Forensics specialist Chastity Byrnes is trying to put the past behind her. It has been ten years since Chastity made accusations against her father that shattered her family...and ten years since she's seen her sister, Faith.
First, Chastity gets a call from Dr. Max Stanton, the brother-in-law she never knew she had. Then she finds out that her long-lost sister is officially missing. Even though Faith never wanted to see her sister again, Chastity decides to go to the Big Easy to find her.
Now Chastity has to battle her own demons in a city where forensics are an old boys' club and a woman can find trouble in her sleep. She has to wade through distrust and deceit to get to the truth--whether she wants to know it or not. She has to rediscover her sister--by investigating fertility clinics, the powers of St. Roch, and the mysteries of voodoo--to find out why the women who might have helped Faith are dying. As a hurricane threatens the city, Chastity puts more than her own life at risk as she fights to rescue her sister from a terrifying threat that stalks them both....
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St. Martin's Press
November 01, 2006
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Excerpt from Sinners and Saints by Eileen Dreyer
Chapter Onenbsp; Omens come in all sizes. Hair standing up at the back of the neck. Crows on a telephone wire. Shapes in a cloud or a chill in the wind. A hundred innocuous things designated by tradition or superstition, and a thousand more kept in a personal lexicon. nbsp; Chastity Byrnes carried around quite a full lexicon of her own. Not just the regular omens handed down from generation to generation of Irishwomen, like birds in the house meaning death, or uncovered mirrors at a funeral meaning death, or any of the other myriad Irish omens meaning death. Chastity embraced a plethora of personal portents inexplicable to anyone but her. nbsp; Chastity was a trauma nurse, and only ballplayers and actors were more superstitious. So in addition to the usual signs of doom, Chastity dreaded quiet shifts, the words “I think something’s wrong,” and holidays. nbsp; And the number three. Chastity absolutely loathed the number three. Everything happened in threes, from births to deaths to every disaster in between. nbsp; Like the omens Chastity received that hot June day in St. Louis. She should never have ignored them. After all, Chastity paid more attention to her omens than to her bank balance. She lived by Murphy’s Law as if it were the first commandment. But that hot, sultry summer day, even though she knew better, she blew off those three omens as if they were parking tickets. nbsp; To be fair, they weren’t easy omens to recognize, like a black cat or the hoot of an owl. They were more like odd things that made a person want to look over her shoulder. nbsp; The chaos theory. nbsp; A phone call from a brother-in-law she didn’t know she had. nbsp; Lake Pontchartrain. nbsp; Innocuous in themselves, but each of them sent a skittering of unease down Chastity’s back that should have had her keeping a wary eye out for trouble where there seemed to be none. nbsp; Three omens. nbsp; Well, maybe four. But the fourth could have just been Chastity’s bad luck. On the way in to work that day, Chastity lost her driver’s license. She didn’t consider it an omen at the time. More a “shit happens” kind of thing. But if it hadn’t happened, she never would have heard about the chaos theory, and Chastity would always believe that if she’d missed that, nothing else would have followed. nbsp; The cop who stopped her was a buddy. All cops in town were buddies of trauma nurses. But he wasn’t smiling when he strolled up to the window of her hot red Mini Cooper. nbsp; “Not that I’m not impressed, Chaz,” he said, an eyebrow raised at the speeds she managed. “But this is your third warning. In three weeks.” There was that number again. “And there are all those unpaid parking violations. . . .” nbsp; Chastity ended up locking her car at the side of the highway and riding into work in a police cruiser, thirty minutes late for her shift. Which put her smack in the middle of a trauma code just in time to hear the chaos theory. nbsp; She’d been scheduled to work triage that day. She got bumped instead to Trauma Team One. Not that she minded. Chastity had joined the staff at St. Michael’s especially for the trauma. Particularly the kind of trauma they saw at St. Michael’s. nbsp; Chastity wasn’t just a trauma nurse anymore. She was one of two new forensic nurse liaisons at St. Michael’s. It was her job not only to save patients, but preserve any viable forensic evidence that might prove a possible criminal or civil case. She made sure abuse victims didn’t fall through the cracks, rape victims got better treatment from the hospital than they did from