Shadow’s Prey: Thriller Book Excerpt

Book Excerpt: Shadow’s Prey

Almost a year has passed since I released “Killwater Cove,” book seven in the Darkwater Cove series. But the wait is over. Shadow’s Prey” (Darkwater Cove #8) releases on May 17. I’m so psyched for you to read “Shadow’s Prey” that I couldn’t wait to share it with you. So today I bring you a book excerpt from chapter one. 


Shadow’s Prey

Don’t forget the vegan items on Jennifer’s wishlist.

Watch your back.

Get in and get out.

Darcy Haines pushes the shopping cart through the Genoa Cove nature’s food market. It’s after three, and soon the store will fill with people getting out of work and needing to buy groceries for supper. For now, only a handful of cart-pushing shoppers dot the store. This allows her to monitor everyone that comes in and out.

She reaches into the cooler and removes a half-gallon container of soy milk. Not oak milk. Jennifer says oat processing ruins the environment.

Darcy doesn’t care about the brand. As long as her daughter, who has recently become a vegan again, gets the right milk, there will be no arguments.

Shadow's Prey thriller book excerpt

From the corner of Darcy’s eye, she can see Jennifer at the end of an aisle, crouching to read the cereal box labels. No added sugar. That’s another credo her daughter follows, and Darcy thinks it’s a smart one. Hunter, fair-haired and back from college, examines a granola-based cereal.

He’s doing his job.

Since Hunter returned from school, Darcy enlisted him to watch every move his sister made. He will. Hunter is a good boy.

Darcy hates herself for placing so much responsibility on her son’s shoulders. He should enjoy his break, soak in the sun, and catch up with the few high school buddies he had before moving on. His only concern should be which sunscreen to wear during the hot North Carolina summer.

But it’s not. They are out there. Always watching and preparing for the right time to strike.

The copycat psychos who worship Michael Rivers, better known as the Full Moon Killer, will forever hunt Darcy and her family. They won’t stop until she’s dead.

Killing Michael Rivers should have ended the nightmare. It only perpetuated the madness.

A cart whistles past, barely missing her shins, as a harried woman in heels clicks past. If she doesn’t slow down, she’ll hurt someone. A skinny, pimple-faced man who appears to be a manager observes. He prepares to warn the woman but thinks better of it. The customer is always right.

With the soy milk in her possession, Darcy backs up and searches for the bulk food aisle. This place is so large, one can get lost. Hunter and Jennifer have left the cereal section. Darcy hopes they’re still together.

Even though Hunter has grown another inch in the last year and put on ten pounds of muscle, she feels the need to protect him. She always will. He’s her boy.

Darcy turns the cart around and heads toward the far end of the store, where she hopes she’ll find the bulk foods so she can buy what she needs and get out of here. The sooner her family is behind closed doors, with the climate-controlled air keeping the home comfortable and the security cameras recording every inch of the property, she’ll breathe again. Until then, the unseen threats could be anywhere.

While she strolls along, she checks each aisle for her son and daughter. Not in the frozen goods section. Not lingering in the magazine aisle.

A twinge of worry itches Darcy. Her son and daughter would never leave the store without telling her. But what if someone took them?

She reminds herself that the cameras inside the market monitor creepers as well as they prevent shoplifting. Besides, Hunter is not someone to take lightly. Even a killer should keep his distance.

Darcy spots them among the rice and pasta boxes. Her shoulders relax. Jennifer is explaining something to Hunter, probably lecturing him on how to read labels. In a month or two, the teenage girl will vacillate back to meat-eating or fall head over heels for some new trend she read about on Instagram.

The phone buzzes. Julian’s name appears on the screen.

“Hey, honey,” her husband says. “I wanted to let you know I’m running late at the station. We had two break-ins on the east side of the village.”

Any mention of crime in Genoa Cove sends panic lancing through her body. She can’t overreact. Julian is Detective Haines now, and it’s his job to investigate thefts and house invasions.

