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Bring on the Night
By Sara Orwig
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Revenge is better than money," the man said quietly. Raking his blond hair away from his face, he stood in the hallway of San Antonio's busy airport and glanced again at the listing that showed Flight 10 from Amarillo, Texas, was on time.
Through the windows the man could see bright sunshine outside, no bad weather to interfere with incoming flights. Inside the lobby people hurried to and fro, pilots strode past on their way to departure gates, lines grew longer at the security checks.
The man waited patiently, his gaze searching the crowd. He wanted to make certain that the flight had arrived and the special passenger was on it. His blue eyes scanned each dark-haired man, pausing briefly on first one and then another. Then his gaze was arrested.
A tall, black-haired man in a charcoal knit sport shirt and jeans crossed the airport lobby and headed toward a rental car desk, where he set his flight bag on the floor and spoke to a smiling attendant.
The man watched him smile even as his fingers curled and his fists knotted. "You're hurrying to get your inheritance, aren't you, Colonel Whitewolf? You think you're so tough, with your Special Forces training. None of it will do you any good. You'll see. You'll go down. You'll be first, then the others. It's already started. While you get your car, I'll go out to the ranch and have it ready for you. A real warm welcome." He laughed softly.
He walked outside and hurried to a black, two-door sports car he had stolen only an hour earlier. The tags had been changed and he knew no one would bother him.
He started the engine and pulled out of the parking space, glancing in the rearview mirror at the terminal, thinking about Colonel Jonah Whitewolf, who was probably still inside at the rental desk.
"When I get through with you, you'll regret you ever accepted your inheritance. You're trained to deal with an enemy you can see. Now you'll have to deal with an enemy you won't see. Welcome to Texas, Colonel. Welcome to hell."
Abullet could change a man's life in the blink of an eye, Jonah Whitewolf knew, but he'd never expected to have his life transformed while sitting quietly in an office.
As he stood at the car rental desk in San Antonio the memory of that moment in April still haunted him.
He recalled how he had listened in stunned disbelief as the lawyer quietly read from John Frates's will, listing the inheritance: "To Jonah Whitewolf, to whom I am profoundly indebted, I bequeath the Long Bar Ranch, which is the Frateses' working cattle ranch. This ranch, the livestock, the house, the land, the mineral and water rights and everything included in the ranch, shall go to Jonah Whitewolf to do with as he deems proper. In addition to the Long Bar Ranch, one and a third million dollars is hereby bequeathed to Jonah Whitewolf to do with as he sees fit."
In shock, Jonah had stared at the lawyer. Her announcement was a moment cast in his memory forever. He could still remember how his surroundings had become unforgettable - the beautiful blond lawyer's oak desk, her gold pen and pencil set, her slender hands holding papers as she read, the tall clock quietly ticking, the faint scent of roses in a crystal vase on a polished wooden table. Every sight, sound and smell had been etched in memory in that instant when his world changed entirely....
While the attorney had continued reading, Jonah had glanced at Michael Remington and Boone Devlin, two of his closest buddies from past days in Special Forces. Five years ago, the three of them, along with another Special Forces friend, Colin Garrick, deceased, had rescued John Frates when he had been held hostage in Colombia. Because of that rescue the three survivors of the mission were now inheriting fortunes. Mike Remington looked as shocked as Jonah felt, but then Mike's inheritance had been an incredible surprise: John Frates's town house in Stallion Pass, Texas, a million and a third dollars - and John's baby daughter.
Boone had seemed equally shocked by his bequest of a nationally famous quarter horse ranch. Jonah had been faintly relieved that he hadn't received a baby, although he had been plenty shocked to be willed a cattle ranch plus the money. He recalled thinking how ironic at this point in his life to inherit such a thing. Had the inheritance come six or seven years ago, he would have been able to save his marriage.
Unbidden, memories of his ex-wife, Kate, had crept into his thoughts. He had loved her then, and her loss still hurt today. Kate's image floated into his consciousness: silky chestnut hair, enormous hazel eyes, thick dark lashes. An ache in his chest brought him back to reality, and he forced the memories away.
His job in Special Forces had caused the divorce. If he had had a ranch and a fortune, how different life might have been! He closed his mind to that course of thinking. What-ifs could ruin your life.
A cattle ranch and over a million dollars ... His family would be ecstatic for him. Jonah thought about his present job - working around the world, putting out oil well fires. A ranch would give him an opportunity to settle in one place. On the other hand, he would be more isolated than ever.
The amount of money was staggering. He was well paid in his job, but this was wealth beyond anything he had ever dreamed of.
Excerpted from Bring on the Night by Sara Orwig Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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