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Book Excerpt: Nightshade by Fiona Zedde

Book Excerpt: Nightshade by Fiona Zedde

As part of our effort to profile more authors within the LGBT community, we present Fiona Zedde. Fiona was born in Jamaica and is the author of six novels, including the Lambda Literary Award finalists Bliss and Every Dark Desire. Here is an excerpt from her latest book Nightshade:

As part of our effort to profile more authors within the LGBT community, we present Fiona Zedde. Fiona was born in Jamaica and is the author of six novels, including the Lambda Literary Award finalists Bliss and Every Dark Desire. She’s also written three novellas and a short story collection. Her stories have appeared in various anthologies including Best Lesbian Romance, Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers, and Iridescence: Sensuous Shades of Lesbian Erotica. Under the name “Fiona Lewis” she has published a novel of young adult fiction called Dreaming in Color.

Nightshade is Fiona's most recent book. Here is the description:

Assassin, Bronwynne St. Just has a knack for finding trouble, usually in the form of a beautiful woman. After fulfilling a haunting contract on her sister’s childhood friend and former employee, she takes off for the Caribbean and business as usual; but danger waits for her in the most unexpected places.

With an endless appetite for luscious variety, Wynne courts danger and pleasure from all corners of the globe. But she must wrestle with her own demons as she trades kisses and blows with some of the deadliest women in the business. She’s been lucky in all her years in the game but will a young woman bent on revenge become her Achilles heel?

Visit Fiona’s website for more information. Purchase your copy of Nightshade from Amazon, and check out the excerpt below:

Red-haired and reviled Sonny Frederick was easy to find in Fairfield, California. Of medium height—barely 5 feet 10—with bad skin, and the social graces of a baboon in heat, he stood out among the seemingly endless parade of aimless twenty-somethings in town. He was the kind to yell threats in traffic at any driver who dared to cut him off. Dogs peeing on the sidewalk invited a sharp kick. And any mildly attractive women within sight and hearing knew what he wanted to do to her and how.

Wynne was sure Sonny had gotten death threats, mostly from the grieving family of the twin girls he murdered and people with daughters of their own—but Sonny acted like he was on vacation. Which is probably what it felt like to him after barely dodging the electric chair. He went to Merlin’s Pub nearly every night after work at the plastic factory. There, he bought his co-workers drinks and left the bar just sober enough to drive the short distance home. On weekends, he usually found a hooker to pass the time before his orgy of drinking and weed smoking. Of modest means, he lived in a house inherited from his parents in one of the more middle class areas of Fairfield, a yellow, ranch-style with a short driveway, low hedges, and nosy neighbors.

Wynne tracked Sonny, ruthlessly pushing aside any thoughts of the woman she’d left in her bed. Well, technically, Nic had been in the kitchen but the smell of the bedroom and their lovemaking lingered around her like perfume as she stood in the kitchen doorway offering breakfast. Would Nic be there when she returned? Would she seriously consider sharing her life with someone like Wynne?

A dog barked, jerking her from her useless thoughts. Sonny was at home. Even now, she could see him through the open blinds moving around the living room. She sat in her car across the street from his house and watched him. In a few minutes, he would leave for work.

His routine was a simple one: work, bar, home, and sometimes, very late at night when only the monsters and hunters prowled, he went out for a drive past the nearby high school. He took a slow cruise in his old and rusted light brown Mustang all the way around the building, lingering near the track where the students did laps after school or suffered through the humiliations of gym class.

Tina and Tiffany Reese had disappeared on their way home from school. For days, no one knew where the girls were or what happened to them. They had simply disappeared into thin air with not a word to family, lovers, or friends. Weeks passed. Months. Until someone made a horrific discovery in an aqueduct just outside the city limits. Both girls. Dead. Defiled. Good police work caught the sloppy rapist and murderer but the unjust legal system set him free on a technicality.

The twins’ parents reached out to Wynne out of desperation and she was only happy to oblige and rid the world of Sonny Frederick. And it had to look like an accident. No need to lead suspicion back to the already distraught family.

Wynne decided to come for him after the bar.

After midnight, the door of Merlin’s Pub opened with a belch of drunken laughter and shouted conversation. Sonny emerged, ejected like vomit, into the cool Northern California night. Inside the pub, his co-workers gladly took his money but outside his so-called friends scattered like cockroaches in the light.

“See you later, Sonny.” A tall Latin man clapped him on the shoulder then walked in the opposite direction with two other men.

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Sonny staggered to his car, his usual condition after an evening out with the guys, and got behind the wheel of his Mustang. He started his car and pulled slowly out of the parking lot. Wynne followed in the black Honda Accord she’d borrowed just for Sonny, easing out into the light evening traffic.

Two miles. That’s all she had. Her gloved hands curved loosely around the steering wheel as she navigated the car behind Sonny’s tail lights. He turned onto a narrow street with even less traffic. She followed at least five car lengths behind. At 1 AM on a weeknight in the suburbs, it was soon just the two of them on the road. She sped up. Four car lengths. Three. Two. She relaxed her body behind the wheel, then lightly tapped his car with the Accord. The impact jerked her in the seat and the restraints cut into her shoulder through her leather jacket. With a screeching groan, the front of her borrowed car crumpled from the impact, but Sonny’s old Ford looked untouched.

Up ahead in the Mustang, he whipped around to look back at her. She didn’t give him the chance to slow down and come for her. She rammed into him again, this time keeping her front bumper crushed against his rear. Wynne sped up to forty on the thirty-five miles per hour road. Fifty. Sixty. Pushing him faster and faster toward his destination. Then she eased back to give him some room, carefully controlling her car, while the Mustang hurtled down the dark road. The car’s brake lights flashed once, twice, but thanks to cut brake lines, the Mustang didn’t slow down. The car swerved with Sonny’s panic. Wynne sped up next to him and gave the old clunker one more tap.

She caught the terrified flash of his eyes through the window as the car aimed, like a bullet, for the tree. It slammed into the wide oak in an explosion of glass and metal. A screeching dénouement, then silence.

Wynne stopped her car and jumped out, walking swiftly across packed dirt on the side of the road to Sonny. He already had his door pushed open and was rising on wobbly legs to get out of the car with a shower of broken glass in his hair and on his lap. The smell of spilled gasoline and oil thickened the air. Sonny’s lip was bleeding. A gash on his forehead bled sluggishly. He moaned, clutching his head, and staggered in the mouth of the open door. Moving quickly, Wynne grabbed a thick piece of broken branch from the ground.

“What the fuck, bitch!” His eyes were wild and unfocused.

She kicked him back into car. “Stay.”

His mouth goggled open as she came for him again, her boots crunching over the broken glass. She hit him in the throat with the branch. Once. Twice. Feeling the impact of it through her arm. He gasped, grabbed his throat, choking, one arm flailing up and fisted to fend her off but she jumped back, trapping him in the crushed box of the front seat. He breathed heavily, spit flying from his bloodied lip. “What do you want?” he choked. “I have money.” He reached back for his wallet. “Take it! Take it all!”

“You don’t have anything I want.”

She broke his neck. He slumped in the seat and his head pitched forward into the steering wheel with a thump, barely missing the horn. Quiet at last. Wynne quickly took a picture with her cell phone, checked his pulse to make sure there wasn’t one, then left him. She jogged back to her car and drove off, her mind already on Nic and her bedroom smell.

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Fiona Zedde