Happy Howlidays!

Healing Christmas is live and 99c. Check out an excerpt below.

release 10

 

Cooper pulled to a stop in front of Islands Boutique. He’d never been here before and wouldn’t be if he hadn’t drawn his oldest sister’s name for the family gift exchange. She was a jewelry whore. Darrell, his brother-in-law, said she frequented this shop often. Hopefully, he could get his gift and check one more thing off his list.

He shut the ignition off and opened the car door. The hot Hawaiian air seeped in through the opening and he grumbled under his breath. It was hotter than normal for this time of year. Not that it was ever cool in Hawaii.

Movement inside the shop caught his attention. A man waved something and his eyes darted to a woman being held by a burly man. Cooper’s hand flexed, going to the gun in his holster. Something wasn’t right. He ducked into the car and pulled out his radio while keeping his eye on the shop window. “Possible robbery in progress at the Island Boutique on Tropical Drive, requesting immediate backup.”

He didn’t wait for a response. The man with the gun was pointing it at the blonde woman. What the hell is wrong with her eyes? They glowed unnaturally, golden in color. Who cares what is going on with her eyes? He needed to get in there and help her.

His hand tugged his gun out of its holster and he crept to the door, hoping the men inside wouldn’t see him until it was too late. The guy holding the hostage yowled in pain and Cooper frowned as the woman tore her unusually long…claws…up his thigh. He shook his head and focused on the idiot with the gun.

Shit. He was going to shoot. Cooper reacted without hesitation, whipping his gun up, aiming, and firing a shot. There was an unexpected pause in the shop. The woman squeezed her eyes shut as his victim toppled to the floor.

“We got to go,” the guy holding the woman hollered. He shoved the girl to the floor and sprinted out of sight.

Cooper rushed in, kicking the gun away from the idiot he’d shot. The man whimpered as he cradled his left shoulder. Cooper picked up the gun, placed it in his holster, and turned to the woman. “You okay?” he asked, peering around the shop.

Beautiful cobalt eyes met his. Hadn’t they been golden moments ago?

“I think so,” she panted.

Cooper assessed her a moment. Blood trickled out of her mouth, dripping down her chin and a few drops had dribbled to her turquoise top. Her one hand was bathed in red, but the claws he’d seen earlier were simply nails now. Weird. He wasn’t one to imagine things, especially under these circumstances. It could get him killed if he didn’t take in every detail, which is why he needed to focus. “Is there a back door?”

The woman shoved a lock of wavy blonde hair out of her face and pointed to a curtain. Cooper glanced back at the man he’d shot. Blood pumped out of his shoulder and he was too busy withering on the floor to notice anything that was happening. He wouldn’t be a threat to the girl.

Charging ahead, he darted into the back room with his weapon at the ready. Bright light danced across the room from an open door. He growled, shuffling around boxes as he jogged to the opening. His gun poised and ready to fire he turned to his right first, peeking his head out, while using the door for cover. He turned to the left. No one was in sight. Crap. They’d gotten away.

Cooper made his way around to the front of the store again. The young woman was still in the same spot. She’d curled in on herself, hugging her knees against her chest and burying her face into her chest.

He crouched down next to her and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, opening his mouth to speak.

“Don’t touch me,” she shrilled, scampering away from him like he’d smacked her. She jumped to her feet and quickly put distance between them.

Cooper held up his hands as he took in her tear streaked face and puffy eyes. “Whoa. It’s okay. I was just checking up on you.” He grasped his gun with one hand and pulled his police badge off his clip and showed it up so she could see. “I’m Detective Cooper Reed with the Honolulu PD,” he explained.

She squinted at his badge, but still took another step back. Instead of consoling her, the badge seemed to freak her out even more. Her bottom lip trembled and she looked frantically around the room as if she were contemplating running. Odd.

Sirens wailed in the distance and she covered her mouth with her clean hand and bit back a sob.

“It’s okay, miss…” he trailed off.

She blinked and looked around the store again, her eyes narrowing as she took in the wallowing man on her shop floor. Yeah, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

“Amy Green,” she said out of the blue, drawing his attention back to her. In mere seconds, her demeanor had changed. The tears that had pooled in her eyes were gone. Her face was hard and jaw set. “I need to call my business partners.” She spun on her heel and walked behind the counter.

“After that, if you’re up to it, I’ll have some questions for you, too,” he said. Her change in mood was like night and day. She could be in shock.

Amy shook her head and pulled out a phone, quickly typing away at the screen. He would’ve thought the first thing she’d want to do was get cleaned up, but that wasn’t the case. Most people couldn’t stand the thought of having someone else’s blood on them. Maybe it was a good thing. Perhaps they could get some DNA off her hand to help them find at least one of the other suspects.

He narrowed his eyes. Red coated her fingertips, palm, and wrist. She’d cut her captor deep, but from what he could tell, her nails were perfectly trimmed and short. Nowhere near long enough to do that kind of damage. It’d looked like she’d mauled him with her fingers. The man had seemed to be in pain, too. At least from what Cooper remembered.

Blue and red lights danced across the shop, drawing him from his thoughts. Backup was here. Cooper dragged a hand through his russet hair and went out to meet his comrades. He’d no doubt get some shit for going in alone, but at the time there hadn’t been another choice. If he’d waited for backup, Amy Green would be dead.

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