Welcome back to the weekly sneak peeks. With the 4th book, The Cardinal Sin, soon to be released at the end of August, I'll be posting some snippets from the story to whet your whistles :)
This release date is very special to me. It will be exactly one year since my first book released at the start of this crazy train, but I also picked it because it was my dad's birthday. I like to think that somewhere out there, he gave me a dose of good luck. That was why releasing the fourth book that day, as a celebration of old memories with new people, was so important to me. At many points, I thought that maybe I wouldn't reach the deadline, but here we are.
So the memories of the people in my life taken away too soon gave me the push to take a chance to live my dream because life always goes faster than we hope. Here's a nod to all the people in our lives, unseen but never far.
Now, if you're here, then you are getting excited for the release of The Cardinal Sin, book 4 of the Cardinal Series! With a late August release, hopefully it'll be the perfect atmosphere to read with busy summer plans winding down.
Also, as a reminder--if you're interested in purchasing a new hardcopy set of the first two books, The Cardinal Bird and Cardinal Caged, you can buy the first volume here. This volume is also available in the Kindle Unlimited store if you want to purchase or add to your ten-book Unlimited list to help free up a slot for another great book. I know I always have a hard time trying to cull my ten-books. Get the Kindle version here. Both versions save you some money by bundling :) Plus, it has an amazing new cover design. Soon, I'll be bundling the second volume of the series to include Cardinal of Hope and The Cardinal Sin. I'll make sure to announce it on social media.
Just some old business to bring up, I created the pre-order for the next book so that I could include the link within the current book, but I haven't been promoting it. Yet. So, here is me officially promoting the fifth book of the series, Cardinal Rose. Anyway...so the cover of the book hints at things to come in the fifth book--lots of Easter eggs in there, INCLUDING the color of Callie's hair.
We're two-thirds through the series now. People have asked if I'll be making another series with these characters in it, and my answer for now is undecided. With the finish of each book in my first ever series, the feeling has gone from to relief to bittersweet. I know some of you feel the same way. Which is why I can't completely close the lid on further series with Callie and her boys. I've been laying small Easter eggs that would pave the way for further plot, but not be so pressing as to leave us hanging when we reach the end of book 6.
For now, enjoy it while it lasts :)
This is it.
This is the last sneak peek!
Congratulations, you made it this far!
By the time next Sunday rolls around, you'll be able to read your heart out with the real deal! If you haven't yet, make sure to pre-order your copy today! The pre-orders really help drive the numbers up!
So, I had to search and search and search to find an excerpt that had action and didn't ruin too many surprises. Hope you appreciate that ;)
The Cardinal Sin, book 4
Sabra stepped up to me, putting her hand on my shoulder. “Are you okay, Callie?”
She studied my face but didn’t question my assessment. “Do you need help with the rigging? I do not believe you have had any rappelling training back at Delta headquarters.”
“No,” I responded with a wry grin that felt like more of a terrified grimace. “It’s not the first time I’ve had to take the elevator shaft instead of the elevator. I’ll be okay.”
She nodded at me once before she and Yolo hooked their lines. “I want you and Corbin to go next.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Corbin saluted.
Sabra disappeared from sight, and then we were up.
“So, you’ve got experience with rappelling down elevator shafts, huh?”
I glanced at him, wondering if he was trying to take his mind off the task at hand. “Yes.”
“You know, one day, I’d really like to hear about your life before you got with us. I bet it’s interesting enough to make a movie. I’d trained for these things but never actually ever used them until you came along. And now look at us. Jace accomplished his lifelong dream to be in a high-speed police chase.”
“And I got to rescue a damsel in distress like a muscled, clothes-bursting hero—my other childhood dream in life,” Jace chimed in over the comms. “Since meeting you, I’ve had to expand my horizons and make a new bucket list. I’ll share it with you someday. I think you might be able to help me with some—if not all—of the things on there as well.”
“Yeah, and take me for example.” Corbin fiddled with his outfit’s rigging, getting them ready. “I got to run down the side of a collapsing house. How cool is that?”
I shook my head. “Cool’s not how I’d describe either of those things. Terrifying. Fearful. Heart-pounding.”
“I’ll take heart-pounding!” Corbin decided.
Emerson’s British accent filtered through the communication system. “Quick naffing off and focus. It’s like working with a brood of bloody children.”
“Ooh, he must be bloody serious,” Jace teased.
“I think I bloody well agree with you there, Jace,” Corbin added.
Their antics startled a laugh from me, cutting off Emerson’s rant.
