A Madness of Sunshine: New Excerpt
By Nalini SinghNovember 14, 2019
The house also featured a new porch stocked with a number of whitewashed rocking chairs. Nubile young women occupied two of those chairs.
“Oh, hello,” one said in a cheerful way. “Shane’s writing, so he can’t see you right now. But we’d be happy to visit.”
“Interrupt him,” the cop said in such a flat tone that the cheerful girl blanched. “This is important.”
The girls looked at one another at this departure from the script.
When neither made a move to enter the house, Will did so himself. Staying outside, Anahera took in the girls in their short shorts and flannel shirts. One was blonde and perky, the other dark eyed and sensuous with a stud in her eyebrow, but they both had the dewy-eyed look of creatures who hadn’t yet had the shine rubbed off them. Nineteen, twenty at the most. “You’re Shane’s students?”
The blonde nodded, while the dark-eyed one gave Anahera an assessing look—as if checking out the competition. That one was tough and far more likely to survive life than the blonde bunny. Unless, of course, the bunny was fortunate enough to find someone who wanted to preserve her wide-eyed naïveté.
“We’re so lucky.” The bunny actually pressed her hands together in delight. “Shane is one of the most well-known novelists in the world and we get to have a residence with him.” Joy sparking off every word. “My book’s taking shape in ways I could’ve never imagined.”
A thirty-something man followed Will out onto the porch before Anahera could respond. All messed-up black hair and stubble along his jaw, Shane Hennessey was the epitome of the suffering artist. He had soft full lips, flawless skin the color of cream, a height two or three inches under the cop’s, and a build that said there was muscle beneath his ragged jeans and black shirt—a shirt he wore with the sleeves shoved carelessly up to his elbows. Only it wasn’t careless. He was a man who knew he was good-looking and who took full advantage of it.
Edward had been like that, though it had taken her far too long to see the truth.
“I’m sorry, Will,” the suffering artist said in an Irish accent so beautiful it couldn’t be real, even as his eyes scanned Anahera then came back for a second look; obviously she’d fulfilled a list of basic prerequisites and deserved closer inspection. “I’ve been consumed by my characters since lunch—the girls can tell you. I wouldn’t know if a flying pig went past, much less some local girl.”
Anahera saw Will’s face tense, his shoulders bunch. “Let’s go,” she said to him before he punched the pretentious asshole. “We have to check the other places.”
A curt nod, but he wasn’t done. “Did either of you see Miriama run past here today?” he asked the two groupies.
The girls shook their heads. Then they looked as one toward Shane Hennessey, as if waiting for him to tell them what to do next.
Anahera’s skin prickled.
She was glad to get out of there. “Is it always like that?” she asked after they’d pulled out of the drive and were back on their way to the dump. “Him with a harem?”
“I have it on good authority that the people who win Shane’s residencies are always young, female, and pretty. Such a strange coincidence.”
Anahera snorted. “You have a gift for understatement, cop.”
He didn’t reply, the lights of his SUV cutting through the inky blackness in front of them as he slowed down just before the ragged dirt track that led to the cleared but never developed patch of land that had become a dumping ground.
The tourists never saw this part of Golden Cove, never glimpsed the slick black rubbish bags torn open by feral cats, never had any idea of the abandoned couches and—“Is that a refrigerator?” Fury punched through her. “Even the worst asshole knows to take off the doors before dumping a fridge.”
Face grim, the cop brought his vehicle to a halt on the edge of the dump. “That wasn’t here last time I did a patrol—which was yesterday, just before I saw you on the road. I’ve got tools in the back.” Unsaid were the words that he’d take care of it before they left.
But first, they had to search for Miriama. That was when Anahera had a horrible thought. Heart thumping, she walked through the scattered debris to that fridge that hadn’t been there yesterday and that had appeared right when a girl had gone missing.
“Wait,” the cop said. “We need to preserve evidence if—” Leaving the rest of the chilling words unspoken, he grabbed a pair of thin rubber gloves from the kit he had in the back of the SUV.
Copyright © 2019 Nalini Singh