BY: CHRISTINE WALL

New York Police Detective, Kate Morgan carries many secrets. The black sheep of America’s most notorious crime family, she walks a fine line between her commitment to truth and justice and the obligations demanded from her family.

FBI agent Grant Anderson, embraces his role and place in the Anderson family, America’s richest and most philanthropic example of good will and kindness. His loyalty ends however, with his family’s expectations of marrying the right girl.

For thousands of years, the Morgans and Andersons have been sworn enemies. Clans, steadfast in their loyalty and commitment as handpicked first families to the Devil and God. Both sides tread carefully, maintaining the balance between Virtue, Sin, and Immortality, enduring each other only twice a century, during the Summit of Good and Evil.

With the mysterious murder of Gus Morgan, the balance is threatened and the future of humanity in jeopardy. Treading through a minefield of treachery and deceit, Kate and Grant must solve this murder, face their attraction, and stop a family feud before all hell comes crashing down.

TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Surviving the Summit of Good and Evil by Christine Wall, Kate Morgan is a descendent of the devil, but she doesn’t believe in following Satan. A detective for the NYPD, she believes in truth and justice and the protection of the innocent, much to the horror of the rest of her family who consider her a traitor to the cause. When she meets FBI Special Agent Grant Anderson, a descendent of God, they are immediately attracted to each other, much to the dismay of both of their families. But Grant and Kate are determined to control their own destinies. The two are thrown together when they attend the mandatory joint-family reunion at a luxury resort, where someone is killing family members. Now Grant and Kate have to investigate their own families to find the killer before he or she can destroy the balance between good and evil and threaten humanity.

The story is well written, with a fresh and unique plot, plenty of surprises, and some hot sex scenes. What’s not to love?

REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Surviving the Summit of Good and Evil is the story of black sheep who don’t confirm to their families’ expectations. Our heroine, NYPD Detective Kate Morgan, comes from the devil’s bloodline. Her family is the first family of Satan on Earth, dedicated to causing mayhem and destroying innocence. Our hero, FBI Special Agent Grant Anderson, is a member of the first family of God on Earth, dedicated to protecting the innocent and overcoming evil. Needless to say, the Morgans and Andersons have been sworn enemies for thousands of years. But Kate and Grant march to a different drummer. They care for each other without regard to what their families think. When they both end up at the family reunion (the Summit)—that happens every fifty years and where attendance is mandatory—their families are appalled at their growing relationship. Both families try to interfere, but Gant and Kate happily defy family traditions. Then when Kate’s cousin Gus is murdered, Kate and Grant join ranks to find the killer before the balance between good and evil is destroyed, along with mankind.

Surviving the Summit of Good and Evil is a far cry from Wall’s first book, Showdown at Evil High, a young adult paranormal thriller. While both books deal with angels and demons, Surviving the Summit of Good and Evil is not a YA book. With a strong well-thought-out plot full of twists and turns, intriguing and realistic characters, spicy sex scenes, and slightly gruesome violence, this is not your grandmother’s romance.

PROLOGUE

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. ~ Matthew 16:19

CHAPTER 1

“We are but fleeting moments. A fragile leaf blowing amid tumultuous winds, destined for the mysterious and desperate to know if an unknown God will steer us true.”

She closed the journal and stared at the worn cover of dark brown leather. Sighing for a moment, she paused before looking up into the face of her therapist. Her sixth one in the last twelve months. Another recommendation from her best friend Melanie, who swore that this one would be the fit she needed.

“That’s beautiful, Katherine. Thank you for sharing your most private thoughts. How does that make you feel?” The therapist stared at her thoughtfully, intent on keeping the momentum of sharing alive.

Kate opened her mouth, then closed it and frowned. How did she feel? Feelings were something of a treat she didn’t often allow and certainly never shared. But lately–lately, with the reunion looming, she was forced to admit their existence and, no matter how hard she resisted, their rights as a part of her mind.

“I feel uncomfortable and anxious and I don’t know why.” Surprise, then annoyance, flashed through her mind. Kate Morgan telling the truth to a stranger. Well, that wasn’t exactly the truth, but the less her therapist knew, the safer for her.

“Is it because of your work?”

“My work?”

“I would imagine working for the NYPD comes with a certain amount of anxiety and stress. Especially in the homicide department.”

“Right, yes, of course, my work. Yes, the job can be downright gruesome sometimes.”