“Oh, muck it up all you want, you gits, but you’re lucky that Callie finds you so amusing.”
“Agreed,” they retorted.
I shook my head at them.
Corbin went first, stepping over the rifle propping the steel doors open and hooking into the metal sheathed wiring running vertically on the walls. Once he had his clip secured, he scooted as far over on the ledge as he could and rested on the seat of his harness to give me room.
I gripped his proffered hand, stepping carefully over the gun holding the doors open.
My first mistake? I looked down. The blinking red light on the top of the still descending elevator was the only indication of how deep the shaft went. My head spun with vertigo. It had to be at least forty feet deep in the ground--and counting.
That led to my second mistake. I moved to put my foot down fast, teetering and toppling as I stomped down on top of the rifle. The weapon dislodged, knocking into my shins as I careened off balance. The gun fell down the deep shaft, determined to take me with it. Without the rifle to wedge them open, the outer doors slammed shut, cutting off Duane and Aleks’s alarmed faces.
I heard a dull thump reverberate as one of them punched the door in frustration.
With all light cut off, I grappled for a handhold on the now inches wide ledge but found only the smooth steel walls of the elevator doors as I fell backwards. I opened my mouth to scream but didn’t even get a chance to make a sound as a grip clamped onto my vest.
The stopped momentum swung me into the wall hard enough to leave me breathless but happy to no longer be free falling down the black shaft.
My lungs expanded and allowed gasps of air in. Breathing became the culmination of my body’s capabilities. My body shook in shock. I hadn’t even fully comprehended I’d been falling to my death before—suddenly—I wasn’t.
Voices clamored in over the comms, muffled through the doors, and from down below, demanding a confusing jumble of things.
“Your cameras went dark—all but Aleks’s and Duane’s. What happened? I’m watching the feeds, but I was watching Sabra's body cam,” CJ kept saying, asking along the same thing over and over, but no one knew because only Corbin and I had an answer.
And I could barely breathe, let alone form a response.
“Callie, Callie, listen to me. Listen to me. Guys, shut the hell up!”
The fact that Corbin used an actual swear word followed by the absolute silence afterwards had me obeying.
“Corbin?” My voice wheezed out thready and high-pitched.
“Callie, I’ve got you, but you’re slipping. Can you feel for the steel casings to hook into? They should be just to the right of you.”
I realized I couldn’t maneuver my arms. Corbin had miraculously snagged me in the pitch-black and saved my life, but he’d caught me by the bulletproof vest. And it inched up my body, constricting my arms as it pulled up.
I tried to pull myself up and reach the harness leads.
“Don’t!” he warned. “You’re slipping.”
Through his grip, the trembling in his arms traveled from him to me. How much longer could he hold out?
“Can you attach your clips?” he asked once more.
“No, my arms are too high.”
“Aleks, Duane, can you get the doors open?” he questioned through gritted teeth.
Something big and deafening pounded against the doors, attempting to pry them open or just plain bust through, one of the two.
“I don’t know,” Duane replied, his own voice strained. “We’re tryin’, man, but... Don’t you drop her, Corbin.”
“Not exactly planning on it,” Corbin grit out, the exertion clear in his voice now. “Sabra, Yolo, how fast can you guys climb back up?”
The Cardinals had scaled far enough down that their voices echoed in real life and through the comms, telling us the answer to that question without even having to listen to their response.
There was a sinking feeling in my stomach as I calculated my grim odds.
Likely, Corbin could only hold out a few more seconds. I’d already propped my feet against the wall, trying to help hold some of my weight, but it’d only dislodged his tenuous grip further. The girls wouldn’t make it in time.
“Callie, stop moving," he warned, trying to adjust his grip, but unable to.
“Corbin, let her go, son," a commanding voice demanded from even farther down than Sabra and Yolo.
A cacophony of angry responses flooded any further conversation, making the comms useless for the moment.
They were angry at the idea of Corbin to letting me go, but if he didn't...
“Corbin,” I called.
I didn’t know if he’d heard me over the shouting all around us. And if he had, I hadn’t caught his response.
I took a deep breath, gave a sharp twist, and dropped my feet away from the wall so I crowded closer to it. The simultaneous jerk and drop in weight left Corbin with no choice. His shaking hold slipped.
It felt like my body suspended in place for a second before plummeting down.
This sneak peek was about the only action filled one that I could include without giving away any big spoilers. Yikes!
Hope you enjoyed!
Don't forget to stop by for next week's preview as well!