"If you are looking for a series that keeps you on the edge, wondering what will happen next, wondering how an author created a jaw-dropping, heart-stopping book. Then look no further. Genie has created that with this series." --Bunnies Review

Thursday, February 21, 2013


copyright Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel

Jeremiah O'Shea held in a grin as his younger sister, Marly, tried to talk him into attending a news conference. Not just any news conference, but one of the biggest events in this little town since gold had been discovered in the eighteen hundreds. 

About a year ago, a baby had been stolen and sold to a wealthy couple under the guise of a legitimate adoption. After an anonymous tip led child welfare to take custody of the child, a search found the birth mother living on the outskirts of Halo. Marly had been the caseworker who removed the baby and found the mother. 

Today, that mother and her child were being reunited, and nationwide media were gathering in town to cover the event. 

Jer had to admit he was curious, and probably would have attended, even without his sister's wheedling. However, in all his years growing up with seven adopted siblings, Marly rarely resorted to begging favors, so Jer couldn't resist the opportunity to string her along a bit…

So here he was. Standing by the dais with a dozen other uniforms waiting for the little boy to arrive with the police escort. Reporters had set up cameras and microphones near the podium, and the county sheriff preened nearby, practicing his campaign spiel for a higher political office. 

Anticipation rippled through the crowd as cars pulled up
along side the dais. One carrying the birth mother; another with the child. Law enforcement personnel surrounded both of them, alert for any move by the renegade cop who had been operating a child-selling ring for years. Aaron Swaggerty was not one to let his schemes be derailed without retribution. He had already shown that by his attacks on the birth mother. 

In his peripheral vision, Jer watched the birth mother reach for the child. However, his main focus was on the people surrounding them. A practice of vigilance picked up from his policeman brothers. 

Yet he was unprepared for sudden boom, boom, boom and the violent shaking of the ground. Jer steadied himself as he searched for the source of the disturbance. 

Damn, he thought, as huge clouds of toxic dust and debris rolled down the street in a lethal tidal wave. Explosions! 
From years of habit, Jer reached for the mask and air tank he wore as a firefighter facing such disasters. Equipment he wasn't wearing on what was supposed to be a day off. 

The crowd screamed and began running as the wooden buildings of Halo's downtown that had been blasted sky-high came crashing down with the force of giant spears. Chunks of concrete and asphalt were ripped into rubble as if a giant beast had torn its claws through the town, grasping a handful of streets and sidewalks and hurling them toward the fleeing townsfolk. 

Seconds later, flames shot to the sky as gas lines ruptured, ignited into fireballs by sparks from electrical poles crashing to the ground like an entire forest falling, shaking the ground once more. 

Jer pulled his shirt over his nose and mouth, and charged into the melee. While his brother Patrick loaded as many people as possible into his old brown sedan, Jer helped those who were older and slower toward other vehicles. As the cars filled, their drivers sped out of town, racing toward the O'Shea's ranch and the safe room in the basement. 

While the townspeople fled, sirens screamed as fire engines and ambulances raced onto the scene. Hoses were quickly strung and soon spraying water from nearby Celestial Creek on the fires. An informal command center sprung up at the edge of town to coordinate emergency efforts to douse the fires and treat anyone injured in the blasts. 

Relief filled Jeremiah when he spotted Dr. Shiloh Bergamot running through the debris. Glad she was unharmed and on the scene to coordinate medical efforts. The first citizens to stagger toward the ambulances suffered only minor injuries from falling wreckage or smoke inhalation. They were quickly evaluated and sent to the safe house at Tallie O'Shea's where the rest of the population was gathering. 

Then came the more seriously injured, who were stabilized and moved out of the area. By now, emergency medical technicians and ambulances, fire engines and firefighters from surrounding towns and counties were converging on what remained of Halo. 

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