Friday, December 23, 2016

Excerpt from Storm Rising (A Kelli Storm Novel 1)

Thursday August 27th, 9:15 A.M. Yonkers, New York
 Home of Kelli Storm

  Kelli allowed herself the luxury of sleeping late. She never stayed in bed past six, but today was different. The house was different, too, and she wondered if the little creaks and groans of the house had always been there.
  Of course she had no plans of going anywhere, other than tracking down more information on Anthony Santoro and this cartel.
  She filled her coffee cup for the third time and wandered out of the kitchen, taking the stairs one at a time. At the top, she paused, listening to the silence. A shiver ran down her spine.
  The hair on the back of her neck stood up and goose bumps ran up and down her arms. Something was wrong, but she couldn’t put a finger on it. She turned her head to the left and right, checking both ends of the hallway.
  She walked to her mother’s bedroom and pushed the door open. Could it be just my imagination running wild, or is it guilt for putting her mother in that place? She reached to pull the door closed and stopped short.
  The sound of glass breaking downstairs caught her attention. She reached for her Glock before realizing she’d left it on the nightstand in her room. She turned and darted back down the hall.
She sat her coffee down, grabbed the gun and walked back into the hallway. Footsteps came from the rear of the house downstairs. She eased over to the railing, both hands on the weapon, finger beside the trigger.
  From below, she heard loud whispers. At least two voices. She peeked over the railing. The first man stood at least six feet, with dark hair and light brown skin. Probably Hispanic. The second appeared to be just as tall with lighter skin and dark hair.
  Both men brandished handguns. From her position, she couldn’t tell what caliber. They continued moving forward, scanning their surroundings. The second man turned as he reached the foot of the stairs. Kelli recognized him. It’s the man from the club the other day, Anthony Santoro. What’s he doing here?
  She backed away from the railing as the men neared the front door. From her vantage point, she could see the top of their heads. The second man entered the living room, while Santoro started to climb the stairs. She needed to think fast. They had probably cut the house lines already, but she had her cell phone. She glanced down the hall at the door to her room.
  She passed the stairs to get to the railing overlooking the downstairs hall. Santoro was coming up, blocking her from her only means of communication. Her mother’s room had a phone, but if the lines were cut it would be useless.
  Santoro edged closer and she backed down the hallway, her Glock aimed at the top of the stairs. She glanced behind her. The door was only a few feet away now and Santoro hadn’t made it to the top. She darted for her mother’s room.
  She ducked inside just as he topped the landing. She closed it as quietly as possible and held her breath. She pressed her ear against the door, listening for footsteps.
  The footsteps grew faint, moving away, toward the other end of the hall. She backed away from the door, turned toward the bed, and crept to the other side, careful not to make any noise. Crouching down, she used the bed for cover.
  If it came down to it, she could climb out the window to the roof. Heavy footfalls drew her attention away from the window. They were closer now and this time she heard two distinct sets.
  By instinct, she brought the Glock up and aimed it at the door, finger on the trigger. Her heart beat faster and a drop of sweat ran down the side of her face. Her eyes were glued to the doorknob as she waited for the slightest movement.
  It rotated a half turn and stopped. A hushed voice came from the other side and then the footsteps retreated. She kept her Glock aimed at the door, not sure if it was a ploy to get her out of the room. The men headed back down the stairs and did nothing to conceal their presence during their exit.