Today I am so pleased to welcome L.J. Hayward to Joyfully Jay. L.J. has come to talk to us about her upcoming release, Why the Devil Stalks Death. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Hello and welcome to my blog tour! I’m L.J. Hayward and I write the Death and the Devil series about Jack Reardon, a spy, and Ethan Blade, an assassin, two damaged but well-equipped men trying to survive their jobs and each other. In Why the Devil Stalks Deaththe guys are faced with a serial killer of exceptional skill and finding the Judge before they kill again might just be the thing that breaks Jack and Ethan apart . . .
One lucky commenter from the tour will receive their choice of the Death and the Devil series to date or a $15 Amazon gift voucher!
Why the Devil Stalks Deathwill be released on December 9thbut today, I’m here with an exclusive sneak peak at the opening chapter. Once again, Jack Reardon finds himself in a spot of bother, this time with the law, instead of the lawless. And this time, he might not be able to count on even the most unlikely of rescues . . .
Déjà fucking vu.
Okay. So it wasn’t a torture shack, but that didn’t mean it was pleasant in comparison. Sure, the intimidation technics were subtler—dull, uniform colour to the walls, floor, ceiling; sparse furniture; no clock; soundproof; temperature on the just-about-uncomfortable side of cool. And the psychological ramifications weren’t going to be as traumatic—it was a generic space, not one targeted directly at him—but Jack Reardon wished he wasn’t here. Wished harder than he’d wished for anything in his life—including when he’d wished to notbe in the torture shack—to be back at home, before everything went haywire. Before all the shit happened that had led to here.
Here. A police interview room. Table, two chairs. Cuffs locked to the table. Bland. One size fits all.
Arrested for suspicion of murder.
Jack laughed and it sounded a little scary. Unhinged. He shut up and tried not to think too hard about where he was. How he’d ended up here. Where the others might be. Steph and Adam. Ethan.
Oh God. The expression on his face the last time Jack saw him, standing in the hotel suite doorway—shock, confusion, hurt. Then nothing. Just . . . nothing. And his words. Christ, they were still sawing through Jack’s chest, blunt and painful.
The chain between his cuffs rattled, unexpectedly loud and angry in the silent room. Jack startled, realising only after that he’d been tugging on the lock securing him to the table.
“God fuck it,” he growled and gave in to his anger for a glorious minute, pulling and twisting against the cuffs.
Who gave a shit if those sanctimonious pricks undoubtedly watching him thought they’d broken him? It just felt good to let the worry and fear show for a moment. Not worry or fear for himself, but for Ethan and what he might do. Was he okay? Where was he now? How much had he seen? Heard? “Enough” was the answer Jack feared. Enough to send him back to his old ways. Would anyone survive his deadly anger? Would Jack?
He couldn’t afford to think along those lines. He had to concentrate on getting out of here and finding out what the fuck was going on. And he wasn’t getting out of here if he lost his calm and began abusing the furniture.
Sitting back in the uncomfortable chair, Jack settled his manacled wrists on the table. Closed his eyes. A few deep breaths later and his hands unclenched, fingers spreading over the smooth, cool surface. He worked his way up his arms, consciously releasing the tension from his muscles. Up into his shoulders, feeling the strain ease, the weight of worry and fear fade. Then down his spine, loosening his core so he slumped a little. Thighs spreading. Calves tightening, then relaxing. Toes curling inside his shoes, then stretching and finally stilling.
Another deep breath and Jack went sideways.
There had been occasions—usually troubling, panicking ones—when he’d managed a trance state with no preparation to access the implant. This wasn’t one of those. The cops were giving him plenty of time to think and worry and work himself into a mindset where he’d be more likely to say something he didn’t want to reveal. Time alone, in a featureless room, to wear down his patience and give the illusion of being confined for longer than actuality.
He had wished for some time alone, but for fuck’s sake, not like this.
The overlay from his neural implant appeared before his inner eyes. A remnant from his days in the SAS, the technology—equivalent to a smartphone grafted onto his right temporal lobe—was highly classified. No one in domestic law enforcement knew about it. They wouldn’t know to block it. His dummy phone, part of his cover, had been taken off him, so they believed him isolated. Yet, he was wary of calling anyone. What if they did know? What if they were monitoring any signals coming from the room?
Rather than make the one call he was desperate to, Jack collated all the data they’d discovered on the Judge into a single file and, after a long hesitation, added Ethan’s vague offering as well.
Recalling the assassin’s words sparked off that burning anger again.
How could Ethan have done it? Kept it to himself while Jack worked at the deadly puzzle and, ignoring protocol, used Ethan as a sounding board? He’d listened to all of Jack’s frustrations and hadn’t said anything, not until . . .
Forcing aside that memory, Jack ensured the pertinent information was in the file. He’d worry about it after he was out of here and the Judge neutralised. After Jack’s secrets were exposed.
Peripherally, he heard the door opening and footsteps entering the room.
Swiftly, he slid sidewaysagain and opened his eyes. “You wanted something, Detective Connors?”
The man leading the team investigating the Judge had come personally to Jack’s home to arrest him. He’d cited “suspicion of murder,” but Jack wondered if that was just an excuse to get him here. Jack hadn’t killed anyone. Lately.
I hope you enjoyed this little teaser and remember to leave your email address in the comments for your chance to win!
Many thanks to Joyfully Jay for hosting me today!!
Jack Reardon uncovers secrets for a living, and the Meta-State spy is pretty good at it. Or rather he thought so until he met Ethan Blade—assassin, warrior, enigma. The unlikely pair have decided to give living together a shot, but Jack’s not entirely certain what he’s gotten himself into—or exactly who he’s in it with.
Jack’s worries are compounded when he’s assigned to a police strike force hunting a serial killer. With each new puzzle piece, Jack considers the true nature of a serial killer—and how similar it is to an assassin. To one particular assassin who’s having trouble adjusting to retirement. Jack’s unsure how to help Ethan—or if he even can.
When the killer strikes close to home, Jack must race against the clock to stop another murder, despite the price someone has put on his head. Could the matters be connected? Is a certain assassin at the centre of both? Surrounded by killers, the only one Jack wants near disappears, leaving Jack drowning in secrets. He’ll have to do what he does best—unravel the secrets, including Ethan’s—to stop the killer and save the life he and Ethan have only just begun to build.
L.J. Hayward has been telling stories for most of her life. Granted, a good deal of them have been of the tall variety, but who’s counting? Parents and teachers notwithstanding, of course. These days, the vast majority of her story telling has been in an honest attempt to create fun and exciting ways of entertaining others (and making money).
As such, she is still a mad (always provoked!) scientist in a dungeon laboratory (it has no windows. Seriously, the zombie apocalypse could be going on outside and she’d have nary a clue) who, on the rare occasions she emerges into the light, does so under extreme protest and with the potential hazard of bursting into flames under the southeast Queensland sun.
One lucky commenter from the tour will receive their choice of the Death and the Devil series to date or a $15 Amazon gift voucher! Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Monday, December 17th.
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