Thursday, 6 May 2010

Excerpt Day - Out Of the Darkness © Anne Patrick


Royce McIntire pulled up the collar of his leather jacket to shield his face from the spring chill in the air and made his way to the white ten-wheel International. Within a few feet of the cab, he noticed someone lurking around the driver’s side. He moved closer cautiously. “Can I help you?”
As the figure stepped into the light he was taken aback in recognition of the tall brunette from the restaurant. “I’m hoping you might be able to give me a lift.”
He hesitated momentarily. Seldom did he pick up hitchhikers, knowing the risk involved. But judging from her physical stature and the grey pinstriped pantsuit, she seemed harmless enough. “I can take you as far as Alamosa, New Mexico,” he offered, thankful for the company.
“Sounds good to me.” She slipped a large shoulder bag over her left shoulder and then attempted to pick up a matching suitcase with her left hand.
He stepped forward. “Let me get that for you.”
“Thank you.”
He followed her around to the passenger side of the cab and unlocked the door. After tossing her bags behind the seat, he offered her a hand into the cab. The scent of expensive perfume lingered in the air as he closed the door, walked around to the driver’s side and climbed into the cab.
He reached over offering his hand. “My name’s Royce McIntire.”
She leaned forward as if to shake with her right hand then recoiled awkwardly, offering her left hand instead. “Alex…Alex Stanton.”
“Short for Alexandria?”
“I prefer Alex.”
“Your car break down?” he asked once they were on the interstate.
“Something like that.”
Sensing she wasn’t in a talkative mood, he turned on the radio. Country music filled the cab. “You’re welcome to take a nap. I’ll be stopping for coffee in a few hours, I’ll wake you.”
“I’m not tired.” She reached toward the radio. “Mind if I change the station?”
“Go for it.”
She scanned the stations for several seconds before settling on classic rock-n-roll. He glanced over to find her staring out the passenger side window. “So you’re a rock-in-roll fan? Who are some of your favorites?”
“Mostly artists from the seventies—you know, like Springsteen.”
She turned toward him. “You’re kidding, right?”
He chuckled. “Yeah. I’m not that old.”
His response won him a beautiful smile. “How long have you been in the moving business?” she asked.
“I’ve been doing it full time about three years now.” He reached above his sun visor, retrieved a business card and handed it to her. “It was my dad’s business 'til he passed away a few years back. I own it now. We run three trucks a day, usually.” He flipped on the overhead light and she glanced at it before attempting to hand it back. “Keep it.”
Without a reply, she slipped it into the left pocket of her blazer. His eyes lingered on her briefly before he turned off the light. She was a nice looking woman. Beautiful even. Only a few inches shorter than himself, with light brown, almost blonde, hair and turned-up nose, his eyes weren’t the only ones that had watched her in the restaurant.
He wondered about her story. She’d been sitting alone in a booth, and the way she’d been casing out the parking lot and people inside, you’d have thought she was planning on robbing the place. In the hour he was there, not once had she taken a bite of food, and with as much coffee as she drank, he would have guessed she’d be chattering like a canary right now. Instead, she sat quietly staring out into the darkness. Was she on the lam, or running away from personal problems?
“Where are you from?” he finally queried.
“The East Coast,” she answered as she continued to stare out the window.
“Do you have a destination?”
“California. Friends out there are expecting me.”
“Hope you phoned them and told them you’ve been delayed.”
She met his gaze. “They know. I gave them your tag number just in case.”
“Smart gal.”
“Not too smart or I wouldn’t be hitchhiking.”
“Well, I promise I’m harmless.”
“I had a hunch you were.”
“Really. And why is that?” he challenged.
“I don’t know. You just don’t look like a serial rapist or murderer.”
“What do they usually look like?”
“Judging from the newspapers and TV, younger and not as good looking.”
“Thank you…I think.”
“Don’t let it go to your head. I’m only along for the ride.”
Not only was she a good judge of character, she had a sense of humor. “You said you have friends in California. Where ‘bouts?”
“Really. I grew up there.”
“L.A.’s a big city. I doubt you’d know them.”
Her evasiveness was intriguing. “You’re not in trouble with the law, are you?”
“If I were, would you turn me in?”
Great, just what I need, to get pulled over with a felon on the run. It was too late to turn back now. “Like you said, you’re just along for the ride. As long as you’re not planning to highjack my truck, it’s no concern of mine.”
“Good. We done chit-chatting?”
“I reckon we are.”

All rights reserved © Anne Patrick

Out Of the Darkness

By Anne Patrick

Publisher: Champagne Books


When former FBI profiler, Alex Michaels, is forced into hiding by the serial killer who murdered her twin sister and left her with a career ending injury, she begins to take stock of her life. Meeting up with an ex-pro football player who is also facing an uncertain future, Alex makes Royce McIntire an offer he can’t refuse. He needs a secretary for his failing trucking business and she needs a place where she can hide out for awhile.

Settling into her new life, far from the FBI, Alex is unaware that the serial killer is hot on her tracks, leaving a trail of death behind him. Weeks later, realizing that the man who haunts her dreams is still out there and that he won’t stop until he finds her, she has no choice but to come out of hiding.

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