The Hunted ~ Coming Soon

Private investigator Yumi Matthews finds herself in need of examining her own life. The realization comes after someone, or something, breaks into her apartment, torching her investigation into her brother’s disappearance and leaving a cryptic message in a mirror. She has no idea what it means, but it shakes her companion Ash in a way she never thought possible. When he abruptly leaves her side, she navigates through New Orleans looking for any clues that could help bring the culprit to light and answer those burning questions, all the while trying to keep herself from falling apart.

Is she getting too close to finding out what happened to her brother? Does this have anything to do with the recent murder of Abigail Kensington? What is it about this message that spooked Ash? Will delving down this path open more doors to this supernatural realm that she’s discovered?

A Glimpse of the Past

My current series is very deliberately written from the sole perspective of Yumi Matthews.

However, sometimes, other voices demand to be heard, and even if it doesn’t fit into what I’m directly writing, I get those snippets onto paper. After all, they help to develop each character into the person I envision. It adds a layer of depth to them that I can then impart in how Yumi sees them.

So, on this Tuesday afternoon, here’s a tiny glimpse into the past, courtesy of Joshua Boulliard.


 

Everything about this place made me uncomfortable. It didn’t matter how sleek and elegant the owner tried to make it appear; I felt sleezy just for being here. I just kept telling myself that those baffoons hadn’t known what they were talking about. There was absolutely no way that she was working here, not at this Birds of Paradise strip club.

My palms were sweaty as I waited, the words of some former schoolmates dancing in my ears still. Man, you got to check out that Matthews chick! She’s got the sweetest ass in that entire club. It took most of my willpower to not go deck them, but I was still fresh from the academy. I couldn’t jeopardize my job before I even started it.

I wiped my hands against my pants legs, shaking my head at some blonde who eyed me as she walked by. The fake pout on her lips did little to entice me to change my mind. I wasn’t here to see her, and I didn’t have the kind of cash she probably thought I did. The watch on my left arm was the only valuable to my name these days, and I was fairly certain Sean bought it for me before he…

“Josh?” The catch of her all too familiar voice broke my train of thought, and I was almost glad for it. That was until reality came crashing back down on me, as I turned to see the tiny woman with glossy black hair and almond eyes.

She smiled up at me, half stepping towards me as if to hug me, the short silver satin robe riding up along her thighs. I forced myself to not smile, and to look her in the eyes, which widened as she realized that I was less than pleased to see her. “Yumi… what are you doing here?”

Fae, Fire & Faith: Cover Reveal

Life isn’t quite the same any more for private investigator Yumi Matthews – no matter how much she tries to pretend otherwise. Despite the cryptic new clues into her brother’s disappearance 10 years ago, she must put her investigation on hold when she gets drawn into the case of Sparrow Laurie, a missing teenaged girl. The search for Sparrow leads Yumi from the bright lights of New Orleans to the rural bayous of Louisiana where she is reunited with Ash, the rugged swamp tracker who saved her life, and two unexpected allies. As this unlikely group delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Sparrow, Yumi is forced to ask herself, what is real? What is illusion? Can Yumi truly tell the difference or will she lose her grip on sanity as she struggles with what she learns?

Coming to Amazon, Smashwords, and associated affiliates on August 22, 2015.

What day is it?

It’s Monday! Woo…hoo?

Oh, wait, I missed my Monday post. Again.

My bad. I was busy, which is still no excuse, but hey, I was busy with good things? Like working on the second book, good things?

How about as an act of contrition, I share a tiny bit with you? And no, I’m not telling on what’s going on here. If you’ve not read the first book, you may want to not read further.

You’ve been warned.

Maybe Derek thought I was still some drug addled girl dancing for him, but he was sorely mistaken if he thought for one second he was going to bully me here. Rather than shrinking away from him, I stood my ground, a smirk playing about my face. “Well, I guess you’re just going to have to deal with the rest of us interfering with your family matter.”

Ash clapped him on the back as he walked past him, causing Derek to jump just a bit craning his neck around to look at where he had been touched. “Besides, from the looks of things, Richie, you could use the help.”

With a scowl firmly entrenched across his face, Derek straightened both himself and his suit jacket, looking at Ash. “If I ever need your help, I’ll call work force. And for god’s sake wash your fucking hands. And you…”

I crossed my arms under my breast, waiting. “Yes?”

“You know what you can do to help me, or rather,” A smirk played across his face. “Based on the way you’re dressed, how I can help you.” Without missing a beat, he turned towards Cat, reaching inside his coat pocket and pulling out a business card. “You, call me if you ever need work.”

Part of me felt like I should take the card out of Cat’s hands, but I elected to ignore it, and Derek. Ash seemed to decide the same thing as he walked the right length of of the front porch, examining the windows one by one. Each appeared to be boarded up and nailed tight. I walked up beside him. “Doubtful anyone has been here in some time, short stuff. You sure she was here?”

