Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Excerpt of The Mercenary Way

Damn him! His rugged, square-boned face and the interested gleam in his eyes did nothing to convince her that she was any safer with him than the man outside her door. Her first instinct was to scratch his eyes out for being amused at her embarrassing situation. Her common sense warned Sarah to take care where he was concerned.

“And how do I do that?” She couldn’t decide what needed covering the most by the inadequate towel. Either way he was going to know just about every flaw she had. Experience reminded her that if she sucked in her stomach it would force her breasts
out, which at the moment he couldn’t seem to draw his gaze off of.

“How do you think? Come on to him. Let him get in a few kisses, squeeze your ass. Whatever it takes to get him in here, the door shut, and his guard down.”

Her brows drew together in a frown. “You don’t ask for very much,” she whispered sharply. “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not exactly centerfold material. I’ve never had to play a femme fatale.”

He looked at Sarah as if she were kidding, or very stupid. “Listen, angel, I don’t have time to stroke your ego. But you have a luscious body most men would swallow their tongues over.”

Sarah didn’t care, and she didn’t like his crude compliment either. She shook her head no and started slowly backing up, but there was nowhere for her to go. She wasn’t at all confident she had what it took to do what he expected. Without warning, he grabbed her arm, halting her progress. She swallowed the sound of pain his grasp caused.

“You want to get out of here alive?” he hissed, lowering his face and pinning Sarah with a hard look, a cold look that said he meant business and wanted results.

“But…” She nearly lost her grip on the towel when he gave her a sudden shake.

“It’s not just your life we’re talking about here, lady.” Mano began to pound in earnest, and Clint swore beneath his breath. “What’s it going to be?”

Unsure, Sarah’s eyes darted to the door. Did she really have any choice? “Okay, I’ll do it!” she hissed reluctantly and jerked her arm away. “But don’t blame me if it doesn’t work! By the time I let him in, he’ll be too angry to get turned on by anything I do!”

“Listen, show an angry man some tits and ass and he’ll forget his name,” he said crudely.

“Thanks for putting it so eloquently,” she grumbled.

“What are you, a prude? I don’t care if I offend you or not. It will work.”

Clint opened a closet door and Sarah realized he’d been hiding in there earlier. It was a narrow dark closet and she wondered how he’d managed to squeeze his mountain-size body in there.

“Just remember I’ll be in here. Try to keep his back to me.” With that he shut the door, leaving her alone.

Sarah stared at the door with amazement. It wasn’t solid but had slats going up the top half. Uncaring that he could see her, she stepped backward to the vanity and grabbed a much bigger towel. She swore she could hear his soft laughter as she brought it around her body.

Just as she reached for the doorknob, she heard the unmistakable sound of a key being inserted in the lock, and then the door was flying open. She managed to jump out of the way in the nick of time, flattening herself against the wall, her planned femme fatale performance all but forgotten. All she could think about was survival and staying as far away from Mano’s clutches as possible.

Mano barked something out in his own language, his eyes darting around the room suspiciously before narrowing on her. It didn’t take a genius to know he was asking her why she hadn’t opened the door.

She was relieved to see he was alone. “Why were you pounding on the door when you had a key all along?” she shot back recklessly, forgetting about the mood she was supposed to be aiming for until Clint’s plan came back to her. “I mean, I…I was hoping to ah, see you again. I like a man who’s…ah, strong and forceful.” Painfully aware she sounded like a robot about to run out of juice, the words nearly stuck in her throat.

She was conscious of what she was inviting, too. Another woman intent on winning a man over for her own devious purposes would probably have followed up her comment with some sort of gesture,
like walking up to him and dropping her towel, but Sarah drew the line at that kind of demeaning act. The most Mano was going to get from her was the batting of her eyelashes and a fake smile.

His response wasn’t what she’d been hoping for. Instead of looking interested, he looked even more suspicious, like he was trying to figure out why she was coming on to him all of a sudden. So far he
hadn’t moved from the doorway. Well, she’d warned Clint this wasn’t going to work. She knew she had to think of something, and
fast. Strolling up to Mano with an exaggerated swing to her hips she didn’t have an inkling of what that something was. Whatever she did, she was only going to get one chance, and it would have to count.

At least she’d managed to snag his attention finally; he was eyeing her with growing interest. Determined to keep it, she pulled back her fist and hit him as hard as she could in the face. Sarah was no less surprised than he was at the force of her punch. His head snapped back, and she was certain she heard his teeth connect. As he slowly turned back to her, she gasped upon seeing the stream of blood pouring out of his nose. He advanced on her like an angry bear, his words low and filled with fury. Recognizing she’d made a
terrible mistake, she backed up until her hip connected with the vanity, too dazed to realize all she had to do was step around it.

“You can’t touch me,” she reminded him, reaching behind her for something she could use as a weapon. She completely forgot about her would-be rescuer in the closet.

Mano reached for something behind him too, only it was his back pocket. He pulled forth a knife, his eyes holding Sarah frozen as he pushed a button that produced a nasty looking thin blade. He ran his finger along the sharp edge of it, a sinister laugh escaping him.

“You try to escape,” he said, finally speaking in broken English. “What else is Mano to do?” He wiped the blood pouring out of his nose with the back of his hand, smearing it across his cheek.

“Mr. Rodriguez might not like that,” Sarah said in a desperate voice, her hand encircling something that was long and thin. She whipped it around and held it threateningly between them, her eyes
dropping to the object only because Mano’s had. With a low moan of despair, she threw the toothbrush at him in a burst of pure frustration. Why couldn’t it have been a straight razor or something a little more threatening?

The flying toothbrush hit him in the eye with the force of a flying missile. He yelped and swore, grabbing his eye, at the same time taking a menacing step toward her. Crying out, she turned to see what else was on the vanity, but it was too late. He was on her before she could turn back with a spray bottle of perfume in her hand. A vicious chop to her wrist sent it falling to the thick carpet
between them.

All at once Sarah found herself bent over backward on top of the vanity, with his huge bulk on top of her. He dropped his knife in the sink, his eyes rounding in stunned surprise, before glazing over
lifelessly. It took her a moment to realize his weight was dead weight, and then it didn’t matter as he was being lifted off her.

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