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By Jenna Mills
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter One"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart." - Helen Keller
"Touch her, and it will be the last mistake you make."
Late-morning sun cut through an expansive wall of windows, falling like a spotlight on the man with the gun. In his element, the fool laughed. "Look at you." He swept an arm toward the far side of the spacious room. "You're hardly in a position to be making threats."
The ornate mirror revealed the apparent truth of his words, a tall raven-haired man with his hands bound behind his back, his ankles secured together. Armed guards surrounded him in a circle of semiautomatics he recognized as MP-5Ns. Thick rope cut roughly into his wrists, but he welcomed the bite of pain.
It meant he was alive.
And so long as he was alive, the man with the suit of white, but a smile of pure darkness, would not be allowed to win.
"I have what you want. Killing me leaves you with nothing."
Contempt flashed in eyes that once shone with the lie of friendship. "Death doesn't always involve the body, my friend. Only if you're lucky."
The threat echoed silkily through the sunbathed room. White walls, white furniture, white carpet. But not white lies. The lies were black, and they had destroyed.
But not again.
So long as he had a breath in his body, not ever, ever again. This time it was personal, and this time it was going to end.
"The choice is yours," the man in the white suit announced.
"The power has always been in your hands."
True enough. But he hadn't planned on the woman. She hadn't factored into his agenda. She was a complication, a risk he could neither afford nor risk.
Refusing to take the bait, he hardened his eyes and lifted his chin, stared beyond the weapons trained on him and through the window to the beach beyond, where the turquoise surf crashed against a carpet of sand so white, so sugary, it defied logic and possibility.
The flash of red hit without warning. A wave of it, surging up from the pale-blue horizon and sloshing over the beach, washing away the serenity. Seagulls squeaked. Gunfire exploded.
A woman screamed.
Deliberation shattered. He was running then, shouting, swearing, through the sudden blanket of darkness. He had to find her, find her fast. Before the man with whom he'd once broken bread broke something that could never be replaced.
"Stand down!" he roared. "It's over."
The flash of sunlight blinded him, but he saw her anyway, a slim silhouette against the impossibly blue horizon. She wasn't moving. Wasn't running, wasn't taking cover. She just stood there, her flimsy dress flapping wildly, the surf crashing against her calves.
Pain exploded against the base of his skull. He staggered, went down hard, refused to stop. He pushed to his hands and knees and lunged forward.
He saw the gun too late. The explosion of white blinded him, blanketed him, snuffed out his voice and his breath ...
In a small bed, she jerked herself awake. Her heart thundered in her chest with painful precision, hard, urgent, violent like the breaking surf. Sweat bathed her body, gluing her nightshirt to clammy flesh. Automatically she lifted a hand to her burning throat, fully expecting to find a rope constricting her breath.
Of course she didn't.
So real. So horribly, vividly real.
Coldness then, moistness pressing against her free hand. "Gryphon."
The Great Dane whimpered his concern, nuzzling closer. He knew. He always, always knew when the images struck. She'd once wondered how but had long since given up trying to understand. Gifts didn't have to be understood. Just accepted. Respected.
"It's okay, boy," she reasoned, but the words rang hollow even to her own ears. The taste of fear lingered like a vile poison at the back of her throat. The smell of blood sickened.
But there was no blood. Not yet. She knew that as surely as she knew the ugliness had found her again, dug its claws deep. A cold resolve sank through her as she fumbled for the bedside lamp and let light spill into the small room. From the drawer of her nightstand, she retrieved her grandmother's silver Celtic cross and curled her fingers around the talisman.
The infusion of heat fortified her.
For more than two years she'd kept the images at bay. She'd slept peacefully. She hadn't quite dreamed of white bunnies frolicking in a waving field of brightly colored poppies, but there'd been no darkness. No terror. No blood. No death.
Until now. Through the flood of light, she opened her fingers and stared at her palm, saw the deep crescent gouges her fingernails had cut, saw the ancient cross, the truth. And deep inside, she shivered. The tall man with the closely cropped raven hair stood in grave, imminent danger.
Her dreams were back, and they were never wrong.
Someone was going to die.
Excerpted from Shock Waves by Jenna Mills Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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