John Noble hasn’t had an easy life. And the past few years with an experimental program haven’t worked out quite the way he anticipated. In the following scene he’s once more face to face with the man who’d offered him a way out of a dishonorable discharge. Too bad John couldn’t predict the ultimate cost of that decision:
He lifted his glass to knock back the last of the tequila, then abruptly stopped. Anticipation whispered through him, bunching his muscles in an instinctive fight-or-flight response to what he couldn’t quite see… couldn’t quite hear.
But he knew.
No amount of time or distance lessened that innate recognition.
Once a hunter, always a hunter.
Never let anyone catch you off guard.
The air in the room thickened like syrup, oozing into his nostrils but failing to fuel his lungs.
John Noble blinked and performed a quick mental assessment of just how much tequila he’d consumed.
Not enough… for this.
He surveyed the crowded tavern, noting the man at the bar in the Red Sox sweatshirt who stared at him without bothering to look away. The baseball fan allowed his gaze to linger a moment or two more then, as another patron stumbled over to join him, turned away.
Just your imagination.
Imagination or not, his senses automatically initiated a second inventory of his surroundings. Waitresses clad in ass-hugging jeans and cleavage-revealing tops continued to weave around and between the crowded tables with their precariously balanced serving trays. The Friday night revelers persisted in their sensual battle with the blaring music, bodies grinding and voices pitched for carrying across the sea of sweaty, visceral sensations. That it was only a few days before Christmas amplified the weekly rituals.
Still… something was off, out of sync. That nagging awareness just wouldn’t go away. Time felt slower. Sound grew distant, sluggish as if a killing blizzard had abruptly swept through the city, leaving a frozen wasteland between John and all else. None of the other patrons paid the slightest attention to the fact that the world around them seemed to have closed in on itself.
John tightened his grip on the shot glass and downed the tequila. With a grimace he lowered the empty tumbler to the table. It was doubtful that any action on his part would stop whatever was coming. The best he could do was brace for its arrival.
His gaze snagged on the scars on his wrists partially exposed by the cuffs of his cheap flannel shirt. Rows of twisted zeroes seared into his skin. He closed his eyes and wished away the stir of awareness that persisted. Inherently understood that it was useless.
“Good evening, John.”
He gritted his teeth and forced his eyes to open. The man who loomed over his table was tall, overdressed and far too perfectly poised to be a regular in this place. Such a self-important passerby would simply have kept walking, even in the rain. The Lighthouse was a working man’s sanctuary shoe-horned between a crab shack and a burger joint on the waterfront. Full of beer-guzzling blue-collar men and the rowdy women who loved to help them work off their pent-up frustrations and spend their paychecks. Not necessarily in that order. This was no place for slick suits and sophisticated conversation.
“I see your old habits haven’t changed.” The uninvited guest gestured to the empty glass. “That’s a shame.”
Not possible. John squeezed his eyes shut once more and banished the image that had already burned into his retinas. He was finished with that world. His last mission had been four years ago… a failure, but he’d done his time.
And what had it gotten him? Nada.
“I thought you’d be glad to see me.”
A laugh burst from John’s throat as he opened his eyes once more. The bastard was still there… a character from a truly shitty bad dream that perpetually haunted John’s sober nights. “What do you want?”
I hope you enjoyed that teaser. Writing John’s character, a soldier wounded and distrustful on many levels was a new adventure for me, and as he came to life on the page he gave me more than a few surprises.
Live the adventure!
“Dark, gritty, sexy suspense with one hell of a hot hero.” -USA Today bestseller Debra Webb
A soldier is nothing without his honor.
To avoid a dishonorable end to his decorated military career, John Noble made a deal with the devil. He gave up his name, endured harrowing training, and accepted every mission thrown at him for one purpose: redemption.
When he accepts his latest orders, providing personal security for a reporter in trouble, he bargains hard to guarantee it will be his last job for the shadow agency he knows only Unknown Identities (UI).
An ambitious reporter, Amelia Bennett, is about to break the story of her career, if she lives long enough to tell it. Caving to her boss’s demand, she hires a bodyguard and soon it is obvious John Noble is the only obstacle standing between her and certain death.
Just when John believes he has found someone he can trust and love, who loves him unconditionally for who and what he has become, his orders are amended: Amelia Bennett is to be terminated.
Introducing Unknown Identities: an alternative for elite soldiers and spies facing criminal charges… if they can survive the program.
Don’t miss Double Vision, the next installment of this sizzling, action-packed series.
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Genre - Romantic Suspense
Rating – R
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