How about an excerpt from BENEATH THE SKIN (which will be out in trade paperback on January 1)?
de La Vega Cats: BENEATH THE SKIN by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2012, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Samhain Publishing
â€śOstensibly. But I canâ€™t get in touch with their Alpha. Heâ€™s out of the country.â€ť
He thought so too. And he didnâ€™t like it one bit.
â€śWill you wait for me outside? Iâ€™ll be with you shortly and get you home. I just want to speak with Dario a moment.â€ť
She stood and he didnâ€™t fail to notice the way she kept her weight on her left side. She was still in pain, and he wanted to get her home as soon as possible.
She left and he turned to Dario. â€śAnything new?â€ť
â€śNothing. Galen pulled up some stuff on this Hal Pepper guy. Heâ€™s from Tennessee. Nothing about the jamboree, not that membership in a paranormal organization is such public news.â€ť
â€śCall Bertramâ€™s second. I want this answered for and I want those answers now. Iâ€™ll go down there if I have to. They really shouldnâ€™t make me.â€ť
Dario nodded and Gibson knew Dario would make that point.
â€śNo one in to see Hal. Heâ€™s not to make calls or any other kind of contact. Iâ€™ll be back in the morning to question him. Iâ€™m going to get Mia home. Call me if anything comes up.â€ť
He went out to catch her at a window, looking out over the city.
â€śI missed Boston. When I was in Iraq. And then when I was in Los Angeles. I wanted to be home.â€ť
He walked with her to the elevator and then down to the garage. â€śIâ€™ve traveled a fair bit. But Iâ€™m always happy to come back here. Shitty drivers and all.â€ť
She smiled. â€śI rarely drive here. I just take the T everywhere.â€ť
He hoped she did less of that while these cats were out and about.
â€śLeaves you exposed.â€ť
She snapped her seatbelt. â€śPublic transportation? Probably. But I know how to defend myself.â€ť
â€śWhat did you do in the military?â€ť
â€śI was a pilot. Supply mainly.â€ť
â€śThat where you got hurt?â€ť
â€śI got hurt in Iraq several times. Lots of people shooting at you, all the time.â€ť
He remained quiet as he pulled out onto the road and headed back toward her building.
â€śThe attack happened in Los Angeles. A few months after Iâ€™d been discharged.â€ť
She stared out the window and he wanted to touch her, reassure her. He was sure it was tied in to her being one of his cats. After all, his family had run de La Vega for generations. Thatâ€™s all it was.
â€śHey, Gibson, thereâ€™s a car following us.â€ť
He forgot about her skin for a moment. â€śWhat makes you say so?â€ť
â€śHeadlights. Same shape and size. Following us from the building and through the last three turns you made.â€ť
He kept an eye on the car sheâ€™d indicated.
â€śHowâ€™d you learn to see if you were being tailed?â€ť
â€śI canâ€™t say I knew much at all until Iraq. Now I know.â€ť Her laugh was rueful.
â€śWere you ambushed?â€ť
â€śMore than once.â€ť
And then she braced her arms. â€śWeâ€™re going to be hit. Do you have a weapon?â€ť
He turned, and saw the car coming toward them. Toward her side of the SUV. So he sped, maneuvering between traffic and narrowly avoiding the crash.
â€śGlove box. Itâ€™s loaded.â€ť
She pulled the Sig out and checked the clip.
â€śTurn left up here. If you go around the park you can bypass the congestion up ahead.â€ť
He obeyed, knowing she was right.
He ordered his phone to dial Dario and told him where they were and what was going on.
â€śLater-model jeep SUV. Bronze. Charlie, Tango, Racetrack 145. Man at wheel is white male. The tail appears to be a sedan. An Audi. Nice taste your violent little friend has.â€ť She spoke as she continued to scan the area.
â€śDid you get that?â€ť
Dario had and would be running the plates.
Then she reached out, shoved his head down and shot right through the space where his head had been. She grabbed the wheel and wrenched it hard toward her. â€śSpeed up!â€ť
The back of his SUV got clipped but because sheâ€™d taken the wheel and moved them enough, he was able to get the car to the side.
And then she got out!
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
â€śDamn it! Mia, get back here.â€ť He kept low, following her out her door, keeping the car in between them and their attackers.
â€śListen, Iâ€™m no oneâ€™s target. Got me? No oneâ€™s victim and no oneâ€™s target.â€ť
â€śThere are bystanders all around.â€ť
â€śSo call the cops. But you canâ€™t and the problem still exists.â€ť
She stood and stalked toward the car, her arm with the gun in her hand extended. Her fast was a mask and it sent a shiver through him.
The car reversed in a hurry and she squeezed off three shots, all hitting the car as it sped off.
â€śWell then.â€ť She put the weapon in her waistband. â€śI got the license plate for that one too, but I think itâ€™s stolen.â€ť
He hauled her close. â€śAre you out of your mind? What do you think youâ€™re doing?â€ť
â€śNot laying down for anyone else to kill me.â€ť She paused and sighed. â€śYouâ€™re bleeding. Come on. I can bandage you up at my house.â€ť
â€śMine is a few blocks away.â€ť
â€śFine. Shove over and tell me where. Weâ€™ll get there while you call those plates in.â€ť
Which is how he ended up with her in his house.
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