Exclusive Excerpt from Dead Wrong
by Gillian St. Kevern
“Why do these things always come in threes? You never win the lottery three times, do you?” Gunn had steeled himself for entering the yoga studio by lighting a cigarette before he went inside. The tobacco and sulfur scent mingled oddly with the herbal notes of the incense lingering in the room, but even that couldn’t mask the smell dominating the studio—death.
Kenzies snorted. “If our perp sticks to only three we’ll be lucky.” She turned to Nate. “You okay, blossom?”
Nate swallowed. The victim’s eyes were open, and she stared at the ceiling. Her short hair was buzzed on one side and spilled into vibrant green-purple-indigo curls on the other, but while she’d obviously gone to a lot of effort to get the cut, she hadn’t maintained it. Her brown roots were showing.
Why am I focused on her haircut and not her death? Nate felt bile at the back of his throat. The woman was dead, the third victim in this ongoing case. She lay on her back on a runic circle that even to Nate’s untrained eyes looked exactly like those the previous victims had been found on. The two fang marks in her neck stood out against the paleness of her skin like a brand. Just like the others she had been entirely drained of blood.
With a start, Nate realized Kenzies was still waiting for an answer. “Yeah. Uh. Fine.”
“There’s something really suspicious about your reactions,” Gunn remarked conversationally. “I can taste shock, but we’ve already established you don’t know the victim. Has this convinced you that Ben’s responsible?”
Nate gulped. That was it, wasn’t it? If Ben was in Saltaire’s custody, he couldn’t have done this. I need to talk to Godfrey ASAP.
“How long has she been here?” Kenzies asked.
Clay stepped forward. He was far, far too cheerful for anyone who worked with Gunn. “The yoga studio closed at six. Sunset was at 7:02 p.m. The corpse was discovered by the cleaner at—when did you say, Tremaine?”
Tremaine looked up from her inspection of the studio’s supply cupboards. “I got the call at 8:17 p.m. I arrived here ten minutes later.”
Nate was relieved to see that she no longer looked ill. She didn’t even look tired. Having a case to work on was clearly more to her liking than crowd control.
Tremaine cocked an eyebrow at him, and Nate realized he was staring. “I see you got your uniform without problem.”
“Yeah, thanks for dropping it off.” Nate tugged the shirt straight. The new shirt didn’t adhere to his skin. “I feel much more comfortable.” He cast around for a way to change the subject. He didn’t want to remember what had followed the delivery of Nate’s new uniform. Ben snarling as he launched himself at Aki in an entirely unprovoked assault.
Am I sure that Ben isn’t guilty? He has all the killing instinct of a vampire… I have to talk to Godfrey. Nate slipped his hand into his pocket, gripping his phone, and took a step backward toward the door.
Gunn spat out smoke. “What are the odds we can’t identify this one either?”
Clay grinned. “Bad news.”
Gunn glared. “Security footage only shows victim?”
“Not even that. It’s a complete blank from the owner leaving to Tremaine arriving. Also, we had the owner in to ID the victim, and she says she’s never seen her before.”
“Do you think they’re doing this just to annoy us?”
Kenzies sniffed. “It would explain the wolfsbane.”
Nate was startled. “You can’t smell anything?”
“I can smell too much. Even despite the best efforts of him”—she jerked her head toward Gunn—“and the goddamn patchouli this place is drowning in, I can barely make out the smell of the rite. And you know how much necromancy stinks!”
Nate did not, but he filed that away for future reference. Evil equals smelly. “And the wolfsbane?”
“Overkill. Then again, the fact they used it at all is a good indication, if one were needed, that our perp is not a wolf.”
“Or a vampire. Don’t they have sensitive noses too?”
Kenzies looked sadly at Nate. Out of respect for Nate’s feelings, she referred to the killer as ‘the perp’ when Nate was in earshot, but he suspected she shared her superior’s views of Ben’s guilt. “I caught a whiff of vampire when we approached the building.”
“We gotta go,” Gunn announced. “Another night, another demonstration scheduled outside the Registry. You’d think people would have better things to do, but there you go. Kenzies, I leave the rest to you.”
Kenzies saluted. “I’m going to sniff around here. Clay, you monitor the Forensics team, and make sure they don’t accidentally set off a necromantic booby trap. Tremaine, take Nate back to the station. I want you to figure out who these victims are.”
About Dead Wrong
Nate’s no supernatural expert, but even he knows a murdered man coming back to life to kill him can only mean one thing—the necromancer is back and out for revenge.
Recruited by Department Seven in a desperate attempt to stop Peter before he claims new victims, Nate quickly realizes he’s in way over his head. His powers are failing him, he’s haunted by Peter’s ghost, and he can’t even remember how he stopped Peter the first time—or why he feels that someone very important is missing from his life.
Ben is fighting for his afterlife. Trapped in the supernatural version of solitary confinement, he knows freeing himself will destroy New Camden’s fragile peace—but what choice does he have? The longer he spends in his magical prison, the harder it becomes to resist his inner vampire. But if Ben wants to help Nate prevent Peter taking over the city, he has to prove himself to his sire—Saltaire, a thousand-year-old vampire with no qualms about using his immense power to suppress Ben’s free will.
As the casualties mount and the city descends into chaos, Ben and Nate must overcome their worst fears and impossible odds—or be written out of existence entirely.
Available at: Amazon
About Gillian St. Kevern
Gillian St. Kevern is the author of the Deep Magic series, the Thorns and Fangs series, the For the Love of Christmas series, and standalone novels, The Biggest Scoop and The Wing Commander’s Curse. Gillian currently lives in her native New Zealand, but spent eleven years in Japan and has visited over twenty different countries. Her writing is a celebration of the weird and wonderful people she encounters on her journeys. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers, and a member of RWNZ.
As a chronic traveller, Gillian is more interested in journeys than endings, with characters that grow and change to achieve their happy ending. She’s not afraid to let her characters make mistakes or take the story in an unexpected direction. Her stories cross genres, time-periods and continents, taking readers along for an unforgettable ride. Both Deep Magic and The Biggest Scoop were nominated for Best LOR story in the 2015 M/M Romance Groups Member’s Choice awards. Deep Magic also received nominations in Best Cover, Best Main Character and Best Paranormal, while The Biggest Scoop was nominated for Best Coming of Age. Thorns and Fangs came third in the 2016 Rainbow Awards Bisexual Paranormal/Historical category.
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