Author Jen Blood will be running a sale for the next five days while she wraps up a Kickstarter campaign she’s been running to raise funds for production and promotion of the third novel in her Erin Solomon mystery series. The first two novels in the series, All the Blue-Eyed Angels and Sins of the Father, are just $.99 on Amazon until Sunday, October 7th. To give you a glimpse into the series, check out the book trailer for All the Blue-Eyed Angels below, and an excerpt from Sins of the Father. Both books are Awesome Indies picks.
And an excerpt from Sins of the Father… The following scene takes place after the main characters, Erin Solomon and her best friend (occasionally with very complicated benefits) Diggs, have been forced off the road deep in the Maine woods. Now, the two are running for their lives, pursued by a serial killer with his sights set on Erin.
I don’t know how long we ran. I don’t know how far. I don’t even know where we went. All I know is that we ran. It was dark. There was no path. At some point Diggs convinced me to circle back and we were at the river again, where we silently slogged through fast-moving water up to our knees, and sometimes deeper. Eventually, the world lightened as the sun started to rise. I was numb. Shivering. We were both stumbling by the time Diggs finally stopped and nodded toward the trees.
“According to the map, there should be some caves close by.” He checked his compass and looked off into the distance. All I saw was darkness and an endless expanse of trees, but I was hoping he had more vision than that. “We can’t stop before we get there,” he said regretfully. “If we do…”
I knew exactly what would happen if we stopped. “I know. Don’t worry about it—I’m fine. Let’s just go. I’m okay as long as you are.”
We didn’t talk much after that, too busy trying to forge our way through a wilderness that seemed intent on remaining unforged. We reached the cave just as the sun was coming up, casting the world around us in pale gold.
“You don’t think it would be better to stay by the river?” I whispered. The entrance to the cave was hidden beneath an overhang of not-terribly-solid-looking boulders, and it didn’t look like what I’d always known caves to be: dark and dank, sure, but still reasonably maneuverable when push came to shove.
The gaping fissure Diggs brought us to didn’t look remotely maneuverable in the best of circumstances.
“That’s what he’ll expect us to do,” Diggs said. “We’ve got enough water to get us through a day in here, and it’ll give us some time to regroup and get a few hours’ rest.”
“What if he knows about it?”
“There’s a long network of tunnels in here; not many people have been through the whole thing.” He tapped the map clutched in his left hand. “Let’s see your GPS get us through here.”
He pulled himself up the rock and into the tunnel. I watched as he was gradually swallowed by the earth, inch by inch.
Once we got through the opening, I was surprised to find myself in what did look like a real, honest-to-god cave: a low, smooth ceiling and a wet floor, the sunlight just barely making it through the narrow entrance.
“It’ll be tight in places,” Diggs said over his shoulder.
“I know. I’ll be okay.”
“Your arm…” he began.
“I’m all right, Diggs. I can handle it.”
Within a few steps, we were plunged into a deeper kind of darkness than any I’d ever experienced before—an absence of light so profound that it felt like a physical presence. Diggs shined his flashlight along rough walls and a low ceiling, stalactites hanging down far enough to brain us if we weren’t careful. I crept behind him until he found the first fissure.
“You’re sure that’s the way?” I asked as he approached the crevice.
“No,” he said. “But the map is pretty clear.” He pulled a coil of rope from his pack and tied a length around his waist, then repeated the process with me.
“So we don’t get separated,” he explained. “We won’t have far to go, but I don’t want to take any chances.”
“If you can keep your bad arm still, and just use the other hand and push off with your feet, that’ll make it easier.”
“I know.” He didn’t look convinced. “I can do this, Diggs. I’ll be fine.”
The first leg of the journey was so narrow I had to push my pack ahead of me through fissures and winding crevices, pressed so tight against the rock that I could taste the damp limestone. I held my hand close to my body as much as possible, trying to avoid using it whenever I could. Because I was horizontal a lot of the time, crawling through the earth on my belly like some subterranean soldier, most of my weight rested on my broken wrist. A couple of times, the pain got bad enough that I had to stop and pull myself together, sure I was about to either pass out or lose my lunch. I didn’t say a word, though; we were there because of me—I wasn’t blind to that fact. As far as I was concerned, Diggs had every right to try and get as far from me as possible, and never look back.
I had no right to complain about anything.
We continued on for maybe twenty minutes. Maybe two hours. Time had become a useless construct—all that existed was darkness and pain and the knowledge of the monster on our heels. Diggs’ presence up ahead was detectable only through the occasional whisper back to me, accompanied by a tug on the rope. Otherwise, it felt like the entire world had vanished without a trace.
With the notable lack of sights and sounds, everything filtered down to my remaining senses: the feel of my body pressed to the cool rock; the smell and the taste of damp earth and crumbling limestone. At a particularly tight pass, Diggs whispered back to me.
“Hang on. I don’t know if I can get through here.” His voice was tight, something that sounded a lot like panic just under the surface. I forced myself to take as deep a breath as possible.
“Do you want me to go back?” I asked.
He didn’t say anything for a few seconds. His breathing was labored. Now that I wasn’t moving, just lying still and belly-down between a rock and a hard place, I could hear movement in the tunnel behind us—a slither and drag that made my heart speed up and my stomach bottom out. I wet my parched lips and closed my eyes. The sound wasn’t heavy enough to be a person. A snake, then? Spiders? What the hell else gravitated to a netherworld like this?
“How are you doing?” I asked. I fought to keep my voice steady.
“I think I can make it. Just a second.”
I heard the shimmy and shudder of his body against the rock and then, finally, a tug on the rope at my waist.
“I’m through,” he said. There was no missing the relief in his voice. “It’s not much farther now. That should have been the tightest pass for now.”
I pulled myself forward with one arm and pushed with the toes of my sneakers hooked into every hold I could find, my mind still on the body slithering behind me. I kept moving.
The $.99 price for All the Blue-Eyed Angels and Sins of the Father is available on Amazon, and will be good until Sunday, October 7th. To learn more about Jen’s Kickstarter campaign and how you can help, visit http://erinsolomononkickstarter.com/.