Variance: The Countdown
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by Cassidy McKay
Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica/Science Fiction
Description: WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU MIX: A SADISTIC SARION SHAPESHIFTING PRINCE, DETERMINED TO STEAL A WOMAN TO BREED AND A YUMMY ALPHA MALE HELL-BENT ON SAVING THE ONE WOMAN DESTINED TO BE HIS MATE WITH A KICK-ASS HEROINE WHO TAKES MATTERS INTO HER OWN HANDS... AND CUTS IT OFF? You get the perfect blend of passion, suspense, murder, desire, mystery and mayhem! The Countdown has begun. In order to save Wynne from the evil Sarion, Brent must put his own life in danger to save his mate. But can he convince Wynne that she is meant to be his? Can he save her from the hordes of shape-shifting monsters that are after her?
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: March 2009
12 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [183 KB]
Reading time: 106-149 min.
"Cassidy McKay has written a true gem in Variance Book 1: The Countdown. This imaginative, spellbinding book held me on the edge of my seat with violent, bloody action, twists and turns, and building tension. This book introduced me to a new, evil shape shifter and those that live to fight them. The Variance. Ms. McKay uses vibrant descriptions of the setting, pulling me in and letting me imagine exactly how everything looked in this world. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced, action and passion packed book and will most definitely me looking for the future books in this series. If you enjoy fast paced action, hot passion, sweet love, and an unimaginable paranormal shifter, then this is a must read for you!"_5 Cherries from Amaranth at Whipped Cream Reviews!
"No, I don't have directions on cooking a turkey, Ma'am. This is 9-1-1. Unless your turkey is on fire and you need the Fire Department to extinguish it, you'll have to call Martha Stewart for recipes." Wynne Fredricks calmly placed the telephone receiver back on the hook and sank her head into her hands. Another long Thanksgiving, and the fruits and nuts were definitely loose tonight.
After seven years of working for the Chance City Police and Fire Departments as a dispatcher, you'd think she'd be used to the weirdos crawling out of the woodwork on holidays and full moons. Sometimes she still couldn't believe the temerity of people.
"Sarge, we've got another live one on 9-1-1! She wanted directions on cooking her turkey!" Wynne announced to her police sergeant in the next room.
"You'd think they'd figure out it's not the Cooking Corner when you answered the phone '9-1-1 Emergency' ... go figure!" Sergeant Chris Hanks answered sarcastically as he entered the dispatch center and leaned against the doorjamb.
"Anything good holding, or just the regular loons tonight?"
"No, nothing interesting," she replied tiredly. The phone rang again, and she handled the routine call as the sergeant walked out the door and called back to her, "I'll be out in the field if you need me."
"And which field would that be? Way out in left field as usual?" She snickered, hanging up the phone as she heard the door close behind him.
Wynne stood and stretched. These twelve-hour shifts were hell on the body. Her five-and-a-half-foot frame twisted and turned as she tried to undo the knots that the long graveyard shift tended to tie her body up into. Full breasts pressed against her light blue uniform shirt, emphasizing her badge and nameplate as they caught the light. She'd been described as 'rounded in all the right places' by a few former boyfriends, but she was comfortable with her body, and happy with the way she looked. Black uniform pants and flat-heeled black shoes that were polished to a shine finished off the uniform. Meticulous about the way she wore her uniforms, she always had them clean and pressed in time for her next shift.
Running her fingers through her wavy, shoulder-length blonde hair, she looked at the clock again, wondering when it had slowed down to a crawl. Chance City was a small department, and not much happened on the graveyard shift, unless it was a cow running loose or a false alarm going off due to the wind. Normally she liked dispatching for the department, but sometimes, especially on holidays when most people were at home spending it with their families, she wished she had more to go home to.
An educated, single woman living alone in the small town of Chance City was pretty much a rarity. Rural life being the norm, most people married their childhood sweethearts at a young age. The available men around these parts didn't seem to have what Wynne needed in her life, so she turned most of her interest toward her job and figured it just wasn't meant to be.
