Today is our stop on the blog tour for Exit Wounds by Nikki Archer. We’re so excited to share this contemporary crime novel! Check out our post and grab your copy today.
About Exit Wounds: Colt is on the run. After a family argument ends with her father dead on the floor and the murder weapon in her hand, the heiress to Mexico’s largest drug cartel is left with few options. As the police rush to piece together evidence and name a suspect, Colt and her boyfriend speed south. If she wants to stay out of jail, she’ll have to sacrifice a different sort of freedom and leave America for the anonymity and relative safety of Mexico. But at her drug lord uncle’s Playboy-esque villa, the outlaw princess must make a choice: accept her place in the family legacy, or try to make her way alone. And her uncle may have more skeletons in his closet than even Colt could’ve imagined. Get Your Copy Today! Amazon | iTunes
The front door opens and shuts with an efficient click, and I nearly fall off the counter, thinking of cops, picturing Roman with a hole through his chest, looking for retribution.
Instead, my frail, frazzled-looking mother rounds the corner into the kitchen, two brown bags of groceries in her arms, already halfway through asking if Dallas wants to stay for dinner, we’re having empanadas.
I watch her eyes flick to my arm, to the gun, down to the bloodstained rags on the floor, and over to Dallas, still looking shell-shocked. Like my eight-year-old self, sent home from school for fighting, I cower under my mother’s gaze.
"What happened?" She’s addressing us both, but neither of us offer an answer. "Colt! Digame!"
I flinch, and fresh tears surface. Her tone demands an answer, and I’ve never been one to disobey Ma. "Dad…" I almost throw up again around the words, and have to try again. "Dad’s dead, Ma."
The groceries thump to the floor, one of the brown bags already wet with something—broken eggs or a cracked bottle of juice. The store brand.
"Who?" Ma’s voice wavers with so much anger that I dry heave again. For the first time, I can picture who she was back in Mexico—an equal match for Roman. Eye-for-an-eye deadly. Maybe she’ll kill me. Make things even. Beat me until I forget the sound of Roman hitting the floor. I swallow back a mouthful of spit.
"I did it, Ma."
Twenty-year-old Ma blinks out like a blown bulb—the disbelief written across her face in the deep-set wrinkles. She drops into the chair next to Dallas, covers her eyes with gnarled, working-class hands. "How could you?" Muffled words that nonetheless cut like the hunter’s knife into the deer’s guts. "Tu padre, Colt… how could you?"
A chair scrapes across the tile, and I look up to find Dallas standing, rage practically steaming from his ears again. "Marisela, look at her! Your daughter has a bullet hole in her arm… you think that’s some weird coincidence?"
Dallas does not speak to my mother that way. His Southern-gentleman upbringing dictates very clearly pleases and thank you’s and yes ma’ams and no ma’ams. Ma’s head snaps up at the unexpected tirade, and I think for a second she’s going to stand up and yell right back at Dallas, lapsing into Spanish now and again out of frustration, like she sometimes does.
Then she turns to me, broken and bleeding on her kitchen counter, and her eyes lose their ferocity. She becomes the doe watching its young gutted by the hunter. "Perdoneme, Mija…" Her knees shake as she forces herself from the chair and she crosses the kitchen to hug me, awkwardly and painfully. "Dallas," she says, turning. "In the bathroom closet, there is Band-Aids… gauze? Please get them. And alcohol."
As Dallas tries to rearrange his features and moves to leave the room, Ma calls him back. "And in my bedroom, the sewing kit. Por favor." He hesitates in the doorway, shuffling his feet in discomfort, then nods and disappears around the corner.
I force myself to meet my mother’s eyes, the guilt heavy like a two-day bender, no sleep, spiraling toward an ungainly collapse. We are not going to the hospital. My mother is young Marisela again—the most feared woman in Puerto Vallarta, an outlaw princess.
"I’m sorry, Mija." As she talks, she picks up where Dallas left off, cleaning the blood away from the gash in my arm. "Please tell me what happened. From the beginning. Do not leave nothing out." She holds up a hand as I open my mouth. "I need to know what the cops will put together anyway, nothing more."
About Nikki Archer:
Nikki Archer lives in New England, where she teaches high school English and spends her free time pursuing as many degrees as humanly possible. She divides her life into hockey season and baseball season, and she really really hates socks. She spends all of her extra money (and some that’s not exactly extra) on concert tickets and trips to interesting places. Her first novel, “Whatever’s Left,” is a YA romance, but “Exit Wounds” is her first venture into the world of crime writing.
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