Title: DPR: Miami Episodes 1-5
Author: Allyson Gottlieb & Kassandra Kush
Genre: NA Urban Fantasy/Crime Drama
Cover Designer: Marisa-rose Shor of Cover Me Darling
In glittering Miami, vampires run the nightclubs of South Beach, werewolves roam the streets of Little Havana, and every day, crooked paranormals break the law in ways that would be unsolvable or even undetectable by ordinary police. Solving these crimes falls on the shoulders of a secret branch of the criminal justice system known as the Department of Paranormal Regulation.
Erica Campbell and Quinn Walker are the latest investigators to take up the job, only petty grudges threaten to derail their partnership before it can ever get off the ground. But they will need to learn how to put aside their rivalry and work together, because something sinister is brewing in the shadows of Miami that threatens to consume everything and everyone they care about.
This volume contains episodes 1-5 of the “thrilling new series” that’s been described as “like Law & Order meets True Blood.”
Growing up, Allyson was always the girl with a big imagination and even bigger dreams. A California girl by birth, she currently lives in Boston while attending Emerson College and terribly missing her fur baby, an orange tabby cat named Chloe. She has a slight addiction to Starbucks, eyeliner, and chocolate—and, of course, books. Writing has been her first love since she was seven years old, and she hopes to continue publishing for many years to come.
Kassandra dreams of returning to her hometown of Columbus, Ohio someday, and in the meantime makes do with setting most of her stories there. She comes from a huge family dominated with girls, and has a black Lab named Phineas and a cat named Philippe. While someday, surely, true love will strike her down, until then she’s happy to share all her book boyfriends with the world.
*limited-time price of $2.99, will go up to $5.99 on 2/9*
After making a pit stop at Starbucks for a green tea Frappuccino—she couldn’t stand the taste of coffee—she got on the highway and headed north. Traffic on 95 was surprisingly light for this time of morning, and it was a relatively brief commute to the sprawling white building she called her place of work. As far as most people were concerned, this massive, window-less compound on the edge of the city belonged to Sun and Moon Security, a private security consulting firm.
It was quite literally Erica’s job to keep them from ever learning the truth.
After giving her ID to the guard at the gate and being waved through, she parked in her usual spot, killed the engine, and shrugged on her leather jacket. Before she could get inside the building, she had to swipe her ID again and submit to a fingerprint scan. Though it sometimes felt tedious, all the security was incredibly necessary—not just to keep the outside world from seeing in, but to keep some of those inside from getting out.
The main lobby was all high ceilings and white marble grandeur, with half a dozen or so soaring marble pillars guarding the entrance to the courtrooms and legal offices at the back of the building. Though she couldn’t quite see it now, Erica knew the words non nobis solibus were inscribed in the arch above the pillars; a Latin phrase, meaning not for ourselves alone. But the surroundings paled in comparison to what filled them.
Even on a random Wednesday morning, the lobby was full of people of all ages, most wearing some variation on the all-black-and-leather-jacket uniform. There were a couple of pale figures huddled together in the sun tank—vampires who’d partied a little too hard and hadn’t been able to get back home before sunrise. On the other side of the room, near bookings, two officers were struggling to pin a burly werewolf with exceptionally pronounced sideburns, flashing gold eyes and unsheathed claws, to the desk while a third jammed a needle into his neck. Another group of officers rolled in somewhat behind her, loudly discussing a recent string of robberies near the Fashion District and the possibility that it was a rogue shifter.
Business as usual in the Department of Paranormal Regulation.
Mostly, everyone was too involved in what they were doing to acknowledge the people around them, but a few gave Erica nods of greeting or polite murmurs of “Hello” or “Good morning, Investigator Campbell.” The latter still sent a little thrill down her spine, even though she’d been hearing it all summer.
Branching off to the left was the entrance to the muster rooms, where the beat cops would gather at the start of their shift to receive their assignments. A tall, security-style desk blocked most of the view, though she could hear the loud, boisterous chatting that marked duty change. She waved at the sleepy-looking desk sergeant, but then, like she had for the last three months, Erica turned right instead and headed down the hall that led to the investigators’ bullpen.