Kate bit her tongue. Shut up Kate. Shut up. The woman had naively given her an out, yet all Kate wanted to do was to steer the conversation down a street not fit for travel.

The therapist seemed pleased for once and nodded, jotting something down on the Swarovski encrusted note pad that was a permanent fixture in her lap.

Any additional self-effacing remarks were interrupted by chimes from a stylish alarm clock on the doctor’s desk. A wave of relief flooded Kate’s mind, along with an ironic realization. She had been saved by an object whose days of usefulness were as numbered as hers. The woman glanced at the Rolex on her left wrist and put her pen down. “Well, Katherine, I do believe that our time is up. Shall we pencil you in for the same time next week?”

“Actually, Dr. Trask, I’m going on vacation, so it will have to be the week after.”

Dr. Trask raised her eyebrows, a smile crossing her face. “Excellent to hear. I’m always glad when a patient takes some time for herself. I trust it will be fun and relaxing for you?”

Hardly, thought Kate, but she smiled and nodded. Family reunions were anything but fun or relaxing for her. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a choice in the matter.

Kate thanked the psychiatrist and made a beeline for the elevator. The doctor seemed harmless enough. Vapid in thoughts yet genuinely interested in what Kate had to say. Perhaps there was someone who could help her after all. In the elevator, she felt the vibration of her smart phone and quickly reached into her bag, hoping to catch the caller before they hung up. She hated the days leading up to time off–there was so much to do at work, she barely had time to put her files in order, much less miss a call from her boss. Pulling her phone from the black hole slung over one shoulder, she felt her stomach drop when she read the number. It was her mother. Again.

Bursting out of the dark and onto the sidewalk of bustling Fifth Avenue helped to calm Kate’s nerves. There was a certain comfort in being lost in a crowd of cynical New Yorkers. Everyone hustling to get on their way and no one caring about her problems. It was a welcome normality that she reveled in every day.

Kate took a moment, shoving her back against the cold granite of a nearby building. The heat was stifling and claustrophobic, another reminder of her Southern roots getting in the way. She took a series of deep breaths and unbuttoned the top button of her shirt, suddenly feeling like the garment was strangling her. Calling her mother back was out of the question. It wouldn’t be long before ninety-eight pounds of criticism would be in her face. She didn’t need another call ruining her day.

All she could think of was that damned reunion…summit…whatever you wanted to call it. She had missed the last one due to circumstances beyond her control, but nothing in hell or on earth would allow her to dodge this impending disaster.

“Pull it together, Morgan. They’re just your goddamn relatives,” she muttered, the pounding in her ears starting to subside. “So what if you despise them all?”

Pushing herself into a standing position, she sucked in some more air and continued her monologue. “It’s just anxiety, you’re okay, just breathe. What do you need? Coffee? Chocolate? Retail therapy?”

“Two shots to the head, one to the heart. No mistakes, no slip ups.” The voice hit her full on, pushing away her anxiety. She snapped to attention, scanning the faces around her.

A burly figure passed by, so close she could smell the overpowering stench of his cologne. Glancing down, she spied the tattoos on his arm. Upside down cross with a severed head at the base. She identified with that tattoo better than the birthmarks on her own body. She knew the man and he was exactly what she needed. A collar that would make her day.

“Junior Malone, stop,” she yelled, pulling out her nine millimeter, and aiming it in his direction. “You’re under arrest for the murder of Stanley Bronson.”

Junior stopped and looked at her. Smiling, he raised his hands and began cracking his knuckles. “Detective Kate, looking finger fuckin’ good as usual.” His eyes slowly swept her body, hungrily settling on the shirt that showed off the curve of her breasts.

“Get on your knees, Junior. You’re under arrest for murder, kidnapping, extortion, and pissing me off.”

“The only way I’m getting on my knees is if you’re naked in front of me.”

Kate rolled her eyes, half in disgust, half in annoyance that this idiot had managed to evade the NYPD at all. Before she could reply, she felt a surge of energy, a presence that threw her off focus and threatened her concentration.

“That’s no way to speak to a lady, Malone.”

The deep voice came from behind her. She could hear him but didn’t dare take her eyes off her prisoner. “Whoever you are, move along,” she called out to the man behind her. “This is police business and I don’t need civilians interfering.”

Junior started laughing. Wagging his finger between her and the mysterious stranger, he doubled over, letting out a loud snort, slapping his knee.

Kate didn’t know what was so funny but every chuckle only made her angrier. “Hands where I can see them, Junior,” she warned. “Now, shut up and let me read you your rights.”

