Dripping sweat as he hastily covered the fresh grave, Blake’s senses spiked. He looked up and spotted a woman on a nearby ridge above the secluded mountain trail. He hid the shovel in a bush, rubbed dirt over his blood-stained shirt, and grabbed his backpack. Keeping his eyes focused on the woman, he stealthily moved toward her. As he got closer, her body took form and he could see the trim definition of the little teenager. She never stopped talking on her cell phone. His last cell phone lay scattered in broken pieces along the road. He wanted a replacement. His body craved more than just the teenager’s cell phone.
As he positioned himself to charge toward his unsuspecting next victim, a woman yelled, “Carrie!”
“Over here, Mom,” the teenager replied.
He ducked behind a bush, crouched down, and peered between the branches while the teenager clambered down the mountain.
A broad-shouldered woman with a rifle strapped to her back stepped into the clearing. “Carrie, how many times do I have to tell you not to go wandering off by yourself in the woods? Four people are missing. Do you want to be number five?”
“But Mom, there’s no cell coverage in the cabin. If it’s so dangerous around here, why don’t we go home?”
With undisguised annoyance, her mother replied, “Your dad doesn’t want to leave until he’s caught every fish in the stream.”
“Three of the missing people are guys. Dad goes out by himself. He could be the next one.”
“Come on, Carrie. He’s a cop. He can take care of himself.” The woman stroked the teenager’s cheek. “It won’t be so bad when Uncle Jack gets here in a couple of days. He’ll go with you so you can chat with your friends.”
“Two days…Mom, that’s like a lifetime.” the teenager whined, walking out of the clearing with her mother.
“Don’t be so melodramatic. Dad or I can…” the woman’s voice trailed off.
Blake crept from tree to tree through the woods behind them. Different schemes streamed through his head that would get what he wanted without drawing any attention. Bodies had been burnt and buried. His fingerprints meticulously wiped off their cars. Nothing could link him to the deaths. No Tegen would get a whiff as to his location, and that was how he intended to keep it.
He tailed the woman and teenager to their cabin. Foliage concealed the structure. His eyes swept over the surrounding area as he cautiously moved around the cabin. Blake checked the dark blue Ford truck parked behind it. A canoe and fishing poles leaned against a woodshed. The only way to approach the cabin by vehicle was a narrow dirt lane. Another trail on the other side of the cabin stretched toward a more heavily wooded area. Hearing the flow of water cascading over rocks, he knew a stream was nearby. Perfect.
Blake quietly inched closer to the cabin and cautiously peeked into a window. The woman stood over the kitchen sink peeling potatoes. The daughter lay on the couch staring at an iPad in her hands. Across the room were two open doors that led to bedrooms. No sign of the cop fisherman.
He headed back to the place where he had left the shovel. He could’ve easily handled the woman and her daughter, but he wanted to enjoy a meal without being interrupted by the fisherman. While he waited for nightfall, he wiped his fingerprints from the shovel and moved it a distance from the fresh grave.
Leaves blew in the soft breeze as Blake made his way back to the cabin. With his ears on high alert, he didn’t pick up any other noise. No voices. No sound of anyone moving through the woods. He was prepared to deal swiftly with any potential witnesses.
When he reached the cabin, bright light glowed through all the closed curtains. He glanced at his watch—7:17 p.m. Not too late for a visitor.
With a Tegen spider clutched in his fist, Blake knocked on the cabin door.
Almost a minute later, a rugged-looking man answered.
Before the man spoke, Blake said, “Hello, I’m Mike Kent. I’m thinking about buying a plot of ground near here to build a cabin on. I understand you’re an avid fisherman. How’s the fishing around here?”
The rugged man’s cautious squint didn’t go unnoticed by Blake.
“Best stream in all of Wyoming.” The man stepped out of his house, closing the door behind him. “Catch my limit every day.” He gestured to an area to his right. “You thinking about buying old man Matthews’ land?”
Guessing there was no Matthews’ land, Blake narrowed his eyes. “Yes.”
As the cop reached behind his back, Blake quickly dropped the spider on the man’s arm.
“Who are you?” the fisherman demanded, pointing a pistol at Blake. He slightly jerked and smacked the spider crawling on him with his free hand.
“Names aren’t important.”
“We’ll see about that. Hands up.” Keeping his eyes focused on Blake, the cop pushed open the cabin door. “Honey, get me the truck keys.”
The woman never said a word as she slipped the keys into her husband’s hand.
The cop motioned Blake toward the back of the cabin as the side curtain was lifted and the wife looked on.
Blake obediently followed the cop’s instructions while he waited for the poison to take effect. The wait wasn’t long.
The fisherman staggered before reaching the truck. His knees buckled. “What the…” he said, taking a rugged wheezing breath. The weapon tumbled out of his hand and he landed with a thump on the hard ground.
The woman peering out the window screamed.
Blake grabbed the weapon, hurried to the back cabin door and swung it open, a little surprised it wasn’t locked.
