USA Today Bestselling Author
The haunting refrain torments Bethany, almost as much as the horrors of what she’s forgotten. Chased, terrified, and injured, she races away from a gunman into the woods, determined to once again escape those after her.
Hunter’s first meeting with Bethany reveals an injured, exhausted, and possibly dangerous psychic. Plus she uncooperative, barely civil, keeping everyone at arm’s length. Only she needs help, … and he is the one available. Time for the hunted to turn hunter, and that is his domain. Especially if he gets to champion the underdog, which, in this case, is a prickly and way-to beautiful woman, who he doesn’t want to let out of his sight.
Not only is she being tracked but they want her back as a captive. A captive to do their bidding. And they’ve enlisted another of their group, her ex-best friend Lizzy, to hunt down Bethany.
They want, no need, her to remember who she really is …
With Hunter at her side, Bethany fights for survival, racing toward an explosive reveal that leaves them all gasping, as their world turns upside down.
On the run wounded and drained of energy Beth Metlomar with her trusty Maine coon cat Nocturne stumble to Stefan’s door. Her arrival was preceded by an unusual event that puzzles both Stefan and his guest Hunter Brill.
Stefan doesn’t recognize her at first, her energy is not one he knows, but when she awakens she is able to show him something he won’t forget. She’s the one he went back for and couldn’t find. She wasn’t there at least he thought she wasn’t.
Beth is resistant to help but knows she needs to heal and recharge, she’s also very afraid of Hunter since he is indeed a hunter of psychics. Her energy is very different thanks to the myriad of experiments over the years. She finally managed to escape and was trying to start a relatively normal life when they found her.
Hunter hadn’t known why he needed to be at Stefan’s be now he’s sure it’s because of Beth. He knows he has to help her, protect her.
As soon as Beth wakes she knows she has to leave her being there endangers Stefan and Celina. She tries to get away without anyone following but Hunter is good at what he does and he finds her. It takes a lot but he does convince her he has a safe place for her to rest and heal.
This is a favorite scene as they settle in.
“Sure, but you can’t just give in to it. You still have to live.”
Her lips quirked. “I tried that, and then one morning I got up, went outside into the sunshine, and stretched, wondering how it could be such a beautiful morning, and I took a bullet in the side.”
Stated so simply, it had more impact, and, although she didn’t mean for it to come across that way, she heard him suck in his breath. Turning to face him, she said, “I didn’t mean to bring that up again. It’s just hard to forget that’s how I got to be here.”
“I get that,” he said quietly, “and obviously you’ll still deal with a lot of memories and issues on a daily basis.”
“It happened just when I thought I was doing so well,” she said.
She turned to study the area around her. “I can stay here for a little bit,” she said. “Maybe long enough to heal.”
“On a scale of one to ten, where are you?”
“I’d say five. The stress affects me in an ugly way,” she said, with a nod.
“So you need to make sure your time here is as stress-free as possible.”
“So, how will we do that?” she asked, with a laugh, looking at him.
“Have you ever been fishing?”
She shook her head. “I’m not even sure what it involves,” she murmured, as she looked out at the lake. It called to her in a way she’d never felt before. “Does it mean going out there?”
“It does, indeed. I have a boat down at the dock.” He pointed off to the side at a small rowboat.
“Is that thing safe in the water?” she asked doubtfully.
At that, he burst out laughing. “Absolutely,” he said, with a bright smile. “But we’ll get to that later.”
“Maybe,” she said, “but how do you protect yourself when you’re out there?”
He took a deep breath. “Well, you make sure that you’re not being followed, before you get out there,” he said, trying for a logical answer. “And then you just have to trust.”
She winced at that. “Back to that trust thing again.”
“I know it’s hard for you.”
“Very,” she said, “but, if you think it’s safe, I could consider it. You should have better instincts than I do.”
“Oh, I doubt it,” he said. “Your instincts should be phenomenal, after being hunted all this time. Nothing makes you more in tune to what’s going on around you than that.”
“Maybe,” she said, “but it would be nice to get out for a bit.”
“And we will,” he said, “after we get some dinner and after you get a good night’s rest.”
She nodded slowly. “I won’t let down my guard,” she said, “so don’t ask me to.”
“I would never ask anybody to do that,” he said. “That guard is what kept you alive all these years. Don’t let it down on my say-so.”
She smiled and said, “Okay, good.”
