About Two Man Station
Gio Valeri is a big city police officer who’s been transferred to the small outback town of Richmond with his professional reputation in tatters. His transfer is a punishment, and Gio just wants to keep his head down and survive the next two years. No more mistakes. No more complications.
Except Gio isn’t counting on Jason Quinn.
Jason Quinn, officer in charge of Richmond Station, is a single dad struggling with balancing the demands of shift work with the challenges of raising his son. The last thing he needs is a new senior constable with a history of destroying other people’s careers. But like it or not, Jason has to work with Gio.
In a remote two man station hours away from the next town, Gio and Jason have to learn to trust and rely on each another. Close quarters and a growing attraction mean that the lines between professional and personal are blurring. And even in Richmond, being a copper can be dangerous enough without risking their hearts as well.
Hi! I’m Lisa Henry, and welcome to the blog tour for my new release, Two Man Station. I’m visiting some of my favourite blogs around the place to talk a bit about writing Two Man Station, and sharing some of my influences, my ideas, and even an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win a prize of a $20 Riptide voucher plus a small package of Australian goodies that I’ll post worldwide. The winner will be drawn on January 31.
Today I’m sharing an excerpt from Two Man Station, in which Gio Valeri has an encounter with a Richmond local he’d rather he didn’t: a taipan. Because when you’re a country copper, and there’s nobody else who can take care of a thing, it becomes your job by default. Enjoy!
Gio glanced at the door warily. There was a rolled-up towel wedged under the bottom of the door, presumably to keep the snake from vanishing elsewhere into the house.
“Any idea what sort it is?” Sergeant Quinn called as Jim vanished for a moment into one of the other rooms.
The old man reappeared a moment later, clutching the promised square-headed shovel. “I didn’t get a good look at it, but it’s brown.”
The sergeant took the shovel and passed his torch over to Gio. “Where’d you see it last?”
“In the bottom of the cupboard,” Jim said. “Gave me a hell of a fright.”
“I can imagine.” Sergeant Quinn put his hand on the doorknob, and drew a deep breath. “Okay.”
He pushed the door open.
Gio followed him through, his hand instinctively going for his firearm. Which, really? Like he was going to shoot a snake? He shifted the heavy torch from his left hand to his right instead. The weight of it was almost comforting.
Jim’s cupboard door was ajar. Gio hoped the snake was still inside, and not waiting under the bed or something, to strike out at him when he moved too close. Did snakes even do that, or had he been watching too many horror movies?
“Give us a bit of light, Gio,” Sergeant Quinn said, edging nearer to the cupboard.
Gio stood shoulder to shoulder with him, angling the torch so that a shaft of light illuminated the nest of shoes in the bottom of the cupboard. Shoes, and—Gio’s breath caught in his throat—a loop of shining flesh coiled around the top of a boot. The torchlight gleamed on the scales.
“Shit,” Sergeant Quinn said. “Okay, so that is not a python. That’s either a brown snake or a taipan.”
“Taipan,” Gio repeated, his voice flat, although a brown snake wasn’t that much of a better option.
“Don’t worry,” Sergeant Quinn said with a smile. “I won’t let you die before bingo night.”
“Okay,” Sergeant Quinn said. “You’re going to hold the torch there, and open the cupboard door for me.”
Gio’s stomach clenched. “I’m not liking this plan, Sarge.”
Sergeant Quinn flashed him that quick smile again. “The hospital’s only about four minutes away if we go lights and sirens.”
“Who’s gonna drive if we both get bitten?” Gio asked, inching forwards slowly. He couldn’t see the snake’s head, only that shining loop of scales. He had no idea how big it was, and no idea how it was actually situated in the bottom of the cupboard.
“We’ll take turns,” Sergeant Quinn said, and it was such a ridiculous answer that Gio huffed out a surprised laugh. The sergeant’s eyes crinkled in the corners, his smile more protracted this time, and Gio’s heart tumbled over a couple of erratic beats that he couldn’t entirely blame on being in the presence of the world’s most venomous snake. “Come on. Open the cupboard for me.”
Fuck fuck fuck.
Gio’s hand shook as he reached for the cupboard, as high up as he could without overbalancing—how high could an enraged taipan strike anyway? The only thing he could remember about taipans was the fact they didn’t only bite once, they struck multiple times. Got their fangs in and just kept biting down. That, and the deadliest-snake-in-the-world thing. He kept the torch angled so that the light bounced off the scales of the snake.
“Okay,” Sergeant Quinn said, his voice low. “Okay.”
Gio tugged the cupboard open, and everything happened at once.
A shoe clattered out onto the floor, the snake moved, and Gio realised too late that he’d been expecting movement from the other end. The head of the snake protruded from underneath a crumpled shirt on the open side of the cupboard, and Gio hardly had a second to step back before the snake was following him at impossible speed. Shoes and boots shifted and tumbled in the cupboard in its wake, and how the hell big was it?
There was a dull knock of pressure against Gio’s left boot as the taipan struck.
Sergeant Quinn slammed the head of the shovel down, and missed. Then, regaining his balance quickly, he moved forward and stepped down on the back of the snake’s head.
“Holy shit,” Gio said, his heart thumping fast.
A good two metres of snake writhed angrily between Sergeant Quinn’s boot and the cupboard, and the tail was still hidden somewhere underneath the pile of Jim’s shoes and boots.
Sergeant Quinn brought the shovel down again. This time he didn’t miss, neatly severing the snake’s head from its body with a resounding thunk.
“Did it get you?” he asked, lifting his boot off the snake’s head at last.
Gio looked down at his boot. There were indentations in the leather, and a shining trail of fluid sliding like a thick tear down towards the tread. Venom. “I’m okay. It got my boot, not me.”
A bit higher though, and his uniform pants wouldn’t have provided any protection at all.
“Show me,” the sergeant said, and moved closer. He leaned the shovel against the cupboard door and went down on one knee. Gio tugged his pants up slightly, and Sergeant Quinn inspected the indentations in his boot. “Jesus.”
“Yeah,” Gio said as the light glinted on the venom. His heartbeat was quickening, as though his body was only now realising how close the snake had got to his skin, to his bloodstream.
Sergeant Quinn nodded, exhaling heavily. “You’re good.” He rose to his feet again, his hand resting briefly on Gio’s knee for balance. “Jim?” he yelled. “You got a garbage bag?”
About Lisa Henry
To celebrate the release of Two Man Station, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit and a package of Australian goodies! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 27, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!