#FridayReads – Excerpt from KILLING INSTINCT: A Michael Sykora Novel

Happy Mystery Thriller Week! I hope you’ve been enjoying the events, and have found some new authors and fabulous books to keep you reading. I’ve had some fun guests this week, but today I’m being selfish and sharing an excerpt from one of my own books. Ready? This is the opening scene from Killing Instinct, book 3 in my Michael Sykora Series. While I’d love you to read them all, they each can be read as stand-alone novels.

Excerpt from Killing Instinct: A Michael Sykora Novel

Sean Riley looked down at the woman he’d been hired to kill. Even before he’d partnered with Michael Sykora and tamed his deadly skills, he’d disliked killing women. Back then, he’d probably have turned down this job. Not that he’d have altered the outcome. Someone else always stood next in line, wanting the money and willing to kill for it.

Even sleeping, with her jet-black hair scattered across the pillow and a drop of drool slipping from the corner of her mouth, her beauty took his breath away. This woman, whose name was Maria Milan, should be dead by now. Jake, the man who’d paid for her murder, wanted her to die slowly. To suffer. Jake had specified the use of a knife, keeping the plunges slow and only deep enough to shatter her nervous system. Keep her alive until the last possible moment.

Jake did not have balls enough to do it himself.

He wanted photos. A recording of her screams. He’d asked for video, as if Sean was a slice-and-dice movie producer instead of a high-priced hit man.

Sean stood in the shadows of the bedroom, watching Maria sleep. He’d done the unthinkable. For the first time in his long, restless and oddly successful career, he’d had sex with the intended victim. More than that. He’d gotten involved. He’d fallen for this woman who’d been marked to endure excruciating horrors at his own hands.

He shifted in the darkness, wishing he could crawl back under the sheet. He already missed the feel of her skin pressed against his own. With a quiet sigh, he tugged his pants on. He had a job to do.

Fully dressed, he gazed back at Maria. The moonlight fell across her face. She didn’t stir. Her beauty glowed. He knew things about her now. And she knew things about him. They’d become tangled in ways he hadn’t expected.

Sean went out to the kitchen and grabbed the backpack he’d left by the door. He flipped the light on, squinting at the brightness. When his eyes adjusted, he checked the contents. One roll of heavy duct tape. A few small towels for use as gags. Rope. Zip ties. A full syringe. His Black Ops knife. He fingered the metal, thought about the meaning of what he needed to do. What he might not have done a year ago. What it would all mean to him, to his future. To Maria.

He stepped back into the bedroom. Maria had rolled onto her side. Her hair spilled over her cheek. The sheet fell away, exposing flesh he’d lingered over not long ago. A smile played on his lips. He’d enjoy this job, this killing, more than anyone had a right to.

With a last look over his shoulder, he left Maria behind and headed out to his car.


I’m currently working on book 4, which I hope to have out around late spring this year. Along with the launch for book 4, I’ll be releasing brand new covers designed by the incredibly talented Jason McIntyre! I am so freaking excited, and can’t wait to share the new designs!




  • Jennifer Lane

    You’re working on book 4? AWESOME news! Loved Killing Instinct.

    • Thank you, Jen! What are you working on these days? I still miss Sophie and Grant. 🙂

      • Jennifer Lane

        Hey Darcia, I actually revisited Sophie and Grant’s world when I re-edited With Good Behavior because it was so full of adverb abuse. It’s with my publisher now for a copy edit. I have a romantic suspense I started years ago I plan to get back to but have been taking a writing break. If Michael Sykora book 4 is coming out this spring, it must be close to finished! How is it coming?