Series: Were-Leopard Series Book 1 Genre: Crime, Fantasy Publisher: Azure Spider Publications Publication Date: September 15, 2018
Spine-tingling were-leopard fun
Leopard’s Daughter is a markedly original crime novel with elements of the occult. In a world where vampires and werewolves exist, but are extremely rare, Bobby Sandar, his wife, Olivia, and their two oldest children are were-leopards. Bobby and Olivia are Secret Service agents. Following Bobby’s death, Olivia feels the need for a fresh start. She takes a job as a detective in the sheriff’s department of a rural western county. Olivia’s first assignment is to go undercover as an exotic dancer in a nightclub run by gangsters. She has to battle mobbed-up criminals, a terrorist leader who is aware of Olivia’s history and abilities, and human traffickers to save her family and herself.
“That’ll just give them one more hostage,” Kardmelli protested.
“I can be very persuasive,” Olivia said with a feral grin.
Kardmelli stepped back and shivered. The hairs on his arms and legs stood straight up. The pulse on his neck was beating a mile a minute. Nickford was standing hunched over with his eyes wide open and his lower jaw hanging down.
I scared the crap out of both of them, Olivia thought. Nickford looks as if he’s about to pee his pants.
Kardmelli started to speak, but then had to clear his throat. “We’ll do whatever you want,” he said.
“You are ready to do what we asked?” an accented voice asked when Kardmelli buzzed the galley with the intercom.
“We have a woman who wants to speak with you.”
“You know what we want. We will not talk to anyone else, especially a woman!”
“Please just let her in to talk to you. She won’t be armed. What can another five minutes matter?”
There was a brief pause, and the voice said, “She wants to come in here? We will allow that, but five minutes is all she will get until time starts again.”
“You must assure me you’ll allow her to leave if you cannot come to an agreement,” Kardmelli said in mild attempt to remove suspicion of a trap.
“Of course, of course,” the voice said. Olivia knew he was lying. He wouldn’t want to pass up the opportunity to get one more hostage.
Olivia entered the galley, now very crowded with eight people in it. The door was slammed shut behind her by a man holding a gun. The captain was lying on the floor, clearly dead, with his throat slashed. So much for their promise to release him. Two of the attendants were crying, being watched over by a second man, standing to the side, wielding a knife. The third attendant, more defiant, was being held by a third terrorist who had one arm wrapped around her body and a knife to her neck. He relaxed slightly when he saw how small the new hostage was.
Olivia quickly assessed the situation, and decided she could probably handle it without changing and all the crap that would ensue if a leopard were to suddenly appear, apparently out of nowhere. She took two steps toward the man holding the attendant. He looked her over. An evil grin came to his face.
Moving so fast she was a blur, Olivia grasped the arm holding the knife, twisting it and breaking the wrist, grabbed the knife as it fell, and plunged it into the man’s heart. She shoved the body toward the man with the gun, and leaped toward the third man, who was too stunned to react immediately. She took hold of his head using both hands and twisted violently, snapping his spinal column. She caught his knife before it hit the floor and threw it at the terrorist with the gun, now entangled with his dead companion.
He ducked away from the flying knife. That gave Olivia time to move forward, grab his gun, and yank it out of his hand, dislocating his elbow in the process. He screamed in pain. Before he could react in any other way, she broke both of his clavicles with a two-handed karate chop, keeping him alive for questioning, but rendering him helpless.
“Holy Mary Mother of God,” one of the attendants murmured. Her eyes were opened wide. Her pupils were dilated. She was taking deep breaths and her hands were shaking. Beads of sweat were on her face, even though the room was cool. “Who are you?” she croaked.
“Secret Service,” Olivia replied as she opened the galley door.
November 28 – December 11, 2018
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About Stephen J. Tillman
Stephen Tillman is an Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Wilkes University, where he taught for forty-two years, and holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Brown University. As most scholars of mathematics, Stephen has always dreamed of writing a novel. Although he started writing fiction relatively late in life, he is still younger than the folk artist Grandma Moses when she began her artistic career. Stephen is an avid reader of mysteries and science fiction and has published short stories in both genres.