Read an Excerpt
By Arianna Hart
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.Copyright © 2006 Arianna Hart
All right reserved.
Chapter OneShana let out a low whistle when she walked into the gym. Nice. As a self-proclaimed gym rat she appreciated the well-appointed facility.
Thick mats formed a square in the middle of the room, and floor to ceiling mirrors made up two of the four walls. Weight equipment and toning machines were lined up in shining rows around the perimeter of the room like a silent audience. There were some pretty pricey pieces of machinery here. If this was what employees got to use on a regular basis, she definitely wanted in. As if eating and keeping a roof over her head weren't reasons enough.
Shana jogged around the room a little bit to warm up her muscles. She didn't know what sparring with Mr. Horton would entail, but it only made sense to be prepared. Her legs were a little sore from her activities with two thugs in the alley, and her shoulder ached a bit from the unaccustomed kick of the revolver.
The gym door slammed open as she was stretching out her hamstring muscles. A bull necked man came rolling in, not even attempting to hide his amusement.
"You Shana Quinn?" he asked, holding a folder in his ham-sized hand.
"Yes I am. Are you Mr. Horton?"
"Yup. Director of Security. I see you passed the weapons test. This test is a little more hands-on. Sure you can handle it?"
"I'm sure." He had a smirk on his face that just begged to be wiped off. Bring it on, buddy.
"If it gets too rough for you just say the word and I'll stop. You can always back out now if you want to."
"Nope. When do we begin?" He hadn't even put down the folder and or changed out of his dress pants and polo shirt.
"Right now. No sense wasting time, I've got things to do." He tossed the folder onto a weight bench.
Shana moved to the center of the mats and brought her hands up to a guard. She watched him closely as he walked to meet her. With no signal he rushed forward with his arms outstretched to grab her.
Not expecting that type of attack, Shana let him get much closer than she wanted to. He was so close she could smell his stale coffee breath. If his muscles didn't flatten her, his halitosis would.
Grabbing his wrist, she used his own momentum against him and flung him across the mat. He took three giant steps before catching his balance and turning towards her.
"Pretty cute, but you can't dance your way into this job."
"I'm just getting warmed up." She skirted him carefully, watching his hands.
"You know, we had a name for girls like you when I was in the Academy."
"Oh yeah?" He was trying to distract her with conversation.
"Yeah, cheerleaders." He feinted right then came in with a left hook towards her head.
This was more of what she expected. Turning into the punch, Shana blocked it with both forearms. Man, he was strong and he wasn't pulling his punches either. She'd have bruises from that block for sure. Before he could recover his balance, Shana snapped a side kick to his stomach, it was a big enough target. The kick barely fazed him, but it did back him off.
"Rah, rah, rah. Go team." Score one for her.
"Good one, but we're not done yet."
This time he was more cautious. He eyed her warily; moving in quickly and jumping back out again, but didn't throw any more punches.
Debating whether or not she should go on the attack, she almost missed his next sudden rush forward. Shana snapped a kick at the nerve bundle behind his knee, stunning him and dropping him to the ground.
Before she could pat herself on the back, Horton lumbered to his feet. Sweat dripped off his forehead, and anger glittered in his eyes. He obviously didn't like getting beaten by a girl half his size.
"You may have gotten lucky so far, but that ain't gonna last all day."
"What's wrong? Am I blowing your office pool? Did you bet that you could have me down and out in under five minutes?" The shock that flickered across his face told her she was right. Damn it, why was she always right about male chauvinists? Just once couldn't they be open minded and decent?
"Oh, look at that, time's up. You lose." She probably shouldn't bait someone who would be her boss, but his attitude annoyed her. Just because she was a girl, a short girl, didn't mean she was weak.
"You're the one who's gonna lose." Again he rushed her, arms open to crush her frame.
Shana had been expecting just such a move and did a side kick to his diaphragm, which knocked the wind out of him and doubled him over. She used the heel of her hand to smack his chin, and his head snapped back.
Horton wasn't done yet, and with a roar he reached out to club her alongside her head. Shana grabbed the fleshy part of his hand and twisted as she pulled him towards her. The pain of her grip dropped him to his knees.
Before he could take another swipe at her, Shana trapped his arm between her legs and locked his elbow in place. All it would take was one move to snap his arm like a twig.
"I think we're done now. I wouldn't want to hurt your arm too much."
"Because I want both your arms in working order so you can cheer for me." Shana dropped his arm with a thump and moved out of the way quickly. When she was far enough away to feel safe from Horton she turned and smiled, "I'll be ready for my interview in a few minutes."
She hurried back to the locker room, her oversized sweats almost sliding off her hips. What did a girl have to go through to get a job these days?
Excerpted from Spitfire by Arianna Hart Copyright © 2006 by Arianna Hart. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.