"Dispatch, we've got another cow loose on Main Street. Looks like Bessie broke through the fence again. Can you call Drew Brown and have him come get her before she eats the daisies in front of City Hall again?" Officer Martin called in on his police radio.
"Copy that, Bravo Two, you're in pursuit of a brown cow southbound on Main Street," she replied over the radio with a laugh in her voice. She picked up the phone and dialed Drew's number, memorized many years ago when the recalcitrant cow first developed the habit of jaywalking down Main Street.
"Bravo Two, he's en route, ETA is fifteen minutes. Do you require backup?" Wynne said to the officer over the radio. Her bright blue eyes twinkled as she laughed at the eccentricities of country life.
The phone rang again, someone asking if a lost dog had been found. Wynne gave the caller the number of the county animal shelter, and started collecting routine paperwork to be entered into the computer as she hung up.
Monotony reigned supreme, and her eyelids grew heavy as the phone rang again. She straightened and cut off a yawn as she answered the business phone line. "Chance City Police Department, may I help you?"
"Is this where I report a crime?" a deep, raspy male voice asked calmly on the other end of the line.
"Yes, sir, it is. What are you reporting?" she asked.
"I want to report a murder," he said quietly.
"Excuse me? Did you say a murder, sir?"
"Yes, I want to report a murder," he said even quieter.
Wynne sat up in her chair and her weariness was instantly gone. Cops and firefighters lived for these adrenaline rushes, and dispatchers received their fair share, too.
"Sir, what is your name, and where and when did this happen?"
"You will know when the ritual has begun. This is the first of many sacrifices. Start counting, Wynne." The line went dead.
Damn these back country PDs. No sophisticated equipment yet. It was 1985, for goodness sake! Heck, she was surprised they weren't still using rotary phones; it was so hard to get new equipment here.
"Bravo One, return to the station ASAP," she called her sergeant over the radio. Now this wasn't the usual humdrum call she normally received, even during a full moon.
"What's up, Wynne?" the sergeant called as he walked in the front door of the station a few minutes later.
"Sarge, I think you need to hear this call I just got." Wynne rewound the instant playback tape and pressed play.
The sergeant listened quietly, chewing on a knuckle as he heard the raspy voice.
"That sounds weird. Has he called back? Must have had too many Thanksgiving blessings, it sounds like."
"No, the call came in just before I called you in. Something just doesn't seem right about it. I can't pinpoint it, Sarge, but I don't think it's your run-of-the-mill prank call. Something about his voice, it..." She broke off and shook her head. "I don't know. And he called me by name. I didn't tell him my name."
"Forget it, Wynne. I wouldn't start worrying about it unless he tosses a body on the doorstep of the station." The sergeant was a nineteen-year veteran of the police department, and retirement was still a few years off. His 'been there, done that' attitude calmed Wynne as she took her cue from the more experienced officer.
Wynne laughed and tried to put it out of her mind. Without a way to identify the caller, or call him back, she was pretty much stuck. She and Sergeant Hanks shared a few jokes and he watched over the phones while she took a quick break to go to the restroom while it was quiet. In this business, she took her breaks while she could. She never knew when her next one might be.
"Thanks, Sarge," Wynne told him as she returned. He turned around in the chair and smiled as he rose to go back to his office and finish up some paperwork.
"Sure, no problem Wynne," he said. He'd gotten the promotion to sergeant just before Wynne had moved to town, and had been her supervisor on many shifts. They worked well together and were friends both on and off-duty.
"Hey, Sarge, are you and Tammy going out again any time soon? I'd be happy to babysit those three hellions of yours again while you go to a movie." Wynne smiled, remembering the times she'd babysat for Chris and his wife in the past.
"I might just take you up on that, Wynne. It's nice to have a little 'alone time' with Tammy once in awhile," he said, as he walked out the door.
Wynne sat back down, staring broodingly at the phones, haunted by the eerie certainty in that last caller's voice. Something was going to happen, she could just feel it. God, she hated holidays. * * * *