Highlight The Obsidian (Book 2 in the Hunter Series)
Title: The Obsidian
Author: Heidi Cieciura
Genres: Thriller, supernatural, crime, suspense, mystery, horror
Available as an eBook for Kindle
Death doesn’t have to be the end, but it probably should be.
HE THOUGHT HE KNEW WHO HE WAS, HE'S ABOUT TO FIND OUT IT'S ALL A
You are invited to The Obsidian Hotel, an art deco leviathan which sits abandoned on a
remote island. Many secrets lay buried within its decaying rooms and at the bottom of the
treacherous waters which block it from the mainland. For Hunter Cade, the invitation comes
too late. He's already there, so can't decline. When he wakes up inside The Obsidian Hotel
after being attacked, he has no idea what torments lay ahead. And when it quickly becomes
clear he is not alone, determining friend from foe becomes a life or death mission. Because as
well as secrets, the hotel has ghosts, hundreds of them. And for a man like Hunter, a place
like The Obsidian could very well be his undoing. Forced to take part in a twisted treasure
hunt, can the captives unravel the truth before they are added to the permanent guest list?
The sequel to AFFLICTION, THE OBSIDIAN is a creepy supernatural crime thriller. Fast
paced, intricately plotted, dark and twisted, a true nightmare.
Buy from Amazon
Despite the night storm having ceased battering the boats moored at Redcliffe, and the
warehouses looming on the quay side, the sky was a roiling mass of ugly cloud, the ground
darkened by rainfall. Hunter zipped up his jacket, stuffing his hands into his pockets to
prevent the chilled wind making him any colder. He couldn’t help thinking about what Thalia
had said. You have this air about you. Hurt little orphan boy. But there’s also something
deeper, something darker.
It was impossible for him to forget what he had come close to doing five months ago, what
he had almost become.
A killer. You almost became a killer.
Hunter had always thought of himself as gentle, as peace loving, although he could fight
for survival for sure if he had to.
He’d boxed as a young boy, and fitness was important to him, he could physically defend
himself if the need arose and he kept telling himself - lying to himself - that the situation had
called for the degree of violence he had meted out in order for him to survive, but in reality i
had been the red veil swooping down to surround him, a door opening within him which had
been like a switch to change his character on and off.
He had been able to flip the switch, thank god, had been able to return to the man he
believed he was.
The gold half-heart key ring he owned, the other half in a police evidence locker, helped
him to stay anchored, but something of that moment remained. A sense that as much as he
was learning control was a quality he could possess, something deeper, something darker had
been let loose with the opening of that door. The monster lying dormant in a cave with a red
pool was now awake, very awake, and hungry.
Freak Land was a cocktail bar on College Green. At midday it was closed, the front doors
bolted shut, the view through any of the three double-width windows an empty bar and arch
through which an inquisitive bystander could just make out a stationary circus hoop hanging
from the ceiling in the inner sanctum.
Hunter let himself in through the private side door.
At the end of the short, dark corridor were stone stairs leading up to the residential floor
and down to the cellar. Halfway between the street entrance and the stairs, on the right hand
side, was a door opening into the area behind the bar. Hunter helped himself to a shot of
Heaven Hill, savouring the scent of oak and vanilla. The bourbon slid smoothly down his
throat and on finishing, he quickly poured himself a second shot.
Before he could slip through the hinged flap in the countertop and enter the large square
customer area with velvet wing-back chairs and sofas, some purple, some fuchsia, and a large
Vaudeville sign with bulbs un-illuminated at that hour, Marco Flight appeared through the
smaller arch which took patrons down to the restrooms.
‘You sacked the cleaner again?’ Hunter drawled, holding his drink up to the dim light
reaching through the windows.
‘Do you think I’d be cleaning toilets in this suit?’ his friend and literary agent gestured at
his black Armani trousers and jacket. Beneath the jacket he wore a white shirt open at the
Marco was always well dressed, smartly dressed, unlike Hunter who tried never to wear a
suit if he could help it.
‘What are we celebrating?’ Marco took up a stool at the bar. He had let his dark curls grow
a few inches longer and was sporting some designer facial hair. A thin, dark strip lined
his upper lip; the lower part of his jaw accented by painstakingly trimmed beard, his chin
concealed by a black triangle. It looked like a symbol the lead character in a Dan Brown
novel might try to decode.
‘The book launch.’ Hunter scrubbed at his own stubble, the result of simply not bothering
to shave for a day.
‘Ah, the book launch, didn’t you already celebrate that with the blonde you took home last
‘I feel used,’ Hunter grabbed a second glass and splashed an ample amount of Heaven Hill
into it, placing it with the ease of a seasoned bartender on top of the counter.
