Sneak Peek Week

As many of you know, I’m a high school librarian in my “other” life. As a result, I have my summers OFF! It allows me an opportunity to lay down some serious words, something I can’t do during the school year. This summer I have lots of writing plans and I thought I’d share them with you along with some VERY rough (aka not edited) snippets. I’m dubbing this Sneak Peek Week and each day I’ll share bits and pieces of my works in progress.

Because You Love Me  – This sequel to Because of You will be a romantic suspense story involving Caleb’s brothers, the twins, Matt and Mark and the woman they fall in love with, Bridget. Oh yeah, let the red hot menage writing commence! I’m about a quarter of the way through this story and I’m actually enjoying the suspense aspects as much as the romance/sex! That never happens. I’m sharing the opening of the story today.

Excerpt:

Prologue

Bridget Warner ducked down behind the boxes and wondered how in the hell she got here. Slowly she peered around the shipping crate that was currently hiding her. She was armed with nothing more than a mini-recorder, her car keys, cell phone and a tube of cherry Chapstick. If things went down badly, she was screwed.

One of these days she was going to take lessons at the shooting range and get her permit to carry a concealed weapon. Sometimes she thought she was the only journalist inNew York Citywho wasn’t packing heat. Her mind whirled over the information she was about to receive. The Honorable Judge Lucian Thompson was on the take. He was as crooked as they came and she was about to get rock-solid proof. She imagined the implications her front-page story would have on the city’s court system. How many guilty criminals had Thompson sent back out on the streets simply to fill his own pocket?

The editor-in-chief of her newspaper was going to freak out when she presented him with this article. She grinned in excited anticipation. This was the kind of story—the kind of break—every reporter hoped to receive in their lives. She pictured herself as a young Woodward or Bernstein—except, of course, she had a rocking manicure and hot pink Converse tennis shoes.

Her informant was a friend from college. Lyle had lived in the same apartment complex as her during their senior year. He’d asked her out a few times, but finally gave up when she convinced him they were better off as friends. She genuinely liked Lyle, but they had absolutely nothing in common—he was into mysteries and Sudoku, while she was a romantic comedies and shopping kind of girl. One night after too much red wine, they’d even confessed that neither of them was sexually attracted to the other.

After graduation, she’d landed a job at the New York Reporter, while Lyle had been hired as a network specialist for the city court system. She’d teased him after he’d landed the job that she was glad he’d learned to use his computer skills for good rather than evil. She had no doubt Lyle could hack his way into any computer system if he put his mind to it. Considering that fact, Bridget worried about the means he’d used to discover the information he was about to share with her.

A door opened at the far end of the abandoned warehouse. She’d laughed when Lyle had given her directions to the place for “the drop,” as he called it. Her friend was far too fond of Tom Clancy novels and she knew for a fact, he had every episode of Criminal Minds saved on his DVR. She started to rise, but recalled Lyle’s warning. “Count to one hundred before you expose yourself. I want to make sure no one’s followed me.”

She’d rolled her eyes when he’d issued that directive, but given the creepy surroundings and the nervous butterflies in her stomach, it suddenly didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Crouching lower, she slowly began to count in her head. She hadn’t made it to thirty when the doors of the warehouse opened again. Peering from behind the crate, she watched as two men came into the large room. Lyle, who’d been standing in the middle of the room, whirled around at their appearance.

Bridget’s heart raced faster as pure, sheer terror coursed through her. Lyle said he would come alone and he’d insisted she do the same. Given her friend’s nervous stance, she knew these men hadn’t been invited to the party.

“What a surprise to run into you here, Lyle?”

Fuck. Her breathing picked up when she recognized Judge Thompson’s voice. This was bad. Very, very bad. She sank lower to the ground, her back pressed against the rough crate. She forced herself to think. There had to be something she could do to protect her friend.

“Judge Thompson.” Lyle’s voice was steady and Bridget’s respect for her geeky friend went up several notches. “Didn’t expect to run into you here.”

“Didn’t you?” The judge’s question was laced with malice. “Surely you didn’t think your computer tampering would go unnoticed.”

“Tampering?”

Bridget’s breathing accelerated and her hands shook as she reached into her pocket. Pulling out her cell phone and her mini-recorder, she struggled to hit the red dot. Perhaps she could capture the judge saying something incriminating, something she could use to barter for hers and Lyle’s freedom, thought she wasn’t holding her breath the device would pick up much. She was too far away.

Quietly placing the recorder on the ground, she turned her attention to her cell, dialing 911. The operator’s voice sounded unbearably loud in the warehouse and Bridget froze. There was no way she could speak to the person on the other end without being discovered.

Lyle and the judge continued to speak, but Bridget found it difficult to make out their words as blood coursed through her body, pounding in her ears like a bass drum. The operator spoke again. Bridget was paralyzed with fear. She had to do something, say something, but she was too terrified to speak, even in a whisper.

As she peered around the crate, Bridget’s stomach plummeted to her feet. The judge had pulled out a gun. The men were still speaking and by their comfortable stance, she knew her presence was unknown. The judge and his partner were completely focused on Lyle.

“Who are you meeting here?” the judge asked.

Lyle put his hands out nonchalantly. “I’m not meeting anyone. Just taking a little nightly stroll.”

The judge’s henchman threw a punch at Lyle’s face. Bridget heard the cracking of bones and suspected he’d broken Lyle’s nose. Lyle made no move to defend himself or to fight back. He simply raised his hands to his nose, trying to stem the flow of blood.

Bridget was distracted when the 911 operator spoke once more. She needed to act, needed to do something before Lyle was hurt even worse. Keeping her eyes on the men in the center of the room, she lightly whispered the address to the warehouse. The operator attempted to ask more questions, but Bridget had already spoken more than she dared. None of the men had heard her whispers and it gave her foolish hope. Perhaps the police would arrive in time. Perhaps they’d burst in with guns drawn to capture the villains and save them.

