Something Wicked this way comes! Look for the third book in the Rushed series to be available around the first of May! This time around, Eric finds himself summoned to the aid of a coven of witches who are being hunted by a murderous magic man. The usual monsters and mayhem are waiting for him in the rural farmlands of Southern Illinois, but the real peril may lie at home, because if he's not back in time for the anniversary getaway Karen has planned for them, he's going to learn the true definition of terror...
Continue reading for a sneak peek of the first chapter of
Rushed: Something Wicked
And if you haven't checked out the first two books yet, look for Rushed and Rushed: The Unseen wherever you like to buy your ebooks!
want to go to that seafood restaurant again.The one with the all-you-can-eat crab legs?”
nodded.“I remember it.”
was so good.”
was pricy.”He sat at the table,
finishing up his coffee and watching his wife as she fluttered around the
kitchen, cleaning up after breakfast.
was worth it,” she purred.
supposed it was.Karen loved crab
legs.It was one of her favorites.It made her happy.
that little fudge shop!”
miss the fudge.”He finished his coffee
and handed her his cup.He didn’t offer
to help.He knew better.He’d just be in the way.The kitchen was Karen’s domain.She’d long ago claimed it as her own and now
ruled it with the authority and grace of a queen.He’d given up trying to be helpful in
here.No matter how hard he tried, he
just couldn’t seem to get the dishes clean enough to please her, or put them
away in just the right places.Everything had to remain immaculately clean and tidy.There was a place for everything and
everything was always in its place.Though you wouldn’t know it by the state of her disorganized closet or
the chaotic mess that was her bathroom counter, in this room, nothing short of
perfection would do.
was equally useless when it came to cooking.He could barely make toast right.Any attempt he made to help her prepare food only slowed her down.The only thing he was good for in this room
was retrieving things off the high shelves where she couldn’t reach.(And being somewhat shorter than average, he
couldn’t even do that half the time without a stepstool.)
he was a good boy and just sat quietly and stayed out of her way, she’d let him
stay.Otherwise, she was likely to shoo him
out of the room like a troublesome child until she was done.
he remained useful throughout the rest of the house.He did a satisfactory job with the laundry
and could fix most things when they broke.He managed the bills and mowed the lawn and shoveled the driveway.He earned his keep.
of course he was the killer of the spiders.If nothing else at all, she’d keep him around just for that.Although she occasionally reminded him that
lots of younger, fitter men could kill spiders too, just to keep him on his
should take one of those dinner cruises on the lake, too,” she sighed.“Doesn’t that sound nice?”
shot him a sour look.“Don’t be
cheap.It’s our anniversary.”
not being cheap.I’m just being
realistic.We spent a little extra last
year because it was our ten-year anniversary.I don’t think we should get too carried away this year.”
turned and leaned her back against the counter, pouting.“Eleven years is better than ten.Why shouldn’t we do it bigger this year?”
smiled and let his eyes wash over her.She was wearing an oversized Packers tee shirt that barely covered her
bottom and nothing more.Her long, brown
hair spilled down over her shoulders, still disheveled from bed.
years ago, when they walked down the aisle, she was much slimmer, but he didn’t
miss that tiny silhouette one bit.Borderline anorexic, she’d spent the previous seven years starving
herself and desperately trying to climb out of her popular, prom queen older
sister’s shadow.About the time he
proposed to her (never because she was thin and beautiful, but because she was
simply beautiful inside and out) she began to accept who she was and that she
didn’t have to be anyone else.She
allowed herself to gain back some of that middle-school weight that she’d hated
so much and the result, Eric thought, was breathtaking.To this day, she remained exquisitely curvy
and, in his opinion, extraordinarily sexy.
as he sat staring at her now, he found that he really didn’t want to discuss
their upcoming romantic getaway.
do you want to do?” she asked him.
stood up and strolled around the table to where she stood.“I just want to be with you,” he told her,
and then kissed her lips.
she said, smiling.“But you can be with
me any day.What do you want to do this weekend?”
kissed her cheek and then her neck.“I’ve got a few ideas,” he assured her as he slid his hands down the
sultry curves of her waist and slipped them under the hem of the tee
she said, pushing his hands away.“Down
boy.We’re talking about our anniversary
are,” he agreed, nipping at her ear.“It’s just a little preview.”
pulled away from him and pushed his hands out from under her shirt again.“We’re not spending four hundred a night just
to stay in the hotel room and play naughty nurse.”
stood up straighter, his eyebrows raised.“Naughty nurse?Did you buy a new
pushed him, barely stifling a smile.“I
was being sarcastic.”
frowned.“So…no naughty nurse?”
