Beneath the Canyons, Book 1 of Daughter of the Wildings, is now available at Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, OmniLit, Smashwords, CreateSpace, and DriveThruFiction. Coming soon to Barnes & Noble (which is once again being laggy with the updates).
Update: Canyons is now live at Barnes & Noble!
Still plugging away with final edits on Bad Hunting; in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek inside the book, with Lainie and Silas on the trail of a killer:
The next day, thunderheads started building up over the hills early in the day. Silas and Lainie still went on foot, leading the horses, as they continued looking for tracks. Being down in the washes when there might be rain upstream could be a deadly mistake, so they kept to higher ground as much as possible. The humidity made the heat even more oppressive, and the air was filled with a tension that only a thunderstorm could relieve. Rainbugs clicked and buzzed in the brush, heralding a chance of rain, their noise constant and maddening despite its welcome message. By late in the morning, the clouds over the hills towered high and white, nearly black on the bottom, and a curtain of gray gradually thickened across the highest hilltops in the range. Thunder rumbled in the distance. The wind coming down from the hills picked up, bringing a promising smell of rain.
So far that morning, the search had been just as futile as the day before. Then, about mid-day, Silas paused and looked down into the wash they were following. “What’s that?”
Surprise that he had found something, and a touch of fear, jolted Lainie out of the haze of heat, frustration, and boredom she had sunk into. “What’s what?”
“I thought I saw — wait here.”
He walked to the edge of the wash and pushed aside the thorny brush growing there, then started climbing down the sloping bank.
“Be careful,” Lainie called, nervously eyeing the storm up in the hills and thinking of the killer who could be lurking down in the creek bed.
“I won’t be but a moment,” Silas called back as he disappeared into the wash. Lainie peered anxiously after him, but he was soon out of sight. Almost she wanted to go after him, so he wouldn’t be alone down there and she wouldn’t be alone up here, but there were the horses to consider —
Without warning, a cold, violent downdraft from the hills crashed into her, followed by a wall of dust. Dirt and sand swirled around her, blinding her, clogging her nose. Behind her, Mala and Abenar neighed in panic, the sound muted and torn apart by the wind rushing past her ears. In her anxiety about Silas, Lainie realized, she had forgotten to hold onto the horses’ reins. She spun around and lunged to grab the reins before the horses could run away, and missed, and stumbled to the ground. She came up disoriented, with no idea which way she was facing or where the wash was. Even the sounds of the horses were lost in the roar of the wind. “Silas!” she tried to call out, but the wind stole her voice and blowing grit filled her mouth.
She froze in place. Every child in the Wildings was taught that if you were lost in the wild, you should stay put so you could be found. Wandering around, especially in a blind panic, would only get you more lost. She couldn’t be more than a few steps from where she had been and from where Silas had gone down into the wash, she told herself, trying to stay calm. The wind buffeted her side to side and front to back, but she fought it, trying to hold her ground. Even small steps would add up, taking her away from where Silas could easily find her.
A pair of arms came around her from behind. Relief swept away her panic; Silas —
The grip of the arms tightened mercilessly around her, and the stink of old alcohol and long-unwashed body hit her nose. Terror surged inside her. Before she could fight back, a rope of glowing green power wrapped itself around her legs and arms, stinging her skin and nerves, and the cold edge of a knife blade pressed against her throat.
At the touch of sharp metal on her skin, her cry died in her mouth. In her mind, she saw clearly the scene that Silas would find when the dust storm passed: her lying dead on the ground, her throat carved open, and no sign of the murderer who came and went like a spirit, without a trace.
“Stay still and quiet, and I won’t have to kill you,” a male voice whispered harshly in her ear.