Sam Cheever Gives you Frog and Cat – Oh, and Mystery!

Apple Trees and Frog Pee

It isn’t every day that you find yourself staring at a frog’s squishy butt bulging from the underside of a sink drain. I would have felt better if I’d believed it would never happen again. However, because I appeared to be frog-cursed, there was a strong possibility I’d eventually end up lying on my back under the sink, eyeing the posterior region of Mr. Slimy again.

Sighing, I gave the squishy bulk a tentative poke with my finger, earning a forlorn, “Ribbit!” for my efforts. Something trickled downward, hitting my cheek and dripping down to the paper towel I had draped under my head to keep “under the sink” cooties off my hair.

I realized, too late, what had just dripped on me.

“Argh!” I shoved out from under the sink and bent over while grabbing frantically for more paper towel to wipe frog pee off my cheek. “I can’t believe it!”

The figure lounging against my refrigerator grinned. “You shouldn’t poke a stressed frog, Naida.”

I glared at the source of almost all my problems.

Okay, I know I previously said that about Mr. Wicked, my adorable kitten who was probably better at being an artifact keeper than I was. But I’d reassessed the players and decided Rustin Quilleran, former witch and current frog squatter, was definitely more trouble than my sweet little kitten.

I mean, Wicked was curled up on his pillow, purring happily.

Rustin was driving a fat frog bus that got itself jammed in my drain and peed on my face.

I’ll let you do the math.

“Not funny. You need to keep a better lock on the contents of your bladder.”

His grin widened. “I think you have a mistaken view of my ability to control your wedged friend,” he told me. “I’m just a passenger on that particular bus.”

Which, normally I’d be happy about. I mean, when Rustin had gotten stuck in the frog because of a spell his horrible family had performed, I’d felt terrible. We’d tried everything to get him out of there. But, in the end, the evil Jacob Quilleran had interfered, making certain poor Rustin didn’t escape the fate Jacob had locked him into.

I still hadn’t found out why Rustin’s Uncle Jacob had felt the need to lock him in a frog.

Rustin wasn’t being very forthcoming with the information.

I hurried past him, into my bathroom, where I put soap onto the wet paper towel and scrubbed my cheek until I was in danger of removing a layer of skin cells along with the frog pee.

“What are you doing here, then? Standing there laughing isn’t helping at all.”

Rustin shrugged. “I was bored. Your life is generally good for a few laughs. I’m happy to report that this morning has been no exception.”

I barely resisted zapping him with my almost worthless keeper magics. I pretty much had only enough oomph in my zapper to curl someone’s hair or make them pee themselves.

Trust me when I tell you I’d had enough of making stuff pee for the day.

Flinging the soiled paper towel into the trash, I glared at him. “I’m so glad I could entertain.”

“Me too.” His grin never wavered.

A part of me was happy to see it. I’d been so worried that Rustin would lose his humanity because of his enforced incarceration in the frog. But his cousin Maude and his very powerful Aunt Madeline had been working on reversing the spell. They hadn’t managed yet to free him. But they’d created a metaphysical barrier between Mr. Slimy’s ─ a.k.a. the frog’s ─ consciousness and Rustin’s so he could maintain his power, brain capacity, and humanity…basically his soul.

That was as good a result as we could have hoped for under the circumstances.

Even though that meant, as Mr. Slimy’s current foster parent, I was also the unlucky owner of the ethereally handsome and eternally snarky witch who was stuck inside the frog.

You thought I was kidding about the challenges of my life, didn’t you?

The bell jangled downstairs in my bookstore, and I glanced at my stuck amphibian.

“Ribbit.” Slimy’s sticky tongue snapped out and snagged a massive fly that had tried to make a break for the window above the sink.

Sucker.

I looked at Rustin. “Keep an eye on the squishy, green bus. I have to go see who’s downstairs.”

He nodded, casting what appeared to be an affectionate glance toward Mr. Slimy.

I shook my head. How anybody could be fond of a frog was beyond me.

Although, I realized as I bounced down the steps to the first floor, that I’d begun to form an attachment which transcended disgust. In fact, I almost dreaded the day Madeline managed to find a way to extract her nephew. I was going to miss him.

Unlocking the door that separated the bookstore from the artifact library behind me, I blinked in surprise.

Had I just had a Freudian moment? Was I going to miss the witch? Or the frog?

