(Vale Investigation #1)
By Cristelle Comby
Publication Date: August 1, 2018
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
When a mysterious beast savagely mauls random residents of Cold City, the police assume that these are the killings of a rogue wolf. But experienced private investigator, Bellamy Vale, is unconvinced.
Ordered by Death herself to investigate, Vale has no choice but to obey for his boss is not someone to disappoint—if he wants to keep breathing, that is.
With friend and computer hacker Zian, interfering journalist Candice Kennedy, and homicide sergeant Melanie Ramirez by his side, Vale has no choice but to end the killings or face the wrath of the demon who literally holds his life in her hands.
Hostile Takeover is a fast-paced, edge-of-your seat paranormal mystery that will leave your heart racing, and have you looking over your shoulder.
I’d just got out of the shower when she showed up. Same entrance as usual. One second she wasn’t there; the next, she sprawled languidly on my bed. That always gave me the creeps. And how in all the hells could she always have such perfect timing? But I knew better than to question how she appeared from nowhere, disappeared without a trace, or knew the things she knew.
We were old acquaintances and she had seen into my soul and beyond. I had no problem with her seeing my nakedness. And even if I did, I was too worn down to care anyway. I flicked the bedside table lamp on, walked past her, ass-naked, and reached for a shirt and a pair of sweatpants. Someone else may have tried to educate her on social behavior, but I’d long ago given up on the hope that she would ever come to grips with a concept as trifling as privacy.
“I wasn’t expecting to see you tonight,” I said as I shrugged the clothes on. My sore shoulder protested and I winced.
“Why would you?” she replied with a slight accent that was impossible to place.
I glanced at her for clues. Her hair was loose and dark brown again. She had a little makeup on, looked to be anywhere between twenty-five and forty. Her feet were bare and she wore a long and oh-so-thin black dress.
I recognized the look. It was the one I’d dubbed “the Mediterranean” and I knew what it meant. She sat up and her gaze darkened to a coal shade as she took a good, long look at me.
“I’m not in the mood,” I said as I finished pulling down my shirt. I tried hard not to notice the movements her dress made against her feminine curves. But I was a man and no straight man in his right mind could resist giving the attention demanded by that oh-so-perfect cleavage.
“You do not get to choose, mon Bel-Ami,” she said.
Hearing her use my name like that did things to me that no human being could have ignored.
“Or have you forgotten how this works?” she added.
“I haven’t, but no amount of French-silver-tonguing will make me like it,” I retorted. It was a weak protest and we both knew it.
She laughed, a deep, throaty, sultry sound that did things to me I wish it didn’t. Then she moved again, seeming to undulate as she stood to her feet. In two steps she was in front of me, ripe for the taking, temptation personified. She was beautiful, every man’s dream, and she knew it.
“What do you want?” I asked, throat dry.
“A man died tonight,” she murmured. “I want you to investigate.”
The change of topic helped me get my mind off … other things. “For God’s sake, why? Certainly, you would know what happened.”
She remained stock still. It was as if I hadn’t said anything, and maybe I hadn’t as far as she was concerned. She sure had a tendency to only hear what interested her.
I glanced at the clock and saw that it was just past three a.m. “Look,” I told her, “I’ve had a lousy day that doesn’t seem to want to end. I’m more banged up than a crash test dummy right now. So why don’t you and I make an appointment for next Thursday, when I’ll—”
That would be the part she heard clearly. She was on me in a second, swift as a viper. Her cold fingers laced themselves around my throat, pushing me backward until my back hit the wall. The pain of the injuries, which I kept finding new ways to aggravate, registered this time. Must have had something to do with how I felt my feet lift off the ground as she kept me there, pinned like an insect.
“You signed a contract with me, Bellamy Vale,” she hissed. “Your life for a favor. It was granted to you, thus I get your life.”
Her gaze bore into me and her vice-like grip did not relax. I tried to struggle, but she was as immobile as a statue.
“You are mine,” she said. The sexy accent was long gone, replaced by something darker and deadlier. “I see the tapestry of life and I hold your string in one hand and the scissors in the other.”
I’d have swallowed if I could. Instead, I started to suffocate, spots clouding my vision as my heartbeat took up a staccato rhythm. In spite of all that, her arm remained rigid.
“I will cut it when it pleases me,” she continued. “Until then, you are mine and you will do as I command.”
Blood thumped in my ears and I could feel my heart slowing down. I nodded; it was all I could do.
Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.
She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.
She is the author of the Neve & Egan Cases series, which features an unlikely duo of private detectives in London: Ashford Egan, a blind History professor, and Alexandra Neve, one of his students.
Currently, she is hard at work on her Urban Fantasy series Vale Investigation which chronicles the exploits of Death’s only envoy on Earth, PI Bellamy Vale, in the fictitious town of Cold City, USA.
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