TCO is very excited to have TA Moore here today with Chapter Three of her short story for the blog tour of Skin and Bone, Digging Up Bones: Book Two. I can’t wait to read this book! Make sure you check out the entire story, on all six blogs, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
Digging Up Bones: Book Two
Cloister Witte and his K-9 partner, Bourneville, find the lost and bring them home.
But the job doesn’t always end there.
Janet Morrow, a young trans woman, lies in a coma after wandering away from her car during a storm. But just because Cloister found the young tourist doesn’t mean she’s home. What brought her to Plenty, California… and who didn’t want her to leave?
With the help of Special Agent Javi Merlo, who continues to deny his growing feelings for the rough-edged deputy, Cloister unearths a ten-year-old conspiracy of silence that taps into Plenty’s history of corruption.
Janet Morrow’s old secrets aren’t the only ones coming to light. Javi has tried to put his past behind him, but some people seem determined to pull his skeletons out of the closet. His dark history with a senior agent in Phoenix complicates not just the investigation but his relationship with Cloister.
And since when has he cared about that?
Title: Skin and Bone (Book 2 of the Digging up Bones series)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release: 26 February
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
First of all, thank you so much for having me! I’m thrilled to be here with Skin and Bone, the second book in the Digging up Bones series. Authors should probably be like parents in that they never admit any book is their favourite, but I love this series. It was great fun for me to revisit them in Skin and Bone and I hope you guys enjoy seeing them again too!
For this blog tour I have written a short story called ‘Sticks and Stones’ where you can see what Javi and Cloister were up to between books!
Sticks and Stones – Chapter Three
The light bounced over the rutted path as Cloister half-jogged, half-skidded down the loose shale covered hill. Scrub grew long and stringy at the side of the road, dried out and noisy as wildlife moved through it.
Bon’s ears swivelled in response to the rustle of fat bodies through the grass and the squeaky mews of something that was either a cat or a baby racoon, but was definitely interesting. Despite the distractions she kept her nose down to the trail as she sniffed out Judge Buchanan in the dirt and stones.
“Good girl,” Cloister told her. “It would just bite your nose anyhow.”
Bon wagged her tail in response to the ‘good’ and ignored the rest. The nylon weave of the leash rubbed at Cloister’s fingers as he kept her fairly tight to him. He’d grown up in a area like this, a dozen old buildings scattered back along a country loop so minor it didn’t have an official name. Just a number and the nickname Trash Alley, because…well…Cloister’s family, cousins and uncles and friends, lived there.
People always drove too fast on roads like this, as if they assumed the whole stretch of concrete and dirt from their doorway to the freeway was for their use only. Cloister had lost a bike and the skin off his back one summer to their neighbor—you’d yelled at him for scraping up her Station Wagon—but never a dog. He didn’t intend to break that streak.
A stray branch caught on his sleeve and snapped up into his face, It caught under his eye with a sharp, scratch of pain and then flicked up into his eyebrow. He winced and rubbed his eye on the back of his hand, torch beam pointed into the scrub to catch the reflection from a pair of eyes a bit too high off the ground to be a racoon.
Cloister ignored the coyote—unless it was rabid a coyote wouldn’t be interested in picking a fight with a big dog and a human unless it was pushed to it—and studied the trees along the side of the path.
No broken twigs. No scraps of hair caught in the branches or bits of fabric pierced like flags.
Judge Buchanan had left the house on foot and at her own pace. No one had chased her down here, if there was anyone with her they’d not been in a hurry. No fresh scuff marks on the road, no signs of any spot where someone had dug in their heels or grabbed for something to try and slow themselves down.
Cloister had only met Buchanan once, a domestic violence case where Bon had dragged an angry, tweaking ex from under a neighbors porch. She’d not seemed the sort to be dragged off into the night without some mark of her left behind.
At the bottom of the hill the dirt road ended in a gate. Bon stuck her nose under it and snorted in frustration as she tried one gap and then another. Second time lucky and she squeezed through the bars. The leash pulled tight between them as she leaned against.
“Bleib,” Cloister told her. She whinged her disapproval of the stay order but flopped down on the pavement. Her tail tip twitched impatiently as she waited. Cloister let the leash drop and jumped up to grab the top of the gate. The metal–rough and untreated–scraped against his palm as he pulled himself up. He kicked one booted foot between the bars and boosted himself over the crossbar. Cloister dropped down on the other side and pulled the leash back through. Bon got a quick thump to the shoulders for being a good dog as she scrambled back onto her paws. “Such.”
On the other side of the was a well-paved concrete road. Bon veered sharply across to the left and then keep going onto the other side of the road. Security lights flicked on as they jogged past. On a few of the gates a camera, red light bright against the darkness, tracked him through its territory.
A bench, decorated with a divorce lawyer’s capped white smile and phone number, distracted Bon for a moment. She circled around it and then jumped up onto the seat and barked as she scraped at the sun-bleached plastic.
“She stopped here, huh?” Cloister said. He snapped his fingers and gestured down for Bon. She hopped down and wove between his legs, her weight solid as she butted her shoulder behind his knees. The leash tangled around his ankles in a snare. Cloister pinned a loop under his heel and stepped out of the knot. “Bon, enough. Sit.”
With a heavy, put-upon sigh Bon sat down. She hung her tongue out of her mouth, pink and dripping, while Cloister checked the bench over. Initials had been carved into the plastic with deep, ragged strokes and circled with lopsided hearts. No gang tags. No blood.
A flicker of something yellow beneath the bench caught his eye. He knelt down and reached in the grab the scrap of paper that had caught against a loose bit of rock. It was a sheet of lined, yellow paper with a list of times and locations on it. Home bookended the list, and in between included the courthouse, a cafe—ham on rye stipulated in brackets underneath, and a dry cleaners.
Someone had been paying a lot of attention to where Judge Buchanan went every day.
Although—Cloister glanced up the timetable posted in the metal pole—why they’d take her to get the bus he didn’t know.
19 – It’s About the Book
20 – My Fiction Nook
21 – Two Chicks Obsessed
24 – Boy Meets Boy
25 – Love Bytes
26 – Joyfully Jay
TA Moore is a Northern Irish writer of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. A childhood in a rural, seaside town fostered in her a suspicious nature, a love of mystery, and a streak of black humour a mile wide. As her grandmother always said, ‘she’d laugh at a bad thing that one’, mind you, that was the pot calling the kettle black. TA Moore studied History, Irish mythology, English at University, mostly because she has always loved a good story. She has worked as a journalist, a finance manager, and in the arts sectors before she finally gave in to a lifelong desire to write.
Coffee, Doc Marten boots, and good friends are the essential things in life. Spiders, mayo, and heels are to be avoided.
$20 Dreamspinner Gift Card