Redemption: River Redding and Dante ~ A marriage of convenience, an alliance fraught with danger and passion, a post third war world, where nothing and no one are as they seem, including the ones you love and hate.
Excerpt- Unedited- Redemption releases Spring 2015
In the silence of the night footsteps inched closer to her, yanking her out of her mulling. Her hear thudded. She looked straight ahead. Had the demon returned with reinforcements? Or was it Red’s men out to get and turn her?
“What you did back there was admirable. Next time show more spine.”
Tired and frustrated, she whirled and shoved her unwelcomed guest into a wall before jamming a Taser gun against his shoulder.
“Hands above your head, legs spread wide.”
He did as asked, surprising her. He was a big man and she a small woman alone in one of the most crime infested areas of Huntington. The streetlight shone on his hands. A tat across his skin revealed why he easily accommodated her. An outcast, a man wanted by no one other than the dark shadow of sin that followed and continued to taint his soul.
What crime had this man committed to be branded the lowest being in the unspoken hierarchy of humans and Others? She recalled Red had one, too. Yet, somehow, the outcast had come into a very powerful position. What did Red possess that no other before him had? It certainly wasn’t his moral obligation to do good by the poor and helpless citizens of Huntington.
She started to put her Taser in its holster but decided the outcast needed to learn a lesson in manners.
With her Taser still on his shoulder, she stepped back an inch. She looked him up and down. Beneath his black t-shirt, she glimpsed the ripples and contours of the muscles of his shoulders and back. His jeans clung to the curves of his ass and the strength in his legs. If the back view was superb, the front must be more so.
“A man should not sneak up on a woman in darkened alleyways” She reached up and trailed her fingers down his arms. He held very still. “And for sure, if you’d seen my tit for tat with that damn demon, you should’ve offered your assistance.”
Encircling him from behind, she swept her palm over his chest and leaned her body into his. “Instead, you watched and assessed me as though I’m a trainee when I’m far beyond a novice.” A slight tremor passed through him. She bit her lower lip to quiet the laughter ready to bubble out of her. He let her have too much fun.
She spanned her hand over his waist eliciting a deep groan from him. Did he realize what was coming next?
“Do you have anything to say for yourself?”
“If you’re gonna stroke, stroke it good and right.”
Not only did he lack manners, but he was also cocky. River holstered her Taser, and taking her hand off him, walked away. He caught up to her, grabbed her by the arm and tugged until she collided into him. Looking up, she sucked in a breath. She was right. He was more than superb. Black hair, green eyes and dimples set deep in his cheeks when he smiled. She bet women and men loved this hunk.
“I’ve been watching you for the past week. You’re not safe sleeping in the open.”
She wrenched out of his hold and set her hands on her hips. “I’m safer shacking up with you?”
His eyes crinkled at the corners. “I have an extra room.”
“And I have trust issues.” It started to rain. Soon, it’d be a torrential, typical February downpour. She flipped the hood of her cloak over her head.
“The name’s Dante,” he called after her. “If the rain gets to you, I’m on Sacramento and Powell.”
“Yep, sure, okay.” She gave him a dismissive wave.
By the time she returned to the back alley behind the Chinese restaurant, her spot had been taken by two old witches. They huddled together beneath her make-shift shelter of cardboard boxes and an old blanket. Without her waterproof cloak as a barrier, rain began to soak the cardboard.
She unclasped her cloak and tossed it over the boxes and blanket. The witches scooted to the side and gestured with their hands for her to sit between them. River shook her head. She was skinny but not that skinny.
Reaching inside her jacket, she pulled out the sealed bag of beef jerky and dried fruit and handed them to the women. They smiled with gratitude. She swallowed past the lump in her throat. She missed her father and grandfather.
Inside her jacket pocket, her cell phone vibrated. Seeking cover beneath the restaurant’s awning, she pulled out her cell, glanced at the screen then placed it to her ear.
“Ashna, shouldn’t you be asleep?”
“I have bad news. Are you sitting?”
She leaned against the wall of the building. “Yes.”
“Carriger went missing in Kiev.”
“And this is bad how?”
Going missing in Kiev was safer for her ex-partner than crime-fighting in the deadly streets of Huntington.
“Rumor is Red has him.”