Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Wednesday Snippet - In Cold Blood

So after a few days of vacillation, I decided the next project should be my Urban Wolf spin-off, In Cold Blood. I'm really loving Crow Called, but I'm wary of starting too many new projects and not getting round to my ongoing series in a timely fashion (those being primarily Urban Wolf and Blood Canticles). Although I'm working on breaking away from "must do" lists when it comes to my writing, I still need some semblance of focus, and my focus for 2016 is getting Blood Canticles 3 and more Urban Wolf books out into the world.

So without further ado, here's a little look at In Cold Blood. And there will be many more!

“This one's exactly the same.” Phoebe Fairley held a lavender-scented handkerchief to her nose as she crouched over the dead body. Her senses were muted compared to a normal werewolf's, but still sharp enough that the mingled scents of blood and sweet rot bothered her. The rot more than the blood. It meant she knew what had killed this woman and she didn't like the knowledge.
Her companion swore. Inspector Aidan Spalding had a beautiful voice, Phoebe thought, a rich, sonorous baritone. It made even the most explicit curse words sound elegant. “Fucking hellfire, Fairley. What is it?”
She didn't answer. Instead she stood, stepping away from the dead woman on the alley floor and inhaling a deep whiff of lavender. Pre-dawn light filled the dark stone passageway, casting a solemn glow over both the corpse and the litter of broken bottles and cigarette ends. Just an ordinary woman, Phoebe thought, probably making her way home from one of Dundee's many night clubs when she got caught. The woman's clothes – a hot pink mini-skirt and jet-black halter-neck top – were an odd choice for the cold weather though. Maybe she'd been lured out of a nearby bar or club by her killer?
Well. No. Not if her killer was what Phoebe suspected. She gave Spalding a tired smile. “It's not a wolf, if that's what you're worried about,” she said.
“I already knew that,” he snapped. “Never seen a wolf kill like this.”
Spalding was human but any officer working in Major Investigations would know what a wolf kill looked like. There was a long, sad history of serial killer werewolves and whilst the motives might vary, the methods rarely did. Messy kills, maulings. This wasn't a mauling. This was a neat, quick kill. A broken neck, puncture wounds near the major arteries. Phoebe didn't need an autopsy to know the woman would be missing a lot of blood.
This was the fifth such body she'd seen in as many months. The first had been south of the border in Northumberland. Another young woman caught sometime after midnight, neck broken, blood missing. The next three had seen the killer slowly moving north through Scotland. And now this one, number five. The Luporum had sent her to investigate as soon as the news of the first killing broke.
She presented herself at each scene as a government official and the Luporum had provided her a solid cover. When she'd shown up at Dundee City Centre Police Office two hours ago, Spalding had agreed to let her come to the crime scene without hesitation.
“We've heard about the other murders,” he'd said as he escorted her to his car. “We'd appreciate an expert's opinion.”
The problem was, she couldn't share her expert opinion. Humanity had come to terms with werewolves – mostly. Vampires was a whole new issue, and one the Luporum didn't think the world was ready for. Phoebe agreed wholeheartedly. The Luporum were hardly ready for it themselves.
So she gave Spalding the same line she'd given every other officer she'd spoken to. “We need to pull some files and run some data, but this more or less confirms it. We have an organised serial killer on our hands. We suspect he was recently released from prison and may have a medical background. I wish I could tell you more, but right now -”
“Bloody government spooks,” Spalding muttered. “Fine, keep your mouth shut.” He turned to the alley entrance and whistled piercingly. On cue, Spalding's team hustled into the alley to take care of the body.
That was Phoebe's own cue to leave. She needed to report back to her superiors. She needed a long hot shower and a few hours sleep. Most of all she needed to be away from that rank, rotten smell that had her wolf snarling and snapping inside her. It made her itchy and edgy, more aware of how narrow the alleyway was, how hard it would be to fight in such a tight space. A normal werewolf would be able to shapeshift and burn off the nervous energy with a good run or a hunt. But Phoebe didn't have that option. The best thing for her to do was get away from the alley and take her anti-anxiety medication.

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