I am posting a rough blurb and excerpt for today's post. I hope you enjoy it.
Original title: A Dark Road Back
An old friend calls in a favor, dragging CIA operative Dan Webb out of isolation and into the strange case of a terrorized blind woman. A cryptic message left by a dying man leads to a set of eighteen Lohan which once stood guard in the Chief Hall of Buddha's Temple. But do these mystical guardians really hold the answer to a series of murders? Or does the Jaded Geisha guard that secret?
Eleanor Gray, an avid collector, lives in a world of flickering lights and darkness. But this determined advocate for the blind has crossed paths with a killer. Now her life is at stake. Does the killer fear she can identify him by his shadow, or is he after something else? Now a fierce Lohan with flesh and blood stands guard over her day and night—following her as she runs away to Japan. But Danny is not the only one in pursuit, and Eleanor Gray soon discovers that not only is her life in danger, but her heart is as well.
A low growl stopped her. Eleanor Gray wavered over the next step, clinging to the rail. She could see a shape outlined against a patch of light. She knew the light came from the round orb at the top of the staircase. She cursed the building’s superintendent. He should have fixed that elevator by now. She hated climbing the twelve floors to her apartment. She turned her head slightly, trying to bring the shadow into sharper detail, but he hung back as if hiding.
"Hush," she snapped, and tightened her grip on the bridge handle of Max's harness.
Her guide dog strained forward, and his low growl turned into a menacing bark, sending a shiver through her. She did a quick harness check, bringing Max up short, and slowly moved her head.
If she could catch the right angle, fix her eyes at just the right spot, she still had a narrow tunnel of vision. It was her only lifeline with the outside world. But that shifting corridor had narrowed over the years, and now it was as thin as a child's finger. Eventually it would be little more than a thread, and then it would blink out entirely, leaving nothing but shadows.
Max leapt forward suddenly, tripping her and sending her to the floor. Her knees crashed against the sharp edge of a stair and then scraped over the rough carpet. Max continued up the stairs, barking incessantly, and dragged her with him, pulling her arm until it felt as if her muscles and ligaments would rip. "Max, steady," she screamed, but he struggled forward.
Something popped in her shoulder, and she let go of the harness with a cry of pain. "Damn it, Max. Come," she commanded.
She pushed herself up with her right arm, fighting off the panic that threatened to overtake her. But she was floundering, immobilized with fear and pain. Max had never acted this way before; something must be terribly wrong. She struggled once again to find her window into the outside world, but her movements were too jerky, controlled by a nauseating fear that swept through her in hot waves. She needed to slow down, or she would never find it. She took a deep breath, willing herself to ignore the pain, the fear, and looked into the shadows and light at the top of the staircase.
Max’s barking ended abruptly in a painful whelp and she heard a thump. She pushed herself to her feet, anger replacing her fear. “You bastard,” she screamed. “You hurt my dog!”
Indignation seared her. Max was more than her guide dog. He was her family. And since the death of her brother, he was her only family. She grabbed the stair rail and got to her feet, pulling herself toward the shadow that stood in the wavering light. She swept her head slowly, back and forth, back and forth, looking for that spot of vision. Desperate to see. Desperate to know what had happened to Max. She could still hear him whimpering. His claws pawed at the carpet as he struggled to get back up.
Then she found her opening. Light and shadows gave way to sight, and she looked into the outside world. A strip of white wall. The outer edge of a fire alarm. An arm. A shoulder. The curve of a neck. The outer edges of a bearded face. A scarred cheekbone.
A gleam caught her eye, and she slowly trailed her gaze along the narrow field of vision—her attention moving past the chin, down the chest, moving slowly over the tensed arm to the fingers, then stopping.
She inhaled sharply.
Long white fingers were wrapped around the silver handle of a knife; blood dripped from its tip. She followed the relentless drops to the floor, and watched them land on an outstretched hand. Someone lay sprawled across the floor.
Fear choked her. She opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out. Oh God, had she stumbled on a murder?
The black shape flew toward her with an audible whoosh and collided into her. She felt a sharp pain in her side, then tumbled away from him, falling down the stairs backwards. Her body tossed uncontrollably from stair to stair until she stopped on the landing, her breath caught in her lungs. Shadows engulfed her once more, and the world returned to a formless void. But now it was filled with pain.
She listened as the footsteps continued down the stairs, the sound gradually diminishing and then fading completely.
“Max,” she whispered, and pushed herself up, screaming at the agony that stabbed at her side. Max’s soft whimpers sounded from overhead. She leaned against the wall, resting briefly, struggling to catch a breath through the howling pain that seized her lungs. She reached forward, her hand finding the first stair, and crawled toward it; moving slowly, inching toward Max and the motionless figure she had seen on the bloody carpet.