by Tia Reed
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
Tia will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please visit GoddessFish.com to follow the tour, remember the more you comment better your chances on winning.
Discredited journalist Ella Jerome isn't thrilled about working at Adelaide's fanciful tabloid The Informer. So when zoologist Adam Lowell seeks her help in finding his missing cousin, she's cynical of his claim a monster lurks near the Church of the Resurrection. The trouble is, solving the gruesome case could be her best shot at restoring her shredded reputation.
With her old instincts resurfacing, Ella combs the Port for clues. Experience tells her the only monsters are the human variety, and the bloodied stonemason certainly raises her suspicions. But when her investigation turns up everything from petrified remains to the headless carving of a dragon, the truth threatens to steal both her sanity and the man she's falling for.
After all, gargoyles can't be anything other than harmless stone. Or can they?
As they turned onto Port Road, a dull thud broke the silence. Ella squealed. A bat was plastered across the rear window. Another hit the roof. They hadn’t travelled a kilometre before a steady stream of the creatures was flying into the car. Some fell to the road, others stuck to the chassis. The stream grew into a swarm, two arriving to take the place of every one that died. Rob turned on the windscreen wipers, sending one bat flying. The sudden appearance of three more, their mouths open like miniature monsters about to bite, made him swerve. Ella gripped the edge of her seat. Rob fought to bring the car under control. The wipers ground against the bodies and snapped. More bats piled on top until their vision of the road was obscured.
Ella began searching the glove compartment for anything that might prove useful. The bats might be small but as a swarm they were terrifying. She would never understand what Adam saw in the gruesome mammals.
Ella glanced his way.
“The brakes don’t work. Hang on.”
Ella felt her fear begin to spiral out of control.
The car hit the pavement. Rob jerked the steering wheel to the right. The car regained the road but skidded sideways across the three lanes. It hit the median strip and toppled onto its side. On the high side, the driver’s airbag inflated. The car scraped along the road, finally coming to rest facing the direction they had come. A car roared past, its horn blaring. Inside, breathing was the only audible sound.
“Ella, are you all right?” Rob had begun to repeat the question before her bewildered senses could decipher it.
“Fine, I think.” she said, trying to focus on the dashboard. She craned her neck. The motion sent a spike of pain down through her shoulder and along her arm. Rob caught the bite of her lip. Overprotective as always, he pressed her against the seat and twisted toward the back. Not about to be left out, she undid the seatbelt and worked her way around, ignoring the sharp stabs of pain.
“You’re bleeding,” Rob said.
Ella put a hand to her temple. It came away sticky with blood. “I’m fine,” she repeated, wondering when the car would stop spinning around her. Dizzy, she gripped the back of the seat. The least the inconvenience of an accident could have done was clear the car of bats. Several were still crawling over the vehicle and more were thumping the chassis every second. “But I don’t want to get out.”
“You said these things attacked you?”
“With a vengeance.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Tia Reed loves nothing better than burying her nose in a story of her own imagining, cuddling her bossy cat and rescuing chewed pillows from her hyperactive dog. She takes every opportunity to do all three when she is not teaching English as a second language. Her other hobbies usually take a back seat but include trying to tame her beast of a garden, hiking and travelling. The latter has thrown her many interesting, sometimes hair-raising experiences, which she loves twisting into stories. She was born in Malta, but lives in Adelaide, Australia.