Books & Bonbons: WHISPER OF WARNING – Read an Excerpt!
By SMW Staff
Courtney Glass whipped into the gravel lot and cursed the man-toad who’d invited her here. This was August. Texas. It was ninety-nine degrees outside, and any halfway-sane person was holed up in an air-conditioned building right now, not parked at a deserted hike-and-bike trail, hoping to score after lunch.Did he think this was romantic? Spontaneous, maybe? Despite the Ivy League diploma, John David Alvin could be a real idiot.
Courtney huffed out a breath and flipped down the vanity mirror. Idiot or not, she wanted to look good. Looking good was the best revenge, especially when it came to ex-boyfriends.
But the Beauty Gods weren’t smiling on her today. The humidity had turned her hair limp, and her makeup was practically melting off. She dug through her purse, seeking inspiration, but finding little. She blotted her forehead with a tissue and fluffed her hair. She started to put on lipstick, then decided to hell with it. Who cared if she impressed David? He was the last person she wanted to see right now. She shouldn’t even be here, really, but his insistent messages were driving her crazy. They needed to hash this thing out, once and for all.
A flash of movement in the rearview mirror caught her eye. He was here. She watched the black Porsche Cayenne glide up alongside her. Suddenly nervous, she cast a glance around her car, a Buick Skylark that was a hulking testament to the emptiness of her bank account. Courtney could work wonders with drugstore cosmetics and she was a bloodhound for treasures in a thrift shop, but this car was beyond help. Until she climbed out of credit card debt, she was stuck in a ’98 clunker with a temperamental AC.
David sat in his SUV, but didn’t get out. Courtney could feel his gaze on her while she cleared clutter off the front seat. She refused to make eye contact. This was his meeting, and he was going to have to come to her. She set her chin. She could match wills with him any day of the week. Sweat beaded between her breasts as she waited, silently, gazing through the windshield at the dragonflies playing in the sunshine.
Finally the door squeaked open, and he slid into the passenger seat. He wore a crisp white shirt, a red power tie, and his usual dark pants. In an instant, the Skylark smelled like Drakkar Noir.
Courtney looked at him with disgust as she rolled down her window.
“Well, what?” she shot back. “You called me.”
“I most certainly did not.”
“Text message. Whatever.” God, he was such a prick. Just smelling him again made her want to retch.
He gave her an annoyed look. “I don’t have time for this shit. This is bordering on harassment.”
Suddenly the back door jerked open. Courtney turned around and found herself face-to-face with a black ski mask.
The man pulled a gun out of his pants and pointed it at David’s nose. “Gimme your phone.”
All the breath whooshed out of Courtney’s lungs. She gaped at the gray eyes glaring out from holes in the mask.
He jabbed the gun at David’s neck. “Now, asshole!”
She glanced at her ex-boyfriend. His arrogance had morphed into fear, and he wasn’t moving. Do it! She tried to tell him mentally, but he was frozen. At last, he braced a hand on the dashboard and jammed the other into his front pocket.
She cast a panicked look outside. No one. This was unreal.
The barrel swung toward her, and her stomach dropped out.
She stared at the twisting pink mouth and tried to process the words. Hers, too. Her phone. He wanted her phone. Did he want her money, also? Her phone was in her purse, along with her Mace.
David tossed his phone at him, and it landed with a clatter on the back floorboard.
Then the masked head turned toward her. “Now, or I’ll blow his fucking brains out.”
David went pale. He sent her a desperate look. “Hurry, Courtney!”
Her purse was near her feet. On the floor. And her Mace was in there. She dragged the bag into her lap and thrust her hand inside. She groped for the tube of pepper spray, but couldn’t find it amid all the junk she lugged around. I can’t die yet. There’s so much I haven’t done.
“Now!” The eyes watching her through the cut-outs squinted.
Her clammy fingers closed around the phone and she pulled it free. She held it out to him.
Time stretched out as the phone hovered there in her trembling hand. He reached for it. He wore tight black gloves, and she knew–with sudden certainty–this was going to end badly.