Title: Carbon Replacements
Author: Reily Garrett
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Publication Date: September 9th, 2018
Reily is a West Coast girl transplanted to the opposite shore. When sheâs not working with her dogs, you can find her curled up with a book or writing her next story. Past employment as an ICU nurse, private investigator, and work in the military police has given her countless experiences in a host of different environments to add a real world feel to her fiction.
Over time, and several careers, many incidents have flavored the plots of her stories. Manâs cruelty and ingenuity for torment and torture is boundless, not contained by an infinite imagination. Witnessing the after-effects of a teenager mugged at knifepoint for a pair of tennis shoes, or an elderly woman stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver for no apparent reason, left an indelible impression that will forever haunt her subconscious. In counterpoint, she has observed a woman stop her vehicle in severe, snowy weather to offer her own winter coat to a stranger, a teenager wearing a threadbare hoodie. Lifeâs diversities are endless.
Though her kids are her life, writing is Reilyâs life after. The one enjoyed after the kids are in bed or after theyâre in school and the house is quiet. This is the time she kicks back with laptop and lapdog to give her imagination free rein.
In reading, take pleasure in a mental pause as you root for your favorite hero/heroine and bask in their accomplishments, then share your opinions of them over a coffee with your best friend (even if heâs four-legged). Life is short. Cherish your time.
Digital Velocity: https://amzn.to/2wwz8yO
Bound by Shadows: https://amzn.to/2C3PiEV
Inconclusive Evidence: https://amzn.to/2PSOHsA
Carbon Replacements: https://amzn.to/2NDUgJQ
âWendy, Iâm t-tellinâ you, the manâs a serial killer. He has the body of a Greek God, but his mind is full of squirming maggots.â Gena stifled a sob with a shaking hand, her body wedging back against the driverâs door after twisting to face her roommate beside her. âHeâs more depraved than any fucker weâve ever crossed, and heâs going to find me.â Aftereffects of the adrenaline rush magnified tremors in her fingers and lips while increasingly shallow breaths expelled carbon dioxide faster than her body could produce it. No doubt, the by-products of dizziness, cramps, and weakness crept into her awareness. Fear-sweat on her forehead glistened from distant flashes of lightning.
âHey, slow down. Take a deep breath. Youâre new to this and easily spooked. Just because men are pigs doesnât mean theyâre murderers. Take the money he gave you and donât see him again. Change your number. Lay low for a bit.â Wendy startled with the repetitive crash of thunder reverberating in the Hondaâs dark and eerie confines. âCan I at least see whatâs got your panties in a twist?â She reached for the black cloth covering her friendâs evidence only to be pushed away.
âOh God, Wendy. I shouldnât have dragged you and Remie out here tonight. The creep knows Iâm a sophomore, but I didnât tell him which college. I donât want him to find either of you.â
âShit, Gena. I may be a student, but I can take care of myself.â A note of uncertainty snaked through Wendyâs voice.
From the back seat, Remie contemplated the windâs increasing fury, so like her own, sweeping, all encompassing, erratic. Parked along a deserted back road hours before dawn didnât equate to a tranquil setting when listening to accusations of murder. I shouldâve brought my dog. Buckeye wouldâve waited in the SUV. Sheâd just moved back to Portland and lacked the normal discreet channels of investigation derived from time-developed working relationships. Not that Iâve figured out what the problem is yet.
Small raindrops pattering the passenger window progressed to a heavy deluge that silvered with the dashboardâs ambient light. It was a perfect night to snuggle under a blanket with a cup of cocoa and a scary book. Living the scenario brought the rancid taste of bile scalding Remieâs throat.
âGirls, you know Iâm a doctor, not a cop, right? What happened to toning life down to live like normal human beings? No more adrenaline junkie. Gena, itâs not like you need the money for tuition. Jesus, if your parents knew what you were doing for thrills, it would kill them both.â Years of schooling in forensic pathology aged Remie decades in the eyes of college girls too naÃ¯ve to avoid such foolish and dangerous behavior. More than ten years difference thrust her into the role of adopted mentor to the neighborhood wild child with crazy tattooed on her brain.
âJesus. Iâm so sorry, Remie. You spent a night in the hospital last week after wrecking your car. You donât need this.â Unspoken recriminations gathered around Gena like a smoldering blanket, the flameless combustion withering her resolve.
âIâm fine. The few scrapes and bruises have already healed.â
âI figured a few tricks for kicks, no harm. Itâs not like I donât use condoms, and weâve only done it a couple times.â
âThe harm is that there are real nutjobs out there. Deranged people you do not want to meet. Trust me. I see the results of their work every day during necropsies. Itâs what I doâ¦ remember?â Visions of Gena lying on a cold slab while an ME separated the upper part of her cranium to create a removable skullcap strengthened Remieâs determination to see the situation resolved.
âRoomie, what makes you think he was a killer? Did he threaten you? Did you see a gun?â Wendy laid a calming hand on her roommateâs arm. âHell, everybody has guns these days. Iâve got a .357 stashed in my bedside table. Let some psycho come to my dorm looking for easy targetsâheâll get a hollow-point surprise.â
Gena, the cute little kid from the farm next door with wide hazel eyes and curly brown hair had grown up with a nose for trouble, yet usually lacked affiliation with high drama. With the start of the spring semester, the risky escapades shouldâve ceased.
âWhile he was in the can, I picked the lock on his briefcase, thinking he was some kind of lawyer or something.â If not for the frightened gaze bouncing between the proof clenched in her fingers and the nebulous woods on either side of the lonely road, Gena couldâve been any college student recounting a dicey hazing ritual. The tone and pitch of her voice increased when she unfolded the fabric covering her stolen treasure. âI saw syringes full of something, along with empty containers, and these. I also found alcohol swabs and betadine solution. Who carries betadine in a briefcase?â
âYou stole from a John? Are you crazy?â Wendy snatched the wooden box with a huff and a groan.
Detailing around the containerâs top edge included an intricate inlay bearing a darker grain. Similar designs decorated urns. âYou better hope we can return them before he notices theyâre gone. Where did you hook up?â
Wendy slid the lid back on the six-by-six inch square. The smooth glide on concealed grooves further testament to the boosted prizeâs value.
Shadows shielded the contents from Remieâs view.
Wendyâs high-pitched scream rendered the burgeoning storm to white noise, instinctual awareness hurling the boxâs contents against the windshield. Their arc proved too fast to visually track. Two pink lumps, small and irregularly shaped, formed the basis for a new nightmare.
The rattle and thump of the container ended when it landed perched on the steering wheel, upside down.
âFuck! What the hell are those?â First medical school, then forensic pathology, enlightened Remie to evilâs worst-case scenarios. Her mom once said that after indoctrination, nothing new would appear under the sun. Whoever created this mayhem transcended anything evolved from humanityâs convoluted gene pool.
A sudden gust of wind and rain blew in as the driverâs door flew open. Gena lurched forward and hunched away from the torrent of slashing storm riding the invading cool blast. Her descent into hell included a flash of silver and guttural laugh.