A dark shadow rises.
San Francisco in 1885 was a dangerous place for those who crossed Colin Doyle. To Nob Hill elite he was a successful businessman. To the underbelly of San Francisco he was The Mick, a criminal mastermind ruling from the shadows. If a buyer’s tastes ran to opium, a whore, or a politician, The Mick could name a price. No one who betrayed him ever escaped the city alive.
Nell Bishop is a fearless investigative reporter for the San Francisco Dispatch. She’s on the run to the Arizona Territory with the one witness who can expose Doyle’s corrupt empire and stop the plan to extend his evil dominion to the West.
Marshal Sam Tanner of Spirit Ridge in the Arizona Territory fought the visions sent by his Apache blood. They always foretold a death he couldn’t prevent. Then Sam dreamed of the coyote with golden brown eyes who warned of a black shadow spreading evil across the land. Did the message call him to help the beautiful woman who stepped off the stagecoach? Can Sam and Nell elude the mysterious dark riders who dog their trail or will the next vision mean death for both of them?
Targeted Age Group:: teen through adult
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 3 – PG-13
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The story of Nellie Bly, a nineteenth century investigative reporter, fascinated me and I decided to use her as as inspiration for Nell Bishop. I wanted to add a Native American character and created a half-Apache marshal with spirit visions. Apache tales encompass animal spirits, and I decided to play around with them and add my person embellishments.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My inspiration was a real woman named Nellie Bly who fearlessly broke the mold. She was an investigative reporter who began her career writing for The Pittsburg Dispatch. (My Nell writes for The San Francisco Dispatch). She was a foreign correspondent, charity worker, and pioneered the field of investigative journalism by going undercover as a patient in an insane asylum and then writing a series of exposés on the horrific conditions. She even turned fiction into fact. In response to Jules Verne’s book Around the World in Eighty Days, Nell set out on an around-the-world journey and completed the trip in 72 days. Take that, Phineas Fogg.
Surprise shot through Bart’s expression. “Never reckoned you smart enough to figure the truth. The Mick’s reward ain’t for fetching you alive.” His tongue flicked in and out again. “Please me, and I’ll make it quick.”
Tears sprung to Daisy’s eyes. “Sweet Jesus, help me.”
Bart’s heartless chuckle encased Nell’s heart in ice. “Ain’t no God nor man gonna help a whore.”
“Get away from her this instant!” Nell stepped into the alley, right hand hidden in the tunic, finger on the trigger.
Bart raised the gun to meet the new arrival. “Where’d you come from? Best be on your way. This ain’t no concern of yours.”
Nell strode toward them through the fog. The gaslight shone on her white wimple and the scapular under the veil.
Daisy gasped. “She’s a nun, Bart. You can’t shoot a nun.”
“Shut up,” he barked, backhanding her across the mouth. “For five thousand, I’ll shoot anyone.”
“Get out of here, Sister,” Daisy moaned. “Please, don’t get hurt on my account. I ain’t worth it.”
“Release her.” Nell’s tone betrayed not a single tremor. “If you beg trouble, sir, let fly. I guarantee you won’t live long enough for regrets.”
Bart’s thumb pulled back to cock the trigger. “Your words don’t cut nothing. The devil claimed me as his own long ago.”
“Then perhaps,” she responded coolly, “the time has come to meet your maker and beg forgiveness in person.”
A shot rang out. Daisy shut her eyes and screamed.
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