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Much of the city can't wake up. And more are dozing off each day.
Instead of powerful forces storming Seattle,
a more insidious invasion is happening.
Most of Joanne Walker's fellow cops are down
with the blue flu—or rather the blue sleep. Yet
there's no physical cause anyone can point to—and it keeps spreading.
It has to be magical, Joanne figures. But what's up with the crazy dreams that hit her
every time she closes her eyes? Are they being sent
by Coyote, her still-missing spirit guide? The messages just aren't clear.
Somehow Joanne has to wake up her sleeping
friends while protecting those still awake,
figure out her inner-spirit dream life and, yeah,
come to terms with these other dreams she's
having about her boss....
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
C.E. Murphy is the author of more than twenty books—along with a number of novellas and comics. Born in Alaska, currently living in Ireland, she does miss central heating, insulation and—sometimes--snow but through the wonders of the internet, her imagination and her close knit family, she’s never bored or lonely. While she does travel through time (sadly only forward, one second at a time) she can also be found online at www.cemurphy.net or @ce_murphy on TwitterExcerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Tuesday, July 5, 8:58 a.m.
Someone had driven a tire iron into my skull. I could tell, because centered in my left temple was a vast throbbing pain that could only come from desperate injury. It felt like there were a thousand vicious gnomes leaping up and down on the iron, trying to increase the size of the hole in my head. I had the idea that once it was split open far enough, they would run down the length of metal and dive into the soft, gooey gray matter of my brain and have themselves a little gnomish pool party.
Neither of my eyes would open. I fumbled a hand up to poke at them and encountered sufficient goo that I took a moment to consider the possibility that the gnomes were already in my head, had overfilled it and were now flowing out my sinuses and tear ducts. It wasn't a pretty thought.
Then again, nothing could be a pretty thought when someone'd smashed a tire iron into my head.
I rolled my fingers across my eyelashes, trying to work some of the ook out of them. My heart was beating like a rabbit on speed, except when it paused with an alarming little arrhythmia that made me start hyperventilating. I hoped I was dying, because anything else seemed anticlimactic with all that going on. Besides, I had some experience with dying. It was kind of old hat, and so far it hadn't stuck.
Unlike my eyes. I physically pried one open with my fingers. The red numbers on my alarm clock jumped into it and stabbed it with white-hot pokers. I whimpered and let it close again, wondering why the hell I was in my bed, if I was dying. Usually I found myself dying in more exotic locations, like diners or city parks.
A whisper of memory drifted through my brain in search of something to attach itself to. The department's Fourth of July picnic had been the day before. I'd attended, feeling saucy and cute in a pair of jeans shorts and a tank top. I'm five foot eleven and a half. Cute and I are not generally on speaking terms, so the feeling had been a novel one and I'd been enjoying it. The outfit had shown off a rare tan and the fact that I'd lost twelve pounds in the past few months, and I'd gotten several compliments. Those were as rare as me rubbing elbows with cute, so it'd been a good day.
Which did nothing to explain how it had ended with a tire iron separating the bones of my cranium. I walked my fingers over the left side of my head, cautiously. My fingers encountered hair too short to be tangled, but no tools of a mechanic's trade. I pressed my hand against my temple, admiring how nice and cool it felt against the splitting headache, and the memory found something to attach itself to.
Morrison. My boss. Smiling fatuously down at a petite redhead in Daisy Mae shorts that hugged her va-va-va-voomit'd sounded like an awfully good idea. I tried to close my eyes in a pained squint, but I'd never gotten them open, so I only wrinkled them and felt crusty goo crinkle around my lashes.
The only other thing I remember clearly was a bunch of guys from the shop swooping down on me as they—each— bore a fifth of Johnnie Walker. With my last name being Walker, they figured me and Johnnie must be cousins and that gave me a leg up on them. I was pretty sure my leg up had turned into a slide down the slow painful descent of hangover hell.
I gave up on rubbing my eyes and prodding my head, and instead flopped my arm out to the side with a heartfelt grunt.
Unfortunately, the grunt wasn't mine.
It turned out my eyes were willing to come open after all, with sufficient force behind the attempt. I wasn't sure I had eyelashes left after the agony of ripping through loaded-up sleep, but at least the subsequent tears did something to wash away some of the goop. I was out of bed and halfway across the room with a slipper in hand, ready to fling it like the deadly weapon it wasn't, when I noticed I wasn't wearing any clothes.
Neither was the blurry-eyed guy who'd grunted when I'd smacked him. At least not on his upper half. He pushed up on his elbows while I scrubbed at my eyes with my free hand. I'd gone to sleep with my contacts in, which partly explained why there was such a lot of gunk in my lashes, but I didn't believe what my twenty-twenty vision was telling me. I was pretty certain the goo had to be impairing it somehow, because—
—because damn, sister! "Easy on the eyes" didn't cover it. He was so easy on the eyes that they just sort of rolled right off him as precursor to a girl turning into a puddle of—
All right, there was way too much goo going on in my morning. "Who the hell are you?" I demanded, then coughed. I sounded like I'd been on a three-day drunk. In my defense, I knew it wasn't more than a one-night drunk, but Jesus.
