Split Shift (Night Shift #2)
by T.A. Moore Format:
author Formats available:
M/M romance, paranormal, urban fantasy Series:
Night Shift #2 Pages:
117 Published by
Rogue Firebird Press on April 19, 2021 Purchasing Info: Author's Website
, Publisher's Website
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The hard thing about Night Shift is when you realize werewolves are bad news, but people can be worse.
After Night Shift officer Kit Marlow solved the murder of child star Haley Jenkins, he figured he was due a little down time. Maybe even a dinner date with Cade Deacon, the sarcastic security consultant, very good kisser, and werewolf who'd helped with the investigation.
That was before someone in a Night Shift uniform drove them both off the road. With the full moon up the only dinner date Cade is interested in...has Marlow served up on a plate. And not in a sexy way.
It's the second time that corrupt Night Shift officers have tried to kill Marlow. If he has his way, it will be the last. Problem is he only has twenty-eight days before the next full moon. If he hasn't identified who wants him dead by then, he'll have to take to werewolf filled streets with a team at his back he can't trust.
First things first, though. Get through the next twelve hours alive and uneaten, and hope that if a second date is still on the cards it's less eventful.
The awesome tease that was the first book in this series, Shift Work, left me screaming for more because it ended on an honest-to-goodness (more likely badness or badassness in this case) cliffhanger.
As in someone just T-boned Marlow’s car – with Cade in it – and left them precarious hanging onto the end of a literal, actual cliff as dusk descends and the full moon comes up over the horizon.
Meaning that Cade is about to wolf-out and Marlow is going to be on his menu – and not in the way that the two men were both hoping.
The thing is, though, that the car that crashed them onto that cliff’s edge was driven by someone in a Night Shift uniform – one of Marlow’s fellow officers. Someone he’s supposed to be able to trust to have his back on those nights when it really isn’t safe out there.
Marlow’s all too aware that it isn’t safe for him inside his own squad – a safety that he hoped he’d gotten back after a past betrayal by a dirty cop nearly ended both his career and his life. But the case that put Marlow and Cade into each other’s orbits in Night Shift isn’t done yet.
Someone is still out to get him. He just has to figure out who before they succeed. Because he’s still hoping for that date with Cade – and he has to be alive to enjoy it.
Escape Rating A-: Godsdammit but she did it again. I turned the last page of this book and realized that this case still isn’t done yet. At least Marlow isn’t hanging over the edge of an actual cliff this time. But I’m not satisfied – actually neither are Marlow and Cade – because this case still isn’t over.
One of the things that this series so far is doing really well, besides teasing its readers half to death, is showing that no matter who or what the monster of the day is in urban fantasy – this time it’s werewolves – that the real monsters, forever and always, are human beings.
The wolves are just following biological imperatives. They aren’t culpable for what happens when they are shifted. They really aren’t.
When the wolves are assholes, and some of them are, it’s not because they are wolves. They are assholes because they are humans for all except the three nights of the full moon. And human beings frequently, often, suck.
And not in a fun way.
So, the problem that Marlow is having has nothing to do with wolves – even when they are chasing him. It’s humans every single time. The question that he has just begun to solve at the end of his Split Shift revolves around exactly which ones? And just how far will they go to get him out of their way?
Maybe we’ll find out in the next book in the series. Pretty, please, Ms. Author? Soon, please!
Guest Post from TA Moore + Chapter 2 of the Night Shift prequel short (check out Chapter 1 at Love Bytes)
First of all, thank you so much for having me! I’m thrilled to be here with my new release, Split Shift by TA Moore, the second novella in the Night Shift series.
For the blog tour I’ve written a short story set in the Night Shift world. I hope you enjoy!
It was technically the third apology. So far Brian hadn’t responded to any of them. Marlow stared at the phone screen for a second and then dropped his head back against the cushioned, pleather back of the booth in frustration. He stared up at the ceiling, a single cobwebby string of dust strung from one chrome light fitting to the tiles.