“That won’t be necessary, Officer, I’ve got it from here.”

Unable to avoid it any longer, she glanced back at the voice, ignoring the hysterical laughter from Junior. “It’s Detective, you asshole.”

He stood there, six feet tall, muscular and chiselled with a Glock in his hand. For a second, she was taken aback. Confidence radiated from him with a charismatic energy that took her breath away. Behind the Ray Bans and expensive dark blue suit, he could only be one thing.

With a smirk, he looked at her. “That’s FBI asshole to you, and he’s my problem, not yours.”

Kate bristled in defiance. The entire department had been on the hunt for Junior and he was being dropped in her lap. There was no way anyone was going to get in her way.

“Back off,” she warned. “He’s my collar. I’m arresting him for suspected murder, ah–ass–Agent.” She bit her tongue, choosing not to add “asshole” onto the end of her sentence.

“Well, he’s mine now. FBI has jurisdiction over NYPD.”

“The hell you do.”

“At ease, Detective. Despite what you might think, I’m not the enemy here.” He paused for a moment, struggling to keep his anger in check. “Look, this discussion is over. He’s coming with me.”

“Is he on your top ten most wanted?”

“No, but he’s a piece of a larger problem that I need to solve.”

“Well, he’s at the top of my list. He killed a decorated war veteran in cold blood and I made a promise to his widow and two young kids that I would get justice for them.”

Behind the sunglasses and stony expression, she could see that her words made an impact on him. The agent’s jaw twitched slightly, his fingers shifted over the trigger as if he was silently daring Junior to give him a reason to shoot. After a moment he spoke, his tone softened just a little. “I admire what you’re doing and I can promise justice will be served, but right now the Bureau’s needs come first.”

“Don’t serve me bureaucratic bullshit. You want to flip him, and once he’s in witness protection, any justice he deserves will be gone.”

The agent’s eyebrows rose as if she had read his mind. “Trust me, lady, he’ll get what he deserves.”

“I’m not a lady,” she spat. “I’m a goddamn detective and you’re a bad liar.”

Junior slowly backed away, shaking his head while the couple traded insults. “Wow, you’re both fucking something.”

“Shut up,” they replied in unison.

Junior shrugged his shoulders then looked around. They were completely absorbed in angry negotiation and that was all the motivation he needed.

Kate whirled around in time to see Junior take off down the street. “Christ, I can’t believe this,” she swore. Holstering her gun, she whipped off her jacket and tossed it on the ground. Pointing her finger at him, she exclaimed, “This is your fault!”

The agent watched as she dashed after his suspect. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he muttered with the shake of his head.

Glancing down the street, he did a few mental calculations and looked into the sky. Pulling out his phone, he punched in a few numbers. “Yeah, Doug, it’s Grant. Looks like we’ve got eyes on Junior Malone. Meet me near the corner of Broadway and West Twenty-Eighth.” With a sigh, he took off after them.

Kate dashed after Junior, who was alternating between zigzagging and pushing pedestrians out of the way. He was just ahead of her, his lumbering body shoving people to the left and right of him.

Jumping over fallen shoppers and dodging little kids, she breathed a quick prayer of thanks to the universe for the skills she had picked up in her younger days. Running, swimming, and top of her class athlete. Being agile and fast had served her well and today was no exception. Kate had been chasing him for three blocks and, at the quarter mile mark, most of her perps started to slow down. True to form, he was starting to falter. Rounding the corner of Twenty-Seventh Street, he disappeared into an alley.

Kate stopped short, pulling the gun from her holster. “Junior,” she warned. “Let’s not do this the hard way. There’s no escape. Give up and I’ll go easy on you.”

“Come and play, you crazy bitch. I can’t wait for you to try.”

She glanced through the dimness, cursing under her breath. The alley was a dead end, a passageway between two sets of apartment buildings. Looking up, she watched as lines of clothes strung across the structures fluttered back and forth blocking out the afternoon sun.

Kate stepped carefully, avoiding the holes in the cobblestone filled with water. At the end of the alley, the flare of a lit cigarette penetrated the darkness. She peered around stacks of garbage, following the scent of tobacco. She could see a figure and feel his eyes on her. As far as his thoughts went…well, she released the safety on her gun and moved farther into the darkness.

“Come. Come. I look forward to seeing you come.”

His voice was almost hypnotic. His words rang with intelligent charm. On a good day, Junior’s vocabulary barely ranked above third grade, his understanding of swear words even less so. This, she found this mildly amusing. “Why, Junior, I didn’t think you had a double entendre in you.”

