Title: JAGGED FEATHERS
Author: JAN SIKES
Genre: ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann.
On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed.
A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks.
Will these two not only survive, but find an unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?
Vann squinted and focused on her face. Sheer terror registered. It was a look he’d seen on more faces than he cared to remember. But he’d never seen that look on a more strikingly beautiful face. Her actions raised more questions than answers.
He eased the jeep door open. Champion yipped. “Stay,” Vann warned.
Every muscle taut, Vann stepped onto the sidewalk and stuck his gun in the back of his pants.
When he made eye contact, the mysterious woman let out a whimper, turned, and sprinted back in the direction she’d come.
“Damn!” What or who in the hell was she running from? Vann turned in a full circle to find no one else in sight. Maybe she’d stolen something.
One thing he understood, without any doubt—the woman was terrified.
Should he go after her?
He’d best mind his own business, although that was hard to do when someone was in trouble.
He strode back to the jeep and climbed in. Instead of heading for home, he drove in the direction she ran. His trained eye swept both sides of the street but detected nothing out-of-place other than the sprinting woman.
He shrugged. Oh well. Might as well leave her be.
Ready to turn back toward the highway, he flipped on the blinker, then let out a sharp gasp when the woman suddenly collapsed.
“Shit!” He jammed the gear into park and rushed toward her, pistol drawn.
“Ma’am?” He approached with caution. When she didn’t respond, he knelt beside her and touched her shoulder. “Hey, lady. Are you all right?”
Still no response. He stuffed the pistol in his belt and turned her over. She had a pulse, and there were no signs of blood. Drugs? Maybe.
Champion joined him. He sniffed the woman and licked her cheek.
The woman moaned and attempted to stand. “I’ve got to get out of here! They’re coming,” she mumbled.
She crumpled against him.
“I’m taking you to the hospital.” Vann supported her head with his arm.
Her dark eyes fluttered open. “No, please. No hospital.”
Vann took the opportunity to examine her eyes. No sign of dilated or pinpoint pupils. That ruled out drugs. “Lady, you obviously need medical attention. Want me to call an ambulance?” He dug his cell phone out of his pocket.
“No,” she cried. “Please!” She suffered through a prolonged rattling cough.
“Who in the hell is chasing you?” Vann helped her sit up.
She looked around wildly and tried to push to her feet. “Oh, God! I can’t let them get me.”
“Who?” Vann brushed her long dark hair out of her face. “You were running to beat the devil.”
She coughed again. “Please,” she rasped. “No hospital. I can’t. People die there.”
“Yes, and people also get well there. Is there somewhere else I can take you, then?”
“I have nowhere,” she whispered and closed her eyes.
Vann glanced up at the sound of a vehicle. A black SUV slowly approached from several blocks away. His gut clenched, and the hair rose on the back of his neck. He had to do something—and quick.
“Okay. That’s it. You’re going to the hospital, like it or not.” He pushed to his feet and helped her up.
She coughed again and leaned heavily on his arm.
“That’s my jeep over there.”
Vann slipped her backpack off and lifted her onto the seat, glad for his determination to stay in excellent physical shape following his rehab. She hardly weighed anything. He tossed the backpack onto the floorboard, and Champion jumped in.
One thing for sure, this woman was no ordinary street person with her fancy inlaid boots and soft leather jacket.
Only two blocks away, the black SUV approached faster.
He met her dark eyes, pools of sadness and despair, when she gripped his hand. “Please, mister. You can’t take me to a hospital. They’ll find me there.”
Vann sprinted to the driver’s side, keeping an eye on the approaching vehicle now only a block away. The hairs on his arms stood on end like they always did when in enemy territory.
Time to move. He jammed the gears, and tires squealed as he made a U-turn, meeting the SUV head-on.
The window on the driver’s side lowered, and the unmistakable glint of blue metal sent him sailing down a side street. But not before a bullet whizzed by the jeep, missing its target.
“Oh, hell! Get down,” he yelled.
A sharp turn down a deserted alleyway put him closer to the highway. He pressed on the gas.
With one eye on the rearview mirror, he took fast zigzag turns until he reached the main road.
He’d lost them. But questions flew around his head like a swarm of angry bees.
A glance at his passenger and Champion assured him they were both safe. He slowed and put a hand on the woman’s arm. “If you won’t let me take you to the hospital or the police, what in the hell do you want me to do?”
Her bottom lip quivered. “Take me with you.” Another round of coughing left her gasping for air. She leaned against the back of the seat with her eyes closed.
“Damn, damn, damn!” The last thing he needed was a sick female to tend, even if she was beautiful.
She had problems. Problems he didn’t need. Problems that could swallow him.
If you can’t find a reason to live, then find a reason not to die.
His conscience wouldn’t let him abandon her. But as soon as she recovered enough to talk, he had to have some answers. There must be somewhere safe for her to go. But for now, that appeared to be his cabin.
He blew out an audible sigh and turned the jeep toward home.
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It’s a brand-new year, full of possibilities. Did you make any resolutions/goals for 2022? If so, please share one.
My goal is to release the third book in The White Rune Series, “Saddled Hearts,” and I have already signed a contract for it!
Why is your featured book a must-read in 2022?
It is a different kind of romance and deals with some relatable yet difficult issues such as PTSD, amputation, and rehabilitation as well as a psychic gift and the complications that come with that gift.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs January 1 – 31, 2022.
Drawing will be held on February 1, 2022.
Jan Sikes openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. You simply can’t make this stuff up. It all happened. Through fictitious characters, the entertaining true story comes to life in an intricately woven tale which encompasses four books.
A series of music CDs accompanies the books, while a beautiful and unique book of poetry and art brings the story full circle.
And now that the story is told, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published numerous award-winning short stories. She published her debut paranormal romance novel, Ghostly Interference, in 2020, as Book One of The White Rune Series. Jagged Feathers is set to release January 31, 2022 as Book Two of that series.
She is a member of the Authors Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, Romance Writers of America, and the Paranormal Writer's Guild. She is an active blogger (both on her own blog and at Story Empire) an avid fan of Texas music and a grandmother of five. She resides in North Texas.
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AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK