A Cold Tomorrow

A Cold Tomorrow

by Mae Clair

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Overview

Where secrets make their home...

Stopping to help a motorist in trouble, Katie Lynch stumbles upon a mystery as elusive as the Mothman legend that haunts her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Could the coded message she finds herald an extraterrestrial visitor? According to locals, it wouldn't be the first time. And what sense should she make of her young son's sudden spate of bizarre drawings--and his claim of a late-night visitation? Determined to uncover the truth, Katie only breaks the surface when a new threat erupts. Suddenly her long-gone ex-boyfriend is back and it's as if he's under someone else's control. Not only is he half-crazed, he's intent on murder....

As a sergeant in the sheriff's office of the famously uncanny Point Pleasant, Officer Ryan Flynn has learned to tolerate reports of puzzling paranormal events. But single mom Katie Lynch appears to be in very real danger--and somehow Ryan's own brother, Caden, is caught up in the madness, too. What the skeptical lawman discovers astounds him--and sends him into action. For stopping whatever evil forces are at play may just keep Katie and Caden alive....

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781601837813
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: 12/20/2016
Pages: 238
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.54(d)

Read an Excerpt

A Cold Tomorrow

A Point Pleasant Novel


By Mae Clair

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2016 Mae Clair
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60183-781-3


CHAPTER 1

October, 1982

Point Pleasant, West Virginia


"It's star shit."

Ryan Flynn didn't question how the man knew, because — as Chester Wilson had told him earlier — he was a bona fide expert on star shit.

"We had it all over the fields when I was a kid." Wilson hovered beside him as Ryan squatted and dipped a twig into a puddle of gelatinous goo. Lifting the stick closer to his nose, he sniffed the string of mucous-like substance dangling from the tip. If it was shit, it didn't stink. The weird-looking stuff had no odor at all.

"You say it's all over the field?"

Chester's head bobbed up and down on his skinny neck. "Take a look." He swept his arm to indicate the surrounding pasture. "See those globs? They're all over the place. They'll be melting soon. That's how it was when I was a kid. You could set your watch by it."

Ryan squinted against the morning sun, picking out several shiny silver-white patches on the grass. Whoever'd dumped the stuff in farmer Wilson's pasture had gone to a lot of trouble. Yeah, it was a freak fest, some whacko's idea of a joke, but it didn't rate priority one. As a sergeant with the Mason County Sheriff's department, his time could be better spent settling disputes between neighbors, hauling in the occasional drunk — or God forbid — responding to calls on Mothman sightings. Thankfully, Point Pleasant's infamous "bird" had kept a low profile over the last four months.

"Could be someone's playing a joke on you."

"No, sir." Wilson was adamant.

Ryan stood, doing his best to take the call seriously. He had the feeling a couple of teenagers were laughing their asses off somewhere. "When did you first notice the stuff?"

Wilson scratched his chin. "Just before I called to report it. I've been busy in the lower pasture and didn't find it right off. But the star shit's not the worst of it. Take a walk with me, and I'll show you why I really called."

Lucky him. It figured his first call of the morning would border on Twilight Zone territory. At least Wilson hadn't blamed the Mothman for dumping the goo.

As they traipsed through the field, Ryan sidestepped several globs of the silvery goop. He'd collect some and send it for analysis, but the gunk would probably end up being a harmless concoction brewed in some kid's backyard. At his side, Wilson kept up a steady monologue about how his father and the senior Wilson's friends had dubbed the mucus-like stuff star shit back in '66. Ryan had been a kid then, but vaguely recalled rumors about the gunk.

"We'd go to bed at night and the fields would be whistle-clean," Wilson said. "Come morning we'd find the shit scattered all over the place. Sometimes there was silver tinsel mixed in. My dad had a name for that too. He called it outer space grass. It always turned up in the mornings the night after we'd see a weird light in the sky."

Ryan pinched the bridge of his nose. Mothman sightings had quieted down, but lately they'd been replaced by residents reporting strange lights. He hoped Wilson wasn't going to tell him he'd spied a UFO.

"What exactly did you want to show me?" he asked, trying to keep the man on track.

"It's just over the next rise."

Thankfully, the walk wasn't far. As soon as they crested the hill, Ryan knew exactly what Wilson wanted him to see. A pattern of black-and-white splotches defined the bulk of a large farm animal lying on its side.

"Shit." His muttered exclamation had nothing to do with stars or UFOs. Blowing out a breath, Ryan approached the cow wordlessly. Wilson and several other area farmers relied on their prized Holsteins to keep their dairy operations running smoothly. All he needed was for some drunk to have gone on a joyride and put a bullet through the animal's skull. But all thoughts of tanked-up behavior fled the moment he got a closer look at the carcass.

Odd that the kill hadn't attracted turkey vultures or crows, almost as if the poor thing was too defiled for a scavenger to touch. As far as he could tell there was no visible wound, bullet or otherwise. To be certain, he walked around the animal before squatting to take a closer look at its head.

"Sick, ain't it?" Wilson asked.

Like something from a B horror movie. Ryan didn't think an animal had that much blood in its body. The gory mess that had coagulated into a dense puddle under its head had come from its ears, nose, and mouth.

Grimacing, he glanced up at Wilson. "Was this animal ill, Chester?"

"No, sir. Fit as a fiddle."

"Kind of a weird place to find her." The cow was in a field Wilson didn't use for corralling, judging by the lack of fencing. Even odder, Ryan saw no sign of bovine tracks or crushed grass in any direction. And no footprints to indicate the cow had been led there.

"How did she get here?"

"That's just it." Looking puzzled, Wilson scratched his chin. "I haven't got a clue. I put her in the barn with the others last night. That was the last I saw her until I found her this morning." He shook his head, remorse filling his eyes as he gazed down on the dead cow. "What do you think happened? All that blood ... What could do that to her?"

Ryan hated to speculate. "I'll call the county veterinarian for large animals."

"You know what he's gonna say, don't you?" Wilson looked up, his eyes bulging, face drawn in the early morning light. "Nothing about it's natural. It's like her damn brain exploded."


* * *

Doreen Sue Lynch stubbed her cigarette into an ashtray and craned her neck to glance out the kitchen window. Her grandson, Sam, had promised not to stray. He'd helped her with the dishes after dinner, then begged to go outside with Rex, a friendly mongrel mix of Australian shepherd and retriever. She'd agreed to take her boyfriend's dog while Martin's house was being fumigated for spiders, and Sam would stay overnight because Katie was off visiting a friend.

Not that she minded. She loved having Sam, and Rex was hardly any trouble. Boys and dogs were good together, both bursting with bundles of energy. Even so, she'd have to call them in soon. It was getting late in the evening for an eight-year-old, and she wanted to set a good example as his grammie.

Spying him through the window, she drew in a sharp breath. An eerie green light spilled from somewhere above, haloing him in a cone of brackish illumination. Stock-still, Sam stood as if transfixed, his head tilted back as he gazed up into the weird light. Somewhere out of her line of vision, Rex barked furiously. The sound made the hair on the back on her neck rise, but by the time she reached the door and wrenched it open, the dog had stopped yapping.

"Sam." Doreen Sue walked onto the rear stoop just as the green light winked out. Like someone throwing a switch. The jarring abruptness left her off-kilter and lightheaded.

It isn't happening. Not again. Please God, not to Sam.

Shaking off her vertigo, she sprinted from the stoop and was across the yard in record time. "Sam." Gripping her grandson by the shoulder, she gave him a gentle shake, drawing his attention from the sky. There was nothing. Nothing she could see. "What are you looking at?"

"Huh?" He blinked as if waking from a fog. "N-nothing. Just a cloud."

Doreen Sue bit her lip. Sam sounded befuddled and, although he wore a jacket against the crisp October air, he shivered. "Look at you. You're cold to the bone. Let's get inside."

Wrapping an arm around his shoulders, she cast a worried glance at the sky. Nothing is there. Nothing was ever there. "Did do you see where Rex got to?"

Sam shook his head as she led him toward the house.

"All right, you go inside and get warm. I'll look for him." The dog's barking had sounded frighteningly out of control. Nothing like the gentle animal she knew. "I won't be long."

Sam hesitated when she held open the back door.

"Grammie?" His expression hadn't changed, still composed of that same odd blankness as if he moved in a haze.

"What is it, baby?"

"Do you have any paper?"

