We’re hosting an excerpt from romantic suspense novel “Cast The Cards”. Enjoy the excerpt!
Savannah blinked, wincing at the gritty feel of sand behind her lids. She’d been scouring over the databases and come up empty-handed. The search was still too broad. Time to take a break.
Since she’d officially reopened the case they’d set her up in Carey’s office. Being confined in a small space with him was strange. It wasn’t a situation she was prepared for. In one swoop she’d gone from running away from Carey and Clark to running beside them.
Clark. Even as an apparition he had the same effect on her. Caring, sensitive, and quirky, the man—ghost—whatever the hell he was made her melt. Her body didn’t seem to differentiate the difference between alive and not, and the constant arousal was driving her to distraction. Frustrated, she pushed away from the desk.
“You okay?” Carey’s concerned voice caressed her in places long-ignored. Her self-imposed celibacy was on shaky ground.
“Yeah, I just need,” she gestured toward the door, “air.”
“Sure, take your time. You’ve been at the computer for a while. Why don’t you pack it in for the night?”
A glance down at the black sports watch on her wrist told her it was almost midnight. Keeping things simple, she’d told her parents she had a case in Dale she couldn’t talk to them about. No sense in forcing them to relive the horror a second earlier than they had to. They seemed excited to have her home for a bit, and were respectful of her wishes. Though she hated to admit it, it was nice having the both of best worlds. Family closeby and her job.
“You know what? I think I will.” Closing out of the databases, she logged out, locked her computer, and shut it down. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
“Come in late. You look like you could use some sleep.”
Inside, the words made her flinch. No woman wanted to hear she looked like shit. On the outside she smiled.
“We’ll see.” She lifted her bag from across the back of her chair, placed it over her shoulders, and left.
She waved at Rodriguez who was manning the front desk.
“You out of here for the night?” the caramel skinned woman asked.
“Have a good one.”
“You too.” Fifteen minutes later she was in her bedroom stripping off her sports coat and draping it on the arm of her computer chair.
The soft spoken words startled her. She spun to face a bashful-looking Clark. Her hormones surged and she silently cursed her biological make-up. Technically he was still twenty-on,e which made her a bit of a cougar. The thought thrilled her instead of dissuaded. Fuck.
“Clark.” Awkwardness set in and she shifted her weight. “H-How are you?” She forced herself to look at him, boxing with the urge to look away. Seeing him still felt wrong, and interacting with him made her feel a bit crazy. It wasn’t so bad when Carey was there to act as a buffer. The irony of the role reversal didn’t escape her. Carey had never been the one she went to for comfort or understanding.
“I’ve been better.”
The hint of sadness she picked up on cut through her internal cluster-fuck. He’d suffered atrocities straight out of Saw in life, only to come back to warn them and be tortured in the process.
“What’s wrong?” Whatever form he took he was still Clark, her best friend and the potential love of her life that got away. She couldn’t let him bleed out if she could patch the wound. She walked over to stand beside the six-foot-one male. Reaching out a hand, she stopped millimeters from touching his arm, snatching it back before it made contact. Can I even touch him?
“We’ve left things unsaid between us for far too long.”
No, please don’t do thi,s Clark. It’ll make your leaving even more painful.
“I’m sorry, Savannah. I have to.” He used my full name— he isn’t going to back down.
“Go ahead. I’m listening.”
“There were things I kept from you, Vannah. I was afraid.”
“Why? You were my best friend. Nothing you said would’ve made me see you any differently.”
“Don’t be so sure.”
“Clark. You’re scaring me.”
He gave her a small smile, ran a finger down the side of her face. The touch was real albeit a little cool. She closed her eyes, leaned into savor the feel of his flesh against her own with a chill that had nothing to do with temperature. She opened her eyes only to be snared by the blue-green jewels full to the brim with emotion. This is so wrong.
“I love you.”
Her mouth flopped open and closed. “Wait—what?”
