Just so y’all don’t think I’ve been resting on my laurels, here’s a peek at the book I finished last week for Ellora’s Cave. Lockdown is the sequel to my dark paranormal, Sin’s Gift.
What happens when demons take over a cellblock?
Around nine o’clock when prisoners were beginning to settle in front of the television or into little groups to chat quietly, Gillian’s mike squawked. “Priest, got a new ten-fifteen. Needs an escort.”
She hadn’t been briefed about their procedures for bringing in new prisoners, but she had read the manual. Didn’t seem any different from Bentonville’s SOP. She headed out of the housing unit to West Gate’s “Sally Port.” A white van was pulled up close to the port. A sheriff’s deputy was outside the vehicle chatting to with the officer manning the gate when she walked up to them.
“Got fresh meat,” the officer said.
Gillian wasn’t entirely sure whether he was talking about the prisoner being led up in leg irons toward the gate or her. And a glance at his twisted lips told her the ambiguity had been deliberate. She lifted her chin and held out her hand for the clipboard with the papers describing their requisition of a new prisoner, named Gabriel Vlahos.
Inmate number 140849 now. Chains rattled, feet shuffled as the prisoner rounded the end of the van.
Gillian’s eyes widened a fraction and she quickly looked at the clipboard again to gather her scattered wits. She’d only lost them a second.
It didn’t matter how beautiful the man was. The papers said he’d killed. But no matter the crime or the length of his sentence, the white jumpsuit rendered him forever off limits to her.
“Have a nice day,” the officer who’d accompanied the convict said, drawing her gaze. The smile seemed sincere enough. The gaze that swept her body told another story.
“Same to you,” she muttered. “Well, Vlahos, let’s get you to the holding cell.” She lifted her chin to the gate and gave the officer in the tower watching them a little wave.
The gate buzzed and she reached past Vlahos to push it open. A few shuffling steps forward and she waited again as the inner gate was deactivated. She walked the prisoner inside, waiting impatiently while he gazed back over his shoulder at freedom.
“Let’s get moving. I have better things to do.”
“Just bet you do,” he murmured.
Her gaze swung to his, ready to issue a curt set down, but his face was turned toward the building doors. His profile was as arresting as the frontal view she’d had. A square chin, full lips, eyelashes so long she felt a stab of envy until he aimed a glance her way.
His eyes were silver. Not a flat lifeless gray. Shards of shimmering silver that seemed for a moment to swirl.
Again, she tamped down the attraction and swept out the hand holding her clipboard. “After you.”
The smile that tipped the corners of his mouth upward wasn’t a smirk. Not exactly. If she’d met him in a bar and he’d delivered that same curved, feline grin, she might have slid closer in her chair it was so inviting.
The holding cell was only twenty feet inside the doors and she opened the door, indicating he should go inside.
“See you in the housing unit later,” he said softly. “Officer Priest.”
Startled he knew her name, she blinked.
“Your name tag?” he said, the smile deepening.
Of course. The nametag she’d pinned onto her blue shirt just that morning. Angry she’d let him get under her skin, she closed the door on him with a slam.
She’d get a cup of coffee and let him stew for a while before she passed the papers along to the officer who’d process him in. What was another half an hour’s wait when he was doing twenty-five to life?