Thank you for reading my new book excerpts. I hope the excitement of my mystery fiction is well described in these pages.

A Cut Above

[excerpt of a completed manuscript set in Colorado. Lieutenant Meagan Storm is a strong female protagonist who is a homicide detective. NOTE: the sequel to A Cut Above, A Bite to Remember is completed. ]

Storm felt the fear wiggling deep in her gut as she was listening to the rest of the team get in place.  She was with the team on the roof, but there was no way into the room where her partner was being held.  At least not any that were easy.  “I need eyes in there,” she hissed into her radio.  “I need to know where everyone and everything is.”

“Working on it,” was all she got from the tech. A heartbeat later, her radio gave her the answers she needed.  “Got it!”  The techs had finally worked their magic, with a small camera that fit under the door; they could see what was happening in the room without the subject knowing it.  Gotler’s pacing and ranting; can’t make out what.  Poynter’s in a chair.  His head’s down, but he’s alive, I can see him breathing.

“Give me the exact location of everything you see in the room.”  As she was talking, she fashioned a length of flat tubing rock climbers used, into a harness around her legs and tied a sheepshank knot; she could hear the creak of the material, and feel the roughness against her jeans as she listened to the radio.  Storm tested it, working the nylon through her gloves.  It was an iffy chance but the only way they had to get into the room; or at least one that wouldn’t be Poynter’s death sentence. 

Poynter’s three feet from the wall on the left.  Gotler’s pacing in front of him, holding a gun and the phone.  Looks like that’s all there is in there, it was supposed to be vacant.”

“Thanks, owe you big time when this is over, when I give the word have the negotiator call him again.”

The tech came back, “Ross says to tell you he’s getting antsy, he wants you to be the one talking to him.”

Ross Maxwell was the hostage negotiator for the department.  “Tell Ross to say I was caught in traffic or something.”

This time Ross came back on her radio, “He says you can fly a fucking helicopter, so get you one and then you can be his pilot out.”

“In his dreams.” she muttered.  Turning to the men waiting with her on the roof; she went over the plan, such as it was.  “All I need is for you all to hold the rope until I maneuver over to the window, when I tell you to, let go of it.”

The youngest cop, one who looked so green, Storm looked for his bib, asked timidly, “But if we let go, how will you get back?”

Storm looked grim for a moment, “If this doesn’t work, there is no coming back.”

Taylor looked at her as if she had lost her mind and shook his head, “If the commander knew what you planned, he would not only say ‘No, but hell no!’  I hope you know what you’re doing.”

Storm just grinned at him, “Well you know the saying; easier to ask for forgiveness… this will be a piece of cake.”  She motioned to Ace, her other partner.  He was a black German Sheppard, approximately the size of a small pony, and right now he was watching her for orders.  “You stay with Taylor.”  Whining, he sat next to Taylor and put his head down.  “You can’t go with me this time Ace, and quit trying to make me feel guilty by getting flat,” she grumbled.  Ace had a bad habit of getting as flat to the floor as he could when he wasn’t happy with her; as if he could repel down a building.  She walked over and scratched his neck, she could feel the silkiness of his fur on her fingers, she was wearing finger-less gloves so she could use her gun.  Giving him the signal to stay, she looked up at Taylor.  “He’ll obey your commands until I cancel the order; take care of him for me.”

“You got it.”

Storm went back to the edge of the roof, retested her knots, and closed her eyes to imagine the room using the information from the techs. Then she went over the side of the wall, easing down until she was beside the window, through her boots she could feel the bricks crumbling.  This was an old warehouse, ready to be torn down. Storm was working blind, with only the picture in her head the techs had given her. Because of the grime blackened windows they hadn’t been able to see in, a bitch for the snipers.  There was a glimmer of light from the room that flickered from time to time.  Gotler always had been a pacer.  From the description the techs had given her, the middle window should bring her between the two of them.  Capitalizing on the element of surprise, she should have the drop on Gotler before he could shoot either one of them.  Or at least that was the plan.  The smell of cold, damp mortar filled her nose.  The acrid taste of dust on her tongue mixed with the metallic feel of adrenaline and fear in the back of her throat.  If she was wrong, there was a good chance both Poynter and her were going to die today. Laying her forehead against the brick she could get a clearer picture of the room from Poynter’s mind, Gotler’s mind was a snarling red pulsing mass of anger and she pulled out fast.  Pulling out her punch, she got ready to break the window.  She muttered a short prayer, and hoped she had a good and fast angel with her today, and then spoke quietly into the radio, “Make the call now.”  The phone was ringing as she placed the punch in the corner of the window, and then released it.  The window spidered out, it wasn’t safety glass, but luckily it didn’t shatter and the ringing of the phone covered the slight crack it made.  Sometimes the magic works.  Since it wasn’t safety glass it meant she stood a better chance of getting some cuts on the way through.  Storm sidled over to the side, so she could get a running start, moving rapidly crab-wise across the wall, she plunged through the window using her body to break through the glass, her helmet protected her face and hopefully her momentum and Levi Straus would protect the rest of her.  When her legs cleared the sill, she yelled, “Let go!”

Storm felt the punch of glass as she came through, her feet hit and she rolled out between Poynter and Gotler.  Landing on her butt with her legs splayed out in front of her, she slid backwards across the floor in a sea of broken glass that glittered like ice crystals as she slid through them.  She pulled her gun free as she slid.  Gotler had the phone up to his ear and his gun was down at his side.  He gaped at her for a split second, as she slid across the floor yelling, “Drop the gun!” then he brought his gun up to fire.  Storm put two bullets in his chest and saw him stagger back and then straighten up and grin as the vest protected him.  “Fuck it!” she snarled and shot him in the head; watching the life disappear from of his eyes as he slid down the wall leaving a bright trail of blood and brain spatter in his wake..  Storm waited a second to see if he moved and then eased over to feel for a pulse.  The flight of a soul from a person’s eyes when they die is hard to miss, but she had often wondered during the time they were after Gotler if he still had a soul or had sold it long ago.

As the SWAT team battered in the door, she looked at her partner.

“Damn it Storm, had to wait to the last minute, you couldn’t come in through the door like normal people!  Gotta fly in like Superman or something!”  Poynter ranted after one of the officers took the tape off his mouth and untied his hands and feet.  “What took you so long?”

“Well, you know, busy day, this and that, just managed to get you penciled in a few minutes ago.  Besides that it’d be Superwoman.”  Dragging herself upright, she shook the glass off her leather jacket and jeans, and released the knots of the harness. Storm walked over to him.  She knew he was close to retirement age, but never had given it much thought.  Now, she saw he was gray looking and tired.  Laying her hand on his shoulder, “You ok?  I swear you’ll do anything to get out of a little paper work.”

 

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