Blood and Bone

Available in Print September 4th, 2012
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Samhain Publishing
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Samhain Publishing

The deeper they dig into the past, the closer they come to a killer.

Crime writer Shayne Reynolds is looking for the next book that’ll get her out of her parents’ basement and on track to rebuilding her life. She’s found it in Robert Anderson, a confessed murderer who’s out on parole. Something’s never added up about that case.

From the moment she sets foot in Dark Water, nothing goes as planned. Anderson’s family wants her to drop the story—especially surviving son Des. A man who ignites sizzling heat even as he stands firmly in her way.

Laboring under his father’s crushing legacy and his grandmother’s iron resolve to get rid of the nosy writer at any cost, Des struggles to save the self-destructive sister who once saved him. There’s something honest and forthright about Shayne, though, that tempts him to help her get to the truth. Even if it means double-crossing his powerful grandmother.

Despite their resolve to keep it strictly business, sexual sparks quickly set fire to tangled emotions. And threads of a fragile bond that someone with a vendetta could use to weave their death shroud…

Product Warnings

This story contains a feisty writer, a sexy younger man and a mystery with enough twists and turns to cause vertigo.

Blood and Bone Excerpt
Copyright © 2011 Dawn Brown

"Are you married?" The man sitting across the booth fixed his silvery eyes on Shayne's bare ring finger.

"No." She followed his gaze. Even after a year, she could still see a faint imprint in her flesh. Or maybe she simply imagined she could. After all, how many times had her thumb reached to fiddle with the smooth band only to find skin instead? "Not anymore."

"Divorced?" He grabbed his beer off the table and tilted the bottle to his lips.

Careful. Don't let him draw you in. You know better. "Mr. Anderson, we're not talking about me."

He chuckled low in his throat. "No, I guess we're not."

Shayne forced a smile and met the man's gaze. Even after twenty-five years, Robert Anderson looked remarkably similar to the pictures from his police file. He'd been thirty-two when he'd gone to prison, making him nearly sixty now. His black, springy hair showed a considerable amount of gray, and deep lines grooved his face around the eyes and mouth. His shoulders remained broad and what she could see of his build was trim. Dressed in a faded pair of jeans and olive-green shirt with the sleeves rolled to his elbows, he looked like any other man.

Nothing about him gave away he'd once served time for murdering his wife and ten-year-old stepson.

"I must admit," Shayne said, struggling to keep her voice light, "I was surprised when you asked to meet." Especially, after his last voice mail, telling her rather forcefully he had no intention of participating in her book and not to call him again. "Thank you for agreeing to speak with me."

A smirk twisted his mouth, lifting one corner. "Don't thank me yet."

The knots in her belly tightened. Shayne glanced around the dimly lit bar. A pub at dinner hour had seemed an ideal place to meet. Unfortunately, the crowd she'd envisioned at the Salty Dog actually consisted of three half-conscious barflies, a bartender who had yet to break eye contact with the television set, and a middle-aged waitress yakking on a pay phone near the door.

She shouldn't have let a two-time murderer choose the locale for their interview, but desperate times...

"Can I ask you something?" Anderson's unnerving stare locked on her face.

Shayne fought the urge to shift back and put more space between them. "Of course."

"Why now?" He leaned forward. "Why write this story now?"

"I may not." No reason for him to know how important his story was to her book. "I'm considering at this stage."

Anderson rolled his eyes. "What made you consider this story now?"

Let's see, after the money I've spent on lawyers' fees fighting my self-centered prick of an ex for my half of the life we built--not that there's much left after the infertility treatments--I find myself low on funds. And because you've already been tried and convicted, I can write this book in about half the time it would normally take me.

"Your recent release from prison caught my interest," she replied instead.

"You and everybody else," he muttered, before taking a deep swig from his beer.

"Excuse me?"

"Who do you plan on talking to?"

"I've spoken to the investigating officers, your lawyer, the prosecutor. Now I'm arranging interviews with friends and family. Do you mind if I record our conversation?" She pulled her notepad and audio recorder from her purse.

Anderson shrugged, his expression inscrutable.

"Thank you." She set the recorder on the table between them, flipped to a blank page in her notebook and waited for Anderson to speak. When he didn't, she asked, "What happened the night of May 10, 1984?"

"You have a copy of my confession, right? Use it."

"I'd like to hear the story in your words."

He sighed. "Gwen was unhappy with me and wanted to leave. I came home from work early and found her in the process of doing just that. We fought. I shot her." His voice was bland, flat, as if he recited from a script.

"Why did you shoot your stepson, Christian?"

Anderson shifted in his seat and glanced toward the bar. "He got in the way."

"Your stepdaughter was found at the side of the road, carrying your son and running away from the house. Had you planned to kill Julia and Desmond too?"

He flinched. "No."

God, how terrifying that night must have been for two small children. What kind of person could kill a child? Kill his own child? Shayne looked at Anderson seated opposite her--so ordinary, even attractive. She tried to envision him hunting down his children in the woods and couldn't quite manage it. "Did you go after Julia? Try to stop her?"


He was lying. She'd read his confession. "How did Christian get in the way? According to the crime scene, you shot your wife at the front door. Your stepson was shot in the chest at the opposite end of the hallway. The story you're telling now is quite different from what you claimed in your confession."

Anderson snorted. "It's been a long time. I don't remember exactly what I said."

Anger sparked inside her, a flickering flame. Christian's image from the crime-scene photographs popped into her head. His lifeless form crumpled on the floor, a dark hole the size of her fist in his chest. "I'm not interested in what you said. I want to know what you remember."

He glared at her for a long moment. "Do you have any idea what you've done?"

A chill blew through her, snuffing out the anger. Still, she ignored her pounding heart, kept her back straight and her voice strong. "I beg your pardon?"

"You've opened one hell of a can of worms, prying into things that are none of your business."

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