“I should’ve told you back then. I hid it for years. Played the best friend when what I wanted to be was your everything, I knew we were meant to be after your eighteenth birthday. You were wearing this peach dress that stopped at your knees. It took my breath away. Jason Mclaren was giving you the eye the whole party. The minute you turned your attention to someone else I took him aside and pretty much told him if he even tried to talk to you Carey and I would make his life … unpleasant.”
“Clark,” she gasped. Her pulse raced. Joy bubbled to the surface like the fizz in soda.
“You stole my heart somewhere along the way growing up. I could never give it to another. Who could be a better match for me, Savannah? We finished each other’s sentences. Didn’t hide a thing from one another. It was a rarity that I took for granted. I just… I didn’t want to risk losing what we had.”
“I felt the same.” Her admission lifted the heavy boulder off her chest.
The wounded expression that crossed his face cracked open a door inside she’d chained shut. She clossed the inches of space that divided them and cupped his cool face in her hand. “I will always love you, Clark. You and I were soul-deep. When you were gone I became a piece of driftwood lost in the ocean of life. I had to rebuild myself from the ground up. I hurt a lot of people that way but it was what I had to do to survive. Now you’re back and I can’t help but wonder what I’m going to do when you’re leave.” Her voice cracked. Her bottom lip quivered.
“How can we miss out on a second opportunity because of fear? That’s what robbed us in the first place.”
She pulled away. “What do you want me to do?” It seemed wrong to say “when you’re dead”. Yet the words spun around in her head.
Her phone rang out like the ding of a bell ending the round of a prizefight.
“I have to get that.”
“Yeah.” Clark stepped back and released a deep breath. As he paced the length of the room, his nervous energy set her on edge.
She picked up the phone. “Speak.”
“Jeez. You need sleep more than I thought.”
“I just wanted to make sure you got home okay.”
Her anger melted away. “I’m fine. It’s like a ten-minute drive.”
“I know, but you didn’t seem right tonight.”
“Nothing sleep won’t cure.”
“Then I’ll let you go.”
“Thank you, Carey.”
“Any time, Vannah Banana.”
He hung up before she could scold him, and she smiled.
“Carey?” Clark asked.
“Yeah. He wanted to make sure I got home okay.”
“How nice of him.”
There was an edge to his words. “Clark?”
“I have to go—” He disappeared before she could say more.
About Cast The Cards
Author: Shyla Colt
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Savannah escaped a kidnapping but her best friend Clark—the man she secretly loved—didn’t. Guilt-ridden and changed after the event, she gives up her dream of teaching and earns a position in the F.B.I as a profiler. When she’s targeted by the very same kidnappers wishing to finish the job, she is armed with her skills, backed by her first love’s twin brother, and forced to revisit her demons when Clark’s ghost appears.
After his twin’s murder, Officer Carey Carr loses more than his brother. Savannah avoids him for a decade. Her return—and her steaming-hot body—stir brand new feelings in Carey. But Clark’s reappearance has Carey battling to control his primal desires around the woman his twin loved.
As Savannah and Carey, with Clark’s help, embark on a cruel game of cat and mouse with the kidnappers, the twins come to an understanding that involves Savannah and more pleasure than the three of them have ever dreamed.
Told once ‘You have to be an author, then you’re craziness becomes eccentrics’, Shyla Colt has always been in love with the written word and possessed a desire to write. Named after Super Girl in the comics, she often mistakes her mortality for super hero status. So, she holds many hats, Mother, Marine Wife, and writer are her top three. Writing allows her to explore new venues, face her demons, and touch others. A huge practitioner of paying it forward, and putting in what you want to get out, she hopes to inspire, enlighten, move, and entertain you with her work. Mixing humor, drama, and strong women, often with a paranormal element, she continues to soldier ahead in the writing field. One of her favorite things is talking to fans. If you’d like to learn more or just drop a line, please check her out at http://www.shylacolt.com.