The woman stood in front of him, aiming the barrel of the rifle at him with her daughter cowering behind her.
“Hey, I’m no one you have to worry about.” He laid the pistol on the table. “Your husband has collapsed. Maybe a heart attack. Call 911,” Blake said, knowing that wasn’t possible.
“We don’t have cell phone coverage here.”
“I have some medical training. Help me get him into the house.”
Blake flipped the man over, closing his eyes in the process. The woman and teenager struggled to lift up the cop’s legs, as Blake wrapped his arms around the man’s chest and easily managed to get his victim onto the couch. Once that was accomplished, he pretended to check his victim’s vitals. Then he rummaged through his backpack. “Don’t have the right stuff with me. Can I get cell phone coverage close by?”
“On the mountain.” The girl pointed in the direction where she had placed a call earlier.
“Need a cell. Mine’s out of juice.”
“Take mine,” the teenager said. “The password is 4401.”
Blake grabbed the cell as he placed a spider on the teenager’s leg without the child seeing the arachnid and then dropped another one near the woman.
“Can you do anything at all for him before you leave?” the wife asked anxiously.
Blake strolled back to his backpack and pulled out a hunting knife. Holding it up, he said, “Think I can.”
A wave of terror shot across the woman’s face. “You’re the…”
With a smile on his face, Blake nodded. “Yep.”
The woman’s attention turned to her daughter as the teenager slumped and toppled to the floor. Within a minute, she landed on top of her daughter’s motionless body.
Blake laid down his knife and checked out the bedrooms to determine which one the daughter occupied. Then he carried her to that room and took the mother to the other room. He lifted out more spiders and placed them on the cop fisherman.
Blake looked in the fridge, pulled out a beer, and gulped it down. He grabbed some bowls, slit the wrists of his victims, and positioned the bowls to catch every drip of the red liquid.
After feasting on the cop, he bottled all the tainted blood, venotrolia, and gathered up the spiders. He would’ve preferred to have taken the truck, but didn’t want anyone to suspect something sinister had occurred in the cabin. Blake put his belongings, along with the oars, into the canoe and dragged it down the trail leading to the stream. Then he went back into the cabin, moved the remains of the cop to the bedroom he had shared with his wife, and took a clean shirt out of the closet. He cleaned himself up in the bathroom and then strategically lit each room on fire.
Blake fled to the canoe by the woodshed. Staying within eyeshot of the cabin, he watched the flames spiraling out of control, consuming the cabin as smoke billowed up in the air. When the roof caved in and only a few timbers remained standing, sirens blared in the distance.
He gripped the side of the canoe, headed toward the stream, and estimated he had enough venotrolia to last him until he reached his destination. Rowing away from the cabin, he kept checking the cell phone. When bars appeared, he placed a call. “I’m on my way.” Without allowing the person on the other end to say a word, he disconnected and disassembled the cell phone.
Throwing the pieces into the water, he thought about Sara, the woman in the picture in his wallet. He wanted her, but he also wanted revenge. She’s the reason I’m on the run and she’ll suffer for it.
Can Sara outwit a Tegen who has vowed to hunt her to the death?
A dangerous, cunning Tegen has escaped and is determined to capture Sara and watch her go up in flames. Before the fugitive was taken into custody for a second-level offense, he confessed to Sara that he committed a heinous crime, for which the punishment is death by burning. No one else heard that confession. He’s resolved to prevent her from testifying against him at any cost. Sara is no match for the fugitive’s strength and proficiency in deadly techniques. As the lethal pursuer hunts her, a Tegen enforcer is hunting him.
Despite the risk to her personal safety, Sara can’t ignore a request for help to investigate the suspicious death of an acquaintance’s grandson in New Mexico. Disguised to evade detection, she is making progress in unraveling the jumbled threads of truth when Conner, her crime boss lover, shows up in the same town in the same seedy strip club. He’s there to seal a mysterious business deal with the same nefarious criminals whose misdeeds she is beginning to uncover. Uncertain of whom she can trust, Sara once again turns to Conner.
Will she survive if her deadly immortal enemy tracks her down?
Available at Amazon.com
I Love to Write!
“A fantastic paranormal thriller that expertly blends poisonous spiders, romance, and sinister crimes.”
“Fans of both supernatural fantasy and crime novels are sure to enjoy the blending of genres, which author Inge-Lise Goss does really intelligently…Overall, Tegen Hunt is a well-plotted fantasy adventure with plenty of dark little twists and turns to keep readers entertained from start to finish.”—K. C. Finn, Readers’ Favorite Reviewer
“This whole series is one of the most immensely detailed and engrossing and Sara’s character is one of the most powerful in the genre.”—Rabia Tanveer, Readers’ Favorite Reviewer
“The story is exciting, fast-paced and what I particularly like about it was that the characters, especially the superhero Tegens, were far from perfect and all had their flaws…An excellent read.”—Grant Leishman, Readers’ Favorite Reviewer
“The Tegens are a unique, intriguing species, making this a vastly entertaining series,”—Martha’s Book Reviews