Here is an excerpt from a book I released today called HOWL.  Have you ever met someone you were crazy about but never had a chance with them and, years later, still couldn’t shake it?  That’s the story of Ean and Rhiannon.

Howl was originally released by Sapphire Blue Publishing as part of an anthology with Heather Long and Kellyann Zuzulo but the timing of the release was just before Sapphire Blue closed it’s doors so few people ever have had a chance to read the story.  I hope this excerpt pique’s your interest and you find the entire story worth reading.  HOWL is currently available for Kindle HERE and will be available in paperback this week.


Chapter One

From the roof of a tall Victorian house, Leopold Van Martin looked down a street that had seen better days.  There was no need to be closer as his night vision and hearing were excellent.  Being a very old vampire did have its benefits.  Other than the confusion below, the Los Angeles night was quite lovely.  A cool breeze tickled through his hair.  He dusted off a patch of roof and laid his silk kerchief down to protect his cashmere slacks before he sat.  The neighborhood was lit up in a disco ball of confusion with flashing lights, sirens and police surrounding the little house down the road.  This wasn’t the way he usually conducted job interviews.  It was just a lucky coincidence.  He licked the tips of his fangs and settled in for the show.  The large black S.W.A.T. truck pulled up in front of the house next door, and a team of armed men funneled out quickly, assembling on the passenger side of the truck, well protected from the situation developing nearby.

Leopold took a long deep breath of the adrenaline-filled air and smiled.  He could hear all of the conversations going on below, even the whispered ones.

Two street cops taking cover behind a car used to stop traffic on the street spoke in hushed tones.

“Hey, rookie.  Watch this.  Here comes McGruff, the Crime Dog.”

The rookie looked around.  “What, a canine team?”

“No, Ean Hemming.  He runs the S.W.A.T. team.  Watch him.  Ten bucks says he sniffs the air.”

Leopold chuckled as he and the two flatfoots on the ground looked on.

A tall, well-muscled man stepped out of the passenger side of the van.  He reached into the vehicle to pull out a Kevlar helmet, and then looked around at the scene.  He stood straight and still as he sniffed the air.  His voice was a low growl, and his movements were quick and strong as he barked instructions to his team and pointed his men to their designated tactical positions.  “All right, there’s a meth lab in the shed on the northeast corner of the house.”

One of the black clad team spoke in a young voice.  “We didn’t get that information from dispatch.”

“No, genius, we didn’t, but I’m telling you now.  There’s nobody in there.  You’ll go to that window and secure the room.”  He looked the rest of his team up and down.  “Most of them,” he paused and took another whiff of the air which was likely unnoticeable to all but Leopold, “about six of them are in the southwest corner of the house, close to passed out.  They shouldn’t give us much of a fight.  There’s a couple fucking in the bedroom closest to us here.”  He paused.  “There’s something else.  There might be a dead body in there.  Keep your eyes open.”

Leopold smiled.  Ah, that would be me.  Well done, werewolf.

The S.W.A.T. team scrambled to their positions at the entrances of the house.  A sniper, a few men to cover the windows and doors, and the one young man whose job was to secure a meth lab.

Leopold could smell that young man’s fear.  So tempting.

The street cops were chatting again.

“There’s ten bucks gone.  How did you know he’d sniff the air?”

The older cop spoke respectfully.  “He always does.”  He shook his head.  “It’s like he can assess an entire crime scene with a couple sniffs.  That man can smell fear, bullshit, and drugs, too, for that matter.  He’s a great cop.”

“That’s crazy.”

“I’m not kidding.  He seems to have a special sense, like he can see through walls or something.  No matter what happens, that’s the guy you want covering your ass when the shit goes down.  He’s carried guys out of firefights nobody should have survived and taken out houses full of gang members armed to the teeth.  He fights like an animal and never suffers more than a scratch or two.  Speaking of animals, the canine team just showed up.  See that monster German Shepherd?”

“Holy hell, that’s a big dog.”

“He’s the meanest dog L.A.P.D. has, but watch what happens when Hemming walks by.”

Leopold looked on as the rookie did.

The large black and tan German Shepherd must have weighed at least one hundred pounds.  With his tail up and nose to the wind, he looked ready for action until Hemming walked up to the dog handler.

“Hey, Scott.”  Ean eyed the dog.  “Hello, Rocco.”

The shepherd tucked his tail and let out a small whimper before lying at Hemming’s feet.

“Aw, Jesus, Ean.”  The dog handler moaned.  “What have you done to my dog?”

When Hemming bent to pat the beast, it rolled over and exposed its belly to him.

Yes, it would.  Canines understand the order of the pack.

Hemming patted the dog’s ribs firmly.  “Hup!”  It sounded almost like a bark when he said it, but the dog jumped up and stood at the ready with his tail wagging.

The dog handler rolled his eyes, rubbed his forehead and appeared embarrassed.  “I hate it when you command my dog, man.  I can’t understand why he does that.  Anybody else and he’d have made hamburger out of them.”

Ean grinned.  “We’ve got about eight people inside, all key operators.  Word is they just made a really big deal and did some sampling.  Most of them are probably stoned out of their minds.  We’re taking everybody in.”  He looked down at the dog who had been staring at him with rapt attention.  “You want a piece of that, Rocco?”

The dog seemed to understand because he started barking as though he hadn’t had a hamburger in ages.

“Good boy.”Ean smiled at the police officer at the other end of Rocco’s leash.  “You can come too, Scott.”

“Gee, thanks for including me.”  Scott and Rocco followed him to the house.  “Maybe the women are right and you are a dog.”

Hemming picked up his pace.  “Woof.”

A whispered conversation began between two S.W.A.T. team members near the front door of the house as they waited for Hemming to give the command to burst in.

“How does he know about everything in there?  Where does he get this information?”

An older cop, rippling with muscle, answered.  “Listen, kid, we don’t ask where or how Hemming gets his information.  He’s always right.  One time we went into this place during a drug deal.  Every motherfucker was armed to the teeth and we come in guns a-blazing.”  He shook his head.  “Lead was flying everywhere.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  He took them all on.  He was like a berserker!  I got hit in the chest and swear to Christ I heard a growl that sounded like the hounds of hell had been unleashed.  Next thing I know, I’m outside on a stretcher getting patched up by the paramedics.”

“So what dog was it?”

“There was no dog.”

“But the growl?”

“Nope.”  He smiled.  “No K-9 units were dispatched, but three of those guys had their throats ripped out by a dog.  When C.S.I. swept the scene, there wasn’t a sign of a dog anywhere to be found.”

The younger cop looked at him wide-eyed.  “You think Hemming’s a werewolf or something?”

The older man chuckled.  “You’ve been reading too many books, kid.  Nah, shrink says something like that had to be trauma from the bullet.  They could have had a couple fighting dogs they tried to set loose on us, but the dogs turned on them and then got the hell out of there.”  He shrugged.  “I don’t know, but I do know Hemming is the guy you always want on your side.”

Leopold smiled.  The kid is more right than he knows.

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