Award-winning author Jami Gray kicks off a brand new series with Lying in Ruins. Keep reading for a sneak peek…
‘Interesting friends you have.’
Shaking out a hand, she ignored the pins and needles slowly fading from her fingertips. ‘More of a business acquaintance than a friend.’
Pushing to her feet, she wandered over to the edge Echo disappeared from. Sure enough, the neighbouring building’s roof was close enough to jump to, and if she wasn’t mistaken, there was a roof access door just on the other side of that section to her left. Nice escape route, but not one Charity was comfortable following.
She walked in the opposite direction, ignoring Ruin as he sat and watched her. After peering over the edge, she realised they were on the roof of the graffiti-covered bar. Ruin came up beside her and together they watched as the local militia hauled out a handful of teens and sat them on the kerb in front of the burnt out warehouse.
‘Looks as if some didn’t make it out,’ he noted.
‘I wouldn’t be surprised if they were paid to be caught.’
She could feel the weight of his gaze. ‘Seriously?’
She nodded. ‘It gives everyone else time to get out of the zone.’
‘Huh,’ he sounded thoughtful. ‘Not sure anyone could pay me enough to take the heat for someone else.’
Nope, that wasn’t part of his personality, or hers for that matter, but it was a great tactic. She pushed away from the edge. ‘Well, let’s make it worth their while, shall we?’ She led the way to the back of the roof, as far as they could get from the happenings out front.
Ruin stood at her side. ‘We jumping?’ Dry amusement was evident in his question.
‘Yep.’ The distance from the bar to the building behind it couldn’t be more than six, maybe seven feet. Thankfully, in this area, the buildings were almost stacked on top of each other. Making the jump was still nerve-wracking considering if they missed the other ledge the drop was a good thirty feet.
‘I’ll go first,’ he offered.
‘Okay.’ Not that she wanted to put this off any longer, but it made sense. His reach was longer, and if she misjudged her jump, it might make a difference. The clammy sweat breaking along her spine thought differently, but she’d hold tight to her delusion. For now.
They chose the best path and picked a starting point far enough back to give them the speed they needed. Ruin grabbed her hand, squeezed, then let her go. ‘See ya on the other side, sweet cheeks.’
Before she could respond, he was gone, racing over the roof and launching his body into the air. As he jumped, her breath caught and held, only escaping when he landed in a forward roll. She tried to settle her breathing and pulse, but it was useless. ‘Suck it up, Charity,’ she muttered under her breath, trying unsuccessfully to get her pitching stomach to settle.
On the other building, Ruin stood, waiting.
Gritting her teeth, she darted forward, picking up speed as she raced over the roof. Her foot hit the ledge and using every ounce of strength available, she launched into the air, her stomach freefalling even as she stretched towards Ruin. Her heart seized as her body began its decent. She wasn’t going to make it. Panic clawed for a foothold. She focused on Ruin, who was leaning forward, hands out, reaching for her. She twisted, stretched, and strained.
The world didn’t end in fire and explosions, instead it collapsed slowly, like falling dominoes, an intensifying panic of disease, food shortages, wild weather and collapsing economies, until what remained of humanity battles for survival in a harsh new reality.
Charity uses lethal survival skills learned too early in her work as a ‘Hound, sniffing out pivotal secrets for one of the most powerful people on the west coast. Her work is deceptive, deadly, and best performed solo, which means when she has a run-in with a member of the notorious Fate’s Vultures, she has no intention of joining forces in some mockery of teamwork. The man might be sexy as hell, but she travels alone. She will accomplish her mission and she will settle a score – hopefully with the edge of her blade. But fate has other plans.
As one of Fate’s Vultures, a nomadic band of arbitrators known for their ruthless verdicts, Ruin witnesses the carnage of corruption and greed battering the remnants of humanity, and he bears the scars to prove it. Now he has a damn ‘Hound showing up in suspicious circumstances, leaving every cell of his body sceptical – and painfully aroused. The woman is trouble, and Ruin has every intention of steering clear. But when they realise they have a common enemy, Charity and Ruin will have to set aside their distrust if they want to achieve their mutual goal – justice and revenge.
Sometimes, when the world’s gone to hell, it’s better to stick with the devil you know…
Available June 15.