We’re hosting an excerpt from romantic suspense novel “Cast The Cards”. Enjoy the snippet!
Carey woke with a sick feeling in his stomach. It was the anniversary of the day Clark disappeared. He always got drunk the night before. The one time I opt out of doing something with my twin and everything goes to shit. I can’t help but wonder if having three people there would’ve deterred the kidnappers. Not that I’ll ever know.
He usually avoided torturing himself with what-ifs but today was its own special brand of hell. His thoughts drifted to Savannah and a sudden urge for a hair from the dog that bit him hit. A shot of Jack wouldn’t hurt anyone. Who cared that it was— he glanced at the alarm clock beside his bed—seven in the morning? The pain wouldn’t have been so bad had it been shared. Unfortunately, his pseudo sister could barely look him in the eye. She felt so guilty about it. Henceforth the permanent split of what had once been the Three Musketeers.
It had been like losing two parts of himself instead of one. She was a big shot F.B.I. agent now over at Quantico, but she’d be at the grave this year, same as always. It was the one time a year he knew he’d see her, though they never talked, just stood at the grave, sometimes not even together. She looked good on the outside, tall, lithe, and put together. Still, he guessed she never really healed, because he didn’t hear about her having any male suitors, or female for that matter.
She lived for her job profiling. Pot meet Kettle. It wasn’t as if he had much going on outside of his gig as a cop. Never thought the name Carey Carr would be synonymous with Protect and Serve—I was usually the one raising the hell. He sat up with a groan, forced his weary body from the bed, and stumbled to the bathroom. When he walked through the door he did a double-take. Clark stood by the shower stall in the exact same outfit he’d last seen him in—brown boots, jeans, white undershirt, brown, blue and white-plaid button up and a brown leather jacket.
“Damn … I might have to leave whiskey alone if it’s going to make me hallucinate.”
“I’m not a hallucination, Carey.”
“Isn’t that what they all say?” He shook his head. “This shit it too fricking weird for me. Turn your head, Imaginary Clark. I gotta drain the lizard.”
“Why? It looks exactly the same as what I have.”
“Nice to know even in my head you’re still a smartass.” Carey shook his head, freed his dick from his boxer briefs, and aimed into the toilet.
“Aren’t you going to ask me why I’m here?” Imaginary Clark asked.
“Pretty obvious. Half a bottle of whiskey mixed with guilt and some anniversary angst.”
“Why haven’t I shown up before?”
“I don’t know? Can you ask me this when my head doesn’t feel like it’s being ripped apart by a jackhammer?”
Clark sighed. “Come on, Carey, you’re better than this.”
“Hey! You don’t get to come in here on your ghost cloud and judge me. Life without you is the hardest shit I’ve ever done, especially since Van split. Fuck I’m talking to myself!” He snorted.
“You’re really not.”
This time Carey ignored Clark, flushed, moved to the shower, and turned the spray on as hot as he could stand it. He pulled down his boxers, kicked them toward the hamper, and stepped inside the basin. With his head under the water he clenched his eyes tight and prayed to God when he left the stall Ghost Clark would be gone.
I know I don’t talk to you like I should, but please take this away. I can’t. Ten minutes and a good scrub-down later, Carey felt like a new man. The hangover was tolerable, and the smell of alcohol had run down the drain. It was time to get something in his stomach. He stepped out of the shower and sighed. No Clark. Toweling dry, he padded into his room, slipped on a pair of comfy black sweats, a plain black T-shirt, and migrated to the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and jumped when Clark appeared to his right.
“I’m sorry, I really hate to do this to you, but it’s important.”
“Please, believe it’s me. You want me to Swayze something?” The refrigerator door jerked out of his hand and closed.
Carey’s hand shook. Afraid to believe, he hesitated. “Clark?”
“Yes. I’m really here, and you need to pay attention because this is about Savannah.”
Carey took a shaky breath and nodded. “Okay, this is happening.”
“You believe me now?” Clark leaned closer.
“That or I’m completely insane which isn’t likely to just happen overnight.” He clung to the logic in his response. When all logical answers failed it was time to think outside the box. Extending a shaky hand, he touched Clark’s arm and jumped.
“Jeez. Nice to see your own deductive reasoning outweighs my mad ghost skills.”
Carey smirked. “I don’t want to get sappy, but I’ve missed you, asshole.” His voice broke and he cleared his throat to dislodge the lump that choked him. He threw an arm around his brother, hugging his body to him as tears escaped his eyes. Clark’s body was whole, albeit cooler than normal, as he returned the hug.
“I would’ve come sooner if I could’ve, I swear. It doesn’t work that way.”