Puzzled by the question, she cocked her head to the side. "What kind of paper?"

"For drawing. I want to draw the cloud."


* * *

Almost ten-thirty.

Katie Lynch switched on the car radio, hoping for a distraction to pass the time. The lack of streetlights and the absence of other cars on the road made it seem later. Only a few miles outside of Point Pleasant, she looked forward to getting home. Her visit with Maureen Patton, a teacher who had taken an interest in her when she was still in high school, had been enjoyable, but she was ready to call it a night.

Stifling a yawn, she jabbed buttons on the radio, cycling through three stations before settling on "Bette Davis Eyes." At least Sam was staying overnight with his grandmother. Katie's mom might not be the most reputable person on the planet, but she loved her grandson to a fault. A blessing for Katie, since Sam had no father in his life. Not that she wanted anything to do with Lyle Mason after he'd refused to take responsibility for his child.

Best not to go there. Thinking about Lyle always ticked her off. She was glad he'd packed up and left Point Pleasant over a year ago. In a small town, it was hard not to cross paths with people you knew.

The song ended as she neared the TNT. An old World War II munitions site tucked among dense woodlands, the place was eerie during the day, downright creepy at night. Spotting a car off the shoulder, she slowed to a crawl. The front end of a blue Impala was angled into a shallow ditch, head and taillights dark. A faded "Big Brother is Watching You" sticker was plastered at a lopsided angle on the rear bumper.

Jerome Kelly.

Although the interior of the car was dark, she spied the bulk of someone slumped over the steering wheel. Quickly, she maneuvered off the road and slammed the gearshift into park. A ghosting of cold air struck her in the face as she bolted from the car and raced for the disabled sedan.

"Jerome!" Frantically, Katie rapped on the window. When he gave no response, she popped open the door. A combined reek of stale cigarettes and fast food assaulted her.

With the dome light illuminating the interior, it was impossible to miss the fat beads of sweat clinging to Jerome's face. Several wire-bound notebooks and a dozen balled up burger wrappers littered the passenger's seat. He groaned and shifted.

"Jerome, what happened? Are you all right?" He had no obvious signs of injury and seemed too young for a seizure or heart attack, but what did she know? She'd heard Jerome was a heavy smoker, and tobacco habits exacted a toll.

With a hand on his shoulder, Katie guided him back against the seat. "Jerome, it's Katie Lynch." He didn't seem to recognize her. "Are you hurt?"

He shook his head, working his mouth in an attempt to speak. No blood, thank God. But in the harsh glow of the dome light, his face looked waxy. If only another car would drive past. Her knowledge of first aid was limited to the minor cuts and scrapes an eight-year-old drummed up.

"Jerome," she tried again.

He closed his eyes, one hand bunched tightly into a fist. "Cold." Drawing a breath, he pressed it to his chest.

"Are you in pain?"

He mumbled something unintelligible and rolled his head fitfully.

"I'll get help." She was going to have to drive to town, find a pay phone, and call an ambulance. She could attempt to take him to the hospital, but feared moving him in the event he had a spinal or neck injury. Especially as disoriented as he appeared. "Don't worry. I'll have someone here before you know it."

She started to turn away, but he snagged her wrist and held fast. The panicked edge to his expression terrified her.

"Jerome, I have to get help." She hadn't gotten a good look at the front end of the car but didn't think it had been damaged. Maybe something had startled him and caused him to drive off the road. Deer were common on the back byways of Point Pleasant. Far more insidious than local wildlife, the Mothman was said to lurk within the dense labyrinth of woodlands and ponds that comprised the TNT. Maybe the monster had forced Jerome into the ditch.

Worried, Katie pried her hand free. Jerome was probably in a state of shock, which would explain his confusion and the glazed look in his eyes. "I'm going to drive into town and call an ambulance. I promise I won't be long."

He reached for her again. "Cold."

"I'm sorry, Jerome. I wasn't thinking." After shrugging from her coat, Katie draped it over his shoulders. The material wasn't heavy, but it would offer some comfort until she returned. "I'll be back as fast as I can."

Before she could move, a revolving light sliced through the darkness in a welcome swath of red. Highlights blinded her briefly before the vehicle rolled to a stop behind Jerome's disabled car.

"Thank God." Katie breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of the Mason County Sheriff's emblem on the driver's door.