"Mark," he said in a sleepy, good-natured sort of rumble, and grinned at me. "Who're you?"
"What're you doing here?" I asked instead of answering. He arched one eyebrow and looked my naked self over, then lifted the covers a few inches to inspect his own lower half.
"I'd say I'm havin' a real good night." He grinned again and flopped back onto my bed, arms folded behind his head. His hair was this amazing color between blond and brown, not dishwater, but glimmering with shadows and streaks of light. His folded-back arms displayed smoothly muscular triceps. Who ever heard of someone having noticeably beautiful triceps, for heaven's sake? The puff of hair in his armpits was, at least, an ordinary brown and not waxed away. That would've been more than I could handle.
"So who're you?" he asked again, pleasantly. More than pleasantly. More like the cat who'd stolen the cream, eaten the canary and then knocked the dog out of the sunbeam so he could loll in it undisturbed.
For a moment I was tempted to open the curtains so I could see if he'd stretch out and expose his belly to the morning sunlight. God should be so good as to give every woman such a view once in her life.
The thing was—well, there were many things. Many, many things and all of them led back to me being unable to think of the last time I'd done something so astoundingly stupid.
No, that wasn't true. I knew exactly the last time I'd done something so astoundingly stupid. I'd been fifteen, and I'd have hoped the intervening thirteen years of experience would be enough to keep me from doing it again. Only I hadn't been shitface drunk then, and if the God who was kind enough to provide the gorgeous man in my bed was genuinely kind, there wouldn't be the same consequences there'd been then.
The point was, Mark was so far out of my league it wasn't even funny. I didn't think I'd said that out loud until he pushed up on an elbow again and looked me over a second time before saying, "I beg to differ," in a mildly affronted tone. Then curiosity clearly got the better of him as he sat all the way up, drawing his knees up and looping his arms around them as he squinted at me. He had a tattoo on his right shoulder, a butterfly whose colors were so bright it had to be new. His biceps were magnificent. He had smooth sleek muscle where most people didn't even have flab. It was like he took up more space than he really ought to.
Which, in my experience, suggested he probably wasn't human.
I didn't realize I'd said that out loud, either, until he threw his head back and laughed, then scooted around on my bed like he belonged there, giving me a curious grin. "What is your name?" "Joanne," I finally answered. "Joanne Walker. SPD," I added faintly, for no evident reason. Maybe I thought announcing I worked for the police department would provide me with some kind of physical shielding.
It struck me that clothes would be a lot more effective in that arena. Still clutching my slipper as a weapon, I scampered for the bathroom and pulled my rarely used robe off the door.
"I'm pleased to make your acquaintance, Joanne Walker," he called after me. I stuck my head out the door incredulously.
"Is that what you call it?"
"What should I call it?" He shrugged, a beautiful movement like glass flowing. "I'm gettin' a kinda freaked-out vibe from you, ma'am. You want I should vacate the premises?"
"I want you should tell me you had rubbers in your wallet and you don't anymore, and that you've got a nice clean blood test in your hip pocket. I'll think about the rest of it after that." I retreated into the bathroom again and poked through the garbage nervously. Funny what strikes a girl as relieving in the midst of mental crisis. Having a naked guy whose name I barely knew in my bed would normally be more than enough reason to come apart at the seams, but oh no. Give me a little evidence of safe sex despite drunken revelry and it seemed I could handle the naked guy.
Pity there was no such evidence. Despite that, my hind brain announced it wouldn't half mind handling the naked guy. More than once. Which, in fact, I could only presume that I had.
Augh. "Sorry," he said. "Still got three in my wallet."
Three. I stopped poking around in the garbage to stare though the wall at him. "Confident, aren't you?"
I heard a grin come into his drawl: "Looks like I got cause, ma'am. I had five to begin with," he added cheerfully. I lurched to the door so I could stare at him more effectively. I'd developed some unusual skills lately, but X-ray vision hadn't been one of them.
"Are you serious?"
"No," he said, still cheerfully. "Sorry, ma'am."
Jesus. I didn't remember the last time I got laid, or more accurately, I remembered in exquisite, precise detail, and now it appeared I'd missed an all-nighter of action thanks to way, way too much whiskey in the jar. That was wrong on so many levels I didn't even know where to begin.
"Stop calling me ma'am." For some reason I found the ma'aming kind of charming, and I wasn't sure I wanted to be charmed. I wasn't sure what I wanted at all. All my base impulses were to throw the guy out and hide under the bed until it all went away. It'd been an app...
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Luna, 2007. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0373802722
Book Description Luna, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB0373802722
Book Description Luna. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0373802722 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0112052
Book Description Luna, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Original. Seller Inventory # DADAX0373802722