Blackhawk and White Wolf are operatives for the Agency, the most closely held secret in a world of secrets. Outside of the elite group of agents themselves, a total of three people in the government are even aware of its very existence: the president of the United States, the secretary of defense, and the head of the Agency. The operatives who work for the Agency follow only one directive: do whatever it takes to get the job done, no matter what. Unsuspecting civilians are routinely enlisted for participation in covert operations in which using a trained operative is not feasible.
White Wolf suggests that Toni, a gorgeous redhead, would be perfect for their next mission, so Blackhawk starts to woo the unsuspecting waitress-as a means to tricking her into assisting in the operation.
Soon, Toni finds herself inextricably drawn into a world of intrigue that will take her from her home in Atlanta to the Bahamas and to the forests of northern Maine. She leads a dangerous rescue mission into the Central American rainforest before ending up in the mysterious Black Hills of South Dakota, where she discovers a growing love for the dark and rugged Blackhawk.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By MOLLY KINCAID
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Molly Kincaid
All right reserved.
Chapter OneToni Larson groaned and rolled over onto her stomach. She'd had the dream again, the one that had caused her to lose so many hours of sleep in the past.
An Indian maiden was running from soldiers who were trying to capture her. They were shooting at her but seemed to miss intentionally, as if they were taunting her. The maiden stumbled, but before she fell, an Indian warrior rode up on a great stallion, grabbed her around the waist, and lifted her up onto the horse. His strong arms encircled her, keeping her close, as they sped away from the soldiers.
Toni punched her pillow. Damn. She glanced at the alarm clock; it was only 10:30 p.m. She'd been in bed for just under an hour. Her schedule that day had been long, and she was exhausted, but she knew it would be a while before she'd ever get back to sleep.
Toni decided since she couldn't sleep, she'd go running. She got dressed in her jogging clothes, did a few stretches, and left the Buckhead area apartment, heading north on Peachtree Road. The new moon hung in the night sky, with sparkling Venus riding shotgun by her side. Toni loved running during the cool autumn nights; the lower temperatures made for easier running.
It was exciting to belong to this wonderful city. The streets of Atlanta were always alive with people: coming and going, in and out of nightclubs, partying and having a good time.
Suddenly, Toni heard the sound of gunshots, followed by sirens. She wondered if she should take cover inside one of the clubs on Peachtree Road, but the gunshots didn't sound that close, so she kept running. Within seconds, however, someone abruptly grabbed her from behind, shoved her into a dark alley, and threw her to the ground behind a Dumpster.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" she cried out while trying to stand up.
"Stay down," the man ordered as another shot rang out.
Toni dove back to the ground behind the Dumpster.
"Damn!" He slammed his fist against the Dumpster.
Toni heard a vehicle stop at the entrance of the alley and knew it was a police cruiser because its flashing blue lights lit up the area around the alley.
"You, in the alley. Come out now with your hands up."
Toni pushed herself into a sitting position. From the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of an Indian warrior dashing around the corner. She shook her head, trying to clear her vision. An Indian warrior? She shuddered involuntarily as she suddenly realized it looked like the Indian in her recurring dream.
"Don't shoot!" she called. "I'm coming out."
"Hands up, lady!" the officer ordered.
"I'm ... I'm not ... armed," Toni answered, her voice shaking as much as her body was.
Toni emerged from the alley with her hands in the air as the police officer approached her and holstered his gun.
"What the hell are you doing out here this time of night, lady? Don't you know it's not safe for a woman to be out alone at night?"
Toni took a deep breath and then another. "I happen to live near here," she said, "and I run this way almost every day. Call Lt. Bryce. He'll vouch for me."
The officer's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "You know Lt. Bryce? What's your name?"
"My name is Antoinette Larson, but Lt. Bryce knows me as Toni."
Depressing the mic button on his radio, the officer relayed the information to his supervisor, Lt. Bryce. "Yeah, okay, Lieutenant," he said. "Have a seat in the patrol car, miss. Lt. Bryce is on the way. Here, take my jacket. You're shivering."
