Today we're hosting an excerpt from Aj Elmore’s debut novel, Cadillac Payback. I love this book so much—it’s a gritty romantic suspense with a side of organized crime that is just so beautifully written! Aj is sharing an excerpt with us today, as well as an amazing giveaway!! Be sure to check it all out!
Cadillac Payback Synopsis: An old Cadillac and a gun are all she has left of her brother. Three men stand ready to follow her into the darkest pits of hell to avenge him. The Cadillac leads them down a swamp road lined with ghosts, consequence and the tangled web of business and pleasure, into the underbelly of New Orleans crime as she fights for vengeance for her brother. Joshua was just a rookie, a kid caught up in a drug ring. It’s fun and dangerous, all easy, until it kills his best friend and drags what’s left of his companions into a war. All he knows is he would walk into hell with her, and she might ask before it’s over… Isaiah thought he’d seen everything—but watching Charlie die tore the world apart. The regime is changing, and with the new leader come more questions than answers. He was Charlie’s right hand, but what will he be to her? Frederick came up on the streets, learned fast and hard and dirty. His past has always been a sticking point for the group, but one person has never questioned him, and he’ll do anything for her… Maria never wanted to take over Charlie’s operation. But with her brother dead, and vengeance the only thing she has left, she makes her first decision: drag Charlie’s killers down. It might just be her last.
“Stay in the car,” she says softly, her tone solid and measured.
She opens the case with the precision and surety of an assassin. Inside, nestled between some egg crate foam is a fifth of Southern Comfort. The liquid inside is the right color, but it moves like mostly melted butter.
I'm too stunned to respond properly. Stay in the car? Not likely. She can't expect that of me. I watch her retrieve another bottle lid that has a big, white tampon hanging through it by the string. It is severely out of place, that tampon. Almost comical.
She replaces the bottle's lid with tampon-laden one, leaving the cotton to dangle inside. I watch with morbid fascination as the liquid bleeds into the misemployed feminine product. Events are beginning to reshape in my mind's eye, as the thing in her hand begins to make more sense in my frayed thought process. This is no bottle of summer evening rowdiness, this is one mean little molotov cocktail; Frederick's work, no doubt.
“At least stay here,” she says, unexpectedly nailing me with dead seriousness.
I can barely see the brown of her irises in the moonlight. Summer bugs buzz in my head. My stomach invades my lower intestines at the sight of the deadly intent on her face. She's sidelining me, putting me on the bench until her business here is done.
She steals away. Her feet barely make any sound in the gravel. Her hips sway slightly, sending upon me a wave of slow motion sensory that always seems to happen before something significant comes. My consciousness breathes in. I close the trunk as gently as I can manage, and wait.
She sidles up to the house, a stalking predator in the shadows. A siren erupts somewhere several blocks away. The noise makes my heart stutter, nearly fail, but Maria is steady, unaffected. She doesn't give a shit about authorities in the still, early morning air.
I keep waiting for gunfire, or a signal of danger from a hidden look-out, for some indication that they have been waiting for us all this time. Perhaps, they really have underestimated the magnitude of their actions, and the force that they have angered. These fuckers are crazy if they believe they won't be hearing from us tonight, even crazier if they thought they could scare Charlie's little sister into inaction. Such is the smug self-confidence of their ring-leader.
I watch her silhouette slip a lighter from her pants pocket. Its flame illuminates her face for just a moment, and the tampon's fuse is lit. She waits long enough to make sure the flame will hold, then unceremoniously chucks the bottle toward the house, a baby sis with something to prove.
All I can think is that if he could see her now, he would be proud.
Aj Elmore Bio: Aj is a beach migrant, and part-time muse. She enjoys the exploration of genres vast, and the search for untold worlds. A writer-for-fun since childhood, she has also been known to be a super hero, a gun slinger, and occasionally, a waitress. She lives on an island, has a bachelor's degree in journalism and some tattoos. She is most easily found at the water's edge.