Well, it’s a “Teaser Tuesday” because I was traveling this past weekend and forgot to do my usual “Sample Sunday” post. On the upside, since Mysterious Ways comes out tomorrow, you won’t have to wait very long to read it! This sample is from Chapter One.
“Mom, I don’t have time to explain everything,” I said, speaking quickly so I didn’t waste a precious moment. “Genoveva Castillo is dead, and I’m almost positive Simon Escobar did it. I’m really worried that he’s going to try something with you and Dad next. You need to make sure you’re as shielded as you possibly can be.”
“Genoveva is dead?” my mother asked, incredulity clear in her voice. “When?”
“Just a little while ago,” I replied, impatient that I was wasting time with details when we had more pressing matters to deal with. “Just promise me that you and Dad will be careful. Have the elders cast whatever spells of protection they can.”
“All right,” she said. “We’ll be careful. But Miranda — ”
I didn’t know what she’d intended to say next, because the phone’s tiny speaker suddenly emitted a horrible screeching noise, one so loud that I had to pull it away from my ear before it did any permanent damage. As I stared down at it, the screen went blank. What the hell?
I swiped my finger over the “redial” button, but nothing happened. The screen remained black.
Rafe came hurrying into the sitting area. “What was that noise?”
“I have a feeling it was Simon Escobar, trying to make sure I couldn’t get the word out,” I said, then held the phone out to Rafe. “I think your phone is fried.”
He took it from me, consternation clear in his face. A few abortive swipes of his finger over the screen, and he shook his head. “You’re right. The goddamn thing is totally bricked. How could Escobar even do something like that?”
“I don’t know,” I said, fear running cold through me. Had Simon gone to Arizona, despite my belief that he wouldn’t directly attack my parents? My voice shook as I added, “I still know so little about what he can and can’t do. At least I was able to warn my mother before he killed the phone.”
Cat had left the group standing by the bed and now paused at the entry to the sitting area. Clearly, she’d heard something of our conversation, because she extended one hand, which held her own phone. “Try mine.”
With some reluctance, I took it. If Simon had intervened directly with my parents, I didn’t see what using Cat’s phone would prove. On the other hand….
“I don’t want to break it — ”
“We need to know,” she said, her voice firm.
With a mental sigh, I entered my parents’ number into her phone. I’d barely begun to raise it to my ear when it made that same shrieking sound and the screen went black.
“That’s a hell of a spell,” Cat remarked as she stared down at her ruined phone.
Despite the wreck of her phone, relief coursed through me. If Cat’s phone was being blocked as well, then that almost certainly meant the spell was working from our end here in New Mexico, and nowhere near my parents. “Sorry — ” I began, but she shook her head.
“It’s not your fault.” She turned to her brother. “What now?”
“Well, it seems pretty obvious that Simon doesn’t want us to reach out to the McAllisters,” he said, looking very grim. “I have a feeling he’s trying to prevent us from getting any outside help.”
“Well, he can’t block all of us,” Cat protested.
I wished I could be as sure as she seemed to be. Right then, I didn’t know what to expect, what Simon might try next.
From the other room came a sudden flurry of whispered conversation. Rafe and Cat and I all looked at each other, and then hurried back to the bedroom. Although Malena and Eduardo still maintained their vigil at Genoveva’s bedside, Louisa now stood at the door that opened onto the hallway. An older man stood there, having some kind of fierce but sotto voce convo with his new prima.
As Cat and Rafe and I approached, Louisa turned away from the man who stood at the door, her expression one of consternation. “Miguel just got a call from his daughter, who lives in Gallup. She was going to head over the border into Arizona, because she has a friend who lives in Window Rock. But she never got there.”
“What happened?” I asked, cold beginning to run through me.
Miguel looked down at me. His hair was iron gray, and I guessed he must be in his mid-sixties, at least ten years older than the prima he had just lost. In his dark eyes, I saw the kind of fear I’d felt building in me ever since I’d stopped to wonder how far Simon Escobar’s vengeance might go.
“They say it was a car accident, but no one knows what really happened,” he said. “The front end of her car was smashed in, as though she had driven at full speed into a brick wall, but there was no wall, only the open freeway. They took her to the hospital. I am waiting to hear whether she needs surgery.”
Louisa reached with a reassuring hand to touch Miguel’s arm, but the gesture barely registered with me. I was too busy trying to push back a sense of growing horror. No phone calls getting out. No vehicles driven by Castillos allowed to leave the state. I had no evidence to back up my suspicions, but I had a feeling that any McAllisters or Wilcoxes who’d attempt to come to the rescue from the Arizona side of the border would meet the same fate.
Simon wanted to make sure none of us had any outside help.
We would have to do this on our own…no matter what happened.
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