Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cailin's Tuesday Tease - How to Steal the Pharaoh's Jewels

How to Steal the Pharaoh's Jewels: A Thief in Love Suspense Romance is nearly finished and will be off to the editor soon. This is Cade and Bassinae's story and the second book in the series. While I write, I'm getting the feeling that Max's book is next.

For this month's Tuesday tease, I thought I'd give you another taste from the opening chapter. This is an unedited version.

The main throughway to the spaceport was snarled in gridlock, so Cade diverted the car to a slower but better regulated side street. He made this trip frequently enough that he had the route and its alternates memorized down to the timing of the automated signals. Still he would have preferred the quicker course of an open throughway. And now, this road was jammed two intersections ahead.

“Damn traffic!” He slapped his palm on the padded steering wheel. In the old days no one got in his way. But then he’d been wearing battle armor as a peacekeeper for the United Colonies. Nothing like fear to clear citizens from your path.

“Problem?” The deep voice resonating from the back seat was Sebastian St. Croix, Cade’s boss and the man who had taken Cade in when the military had cast him on the trash heap.

“No. Intersection’s blocked ahead. I’ll go another street right. We’ll get there in plenty of time.”

“Do what you have to. You know how my mother hates to stand around and wait. If we’re not there, she’ll take a cab, and I’ll hear about it for the next two weeks.”

Cade chuckled. “I’ll try to keep you out of trouble.” Sebastian’s mother was a force of nature. Nothing stopped her from doing as she pleased except for her husband, Sebastian’s father. The man was the immovable object that when necessary blocked her irresistible drive forward. The only time Cade had been a witness to such a set down his admiration for the man’s authority had grown immensely. But Gerald St. Croix was the only person alive who had that effect on his wife.

The woman refused to use shuttle flights on planet even though she was wealthy enough to afford them. One should never take to the air when traveling short distances. This was her dictum based in theory on energy savings. Not that there was any substantial difference in fuel cost between ground and shuttle traffic. She’d grown up on a colony planet that had suffered near catastrophic power loss from the shoddy infrastructure installed by political crooks. To this day she insisted on saving energy when it didn’t overly hinder her pampered lifestyle. Thus collecting her from the spaceport took an hour long drive rather than a fifteen minute flight.

With a grunt of approval, Cade noted the route change had worked. The road ahead was less congested, so he relaxed back into his seat and picked up speed. A parking garage lined the left side of the street with office buildings on the right. He checked the time and glanced in the rear-view mirror. “Want some music?”

At that moment a large dump truck came barreling out of an exit of the parking garage. Cade swung right and hit the brakes hard, hoping to lessen the inevitable impact, but even with the protection devices built into the vehicle this would be a brutal collision. Safety foam inundated the foot wells of the car, and the air ballasts deployed. The scree of metal and the splintering of the car’s plastic shell, filled Cade’s ears along with a sound like the roaring thunder of thousands of wild animals stampeding toward him. One thought struck him. No pain. And then the world winked out.

The next he knew, someone was shouting his name and agony radiated from his pelvis. The gray airbags that held him in place deflated while before him the mangled remains of the windshield gave him a partially obstructed view of the front end of the dump truck, an irresistible force that even Gerald St. Croix couldn’t have stopped. The left side of the car was crushed and had been pushed into the passenger side. Cade had been displaced two-and-a-half feet to his right.

A voice sounded behind him. “Cade. We’re going to get you out of there. Hang on. They’ll have to cut you out.”

That was Sebastian. Thank the gods he’s okay. It was minutes, but it seemed that hours passed before Cade heard sirens approaching.

“The police and emergency services are here. It’s going to be all right, Cade.”

How the fuck did this happen? Who in their right mind would drive a dump truck at that speed out of a parking garage onto a street?

“Sir? Can you hear me, sir?” A uniformed man’s head and shoulders appeared outside the shattered front window.

Cade croaked out a response. “Yes.”

“I’m going to stabilize your neck with a collar and cover you while we break the side window and remove the roof of the vehicle.” The man pushed his way further into the car. While he slipped the collar around Cade’s neck and secured it, he asked, “Where do you hurt?”


“Can you tell me what happened?”

“Yeah.” Cade mumbled the brief details.

“Okay. We’re ready to remove the car’s roof. I’m going to place a blanket over you and then a shield. I’ll be right here with you.” Cade felt the emergency tech take hold of his hand. “It’s going to be noisy. If you need us to stop for any reason, squeeze my hand. Got that?”

“Got it. Squeeze your hand. Just get it done. It hurts like hell.”

“Pain meds have to wait for a full eval. But as soon as possible we’ll get you feeling better.”

“I know the drill.” Did he ever. Battle armor didn’t prevent everything, and even when it worked, the human inside could get battered and bruised.

“Here comes the blanket.” With the cover and then the flexible plastic shield in place, Cade’s world narrowed further. Claustrophobia enveloped him. He began to pant and grew dizzy.

The emergency med tech’s response was muffled but audible. “You’re all right. Breathe in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth.”

Cade heard the tinkle of falling glass. His fist clenched, he followed the techs instructions and the light-headedness passed. Gods. I’m such a limp dick. Hell of a thing for a former special forces operative to get his nuts handed to him over. Can’t take having a blanket covering your head.

Shouting voices intermingled with a whirring sound and then a high metallic scree, a pause, and then more screaming synthsteel. The pain in his pelvis became white hot when something jarred the vehicle. He gritted his teeth as a wave of nausea hit him. His eyelids squeezed shut, he counted seconds. When he reached one hundred forty-eight, light struck his lids, and he opened his eyes.

A long slender nozzle came into view, releasing a mist on top of the solidified foam that held him in place from the knees down. With the foam melting away he moved his right foot, the other refused to budge. He immediately regretted the action when pain sliced through his torso down his legs and up his spine. He struggled to endure the blinding agony, hanging on, waiting for it to ease while he remained frozen, panting in short, staccato breaths. It’s a broken pelvis at the very least. Internal bleeding if its bad. Hell, it feels like my whole left side is crushed. He fought the urge to push his way out of the car. I could be bleeding out. If they don’t hurry, I could die.

The men working over him issued orders for placement of the back board and the plan for extracting him. Their voices slowly faded into the background as cold gripped him. Stay awake. Don’t pass out. Don’t die. But his body ignored him. One last image passed through his mind before consciousness winked away, Bassinae.

How to Steal the Pharaoh's Jewels will release some time in April. The cover should be available soon.You're gonna love it.

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