I shrugged, shoving the question aside for another time. It would probably be an easy choice.

I mean, one of them just peed on me.

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Romantic New Thriller Suspense by Sam Cheever

pursuingelena-1800

Praise for Pursuing Elena:

“This remarkable book will take you on a journey of pain, hope and LOVE from beginning to end.”

“…twists I never saw coming with a suspenseful story line that kept me on the edge of my seat.”

Get your copy now:books2read.com/u/4DA0zg

Excerpt:

Erik pulled Elena across the office and shoved her behind a heavy, burgundy velvet curtain, pushing in behind her just as the office door opened. Elena stiffened as he wrapped his arms around her waist and lowered his head, whispering. “Not a sound.”

She barely allowed herself to breathe. Every time she pulled air into her lungs, his clean, male scent entered her system and ran amok, creating a pool of need in her belly that was hard to ignore. Elena closed her eyes, her usual balls-to-the-wall style failing her as her body became almost painfully aware of every hard line of his tall, sexy frame pressed against her. She grew slowly cognizant of a sharp pain in her back, like something hard digging into her. She shifted slightly to get away from it and was punished with a big, warm hand spreading over her belly, pulling her more tightly against him.

Then another hardness started to bother her. She closed her eyes and prayed the guard would leave soon. Because Erik’s hand was making slow, deliberate circles over her belly and need was becoming a tight coil in her sexual core.

Beyond their velvet and lust prison, the guard’s footsteps were soft thumps on the thick carpet, his flashlight playing across the chaotic remnants of Phillip Osgood’s office. They could watch him move through the office from his reflection in the window glass. He was a short, roundish form with nondescript features, but he held a large flashlight in one hand and a radio crackled on his waistband.

Elena watched as the bright arc of light skimmed over the desk and stilled, the light illuminating the small drawer she’d laid on top.

She silently scolded herself for her carelessness. She’d assumed that, with all the other mess in the room, the guard wouldn’t even notice.

Judging by the movement of footsteps across the room…directly toward them…she’d been wrong. The radio crackled and a voice came over the line. “Everything okay, Ed? I was expecting you to check in five minutes ago.”

The flashlight swept the floor behind the desk, slithered over the chair Elena had shoved back, and danced inexorably toward the curtain where they hid.

Moving as slowly as she could with discovery breathing down their necks, Elena pulled her feet back and all but held her breath.

Erik’s hand slipped around to his back, where Elena had no doubt his gun was holstered.

The guard moved around the desk and stood looking down at the drawer. His labored breathing scraped through the silence, so close Elena expected to feel it on her face. He breathed with a wet, raspy kind of resonance which told Elena he was out of shape and that he was either a smoker or was coming down with a cold.

Either way she figured she could take him before he could report them to the voice on the other end of the radio. Her eyes on the guard’s form in the glass, she tightened her grip on her gun and then stopped, pulling air into her lungs and forcing herself to relax. She began to picture her attack in her mind.

A glide sideways, emerging from the curtain on the outside, away from Erik. She’d lift her gun and point it at the guard as she moved closer, demanding that he take his hand off his radio. Then with one, swift motion, she’d take the radio with her free hand and clock him over the head with the other.

The only fly in the ointment was Erik. And he was a big, damn fly. Because she knew he’d never let her risk a direct confrontation. He’d take a bullet himself before he allowed that. Her suspicions were confirmed as his arm around her waist tightened, snugging her up against him even as his other arm extended toward the edge of the heavy drape.

In the glass, the guard reached for his radio, pulled it free and lifted it toward his face.

The snap of controlled electricity broke the silence, the flashlight beam shot toward the ceiling and then slammed downward, and the guard jerked twice before falling, his radio flying out of his hand.

Erik stepped from behind the drape and reached out, snagging the radio with his right hand as he shoved the Taser back into his pants with the other. “Let’s go. The other guard will be here in about two minutes.”

They ran toward the outer office and ducked back through the glass doors. The up arrow beside the elevator down the hall lit up as they hit the stairwell at an all-out run. They sprinted down the stairs to the third floor. After checking the hallway to make sure it was empty, they emerged from the stairwell and tore down the hall to the office they’d originally breached. Elena stepped quickly through the window onto the ledge and started moving toward the front of the building. Erik emerged behind her. She could hear the soft scrape of his boots against the concrete.

