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Authors: Michelle McGriff

Blood Relations

BOOK: Blood Relations
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Blood Relations
Michelle McGriff
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
Table of Contents
Title Page
Dedication
Acknowledgments
Prologue
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Chapter 41
Chapter 42
Chapter 43
Chapter 44
Chapter 45
Chapter 46
Chapter 47
Chapter 48
Chapter 49
Chapter 50
Chapter 51
Chapter 52
Chapter 53
Chapter 54
Chapter 55
Chapter 56
Chapter 57
Chapter 58
Chapter 59
Chapter 60
Chapter 61
Chapter 62
Chapter 63
Chapter 64
Chapter 65
Chapter 66
Chapter 67
Chapter 68
Chapter 69
Chapter 70
Chapter 71
Epilogue
Questions for Discussion
Back Matter
-
A Dark Comedy
Copyright Page
Dedication
 
To all those who have and keep family secrets
Acknowledgments
Blood Relations
was written because
Obsession 101
was so intriguing to some of my readers. They got into the characters from that book and wanted to see the saga of Rashawn Ams through to completion.
Although this particular storyline is now complete, the family is so intricately woven into the Palemos (my fictitious community) that their story—their family will continue to cameo many books to come.
Even though I currently live in Portland, Oregon, my heart belongs to the San Francisco Bay Area. Being a native Californian and growing up in the Bay Area, I wanted to offer rich urban stories for those of us on the West Coast to enjoy.
The Palemos is an area in the Bay Area right around Palo Alto that I created in order to give my characters a home base that was familiar to me. I wanted to use a fictitious place in order to take city life in the Bay Area a little further over the top with the use of literary license. I say this because some readers want very strict realistic lines draw up when the writer uses their city or town—and I try to do that but at the same time, allow for imagination to flow. So I will include many familiar sights and sounds—the Bay Area Rapid Transit system—BART, The Golden Gate Bridge and a few small coves that only natives know about. I hope this will bring a satisfied smile to the Bay Area reader's faces.
While living a “sort of” dual residency, I get to meet many different “types” of people. The cultural difference between Oregon and California (both northern and southern) lend me much fodder and willing muses for writing as well as opening my mental doors for rich characters to come through. I believe the West Coast as an entirety has a gold mine of stories to be told.
I want to thank those who have offered their lives, laughter, and love as inspiration to my work. These people have stuck by me for many years now and have seen me grow as a writer. Some are new, but have come right in line as a true fans and I love that. I do miss Candace Cottrell and her wonderful book covers but I'm sure she's doing big things and wowing other's with her talent. Gayle Jackson-Sloan, I know what you told me ... but still, I believe there is another book in there! Thank you Shelia M. Goss for always being there to yak with, you always seem to know when I need a mental break from writing and vice versa. It's been great being friends.
There are so many people I want to name by name but I can't, these pages are only allotted so much space in a novel. You do all know who you are though. I can see you all now, “she knows she shoulda put my name in those acknowledgement pages.” Consider it done!
Can you imagine a novel of thanks ... hmmm sounds like a best seller. Remember, best sellers are not written they are bought so yes, a list the names of all those who have helped me along the years would be bought by millions!!!
I want to thank those with Internet radio shows who have interviewed me over the years. Those shows really do help, so keep it up! Oh and call me, I'd love to come back! (smile).
The Internet has been a wonderful place to find support groups (Online bookclubs, offline book clubs like Kindred Spirit, Face Book friends, Myspace friends, as well as old high school friends realize I ‘still' write) and I want to thank all of those people who have come on board with me in the support area.
Colored Summer
made Black Expressions Top 100 in 2009 and I just want to say I'm so thrilled about that. I can only hope that this notoriety will soon have me on other lists such as
Essence Best Seller, Publisher's Weekly
and ultimately the
New York Times
. With the continued support of Maxine Thompson (
www.maxinethompson.com
) and her literary agency, Carl Weber and his imprint getting me in print, Natalie Weber's great choices in editorial staffing, Jan's reading, Terry's critiquing, Joanne's logic and good sense oh & legal know-what, Mary, Terrill and Heather's allowing me to vent, Denise and Butu's making me smile, and Mr. C.'s sweet reminders that all I need is a love to keep going—I believe I'm actually on the road to big things!
My author friends and I support one another wholeheartedly and push for the success of each other—now that's a family connection. But I do want to thank my blood relations as well for continuing to support me in my writing and educational endeavors.
I hope you all enjoy
Blood Relations
and add it to your “WOW” list.
Prologue
Craven's long legs uncrossed as she jutted forward in her swivel office chair. “I said, I don't have a good feeling about this.”
“I think you're being a prude. I mean how many times and chances would a person like you have an opportunity like this?”
“Person like meee?” Her voice reached a defensive shrill.
He raised his hands in surrender. “I didn't mean it like that.”
“It doesn't matter how you meant it, get outta my office!” she barked. “We're through talking.” She pointed her long, slender, well-manicured fingernail toward the door.
“You're being a fool. Tell me you weren't immediately intrigued and seduced by this opportunity!”
