So it’s out there. It’s live. Is the world ready for shapeshifting Tasmanian Tigers, a feisty Aussie heroine, a gorgeous take-no-prisoners Texan hero and a ruthless hunter with his eye firmly on his prey?
I hope so, cause Savage Transformation is LIVE.
Savage Transformation is the second book in my Savage Australia series. When I first wrote Savage Retribution (a looooong looooong four years ago) this tiny little detective from Sydney made a very small appearance. Detective Jackie Huddart had a secret. She was only on the pages of Savage Retribution for all of about 1 and a half of them, but I knew, knew, there was more to her than she was letting on. I didn’t know what it was, but she was hiding something. Something big.
Here’s Jackie when we first meet her in Savage Retribution…
A tiny woman appeared through a massive, white marble archway to his left, her petite, grey-suited frame positively dwarfed by the excess around her. She crossed the floor between the arch and Peter in long, confident strides, the sound of her sensible heels a drum tattoo in the silent house. She drew closer, and Peter made out a smattering of freckles across a pixie-like nose under light brown eyes completely free of make-up. Beside him, Yolanda gave a most inaudible snort. “Dressed by Wal-Mart,” he heard his partner snarl under her breath, German accent thicker than normal.
Peter glared at her and she curled her lip at him.
He turned back to the tiny woman and for the first time noticed the Glock in its holster beside her left breast.
You’re slipping. Vischka’s more under your skin that you realise.
“Yeah, I’m Thomas.” He held out his hand. “You’re Huddart?”
Detective Huddart nodded, shaking his hand. “Please, call me Jackie.”
Behind him, he heard Yolanda growl. Low and soft.
Jackie Huddart raised her eyebrows, studying his partner with obvious indifference before seemingly dismissing her altogether. “Did you know your sister was missing, Detective?”
Peter’s chest grew tight. Yes he did. And what had he’d been doing? Fantasizing about a femme fatale like a bad Hollywood gumshoe.
Huddart nodded her head again, obviously not needing an answer. “She’s left you a message upstairs.” Without pausing to see if he followed, she turned and climbed the large staircase dominating the foyer, tiny frame moving up each step with fluid, compact grace.
A hand fell on Peter’s shoulder, followed by Yolanda’s warm breath on his ear. Unreadable blue eyes held his. “Well?”
The contact got his feet moving. In what seemed like three giant steps he stood beside Huddart in a luxurious bathroom twice the size of his own bedroom, towering over her and staring at a message written in some sort of black marker on the wall-to-wall mirror over the sunken bathtub. He swallowed, throat tight and mouth dry.
Peter read the message again.
“Do you know who Rex is?”
Peter traced the hastily written words on the mirror, recognizing Reggie’s relaxed penmanship. “My sister’s pet lizard,” he answered Huddart. “If anyone called my Area Command and mentioned Rex, Command would know immediately Reggie was somehow involved.”
“Ahh, that explains how Sydney City Dispatch knew the message was from your sister then.” Huddart nodded. “The question mark threw us. We thought it may have been code for something.”
He gave her a quick glance. “Do you know when it was written?”
The petite detective shook her head. “The neighbors across the road contacted us fifty minutes ago. They saw the owner’s XKR Jaguar exit the garage, driven by a male, between the ages of 35 and 40, black hair, Caucasian. They were a little bit suspicious because the owner is bald, in his sixties and apparently in New York.”
The click of six-inch heels on tile announced Yolanda’s arrival. As did the musky scent of her perfume invading Peter’s breath. He turned to her, body wanting to respond to her enigmatic presence. He controlled it. But with far greater effort than it should have required.
A cool, blue unreadable gaze flicked over him before she focused her attention on the mirror. “Kohl?” she asked, although it sounded more like a statement.
Huddart nodded. “Looks that way.”
Peter read the message again. Not hurt.
What did Not hurt mean? Reggie was okay? A willing part of the whole thing? Was he missing something? And what did the mention of her lizard mean? Was she trying to tell him something, or just thinking about everyone else—including the bloody reptile—before herself again? “Do we have a track on the Jag yet?”
“Not yet. Area Command is still trying to contact the owner. He’s proving a little tricky to track down. The car has a GPS based security system but we need the access PIN.” A shadow of sorrow crossed Huddart’s otherwise detached expression. “It shouldn’t be long.” She paused. “Do you know who has your sister?”
Peter’s chest clamped tight. The Irishman? McCoy? He shook his head. “No.”
He turned to see Yolanda’s reaction to his answer.
And found the doorway behind him empty.
“Do you know why someone would abduct her?”
Huddart’s question snapped his attention away from his partner’s unexpected absence. “She’s trodden on some powerful people’s toes.” He shoved his hands into his pockets, stare fixed on Reggie’s message.
Peter huffed out a sigh. “Anyone who conducts animal testing knows who my sister is. She’s had more than one cosmetic company CEO in—”
Huddart’s cell phone burst into life and, pulling it from her jacket, she held up a pointed finger to Peter: “One moment.”
Can you see what I mean? There was something about the way she made Yolanda prickle that made me wonder just who and what Jackie was. (Those that have read Savage Retribution will know Yolanda had her own secret.)
It took almost two years before Jackie decided to share her secret with me. And boy, what a secret.
Savage Transformation tells of that secret. As well as a few more. And then some. Along the way, there’s lust, desire and danger (this is after all, a Lexxie Couper book *grin*)