Jan 2 2017 11:01am

Kate Sherwood Excerpt: Long Shadows

Kate Sherwood

Long Shadows by Kate Sherwood

LA cop Jericho Crewe got the hell out of Mosely, Montana, when he was seventeen. Fifteen years later, he’s back, and everything is just as messed up as when he left. He planned a quick visit to deal with his injured father, but of course things are never that simple. Family complications, police complications, social complications — and, as always, Wade Granger complications.

Jericho and Wade had been so close, once upon a time. First friends, then more than friends — and then, after Jericho’s escape, nothing. Wade’s magnetism hasn’t been lessened by a decade and a half apart; even when Jericho learns that Wade is the prime suspect in the death of Jericho’s father, the old connection still sparks.

When Jericho’s newly discovered half siblings are kidnapped, he needs to trust someone to help him find them. Wade’s a terrible choice, but Jericho’s never been known for his good judgment. Anyway, he’d rather make a bad decision with Wade than a good one with anybody else.

Get a sneak peek at Kate Sherwood's Long Shadows (available January 2, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

“Well, considering the situation, I think it’s best if you stay away from Mr. Granger. And away from this case in general.”

“Kinda hard to stay away from it without knowing what it is, but I’ll see what I can do.” He stood up. “Gentlemen, a pleasure to meet you. Kayla—” He let his face soften a little, but not too much. “Good to see you again.”

She stood up. “I’ll walk you out.”

The two of them were silent all the way down to the front foyer. When they reached the door, Jericho turned and said, “It really was good to see you again, Kay. Seems like you’re doing well. Congratulations.”

She shrugged. “I’ve been divorced twice. I mean, once, sure. We all make mistakes. But twice? And I’m only thirty-four.”

“Maybe that is a bit overenthusiastic. Any kids?”

“No, thank god. Not that I’m against kids in general. But being a single mom is hard with a regular job, let alone with a job like this one.”

“Yeah, fair enough.”

“And you? No kids, no . . . spouse?”

Kayla was a professional investigator; he knew she wasn’t being nosy so much as she was gathering information, like a squirrel would gather nuts even if it wasn’t currently hungry. But Jericho didn’t need to feed tidbits about his life to Kayla. “I’m married to my work,” he said calmly.

“As a police officer. That was a bit of a surprise when I first read it. But the more I think about it, the more I like it. The ‘serve and protect’ part of the job—you’d be good at that.”

“I’m spending a lot of time on the ‘investigate and write reports’ side these days. But I’m okay at that too.”

She gave him a long look, then stood on her tiptoes and stretched up to kiss his cheek. “I missed you, Jay. I’m sorry for the circumstances, but I’m glad you’re back.”

“I’m just here for a day or two.” He didn’t like the sound of being back.

“I’ll take what I can get. Be good, Jay. And if you want to get a drink or something . . .” She pulled a business card out of her jacket pocket. “That’s me. I can’t always answer my phone, but send me a text or leave a message and I’ll call you back.”

Jericho took the card and carefully stashed it in his pocket, but he didn’t think he’d be looking for it again. He’d left Mosely behind long ago, and it wasn’t a good idea to start chasing memories, not after all this time.

So he smiled and headed out the door and down to the SUV. He drove for a while, aimlessly, wondering what his next step should be. A responsible person would go to the town’s only funeral home to arrange some sort of service. He spent a moment picturing the crowd that would show up to Eli Crewe’s memorial, if anyone showed at all, but he didn’t really want to know. Instead, he steered the SUV out of town.

Mosely was snugged into a narrow valley between the mountains: a small outcrop of human habitation surrounded by almost endless wilderness. Within these confines the town was a rough grid pattern of streets, just houses and a few businesses, no real industry. There were only two roads out of Mosely—well, one road, he supposed, Main Street, that stretched in two directions. To the east, it ran toward the highway: civilization, law and order, the modern world. The other direction? Mountains, timeless forest, and freedom. He headed west, hit the wall of trees that marked the edge of town, and kept going.

He wasn’t used to being in the mountains anymore, though they’d been his home when he’d been growing up. He and Wade had hunted and fished and camped out in all weather, both of them happy to be anywhere but in their respective homes. Now, though, the towering slopes seemed to be closing in on him.

And the feeling only intensified when he pulled off the gravel road onto the long driveway leading to his father’s house. The trees were tight on both sides, their branches sorely in need of a pruning, creating the impression he was driving down a tunnel. The driveway was rutted and wet and the mud sucked at his wheels, trying to drag him off course into the branches.

When he reached the house, he was glad to see a little blue sky overhead, and tried to focus on it instead of the building.

There was only so much sky-gazing he could do, though, and eventually he made himself face the cabin. It looked almost the same as it had when he’d left: rough wood walls with paint so faded its color couldn’t be determined, concrete steps leading to the front door. The gutter that had been falling down on the left had been repaired, but now it was sagging on the right. There was cardboard or plywood instead of glass in one of the upstairs windows, and a couple of stones from the top of the chimney had fallen away, leaving an exposed stretch of rusty stovepipe.

Stovepipe that was billowing wood smoke. What the hell?

Copyright © 2017 by Kate Sherwood.
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Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

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