USA Today Bestselling Author
Cain—hearing a killer’s last words, “You’re next,”—knows his time is running out, not only for him but for his entire team. As members of his team search for the still missing Bullard in the ocean, Cain has focused on tracking the killer’s history, hopefully to lead to the madman after them all. A trip to Sicily brings more information to light but also more puzzles to sort out. And an unexpected light in Cain’s life.
When Petra picks up the two men at the airport, she has no idea how fast her personal life is about to unravel. Not only do these men bring up old terrible memories but they also shine a light on an ugly corner of town. People she avoids at all costs.
Still she can’t afford to dwell on the past, as her present blows up. With Cain and Eton at her side, they’re all trying to stay alive, as the bodies drop around them.
Bullard is still missing and his whole team plus Ice and Levi are still looking. From the last events at the museum, the information found on one of the goons with Green leads to Sicily so that’s where Cain and Eton go.
Instead of being met by Pedro, they are met by Petra. She informs them that she is the niece of the proprietors of the B&B where they will be staying.
Since they arrived late they are invited to join the family for dinner. There’s quite a bit of hostility here especially with Petra’s aunt. They gain some information at that time, but decide to take a walk around town before dark.
This is a favorite scene.
Getting out of her car, Petra grabbed her purse and her sweater and headed to her door. Her neighbor’s dog greeted her. Chico often waited for her to come home so he could get extra cuddles. After sharing a big hug and a kiss, she walked over and checked to make sure the dog had food and fresh water on his porch.
“You’ve got both. Now it’s my turn. I’m going inside and getting food and a hot cup of tea.” She gave him an extra cuddle then walked inside her place. Next she put on the teakettle and opened the back door, so she could sit outside with her tea.
“It was a crazy day and a crazy evening,” she muttered to herself. Going through everything she had in the cupboards, she pulled out a cookie from a package, and, with a fresh cup of tea, walked outside to the backyard.
She sat for a long moment, enjoying the sunshine. When she heard a “Hello,” she immediately recognized the voice and knew it was Cain, the one who sat in the front passenger seat in her car on the ride from the airport.
“Hello,” she called back.
Cain and Eton appeared in her backyard. Cain explained, “We have a few questions.”
“Why ask me?” she asked. “What information could I possibly have for you?”
“Well, I guess it depends on your relationship with the family. But we wanted to take a look at the house you were telling us about. The big fancy one, whose father lost the one son and has two others, but one was missing.”
She laughed. “Missing? Is that what you call it?” she said. “That no-good son of a bitch probably ran off.”
“You feel rather strongly about that. Why?” Cain asked.
“Because he more or less ruined my sister before he left,” she said tiredly. “Well, he or his brother Tristan anyway. Both of them for all I know. But she got pregnant, possibly had an abortion, which got ugly between us. She was acting pretty irresponsibly and was always a little standoffish afterward. One day I came home to find she’d packed up and left. There was a note, saying she needed time. She just took off, and I haven’t seen her since.”
“Ouch,” he said. Eton nodded solemnly. “How long ago was that?”
“About eighteen months, I think,” she said. “It’s hard to pin it down. It was around the same time as my father’s accident. I wondered if it all didn’t happen at the same time.”
“When he had the accident, there was no reason for him to be driving. There was no reason for him to be out anywhere, unless he was taking my sister somewhere,” she said. “So I’ve always wondered about it.”
“That would be tough,” he said, “losing them both at the same time. I’m sorry. That just makes it even worse.”
“No need for it to be worse,” she said, fatigue heavy in her voice. “As you can tell, it’s not a great scenario at my aunt and uncle’s either.”
“No,” he said. “It sounds like everybody’s having a rough go of it.”
“Absolutely,” she said. “It is what it is, but I don’t understand why you’re so interested in all this.” She looked from Cain, who was doing all the talking, to Eton, who remained silent this whole time but fully aware.
“Because it’s an oddity,” Cain said cheerfully. “Just blatant curiosity really. Chalk it up to ignorant Americans.”
She laughed. “I highly doubt that,” she said. “I don’t think you do anything without good reason.”
He looked at her in surprise.
She shook her head. “No, don’t look at me like that,” she said. “You guys are guys on a mission.”
At that, they both stopped and studied her. “And why do you say that?”
“You’re not tourists,” she said. “Not even part-time. You obviously came here for a reason, but I just haven’t figured out what it is yet.”
Cain gave her a half smile and said, “Well, maybe we’ll check out the father’s house, and we’ll see for ourselves.”
She hesitated, then said, “I’ll come with you.” She walked down the front pathway, opened the small gate, and let herself out.
“Is there a reason why you’d join us?”
“Because his father has always been a crazy-ass son of a bitch,” she said. “After losing the one son, he got even worse. Drinking more and more.”
“Of course,” Cain said, “but how crazy?”
“Gun-shooting crazy,” she said briefly. “And, if he doesn’t know who you are, he’ll probably shoot you without asking questions.”
“Nice town,” Cain said.
She looked at him, shook her head, and said, “No, it’s not. Not at all.”
“Why do you stay?”
She shot him a hard look. “So that my sister has someone to come home to. Besides, I can’t just walk away from my father.”
“You’d make better money elsewhere.”
“No doubt,” she said, “I would. And I’ll get there one day. But, in the meantime, my father is like a living ghost, and my sister has left home for God-knows-where. The only family I have left are my aunt and uncle.”
“And they’d be lost, if you didn’t continue to pay for your father’s care.”
“Exactly,” she said. “So I’m kind of stuck, just waiting for somebody to crack open this stalemate that my life has become.”
“Careful what you wish for,” Cain muttered. “Sometimes what we think we want isn’t really so, and we don’t figure that out until after the fact.”
She looked at him, gave a hard laugh, and said, “What I can tell you is that something has been going on in this town for a long time, and that means I’m a big part of it, whether I want to be or not.”
He stared at her for a moment, gave a clipped nod, and said, “Good. I want to see him then.”
She shook her head at him, in shock. “Didn’t you just hear me?”
“Oh, I heard you,” he said, “but it could be exactly what we’re looking for.”
Dale Mayer. Cain’s Cross (Kindle Locations 388-437). Valley Publishing.
Things get more intense with every page, starting with a body and progressing to more, bodies that is.
Petra is smack in the middle of all of this as are her aunt and uncle. In what capacity she and the guys aren’t sure yet. The verbal sparring between Petra and Cain is fun, informative and leads to all sorts of interesting conclusions.
Cain and Petra have quite the chemistry but it takes a while for them to figure it out.
Suspense, intrigue, surprises and some sizzle as Cain and Eton get just a bit closer to who is after them all.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.