The click of steel and the weight of an arm around her neck surprised her. She gasped as a low growl filled her left ear. Stumbling backward, she hit his broad chest, feeling his muscular arm shift downward to stabilize her. “He’s not smart enough for puns,” whispered Grant. “This is a trap. There’s someone else here.”

Kate drew in a sharp breath, overwhelmed by surprise, by his scent, and the electrical charge that ran through her. If he felt the same, he didn’t show it, choosing instead to pull her backward to safety. She realized what he was thinking and broke her reverie, pushing him off and away.

“Junior, and whoever else is there, you’re both under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

“Your laws don’t apply to me, Kate.”

“The law applies to everyone.”

“Not to us. You should know that by now.”

Kate stepped farther into the darkness, creeping closer to the figure who looked like Junior. “I don’t have time for riddles, jackass. Give yourself up and we can talk about this later.”

“I think not, baby girl,” purred the voice. “We have an appointment to keep.”

Kate faltered for a moment, the term of endearment made her flash back to her past and her blood ran cold. Her mind raced, pushing away the alarm bells ringing in her head. Her past attacks hadn’t happened with civilians around, but on the off chance this was really happening, she heightened her senses and prepared to fight for her life. “Who’s ‘we,’ asshole?”

“Detective–” warned Grant.

“Shut up,” she demanded, needing to hear the truth. “Who’s ‘we’?”

A wall of bone chilling cold hit her full on. She felt as if a million tiny needles were invading her body. Kate gasped in pain, temporarily paralyzed by the shock. She turned and felt herself plummeting, then the strong arms of Special Agent Grant catching her before she could hit the ground. A comforting warmth filled her body, her pain lessened, and the paralysis was suddenly gone. Again, she fought his help and forced her body to the spot where Junior last stood. Plunging through the darkness, she spotted a form on the ground, the showpiece of a singular shaft of light.

Kate gasped as she looked down at Junior. He was face up, eyes open, hair snow white, and his body contorting in pain. The strange energy shifted and she could feel Grant brush past her. He cursed then bent down, checking on Junior’s convulsing form.

Standing up, he looked past her and yelled at his partner. “Doug, get an ambulance here. We have a suspect down.”

Kate shook her head in disbelief. Something had aged Malone. His expression was that of a corpse. The life was gone from his soul. She pushed away her shock, forcing her limbs to move and her eyes to scan the alley. Lifting her gun, she started a sweep of the area, looking for the second man. With no way out or up, her disbelief exploded in another bout of anger. “Where the hell did he go?”

Grant looked at her passively. “Who?”

His partner glanced from him to her, a confused look on his face. “Grant, what is she talking about?”

“You know who, the other man,” Kate snapped, she felt her face warm with embarrassment. The smug look on his face made her feel like a fool. “The other one I was talking to.”

Grant slowly shrugged his shoulders. “I didn’t hear anything, and the man we were hunting is lying right there.”

Kate let out a roar of frustration and shot out her leg, roundhouse kicking a set of garbage cans past the two men. The pompous ass was lying again and she didn’t know why. “I’m calling this into my captain and he can deal with your director. The minute he recovers, he’s ours. Don’t think you can pull your jurisdiction crap with me.”

Grant’s mouth curled with amusement. “Fine.”

His calm nature enraged her all the more. She had to get out of here. She had more important things to deal with than the infuriating man in front of her. Kate shot him a look of disgust. Without a word, she stormed toward the mouth of the alley.

“Detective.”

Kate stopped and turned back to him. She knew that look, she had seen it before. It was a common reaction from the men, she encountered at her favorite bar. Some part of him wanted her and in that small moment, she held all the power. Glaring at him, she stood there for a second, allowing him to drink her in. Despite her anger, she begrudgingly admitted she had never seen a more handsome man. She felt the chemistry between them rise, but she’d be damned if she would do anything but stand there and stare back at him.

Grant took his time and slowly memorized her. The long legs, lean waist, the curve of her heaving breasts, and the stunning face of a 1940s movie star. After a moment, he smiled. “Have a good day.”

Provoking her only fueled her anger, but he couldn’t help himself. She was like a wild stallion. Defiant, beautiful, and hurting on the inside.

After a long moment of reflection, he turned to his partner. “All right, Doug, let’s call in the team and shake the tree. Something bizarre just happened here.”

© 2016 by Christine Wall