New Release Giveaway!
Knight Takes Bishop (Redclaw Origins Book 1) by McKenna Dean
1 lucky winner will receive their pick of McKenna’s backlist
and a $5 Amazon Gift Certificate
**Giveaway Eligible in US Only**
Sept 22 thru 28, 2019
New York, 1955. Former socialite Henrietta (“Rhett”) Bishop, destitute after her father gambles away the family fortune, takes a job at Redclaw Security. But Redclaw is no ordinary operation. Part detective firm and part enforcement agency, Redclaw regulates matters involving the growing population of shifters who have emerged since the onset of the nuclear age.
Peter Knight is a nuclear scientist shattered by the death of his wife. Blacklisted by the government and scientific organizations, he drowns his sorrows while searching for the people behind his wife’s murder.
When Rhett is assigned to recruit Knight, their meeting is more than either bargained for—a rival organization will do anything to secure Knight for themselves. Following a lead to locate a missing cache of alien technology stolen from Redclaw, Rhett is thrown back into her previous glittering life with Knight as her pretend boyfriend. But when someone from the past turns up to start a bidding war on the artifacts, Bishop and Knight wind up in a fight for their very lives.
I couldn’t decide if he’d insulted or flattered me, so I said nothing, but took two bowls down from the cabinet. Regardless of my earlier snack, the soup smelled good as he ladled it into the bowls.
He just shook his head when I added crumbled saltine crackers to my portion as we sat at the table. “Why don’t you just open the shaker and pour salt directly into your mouth?”
“I like crackers with my soup.”
He stabbed at my bowl with his spoon. “That’s more like you enjoy a little soup with your crackers. It looks revolting. Like chicken-flavored porridge.”
Put that way, it did sound disgusting. As I eyed the sodden mess, I changed the subject. “You never said how it is you’re able to leave Redclaw with no one being the wiser.”
Especially in view of the added security.
He must not have been all that hungry, for he pushed the bowl of soup aside and fished something out of one of his pockets. After placing it on the table in front of him, he gave it a gentle push in my direction.
I didn’t reach for it. Much like the previous devices I’d seen, this one had that same dull metallic casing, with odd markings carved on the sides. Unlike anything else I’d seen before, however, it had a raised ring in the center that cast a warm yellow glow. “What’s that?”
An infectious grin lit up his face. “I call it an image-projector. I think about what I want to look like in great detail, and it projects that image over me. I’m still wearing the same clothes and everything, but if I can imagine it, I can look like it.” He swept the device back toward him when I would have picked it up. “Few people question the boss when he’s leaving the building.”
“What if you run into the boss? That could be awkward.”
He didn’t seem concerned. “The odds are low. Besides, I can just as easily be an anonymous lab tech. Have you been downstairs? There’s a lot going on, and as I said the other day, they’re more worried about unauthorized people getting in than paying attention to who’s getting out.”
“But to what purpose?” His attitude made little sense. “You’re safer inside Redclaw. Why leave?”
“Boredom.” He shrugged when I raised a disbelieving eyebrow. “Okay, then. The desire for decent food.”
My eyebrow went even higher as I stared pointedly at the cooling soup in front of him.
“Fine. I don’t like being caged. Is that answer enough for you?”
I could see his point. And since I had him here, I asked about something that had been on my mind since the day of the mechanical spider. “What do you think is the purpose behind these artifacts?”
He leaned back in his chair to the point he risked toppling it over backward. The front legs lifted until he settled the chair back in place with a thump. “That’s the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question, isn’t it?” His raised eyebrow implied both curiosity and concern. The combination was frankly compelling. “Where do they come from? Who or what is behind the technology? It’s beyond anything I’ve ever seen, and I’ve worked on some top-secret projects. My guess? It’s not from this planet.”
My mouth dropped open. “You mean… alien?” I sputtered.
He nodded in all seriousness.
“You seriously believe Martians or Moon Men or something like that is seeding our plant with their gizmos?” The shock of his statement having worn off, scorn now laced my voice.
His shrug was eloquent. “Maybe. I think it more likely an advanced race implanted these devices millennia ago, knowing at some point we’d develop nuclear technology, hence the activation of said devices now.”
He shook his head. “A test? A trap? Who knows? Maybe the awakening tech triggered some kind of signal to the developers and even now, they’re on their way to greet us.”
I wondered if we would disappoint them. It was a distinctly disturbing thought. “Is this a working theory or are you just blowing smoke?”
His devilish smile made an appearance. The way it peeped out of hiding, combined with the fall of that rebellious lock of hair over his intense eyes when he leaned forward, would have charmed the pants off most women I know.
I don’t charm that easily.
“My dear, I just tinker with the gizmos.” He leaned back in his seat once more, his clever fingers toying with his spoon as he spoke. “I’ll leave winkling out the motives of the artifact-builders to the scary people, like you and Ryker.”
I straightened. “Me? Scary? What on earth have I done to give you that impression?” Ryker, I could understand. We knew so little about the shifters, how they lived, and what they could do. The way Ryker had tossed Billy around that day in the office was a fair indication he was stronger than most men, and of course, there was the rapid healing thing as well. More than that, I didn’t know.
I wrinkled my nose. “Am I supposed to thank you? That makes me sound like every other woman in the workplace. Standing behind the boss and making him look good.”
His laugh caught me off guard. “No, you have it all wrong. The smart man stands behind the girl with the ray gun.”
Okay. Perhaps I could be charmed a little.
About the Author:
McKenna Dean has been an actress, a vet tech, a singer, a teacher, a biologist, and a dog trainer. She’s worked in a genetics lab, at the stockyard, behind the scenes as a props manager, and at a pizza parlor slinging dough. Finally she realized all these jobs were just a preparation for what she really wanted to be: a writer.
She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family, as well as the assorted dogs, cats, and various livestock.
She likes putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.