“Give me the flash drive.” The judge held an outstretched palm toward Lyle, the other hand still pointing the gun steadily in Lyle’s direction.

“Flash drive?”

“Don’t be any more stupid than you already have. I know what you have in your possession. You can give it to me now and try to beg for your pathetic, meaningless life or I can take it off your dead body. Either way works for me.”

“Either way sounds like a death sentence for me.”

If Bridget hadn’t felt like beating the shit out of Lyle for his cavalier attitude, she would have cheered on his bravery. He wasn’t cowering or pleading. He was incredible.

As the seconds passed, Bridget prayed the night’s silence would be broken by approaching sirens. None came.

“Give it to me,” the judge demanded.

Lyle shook his head. “You didn’t think I’d actually bring it here, did you?”

Bridget prayed that was true. If Lyle didn’t have what they wanted, surely that bought them more time.

The judge looked at his accomplice, jerking his head toward Lyle. “Check his pockets.”

Lyle didn’t put up a fight as the bruiser began searching his pockets. Bridget closed her eyes and released a silent curse when the man pulled a flash drive out of Lyle’s right pocket.

“Surely you don’t think that’s the only copy I’ve made.” Lyle’s voice rang out across the vast space, his words clear and welcome.

Yes, Bridget mouthed. Keep them guessing…and talking. Where the fuck were the police?

The judge shrugged as if unconcerned. A malicious smile covered his face and Bridget knew things were about to go as bad as they possibly could. The scene began to unfold in slow motion as the judge lifted his hand and fired one shot directly into the center of Lyle’s chest. There was no warning, no time for Lyle to run or dodge. One minute he was standing there, the next he was laying on the floor in a puddle of blood.

Bridget sat stunned, motionless. It was as if time simply stood still. She didn’t breathe. Her heart didn’t beat. An ice cold numbness consumed her.

The judge’s voice broke the spell. “Search the rest of the warehouse. Make sure no one else is here.”

She was dead. Glancing around, she realized she’d placed herself in the worst possible position for escape. She was hiding along a far wall and the only way to the lone door at the front of the building was by crossing the vast space where the judge stood, where Lyle lay inert on the floor.

Distant sirens pierced the night and all three living occupants jerked. The judge’s henchman gave up his search and the two of them hastily escaped. The sound of a car doors slamming, an engine starting, and pealing tires on the pavement told her they’d be long gone before theCalvaryarrived.

Bridget picked up her mini-recorder and phone, then rose from her hiding spot. She forced her legs to support her. As if treading through waist-deep mud, she fought her way to the center of the floor. She knew what she’d find there, knew what she’d see. Lyle had been dead the second the judge pulled the trigger, his life extinguished in the blink of an eye.

When she reached her friend, she dropped to her knees by his side. His lifeless eyes were still open, a slight look of surprise covering his frozen features. She studied his face, memorizing it, imprinting it in her mind and on her heart. She’d let him down. He’d trusted her with the information he’d uncovered. Only her. And she’d failed him.

Picking up his hand, she held it gently in hers.

“I’m sorry, Lyle,” she whispered. “So sorry.”

The sirens grew louder, cars pulling up outside the warehouse. She didn’t rise to meet the police. Instead, she remained with Lyle and let them come to her. They entered with their weapons drawn and approached cautiously. Once they determined she wasn’t a threat, they took stock of the scene and called for a coroner.

Calmly, she answered all of their four thousand, two hundred and twenty-two questions. She saw the look of surprise on all the cops’ faces when she named Judge Thompson as the murderer. Finally, a million years later, they let her leave—with a police escort.

Climbing the stairs to her apartment with the rookie cop shadowing her assent, Bridget made a silent vow to her friend. The judge would pay for tonight’s crime as well as all the others. She wouldn’t rest until justice had been served…for Lyle.

What do you think?

13 Responses to “Sneak Peek Week”

  1. I love this prologue! It really sets the stage for the story and I CAN”T wait to get into it further!

  2. Love it and romantic suspense is one of my favorite genres period. Can’t wait to read more.

  3. Pauline Rogers also as Polly Says:

    Pauline Rogers Says; Ilove it the story is great so far

  4. Mary Preston Says:

    I enjoyed it – my favourite part “armed with… a tube of cherry Chapstick” – that’s my kind of heroine.

  5. I have a lighter and a pen. I could offer a cigarette and then a mint. Pretty lame, I know but its the only thing in my purse that I could use. At least if I got them smoking, I could have a head start.

  6. I love reading romantic suspense & after reading the prologue,
    I am so looking forward to reading this book. And of course, reading
    about Matt & Mark 🙂

  7. I shouldn’t have read this. It makes me want more!! And no this sad isn’t like Three Reason’s Why, but still putting myself in her shoes – guilty/sad.

  8. Sounds like another great story. I can’t wait to read the entire thing! 🙂

  9. Loved the prologue! Bridget is my kind of girl. Can’t wait to read more.

  10. Milinda Says:

    Wow! That is a very exciting start. My cat actually scared me while I was reading it–your story is either very intense or my cat is a serial killer. 😉

  11. This is gonna be GOOD.. Can’t wait.. When is it coming out. I’m sure you probably mentioned it before but I’m a little slow.. Thanks for the little tease of the story. Greatly appreciated…

    • Oh no–didn’t mention any release date. Mainly because I have to sell it to my Samhain editor first. 🙂 Just finished first draft today. Hope to sub it by early next week. Then I just cross my fingers and hope for the best. Thanks for asking.

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