Rhys Carver — a dossier
For most people, the smell of baked bread takes them back to happier days. They remember family, carefree times, safe memories, you know… good things. It takes him back too, but not like that.
Even now, when he passes a bakery, just for a moment he goes back to the window in his mom’s apartment. The one looking over the alley into the home of the woman who lived across the way. He goes back to that time he saw a guy walk in, all quiet like, moving differently to the other johns that used to pass through her place.
The cops never found her body.
Detective Rhys Carver is the hero of my new novel, Chasing Sisyphus. He trusts his instincts, even if they land him between trouble and hard place. He’s the kind of guy who likes to take charge, but at 35, he knows well enough not to let it take charge of him.
He’s seen some shit in his time, and sure, when he does things by the book, there’s sometimes a couple pages missing. But he believes in what the Basilica City Police Department stands for. He cares about his city.
Rhys has a nose for trouble, and when that bounty hunter falls into his life, he can smell trouble all over her. It smells like gunpowder on her fingers, bitter river water in her hair, the scent of a woman’s skin, and, just for a moment, the foreboding aroma of bread, baked into his memory.
Chasing Sisyphus blurb:
Bounty hunter Adria Yuan is hot on the trail of her final hit: a notorious hacker wanted by the city’s elite. With the reward, she can pay for her brother’s surgery and finally get out of Basilica City. Trouble is, her line of work’s not exactly legal, and she’s barely staying ahead of the cops who want her target, too.
Detective Rhys Carver may be a little unorthodox, but he’s a good cop. Born and bred in Basilica, he does his part to keep his city clean. As clean as it gets, at least. And with Adria suddenly in his sights, it’s going to take more than falling in love for him to let her go.
As the pair close in on their mark, they are unwittingly drawn into a high profile conspiracy that could thrust the whole of Basilica into chaos. Can Adria and Rhys set aside their differences, and their desires, to save the only home they know?
He couldn’t make out her face, but he sure noticed her tight silhouette as she walked by the Nova Legion statue. She seemed a little upmarket for the scene and, come to think of it, he didn’t remember seeing her leave. She was probably still there, waiting under the streetlamp like a femme fatale in those movies Keats kept on mute at his desk on a tiny TV.
Somewhere nearby, a door shut. At any other time, it would have been another pip of noise in a filthy district. But it was too quiet around here. Too few people to make a sound like that seem normal. Anywhere else, it would be the sound you shut out. Here, to Rhys, it was a dog whistle.
“Keats, I heard something,” he said. “Gonna go check it out.”
“Not a good idea, Carver. There’s a chase at the north end. Cap’s called the cars in. You got no backup.”
“Don’t need it. If the kid’s still here, he’s alone.”
“You’ll be in deep shit if the boss finds out. How do you even know it’s him?”
“We’ve been watching this guy for weeks. I got a feeling he’s onto us. Or, if not us, then someone else who wants him out of action.”
“Keats, I just know, all right? I’m going in. You got eyes on me or not?”
“Jeez! All right…where you heading?”
“Building two thirty-four on the corner. Going in via the south entrance.”
“CCTV’s busted on the west side, but I got eyes on the north exit. Actually, building report says the east and west fire escapes are busted, too. You keep the south door covered and your boy ain’t going nowhere.”
Weapon in hand, Rhys crept inside and shut the door behind him. It was dark. The only light came in from the street through gap-tooth blinds and dusty windows. It took a second to adjust.
Broken floor tiles and peeling wallpaper lined the foyer. A lamp hung from a wall, still intact. This might have been a nice place once, before the city’s worst years. Now it stood waiting for the official condemnation that would put it out of its misery. Like the rest of this district.
The stairs creaked under his weight, the ceiling creaked above him.
“Keats, we got residents here?”
“Negative. Power and water were cut off twelve years ago. Why, you see something?”
Gunshots exploded above. No time to answer. Rhys popped the safety and legged it up the stairs.
* * * *
Adria hadn’t counted on the tripwire. This kid knew someone would follow him home one day. He’d strung a line of empty soup cans across the apartment hallway. When she kicked that out, a hefty serving of iced water came down squarely on her head. Gooseflesh prickled her neck and shoulders. The muscles in her jaw seized in the cold. Against the shock, she scrambled to her feet, fired up to catch the stomping and crashing in the other room before it got away.
A figure ran past the doorway.
“Stop!” she yelled.
It rounded the corner. Adria gave chase.
She scanned the room. It was dim at best, thanks to the streetlights from outside, but she saw enough. Computer equipment and various peripherals lay strewn across the floor, some still plugged into a transportable battery in the corner, emitting tiny lights and numbers.
A window slammed shut. The glass shattered. Shards crunched and ground beneath Adria’s boots as she hurried in pursuit of her fleeing target.
When she stepped out onto the fire escape, two hands rammed her into the ladder. The whole balcony shuddered from the collision. Pain flared down her shoulder, but she kept her grip on the gun. She held it up with her good arm and fired.
She stumbled backward, clutching her burning shoulder, but the railing crumbled under her weight. Adria grabbed what was left of it with both hands as her footing slipped away.
It looked like a four-storey drop. Maybe five if she’d miscounted. Her legs dangled over thin air while from below came the clatter of broken pieces of railing, along with her gun, as they hit the concrete.
Overhead, her target stomped away on the rungs and disappeared onto the roof.
Adria’s shoulder raged. She tried to pull herself up, but couldn’t take the weight with just one good arm. Her feet kicked out, searching for a foothold, but the grill beneath had long withered away to slivers of rust and sharp edges.
Water and sweat dripped into her eyes. She swiped them helplessly on her sleeves and winced as rough seams grazed the skin. The railing creaked in her clammy grip. She could always let go. If she timed her landing right, maybe she’d get away with a broken ankle and a tetanus shot. Surely it only looked like a long way down.
Then she heard a gunshot from inside the apartment.
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About JL Peridot
JL Peridot doesn’t think of danger when she smells baked bread, but sometimes she wishes she did. She likes stories with some danger and only realised in her 30s that falling in love is one of the most dangerous things we do. She writes romance and erotica from her home in safe little Perth, Western Australia.