And, with that, he asked, “How do you feel about pasta?”
“I like it if it’s cooked,” she said, “but the raw stuff is hard to get down.” He looked at her sideways, unsure what to say. She shrugged. “I didn’t know how to cook when I first came out,” she explained, with a smile. “It took a bit and watching lots of videos to understand that some stuff you had to cook, and other stuff was ready to eat out of the package.”
He grinned at that. “That’s a hard lesson to learn,” he said, “but I’m sure you learned it fast.”
“Yeah, I got it right the first time after that,” she said, chuckling.
“What else have you learned to cook?”
“Lots,” she said. “I have an affinity for it, I think.”
“Good,” he said. “I’ll cook dinner tonight, since I’m rested up, and maybe you can cook dinner tomorrow.”
“I can do that,” she said, “as long as we have something that I know how to cook.”
“That’s always the caveat, isn’t it?” he said. While she watched, he quickly put together a simple pasta with fresh tomatoes, canned olives, and parmesan.
“That looks good,” she said. “I would never have thought to combine them like that.”
“I like simple meals,” he said, “especially if I don’t have a ton of time. And, right now, getting a meal on the table quickly seemed like the best idea.”
“I won’t argue,” she said. “Seems like a long time since whatever I ate at Stefan’s.”
“And that was nothing but a couple muffins and sandwiches,” he said, “and nowhere near enough for your body to heal.”
“My body heals all the time and from sources that you have no idea of.”
“Should we have bought pet food then?”
At that, she froze and turned slowly to stare at him. “Why would you ask that?”
“Well, you didn’t knock on Stefan’s door,” he said. “You told us that at Stefan’s, and you haven’t explained who did. You also weren’t alone, but the companion energy is very different. I don’t have a ton of experience with animal energy, but,” he said, his gaze studying her, “you’ve also never mentioned anybody else being here. Not to me anyway.”
“So,” she said, “why would you mention it then?”
“Because I sense another energy with us. And I thought one spoke to me at Stefan’s.”
He groaned and said, “You can just tell me if you have a pet, you know.”
“Do you think I would leave a pet behind?” Interesting he could sense but not see Nocturne. She waited until Hunter was focused on setting the table, then turned and winked at her cat. He swished his tail at her but stayed quiet. Was that in case Hunter heard Nocturne again?
Hunter shook his head. “No, I don’t think you would have. The question is whether you managed to get him in the vehicle while I wasn’t watching.”
She just gave him an openmouthed look and shrugged. Then she picked up a spoonful of pasta and ate it. And just as he went to do the same, a huge black cat jumped up on the table in front of him and meowed. She laughed. “Nocturne, your timing is impeccable.”
The big cat stared at her, then turned those massive golden orbs to Hunter.
Hunter stared at him in shock. “Where did he come from?” he demanded.
“And you’re the one who had it all worked out,” she said casually.
“He was in the vehicle?”
She nodded. “Of course. I brought him with me.”
“What about at Stefan’s?”
“He was outside, but I opened the window, and he came in and spent the night with me. But he always leaves before anybody else is around.”
“So he knocked on Stefan’s door, when you were unable to.” She avoided his gaze. Hunter turned to Nocturne. “Thank you for watching out for her.” He studied the cat, who stared right back, measuring him. “Yet he appears here now, before me and you,” Hunter said, still staring at the massive feline. “Why is he visible now?”
“Because he chooses to be,” she said, facing Hunter. “He’s obviously checked over your energy and made a decision about you. Honestly I’m surprised. He’s often been very difficult about making those kinds of decisions.”
“Yeah, he doesn’t like people,” she said bluntly. “Especially men.” Her gaze narrowed, as she studied the look on Hunter’s face. “Particularly young men.”
He looked at her, eyebrows up. “What difference does age make? Isn’t it just about character?”
She shrugged. “Let’s just say, he has his preferences.”
“So, do I pass muster?”
“You’re still alive,” she said succinctly. “So, I would say, yes, you do.”
Dale Mayer. Snap, Crackle… (Kindle Locations 891-958). Valley Publishing.
Of course there’s a lot more going on than just what we see on the surface.
I couldn’t put this book down as we learn more about Beth’s fears. Especially those concerning her ex best-friend Lizzy.
The relationship between Hunter and Beth is a very interesting one and things do heat up a bit, but everything needs to resolve first.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Coming January 2022!
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.