Title: Tiago Series: A Kurupira Romance
#1 Author: Reily Garrett Genre: romantic suspense,
SynopsisWhere would you run when there’s no place to hide? Twenty-four hours ago, Brielle stood helpless while an intruder murdered her mother. Her struggle to stay ahead of the psychopathic stalker seeking her DNA and birthright necessitates she flee her glass and concrete jungle. Tiago, an immortal challenged with protecting the rainforest, faces a genius scientist who has created genetically specific bacteria and needs only the crystal worn by a foreigner to create hell on Earth. Two strangers must learn to trust and work together in order to save the ones they love. An exciting blend of action, adventure, and romance between a man not looking for love and a woman desperate to survive.
Macabre shadows crawled across the tile floor to coalesce in a growing pool, bathing the kitchen in dark comfort as Brielle closed the back door. A long day of sorting microbes had induced residual eyestrain she'd love to deep six in favor of a long vacation where her closest neighbors hung by their tails, ate bananas, and cavorted on liana vines.
The last day of work before leave always entailed loose ends needing a quick tie-off. To make matters worse, her panty-whispering boss hit on her for the hundredth time, not understanding the word no. Perhaps some longhorn beetles deposited in his lunch box might change his point of view as far as women equating rabbits, waiting to be bred. If she had to make a comparison, she’d have likened herself to a lynx, solitary and a little wild, preferring dense forest to the concrete and glass modern world.
She’d chalked the day’s pall of trepidation up to the inevitable catastrophe encroaching on her horizon, bearing down at a speed her mind failed to comprehend. Heavy rain drumming on the roof didn’t help her mood. Now, her gaze scanned obscure corners of the room for the source of her tension.
Soft snoring from her mom's bedroom drifted down the hallway as she eased into her own room, those precious, breathy sounds she'd not hear much longer as the ravages of cancer devoured her mom's strength. She’d never expected fairness in life, but the avalanche of disaster plunging downhill threatened the fabric of her sanity. She and her mom were all she’d ever known through the highs of earning an advanced degree to the lows of her social awkwardness.
Muted rays of moonlight sifted through shivering autumn leaves to highlight two airline tickets sitting innocently on her dresser. Next trip—there'd only be one. Within weeks, she'd lose her only known family, the only person who'd understood the unique complexities of her character and loved her anyway. They’d wanted to see the Amazon River basin one more time, together. Making special arrangements had taxed her mental reserves as if that very action brought her closer to orphan status.
Sitting on the end of her bed was more an act of weakening legs than design. When hot tears finally glazed her cheeks, she feared the tidal wave of emotion would smash her wall of stoic determination and drown her in its flood to wash away any trace of her existence. The soft tapping raindrops against the windowpane emulated a metronome from hell, counting down her mom’s remaining heartbeats in cold, mechanical precision.
Holding tight to the necklace at her throat gave little comfort tonight. Normally, it served as a constant reminder of its origins and the semi-annual trips they’d taken to the rainforest, but now the cold crystal brought images of her mom's failing health despite every effort to stop the cancer’s invasion of her liver and lungs. She'd never taken it off or even shown it to another living soul, per her mom's warning.
“Oh, Mom, please don't leave me. We have to find a way to beat this.” Yet the ineffectiveness of the latest round of chemo echoed in her mom's new hand tremor and the wheeze punching the air even on short walks.
Through it all, self-pity had not become her master or companion, yet to see the only one she loved defeated and accepting the inevitable broke her in a way nothing else could. Day-to-day deterioration made her long for the calming sights and sounds of the Amazon. Its varied existence softened the harsh reality of her life. A cold Guarana might soothe right now, but the caffeine would keep her awake, and her mom wanted to talk on the plane tomorrow morning.
Finally, she'd hear the story of her birthright. Water would do just fine—for the moment. Mechanical movements of packing in low light and reserving an early AM taxi had become rote with years of practice. One of her peculiarities provided her with unusually keen sight, negating the need for a bedside lamp. If only her mind were as keen and could fathom a way to destroy the insidious invasion claiming her mom’s life essence hour by hour, minute by minute.
Light clinking of dishes as she put away the air-dried, dinner plates reminded her they wouldn't be eating their next weeks' meals in what Uncle Jack called civilized society. From their first trip to the southern hemisphere long ago, she'd preferred the simpler way of life, but her mom had insisted it wasn't time to move south. Not yet. The basis for that decision remained a mystery, to be solved at thirty-thousand feet the next morning.
“I wish we'd relocated years ago. Maybe the shaman could've found a cure.” Small pools of low light from cylindrical pendant lamps over the sink provided the only illumination in the kitchen and a soothing balm to her fracturing soul.
The fine hair on her nape prickled, alerting her to danger, yet no stealthy sounds disturbed the atmosphere. No subtle change in air currents brushed her face. She could move like that, too. Figurative bands tightened around her chest. She stilled.
“I'm glad you didn't.” The sultry feminine voice held as much arrogance as threat.
Whirling around in shock, Brielle dropped the porcelain plate. Its shattered pieces skidded across the porcelain tile to stop at a black, steel-toed, jump boot, the rhythmic tapping indicating her intruder’s agitated frame of mind. A sharp inhale supplied further information as the mystery guest swayed her arm left-to-right, right-to-left. Her six-inch blade handled as an extension of her fingers and reflected narrow beams of light to dance along the ceiling. Beads of moisture clung to her leather jacket and pants, perpetuating the chemical smell filling the air.