I have on my desk the edited galleys for Unlawful Contact. Which means it's Contest Time!
In honor of the holidays and in gratitude for the friendship and caring you all have shown me, I'm giving away an autographed galley of Unlawful Contact and a gift basket from Blue Moons Bliss. These products are hand-made by a friend of mine and include only all-natural ingredients and essential oils. I use them myself, and Luscious Lavender is the scent I prefer, so that's what I'm giving away.
Check out all the wonderful stuff at www.bluemoonsdesign.com, and tell Benecia that Pamela Clare sent you!
So how do you enter this contest?
Simply reply to this post or send me an email at pamelaclare @ earthlink.net (remove spaces). Tell me what you prefer most in a contemporary hero, and I'll put you in the contest. Deadline: Sunday at midnight.
Update: I've been busy at work, and that's about it. The holiday season is always very busy for newspapers. Fortunately, January and February give us a chance to catch our breath. I'm understaffed in the newsroom right now, so that has made for some late nights and crazy days. I haven't gotten any Christmas shopping done. I guess I'm hoping there is a Santa and that he can do it all this time. (His sleigh, his reindeer, his credit cards.)
When it comes to fiction, I'm behind on Untamed, the sequel to Surrender, but there's not a lot I can do about it at this point. Being short on staff at the paper means that for the first time in six years, I won't have vacation through the holidays. But I do hope to post a few excerpts soon.
And speaking of excerpts:
From Unlawful Contact
Clutching the arm that imprisoned her, Sophie struggled to keep up as Hunter pushed her down the empty, silent hallway, gun near her cheek. Her mouth had gone dry, and her heart beat so hard it hurt, her sense of unreality growing with each forced step.
This couldn’t be happening. It couldn’t be real.
It was only too real.
His breath hot on her temple, his hold on her never letting up, Hunter half-dragged, half-carried her toward the security checkpoint where only thirty minutes ago she’d overheard Sergeant Hinkley saying something to Lieutenant Kramer—she couldn’t remember what.
Dear God, what if Lieutenant Kramer is dead?
They reached the gate, found it locked.
“Crappy hospitality.” Hunter hit a button on the control panel with the butt of the gun, and the gate clicked open. “I guess we’ll have to show ourselves out.”
“They’ll catch you sooner or later.” She barely recognized the sound of her own voice.
“I’m hoping for later.” He didn’t sound worried in the least. “Now hush your pretty mouth, and keep moving.”
It seemed to her she watched from outside herself as he drew her through the checkpoint, down the hallway, and through Lieutenant Russell’s station with its metal detectors, ink pad and black light scanner. She felt an absurd impulse to hold out her hand and run it under the scanner as she always did on her way out.
You’re in shock, Alton.
That must explain why she couldn’t think straight, why she was stumbling along with Hunter like a puppet, why she hadn’t tried get away from him. Well, that—and the fact that he’d threatened to kill her and had a gun to her head.
And to think she’d come here to help his sister.
Rage, hot and sudden, burned through Sophie’s panic and fear. She twisted, kicked, scratched, brought her knee up hard.
“Let… me… go!”
“Son of a—!” His curse became a grunt as her knee met his groin.
In a heartbeat, Sophie found herself pinned up against the wall, the hard length of his body immobilizing her, her arms stretched over her head, his forehead resting against hers.
His eyes were squeezed shut, breath hissing from between his clenched teeth, his face contorted in obvious pain. He drew a deep breath, then opened his eyes and glared at her, his expression shifting from pain to fury.
“I’ll give you that one because, God knows, I deserve it. But don’t try to play rough with me, Sophie! You’ll only end up getting yourself hurt!”
He seemed to hesitate for a moment, then his gaze dropped to her mouth.
For a split second, she thought he might try to kiss her, and a completely new fear unfurled in her belly. “Don’t!”
He thrust her in front of him and pushed her down the hallway. “I’m a convicted murderer, not a rapist! Besides, now isn’t the time. Move!”
Her rage spent, she did as he demanded, trying not to trip, trying not to cry, trying not to throw up. Just ahead lay the lobby and beyond it the front entrance and visitors’ parking lot.
When I’m safely away, I’ll let her go.
His words came back to her, and she latched onto them, clinging to the hope they offered, repeating them in her mind like a mantra.
I’ll let her go. I’ll let her go.
They passed the abandoned registration desk where Sergeant Green had checked her in, and hurried through the now vacant lobby. And then they were outside.
Sophie barely noticed the cold wind or the fat snowflakes that had begun to fall or the fact that the sun had set, her thoughts riveted on Hunter and what he would do next.
He surprised her by stopping just outside the door and drawing her back against the brick wall with him. “Give me your keys! Which one is yours?”
“The blue Toyota. But you can’t—!”
“There’s no time for this!” He covered her mouth with his hand. “Listen close, Sophie. The moment we step away from this building, a dozen snipers with high-powered rifles will sight on my skull. Perhaps that idea pleases you, but it makes me a little nervous. I don’t have time to call a cab, so we’re taking your car. Understand?”
He lifted the hand from her mouth.
She nodded, her pulse skyrocketing. “Y-yes.”
He was kidnapping her!
No! No! Please, no!
She swallowed a sob and fumbled in her purse for her keys.
Marc heard Sophie’s breath catch, felt her body jerk and realized she was crying.
Goddamn it! Goddamn it!
He fought the urge, so instinctual, to reassure her. He couldn’t afford to think about what she was feeling. Not now. Not yet. One mistake out here, and he’d be a dead man.
She drew her keys from her purse and held them out for him, metal jangling. “P-please just take my car and leave me!”
“No can do, sweetheart.” He grabbed the keys from her hand, glancing from the parking lot, which was flooded by search lights to the lobby, where a dozen C.O.s had gathered, waiting for him to slip and offer them a clear shot. “Go!”
He realized his mistake as soon as they hit the parking lot. Dressed in those ridiculous heels, she could barely walk on the ice and snow, much less run. She skittered and slipped, more than once nearly toppling them both to the ground. If she fell, she’d give the snipers the clear line of fire they were waiting for.
“Jesus Christ! It’s winter, woman, or hadn’t you noticed!” Marc lifted her off her feet, held her hard against him and ran, his prison-issue tennis shoes offering little more in the way of traction, the skin on his back prickling with the imagined heat of red lasers. He’d worked the other end of the rifle for too long and could almost hear the snipers' thoughts in his mind.
Slip. Drop the girl. Raise your head up just an inch, you bastard!
Her car was parked nearby—the first space in the second row. He fought for footing, skidded into the door, his knees crashing against metal as the first shot rang out.
Sophie screamed, and for one terrible moment Marc feared she’d been hit. Then he felt it—searing pain in his shoulder.
“Shit!” He slipped the key into the lock, jerked the door open, then shoved Sophie through the door and piled in behind her. “Scoot over!”
An explosion of weapons fire.
A barrage of bullets.
The driver’s side window and mirror shattered, glass spraying through the air as rounds shredded the door where he’d been standing a split second ago.
Keeping low, he slammed the door, slid the key into the ignition, and gunned the engine. Then, both hands on the steering wheel, he fishtailed out of the parking lot and toward the highway. “Put on your seatbelt, sweetheart. This ride is likely to get rough.”