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Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Welcome to our virtual tour stop on Danica Winter's Montana Mustangs Blog Tour brought to you by Bewitching Book Tours.
The Nymph's Labyrinth
(The Nymph Series #1)
by: Danica Winters
Publishing Date: 12/31/12
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Number of Pages: 300
Word Count: ~60K
A world shrouded in mystery and intrigue, the Sisterhood of Epione must not be exposed.
A Shape-shifting nymph, Ariadne, is tasked with keeping the truth of her group’s existence and their ancient mysteries far out of reach of an American archeologist and his troublemaking son. When forgotten and forbidden passions are awakened, Ariadne is forced to make a choice—fall in line and continue to be overrun and pushed down by the sisterhood, or follow her heart and put everyone’s lives in danger.
Can Ariadne have the man she loves or will the pressure and secrets of the past keep her from her heart’s desire?
Purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance
Purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance
(The Nymph Series #2)
by: Danica Winters
Publishing Date: 5/6/13
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 60k words
Heat Level: Sensual, m/f, HEA
A Nymph. A woman with the ability to seduce at will, shift to protect, but cursed with the fate to have the man she falls in love with die a tragic death. As one of the ill-fated nymphs, Aura Montgarten has spent her lifetime drifting from one place to another hiding from love. Until she meets Dane.
When a body washes up on the shore of a rural Montana lake, police officer Dane Burke is faced with the task of finding the killer—even if it means he will be forced to put his life and heart at risk by working with a drifter. As the truth of Aura’s Mustang-shifting Nymph ways are revealed, Dane learns exactly the amount of danger he and Aura are in, but can’t force himself to leave a case unsolved when the truth is right outside of his grasp. When the killer decides he needs to take another victim—Dane—Aura must choose between their forbidden love and her immortal life… Can there be life without love, or is death her only choice?
The waves of the lake crashed next to Dane Burke like greedy reporters descending onto a crime scene. Dane picked up the severed hand, careful to touch it only with the tips of his gloved fingers, all in an attempt to save what little evidence remained.
The fingers were wrinkled and pale, the color of rotting fish. The skin of the palm flapped back, exposing the white lines of the tendons and the bloated pink muscles of the victim’s hand. He pushed back the skin, covering the hand’s viscera. The flesh was rubbed raw in several places, but whether it was from the time in the water or something else Dane couldn’t be sure.
Behind him, the secondary officer, Grant, talked with the woman who’d phoned in the find. The woman was blonde, thin, and uncomfortably beautiful.
“So, Aura, are you in Montana for business or pleasure?” Officer Grant asked, with just a little too much glee in his voice.
Dane tried to ignore the amateurish come-ons the officer threw at the blonde with the large blue eyes and plump lips that pulsed with the pink hues of life.
He turned the gruesome hand over in his. The fingernails of the victim were painted a vivid red, now brighter than the blood that had settled in the person’s flesh. He snickered quietly as he thought about the stark difference between the woman behind him who was the embodiment of life and the macabre sloughing object of death he stared upon.
Maybe the kid wasn’t so wrong for focusing on the woman. If he’d been just a few years younger, maybe he would have been acting that way too—focusing on the beauty of the woman instead of the gore of the job. But he’d long since given up on the things in life that only brought bitterness—death was easier to handle.
Officer Grant mumbled something, and his laughter bounced off the black lake and disappeared into the still of the night. Yet, the woman stayed silent—making Dane like her just a little bit more for avoiding the stupidity that Grant kept unchecked.
This crime scene was going to be one hell of a mess—between the identification and then locking down suspects; the case was going to have to be the focus of his life. He hadn’t had a possible homicide for two years. The last case had been cut and dry; man beat his wife, wife murdered husband—mitigated murder. She got two years in prison, a slap on the wrist.
Today all he had was a mutilated hand. Unidentifiable until the DNA came in, no one missing—at least, no one who had been reported missing—and no easy answers. Only one thing seemed likely—there would be a body to follow, but when and if it showed up was a mystery.
Whatever had happened to this woman could only be found in her flesh, unless someone popped up who had witnessed the event. If he had to guess, the hand had been in the water at least a few days. If someone had seen the possible murder, they would turn up soon or not at all.
The skin slipped in his, forcing him to grip it tighter. He laid the evidence down on the bag.
Dealing with suicides and natural deaths was something he did on a regular basis. Yet something about the rotting fish-hand made him shudder. Maybe it was the vibrant party-goer red nail polish and the way it made him think of some of the questionable women he had dated; or it could have been the way it had been removed from the body.
He stood up and wiped off the pebbles from his knees.
“Officer Grant, did you find anything else besides the hand?”
“Excuse me, Ms. Montgarten,” the young brown-haired officer said with an overly warm smile.
The woman, Aura, was pretty and all, but the way the kid fawned made him want to gag. The woman was just another person in the long line of crazies they saw each and every day. Polite was fine, but come on.
The woman stared down at the hand at Dane’s feet.
Officer Grant reached over and touched the woman’s arm. “Don’t worry about the hand now.”