‘Again?’ Marco took the drink. ‘Did my eyes deceive me? It definitely didn’t look like
‘It surprises you someone else can use me?’
‘Not really. Not at the moment. You give off this aura. It’s like you want to be used.
You’re not looking for anything longstanding right now, are you?’
‘No. But this woman, Thalia, put it quite bluntly that she wasn’t either. I was a lay,
nothing more. I’m not sure how I feel about that. How I ought to feel about it.’
‘Man, you really do think too much. Stop over analysing every little thing you do or say,
or that someone else does or says to you.’
‘I’m a writer. I analyse everything.’
‘You’re a prat.’
‘I knew I could count on you not to salve my battered ego.’
‘That’s what I’m here for,’ Marco beamed.
Hunter moved over to one of the wing-back armchairs. ‘Aren’t we due a delivery
tomorrow?’ he said as a large white van pulled up onto the kerb outside.
‘It’s not from the usual place. Though I wasn’t expecting the guy right now,’ Marco
slinked behind the bar.
‘Better not be dodgy,’ Hunter warned.
‘Some bar’s going bust. The guy’s trying to recoup some of his losses before it all blows
up in his face. It’s legit. And a bloody good deal. Gonna save us shit loads.’
‘You’ve always been so much better at the business stuff.’
‘Sure. That’s because I’m not an antisocial freak.’
‘I’m not antisocial.’
‘Yeah, I know. You’re a writer.’
Marco disappeared through the staff door into the utility corridor and Hunter sipped his
drink, watching through the plate-glass window as the driver, dressed in black clothes with
black boots and a black baseball cap pulled down low, exited the van. He slid the side panel
door open and removed several boxes one at a time which he stacked onto a manual handling
trolley. He pushed the trolley through the door. Hunter could hear the wheels trundling along
the cement floor.
The rush of getting the book ready for publication gave you a distraction, now you’ve got
time to think. Marco’s right, thinking isn’t always beneficial.
But if Hunter really believed that, he wouldn’t be sat in his cocktail bar sipping away his
profits, he’d be taking Thalia out for lunch, considering the possibility of getting to know her
better, really getting to know her better, not only her preference for mint mojitos and early
morning sex, but what her favourite colour was, her favourite flower, where she went to
school, what her aspirations are.
The sharp sound of glass bottles smashing made Hunter sit up straight; he lowered the
tumbler and listened.
In his chest, his heart thudded. His breath caught. He was reminded of another situation
when a loud crash alerted him to an unwelcome presence in a friend’s house.
See, still on edge. The guy dropped a box of cheap house wine or something. No one’s
All the same, he placed the tumbler on the table and made his way behind the bar.
‘Marco?’ Hunter entered the dim corridor. ‘Everything peachy?’
The door to the street was wide open. A cold breeze had blown a few stray, dead leaves
over the threshold.
The white van stood partially up on the kerb; at the top of the steps down to the cellar
stood the upright trolley. A single box remained on the base plate.
‘Marco! Answer me you shit! This isn’t funny!’
Hunter slowly inched his way down the stairs, stopping midway.
You’re being stupid. Nothing’s happened to Marco. Nothing’s happened to the delivery
driver. Somebody dropped a box, that’s all.
And even when he saw Marco sprawled out on the cellar floor, a pool of burgundy liquid
and broken green glass littering the flagstones, Hunter supposed he was being foolish. Then
his attention turned to the back of Marco’s head where his hair was matted with a sticky red
But before his thoughts could catch up with what his eyes were seeing, an arm appeared
around Hunter’s neck, pressing against his throat and yanking him backwards.
A plastic mask clamped over his nose and mouth.
His mind swarmed with dizzying thoughts:
You almost killed a man. That man wants revenge.
Marco. He’s hurt, unconscious even. What if he’s dead?
Fight, for heaven’s sake. You haven’t got this far to let it end in your storage cellar.
Hunter jerked forward, then backwards, trying to throw his assailant off balance, all the
time breathing deeply, taking great breaths to give himself the oxygen to fuel his fight.
But it wasn’t oxygen he was inhaling.
A substance was pumping through the mask, an inhalable substance which caused his
tongue to tingle and his brain to quickly become less effective.
His thoughts, though previously coming in quick succession, had still been coherent. Fully
formed, shaped by his desire to escape and his fear over the state of his friend’s health.
As he struggled to breathe inside the plastic mask, as oxygen in his lungs became replaced
by whatever gas was expelled into the facial covering, his ability to think clearly was
Hunter stopped battling, relinquishing himself to the sudden overwhelming urge to close
his eyes. Relax.
His body went slack. He relaxed back, into his attacker, and felt himself being gently laid
down before everything went black.
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