Hello and thank you for joining me as I bid a fond farewell to Ty and Zane on the Crash & Burn virtual tour! For the next five days, join me on my virtual stops to help me say goodbye to the Cut & Run series with cut scenes, playlists, behind the scenes looks at the process of writing this last book, and a peek at the original plan for the series and the twists and turns it took on its journey to the end.
Did I mention the prizes? I have incredible prizes for two winners; a go-bag put together by one B. Tyler Grady. Each bag has over $370 worth of goodies in it. For more detail on the contents, you can click the link at the end of this post! Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing to win one of these bags. Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on April 4, and winners will be announced on April 6th. Contest is valid worldwide.
Today I come bearing a cut scene from Crash & Burn:
He was bundled up in his heaviest coat, two scarves, some fluffy Philadelphia Eagles ear muffs Deuce had sent him as a joke for Christmas, and a pair of work gloves missing the thumbs. He had one of Zane’s coffee mugs clutched to his chest, steam rising from it. It wasn’t coffee inside, though, but a mug of chocolate milk he’d tossed in the microwave for two minutes to make it into some discount hot chocolate. He was fucking freezing. He refused to go inside, though. He felt violated inside.
He’d found, in the last couple of weeks, that he couldn’t think inside. He couldn’t function. Just knowing someone was monitoring him, listening to every sound he made, it made him twitchy. Claustrophobic. He’d started talking to himself, like he was narrating for the eavesdroppers. Got to go shower, I’m dirty. Hungry, going to go fix a sandwich.
He was literally going crazy.
He took a sip of his hot chocolate and muttered to the car. “Must be nice, just sitting here. All you got to do is roll around, gas up, look awesome. Asshole.”
The car didn’t respond, thank God, but Ty did hear something. He cocked his head, scowling as he strained his ears. It came again, a distant knocking.
Ty pushed himself to his feet and hustled into the house. “Coming!” he called out, and he set his mug on the counter as he jogged toward the front door.
He had no idea who to expect, since people rarely showed up at his door in the middle of the day, but when he opened it up he was still shocked.
John English was dressed impeccably. Designer sunglasses, wool overcoat, and sheepskin gloves. He grinned when he saw Ty. “Grady,” he said, taking off his sunglasses. “You sure do go all out for guests.”
Ty looked down at his gray sweatpants and puffy down coat and fur-lined moccasins.
“I . . . whatever, dude, I’m retired,” he said with a shrug. He offered his hand to English, then pulled him in for a hug. “What the hell are you doing here, man?”
“I was passing through town, thought I’d come see you and Garrett, see how you are.”
Ty glanced into the house, ever mindful of the listening devices looking over his shoulders all the time. “Uh. Garrett’s, umm . . . Garrett’s gone for a while. You got a few hours? We’ll go get a beer.”
“Sure, yeah. I’m buying.”
Ty had him come in as he went upstairs and changed. He threw on some jeans and a T-shirt, digging out his favorite leather coat and a plain knit beanie that wouldn’t get him killed by a Ravens fan when they walked into a bar like his earmuffs would.
English was wandering around the living room, looking at Ty’s pictures when Ty thumped back down the stairs.
“Garrett out of town?” he asked, jutting his thumb toward one of the black and white photographs of Ty and Zane on the wall.
“No,” Ty answered, barely choking out the word. “I’ll tell you about it over lunch.”
English didn’t ask more questions, but he frowned the entire time as Ty locked up the house. As soon as they reached the sidewalk, Ty glanced over his shoulder at the front door. “The house is bugged.”
“My house. Someone’s bugged it. Zane and I faked a nasty fight to get him out of the house without raising suspicion.”
“Oh thank God, man!” English said, putting his hand to his heart. “Those ear muffs . . . I thought you were going through some massive relationship ordeal and I don’t know you well enough to deal with that shit.”
Ty laughed heartily as they headed toward Fell’s Point. They’d met John English in Scotland at Deuce’s wedding, and though Ty’d had suspicions about the massive Snake Eater and his crew at first, English had proved himself to be a trustworthy companion. Ty had kept in touch with him over the last year, much to Zane’s chagrin.
“What are you doing in Baltimore?” Ty asked again.
“I was actually up at Cumberland,” English said, losing the bounce to his voice.
“The prison or the mountain range?”
“Prison. Frost is up there.”
Ty nodded in understanding. Frost had been part of English’s team. He’d killed a lot of people in Scotland. Ty couldn’t imagine what it must feel like to find out one of your teammates could do such a thing.
“What’d he have to say?” Ty asked carefully.
“A year later and he still swears he didn’t kill the FBI guy.”
“Yeah. He admits to everything else that went down on that island, but he swears on his mother’s grave he didn’t kill Burns.”
Ty clucked his tongue, glancing at English as a light snow began to fall. “You believe him?”
“I do, yeah. That’s why I’m here.”
Ty frowned and they stopped walking when they came to an intersection.
“I don’t think Frost killed the man,” English said with a heavy sigh. “And that leaves the question I came here to ask you.”
“And what’s that?”
“Do you trust all your people?”
“What?” Ty asked, laughing even though English was dead serious. “Of course I do.”
“So did I,” English said grimly.
Ty was speechless. Was English saying he thought one of Ty’s friends or family could have killed Burns? “No,” he said with a wave of his hand.
English winced. “Understand me, I’m not here to make accusations on the people you care about, I’m here to help you. And since you got a bug in that place of yours, I’m even more glad I came here. I think you need to clean your own house, Grady. Take a good hard look at it and decide who you can trust. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
Ty looked away, staring off toward the harbor and the quaint little shops and taverns of Fell’s Point. His breath came out in a puff in the freezing air. “Yeah, okay,” he finally said. “Come on, man, I’ll buy you some crab cakes.”
English didn’t bring up the matter again as they ate and drank. He seemed to realize Ty had taken his words to heart, that he didn’t need to harp on it.
By the end of their lunch, Ty had English convinced to help him with a plan he’d been pondering the last twenty-four hours. They headed back for the row house, neither of them quite sober anymore, but that worked well for what Ty needed.
“So you want to pick up your bed,” English said as they strolled down the sidewalk, “and toss it into your listening points to get rid of them.”
“Yeah. Accidental bug destruction because me and my buddy were too drunk to be moving a bed!”
“How long has that plan made sense to you?”
“Long enough, let’s do this,” Ty said with a clap of his hands.
“So your wedding present is basically making sure your home is clear of people eavesdropping on you when you have sex.”
Ty smacked the big man on the shoulder, grinning. “I knew you’d understand.”
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Thanks for stopping by! You can follow the entire tour by going to Riptide Publishing. If you care to follow me more closely, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
Blurb: It’s been five years since Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett first worked together to solve the Tri-State murders, and time has been both harsh and kind. Engaged now, they face the challenge of planning a deeply uncertain future together. Zane is at the pinnacle of his career with one last mystery to solve, while Ty is at sea in a world where he’s no longer the tip of a spear.
There’s just one more hurdle in the way of their happy ever after: a traitor from their inner circle who threatens to burn their world to the ground.
Squeezed between the Vega cartel, an unknown mole, and too many alphabet agencies to count, Ty and Zane must gather all their strength and resources to beat the longest odds they’ve ever faced. To make it out alive, they’ll need help from every friend they’ve got. Even the friends who might betray their trust.
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