Toni sat in the warmth of the police cruiser. Her heart rate slowly returned to normal as she recalled the events of the past fifteen minutes. An Indian warrior? Did I really see an Indian running around the corner? Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of another police cruiser screeching to a stop.
"Toni," Bryce called. "What happened? Are you all right? What the hell are you doing out here in the middle of a drug bust?"
Toni was now fully aware of how close she had come to being shot. "I couldn't sleep, so I thought I'd go for a run. And yes, I'm fine. Some guy pushed me to safety."
"Where is he? Take a look back there, Sergeant."
"He's not there now," Toni said. "I saw him run around the corner of that building over there."
"She's right, Lieutenant. We cleared the area. No one's back there now," said the young sergeant.
"Can you identify him, Toni?"
"No, I'm sorry. He threw me down on the ground. I was pretty shaken up. I didn't really see him. I only saw a shadow when he ran out of the alley."
She felt a little guilty about the lie. She didn't want to tell Bryce that she thought she saw an Indian. He would probably think she was hallucinating or something, and she didn't want to answer any more questions. All she wanted to do was go home to the safety of her apartment.
"Damn it!" Bryce swore. "We'll find him sooner or later. Sergeant, clean this mess up and then get back to headquarters. There's a lot of paperwork involved when shots are fired. I'm taking Toni home."
Toni was glad to have a friend like Lt. Bryce, who always seemed to be around to protect her. They walked arm in arm to his cruiser.
Chapter TwoIt was an unusually cold morning in Atlanta for late September. The heavy rain that had been falling intermittently for two days contributed to the chill; it also served to deepen Toni's dark mood.
Toni drove carefully into the parking lot of the restaurant where she worked as a waitress. Swinging her long, shapely legs out of the car, she made a dash for the front door, barely missing a pothole full of water.
"Good morning," said Sandi, the morning supervisor.
Toni rolled her eyes. "I don't see anything good about it," she replied, shedding her damp sweater. "I hate this rainy weather, and I need coffee ... now."
Sandi stared at her over the rim of her glasses. "You look like death warmed over. Bad night?"
"Oh gee, thanks for the compliment." Toni shrugged. "Not really a bad night but an eventful one."
"Really? Tell me more," Sandi encouraged her.
"What's that old saying?" Toni asked. "You don't always get what you ask for. Or is it, be careful what you ask for; you just may get it?"
"I don't care anything about that old saying," Sandi said. "Just tell me what happened."
"I had one of those dreams again," Toni told her. "You know—I've told you about them."
"Yeah," Sandi said. "They're kinda creepy. I remember the time you dreamed that something bad was going to happen, and we got robbed the same day. So, what did you dream about last night?"
"It was the recurring dream—the one about the Indian girl getting saved by the Indian warrior. It keeps coming back again and again. My grandmother used to tell me stories about my ancestors—she said they had visions and were able to see the future. She thought I might have the 'gift,' as she called it. I know it may sound crazy, Sandi, but I'm beginning to wonder if she was right."
Sandi chuckled. "I think you're leaving something out, and as much as I want to hear everything, you'll have to tell me later. It's time to open the doors, so shake it off, girl, and let's get to work."
Toni laughed lightly. Sandi was always able to make her smile when no one else could. She knew most people considered waitressing menial labor, but she loved working with people and had become fast friends with many of her regular customers. Her spirited personality and delightful sense of humor made her the most popular waitress in the restaurant. She had the unique ability to put a smile on the faces of the most petulant guests.
By mid-morning the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. Lt. Bryce and his group of police officers from the Red Dog Drug Enforcement unit arrived for their morning meal. Toni had once asked what Red Dog stood for.
"Running every drug dealer outta Georgia," Lt. Bryce had replied, with a lopsided grin.
"Good morning, guys. What may I get for you?" asked Toni as she poured their coffee.
"May I have a menu?" Lt. Bryce asked.
"Me too," Kit said.
Toni laughed. She playfully smacked Kit on the shoulder with a menu. She knew exactly what they wanted. They were creatures of habit and rarely deviated from their daily choices. Lt. Bryce always had pancakes and sausage, and Kit always ordered bacon and eggs with toast and hash brown potatoes.
