downfall- even if he had to level the playing field one cheater at a time. Thankfully, the man had wandered close enough to the ritual site, and he wouldn’t have to drag him far at all.
He patted the herbs in his pocket as he mentally ran over the plan, step by step. The ritual would be done, the life forfeited, and the intruder punished for his audacity.
It was time to get down to business and take what was now his.
Let the punishment fit the crime.
Two hours later
The ritual had been completed without incident, and the prize had been removed without a single error on his behalf. It was a delicate art to completely skin an entire human being. Animals were easy, but a man was exact work.
Stripping away the protective layer of the body was tedious. Slowly slicing between the meat of the flesh and the papery thin skin was an exact science. One wrong slip and the entire work of art was ruined. Once completely free, it was time to begin the most enjoyable part of the evening’s festivities.
As he slipped into the man’s forfeited skin over his own, it gave him a sense of power. The cooling layer coated his in a wet barrier, offering up the dissipating energy. As he danced around the fire, singing the story of his people and the legend of the skinwalkers, he harvested the dead man’s essence.
This moment was why he was the reaper.
The energy around him sizzled, as he tossed more herbs into the fire to keep the mood intact. He found that the cathartic scent made it even more enjoyable. No longer did he find it pungent, but now it was addictive and gave him pleasure- so much that his body ached for more in response.
Finishing the ritual, he rolled up the newly obtained prize and placed it in a plastic garbage bag until later to keep it moist. Inside, he also placed the man’s scalp, laughing at the irony of a Native scalping another unworthy white man. He’d hide them both as soon as he returned to his cabin to clean up. They were one more trophy to be stashed away with the memories and the joviality, knowing he was protecting his people. Later, they may come in handy.
After all, waste not want not…
Already he swore he could feel the transfer of spirit from the dead to the living. This was the allure of the skinwalker, and he completely understood why so many before him travelled the same taboo path.
It was all about this moment, as his aura greedily swallowed anything it brushed against.
It was invigorating to say the least.
Glancing over at the deceased, he dragged him into the cave dwelling with the other victim. Making room beside the animal bones and carcasses, he’d placed there many times before. When he couldn’t find a person, he’d use the animals found on their land.
Now that he’d taken a human life, he could say it simply wasn’t the same.
This was far better, because it was pure justice for their people.
Recalling the final step, he grabbed his pack from the mouth of the crevasse and left his calling card. It was his way of marking the kills as his own, in case another skinwalker happened to find them.
Laying down a pure white feather, he smiled, content and at peace.
“Justice is served,” he whispered to the dead, even though they’d never hear his words.
“Go in peace.”
He knew he would.
Across the country in Cypress Grove
It had been a long seven months.
When she found out she was three months pregnant and going to raise a child alone, Desdemona Adare was at first afraid.
Now, not so much.
It hadn’t been easy being pregnant and working full time in a town she’d learned to despise. Coming back had been a mistake, and she was paying for it dearly.
Her feet hurt.
Her back hurt.
Her grand’mere was still pissed she had gotten knocked up by an Indian, and so was she. Then again, it had been her choice to not tell him about the baby. Once he dumped her for Elizabeth Blackhawk, her ex-best friend, there was no going back.
She’d made the decision and now it was going to be her burden to carry alone. The hate she was feeling for the people Desdemona once claimed to love filled her and threatened to boil over. It took the deep cleansing breaths to get past the rage.
There were other issues she had to deal with that were far more important than a man she despised and a woman who betrayed her. Desdemona was almost ten months pregnant now. In her heart, she believed that there’d be some maternal attachment to the child due in days. Isn’t that what should happen?
Yes, there was a cute nursery and plenty of things purchased after she sold her grand house back where she once belonged. But there was no excitement about having this child…
If Callen Whitefox had still been at her side, possibly there would be joy and happiness, but at that moment none existed. Maybe it would come when she held her child in her arms the very first time.
Or so she hoped and prayed.
God knew she was on her own from here on out. Her grand’mere wanted nothing to do with the bastard child, and informed her of that repeatedly. This was her mistake for bedding down with an Indian, and she should have known better. Anything from here on out was weighing on her shoulders alone.
The child’s life.
The eighteen long years before her offspring would leave the nest.
Desdemona sighed. Deep down, she wanted to call Callen and tell him about his child in hopes he’d come take it. Sadly, Desdemona swore she’d never contact any of them again, and that was her plan. Why give him a gift that he didn't deserve, especially when he opted to leave her side so easily.
Once she found out about the pregnancy, she believed there would be a strong support system for her, and that being the only reason why she opted to follow through. Although Desdemona’s half sisters and brother had held no grudge toward her after what had happened, anger still lived in their hearts, much like it did in hers. When the truth came out and Desdemona informed her step family who the father of her child was, the shit hit the fan again. When their father committed suicide and brother was killed by Elizabeth Blackhawk in that swamp, it was a brutal few weeks and no one wished to return there. The half-breed child she carried would do only one thing.
Reopen the wounds and be a daily reminder of what had happened.
No one forgave the FBI for the hell that had opened up around them. Granted, Elizabeth Blackhawk saved her life, but she also took the life of their brother. Jonathan, Holly and Ivy Delray were still damaged over the loss of Vinny, despite him being an incest enjoying, murdering nutjob.
Desdemona patted her giant belly and tried to feel maternal towards the half native baby, preparing to enter the world.
Maybe time would change her feelings.
Or maybe her heart was just too hardened over what should and could have been.
One would have to wait and see.
Until then, this was her lot in life. She was trapped in a hellish swamp, as a barely needed ME with no prospect in life. It wasn’t long ago she had it all. A six figure job, a gorgeous home, a sexy native man in her bed- my how the mighty had fallen.
Resentment filled her.
Anger surrounded her.
Where life prepared to spring free and be born, bitterness threatened to swallow it whole.
Nothing would ever be the same again.