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Fly By Excerpt

June 23, 2009

WhateverItTakesmyWhatever It Takes is now available for preorder from online retailers. The eBook version is also available from Samhain. But since I don’t like to play promo ho without a little payoff for you guys, here’s an excerpt. 🙂

Tate craned her neck for any glimpse of flashing lights through the rear windshield. The only thing worse than fleeing a murder scene would be getting caught in the act.

“Turn left.”

Gideon jammed the pedal to the floor and shifted as they swung around the corner and up a narrow driveway.

“Around back.” She pointed to the far side of the white building without taking her eyes off the road behind them. Even if someone had noticed what direction they fled in, no one knew what car they were driving. Still, a car like this got noticed and it was just a matter of time before it garnered the wrong kind of interest.

When he pulled up alongside a parked tractor-trailer, she climbed out of the car and jogged to the small garage a few feet away.

She held the closed padlock in her hand. “Patefacio.”

When the lock disengaged, she pushed the double doors open and motioned for him to drive inside. With the car parked, he slid from the vehicle, no longer masking his pain as well as before.

She used the inside door connected to the clinic, pausing to enter the security code before proceeding.

“This is a vet’s office,” he said, scanning the pet care posters and shelves packed with vet-recommended food.

Tate shrugged. “I did suggest a real hospital, but you passed.”

He followed her into one of the rear exam rooms which had windows facing the ocean. Should anyone pass by this way they wouldn’t notice any lights on inside and get curious. Since the body count had doubled, she imagined few of Les’s men would be getting much sleep tonight.

“Take a seat.”

He didn’t move past the doorway, instead watching her root through drawers for the necessary supplies. “You pull a lot of bullets out of people?”

Unsure if he asked because he could see her hands shaking, she countered with, “Do you put that many in people?” She regretted the question almost instantly, certain she didn’t really want to know the answer. Talking might keep her from thinking about what she had to do, but there had to be smarter topics than his bullet-to-kill ratio.

He hadn’t elaborated on what he did for the government, so either he was lying about that to begin with or he worked for some branch of the CIA or another obscure agency.

As if the whole situation could feel any more surreal.

She motioned to the stuff she’d laid out. “What else do I need?”

“Besides a medical degree?” He surveyed everything with no small amount of skepticism.

“Take off your shirt.”

“How about we slow down for a second, Florence Nightingale.”

She scowled at the second crack about her on-the-fly nursing skills, but noticed he sounded more strained than before.

“Take off your shirt,” she repeated. “I’ll be right back.” She ventured down the hall until she came to the office. In its usual cupboard, she withdrew the bottle of whiskey Lena kept here for her husband. The older couple were friends of her father’s and the reason she’d fallen in love with living on the island to begin with.

She stopped, glanced at the phone. Hesitating another moment, she snatched it up and punched in Sawyer’s number.

“Not a good idea.”

She jumped as Gideon’s hand closed over hers. He replaced the phone, but didn’t back off when she turned around. She flattened a palm on the desk, needing all the support she could muster with Gideon breathing down her neck—literally. While she had always been able to hold her own with her brother and cousins, she didn’t know how much fight she had left in her tonight.

“If I don’t let my family know I’m okay, they’ll go on the warpath.”

He gave her a doubtful look.

“You don’t know my family.” Or the Tribunal.

“You can call them when we’re off the island,” he conceded.

“That won’t be until morning.”

“And there’s no way to know how long these guys have been interested in you. We can’t rule out the possibility they’ve already done their homework and know who in your family to watch.”

She frowned. “Now you’re talking like more than a couple guys are involved in this.”

“Maybe. Maybe not, but we’re better off not taking that kind of chance.”

“Okay,” she managed, though if a phone call was out, that meant she’d have to wait for an opportunity to make a personal visit without Gideon knowing.

He opened his mouth, but she shook her head. “If you’re about to say that I need to trust you, save your breath.”

A half smile caught the corner of his mouth, and she realized he had stripped off his shirt. The bandage wrapped around his biceps was dark red, and she couldn’t help but wonder how the night would have turned out if the bullet had struck another few inches to left.

“Hey.”

Between his soothing tone and proximity, she should have known better than to raise her head and meet his gaze.

“I’m sorry you got caught up in this, Tate.”

“Me too.”

“I’ll figure this out and you can get back to your life.”

“And pretend none of this happened?” Pretend her friend hadn’t been murdered today? The excitement of the last hour caught up with her, piling on top of everything else the last twelve hours had delivered, and a tear slipped down her cheek.

She reached up to brush it away, but Gideon beat her to it. Instead of his using his hand, he caught the tear with his lips.

A shockwave rippled through her, the sensation intensifying the longer his lips lingered against her skin. His mouth moved lower, but before he could reach her lips, a creak sounded in the hall.

Gideon whipped around so fast her head spun, his gun in his hand and pointed at the silhouette standing in the doorway.

“Someone want to tell me what the hell is going on in here?”

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