The fourth book in my Sierra Fox series will be released next week. Here's where it all starts...
“You’re going to be home later, right?”
“Of course I am, Papan.”
“Are you going to be alone?”
“It’s a weeknight, so my sister will be here. But she’ll be
having an early night…” A breathy sigh choked me as a wave of desire struck
deep in my lower abdomen. “Besides, her bedroom’s too far to matter.”
“That’s music to my ears because I really want to get you alone.
We’ve got some catching up to do.” He paused long enough to growl into the
phone. “Too bad you haven’t got that trench coat yet, because I’m in the mood
for some role-playing.”
I rolled my eyes. Was he ever going to let this trench coat and red
high heels fantasy go? I doubted it. Papan could be very stubborn. “What’s with
you and the trench coat fantasy, anyway?”
“The thought of you wearing nothing but a coat and heels gets my
blood boiling. It’s a very vivid image. One I’ve had since the first moment I
saw you.” His breathing echoed through the line, making my spine tingle.
“Anyway, I don’t think now’s the time to be concentrating on this. I have to
meet with someone and my jeans are getting uncomfortably tight.”
“I’m alone now,” I whispered into the phone. “Maybe you should
His frustrated groan echoed in my ears. “Don’t tempt me, Foxy
Lady. I’m so close to cancelling so I can get over there and f—”
“No, don’t cancel.” As much as I enjoyed flirting with him, I
didn’t want to interfere with his scheduled appointment. Not when this could
turn out to be a new case, and our work routines had been relatively smooth for
months. “Go to your meeting. We’ll talk later.”
“I don’t think we’ll have much time for talking.”
“Then we’ll do whatever else comes to mind.”
“I’m holding you to that.”
“You better,” I said with a laugh.
“See you soon, Foxy.”
“Bye.” I pulled my mobile phone away and held it for a moment so
I could stare at the snapshot I’d set as Papan’s profile pic. It took up the
whole screen and I couldn’t look away from his infectious smile. The corners of
his eyes crinkled as he flashed the cheeky grin that always made his dimples
appear. He was shirtless and the blond stubble on his face caught the sun,
while the colorful sunflower patch in the background made him look like the
epitome of summer. He was beautiful. Sometimes, I still couldn’t believe he
wanted to be with me, but our friendship had blossomed into a passionate
relationship. We’d now been a couple for over six months.
Months filled with teasing, flirting, and a whole lot of heat.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. Papan encouraged me to get my gun license,
become a member of a shooting club, and even taught me how to shoot. Now I
could actually use the revolver Oren had given me.
Papan also trained me in self-defense. It was great to have
incantations and spells at my disposal, but he constantly insisted that getting
my hands dirty was a necessity. I was getting pretty good at it, and the fact
most of our sparring sessions ended with us naked was enough motivation.
Jason Papan was a good man, and we’d been through a lot.
I couldn’t get enough of him.
Reluctantly, I hit the Home button and tucked the phone into the
back pocket of my sweatpants.
I eyed the locked closet door I hadn’t opened for ages. My
archive closet was where I stored old stuff—clothes that didn’t fit, formal
gowns, photo albums, that kind of thing. But today I wanted something in
particular and I was pretty sure it was in there. I vaguely remembered Grandpa giving
me a khaki trench coat that belonged to Grandma. In my teens I didn’t have any
need for the garment, but if I found it now…I could finally bring Papan’s
fantasy to life.
The thought of role-playing with him always got my heart
pumping. Making it his birthday surprise sweetened the deal, especially since
it was only a week away.
In June, he’d made my birthday special and had given me a
beautiful, customized boline with a moonstone handle, silver guard and straight
double-edged blade. A Hecate’s Wheel symbol was inscribed on top of the pommel.
I took it everywhere, and not just because it was a present from Papan. There
was something else. Every time I held it, a sense of raw strength flowed
through me—and it felt stronger during the full and waning moon.
“I commissioned this especially for you. No one else in the
world has one like it,” he’d said. I’d wanted to ask him so many questions
about it—especially why one side of the thin blade bore a key and the other
said Hecate—but was taken aback by his attention to detail.
Papan’s gift fit in my palm perfectly—just felt right.
Since my biological grandfather gave me a silver dagger at the
beginning of the year, I’d taken a keen interest in short blades.
I crossed the carpeted expanse of my bedroom and paused at my
bedside table, habitually glancing out the window. Nothing looked out of place
on this Thursday afternoon. The sun shone on the quiet street
My bedroom was on the third story of the split-level house and
directly above the garage, so I could see a long way up and down the street.
This also happened to be the only room on this floor. My grandparents used it
as their own for decades, but I’d inherited the room and the house shortly
after escaping the clutches of the Spook Catcher Council.
My queen-sized bed sat in the middle of the room, with the
beautiful antique gilded mirror Oren had given me for my birthday placed across
from it—a position Papan had suggested. A small wooden desk pressed into the
far corner had my laptop on top, and a comfortable armchair was positioned near
I only had one destination in mind at the moment, but I needed
the key I’d dumped on the bedside table when Papan called. I scooped it up and
admired the ornate brass, the kind they didn’t make anymore. I continued to the
closet, inserted the key into the matching lock, and turned it once. The door
clicked and I opened it, sending a flurry of dust around me.
When was the last time I’d opened this?
I coughed several times and waited for the dust to settle before
taking inventory. Several garments hung from coat hangers, some covered in
plastic for preservation. I shuffled through them but couldn’t find what I was
looking for. A pair of stretchy blue jeans I hadn’t seen since high school sat
on the top shelf. They were perfect for my upcoming sewer-cross-training with
my friend and demon hunter, Lavie Grye.
I grabbed them and threw them on the armchair.
Where the hell had I put the coat?
TORN FROM THE SHADOWS will be available on APRIL 22, 2014: