Sunday, June 12, 2011

BSP Blog Tour: Tracking Shadows excerpt plus giveaway




ReaderGirls welcomes author Regan Black and the blog tour today for her latest novel, Tracking Shadows. Be sure to check out the giveaway below.

Book blurb:

In 2096, the American government has gone above and beyond to 'protect its citizens', even regulating sugar and coffee. Every new legislative measure opens up a black market for an enterprising person willing to seize the opportunity.

In Chicago, Slick Micky is the king of smuggling. Known to deliver anything, anytime, anywhere, he specializes in
 caffeine and sugar and works in the anonymity of shadows. But recently an old enemy is tired of waiting for Micky's empire to crumble and has called in the best assassin in the business to take him out.

Trina Durham is an assassin with a sterling reputation, thanks to her unique ability to induce deadly hallucinations. When Slick Micky killed her best friend, she left Chicago - forever. She's back now, unable to resist the perfect opportunity for vengeance. But no one warned her Slick Micky might as well be a shadow. Or that shedding light on the man and his secrets would put both her heart and reputation at risk.


An excerpt from Tracking Shadows:

Thanks so much for hosting this stop on the Tracking Shadows blog tour! In this excerpt, Trina, the assassin hired to take out Slick Micky, finally gets a lead on his notoriously secret hideout.


Watching the hotel's kitchen door for three straight days was boring, but it was her best bet. Restaurants had to report recipes and submit to ingredient audits, though all the players knew how to game the system, and how to pad the flavors of legal, synthetic ingredients with the genuine product.

For three days, she'd watched the pastry chef peek into the alley and carry out more trash than the dishwashers and busboys. For three days she'd fought down her natural impatience and the memories of a life snuffed too early.

Everything had changed the day Joel died, taking her heart with him to the grave. Her fragile plans had gone up in flames along with his car and suddenly the world felt harsh and abrasive without her best friend and the emotional shelter he'd provided.

Just as her mind started cartwheeling through the heat and devastating blast, the kitchen door opened again. Thank God for distractions!

This time the pastry chef was speaking to a young woman dressed as a hotel maid. The girl extracted a small package from her oversized coat and the pastry chef's smile bloomed.

Micky was very slick indeed, if his standard protocol meant planting mules in ideal places for repeat business.

Trina stayed hidden as the girl passed by, held steady a beat longer before following her onto the street. There, she became just another worn out employee as she trailed April toward the el station.

Keeping up with her on the train, without raising suspicion, was trickier, but she managed until Crayland, one of Montalbano's goons materialized in front of her seat. She ignored him. He couldn't know who she was. With dark contacts and inserts to modify her cheekbones and jaw line, she couldn't possibly match any photo he might have. She used her illusion skills or physical disguises for business transactions as a matter of professional pride and security.

Crayland shuffled, checked something in his hand and turned to her again.

Oh, crap. It had to be a GPS tracker. Trina was furious Montalbano had managed to tag her, but temper had to wait. She pulsed out a hallucination, but Crayland just blinked and shook his head.

"Huh." He looked from his device to her. "You? Huh. Well, you're not much, but you've been a bad girl," he said with a snarl that revealed a gold plated prosthetic incisor.

She tried to look away, but it was impossible. Did he think it was appealing?

"Boss wants to see you." He reached and grabbed her by the coat, hauling her up against his broad chest. "Now."

Any other day, any other moment she would've kicked his butt just for looking at her. To do it here would only make her stand out – and worse, it would spook April.

Her temper simmered and she let a smidge show in the glare she shot him. He braced, but when she didn't move, he gave her a jarring shake. It was humiliating to let this guy think he'd won, to let the whole train car think she was bully bait, but she stuck to her bigger plan.

Suddenly Crayland was howling in pain. As he dropped to the floor, she saw April.

The girl reached over Crayland's crumpled form and tugged Trina's sleeve. "Come on. Come with me."

