Enter the realm of the Amazon Rainforest where man is not an apex predator.
Twenty-four hours ago, Brielle stood helpless while an intruder murdered her mother. After fleeing to the Amazon Rainforest, she struggles to stay a step ahead of the psychopath searching for the crystal she wears, her birthright.
As guardian of the biological hotspot, Tiago guards the maze of rivers, swamps, and forests from those who would rape and plunder his land for its wealth of minerals, trees, and wildlife. His compulsion to protect the foreign, blonde-haired enigma rescued from a poacher leads him face-to-face with scientific sociopath intent on creating a world where chaos reigns—under his leadership.
An exciting blend of action, adventure, and romance, between a man not looking for love and a woman trying to survive.
Amazon Release - 12/7/15
Macabre shadows crawled across the tiled floor to coalesce in a growing pool, bathing the kitchen in dark comfort as Brielle closed the back door. A long day of sorting microbes induced residual eyestrain she'd love to deep six in favor of a long vacation where her closest neighbors hung by their tails, ate bananas, and cavorted on liana vines all day.
The last day of work before leave always entailed loose ends needing a quick tie-off. To make matters worse, her panty-whispering boss hit on her for the hundredth time, not understanding the word no. Perhaps some longhorn beetles deposited in his lunch box might change his point of view as far as women equating rabbits, waiting to be bred. If she had to make a comparison, she’d have likened herself to a lynx—solitary—preferring the dense forest to concrete and glass.
She’d chalked the day’s pall of trepidation up to the inevitable catastrophe encroaching on her horizon. Heavy rain drumming on the roof didn’t help her mood. Now, her gaze scanned obscure corners of the room for the source of her tension.
Soft snoring from her mom's bedroom drifted down the hallway as she eased into her own room, precious, breathy sounds she'd not hear much longer as the ravages of cancer devoured her mom's strength.
Soft rays of moonlight sifted through shivering autumn leaves to highlight two airline tickets on her dresser. Next trip—there'd only be one. Within weeks, she'd lose her only known family, the only person who'd understood the unique complexities of her character. They wanted to see the Amazon River basin one more time, together. Making special arrangements had taxed her mental reserves.
Sitting on the end of her bed was more an act of weakening legs than design. When hot tears finally glazed her cheeks, she feared tidal waves of emotion would smash her wall of stoic determination and drown her in its flood.
The soft tapping raindrops against the windowpane emulated a metronome from hell, counting down her mom’s remaining heartbeats.
Holding tight to the necklace at her throat gave little comfort tonight. Normally, it served as a constant reminder of its origins and the semi-annual trips they’d taken to the rainforest, but now the cold crystal brought images of her mom's failing health. She'd never taken it off or even shown it to another living soul, per her mom's warning.
“Oh, Mom, please don't leave me. We have to find a way to beat this.” Yet the ineffectiveness of the latest round of chemo echoed in her mom's new hand tremor and the wheeze punching the air even on short walks.
Self-pity had never become her master or companion. Yet to see her mother defeated and accepting the inevitable broke her in a way nothing else could. Day-to-day deterioration made her long for the calming sights and sounds of the river basin. Its varied existence would soften the harsh reality of her life.
A cold Guarana might soothe right now, but the caffeine would keep her awake all night, and her mom wanted to talk on the plane tomorrow morning. Finally, she'd hear the story of her birthright. Water would do just fine—for the moment.
Mechanical movements of packing in low light and reserving an early AM taxi had become rote with years of practice. One of her peculiarities provided her with unusually keen sight. She didn’t need the bedside lamp.
Light clinking of dishes as she put away the air-dried dinner plates reminded her they wouldn't be eating their next weeks' meals in what Uncle Jack called civilized society. From their first trip to the southern hemisphere long ago, she'd preferred the simpler way of life. Yet her mom had insisted it wasn't time to move south. Not yet. The basis for that decision remained a mystery.
“I wish we'd relocated years ago. Maybe the shaman could've found a cure.” Small pools of low light from cylindrical pendant lamps over the sink provided the only illumination in the kitchen.
The fine hair on her nape prickled, yet no stealthy sounds disturbed the atmosphere. No subtle change in air currents brushed her face. She could move like that, too.
Figurative bands tightened around her chest.
“I'm glad you didn't.” The sultry feminine voice held as much arrogance as threat.
Whirling around in shock, Brielle dropped the porcelain plate. Its shattered pieces skidded across the room to stop at a black, steel-toed, jump boot.
A sharp inhale supplied further information as the intruder swayed her arm left-to-right, right-to-left. The six-inch blade handled as an extension of her fingers and reflected narrow beams of light to dance along the ceiling. Beads of moisture clung to her leather jacket and pants, perpetuating the chemical smell filling the air.
All this and more, Brielle picked up in an instant. “Who the hell are you?” Her mind raced with alternative scenarios, each leading to an intolerable outcome.
“I'm the one who'll turn you into worm fodder if you don't hand over your half of the crystal in the next thirty seconds.” The sly smile spreading across the stranger's face boded ill.
Reily’s work as an ICU nurse, private investigator, and work in the military police has given her countless experiences in a host of different environments to add a real world feel to her fiction.
Though her kids are her life, writing is Reily’s life after. The one enjoyed…after the kids are in bed or after they’re in school and the house is quiet. This is the time she kicks back with laptop and lapdog to give her imagination free rein.
In life, hobbies can come and go according to our physical abilities, but you can always enjoy a good book. Life isn’t perfect, but our imaginations can be. Relax, whether it’s in front of a fire or in your own personal dungeon. Take pleasure in a mental pause as you root for your favorite hero/heroine and bask in their accomplishments, then share your opinions of them over a coffee with your best friend (even if he’s four legged). Life is short, cherish your time.