Dangerous Shift is coming soon, this week or next, waiting for cover. Doing the final run-through so thought I would tempt you with a little teaser–the Prologue. Yes, it has a prologue, sue me!! I like them. Jill
Fort San Laura Army Base
The sound of boot heels echoed up and down the hospital corridor. All marched past the closed door, none brave enough to stop at this room. Sean Evans turned away as tears rolled down his ex-partner Colin Rodriguez’s face. The man sat by his fiancée’s bedside, her hand clasped in his, waiting for her to die.
Sean stared at the dying woman. Paulette’s red hair was the only color in the monochrome hospital room. Colin’s hand shook as he brushed the hair back from Paulette’s sweaty face. The virus wreaked havoc on the young woman.
Sean swallowed rising bile as the young Shapeshifter in the bed screamed. Her flesh boiled beneath the surface, and she screamed again. Her back arched off the bed. For months now, The Shapeshifter task force had been working to track down the cause of the virus and it finally struck close to home, killing two of their own. First, his own partner, Barry, and now Paulette.
Her fingers turned into talons that dug into Colin’s hand. Blood dripped from the cuts onto the crisp, white sheet. Colin held her hand; the only sign of his pain was the grimace on his tanned face.
Sean rubbed his burning eyes, surprised to find tears on his own cheeks. He scrubbed the wetness away and raked his fingers through his hair. His tears wouldn’t help Paulette or Colin. Nothing could help them now. His hands clenched into fists at his side. He ached to punch a wall, anything to kill the tension in the room.
A scream built in his throat. Just last week he had sat here, forced to watch the young man, new to the task force, breathe his last. He stared into the ceiling lights, his eyes watered with the brightness. He repeated his personal mantra of calm and cool until his emotions mellowed, until they no longer threatened to overwhelm him.
He turned his head as Paulette’s screams died down to whimpers. She had lost all control of her shifting. She grew fur and it disappeared. Her head changed shape as she shifted into a canine form, then a feline form, then back to her own. Her limbs flopped against the mattress as she convulsed. The shifting now happening every few seconds.
Colin threw himself across her body as if he could stop the tragedy from its conclusion.
“Noooo.” His voice ricocheted across the room and down the hall.
Sean rushed to his best friend’s side and ripped him up off of the dying Shifter. No one had discovered yet how the virus was transmitted. They didn’t need masks and gloves anymore, not in the last several months at least, but no one wanted to find out what full-body contact might do.
Colin struggled against Sean’s hold. Tears blurred Sean’s vision as Paulette struggled to breathe, and Colin’s cries became anguished sobs. His shoulders shook under Sean’s hands.
The monitor blared as Sean searched Paulette for any life signs and found none. Her chest didn’t move. She was gone. Just like Barry. Just like all the other Shifters in the past few months.
Sean turned away as Paulette’s flesh jellified and sank into the mattress, only a slight bump under the covers to show a human being had been there.
Colin’s anguish pierced his soul, and when Colin threw himself across the bed again. Sean didn’t bother to stop him. What did it matter when his friend had just lost his partner and the love of his life?
The sounds of harsh breaths and sobs still echoed in Sean’s ears when the door opened and the Captain of the Task Force rushed in. Sean turned to the man and shook his head.
Captain Connors motioned for Sean to talk to him outside. Sean shot a quick look to Colin and followed the captain outside to the hallway.
“Lt. Evans, with Robertson’s death today, added to the others, the task force is low on numbers. We will need to send word to the other Task Forces and ask for reinforcements.”
Sean’s hands formed into fists at his side. The human captain made no bones about his dislike of Shapeshifters, but Paulette’s body wasn’t even cold yet and he drudged up business decisions.
He took deep breaths and relaxed his hands. As the lead Lieutenant in the Task Force, business took priority. Even over death.
“Will you send a request to the Southwest office in Las Vegas?” His own task force office covered the Northwest—Northern California, part of Nevada, and all of Oregon,Washington state, and Idaho.
The captain shook his head. “A few cases have been reported in Los Angeles. We can’t risk it. I’ll request someone from the Midwest. No cases have been reported yet out there. There is a small task force in Columbia,Missouri, an hour outside St. Louis.”
Dangerous Shift, my first paranormal romantic suspense will be available as an eBook on Amazon, BN.com, Smashwords and other online retailers and as a paperback through Createspace.