The Pain Season
By Libby Doyle, author of the Covalent Series
The Covalent Series is a sexy urban fantasy that features a murder investigation, battles with demons, and political intrigue on an alien world. At its heart, though, it is a love story between Alexandra “Zan” O’Gara, an intrepid FBI agent, and Rainer Barakiel, a superhuman warrior from another dimension. In Book I, The Passion Season, they meet and fall in love. In Book II, The Pain Season, let’s just say the title is evocative of their states of mind.
In The Passion Season, Book I of the Covalent Series, FBI Agent Alexandra “Zan” O’Gara met Rainer Barakiel when he offered to help the FBI solve a gruesome crime. They fell madly in love, but he didn’t tell her that he’s an exiled alien warrior. Even as he made her feel more connected to life than she’d ever felt, she knew he was hiding things from her. This excerpt is from the beginning of Book II in the series, The Pain Season. Rainer plans to reveal his true nature, but before he has the chance, she is attacked. He has just called her to warn her that his enemies are coming for her.
*** This excerpt from THE PAIN SEASON contains violence and foul language ***
Alexandra O’Gara sat on the couch flipping the pages of a magazine, too nervous to focus on reading. Normally, she liked it when Rainer asked her to wait for him at his place. Compared to her crappy little apartment, the ultra-modern space was an oasis of serenity, its sleek lines warmed by the rich wood of the furniture, the colorful rugs and the bright, abstract paintings. She had started a fire in the massive concrete fireplace despite the warmth of the night. She gazed into the flames.
Her phone buzzed. It was Rainer, talking rapidly, panic in his voice. When the call was over, she put the phone in her lap and stared at the floor.
What the hell?
Rainer’s tone led her to believe she should do as he said. Explanation or no, he wasn’t joking.
So much for my instincts. He must be involved in some criminal enterprise.
She suppressed tears as she pulled her service pistol from her bag. A 9mm Sig Sauer. Rainer had said there would be five assailants. She sent a prayer of thanks out to her FBI partner, Mel, who had insisted she get the Sig that took extra-capacity magazines.
Two twenty-round clips. That should do me.
Zan readied her firearm then ran to the front door. Before she opened it, she heard a vehicle drive into the compound. She looked through the peephole. A box truck.
I’ll never make it to my car. Should I call the police? Do I want to do that to Rainer? Have to explain this to my boss? I can slip out the back.
She remembered what Rainer had said about a defensive position. She decided on the weapons room. Its double doors were sturdy and it had an exit to the back balcony. She ran up the stairs. Once inside the room, she grabbed a pike off the wall and slid it through the handles to prevent the doors from opening. She waited. If they seemed like they could bust through, she would exit to the balcony, jump to the ground and hightail it to her car.
All I can do is hope they don’t leave someone outside to cut off my escape.
Zan opened the south-side window. She heard faint voices, doors slamming, the truck pulling away. She also heard sounds like rabid dogs would make if they were as big as grizzlies. Zan had not been afraid before, operating in some state of unreality, but the sounds brought fear screaming to her mind.
What the hell is that?
She ran to peer through the crack between the weapons room doors. She saw them crash through the front. Five huge, scaly, slobbering monsters with double-sided axes in their hands pushed the heavy wooden doors aside like they were paper.
Oh my god, oh my god. I have gone crazy.
Closing her eyes, Zan tried to breathe, to fight her terror.
Think, soldier. These doors won’t stop them. I’ve got this fucking pea shooter. I need a fucking assault rifle. I need help.
Hands shaking, she dialed 911. The beasts stood near the kitchen table, making guttural noises and sniffing the air before they turned their yellow eyes toward the weapons room. She had to get out of there.
“Hello, 911, what is your emergency?”
Zan spoke as she ran toward the balcony door. “I’m being attacked. Bridge and Richmond streets in Bridesburg.”
“Are you injured, ma’am?”
“No. But I will be if you don’t send a squad car now! Send every squad car in the area! I’m being attacked by monsters!”
Fucking hell. Why did I say that? She thinks I’m a crank.
“Please. Bad people. Monstrous people.” Zan’s voice was weak with fear. “I have to hang up. I have to hide. Please send help.”
She went onto the balcony, climbed over the railing, hung from the ledge and dropped to the ground. She paused with one hand held over her mouth, the gun clutched in the other.
The response time is ten minutes if I’m lucky. I can’t run. I can’t. Who knows how many people those things would kill? I have to stop them.
Zan took a position behind a nearby tree. From inside she heard a crashing sound. The hideous things burst through the balcony door a few seconds later. She ran towards them, pumping bullets into every monster near the railing, outlined as they were by the light from inside. They howled and batted at their chests, but they did not fall. Zan returned to the tree, taking gulps of air as she reloaded.
I’m a dead woman.
The Pain Season is available now at Amazon iBooks Barnes & Noble & Kobo. Although not a cliffhanger, The Pain Season is not a stand-alone novel. The story begins in The Passion Season and will continue in The Vengeance Season coming in 2017.
Libby Doyle is an attorney and former journalist who took a walk around the corporate world and didn’t like it. She escapes the mundane by writing extravagant yarns, filled with sex and violence. She loves absurd humor, travel, punk rock, and her husband. You can discover more about Libby’s world at http://www.libbydoyle.com