“No.I’m not going away for the weekend just to play dress up for you.”
don’t understand.We’ll pay four hundred
a night just to sleep somewhere, but not to—”
“Exactly.Yes.So no naughty anything.”
kissed her again.“Well there’s always
the French Maid.”
never should’ve let you talk me into buying that.”
did.But I’m not packing it.”
is our anniversary weekend.It’s not
leaned back and looked at her, his eyes narrowed.“Not about me, huh?”
about you,” she insisted.“It’s about me.”
is it about you?”
your wife.That’s the way it is.Ask anyone.”
he kissed her on the neck.This time she
didn’t pull away.
still have to decide what all we’re doing this weekend.”
will.It’s only Wednesday.We don’t leave until Friday.”He slid his hands up under her shirt again
and grasped her naked hips beneath it.She didn’t push his hands away.
I have so much to do before we leave,” she protested, even as she lifted her
chin to let him kiss her neck.“I
promised to make cookies for the church ice cream social.And I promised Shana Lesternap a dozen pies
for the firehouse picnic.”
of time,” Eric assured her.
have to get it all done by tomorrow evening.”
problem for Creek Bend’s resident culinary genius.”
you’re just sucking up.”
“Maybe.But you’re still the most talented woman I’ve
made a fair amount of money as a freelance baker and cake decorator.It was rare for a social event to take place
in this town without something delicious made in this very kitchen.
promise to help me plan?”
continued to kiss her neck.“Of course I
kissed her lips again.
kissed him back.
thought it was going to be a very good day.
the damn doorbell rang.
got to be freaking kidding me,” grumbled Eric, his voice muffled against his
wife’s probing lips.
giggled and kissed him again.
didn’t want to stop.He squeezed her
bottom and pulled her closer, kissing her harder.
the doorbell rang.
laughed.“Get the door, stud.”
pushed him away.“Just get the door.”
sighed and turned away.
was at the door began knocking.
better be really important!”
him, Karen laughed again.
he opened the door, Eric found a teenage boy with tousled black hair and
hauntingly dark eyes staring back at him.He was dressed in a too-big tee shirt, torn blue jeans and worn-out
you Eric Fortrell?” the boy asked.
wanted badly to lie, but he nodded.
Jude Thorngood, sir.We need your help.”
I’m sure you do, thought Eric.These kids tended to show up several times a
year, typically selling candy bars, cookies or coupon books.Occasionally magazine subscriptions.Usually not so early in the day, though…He never bought anything.He was a teacher at the local high school.He already participated in more than his
share of fundraisers.“Sorry, this
really isn’t a good time.”
the kid was more persistent than others.He stepped forward, his hand outstretched, pleading with him.“There isn’t
any more time, sir.”
thought.This kid really took his
fundraising seriously.“Maybe you could
come back later.I’m in the middle of
something really important right now.”He glanced back toward the kitchen.He really wanted to be in
there with Karen.
“This is important.”
sure it is.”
a few minutes of your time.Please.”
sorry, but I’m really busy.”
have to listen…”But Eric was already
shutting the door.He had no intention
of listening to a teenage boy try to convince him that his football team needed
new practice jerseys (or whatever it was he was out begging for).He volunteered for enough bake sales and
dances and car washes that he did not feel the need to humor these kids on his
own front porch.
yet, they still always managed to make him feel guilty when he said no.He stood there for a moment, his hand resting
on the doorknob, annoyed.Then he turned
away from the door and started across the living room.He’d gone as far as the couch when he heard
Karen scream in the kitchen, startling him.As he bolted from the living room to see what was wrong, he heard her
shout again, this time shrieking his name.
