By: Kallie Lane
Melena Salera is a woman who survived unbeatable odds. She’s had killers on her trail for reasons she couldn’t possibly understand. A family she knew nothing about, and a grandmother recently murdered in a boat explosion—Melena being the prime suspect in that police investigation.
All roads to her survival lead back to Theo Sauvage, her lawyer and a Special Ops military reservist. Melena would either be in jail or lying in a drawer at the morgue if it wasn’t for Theo and the other members of the Shadow Soldiers team.
Now that the killer has been caught, Melena and I meet for this interview at Silver Lake. It’s late July, and rain is pelting down since I boarded the Bayliner at the boat docks twenty minutes ago. I gaze out the window of the boat and watch the waves roll by. Smell ozone in the air and hope lightning doesn’t strike us while we roar down the lake.
Melena: We got lucky, Kallie. (She grins at me.) Theo doesn’t usually let me drive this boat. For some stupid reason, he doesn’t trust me with it. He only let me have it today because of the weather.
Kallie: Where is he? Considering how protective he is of you, I’m surprised he isn’t here.
Melena: He’s at his place with his team right now and couldn’t get away, but awesome guy that he is, he made an exception with the Bayliner. He didn’t want us getting wet.
She pulls up to the wharf at her cottage, bounces and scrapes the side of the bow along the pier’s skirting before reversing thrust and shutting down the engine. We leap for the dock to haul the drifting Bayliner alongside and secure its moorings. (I cringe as I see the black skid marks along the side of the hull from the dock’s bumpers. Now I understand why Theo doesn’t want her driving the boat.)
Grabbing my bag, I follow Melena up a narrow dirt path through the forest to her cottage and go inside. There’s a fire lit in the fireplace, perfect for an unseasonably chilly day. While I wait for Melena to pour our coffee, I stand in front of the fireplace and stretch my hands toward the fire, trying to warm up. As heat caresses my palms, she carries in a tray from the kitchen and places it on the coffee table. After she hands me a cup, Melena curls up on the couch. A massive wolf with golden eyes lumbers into the room and plunks himself down on the floor between us. He’s watching me.
Kallie: Will he attack if I reach into my handbag for a tape recorder?
Melena: No. Doodlebug loves the ladies. But don’t make any sudden moves, just in case.
Oh joy. My fingers fumble for the tape machine while I smile at the wolf, hoping he won’t notice my unease. I glance at Melena. She is a tiny woman with pixie blond hair and cobalt blue eyes sharp with intelligence. I can see why Theo fell for her. Tucking her hands up the sleeves of her hoodie, she waits me out. I keep smiling like an idiot at the wolf, place the tape machine on the table and turn it on.
Kallie: How are you feeling?
Melena: Wow, that’s a loaded question. Physically, I feel fine. But, it may take me a while to get my head on straight. There are still so many unanswered questions and some people I have to face. Theo is helping me work through it.
Kallie: Have you been off the lake since this whole thing began?
Melena: Not really, only to go into town for supplies or out to dinner with Theo. He heads back to Montreal on Mondays to look after his law practice and drives back up here on Friday nights. I resigned my position at the pharmaceutical company because I wanted to spend the summer here.
Kallie: I’m surprised you’d want to spend any time here at all, considering everything that’s happened to you since you came to the lake.
Melena: It wasn’t the place that hurt me…it was people and circumstances. Besides, if I’d never come here I wouldn’t have met Theo. And Dood is good company when he’s gone. Plus there’s Doc and his wife, Stella at the store and lots of other people I’ve met on the lake. They keep me busy while Theo’s away. Lots of impromptu barbeques and get togethers, that kind of thing. Heck, I’m even driving the little boat now without smashing into anything. Although, most people offer to pick me up and drop me off. I think Theo may have spread the word that I’m still a little shaky in the boating department.
Kallie: Speaking of Theo, you love him?
Melena: Stupid question, Kallie. Of course I love him.
Kallie: Has he asked you to…
Her cell phone rings. Flipping it open, she answers, listens for a minute, and disconnects the call.
Melena: Come on. We have to go.
A couple minutes later, we are back on board the boat with Dood riding shotgun. (I guess he doesn’t trust me with his human.) Melena veers starboard into the next bay and steers for an island. I silently mouth a few prayers as she nears the dock. She eases off on the throttle a little late. We’re already headed straight into the dock. Miracle of miracles, a man appears on the wharf through the rain. Another steps up beside him and between the two, they manage to stop the bow and swing the Bayliner alongside the pier. Except, I’m wrong. My counting is a little off, and as the rain lets up, I see that there are seven of them. Big men with grim expressions and wearing big guns. The Spec Ops team is a bonafide death squad, and none of them look happy to see me.
Jeez, maybe Theo was right in our last interview, when he suggested I choose another profession and quit writing about the Shadow Soldiers. I hide a secret grin. That’s not going to happen, but I won’t mention it today. Only a fool would provoke these guys.
Happy reading everyone! Kallie
DARK ABANDON available at