“I’m just glad you’re here now.” Pulling back, Carey wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. Clark’s words from earlier registered, bursting his bubble of joy. “You said this was about Vannah?”
“Yes, she’s in danger.”
“Hate to break it to you, little brother, but that’s kind of in her job description.”
“Younger by one minute, ass, and not this kind of danger… They’re back.” The whispered tone was full of apprehension. Why would a ghost be scared?
“The killers who took us want to finish what they started.”
“Over my dead fucking body.” Carey balled his hand into a fist.
“That’s what I was hoping you said,” Clark whispered, a look of relief on his face.
“Tell me what I need to do.”
“First, speak to her.”
“Easier said than done, Clark.” He ran a hand through his hair and blew out air.
“What happened between you two?”
“I don’t know. Things got fucked up quick. Maybe seeing your face when she looked at me was too much? She pulled away, went inside her own head, and never really came back out. Next thing I know she’s switching schools, her major, and avoiding me like the plague. I tried to contact her for a while, and then I just…” Carey shrugged. “I figured if she needed me to back off to be okay, then that’s what I’d do. It hurt like a bitch though. I won’t lie.”
“That doesn’t sound like her.”Clark looked crestfallen.
Carey’s heart bled for him. Poor guy comes back and everything is upside down.
“That carefree girl who wanted to teach impressionable young minds and heal the world one person at a time is long gone, Clark. I’m sorry.”
Clark ducked his head and nodded. “No, I knew she wouldn’t be the same. I just hoped…”
“I know. “ Carey sniffed, sucked back tears. Time for a safer topic. “You said the people that did this to you are back?”
“Yes, they’ve been at this game a long time. There have been more victims than anyone can imagine.”
“Why? What’s their motive?” The senseless violence people inflicted on others sickened and confused him. You have an issue so you take it out on an innocent victim?
“I don’t know. I’m not told everything. I do know you need to stay close to Savannah. It’s a matter of life or death. She needs someone to watch her back at all times, and you’re the only one I trust to do that.”
“I hate to break it to you but she runs with the big dogs. The F.B.I . I’m a lowly police sergeant in Dale.”
“It’s not going to matter.” Clark shook his head. “They’ll bring this fight to your doorstep.”
“What do you mean?” Goosebumps broke out over Carey. Silence stretched between them. “Clark?”
Clark’s demeanor changed. The spark left his eyes and his shoulders slumped. “You’ll see. I have to go now.”
“Are you kidding me? Right now?”
“Get in touch with Vannah. It’s important.” Clark’s form wavered.
“Don’t you leave me with that half-cocked answer!”
“This isn’t on my terms –” Clark disappeared in mid-sentence.
“Fuck!” Turning, he slammed his fist into the wall. Pain radiated up his fingers. He hugged the injured hand to his chest.
Did that really just happen? If I was smart I’d cook myself breakfast and forget the whole thing. The idea sounded good. If there was as remote chance Clark had been here, he’d do what he asked. Despite everything, he still cared about Savannah, and he’d do anything for his brother.
Looks like I’m in for a trip down memory lane. Whether Savannah wants it or not.
Cast The Cards
Savannah escaped a kidnapping but her best friend Clark—the man she secretly loved—didn’t. Guilt-ridden and changed after the event, she gives up her dream of teaching and earns a position in the F.B.I as a profiler. When she’s targeted by the very same kidnappers wishing to finish the job, she is armed with her skills, backed by her first love’s twin brother, and forced to revisit her demons when Clark’s ghost appears.
After his twin’s murder, Officer Carey Carr loses more than his brother. Savannah avoids him for a decade. Her return—and her steaming-hot body—stir brand new feelings in Carey. But Clark’s reappearance has Carey battling to control his primal desires around the woman his twin loved.
As Savannah and Carey, with Clark’s help, embark on a cruel game of cat and mouse with the kidnappers, the twins come to an understanding that involves Savannah and more pleasure than the three of them have ever dreamed.
Told once ‘You have to be an author, then you’re craziness becomes eccentrics’, Shyla Colt has always been in love with the written word and possessed a desire to write. Named after Super Girl in the comics, she often mistakes her mortality for super hero status. So, she holds many hats, Mother, Marine Wife, and writer are her top three. Writing allows her to explore new venues, face her demons, and touch others. A huge practitioner of paying it forward, and putting in what you want to get out, she hopes to inspire, enlighten, move, and entertain you with her work. Mixing humor, drama, and strong women, often with a paranormal element, she continues to soldier ahead in the writing field. One of her favorite things is talking to fans. If you’d like to learn more or just drop a line, please check her out at http://www.shylacolt.com.