MotW-SNDA: Book 1
In this suspenseful supernatural detective agency novel, two strangers find out they’ve been set up to die as part of a plot that puts the mob in league with demons to pull off the ultimate score. Can they work together to survive the supernatural threat?
Laura Cassidy never set out to battle psychotic arsonists and hit-man demons. She was in enough trouble just trying to keep the dog shelter she was running afloat amid financial crisis.
So when her best friend Katie McMillian and boyfreind Peter offer her a chance to get her mind off her troubles at a rustic cabin in the woods, Laura jumps at the chance for some romantic time with Peter. Only, that’s not what she finds at all.
Instead, ex-FBI agent Todd Levitts shows up, and they both realize they’ve been set up – only they have no idea why. As the cabin goes up in flames, Laura and Todd find themselves running for their lives, suddenly in the middle of a plot involving dopplegangers, mob hit men, and terrifying demons.
Together they must unravel the mystery in time to figure out why they’re being targeted, and Laura must decide if Todd is someone she can trust or if he might be just one more deadly playing piece in this terrifying game…
At the Cabin is a standalone first book in the Middle of the Supernatural Detective Agency.
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Excerpt: Unproofed / Unedited
The humans had once called her kind changelings or dopplegangers. They had feared that her people could replace anyone and did so for nefarious purposes.
Humans could be so stupid.
She required a personal object to maintain the person’s appearance. Unless the subject was close enough to her human form. Then she only had to remember to keep her eyes blue or her hair long. Even with the object, strong emotion could cause her form to flicker.
The humans were right about why she did it. She was done living on scraps. The only way to survive in this world was to plan a big enough score that it set her for life.
The score she and Mike had planned was a brilliant long con. The first phase had been stealing the heiress’s ring from the mob boss, Turner. He was a hunter who sided mostly with humans. He seemed to find them interesting and had developed certain hobbies that she’d taken advantage of.
The next phase was making the mob boss think the person who’d robbed him was dead. She just had to switch identities to move to that phase.
Switching between identities was when most got caught. She’d found if she created an identity just for that transition, it made her plans run much smoother. She held the bracelet she had stolen earlier and locked in her current form which was different from the one she’d used on Turner.
She was now Pauline Craft. Single, middle-class, and liked art. Just the type to be shopping in this part of town on a warm spring afternoon. She paused at a window and let her gaze skim over handcrafted pottery and a ridiculously expensive painting of roosters.
Her focus landed on her own reflection, then shifted over her shoulder. No sign she was being pursued. It was not the humans that worried her, but others who sided with the humans. The hunters in all forms.
She pulled out the burner phone she’d been saving for this eventuality and scrolled to the first of two numbers in the contacts. It wasn’t time for the second number, not yet.
She dialed the number to end the set-up phase of the heist of the century. The set-up phase had successfully completed. She moved to the next store window filled with shabby chic furniture.
“Yes?” Mike’s voice was gruff. Her heart leapt; she’d missed him these months apart. Mike might be human, but they had a bond that went beyond species.
“The eagle has landed.” She did her best to sound serious as she spoke the code words that gave the all clear. In their line of work, such precautions were required.
“Quoting astronauts, are we?” Mike’s bantering tone brought a flash of relief. Her eyes burned with almost-tears. He had not been compromised. The hunters hadn’t found him.
“I got it. Turner’s going to be pissed. It was the only thing in his safe.” She kept her voice low and conversational, despite the bad news. As soon as Turner went into the safe, he would know he’d been robbed. He would come looking for her sooner than she’d hoped. She and Mike would be crunched to put their getaway plan in action. That meant shortening the timelines and adding risk. ”
Then it won’t take him long to notice that it’s missing,” Mike said. He’d always been able to extrapolate what she meant. Damn, she needed to start thinking of him by his new name or she would slip when she met him in his new role. A slip could be dangerous; it was a clue that could ruin the set-up.
“We were supposed to hook-up tomorrow morning.” It was a vulgar term that the kids used but it was true. Turner had thought he was going to get lucky with his shy, human, college girl. Her stomach twisted. She would have slept with him if she’d had to. Mike would’ve understood. But sleeping with him might have given him a chance to see she was not human. If she’d lost the pendent she’d stolen so she could keep the human form Turner found attractive, then he would’ve made her suffer and then killed her. Even if he hadn’t discovered she wasn’t human, she wouldn’t have survived. There was his hobby with human females to factor in.
“You’ve gotten away clean?” Even though his voice was all business, the rapid-fire clicks punctuated the background like machine gun fire and gave away how he was feeling. Her heart warmed. He clicked the pen like that when he was worried.
“Good. I’m already in position.” The plan had him wooing the woman that they’d stolen the pendent from. The woman’s appearance had been perfect and would be even better once she died to cover their trail.
“I sent the package. Just in case.” Just in case she got caught. Mike couldn’t use the ring without her, but not having what she’d stolen on her person might save her if she got caught while transitioning.
“So you could play freaked-out innocent? Smart.” The compliment warmed her further. Six more months was not that long to wait to be together. They would at least be able to see each other during this part of the plan. Even if Mike just had to sleep with someone else.
“How long before you get here?” Mike asked.
“Two weeks.” And that would be tight. She needed to get some of the money they had shipped, get her new identity established, purchase the cabin, and make sure she was welcome in the mark’s life. If they did their job right, the true owner of the necklace wouldn’t know until it was too late that it was a set-up.
“Good. She may even be living with me by then.”
“That will make what we have to do easier.” Maybe they’d get lucky and everything would be in place in five months. Unless they couldn’t pull everything together in six months, then she would lose her one shot to pull the heist off. This one was big and would set her and Mike up for life.
“Come back to me when you’re done.” Her chest lightened at his code word for saying he loved her when in an identity.
”I’ll always come back to you.” This time pretending not to be together would be worth it. They would pull off the biggest score ever and retire together with notoriety in the right circles. And they’d have the money to stay out of the gutter and out of the hunters’ reach.