Not two things you'd think would go together, huh? But CHASING SIN allowed me to do just that. All three of my characters are adrenaline junkies who chase tornadoes in the spring and hurricanes in the summer. Not only do they have an intense passion for studying nature's fury, they also burn hot, hot, hot for one another. Their lives are intense and this book is certainly filled with moments that reflect just that.
An Excerpt From: CHASING SIN
Copyright © SARA BROOKES, 2012
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
“She’s fucking insane.”
Snyder slammed on the brakes and narrowly missed Kate’s Jeep when she swerved in front of him. “Give me directions instead of commentary, Tripp. You pay attention to the tornado and I’ll pay attention to crazy drivers.”
He gunned the engine of his truck as he watched the offending vehicle speed down the dirt road dividing a freshly plowed field. “Where the hell is she going?” he muttered, more to himself than his partner in the passenger seat.
The ominous supercell had dropped a howling twister a few miles back. Now the race was on to catch it. Tripp’s fingers tapped on the screen of the tablet he was using for a GPS. “Take this road here and keep following it. Should put us a few miles ahead of this cell.”
“Got it. What kind of action are you seeing?”
The keys of the laptop mounted to the dashboard clacked as Tripp’s fingers flew over them and he snorted. “Straight and steady, for the moment. Kate must know something we don’t.”
Snyder gritted his teeth as he flipped on the blinker and sped past a slower moving car. “Not my problem right now. Besides, she isn’t exactly behaving any differently than normal.”
Their colleague Kate Sinclair was a risk taker and an adrenaline junkie—a definite plus considering the reason they drove thousands of miles in one day. Craziness was always beneficial when chasing violent storms that were capable of leveling entire towns. Snyder hated to admit it, but Kate’s brash actions always got the team what they needed. The data they collected was vital and necessary to increase warning times.
“Just get me where I need to be so we can intercept this thing and get out of here before things really get nasty.”
“Take a right. Pick up the road at the end and follow it out.”
The abrupt change of direction worried Snyder. “Is it shifting?”
“A bit, yeah. This should compensate and keep us in the path. Shit.”
Been waiting for that. Out of the corner of his eye, Snyder saw Tripp Dawson drum his fingers against the seat while he studied the netbook in his lap. That kind of contemplation was not a good sign when they were chasing a vortex generating winds over one hundred miles an hour. “What now?”
Tripp muttered something under his breath and Snyder cleared his throat to get his attention. “Shifting again. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of clear path that I can make out. She went from straight as an arrow to as crooked as the mountains back home. It’s almost impossible to track like this—look out!”
Prepared this time, Snyder let off the accelerator and tapped the brakes. To his left, Kate’s white Jeep sped through a stop sign. If he hadn’t stopped before the intersection, she would have slammed into the side of his truck.
Fucking insane is putting it lightly.
Well past annoyed now, he immediately jerked the wheel to the right and slammed the accelerator to the floor. Tripp fumbled for the handle over the window as the truck hit a few cavernous potholes that sent expensive equipment flying. Snyder would replace anything he broke with his own money when this chase was over. For the moment, broken equipment was the least of his worries.
Knowing she wouldn’t bother to answer her cell phone, Snyder thumbed the receiver on his radio with one hand and hollered into the handset. “Kate, get your head out of your ass. You’re going to get one of us killed if you keep driving like this.”
The vehicle in front of them took a hard left without signaling or stepping on the brakes. Caught unaware, Snyder flew past the turn, unable to stop with his heavier vehicle.
“Fuck me. SKYWARN spotters report it’s increasing in size and strength again. Just took out the entire power grid.”
The laptop they used for their storm lab broke free from its clips and hit the windshield as Snyder slammed on the brakes and threw the gearshift into reverse. Tripp scrambled to collect everything before it went flying.
On the right path, Snyder used the radio once more. “Kate, this thing is bigger than they’re expecting and growing by the second. It’s too damn dangerous. Call off the chase now. It’s not worth the risk.”
