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No Reason to Hide by P.H. Turner
Series: The Nation Book Three
No reason to hide...he's already here.
Navajo cop Jessica Akee finds a body sprawled in the weeds on the Reservation. What at first looks like just another gang killing is a far more disturbing murder. On loan from the Phoenix PD, top cop Charlie Stone partners with Jessica to find the killer. Her gangbanger brother is a suspect and dabbles in dark rituals, refusing to turn from the razor's edge between good and evil. Soon all that is human of him is stripped away. Can Charlie save Jessica before evil claims her?
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In the era of free love and nickel beer, I was 'the good girl.' From a family whose finances were wrecked by the sudden illness of my father, my Mom took the reins and went to work. Watching her taught me to value security more than dreams. Every penny counted and was counted twice.
I wrote stories as a girl and laboriously printed them in spiral notebooks, but I put aside my childhood dreams and took a job teaching high school English in a tough inner city school to put my husband through graduate school— until a fight interrupted a lesson on subjunctive mood and verb tense. Two students fought out of the classroom and into the hallway while the rest cheered them on. One picked up the other and threw him over the staircase where he landed with a wet thump.
I quit at the end of the year, went back to school, and studied broadcast journalism, spending more than three decades producing news shows, telling other people's stories, and running educational television stations for universities, and teaching. A bout with cancer, a divorce or two, and the conclusion of raising two wonderful children refined my focus, and I returned to my first love, writing.
Romantic mysteries are complex puzzles solved by complicated, conflicted characters who have interesting relationships, and I love reading them. The Nation series is set on the Navajo Nation, and the setting is always a character– - the dry mountains, and the sweeping deserts, occasionally pounded by rains that turn the dry washes into rivers of mud and debris.
In No Reason to Hide, a female Navajo cop struggles to save her younger brother from an Indian gang, and the evil which stalks him for revenge.
At 6:30 a.m., I received a routine disturbance call out on the Navajo Nation. The manager of the Tuba City 7-Eleven on South Indian Route 101 called in a complaint of kids messing around his propane tank again. He hadn't gone out into the gloom to investigate. That was my job.
The lights from the storefront didn't penetrate into the deep shadows around the tank. Had the tank not gleamed white in the weak dawn light, I would have walked past it for the thick brush and brambles surrounding it.The aromatic scrub released its tang when I pushed it aside. I held fast to my gun with one hand and a heavy Mag-Lite with the other. The body was behind the propane tank in a clump of knee-high weeds smashed down by heavy foot traffic.
The sun was just coloring the horizon a thin crescent of smudged yellow, casting long shanks of light into the dark. I approached the body cautiously, not knowing who might be watching from the scrubland between the 7-Eleven and the few houses scattered across a field to the west. The Mag-Lite shone obscenely bright on the body.
Tiny skitters of fear prickled my neck. I sensed a watcher. The light desert breeze teased tendrils of my hair from the knot at my neck. Something foul licked at the edges of the wind, and a guttural, harsh, whisper, "Hey-ya, hey-ya, hey-ya" swirled menacingly around me.
No one moved in the brush, but I felt a presence. Though his chant no longer rode on the wind, goosebumps rose on my arms and fear banded my chest. I touched the microphone button on my body com unit and called for backup from my fellow officers with the Navajo police.
Fewer than two hundred of us patrolled the largest Indian Reservation in the United States, and I was a young female officer desperate to make my bones. I wanted backup, but I also wanted to be the lead on the murder case.
My younger brother's grin was triumphant. "Don't play yourself or me for stupid. I'm a Cobra."
"Where were you last night?"
"Oh, so now you're not my loving caretaker. You're a cop." He jacked his pants up to his waist. Buttoning and zipping with only one good hand was hard for him.
"Don't you ever talk to me like that. Knowing where you were last night is caring for you. Answer me."
He barked, "I was home. Mom was there. She can vouch for me. She's working days."
If Mom was working day shifts, she could back him up—if he was telling the truth. If he wasn't, well, I didn't want to think about it. "I'll ask Mom."
"Yeah"—he sneered—"you do that. Check up on the little bro."
"Stop acting like a jackass. You have a family who loves you, and you have opportunities if you don't screw them all up. Here, throw your shirt around your shoulders. I'm taking you home, and then I'm going back to work."
"Is Mom going to be at home?" He sounded like a little boy, and his eyes were rounded with fear.
"Mom will be home after work. Would you like me to pick you up a burger? You can eat before you go to bed. I'll call and check on you until Mom gets home."
"Yeah, I'm hungry."
Still not a thank you, but less mouthy. He needed help getting up on the running board and into my police unit. I drove through Burger King and then on to Mom's house. She lived on the Nation in a weather-beaten single-wide where the three of us had grown up. I vividly remembered the day the front door banged shut behind my Dad. What I hadn't known was his back was the last I would ever see of him.