“That’s close to our place. Should I worry?”

“It’s probably just kids.”

“You blame everything on kids,” she says, pouring raw cashews into a bag.

“Nine times out of ten, they’re responsible.”

“Are these official statistics, Detective Haines?”

“Compiled after years of beating the bushes and catching vagrants. What’s for dinner?”

“Grilled tofu on brown rice with a side vegetable. I’m debating between green beans and asparagus. Do you have a preference?”

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Julian moans. “I prefer a juicy burger and fries, but I’ll take the green beans. Jennifer chose the meal, I take it?”

“Humor her. This won’t last forever.”

“Next week, it will be the all-cheese-and-hot-dogs diet.”

“You never know.”

“Do we really have to eat tofu? What does it taste like? And don’t say chicken, because every time anyone throws a weird food in front of me, they claim it tastes like chicken.”

Filling a bag with almonds, Darcy snickers. “The great thing about tofu is it tastes anyway you want it. It takes on the flavor of the ingredients, and since we’re grilling, it will come out crisp.”


“You’ll like it. Trust me. Will you arrive in time for dinner?”

“Unless we hit a snag,” he says, “I’ll get home before five. If anything changes, I’ll text you.”

She ties the bag and reverses course, dodging the increasing shoppers. Her concern turns to the checkout lanes. If she hustles, she can buy her items and leave before the afternoon rush.

When she turns the corner and finds her son and daughter, she comes to a halt. There is a man staring at Jennifer. Her legs are bare, as they typically are outside of winter. Darcy warns the girl to dress conservatively in public, but Jennifer seems hellbent on picking out the shortest shorts in her dresser whenever they leave the house.

She clears her throat, and the man’s eyes rise from her daughter’s legs to Darcy’s disapproving glare. Yet he doesn’t appear the least bit apologetic. He sneers and lifts his chin, as if daring Darcy to do something about it.

“A little young for you, don’t you think?” Darcy asks.

Jennifer spins and sees the man for the first time. Now she seems self-conscious about her clothes. Hunter steps between them and sets a hand on Jennifer’s shoulder.

The forty-something man tosses a box of macaroni into his cart. He still wears that sickening grin.

Darcy’s heart pounds. She prays Hunter will keep his distance and the encounter will end peacefully. Either that, or the manager with the pimples will intervene and order the sicko to leave.

But there’s no one to help. The store, which seemed so busy a minute ago, feels abandoned. Darcy must defend her children alone. The same as always.

“Get out of here, or I’ll tell the manager.”

“It’s a free country,” the man says. “I’m just browsing.”

He wears an American flag emblem on his hat, but he’s no patriot. His gut hangs over his belt, and the black T-shirt tasked with holding back those layers of fat reads Step Daddy Material.

“Creep,” Jennifer says under her breath.

“Now how’s that for kind?” the man asks.

He heads in the opposite direction, but not before giving Jennifer a long stare.

Jennifer slams a box of brown rice into the cart. “Let’s get out here.”

No one speaks during the ride home. Hunter tries to diffuse the situation with humor, which is his self-defense mechanism, but Jennifer isn’t playing. She folds her arms and stares out the window. He shrugs at Darcy. And that’s the sum total of the conversation.

After she pulls into the driveway, Hunter hops out and grabs two bags from the trunk. Jennifer picks up one and climbs the steps, tapping her foot as she waits for her mother to unlock the door.

“Give me one of those bags,” Darcy says, and Hunter hands her the lightest. “Can you gather the mail?”

“Got it.”

Darcy sets the bag on the kitchen counter as Hunter thumbs through the arrivals. A book of coupons, correspondence from Hunter’s college, a catalog.

“You’ve got mail,” the boy says, doing his best impression of the old America Online announcement.

He hands Darcy an envelope. The sender wrote her name by hand, but there’s no return address.


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