Three months ago Brian had thought dating someone in Night Shift was exciting. Hot. Dangerous in a sexy way. He’d wanted Marlow to turn up at his apartment in uniform, the more battered the better.
Now he had either left Marlow on read the morning after the full moon, or he’d slept through their dinner/breakfast date.
The call-and-response rhythm of food orders pitched up and down in the background. Start the Day Right was open at breakfast, but it mostly catered to the night shift. Both the Night Shift who kept the city safe during the full moon, and the less celebrated ones who kept the city running during it. So there was the occasional pancake order or call for fried beets and eggs–who didn’t like breakfast food all day?–most of the orders were for fried chicken, avocado sandwiches, and beers.
“You ready to order, love?” the waitress asked.
Marlow lifted his head. “Sorry,” he said.
For all the ‘love’ the waitress looked about twenty four. She winked at him and clicked her pen.
“Not the first who’s dozed off in here,” she said. “Not even the first today. You ready to order.”
Piper had left his order before he’d stepped out to make a call. That was easy.
“Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, extra spicy,” he said.
The waitress scratched half the order down, and paused on the spicy. “Are you sure?” she asked. “When we say something is extra spicy, it’s made people go blind.”
“That’s what he wants,” Marlow said, with a nod to Piper’s jacket on the other chair. While the waitress wrote the rest of the order down, Marlow gave the menu a quick once over. The thought of food made his stomach knot, but he supposed he had to have something on the plate. “Crispy ginger latkes?”
She nodded and scrawled it down. A swipe of the pen underlined the order and she turned to go, only to rock back on her heels as she came face to face with Piper.
“Oh!” she said. A wide smile crossed her face. “Ned! If I’d known it was your table I’d not have questioned the extra-spicy sauce.”
“I’d hope not,” Piper said. “Make that two of the same, along with whatever Marlow ordered.”
She amended the order quickly and headed off to the kitchens. A few other diners tried to catch her attention on the way past, but she waved them off. Piper pulled the chair on the other side of the booth out and sat down.
“Budge up,” the tall, blond man told Marlow as he slid into the booth next to him. His elbow nudged Marlow in the ribs and he smelled of fresh soap and leather. “You’re in my spot.”
Piper took a drink of coffee. “Marlow,” he said. “Meet Colin Franklin. He just got cleared to get back to work.”
“I got a new hip,” Franklin said with bluntly weaponised good cheer as he took his jacket off. “I try and think of it as more cybernetic than geriatic.”
“How’s that going?” Marlow asked.
He shifted up the bench to put space between them. Franklin promptly shifted back
into the space, his leg pressed against Marlow’s under the table.
“Better some days than others. On the plus side I learned to play a mean hand of bridge,” Franklin said. He stole Marlow’s coffee and took a drink. The taste made him grimace and give it back. “Bean juice. Gross. You can keep that.”
“It isn’t mine,” Marlow lied blandly. “It was on the table when we got here.”
There was a visible pause as Franklin stopped the schtick. The genial goofball slipped for a second and Franklin’s heavy-boned, handsome face settled into a thoughtful expression. It only lasted a moment then was banished with a lazy grin.
“All right, at least people won’t think you’re funnier than me,” he said.
“He’s better at hand to hand,” Piper said conversationally. He unwrapped his cutlery and laid it out on the table. “Drives like an old lady, though.”
Franklin laughed, despite the flicker of annoyance he’d shown at the first part of the sentence. “Shows what you know,” he said. “Some of the old dears in getting their hips done would have put half the cops on the force to shame. They’d run down a toddler down to get to a toilet paper sale.”
Marlow resisted the urge to move further up the bench. He’d just end up squashed into the corner and still have Franklin’s thigh against his.
“No offense, sir,” he said. Piper made a face at the ‘sir’ and Franklin sucked air through his teeth. “What is this in aid of?”
There was a pause as the waitress came back from the kitchen, plates in hand. She slid them onto the table, introducing each as she went, and grabbed a pot to top up their cups. When she finished she chirped ‘enjoy your meal’ and headed over to a nearby table that had been trying to get her attention.
“…we were here first,” one of the men grumbled. “How come they got served first?”
