Friday, February 22, 2008

EXCERPT #2


*This is an unedited excerpt from FOX & HOUND, available from Red Rose Publishing 2/28!!!

He caught her at the elevator. “Where are you going?”

“Away,” she said, scorching him with a brusque look.

“What about our deal? We’re partners now, remember?”

“We are not partners.” The elevator dinged and the doors opened. People filed out, and she shoved her way inside.

He followed her and hit the button to close the doors before anyone else could enter. “We had an agreement.”

“It was a mistake!” she yelled. “Deal’s off. Now leave me alone!” She hit the button to open the doors and sprinted out onto the sixteenth floor, fighting her way through the crowd in hopes of losing him.
He caught her just outside a jewelry store. “Damn it, Celestia! Wait up. I’m tired of tailing you.”

She threw her hands up, whirling to glare at him. “What do I have to do to shake you off? Do I have to bribe you? Here.” She pulled a checkbook out of her purse. “How much do you want, Mr. Orso?”

She was in the process of writing out his name when he snatched it from her hand and threw it on the floor. “Don’t play games with me, Armstrong,” he warned. “You know this isn’t about money.”

She snorted and turned to walk away. “That’s news.”

He grabbed her arm and whirled her around. He shoved her against the glass display window behind her and pinned her there by the shoulders with firm hands. Her eyes widened in outrage. “Let go of me!”

“This is about Bandero. Not the jewels. It’s personal this time, not business. For the first time in our lives we want something more than the game. We want a chance to prove people can’t throw us aside and trample over us on their way to glory. Admit it.”

“Is there a problem?”

Todd glanced back at the security officer. He sized him before turning back to her. “Is there a problem, Celestia?” he asked in a cool voice.

She shook her head. “Everything’s fine, officer. Carry on.”

The officer hesitated before he walked away. She waited until he was out of earshot. Then she said firmly, “Take your hands off me.”

He stepped back. His hands shook. He pocketed them.

“No one…” she said in a quiet, quavering voice. “No one ever talks to me like that.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Yeah? What are you going to do about it? Run and cry on Daddy’s shoulder?”

She stepped forward threateningly. “I never run or cry.”

“You’re running from me,” he retorted.

Her bottom lip quivered. Tears flooded her eyes before she could prevent it. Alarmed, she turned and walked away, hoping he hadn’t seen them.

He’d seen them clearly enough. Her sudden vulnerability crippled his resolve. He swore under his breath and trailed her back to the elevator. He put a hand on her shoulder. “Listen, I’m sorry.”

“Save it,” she dismissed.

“No. I hurt you.”

“What does it matter?” she asked. “What do you care?”

He paused then blurted, “I care about you.”

She spun and glared at him through wet eyes. They would’ve struck him down if they’d had the power. “I don’t need anyone to care for me. I’m not the spoiled, little rich girl you think I am.”

“Prove it to me,” he challenged.

She nodded once, jaw clenching. “I will.”

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