It’s always such a thrill when a new book comes out & I’m super excited about Brutal Season. I hope you’ll join me in this virtual party where I have some champagne and a few goodies to share. Do help yourself and continue reading for a special treat.
And popcorn. I love popcorn.
Feel free to bring a snack to share if you’d like & join the fun.
For the special treat, I decided to post part of a chapter from Open Season when Sarah and Angel find out they’ve been put together as partners. Neither woman want the partnership and see it as a PR stunt to placate the angry mob who are calling for Sarah’s badge because she’d shot a young Black teen. Their attempts to form a strong partnership have been part of every story in the series, and the women continue to struggle with that in Brutal Season.
Enjoy the excerpt:
Sarah’s attention was drawn to the front of the room as Sergeant Murphy hitched his belt over his ample stomach and started outlining the on-going cases. “Simms and Burtweiler, you’re still on the Highland Park B&E case.” Murphy pulled another paper from the podium. “Frankfurt and Aikins, you pulled a cush one. Crime-watch meeting over at SMU”
“Can I go, too, Sarge?” Another officer called out. “My date book’s getting a little thin.”
A wave of laughter swept the room, and Murphy waited it out without even breaking a smile. When the last chuckle subsided, he continued, “Kingsly and Johnson, you’ve got the big one today. Homicide over at Northwood Mall. Call just came in from patrol.”
Sarah turned sharply to look at Angel, and the elusive last name clicked. Something else clicked, too. An attitude that Angel wielded like a sword, heralding the proclamation, “Don’t think that the only reason I’m here is because I’m a woman and I’m Black.”
Sarah hated attitudes, especially ones that might be honed to a new sharpness by recent events. She held the other woman’s gaze, trying to get a read.
It wasn’t friendly.
She expected judgments from people like the Reverend Billie Norton and the crowds he managed to assemble for public outcry. He didn’t have a clue what it was like on the streets. But Angel knew. Everyone who ever wore a badge knew. So where were her loyalties going to fall?
Murphy’s voice cut into her thoughts. “You two might want to hustle your butts over to the crime scene before the corpse decomposes.”
Sarah stood and led the way to the door as another thought fell into place. It probably wasn’t a coincidence that she was partnered with a Black woman. The longer she considered it, the more she was convinced. She stopped halfway down the hall.
“Go out and grab us a car,” she said to Angel. “I’ve got something to take care of.”
Without giving the other woman time to respond, Sarah strode in the opposite direction. She pushed through the door to McGregor’s office with so much force it rattled the window. She leaned against the front of his desk. “Since when did you start listening to Price?”
McGregor pushed his chair back and made a steeple with his fingers. He rested his chin on the tips and regarded her with a level gaze.
“Come on! This new partnership reeks of good press.”
“You know me better than that.”
“I thought I did.”
McGregor sighed. “Nothing changed while you were gone. I still make decisions for the same reasons I did before.”
“Oh, really? And the public outcry over a poor, innocent, Black child being shot by a big, bad, White police officer didn’t enter into it at all?”
“I don’t give a good goddam what the public says.”
“That’s not the way—”
“We’re not having a debate here.” McGregor cut in. “You’ve got a job to do. Either you’re ready for it, or you take a permanent leave.”
“How the hell can I do my job when you’ve set us up to be hounded by the press?”
“I’m going to pretend there was no insubordination happening here.” McGregor’s voice was soft, but his deep brown eyes flashed a harsh warning. Sarah reined in her anger, turned and walked stiffly out of the room.
Now from Angel’s POV:
The tight lines of tension she saw on Sarah’s face wiped any trace of doubt Angel had of where her new partner had gone. There was also no doubt that the effort had been fruitless. Why was that such a surprise?
Yesterday McGregor had told Angel that her promotion hadn’t been moved up to satisfy any public relations effort to placate the Black community. As much as Angel wanted to believe that—as much as she needed to believe it—she knew the official city reaction to any incident. Throw a bone to the angry dogs in the street.
The teeth marks were starting to hurt.
Should she just end it right here? Refuse to partner with this woman who so obviously didn’t want it any more than she did?
No. They had a job to do, and, by God, she’d do it. She’d worked too hard to make detective to throw it all away.
“You drive,” Angel said, walking around to the passenger side of the plain, vanilla Buick. “That way people won’t think I’m the chauffeur.”
Sarah slipped into the driver’s seat, snapped her seatbelt in place and pulled out of the motor pool. After driving several blocks in thundering silence, she sighed. “It’ll be easier to work together if we at least speak now and then.”
“Doesn’t matter.” Angel glanced out the side window. “I figure this partnership’s short-term anyway.”
“How’s that?” Sarah eased the car into a break in the traffic on the expressway.
“I’ll make my own visit to the Lieutenant. He’s bound to listen to one of us.” Angel turned to face Sarah, and her expression left nothing to doubt.
Hope you enjoyed the excerpt and thanks for coming to the party. If you hurry over to Amazon, you might still be able to snag a copy of Brutal Season for the special pre-order price of $1.99. and Open Season is only .99 and free on Kindle unlimited. I’ll change the price of Brutal Season later today, but I don’t know how long it takes for Amazon to make the book live again.