always had a very vivid imagination.It
was the foundation on which he’d built his love of reading that turned into a
love of literature and led him to becoming an English teacher.He could always slip into those other worlds,
immersing himself in Tolkien’s Middle-earth or Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.Unfortunately, it had a side-effect of
offering him the most terrifying of scenarios during moments like these.As a result, it was far too easy to picture
Karen in the kitchen with her hand lodged in the garbage disposal or her foot
crushed under the weight of a frozen turkey.
a bright woman like Karen might come to be in such situations was well beyond
him, but he never claimed that his too-vivid imagination was in any way
Karen was not in mortal peril.He burst
into the kitchen to find the boy he’d just closed the front door on sitting at
the table, staring at her, a bright smile on his face.She stood with her back against the sink, her
eyes wide.She was pulling down the hem
of the Packers tee shirt with one hand and covering the more than generous
amount of cleavage revealed by doing this with the other.She looked both mortified and
didn’t take the time to wonder how the boy had managed to get inside the
house.He rushed to the table and hauled
him out of the chair by his arm.
“Who the hell is he?” demanded
Karen.“Why is he looking at me half naked?”
don’t know!I didn’t let him in!”
am!”He was already steering the boy
down the hallway as Karen bolted out of the kitchen and up the stairs, slamming
the bedroom door behind her.
craned his neck as far as it would go to watch her leave and then looked up at
Eric, grinning.“Your wife’s really
up, you.I ought to kick your ass.”
need to talk to you.”
told you I was busy!”Although he wasn’t
likely to be busy now.Thanks to this stupid stunt, he was sure he
wasn’t going to be “busy” for quite a while.“I should call the cops is what I should—”When he looked down, however, he realized
that he was no longer holding the boy’s arm.He was gone.
turned and found him sitting in the kitchen chair again, his arms folded
casually on the table, smiling back at him.
can’t get rid of me.We need your help
and I can’t leave until you’ve heard what I have to say.”
Eric heard the closet door slam.He
needed to get this kid out of the house now or they were both going to catch
hell.“Fine,” he sighed.“But outside.”
it seemed, was satisfactory.Still
smiling at him, the teenage boy who ruined Eric’s perfectly nice morning stood
up and followed him out onto the porch.
what the hell is so damn important that it just couldn’t wait?” snapped
Eric.He wasn’t remotely concerned about
offending a student.It was clear by now
that this had nothing at all to do with any kind of school fundraising.
boy didn’t waste any time.“It’s my
mom.Someone’s trying to kill her.”
stood there for a moment, staring at him, trying to wrap his head around what
he’d just heard.“What?”
already killed Grandpa.We didn’t think
it was possible, but he did it.”
“Wait…Somebody killed your grandpa?”
boy nodded.“And one of the girls,
too.Regina.He’ll kill us all before he’s done.We need your help.Desperately.”
felt a hot lump forming in his belly.Was this kid really talking about murder?Was somebody hunting down members of his
family?“Shouldn’t you be talking to the
police?”But he found that he already
knew what the boy’s response to this was going to be.
can’t help.If Grandpa couldn’t stop
him, they wouldn’t have a chance, even if they would help.”
knew the answer to his next question, too, but he asked it anyway:“Why wouldn’t they help you?”
never believe us.”
course they wouldn’t.
won’t stop until he kills all of us.”
man?”This all sounded crazy, but the
craziest part was that it all made a certain kind of sense.None of this was any less believable than
some of the things he’d already seen.He
sat down on the porch steps and ran his hands through his hair,
frustrated.“And you think I can help you?”
stood over him, staring at him with those dark, pleading eyes.“You’re the only one.Mom said so.And she’s never wrong.”
Eric’s palms were firmly planted against his eyes.It was happening again.And just before his wedding anniversary, no
sent me to find you and bring you back with me.”
hiding out on a farm in Illinois.”
had happened twice before.Not exactly like this, of course.But it had
happened.Once last summer and then
again just last month.He already knew
that much more than just his morning had been ruined.
begged Jude.“You have to help us.”
dropped his hands and stared up at the boy.
don’t stand a chance against him without you.”
Look for Something Wicked at your favorite ebook retailer on May 1st!