A bright light came on below and an alarm sounded inside the building.

Elena forced herself not to panic as men with guns spilled from the front door and spread out around the grounds to the sound of shouted orders. She stopped and pressed back against the wall, just out of range of the security light that spread a golden cocoon over the front entrance.

Erik did the same, his broad chest heaving from the effort of running down the narrow ledge without falling.
She turned to him, shrugging slightly. “Oops.”

He shook his head but she noted the slight twitch of his wide mouth that told her he wasn’t totally unamused. “I don’t suppose you had a Plan B when you decided to do this?” he whispered.

She grinned, shaking her head. “I rarely need more than one plan.”

His brows lifted. “And yet…”

“This was your fault. If I’d been alone I’d have been fine.” The guilty memory of a misplaced desk drawer and chair swept through her mind but she pushed them aside. A soldier never second guessed her mission. The only option was to move forward and complete the operation.

Erik pulled something black from the waistband of his jeans and she frowned. Surely he wasn’t going to try to use the Taser from three floors up. Even if he hit one of the dozen men running around below them, they’d still have eleven guards with guns to deal with.

Elena tried to remember how many bullets she had left in her gun. Had she remembered to reload it before leaving home?

She jumped as Erik’s voice sounded next to her. “Intruders spotted on the south side of the building,” he said into the radio. “I repeat, intruders spotted running toward Elm Street on the south side of the building.”

He shoved the radio back into his jeans and jerked his head toward the corner. “Let’s move, DeVitis. There’s a piece of chocolate pie and a cup of coffee waiting for me at the diner down the street.”

Elena peered around the corner and saw that all but one guy had taken the bait and fled to the South side. It wouldn’t take them long to discover the ruse and they’d be back. She would have to take her chances with the one guy.

Slipping around the corner, Elena ran along the ledge, keeping an eye on the bulky guard standing on the outside edge of the light. The orange glow of a lit cigarette flaring into the night told Elena all she needed to know about the guy’s attention span. He was taking a break while his buddies chased down the bad guys.

She smiled, knowing his break was about to turn bad.

She quickly descended from the third floor, using the uneven bricks at the corner of the structure. As soon as her feet hit the ground, she crouched down, watching the guard as Erik slipped down behind her.

When Erik’s feet hit the ground he whistled softly and they tucked themselves into the shadows as the guard’s head jerked up, the cigarette bobbling between his lips.

Elena could envision cartoon bubbles above the man’s head as he considered what he should do next.

What’s this?

Who’s whistling at me?

Maybe I should investigate?

The guard’s head swiveled as if he were looking for someone else to do the job and then, when no cavalry appeared on the horizon, he reluctantly dropped his cigarette butt and ground it out before heading their way. The beefy guard held his pistol down by his side, his gaze narrowing as the shadows began to obscure his view of the ground around the base of the building.

He stopped a few feet away as if he sensed they were there and, as he reached for his radio, Erik shot him with the Taser. Elena and Erik pulled the guard’s twitching form into the bushes and took off running toward the fence. If they were really lucky Elena’s makeshift ladder would still be in place.

If not, well, Elena would have to use her yummy assistant as a ladder.

A not altogether unpleasant option.

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Have you read Book 1 in the exciting La Fortuna DeVitis series? It’s only $0.99 now:

revealingnicola-300 Nicola is just minding her own business, out for a fun night with her friends, when a man with a bedroom voice and deliciously broad shoulders decides she’s someone she isn’t. A heartbeat later, before she even has a chance to make sense of being called by another woman’s name, she finds herself flung over one of those broad shoulders and thrown into an existence that includes a lot of running for her life, dodging bullets, and realizing she’s the victim of a lifetime’s worth of secrets.

Franco has a very difficult job. He’s supposed to protect a strong willed heiress from the conspiracy that has plagued her entire life. Unfortunately, in pursuit of that goal, he accidentally grabs the wrong person. A woman whose feisty nature and insistence that she’s not his heiress have him on edge and off his game.

With menace nipping constantly at their heels, bullets flying and bodies showing up all over the place, Franco and Nicola must quickly put aside their differences and forge an alliance to stop the shadowy group which pursues them. But circumstances might build something much greater than an alliance between them, as distrust turns to affection and need transforms into something neither one of them is prepared to ignore.

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IMG_7837_120x180USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

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