Beyond the lobby, the décor started to change, gilt and marble giving way to generic gray carpeting and fluorescent lights. Here, the mood was somewhat more subdued, investigators buried in their computers and coffee cups, or preparing to head out and chase a lead—all under the watchful eyes of the sergeants, who had their offices in a row on the far side of the room. The door to the break room was open, and Erica could smell the bitterness of freshly brewed coffee mixing with the sugary scent of donut icing.
“You’re late.” Someone hip-checked Erica from behind, startling her out of her thoughts, and she whirled around to see her best friend, Raina Reyes, holding a mug of fragrant, steaming tea.
Erica laughed, cocking a hip. “And the sky is blue. Any other keen observations you’d like to make?”
Raina’s dark brown eyes sparkled with mischief behind expertly applied liner and mascara. Her glossy black hair positively gleamed under the harsh fluorescent lights, and she wore a black halter-style top with a zipper down the middle under her leather jacket. To an outside observer, the multitude of charm bracelets circling her slim brown wrists would simply look like a fashion statement, but Erica knew they were much more than that—the stones were pathways Raina used to channel her magic.
Not everyone could tell an ordinary human from a paranormal creature, but Erica had been trained from age ten to sense the subtle otherness of those around her. With witches, it was a distinctive scent. Underneath the floral notes of her favorite rose perfume, Raina smelled like spices, herbs, and the earthy-sweet aroma of old paper. It was something of a strange combination, but Erica had grown to find it calming after all her years of being friends with Raina.
Discreetly, she took another whiff, then promptly gagged at the herbal tea scent cutting through it. “Ugh, that shit smells terrible,” she said, glaring at the offending tea.
“You do realize that’s what your drink is supposed to taste like, without the mountains of ice and whipped cream?” Raina arched one perfectly shaped eyebrow. “You’re basically drinking a milkshake. One of these days it’s going to catch up with you.”
“Impossible. Everything I eat just goes straight to these.” Erica hunched her shoulders inward to push her cleavage up and together even more than it already was, and both girls dissolved into fits of giggles.
“Your sourface partner is giving us the stinkeye,” Raina said in a low voice, when they’d both gotten the laughter out of their systems.
Now Erica made a face like she’d sucked a lemon. She didn’t dare look over to see if Raina was right, not wanting to give Quinn the satisfaction.
Erica hadn’t thought anyone could possibly be worse than her last partner as a beat cop, Mindy Hoffman—a forty-something divorcee who’d made a mid-life career switch after her husband left her. Personally, Erica could sympathize with the guy, seeing as how Mindy was built like a linebacker, wore her salt-and-pepper hair in a boy’s haircut, and had an acid tongue.
She was intelligent and physically fit enough for the job, but she and Erica had been like oil and water. She’d also been Erica’s third partner, the first two—both guys—having requested partner changes due to “inappropriate conduct.” (To be fair, she’d only slept with one of them.) Erica had been ready to pop the champagne when she got her promotion and Mindy didn’t…until she’d met her new partner, Quinn Walker.
Unlike Erica, who’d lived in Florida all her life, Quinn had only moved here a few years ago from somewhere near Nashville. Rumor had it she used to be a criminal before accepting a deal to work for the DPR in lieu of jail time—because she was a shapeshifter, which were incredibly rare in the department these days. She was pretty in a plain sort of way, with skin a few shades darker than the typical Miami tan and straight blue-black hair she always wore plaited in two Pocahontas braids. Sometimes Erica just wanted to yank out the damn rubber bands and let her hair free, as she suspected it would really soften up her long face.
Not that Quinn was about to take any fashion advice from Erica. They were the same age, but Quinn thought she was so much better than Erica just because she’d spent more time as a beat cop. The memories of their first case together still made her cringe, all these months later. It really was a miracle they hadn’t killed each other already.