When radio silence met him, he tossed the receiver to the dashboard and gripped the steering wheel. This time, when Kate made a sharp turn, he was ready for it and took it with her.
“We’re not chasing the funnel anymore, are we?” Snyder kept his focus on the road ahead and ignored Tripp’s question. He pushed the truck more than he would have normally because the tornado was the least of his worries. The last thing he wanted to do was scrape Kate off the side of some dirt back road in the middle of Kansas.
Kate suddenly braked, coming to a complete stop in the center of the road. Her door flew open and she jumped out, camera in hand. Ignoring the truck as they approached, she immediately went to the other side of the Jeep, using the front quarter panel to brace her body against the wind.
Snyder stopped the truck a few yards away and narrowed his gaze as he kept an eye on his colleague, who’d willingly put herself in danger. “What does Doppler say?”
“Radar is showing it’s losing some energy, but still staying on this heading.”
Which mean it would pass close by, but not enough to put them in any kind of serious danger. Snyder leaned forward and adjusted the video camera mounted on the dash as he studied the dark clouds.
The radio crackled and Tripp made a grab for it. “Blaney? We got one.”
“We lost you guys back near the airport. Where the hell are you?”
“We’re out on 9 near Jewell.” Tripp shook his head and rolled his eyes at Snyder with all the hoots and hollers that came across the radio. The group was an assortment of students from Kate’s forecasting classes at the University of Oklahoma. Most of them were just as crazy as the woman in front of them.
“Caught it, didn’t you? We’ll monitor things from here. Charley is getting some good video.”
So is someone else. Snyder continued to watch as Kate snapped picture after picture of the storm and wondered what had driven her to take this track. He would have never guessed the storm would be here right at this moment. He’d always thought his instincts about storms were dead on until he’d met Kate five years ago.
Their first day in the field, she’d put him to utter shame when he hadn’t followed her forecasting and ended up in another state. She’d intercepted the storm of her career and he’d encountered nothing but miles and miles of a sky free of any sort of storm clouds. His first blue sky bust.
He and Tripp had learned a lot since then, and they owed it all to Kate.
“Not good. Not good.”
The tight strain in Tripp’s voice caught Snyder’s attention. “What?”
“Tornado’s heading right for us.”
Fear tightened Snyder’s gut as Tripp’s worried gaze met his. “Hell. Get over here. Turn us around and I’ll get her whether or not she likes it.” Wind bit at him as soon as he stepped out of the truck. Focused on one goal, he didn’t care if it ripped him to shreds.
He focused on the fact they all needed to get out of here.
As he held up his arms to deflect the wind, the rain started. Driven by high-speed winds, the drops lashed at him, soaking his clothing in seconds. The heavy weight of his wet cotton tee and jeans didn’t deter him in his quest. He fought the gusts, wrestling with the ferocity of nature to get to his goal.
The howling was horrible and reminded him of a jet engine barreling down a runway right for them. That strong wind whipped Kate’s black hair, tangling it as she widened her stance in order to brace herself from the approaching storm. She moved with a casual ease that gave no hint to the danger swirling less than a half mile from where they stood.
The elephant-trunk-shaped tornado gave a deep growl as it chewed up the field. It had darkened considerably since they’d started the chase, the dirt and debris it churned up altering the color to a deep, murky gray. If Snyder hadn’t been so worried about getting Kate and leaving, he might have taken the time to be impressed with Mother Nature’s creation.
He ducked as a thin tree branch narrowly missed his head and reminded him why he was in this mess. The Jeep provided a good anchor and he braced himself against it as he pressed forward.
“Kate, we have to get out of here.”
She was so focused she didn’t even bother to look at him. “I’ll be fine. She’s been shifting the whole path. She’ll shift again.”
“No, she won’t. She’s headed right for you. Come on!”
If you'd like more, I'm having a seven day event sharing exclusive, never before seen excerpts for CHASING SIN at my website starting today: www.sarabrookes.net