The woman jerked back and away from the boy’s touch.
Dane held back the urge to snigger.
She pulled her arms around her body as an icy fall Montana wind blew up off the lake. “Why don’t you take her to your car, Officer Grant?” Dane said. “She looks cold.”
“No.” She glared back at him. “I’m fine.”
For a person who’d found the hand floating along the shoreline she seemed oddly quiet. She’d barely spoken since Dane had arrived on scene. Highly suspicious, and if he had to guess, she was the primary suspect. Most people loved to help, to talk away while they explained the crime procedures they had witnessed on CSI or some other bullshit television show, but not this woman.
Officer Grant nodded. “I’ll grab you a blanket. Deputy Burke is right, you look cold. Can’t have you freezing on us.”
“I’ll just wait in my truck.” She spun on her boot’s heel and stomped off to her late-model black Dodge towing a white horse trailer.
Officer Grant watched her as she fled from them.
“Grant, you gonna help in the investigation or drool over the blonde all day?”
“Sorry, Deputy. Just wanted to make sure our witness was comfortable.”
Comfortable or doable? The kid didn’t stand a chance with the woman.
“Did she give you any useable information?”
“Just said she had stopped at the marina and came across the hand.”
“Did she say if she saw anyone else around?”
Officer Grant shook his head. “Sounds like there’s been no one here but her.”
Dane exhaled and watched as his breath made a whirling cloud in the cold air. Of course no one would be around on an evening like this. The lake was too cold, too deep for anyone to be out. “Did she say what she was doing here?”
“Just stopped for a rest.”
Stopped for a rest at a marina? There was a campground only ten miles farther down the highway and not much further than that was a line of motels. Signs dotted the roadway advertising the various options to rest. Something didn’t add up. “Where’s she from?”
“Stay here with the evidence. Keep an eye on it. I’m going to go run through some questions with her.”
From the tone of the kid’s voice it was easy to tell he was steadily making another friend in the office. Grant was free to add his name to the ever growing list of people that didn’t like Dane Burke. The list was long and distinguished, with several county officials at the top. Dane had never been one to kiss ass or pander to the fickle moods of the politics that ran rampant through this tiny county in the northwest corner of Montana.
The beam of the flashlight bounced over the ground as Dane made his way to the black pickup parked under the lone street lamp. The plates were from Arizona. She was a long way from home.
The woman stared down at a map that lay in her lap as he stepped up to the window. He tapped on the glass with the end of his metal flashlight.
She looked up and shoved the map closed as she rolled down the window. “Officer?” Her cheeks flushed.
“It’s Deputy Burke.” He pointed to his name badge.
Her overly large eyes sparkled, making him shift uncomfortably in his work boots. “Deputy.”
An odd trickle of guilt invaded him. She was suspicious, but he didn’t need to be rude—he had worked for his reputation as an even-tempered cop and he didn’t need to blow it on one good looking blonde. “Or you can call me Dane. That’s my name, Dane Burke.”
Great. He mentally groaned. Now I sound like a freaking idiot.
“Dane.” The corner of her mouth turned up in a little grin. “How can I help you? I think I already answered most of the other officer’s questions.”
He pulled a notepad out of his front pocket. “I just have a few more questions for you. Make sure we get all of our bases covered.”
She responded with a tight nod.
“Where exactly did you say you were from?”
“I’m just traveling through.”
Her blue eyes sparked. “Yeah. Right. Arizona.”
So this was how she was going to play it? Like she was some kind of hard ass?
A little dream catcher dangled from her rearview mirror. The blue feather attached to the circle fluttered lazily in the breeze that filtered through the open window.
He clicked his pen and wrote down the word Arizona and her license plate number in a tight scrawl. “Where are you headed to?”
“What does it matter to your case? I told the other officer everything I know. I stopped, found the hand, and I called you guys. That’s it. Nothing more.”
What was she hiding? He instinctively put on his game face. No emotion, no tells.
“Do you have a horse in the back?” He pointed at the double horse trailer she was towing behind the three-quarter ton.
She glanced down at the side view mirror. “No.”
“You moving?” He leaned back and aimed the flashlight at the trailer, but the light was swallowed by the darkness.
“The trailer’s empty.” Her eyes scanned the mirror again, sparking his inner-cop.
“You mind if I take a look?”
“Do you have a search warrant?”
The woman knew her rights. There was nothing he could do. She may not have had anything to do with the pale, bloated hand that rested on the shore, but there was no question about it, she was hiding something. And even if it killed him, he was going to find out.
Danica Winters is a bestselling author who is known for writing award-winning books that grip readers with their ability to drive emotion through suspense and often a touch of magic. When she’s not working she can be found in the wilds of Montana working on her patience while she tries to understand the allure of various crafts (quilting, pottery and painting are not her thing). She always believe the cup is neither half full nor half empty, but it better be filled with wine.
Labels:Bewitching Book Tours,Blog Tour,Danica Winters,Excerpt,Montana Mustangs,Spotlight,The Nymph Series,The Nymph's Labyrinth