Hard to Kill
A Hard Targets Novel
Gemma Halliday Publishing
Romantic Suspense ,@72k words
Trained as children to become assassins by the infamous Goren Petrovich, Sabrina Shaw and her two brothers have had a less-than-normal upbringing. After escaping his clutches, Sabrina and her brothers have tried to make a normal life for themselves.
Now Sabrina works for an organization called The Alliance, specializing in the kind of jobs that no one else can or wants to do. Her current assignment: find the daughter of a prominent politician who has disappeared, categorized as a runaway by the authorities.
It seems simple enough, until Sabrina uncovers the girl may have been the victim of a kidnapping that goes far beyond ransom requests. Now Sabrina must put her training to the test as she infiltrates a sex trafficking ring operating in Europe in order to find the girl...all while dodging a mysterious FBI agent and the demons from her own past.
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“Get the hell out of there. Now.” Jenning’s voice crackled to life in Sabrina’s earpiece.
She ignored his command even while her skin itched, foretelling her sixth sense was kicking in. Yep, she was close.
“Now, Shaw. His friends are heading your way. You—"
She clicked off the receiver to stop the tirade that no doubt would follow. A few minutes. That’s all she needed.
Tip-toeing up the metal staircase in her black combat-style boots, she inched her way to apartment 203. Eddie Ramer might be able to fool the cops but not her. The bottom feeder had been enticing Caitlyn for weeks with his promise of high paying modeling gigs. And then she’d disappeared.
Coincidence? Yeah, right.
A heavy smell of weed permeated the air, despite the open balconies outside the apartment doors. The metal railing and no-tell-motel-appearance of the building didn’t shock her. In fact it worked in her favor. The thin walls made her privy to the conversations along the journey to her prize.
201. 202. Finally, 203.
Peeking inside was made impossible by the closed drapes. Instead, she crawled under the window, then slid along the wall stopping outside the apartment door. A cacophony of motorcycle engines in the distance signaled Eddie’s friends were getting closer.
Her heart beat heavily while her fingers tingled. Everything inside her longed to grab the gun strapped to her thigh, but she resisted the urge. Only if necessary. She held her breath, keying into the conversation on the other side of the door.
“Let me see what you’ve got, baby.” The voice came from inside.
Sabrina closed her eyes, dispelling the vile thoughts racing around her head. Focus remained the key to her success.
“I thought—" The girl’s shaky voice signaled her fear.
“You have a smokin’ bod, but I gotta know you can sell the goods. That’s the way this works. Only then can I open doors for you.”
With one strategically placed kick, her boot separated the lock from the flimsy door. Seconds later, she charged inside, tackling Eddie to the ground. He tried to reverse her dominant position, but she was one step ahead of him, bringing the tip of her blade to his throat, a mere flick away from his carotid artery.
She slid off his chest and eased them both to a standing position, never wavering on the location of the blade. “Now Caitlyn and I are going to leave without any trouble from you or your ragtag group of merry men. Got that?”
His eyebrows furrowed while his lips curled into a smirk. “Caitlyn? She’s ancient history.”
A sinking sensation settled in her gut as Sabrina turned toward the girl. Hovering close to the bed, a young Hispanic girl with striking looks and long dark hair stood, her blouse partially unbuttoned. Definitely not Caitlyn Collins.
That half second of non-focus on her part was all Eddie needed to grab her forearm, dislodging the knife and sending it flying across the room into the wall. Despite his bulk, the alcohol reeking from his pores slowed his reflexes. She easily ducked the clumsy punch he sent her way. When he grasped her bicep and pulled up, that left him open for her counter strike to the round part of his shoulder, followed by a punch to his liver through the intercostal nerve, robbing him of breath, then a chop to the side of his neck, hitting his vagus nerve with enough force to stun.
Sabrina grabbed the girl and ran.
Dread chilled her bones as she bounded down the steps, yanking the frightened girl along with her. For the first time in her life she’d failed her mission. She’d given the Collins family hope when she’d promised to rescue their daughter. Now she was coming back empty handed. There had to be another way.
Author bio: Wendy has a Masters in Social Work and worked in the child welfare field for twelve years before she decided to pursue her dream of writing. Her first two books, Fractured and Mama Said were published in 2011 and 2012. Mama Said was a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Contest. She self published The Christmas Curse in 2012.
Between teaching college classes, trying to get her morbidly obese cat to slim down, and tempering the will of her five-year-old granddaughter, who's determined to become a witch when she turns six so she can fly on her broom to see the Eiffel Tower and put hexes on people --not necessarily in that order--somehow Wendy still manages to fit in writing. She spends the remainder of her days inflicting mayhem on her hero and heroine until they beg for mercy.
contact link: http://www.wendybyrne.net/contact/
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Musings from Michigan