Marlow missed the justification for that as Piper reclaimed his attention.
“Franklin was my first pick for Night Shift,” he said as he tucked his napkin into his lap. “You both know that. He has the experience, I know he has the nerve, and the skills I want to bring to the team.”
For a second Marlow’s chest cramped, tight and wet as if he’d just swallowed water, and then he relaxed. It wasn’t exactly what he’d wanted to hear, but it was done. He took a bite of his latkes and started to play what next.
Robbery hadn’t been that bad, but with six months on Night Shift under his belt he could move to Homicide. Or just…move? The Sheriff’s Department had their own Night Shift division, for the small towns and out in the desert. That was another option. Or another city? State?
The idea felt huge. Marlow had spent his whole life in San Diego, but his family was gone and his friends weren’t lifelong ones. There was Brian, but…
It wasn’t like he’d texted back yet.
“See?” Piper said to Franklin. He sounded obscurely pleased. “That’s what Marlow brings to the team. He’s unflappable, even in the middle of a fight. So yeah, Franklin was my first choice but you were always a close second, Marlow. I’d rather not get rid of either of you. It puts us over-budget on our wages for the year, but Quints is retiring in six months and we can absorb it until then.”
Franklin slapped Marlow on the shoulder. It was a little too hard to be friendly. “You sitting there near shitting yourself,” he chuckled, “And for what?”
“The other shoe,” Marlow said. He watched Piper over the rack of condiments in the middle of the table. “We aren’t getting a free meal for nothing are we?”
Piper smirked. He added more hot sauce to his sandwich and took a bite. The batter crunched between his teeth and juice dripped over the plate as he set back down on the table. He wiped his mouth and then his hands on a napkin as he chewed until he could swallow.
“Are you two going to be able to work together?” he asked. “Or you going to be butting heads about who’s my favorite the whole time?”
Franklin shrugged and picked up his burger. “I just want to get back to work,” he
said. “I’m not in it for back pats and medals.”
He took a huge bite and chewed contentedly–and noisily–on it.
“I don’t care who’s the favorite,” Marlow said. “I just want to do the job.”
Piper dipped a fry in the hot sauce and bit it neatly in half. He gave both of them a slow, greasy-lipped smile.
“Good,” he said. “Tonight you get to prove it. I’m going to yoke you two together, see if you can put aside your egos and do what needs done. If you can’t, well, then I guess I have a decision to make.”
He waved the waitress down again and asked for the rest of sandwich to go. It came back to the table in a neat box with a ‘little bit of something sweet to get through till tonight’.
“See you tonight at the briefing,” Piper said as he stood up. “Get some sleep.”
He walked out, bag swinging from one hand.
“I mean, you know I am the favorite right?” Franklin said as he shoved the last bite of chicken and fries into his mouth. “First choice. See you tonight, rookie.”
He bumped Marlow with his shoulder, slid out of the booth and left. The smear of hot sauce left on his plate was sour and strong enough to wrinkle Marlow’s nose. He’d not left any money.
The latkes were only ok. Marlow finished his coffee and tilted his head to catch the waitress’s eye. She topped up a coffee and sauntered over.
“Just the bill,” Marlow said.
She laughed and shook her head. “No. It’s always on the house for Piper,” she said. “He saved the owner’s kid one full moon. And you, of course, thank you for your service!”
Catch the next chapter tomorrow at Two Chicks Obsessed and follow the tour for the rest of the story!
About the Author:
TA Moore is a Northern Irish writer of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. A childhood in a rural, seaside town fostered in her a suspicious nature, a love of mystery, and a streak of black humour a mile wide. As her grandmother always said, ‘she’d laugh at a bad thing that one’, mind you, that was the pot calling the kettle black. TA Moore studied History, Irish mythology, English at University, mostly because she has always loved a good story. She has worked as a journalist, a finance manager, and in the arts sector before she finally gave in to a lifelong desire to write.
Coffee, Doc Marten boots, and good friends are the essential things in life. Spiders, mayo, and heels are to be avoided.
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