My brother Ricky's eyes stretched with fear. He wildly punched into the air. "Shoot him. Kill him," he screamed.
I let go of him and drew my weapon using both hands to steady my gun.
"Kill him before he kills me," Ricky shrieked and dropped to the ground. He rolled into a ball, clutching his hands on the back of his neck.
Scuff-shuffle, scuff-shuffle, Scuff-shuffle. Cold sweat bloomed on my face. The sound of a dancer in suede moccasins pricked the silence, and moonlight pierced the corners of the empty hut. No one but us in the shack.
Ricky mewled and begged me to shoot. I maintained a shooter's stance, facing the empty corner he stared at. He scrambled in the loose sand away from me, his fists punching the air.
A deep, smooth moccasin print appeared in the sand. The footprint had drag marks that elongated the print from the dancer's shuffled step. The print faded away, and the next step appeared. The perfectly spaced prints appeared and disappeared one at a time, forming a half moon circle around Ricky. Separating Ricky and from me. The dry, percussive sounds of the seeds from a gourd rattle whispered through the air, keeping time to the dancer, Scuff-shuffle-rattle, scuff-shuttle-rattle, scuff-shuffle-rattle. But there was no dancer.
"Kill him! He's right there." Ricky pointed to the air above the footsteps. "He's come for me. Shoot him."
Before I could react, the gourd rattle faded away, and the last foot print gradually disappeared from the sand. No new prints appeared. "Get up," I ordered Ricky.
Ricky uncoiled from the fetal position and looked around warily. "He's gone. You shoulda killed him. He'll be back." He rose to his feet and stumbled toward the door.
"Who? Who will be back?"
Also Available by P.H. Turner:
A Web of Murder, Mayhem, and Lust
A beautiful reporter and a charming rancher are caught in a web of mayhem, murder. . .and lust.
Reporter Sawyer Cahill returns home to Cheyenne, Wyoming to report for the local television station. But leaving behind the coverage of San Antonio's gangland murders only lands her in the middle of a wave of ritualistic animal mutilations. Harassed and threatened, Sawyer plunges into her investigation.
Former attorney turned rancher, Jake Spooner is torn between his desire for Sawyer and his need to keep her safe. Jake's mission is to bring the killer down before he strikes again.
Amazon – http://amzn.to/24dVS31
Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/1YYUqKY
iBooks – http://apple.co/1SS7Kz9
Kobo – http://bit.ly/1SS7LDd
Google Play - http://bit.ly/1Tcwf7j
Death & Desire: The Nation Book One
ANCIENT RITUALS. UP-TO-THE-MINUTE DECEPTION.
Reporter Taylor McWhorter knows something is going on at the newly reopened uranium mine in the backcountry on the Navajo reservation. The Native workers are fired. Rumors of bad Native American spirits and shapeshifters mingle with the stink of leach pit mining. And Taylor’s sources keep turning up dead…
Until she meets Captain Trace Yazzie, head of the tribal police force and plenty to reckon with on his own. The chemistry between them is enough to incinerate Taylor’s rule about mixing business and pleasure. But with a murderer on the loose, priceless Navajo artifacts turning up in the wrong places, and Trace’s suggestion that spirits disturbed from looted burial sites might be part of the problem, Taylor can’t afford to lose her head to lust. This might be the story of the year. But unless she keeps her wits about her, it could be the last one Taylor ever tells.
Amazon – http://amzn.to/1X0JXQv
Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/26FM8NB
IBooks – http://apple.co/1rIYB3s
Kobo – http://bit.ly/24dWvJS
Google Play – http://bit.ly/1rIYJQu
Desert Heat: The Nation Book Two
Navajo Witchery. Human Treachery.
Social worker Jordan Bia finds a child who escaped her captors and a life in the sex trade, but four other girls from her small Mexican village were not so lucky. Smugglers hide their human cargo in the hoodoos of a remote canyon on the reservation—a place the Navajo shun, fearful of the witches who practice their black rituals and feast on the dark energy of evil. Mysterious rites, omens of death, and bodies litter the canyon.
When she meets Navajo police officer Sam Tohee, sparks fly fueled by the danger of hunting men who buy and sell little girls. Techno savvy Jordan plots to trap the smugglers and free the rest of the children, but unless she and Sam can find the power to defeat the witches she may not live long enough to save the girls.
Amazon – http://amzn.to/1Y0ehcj
About the Author:
I call Austin, Texas home now after working on the East and West coasts, the Rocky Mountains, and an island in the Gulf of Mexico. I've come full circle to live and work close to the farm my family settled in the 1850's.
Truth is stranger than fiction, and years in the news business provided lots of peculiar characters and stories to write about. My books are set in my favorite places, the desert canyons and high mountains of the American West.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/pht97
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/P.H.TurnerAuthor