I shrugged as his gaze met mine. “Everything about this area says she couldn’t have been, but there’s nothing else for miles around that could even fit the bill.”

The sound of stomping feet echoed behind me, Derek muttered under his breath before sighing in an overdramatic fashion. “Okay, Laura Holt…”

Both Ash and I turned to Derek. Ash’s face mirrored mine, as I had no idea what he was referencing. Ash gave Derek a rather flat look. “What are you going on about, Richie?”

“Laura Holt? What you never watched Remington Steele? What am I saying, of course you haven’t. You probably only watch Dirty Jobs.” If Derek was getting under Ash’s skin, Ash never showed it. He merely turned his attention back to boarded up window. The cold shoulder from Ash only seemed to make Derek pleased though. He turned towards me, the smirk playing about his lips. “You strike me more as the Amish Mafia sort.”

“And you’d be wrong on that account.” I looked to him expectantly. “You were saying.”

Hope you enjoyed the teaser. Also, follow me now at Tumblr: http://amberccarlyle.tumblr.com/

Not So Picture Perfect

My first, full length novel is now available at Amazon:

 

nspp5

 

New Orleans native and private investigator Yumi Matthews finds herself steeped in a murder investigation – a far cry from the vision of reuniting people with their missing loved ones. Still, she devotes herself to investigating these supposedly unsolvable mysteries as a way to distract herself from the haunting disappearance of her own brother 10 years ago. Yet, while at this latest crime scene, she unveils a bizarre clue into her brother’s cold case, which terrifies and excites her all at once. As she digs deeper into the case, the lines between reality and fantasy blur, causing her to question everything she knows. A cast of strangers gather around her, from the familiar Detective Joshua Boulliard to the new, and possibly dangerous, Ash. How far is she willing to go to discover the truth surrounding these mysterious clues?

Winter Weirdness

Well, I’m chalking last week up to a bad week. Not in the bad mental health way, but just in a really weird sort of way. After starting off the week with my dog getting injured, my husband and I had to take our eldest cat to the ER Vet on Tuesday night. Then, the area we live got pummeled with ice, and where my house was fine, I had plenty of friends and family without power for the better part of the week and weekend.

Things did get better come the weekend. My husband surprised me with a lovely cake for Valentine’s Day. (Which was a huge surprise since we do not celebrate the holiday traditionally in my household.) I had two great days of gaming with my awesome tabletop group (more to come on that later). The weekend concluded with my husband surprising me again with a movie, so I have finally seen Frozen. The previews did this movie no justice, but it was worth going to see in the theater. Then the second new episode of The Walking Dead, and we have Carol back. Oh, Carol, how I have missed you!

Now, on to the gaming portion of my post. We’ve changed the schedules of our games from alternating between four games every other week, to running three games. We’re playing two long games that will be alternating months on who runs Friday night (short game) and who runs Saturday (long game), and then we have a one off game to be played on the first Friday of every month. It’s allowing the longer games to build a more cohesive game with less “What did we do last time?” moments.

The change is actually helping me regain my focus on my novel, as one of the long games created my character Yumi Matthews, originally. Over the past couple of weeks, my brain moonlighted heavily into Mass Effect territory again, which is great because I love that setting, but I began to neglect my own original works. I needed to get back to them, and I feel more connected to those characters again.

As such, I shall leave you with a tiny tease from the first book:

Warm sand sank beneath the weight of my legs, curled up underneath me as the sun beat down on my shoulders, making the stiff cotton of my school uniform even more uncomfortable. I shook my head, pigtails hitting the side of my head as a giggle escaped my lips. A shovel and bucket were discarded to my right, and I could see two young boys sneaking around on the nearby grass, guns in hand. One boy, Sean, it must have been with those green eyes, held a finger to his lips as he glanced my way, his free hand holding the gun in the other hand.

“I got you now!” The other boy declared popping behind Sean and pulling the trigger.

A deafening roar filled the air, and Sean vanished before my eyes, leaving just a trail of smoke. I stumbled to my feet, running with tiny feet towards the smoke. “Sean!”

There was no response, but the smoke grew heavy, swirling about me, until all I could do was cough. The smoke was too thick, blanketing my vision with nothing but darkness.

A heavy thrum filled the air, repeating itself, as the smoke began to lessen. A red glow seeped through the wafting tendrils, until dark shadows danced across my vision, writhing in time with every beat that resounded through me. Soon the smoke melted until only a thin haze filled my vision, and bodies contorted on the floor around me, naked breasts glistening with sweat. Gone were the toys around me, as the uniform I had been wearing grew tight and short on my now grown body.

Hands grasped at my legs, fondling, caressing, and I found myself spinning. Faster and faster I spun, with each turn, until I was left breathless. I fell toward the ground, the bodies around me catching and slowing my descent, pulling the coat from my shoulders. I let it go, thankful to be free of its constraints, as I try to catch my breath.