She served their breakfast, carefully balancing the six plates she carried.
"Need anything else, guys?" she asked.
"No, everything's great!" they replied.
Lt. Bryce and his men were Toni's favorite customers. The officers had been coming into the restaurant for years and always asked for her section. They flirted outrageously, enjoying her engaging smile and the ever-present twinkle in her dark brown eyes.
Turning to greet another guest, Toni noticed a good-looking gentleman sitting alone at one of her tables. She knew everyone who came into the restaurant, and she was quite sure she had never seen this man before. She definitely would have remembered him. He was well built, with hair the color of a golden wheat field splashed with sunlight. Given his looks and physique, Toni assumed that he was probably one of the actors with the California production company that was currently filming on location in Atlanta.
"Good morning. I'm Toni. May I bring you some coffee?"
The man looked up from the menu he had been reading. His impish grin and slightly crooked teeth gave him a naïve schoolboy appearance. Toni caught her breath as she looked into the most unusual blue eyes she had ever seen. The sun, peeking from behind a cloud, came streaming through the window, reflecting in his eyes and creating a dance of brilliant colors. They reminded her of the turquoise blue of the ocean on a clear summer day.
"Well, hello, gorgeous. Yes, two coffees please. I'm waiting for someone."
Toni smiled as she poured his coffee. She inhaled the fresh scent of his cologne.
"You have a lovely smile," he said, stirring the coffee. "Any suggestions for breakfast?"
Toni leaned forward slightly to point out some items on the menu, glad that she had chosen her new fragrance, which was fresh and lightly scented. Fleeting thoughts of her continuous battle with her weight drifted through her mind. She knew she was attractive, and the few extra pounds she carried were well placed and made her appear invitingly voluptuous—at least, that's what her friends told her. She had inherited her dark brown eyes and high cheekbones from her Cherokee grandmother, and her fair skin and mane of curly auburn hair from her Scottish grandfather. Her grandfather had always loved her hair. He often told her that it reminded him of the autumn sun setting over the wild Scottish moors.
She blushed when she saw him staring at her.
"Order up, Toni!" Sandi called out.
Hearing her name, Toni turned and collided with the most handsome man she had ever seen.
"You!" she exclaimed, making eye contact.
A flicker of recognition crossed his face and vanished just as quickly. He smiled. "Yes, it's me. Have we met?"
"You look like the man ... no, I guess not. I'm so sorry. I thought you looked familiar. I was mistaken," Toni said. She felt her face burning red with embarrassment.
She filled their coffee cups. "I'll be back to take your order," she said.
* * *
Brett slid into the booth. "That's the woman who almost got shot last night," he said. "It was a close call."
"So what happened?" asked Dusty.
"I was in the bar, waiting for my contact, when I heard gunshots and sirens. I went outside to investigate and saw the redhead jogging up the street. If I hadn't shoved her into an alley, she might have been shot. I thought she was too scared to notice who pushed her into the alley, but I guess she recognized me."
"She sure seemed to think she did," Dusty said.
Brett shrugged. "Last night was a complete disaster, but I do have some good news," he said. "I spoke with Henri Bujold. He's going to be honored for his humanitarian work in a couple of weeks, at the Grand Resort and Casino in the Bahamas. It'll be all over the news. He and Marie both will be there."
"Really," said Dusty. "Will Marie be wearing her emeralds?"
"The emeralds will be there, all right, but Marie won't be wearing them. I called in a favor. All I have to do is find someone to go with me; someone gullible enough that I can smooth talk into wearing the emeralds. I know the Raven will try to steal them, and when he does, the Agency will be ready."
"That must have been some favor you called in, for the old man to agree to let you borrow two million dollars' worth of emeralds."
"Yeah, it was," Brett said.
Dusty's brow furrowed in thought. "How about her?" he said.
"The waitress. She's gorgeous, friendly, and seems pretty naïve. I know you, Brett. You could have her eating out of your hand in no time. She would be perfect. A non-suspecting civilian; it will work."
