Unearthing the past brings them closer together…and to danger.
A maniac is on the loose in London, drugging young women and assaulting them before burying them in shallow graves.
When Inspector John Cordiline asks Jake Chivis for his unique assistance as a Fire Elemental with the Cemetery Rapist case, he feels he can hardly refuse. What begins as a simple job—trying to get memories from a suspect to aid conviction—soon takes a darker turn when one of the victims dies and an offer of help comes from an unexpected and unwelcome source.
Dr. Mari Gale is disturbed to find that his former lover Tomas Arregui is London and wants to meet with him. Despite his best efforts to avoid the man, fate seems to be pushing him onto a collision course with Tomas. And the impact will cast him into more trouble than he could ever have imagined.
Digging deeper for the truth could be the death of them.
- 3 To Be Read lists
- 2 Read lists
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay, Genderfluid, Questioning
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Bad Breakup, Class Differences, Cultural Differences, Hurt / Comfort, Interracial Relationship, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Mind Games
Word Count: 81669
Setting: London, England, UK
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Tamara opened her eyes to total darkness. A black so profound that, even after blinking several times, she could still see nothing. There was no sound beyond the dull thump of her heartbeat and, most alarming of all, she couldn’t do more than wiggle her fingers and toes. Her breath seemed to bounce right back in her face. There had to be something solid mere inches in front of her but it was like she was in a straitjacket. She couldn’t lift her arms to feel it. Her head was throbbing and she began to panic.
Another, harder effort to move her arms got them to shift against the pressure holding her down. Crumbs of something warm and soft fell between her fingers. The weight on her arms and lower body was more than just her own groggy inertia—there was real, physical pressure. She whimpered and struggled in earnest, getting her arms and legs to move incrementally, and more soft, damp crumbs tumbled around her in the stifling, pitch blackness.READ MORE
I’m underground! My god, I’m underground!
The thought was enough to spike panic in her chest and her heart drummed louder. She kept wiggling and shifting, forcing her fingers into claws and scrabbling them upward. The dirt was loose and gave way, but that didn’t make the absolute terror coursing through her abate. Lifting her head, she hit something, about three inches above her nose. It was curved and solid, extending down toward her chest, and she could feel the roughness brushing her nipples when she tried to push herself upward again. Was she naked? How had that happened? Had the house collapsed on her in her sleep?
Disturbingly, she could not remember anything leading up to this moment. Her last clear recall was of leaving work, heading off to meet with a few mates for a drink before going home. Nothing special, not the kind of bender that would have wiped out her memories of going home afterward.
How long had she been like this? She tried to force the panic down, some shred of logic asserting that she would use up what little oxygen she had if she continued panting. She couldn’t help it, though. Her mind kept screaming that she couldn’t move, couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe!
In addition to clawing at the damp earth, she moved her legs, pushing up and trying to bend her knees, even shifting her hips up and down, all in an attempt to make the dirt sifting around her pack down under her body and give her increased space. It was working, inch by inch. She was getting room to move, even as more and more soil shifted over her like a dry cascade. She just needed to keep on wiggling. By doing that, she might get free. If she was buried shallow enough.
If she was several feet under, though… No, she would not think of that. She had to keep the panic at bay.
Shift, shift, wiggle, wiggle.
She had almost made enough room for her hands to dig.
How could this have happened? How had she gotten here?
Tamara struggled to recall her last memory again. Calling in at the pub for a pint of cider after work, a quick laugh with friends, then…nothing. She didn’t remember talking to anyone or going home.
Shift, wiggle, shift, wiggle.
She had enough room to bend her elbows and knees. All she could do was keep at it, keep going, keep swallowing the panic every time it threatened to engulf her. Tears stung her eyes. What if she was buried so deep it was all useless? It didn’t matter. She couldn’t just lie there and accept her fate. She would keep going until she was either free or she ran out of air.
Shift, wiggle, dig, shift, wiggle, dig.
She was getting handfuls of dirt. It was easier to move. Tamara kept going, clawing faster. Without warning, her fingers met no resistance. Her hand was free. Cooler air swirled over her exposed skin and she thrust upward, forcing her arm higher, tearing at the ground until her other hand joined it. Breathing was harder. The air that fanned her face didn’t ease the burning in her lungs. With both hands, she raked at the ground and at last her fingers touched the rough wooden arch covering her face and part of her torso. She shoved at it as she sat up and sweet air rushed into her starved lungs.
Tamara sobbed with relief and spit dirt that had fallen from her hair out of her mouth.
“What the fuck?” a man’s voice demanded. “Oh my lord. Oh my god. Are you all right?”
She had no idea if she was all right or ever would be again. Someone bent over her, trying to help her up, and she panicked, conscious of the cold air on her skin. Tamara screamed.
“Don’t touch me! Get away from me!”
A flashlight beam cut through the misty gray of early morning and a small dog yapped like a mad thing as it ran around in circles.
“Stop! What are you doing there?” That was a different voice. She recognized the dark navy uniform and the high-viz vest of a police officer beyond the bobbing torchlight.
“Help me! Help me, please!” Tamara screamed. The man who had his hands on her backed off at once and Tamara had never been so glad to see a police officer in her life. The uniformed figure hurried up to them and pointed a finger at the man.
“Keep your hands where I can see them!”
“I wasn’t doing anything!” the man protested at once, sounding like he might burst into tears. “I was trying to help her.”
Tamara sobbed and crossed her arms over her body, trying to cover herself. The dog was still yapping away like it was demented. She wished it would shut up. It was making her headache worse.
“I don’t know how I got here. I was buried under the ground.”
“It’s all right, love. I’ll call for an ambulance.” The copper radiated calm. He knelt and put his waterproof jacket around her shoulders, looking up. “You!” He pointed at the man again. “Put your hands on your head and turn around.”COLLAPSE
Digging Deeper is book 4 in the Elemental Evidence series and it needs to be read in order since there's an ongoing storyline or you'll be missing out on a fantastic series and the progression of Jake and Mari's relationship.
While Mari hasn't been my favorite character in the previous installments (and let's face it, I love Jake too much for him to lose his crown, LOL), this book was a turning point for me in regards to Mari. He showed a lot of character growth and it was great reading his backstory and seeing why he is like he is. I didn't particularly care for how Tomas Arregui affects him still, but it is understandable all things considered. I also liked how protective he was of his mother and his relationship with her. My heart broke in this book with what Mari has to go through, although, I'm glad he has such a loving, patient man in Jake.
Jake was amazing as always, especially in light of what happened to him in the last book. I loved that he had the chance to confront Mustatti and seeing him working with Cordiline and Mari in this new case.
I loved how natural the progression of Mari and Jake's relationship has been throughout the series and in this book, we get to see even more focus on the BDSM aspect of it than on the others, at least during the first 2/3rds of the book, yet it was still loving and everything I'd hope for these two. They're so perfect for each other.
I hated Tomas with a passion, I found him despicable and what he did to Mari was abhorrent. I would've liked to have a bit more closure in regards to him, though.
Regarding the case, it was really well thought out and executed and had a satisfying conclusion, at least concerning the villain.
The secondary cast was great! I adored Solana, it was fun to see how out of sorts she made Mari. LOL And of course, I loved Cordiline (and Manny!) and Anni, and was very happy to see that her treatment worked a whole lot better this time around.
Digging Deeper was highly entertaining and I was unable to put it down until I was done with it, a great balance between fun and angst in a fantastic character-driven plot. Overall, this series just keeps getting better and better and I'm already looking forward to the next installment.