"Do you need help, ma'am?" the deputy asked as he stepped from the car.

She nodded. "I'm glad you're here."

"Not to worry." He pulled a heavy-duty flashlight from his belt, flicking on the beam as he approached. She had a vague impression of dark hair and a strong jaw.

"Were you involved in an accident, ma'am?"

"No. I was driving home when I came across Jerome's car. I think he's hurt."

The deputy cocked his head to look into the car. "Sir, are you all right?" Jerome turned, blinking against the flashlight. "Cold."

"That's all he keeps saying. I gave him my jacket, but —"

"I'll radio for an ambulance." Turning away from her, the deputy headed back to his cruiser.

Katie clung to Jerome's car, hovering in the open doorway. With a grunt, he pawed her jacket from his shoulders and thrust it at her. "Take this."

"But I thought you were cold." In the background, she heard the deputy requesting an ambulance. Clutching the crumpled jacket in her arms, she bit her lip.

She didn't know Jerome that well. He was a frequent eater at the River Café inside the Parrish Hotel where she worked, and she'd occasionally see him around town. He always bobbed his head and stammered a greeting, noticeably awkward. Probably because he kept his nose buried in books on UFOs or unexplained phenomenon. He'd once told her friend Eve he'd moved to Point Pleasant to be near the Mothman.

"It shouldn't be long now." The crunch of gravel announced the deputy's return. "There's no need for you to stay, ma'am. You've done all you can."

"I-I don't know." It didn't feel right to leave, almost as if she was abandoning Jerome. She cast an uncertain glance in his direction, noting he appeared to be resting peacefully now, eyes closed, almost as if he'd drifted to sleep.

"I'll stay with him until the ambulance arrives," the deputy assured her.

She couldn't leave him in better hands than a law enforcement officer. At last, she nodded. "I'm so thankful you were driving by, Deputy...."

"Brown." He smiled slightly. "I'll make sure he's looked after."

A sudden sense of well-being flooded her, banishing the last of her reserve. She was so lucky the deputy had come along. Of course he would take care of Jerome. She had absolutely nothing to worry about now that he was there. Smiling, she walked back to her vehicle, Deputy Brown's flashlight bobbing along beside her.

Her feeling of security lasted a good two miles down the road, then swiftly departed as abruptly as it had arrived. A flutter of fear skipped through her stomach and she tried to shake it away. She had nothing to worry about. Jerome was with Deputy Brown. He was safe.

Except she couldn't recall a single feature of the deputy's face.


* * *

Jerome Kelly was still on Katie's mind as she drove to her mom's hair salon the next morning. Sam would be spending another night with her mother, since Eve Parrish and Sarah Sherman had talked Katie into a girls' sleepover at Eve's place. She couldn't remember the last time she'd done anything so frivolous. She'd almost said no, but Eve and Sarah had been insistent, so she'd eventually relented.

Katie parked at the Parrish Hotel, then walked the few short blocks to her mom's salon. It wouldn't officially open for business for another half hour, but the stylists would be setting up stations with supplies for the day. Cutting down an alleyway, she held her coat shut against the morning air, then headed for the rear door.

