Newton? Cass gasped and screwed her eyes shut as the cramp hit her calf. She pressed her lips together to quell a moan and dug her fingers into the tight flesh. Her eyes snapped open at the sound of a shrill yelp, and she caught the flash of the blade as Cronus passed it to another robed figure. The man raised a finger to push glasses hidden beneath his hood up on his nose, then raised the knife over his head in a double-handed grip, his maroon robe slithering along his strong arms to puddle around his bare shoulders.
“No way, man! Come on, Greg,” Petchard whined, fear raising his voice nearly an octave as he struggled. “Don’t do this. You don’t have to do this. Come on, man! I thought we were friends.”
“We are,” came a clear voice from inside the hood. “This is the best offer of friendship I can give you, Petchard.” He raised his arms higher, the long blade flashing with the motion, its smooth surface reflecting the fire.
Officer Greg Newton? The question and its attendant horror barely registered as Cass shoved through the prickly bush and into the clearing, gun pointed at the figure with the knife, hobbling on her good leg and dragging the heavy, cramping leg behind her.
“Drop the knife, Newton,” she ordered as his arm began a swift downward arc toward Petchard. Figures whipped around at the sound of her voice, robes swirling, and a scream split the clearing. Time froze. Vision unnaturally clear, Cass followed the sweep of the knife as it fell toward Petchard’s chest. Unconsciously, she registered that Newton had no intention of stopping. She drew a breath as images flashed through her brain past the searing, twisting pain in her leg – Newton guarding Angie’s hospital room; working with Truman on Garrett’s cell phone; leaving the neighborhood where Salter lived right before Cass and Truman arrived. Petchard was a pain in the ass, no doubt, but this was her sworn duty, to protect and defend, even against others who had taken the same vow. For a single heartbeat she hesitated, then released the breath and squeezed the trigger twice.
The gunshots boomed in the space enclosed by the trees. Twin dots pierced his chest and Newton flew back from the table, arms wide, scarlet robe billowing. The knife arced from his hand, hilt over point, glimmering as it caught the firelight before disappearing into the woods. He landed on his back with a thud, a rush of air knocked from his lungs, hood fluttering over a pair of glasses and settling to reveal a creamy chin and neck. Petchard’s eyes followed Newton’s fall and he struggled fiercely against his bindings, tiny sobs slipping from his mouth. Ears buzzing, Cass lurched forward, gun raised, praying that there was more than one Greg Newton in Forney County.
A voice rang out, calm, authoritative. “Jericho.”
At the single word, as one, they dashed from the fire. The clearing swirled with crimson but was oddly silent except for Petchard’s whimpering. Deacon Cronus stood motionless at the foot of the picnic table until another body crashed into his, jolting him from his stunned paralysis. He stumbled to one side, raising his white robe to reveal thick ankles and chubby calves as he stepped over Newton’s body and trundled toward a break in the clearing. The distant sound of engines roaring to life penetrated through the trees.
“Police, Deacon Cronus. Stop right there,” Cass demanded. He lifted a hand to his head, as if to check that his hood was still in place, and quickened his rolling gate.
She called again, ordering him to stop, but he only stretched his hands forward, reaching for a nearby tree. Cass drew another breath, her fingertips tingling, and for the third time in a matter of seconds, she fired.
About The Devil of Light
“This debut effort is further proof that there are undiscovered novelists out there who can more than keep up with the big names. I expect we’ll be hearing more of Gae-Lynn Woods in the future.” — Russell Blake, acclaimed author of The Geronimo Breach, Fatal Exchange, and the Jet series.
A BIZARRE MURDER
When young Detective Cass Elliot responds to a 911 call at the home of a prominent businessman, she finds him violently murdered in the barnyard with his battered wife unconscious near the tool that killed him. Still raw from her own unsolved attack six years ago, Cass is stunned when confronted with graphic photographs scattered across their kitchen floor that lead to a shadowy sect called The Church of the True Believer.
A COVERT WEB OF LIES AND EXPLOITATION
Cass and her partner Mitch Stone delve into a cunning world of blackmail and violence – and find a cult concealed for nearly a century beneath the genteel, small town façade of Arcadia in East Texas. Their investigation triggers a brutal response from powerful men who will protect their identities at any cost. They unleash a ruthless killer whose actions create a media frenzy and destroy the fabric of trust within the police department.
A PERVASIVE EVIL
Cass and Mitch circle closer to the cult’s few members, following a slim lead into a night lit by fire. A night that begins with a blood ritual and ends with Cass holding a man’s life – or death – in her hands and struggling to walk the fine line between vengeance and justice.
About the author
Gae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. The Devil of Light and Avengers of Blood are the first two books in the Cass Elliot crime series. When she’s not playing the roadie, tending to cows, fixing fence, or digging post holes, Gae-Lynn is working on the third Cass Elliot novel and the first book in a series featuring Maxine Leverman, Cass’ best friend, who makes her debut in Avengers of Blood.
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