Hot breath danced across the back of my neck, as hands roamed down the front of my blouse, fumbling at the buttons. A gasp escaped from my mouth, and I tried to push the hands away. Something wasn’t right. I shook my head, pigtails swinging in the air, and my eyes caught the glance of eyes in the shadows, ablaze with light. Movement in the darkness beckons me to draw near, as if pulled by an invisible line. I dragged myself to my feet, ignoring the protests and clawing hands and lumber towards the eyes.

As I cross the boundary into the shadows, inky black forms, somehow darker than the mire around me, grabbed my arms and tugged me forward. I cannot help but stumble until I find myself pressed against a hard table and shoved into a booth. Bright lights suddenly shone overhead, revealing only a mirror in front of me, with lines of pure white. My hands twitched as I gazed at those, my mouth growing dry with want, need.

Ghostly hands trailed along my neck, then to my hair, twirling one of the tails between its fingers. “Just a taste, my sweet. One little taste. You know you want it.”

It was right. I did. I wanted to taste the bitter powder as it slid down the back of my throat, feeling the rush as it infused my being. I licked my lips as I stared at it. What could one little taste hurt? I leaned closer, wanting to relish in the moment again, when movement caught the corner of my eyes.

I glanced to see green eyes and dark hair reach out toward me before plunging into darkness. “Sean?”

A howl filled the air, as the hand toying with my hair grasped the tail and pulled back with its ghostly might. A yelp left my lips, and I jerked myself away, falling out of the booth. The light above me grew, until its bright presence overwhelmed everything, blinding me.

I fumbled about the ground, trying to find anything. A metallic groan filled the air, and I felt my skin crawl as my heart raced. A pop filled the air, and the room began to darken as my vision returned, tiny sparks falling from the ceiling. Again, hands grasped at my arms, and I tried to pull myself free. Talons bit into the soft flash, tearing and ripping as I struggled against it. Pain lanced through me, and I opened my mouth with a scream, but there was no sound.

Teeth sank in beside the claws, against the bones of my wrist. All I could hear was the gnashing and crunching as it continued to chew on my arm. A hand snatched my head, pulling it up by the pigtails as I continued to fight for freedom. Hot blood trickled down my limbs, as my body sagged forward. Everything was so heavy, even my eyes began to droop despite the pain.

Pin pricks skittered across my cheeks towards my temples as hands grabbed my face. Claws ripped into the corners of my eyes, prying them open.

Above me, snaked along the top of the table with its broken body, was that vacant eyed skull. It snapped its head to the side, a sickening crunch echoing about me, grinning with its ever-carved smile. Revulsion poured through me as my throat tightened, but the rest of me froze in place. It lurched forward, opening its jaws as it closed in on my face.

Now back to your regular scheduled programming….

I’ve been all over the place, mentally, for the past week. I’ve not had many coherent thoughts to streamline into an interesting read, so instead, I shall leave an excerpt from something I’ve been working on during my hunt for employment.

Enjoy!

——————

“What are you doing here, Matthews?” I glanced to the slow drawl of a male voice. Detective Joshua Boulliard stood behind the yellow crime scene tape, holding a cup of coffee.

Boulliard looked rough. On a given day, I could count that Boulliard would be wearing a pristine white shirt, neatly pressed, with a monochrome tie, clean shaven and dark brown hair neatly combed into place. All in an annoyingly perfect manner that would make most girls swoon. Today, he was far from that image. His black tie was pulled loose, the sleeves of his shirt were rolled up past his elbows, and his hair looked like he had run his hands through it more than once.

I smiled in his direction. “Heard that something went down. Thought I’d check it out.”

He didn’t return the smile; his hazel eyes shadowed by whatever was on his mind. “No one’s missing. So run along home.”

“I have every right to be here, Boulliard.”

“Trust me, Yumi. You want to let this one go.”

My Lonely World

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have many friends. Not people that I would actually call up for help and confide in. I know a lot of people. You can’t be in my line of work and not know people, but I don’t trust most of them. People lie. People cheat. People sometimes aren’t actually people, but the monsters under your bed. So when I find someone who I think I can call a friend, it hurts when you realize that maybe you were wrong.

I’ve been in over my head for months now. I don’t know what’s real and what’s fantasy. I’m shocked when I can get to sleep at night without the use of alcohol or drugs, which to be fair, most nights I can manage without. But there are nights, when I’ve seen shit that I can’t shake from my mind. Those are the nights that I really need my friends, especially the ones that understand more of this fucked up world that we are in. Or when realization sinks in that you’ve been friendzoned by that one guy.

Except, like I said, maybe we aren’t really friends.

Friends trust each other. I was trying to figure out how to broach that whole mystery surrounding Sean with her. That says a lot. I don’t trust anyone with that information, but I thought I could bring it to her. But, instead, she’s made me second guess myself. After all, she made it clear that I don’t understand anything in the world, and I don’t. I’m not sure how much I want to understand.

Fuck.

I’m just going to go back to being business. Strictly business.