“Yes. No!” she yelped, covering her ears. Craven had to admit within her heart of hearts that yes, she had been intrigued by the opportunity— initially. But “seduced” by the opportunity ... no. Something other than the opportunity had seduced her. But since the visit she'd had from that odd visitor the other day, she'd been less than trusting of the seductive philanthropist backing this project. What her odd visitor had told her had made her uncomfortable, fearful of the philanthropist actually, and fear was something—much like anything not carrying a designer label—she didn't wear well. She now regretted having shared the prospects of this project with her partner, Hap Washburn, before really checking the whole thing out and making a final—
final
—decision.
“Why would you give up a chance to make medical history?”
Craven glared at Hap. “This isn't medical history. This is about money. This is murder!”
“This isn't some kid's game, Craven; sometimes there are sacrifices. Haven't you read his work? Don't you see and understand the big picture?”
“You're not ... you're not making any sense!” She shook her head violently, interrupting his diatribe. Of course she'd read his supposedly hypothetical work; she had her doubts on all of it, and him. He seemed really close to the border with ethics and sanity as far as she was concerned. But she knew Hap admired the man—more than a little bit. It was ridiculous. He wasn't a god. He was just a man. And she knew that first hand. “Hap! He's talking about killing an innocent ...” Craven fanned out her hand emphatically, “child . . . A boy. His own flesh and—”
“I'm not looking at it that way.”
“Apparently!” Craven slammed her hands on her hips. “Look,” she said, tightening her lips and, in a nervous mannerism, moving her hair behind her ear, “I have to be honest, when I first saw those numbers I was almost caught up, but ...”
“But what?” His expression became pensive.
“I've been thinking about this. And I just don't think it's right. He's crazy. His work is unethical and ...”
Hap's eyes burrowed into hers now. If silence could make a sound, the growing silence between them would be deafening. “You trying to cut me outta this?”
“No! Of course not,” Craven lied. She wanted not only him out, but maybe herself too. True, she'd taken the first payment without telling him, but ...
She swallowed hard, unconsciously allowing guilt to ride across her forehead as quickly as a bobsled racer at his best downhill speed. Hap went for her throat just as quickly. Her reflexes were catlike, but not fast enough. “You're lying. Damn you!” he growled, closing his large hand around her throat. “You are so selfish!”
Slamming her stiletto heel onto his foot, she used her other foot to kick his shin hard, before headbutting him. He cried out in pain, losing his grip just enough for her to get away from him. “You're crazy!” she screamed, charging for the office door.
Statuesque at nearly six feet tall, her stride was long, and she'd almost made her escape before he tackled her to the floor, rolling her over and sitting on her hips, again taking her by the throat, this time with both hands. Hap was a lanky man, around her height. He'd apparently been bigger at one time, as his clothes often bagged on him—despite his efforts to look “in style.” That often bugged Craven, but once he was out of those rags, he was a true contender. Unfortunately, not here, not now—right now she was quickly becoming a victim.
“Craven, we are supposed to be a team. We were supposed to do this together. But no, you always do this,” he growled.
“Whyyy, why are you trying to kill me?”
“I'm not trying ... trust me,” he said, evil peeking out from under his tongue.
“You don't have to do this.”
Her strength was not enough to match his, although she tried, wriggling under his weight as he straddled her. “You have to die, Craven. You just do! Nothing can stand in my way. If you aren't with me, you become the enemy. You must understand that. He wrote that in his book, too,” Hap explained, sounding almost excited to have remembered that little tidbit. Her movement under him seemed to excite him as well, although this was no love play—no repeat of that morning's activity, of this she was certain.
“I thought you loved me,” she said, hoping to make him remember what they'd shared that morning, what they'd had over the last couple of months. “I'm your girl,” she simpered. “You're not my killer. You're my soulmate.”
“Soulmate,” he chuckled wickedly. “Then I guess I'll be joining you in hell one day.”
Craven thought about his words. The thought of eternity with Hap Washburn had never crossed her mind; especially not in such a place as terrible as hell.
“Hap! Hap, don't get crazy. I'm sorry. I'm sorry,” she begged. Hap stared into her eyes. She could see regret backstroking in his soft brown pools. He smiled, showing blood at the corner of his mouth. He'd apparently bitten his tongue when she headbutted him.
“I came to show you this,” he said, pulling a syringe from his lab coat.
Her eyes widened at the sight of it. She knew what was in it and what would happen if she was injected. “No, Hap,” she gasped, tightening her grip on his hand.
“You look really hot when you're scared.” He grinned.
“Well, then I must look like fire then because I'm scared as hell right now,” she admitted.
Laying his body weight on her, and stretching himself, prone, over her, she realized then that his plan to kill her had been diverted. Slipping the syringe back in his lab coat she felt him, within the same motion, unzipping his trousers. “I'll kill you when I'm done,” he purred. Maybe it was her thong that gave the impression she was open for business, but she wasn't. He entered her without permission. Believing his intent was to murder her within the next three to four minutes did nothing for her sexual ardor. Neither of them climaxed. It was the weirdest thing.
Before Craven died she felt a kind of nick one feels when shaving already smooth legs in the shower. The pain, increasing to a burn, was like the slight heat one might feel when using a cheap razor to line up one's brow.
BOOK: Blood Relations
7.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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