Tuesday, June 25, 2013

House of Steel (Unraveled Series) by Raen Smith Excerpt

House of Steel (Unraveled Series) by Raen Smith
$2.99 or FREE for Prime Members

Life has a way of coming undone. One single moment can set the undoing in motion, unraveling our neat, tiny stitch of life.

For young art professor Delaney Jones, the treacherous spiral toward death begins when she makes one unforgivable mistake - she sleeps with her student. Her silent Wisconsin winter turns deadly after she witnesses the brutal murder of a man she had chosen to forget. As Delaney battles to deal with the undoing of her tight-stitched life, the small liberal arts university is devastated by the discovery of a bloody crime scene on campus. A mysterious text entangles her in the violent scandal, and Delaney must follow the rules of the anonymous messenger to stop the perpetuating descent toward death. But the line between good and evil is blurry. And maybe, just maybe, there is no line at all. Book one in a three-part series.


DAY 1: Thursday, December 18 –2:00 a.m.
Be vigilant. The words coiled in her mind, leaving stinging marks in her skull. V crouched deeper and rested against the house as she watched the woman stagger toward the man beneath the streetlamp. He had been waiting on the front porch since 1:00 a.m. He arrived only minutes after V had made her final lap around the house. After several empty bangs on the front door, his hard body had settled onto the porch steps, waiting for the last hour. V, tucked behind the twigs of a bush, and the man, huddled on the steps with his hands shoved in his jacket, were both waiting for Delaney Jones.
The man now stood in the middle of the sidewalk, the letters LU splashed across his knit hat. His smooth, vibrant skin was taut against his face. He was young, maybe in his early twenties. As V studied his muscular body, she predicted he was an athlete; a wrestler or a football player. He was definitely a student. She adjusted her own body, feeling the burn in her quads as she bent further against the wall. No one had seen her, and they never would. At 4’11”, she was astute at this line of work.
Her eyes narrowed beneath the black ski mask as she watched Delaney address the man waiting for her. Delaney’s body swayed, her movements telling of too many drinks. V felt the sprawling crucifix tattooed across her shoulders flex as her arms hunched upward. The ink seared into her back as she watched the man bend down and swallow Delaney’s lips. Despite the burning desire to look away, her eyes penetrated the couple as they stood embraced, kissing underneath the light. It was wrong. All wrong.
V’s mind raced to her employer. The dedication. The time. He had scrutinized Delaney’s every move for months. V’s eyes scanned the quiet street just a few blocks from campus. The brisk air was silent, unmoving, as large snowflakes hung momentously in the air as though the embrace had been encapsulated in a snow globe. She breathed in, trying to escape the tingling sensations that ran through her back when she caught sight of the familiar black sedan across the street. V slipped her hand inside the pocket of her leather jacket and lifted the night vision scope. 135-HP3. The number on the license plate pricked her eyes. She hesitated, knowing that she didn’t need to see the man behind the black Buick to know it was the Neanderthal with his Icelandic blue eyes and platinum white hair, but she moved the scope higher anyway, capturing the outline of his square jaw. His eyes glowed back a neon yellow, deep into her scope. The penetrating gaze looked passed the couple embracing on the street, digging layers into her skin.
It had been twelve years since she had seen Gunnar last. She had been fifteen then. Pure. Unsuspecting. Submissive. Everything she wasn’t at the ripe age of twenty-seven. Gunnar had morphed her with his smoking .22 hand gun and tonight, he had walked back into her life. She had been waiting for this, a diligent student preparing for this moment. Gunnar only meant one thing. Her employer was closing in on Delaney. He was ready to make his move. Delaney Jones was now the target.
Adrenaline coursed through her veins as she scanned back to Delaney and the student now making their way up to the house. V had sensed the time was coming, but she hadn’t known it would be this soon. Her employer wouldn’t let Delaney get away with this calloused lack of judgment. The disgusting fall from grace. Whatever pedestal Delaney had been on, she had fallen. Hard.

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