Trying to escape a horrific past, Shyla has immersed herself in life as a tough, sassy cop in the bustle of LA. When the case of a lifetime takes her back to her hometown of Redding , she is thrown into a world of organised crime, deceit, and bitter reminders of her childhood.
As Shyla’s path crosses that of Brennan, an unwitting and troubled sidekick to the ringleader she’s intent on taking down, she is forced to re-evaluate everything she believes about herself, her job, and what she knows about right and wrong.
Can she face the demons of her upbringing and learn to trust again? Her life will depend on it.
He faded in and out of consciousness. Sound, light, and movement blended together until he couldn’t tell one from the next. Coherent thought was impossible; fragments of ideas filtered in then slipped through the sieve of his mind. He was weak, dehydrated, and starving.
The one consistent concept he was able to grasp was his name. Brennan Miles. The name he had given himself. Simple, strong, normal; all qualities that he longed for. He no longer remembered his real name, just as he no longer remembered anything before he’d come to the institute.
The few who had ever met him took one look at his stocky build, and thought he looked plenty strong. He could see it in the way they looked at him with a mix of awe and fear. But he wasn’t strong in the way that he wanted to be. At the moment, he wasn’t even physically strong. They’d kept food and his supplements from him for over seventy-six hours – the longest period to date. Water was the only offering and even that had been the bare minimum. They wanted to see how powerful his need would be when triggered.
He had seen how intense his need could be and what it could drive him to do. All those other times, though, he had been in prime condition – healthy and agile. In his current state, he doubted he would be able to lift his head, much less give in to the power of his unnatural instinct. The doctor would be disappointed.
Serves him right, he thought.
Brennan heard the swish of the door open and close. His acute sense of smell instantly recognized the scent of Doctor Shinto and that of a stranger. Repulsion and hate flowed through his veins. The voices of his visitors drifted in and out. They spoke about him as if he weren’t there. He was just an object, an experiment. He wanted to lash out and crush the doctor. He wanted to give in to his need here and now, but with his ankles shackled and his wrists bound, he would do no such thing. Even if he had been unrestrained, he doubted that he could stand up, let alone end Doctor Shinto’s unconscionable life in his current condition. Instead, he let his head loll against the back of his chair and listened to the conversation at hand.
“Don’t get too close, Mr. Champlain. He can smell us. I don’t want him to be tempted.”
“Tempted, huh?” Champlain said, “he’s restrained and looks to be half dead. What threat could he be?”
Dr. Shinto spoke methodically. “He’s been without supplement or food for over 3 days. He’s had only 50ccs of water daily. He is extremely weak and dangerously dehydrated and will go into hypovolemic shock if he doesn’t get what he needs very soon.”
His voice was devoid of concern. The only inflection was a breathless excitement revealing the delight he took in his work.
Michelle currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their four children.
She earned her degree as a registered nurse in 2005, but found herself back in the home a few years later when she and her husband welcomed their fourth child into the world and so began her writing career.
She writes YA, romance suspense, and women’s fiction. She has published four novels and won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award last year for her young adult novel.