Saturday, November 26, 2011

Guest Post: Heather Hildenbrand

Excerpt from Cold Blood:

I arrived at the door at the same time as my mother. She stepped in front of me and eyed the peephole before pulling it open. She frowned, which didn’t give away all that much since she'd been doing a lot of that lately, but then she stepped back, and I saw who it was.

“Hey,” Wes said. His eyes locked on to mine.

“Hey,” I answered, staring back.

“Dinner’s in an hour.” My mother held onto her frown, but she wandered back towards the kitchen, leaving us alone.

Sam and Angela slipped past me, knowing smiles pasted on their faces.

“We’d better get going,” said Angela.

She stepped forward and hugged me tightly. When she pulled away, Sam threw an arm around my neck and squeezed. “Yum,” she whispered.

“Call us when you get settled in,” Angela reminded me.

Sam turned and winked. “Don’t do anything I would.”

I rolled my eyes and waved goodbye. When they were gone, Wes stepped inside and shoved his hands into his jean pockets. He looked wound up, rolling back and forth from his heels to his toes.

“Everything okay?” I asked.

“Can we take a walk?” he asked, glancing towards the kitchen–and the sound of a spray bottle at work.

“Um, how about the backyard?” A knot of anxiety pinched my gut.

He nodded, and I led him through the sunroom and out the sliding door. The sun was bright and cheery; hinting at warmer days to come but with enough of a chill in the air to remind you it was still technically winter.

The branches were still bare, dead leaves covering the ground. It had rained during the night and the smell of wet grass and mud covered everything, permeating every breath until you could taste spring trying to emerge. Somewhere deep in the trees, a single bird called intermittently. It all felt entirely too lonely.

I wrapped my sweatshirt around myself and crossed my arms. We walked to the edge of the yard and stepped into the covered gazebo, sitting on the small bench that faced the woods.

The silence ran on, and I felt my stomach tighten. Was this him being reluctant to say goodbye, or was it something more?

“How’s Jack?” I finally asked.

“He’s better, I guess. Still in bed, though. Fee won’t let him up and he’s going a little crazy.” A ghost of a smile appeared and then faded again. “You can hear them picking at each other in every room of the house. I was glad for the chance to get away.”

“At least you can go home at night,” I said.

He shook his head. “I’ve moved some stuff over. I’m going to stay with them for a while. With Jack out of commission and Miles still out there, I don’t want to leave Fee.”

“That makes sense.” I tried to read into his responses and figure out what he wasn’t saying. He seemed tense, fidgeting with his pants, and shoes, and whatever else was close. “Wes. What’s wrong?”

Wes’ eyes flickered to mine and away again, never really settling on any particular spot. A nervous pang went through my gut. “Wes?”

“Jack pulled me aside yesterday. He said he knows he can’t handle things himself with The Cause.” He paused. “He wants me to step up, help run things.” He finally looked up and met my eyes. “He wants me to lead.”

*Visit the author's website to find out where you can read the next installment of Cold Blood*

Wood Point Academy is not at all what I expected. For one thing, it looks like a cross between military school and Buckingham Palace. Everyone stares, the floors shine so bright you can see your reflection in them from a mile away, and no one smiles. Unless they're kicking your butt in the process.
At least I've got plenty to take my mind off the fact that my psycho cousin, Miles De'Luca, keeps calling and declaring his love and promising to come for me just as soon as he's destroyed anyone standing in our way. Wes isn't going to like that idea. So between Miles, Wood Point's evil welcoming committee, and the drill sergeant hottie trainer from hell, I just keep asking myself, how did I end up here?

Cold Blood is Book 2 in the Dirty Blood series. It is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as e-book and coming soon to paperback. To read more about the Dirty Blood series, visit