Whisking a hand through her hair, she swept it from her face as she stepped inside. Her mom had been after her for weeks to color or cut it, but Katie liked the simplicity of her shoulder-length, blond locks, so easy for scooping into a ponytail. The curse of being the daughter of a hair stylist was having a mother who liked to experiment with the latest trends. Katie had endured several cuts she'd hated while growing up.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from A Cold Tomorrow by Mae Clair. Copyright © 2016 Mae Clair. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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A Cold Tomorrow 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
tpolen More than 1 year ago
I grew up in a small town in West Virginia, with everyone knowing each other and their business, local eateries, and the occasional urban legend. The town wasn't Point Pleasant, but Mae Clair's portrayal of small town WV is spot on. I didn't read the first book in this series, and having seen the movie, The Mothman, with Richard Gere and the X-files episode featuring the Mothman many years back, I was interested to see this author's interpretation of the famous urban legend. And I was very satisfied. With an exciting mix of mystery, suspense, and paranormal elements, I barely took my eyes off the book to board a plane. It's a probably a miracle I got on the right one. The characters are well-depicted and seem like friendly next door neighbors. Although I haven't read the first book in this series, I didn't feel like I'd missed anything and A Cold Tomorrow is easily a standalone. Now I have to hurry and wait for the next one - but at least I have time to read the first book in this series! Highly recommend this supernatural mystery.
SherryF More than 1 year ago
I LOVED the first book, A Thousand Yesteryears, so I was very eager to continue my journey down the road in Point Pleasant to see what happens next in this fantastic creature feature. The cover alone gives me an eerie feeling, sending shivers up and down my spine as I try to guess at what lies ‘between the covers.’ Katie misses her sister, her best friend, Wendy, who disappeared three days ago. No one knows what has become of her. One of the things that caught me early was Katie’s aversion to smells in the salon. I too have a problem with them. These smells of reality make it easy for me to feel as if I am there with her. I love how Mae Clair develops the relationship between Katie and Doreen Sue, her mom. Reads like real life as the work through a not so good past. The town has not been kind to Katie’s family, treating them like white trash. Maybe they want to think twice before they cast the first stone. Ryan Flynn is called to Chester Wilson’s farm to investigate star snot and outer space grass. The mystery begins. Then, the cow… “It’s been a weird day.” “Weird how?” Uh…let’s see…cow mutilation, phantom deputy, missing resident. Does that fit the bill?” Point Pleasant is a hotbed for Mothman and UFO sightings, in real life too. Adds another element of reality for me. Could it be true? Is Mothman real? For the moment, Mothman is silent. As things become stranger, Katie’s past comes to the forefront, her memories causing her to fear for herself and her son, Sam. All of a sudden, something sets Mothman off and he is terrorizing the people of Point Pleasant. How would you feel if you were the only one of your kind…people so afraid of you, they shoot first and take names later? The Mothman, aliens, Men In black, lights in the sky, mutilated animals, people feeling the compulsion to draw…There are mysteries galore that kept me on pins and needles, fearing for the characters I have grown to love. Oh Yeah! I believe we will have a Book III. I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of A Cold Tomorrow by Mae Clair.
writester More than 1 year ago
I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, so whenever I see a book that’s set in or around where I grew up, I check it out. The Point Pleasant series by Mae Clair is set in West Virginia, a mere three-and-a-half hours from where I lived, but I know the area. And Pittsburgh is mentioned a lot in A COLD TOMORROW. (How can I not love a story where Pittsburgh is beating Baltimore in a football game?) But my love for this story—this series—goes far beyond the locale. A COLD TOMORROW picks up where A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS left off. The Mothman is still a popular legend—one that actually exists and can communicate with the hero from book one. UFO sightings are ramping up like they did in the 1960s, and with those sightings come animal mutilations, “star $h!t”, and the inevitable Men in Black. But these things are just the tip of the iceberg. In A COLD TOMORROW, an incident involving heroine Katie Lynch’s son releases in her repressed memories, ones that directly relate to the situation at hand. The hero, Sergeant Ryan Flynn of the Mason County Sheriff’s Department, is skeptical of cryptid lore and UFOs, but he knows something isn’t right—something that puts Katie and his brother in danger. The way the characters and plot developed kept me turning pages into the wee hours of the night. Mae Clair has written a sequel that, if possible, is even better than the first. Her characters are well developed and feel like hometown neighbors—people you’ve known forever and care for deeply. The complications and plot twists are so engrossing—the details are intricate paranormal and real-life threads woven into a fascinating tapestry of compelling fiction. And the setting and ambiance elevate the whole thing to another level. This story just reaches out, grabs you, and takes you on a fast and wild ride. I love this series and eagerly await the next installment.
MusicInPrint More than 1 year ago
Mae Clair's " A Cold Tomorrow" followers the 1st book in this series "A Thousand Yesteryears". Point Pleasant is a town full of close encounters of the third kind. Police Brothers Ryan and Caden and their female companions Eve and Katie make up a town full of alien happenings. Clair weaves events and scares that totally entertain till the last page. Reading the first book in the series would help with background information that although not necessary feel would help in the flow of this amazing adventure. Not exactly a cliff hanger but some questions are left unanswered to lead to the next installment. Fans of the supernatural will enjoy a treat with this series. Received a free copy from Kensington Books via Netgalley.