Brett turned in his seat to look at her. She was flirting with the cops that had been sitting near them. They were all laughing and hugging her affectionately.
Brett's mind was working overtime. The Agency was a secret government organization that employed highly specialized personnel, called operatives; people who would take over and get the job done when others failed. He and Dusty were a part of that group. The Agency sometimes used civilians, albeit unbeknownst to them, when it wasn't feasible for an operative to do the job. It could work, he thought. I could get her to trust me in a couple of weeks. I've done it before. She seems to be good friends with those cops, but I doubt that will be a problem.
"You're right, Dusty. She'll be perfect," Brett agreed. "You fly to DC tomorrow and start getting the sting set up. And run a background check on the waitress. I want to know everything there is to know about her. I'll stay here in Atlanta and pursue her. She won't suspect a thing until it's all over. Let's get out of here." He pulled a five-dollar bill from his wallet and tossed it onto the table. "The sooner we get this show on the road, the sooner we'll nab the Raven. I can hardly wait to get him into an interrogation room."
Chapter Three"Good morning, Toni," Sandi said. "What are you doing here? Weren't you supposed to spend the weekend in the mountains?"
"Yeah, but some unexpected expenses came up at Brianna's school, so I'm picking up some extra hours this weekend."
"I know you're devoted to your niece, but don't wear yourself out, kiddo. There's more to life than work," Sandi replied. "You need a little time for yourself—some adult time."
Toni smiled and hugged her friend. "I truly appreciate your concern, but I have lots of time for myself. In fact, I've been training for the half marathon. It's just a few weeks away, you know, so I run as often as I can." Toni chuckled. "Who knows? With any kind of luck at all, I just might drop this extra ten pounds that seems permanently attached to my hips."
"Humph," Sandi said. "Maybe you need to train, but I guarantee you that darn race won't keep you warm at night. However, he might."
"He who?" Toni asked. She looked around the restaurant.
Sandi smiled. "Look who's sitting in the corner booth—that gorgeous hunk who was here yesterday. And he hasn't ordered yet."
Toni looked toward the booth. He met her eyes and smiled. She was inexplicably nervous, and then she saw Sandi smiling smugly.
"Please don't try to fix me up again," Toni said. "That last time was a disaster."
She gave Toni a little push. "Okay, I won't. Just go take his order."
Toni approached the table with coffeepot in hand. "More coffee?" she asked.
"Yes, please," he replied. He smiled engagingly. "You may not remember me, but I was here yesterday." He extended his hand. "I'm Brett Monroe. And you are?"
Toni took his hand. It was like a jolt of electricity running through her body. She dropped his hand quickly and resisted the temptation to rub it on her apron. "I'm Toni Larson," she said, hoping he couldn't tell she found it hard to breath. "Would you like to order now?"
Brett picked up the newspaper and leaned back into the booth. "If you don't mind, I'll read the paper first," he said.
"Sure," she replied. "Let me know when you're ready to order."
* * *
Brett feigned interest in the newspaper. His main objective was to learn everything he could about Toni Larson. He covertly listened in to the conversation at the next table, where Toni was chatting with the same police officers from yesterday.
Excerpted from Blackhawk by MOLLY KINCAID Copyright © 2011 by Molly Kincaid. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great writing, good read with exciting twist & turn. Real page turner, perfect for beach/tvl book.
Hi. I am writing a story, and I really want to get reviews. Could you guys maybe look at it? It's at black snow all results. It's not done yet though. Thank you!
U can join
I have found a new clan that is better. Goodbye
A dark brown she walks in. She had splotches of grey in her fur and blue eyes. "I'd like to be deputy, if that's possible." She mewed.
Oh i already joined them my name is shadowfall there.
The tom purred as he saw Snowstar. "Hello,she-cat."he mewed calmly.
- snowstar Aka tawnystar, tawnyflight, spiritfang and spiritfury and snowhisker
Iv gotta go doc. Il b back on later.
Okay den im filling in for justin. What position was he?