Surprised, and more than a little amused, Trina obeyed. She cracked the compromised cell phone in half as they rushed through a few sparsely populated cars until they found enough of a crowd to buy them a few moments of breathing room.

The phone was the only way Montalbano could have tagged her, though she'd checked it thoroughly when it had arrived with the first payment and found no standard GPS tags. He must've put a code in the programming to go off when he sent a specific message. Clever. In other circumstances she'd keep it for closer examination and possible reverse engineering, but for now she settled for scattering the pieces as the crowd jostled along with the shifting of the train.

"I can help you," April said when they stopped again. "At least temporarily. If you want."

"How?" Trina made a show of watching for Crayland. "What did you do to him?"

"Just a little self defense move I learned. I could show you."

Trina thought it might be a good idea. "Yes, please."

"Well, not here," she said, blushing a little. Then she smiled. "I'm April."

"Nice to meet you. And thanks again." They stood facing each other, hands on the safety pole while they chatted about nothing in particular, each of them keeping an eye out, scanning the shifting crowds behind the other. It was a good system and it made Trina wonder if it was April's natural survival instinct or if she'd been taught.

"Come on." April dragged Trina through the automated doors when the train stopped at the next station. "Do you need a place to stay? To hide?"

Trina shook her head, not trusting her voice or her luck that April might lead her straight to her quarry. According to Montalbano and her own research, no one but Slick Micky bothered to deal sugar in Chicago.

"I can see you're in trouble." The girl hesitated another moment. "That jackass might come after you." Her chin came up, and her shoulders rolled back. Clearly she'd made her choice. "Just follow me. This way."

Trina didn't try to converse, memorizing the route offered enough of a challenge. They caught the next train going in the original direction, but only stayed for another two stops. Then it was across the bridge and down the steps to the street below.

A street in a frightening state of urban decline. She forced her feet to keep pace with April into that hard canyon framed by crumbling buildings with dark, vacant eyes where windows might have sparkled in decades long gone.

Even Trina, years removed from Chicago, knew the buddy system wouldn't deter any of the criminal types hovering at the edges of the street, lurking in the shadows. Except no one advanced, no one even called out anything remotely lewd, threatening, or insulting.

Were they too drugged out? "Weird neighborhood," she murmured.

"More like the best neighborhood," April replied with a quirky grin.

The lack of street signs or building numbers wasn't a surprise, but something didn't add up.

"I'm going to ask you to trust me."

Trina frowned, her feet taking root on the cracked cement of the sidewalk. "You'd better explain."

"It's safe, I promise you. But...well. I just have to clear visitors."

"With who? You can't say you live around here." She turned a slow circle, as if inspecting the area from a point of fear. "It's gotta be condemned." Anticipation had her senses humming and she had to fight the urge to fidget as adrenaline pumped through her system. So close. This was Slick Micky's lair. Had to be. She flexed her hands. So very, very close to the man who'd killed her best friend.


About the author:

Regan Black writes action packed paranormal and urban fantasy novels so readers can savor a fantastic escape from the daily grind. Raised in the Midwest and California, she now lives in the South Carolina Lowcountry where the abundance of history and legend fuels her imagination. Experience a Regan Black adventure at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords. You can keep up with Regan at www.ReganBlack.com.




The Giveaway:


Next on the tour: 

Thanks to Regan Black and The Bookish Snob Promotions.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks again, Readergirls for having me here today!

    =)

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  2. I love this concept! And an excellent excerpt with backstory very cleverly woven in. Sorry, my writer's mind speaking there. It was fabulous though! I'm checking this one out.

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  3. Heather, your 'writer's mind' comment makes my writer's heart smile!
    ;)

    Glad you liked it!

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  4. Hi Regan! I'm just sorta following along on your big tour! This was another fun stop on your journey. Wishing you the very best! Laurie

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  5. Thanks so much, Laurie! I love having you tag along on the tour! =)

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  6. Krysykat, you can't know how happy it makes me to hear you say that! Thanks for keeping up with the tour!

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  7. Yay, welcome everyone! Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the rest of the tour.

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