Book Spotlight & Giveaway (US/Int): Meet the not-quite-human soldiers of Susannah Sandlin’s Storm Force!
Please help me welcome author Susannah Sandlin!
Today, I’m telling a few secrets on the characters of Storm Force, which features a joint human-shapeshifter “last option” special ops team called the Omega Force that investigates domestic terrorism cases in Louisiana and Texas. But shhhh…Don’t let them know how much you know. Otherwise, they might have to hunt you down.
Jack Kellison, aka Kell. U.S. Army Rangers, sergeant. Omega team leader.
Kell’s full name is John Kennedy Kellison Jr. His cousin, Trey, who makes an appearance in Storm Force, is actually Dwight Eisenhower Kellison III. Granddad Dwight saw fit to name all his sons after dead presidents, which got passed on to their sons, much to their embarrassment. So back home around Jeanerette, Louisiana, Kell also has uncles Franklin Roosevelt Kellison and Harry Truman Kellison and an aunt, Dolly Madison Kellison, who insisted on being called “Maddie” and would box anyone’s ears who called her “Dolly.” She makes a mean pot of gumbo, though.
Nikolas Demetriou, aka Nik. U.S. Army Rangers, corporal. Team second-in-command.
Nik was born and raised in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood, the only child of a Greek immigrant restauranteur and an American mother. A true psychic, Nik inherited the trait from his father, as well as his brooding nature and tendency to drink away the voices in his head. Although he is a talented artist, Nik’s true artistry is in the kitchen, where he can produce restaurant-quality, traditional Greek dishes. He makes a Tzatziki that will bring happy tears to your eyes.
Robin Ashton, aka Razorblade Robin (although no one has the nerve to call her this to her face). Golden Eagle shapeshifter. Omega team tracker.
Although Robin freely (and vividly) shares her opinions about anything and everything, she tells very little about herself. Such as the fact she grew up in Laurel, Mississippi, for example, and might have left a few problems behind when she ran away to lose herself in New Orleans’ gutterpunk street culture. Let’s just say that when she joined the Omega Force team, the ironically named Robin the eagle-shifter wasn’t just looking for a way to be patriotic.
Garrett Foley, aka Gadget. U.S. Army Rangers, specialist. Omega team intelligence guru.
Gadget is brilliant, funny, quirkily handsome…and a social flat-foot—as in, his foot usually stays in the vicinity of his mouth when women are nearby. He’s forever living vicariously through the romantic exploits of his team members and while they know he’s in serious need of companionship, they have no idea the depth and breadth of his “dry spell.” He’s still a virgin. Shhh……He’d be humiliated if that secret got out. His biggest fear is that he’ll die in that state.
Adam Logan and Archer Logan, aka the Kittycats or the Kitties. Brothers and jaguar-shifters. Omega team surveillance and enforcement.
Adam and Archer Logan are melanistic jaguar shifters (aka black jaguars or black panthers) from Tennessee, although they were born in southern Arizona below Tucson, where the only natural population of jaguars still exists in the United States. Adam is three years older, and Archer (at six-four) is two inches taller, both with long black hair and green eyes. But one would, upon meeting them, assume Archer was the oldest. He’s gregarious and charming where Adam is quiet and shy and seemingly content to drift in his younger brother’s shadow. But Adam has a steady, calming influence on Archer that both of them acknowledge but don’t ever express. If anything ever happened to Adam, Archer could easily self-destruct.
And there you have it—the Omega Force team that investigates cases in Texas and Louisiana. To the mix in Storm Force, add a heroine and villain of undetermined paranormal heritage, a kidnapped Texas governor, a bombing, and a hurricane, and shake well!
As leader of the elite counter-terrorism team Omega Force, former army ranger Jack “Kell” Kellison is always focused on getting the job done. So when a Houston high-rise is bombed and the governor killed or missing, Kell’s mission is clear: infiltrate the group suspected of the bombing and neutralize the threat by any means necessary. But once Kell meets beautiful chief suspect Mori Chastaine, he realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. And more to Mori than any man—any human man—could imagine.
Mori Chastaine is running out of options. Suspected for a crime she didn’t commit, forced into a marriage she doesn’t want, she sees no escape—until Kell walks through her door. A lifetime hiding her true nature warns her Kell might not be who he seems. But he could be the only one able to help save more innocent humans from becoming pawns in an ancient paranormal power play. If Mori reveals her secret, will Kell join her fight? Or will she become his next target?
Read an excerpt
Kell spotted the bird as soon as its wingtips cleared the edge of the cypress stand at the eastern rim of Bayou Cote Blanche. For a moment, he indulged a hope it might be a hawk in search of fish, or a pelican, or a cormorant, or a fucking giant mutant hummingbird.
Anything but an eagle.
“It’s her.” At the sound of his voice, Gator raised his spotted head and focused sharp, mismatched eyes on the horizon, barking furiously in his Catahoula big-dog voice, usually reserved for alligators and swamp rats.
Kell had been sitting on the porch of his cabin at Cote Blanche since Nik’s phone call from New Orleans two hours ago, waiting to see who’d arrive first—the man or the bird.
Should’ve known it would be the freakazoid eagle with the deceptively sweet name of Robin. He’d come to think of her as Razorblade Robin. Nik would have to rent a boat in Jeanerette and navigate the serpentine waterways of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Swamp to get here. Razorblade Robin could just sprout feathers and soar.
The midday sun glinted off the glossy reddish-brown wings of the golden eagle as it swooped over the smooth, murky water of the bayou and landed with a harsh caw at the end of his dock. Gator rose to his feet and looked up at Kell, asking permission to chase.
“Sorry, buddy. You don’t want to mess with that one. She can take you.” Hell, she could take both of them.
Kell took a final look at the pile of papers he’d been reading—notes about his team’s new assignment. Mostly, he’d been studying the photo on top of the stack. The woman, Emory Chastaine, an environmental activist well known in tree-hugger circles, had been photographed from a distance with a telephoto lens that gave the image a grainy feel, made worse by his generator-powered printer. But he could tell she was tall, athletic-looking in a t-shirt and jeans, shoulder-length blond hair, pretty in an all-American kind of way.
Not his image of a terrorist. Which made her even more dangerous.
Gator sprang off the porch as the eagle strutted down the dock toward them. He approached the bird in a crouch, his growls echoing off the still water. Damn dog never did listen worth a flip. Kell leaned back in his chair to watch the show. With a screech and a blur of feathers seconds before Gator reached her, the eagle morphed into a petite, waifish brunette.
Make that a naked, waifish brunette with a snark-tastic attitude who arched an eyebrow when Kell’s vicious watchdog turn into a slobbering, tail-wagging fool, jumping up and down so vigorously his black and white spots seemed to blur. You’d think the hound saw birds turn into people every day.
If Gator went the crotch-sniffing route, Kell might have to die of pure humiliation.
Not like the naked bird-woman came as any big surprise. He reached for the t-shirt he’d thrown across the other porch chair and tossed it to her as she approached, Gator dancing around her legs. “Put this on.”
Robin Ashton, five-foot-nothing of shapeshifter and the tracker for Kell’s new Omega Force team, caught the shirt and used it to wipe the sweat off her face. “It’s like a sauna out here. Pretty, though, if you’re into the primordial.”
She turned to study the bayou, a minor niche in the massive Atchafalaya basin, and Kell made it a point to keep his eyes away from her ass. It wasn’t that he wanted to look at it, exactly, but he was a guy, and it was right in front of him.
About the author
Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
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