A casualty of funding wars and an overzealous Defense Department trying to clean up its reputation after several failed experimental programs, the Psychic Warfare Program (PWP) is scrapped in the throes of its infancy. Its participants are transferred to other defense agencies, but a few decide to leave the government behind, knowing full well their freedom hinges on keeping a low profile and living under the radar.
Chloe King has worked for the government ever since she left college. First as a cop, then as an agent, Chloe has been putting away the bad guys for more than ten years. A clairaudient who’s always been able to escape trouble at the last minute, she’s now part of a group of people who understand what it means to be different. No longer working for the government, she’s now with a private organization. She should be working less dangerous cases, trying to retrieve paranormal objects gone missing. Yet her luck has taken a turn for the worse.
She’s just getting over being nearly murdered by a serial killer when a stalker nearly brings her down. The voices she’s heard more than half her life have disappeared, and she’s afraid her life is coming to an end. If she can’t hear those voices again, she’ll die. She can feel it. But she never counted on the voices being real. Or belonging to two strong, sexy men resolved to keep her.
- Release Date: August 9, 2011
- Publisher: Loose Id
- ISBN: 978-1-61118-471-6
- Length: Novel
Gripping her side and praying the pain meant bruised and not broken ribs, Chloe King did her best to remain quiet and breathed through her mouth to counteract the pain. The crisp winter weather made her breath fog as she exhaled, and she shivered, wishing she’d worn a warmer coat. At least she was wearing black. She blended into the shadows better than she might have otherwise.
“Come on, sweetheart. I know you’re there. I’ve been watching you, waiting for you. Did you like the roses I sent you last week? Your favorite, I know. Well, Chloe, I’ve saved the best surprise for last. It’s time.”
A shaft of moonlight flashed across the warehouse floor. She spotted where her pistol had fallen when the creep had knocked it from her hands. So damn far away. Crap. For all that she’d worked on teams to defeat terrorism, drug gangs, and genocide, this particular stalker proved to be a handful. Who would have thought an average psychopath could be so much work?
She blamed herself for this. The little notes, the flowers, the anonymous gifts that had escalated from cute to creepy the past month. She’d thought her friends were up to something, even though she’d felt a shiver every time something new showed up in her mailbox. She should have treated the odd presents more seriously, but she’d stupidly relied on her psychic abilities to protect herself, even knowing they’d been more off than on lately.
A chill of real fear snaked its way up her spine. She was all alone with this wacko. And he’d already proved he had no problem hurting her. Her palms sweated, and her heart raced. She sent out a mental plea. “Hey, voices. A little help here?”
And heard nothing but the sound of muted footsteps and the wind whistling through the abandoned warehouse.
The moonlight vanished, leaving the warehouse in darkness.
“Chlo-ee.” He sang her name, accompanying the cadence with the whining scrape of his knife against the walls. She had yet to see his face, but she’d never forget that tone — crazy with a side of lust.
Now, when she really could have used some advice from the voice she’d been hearing for the past fifteen years, it remained quiet. The way it had since she’d returned from Arizona two months ago. The last warning she’d received sat at the forefront of her mind. Find us before it’s too late. The cryptic advice annoyed her. How the hell could she find them without help? She knew nothing about them. Were they alive or dead? Male or female? And was this creep what they’d meant when they’d said too late? Too late for her?
Knowing she had little time before Psycho Stan — as she’d dubbed him — reached her, she silently crept toward what looked like a large hole in the wall. The gloom in the place made it hard to tell if the black patch was a large stain or the outside. On the outskirts of Bend, the rundown warehouse sat on a desolate ranch. The building had once housed trucks used for transporting cows, horses, and other livestock. But now, with the ranch closed and the economy down the toilet, the warehouse and ranch remained vacant. Mostly.
She shivered and did her best to suppress her fear.
At this time of night, there weren’t many passersby on the main road either. If, by the grace of God, she did manage to snag some attention, Chloe had no doubt her stalker would take care of any Good Samaritan foolish enough to offer help.
“It’s just you, me, and my knife.” He chuckled, and the husky burr of his laughter made her shudder. Just two short months ago, in the course of a murder investigation, she’d been kidnapped by a possessed killer. Now this. A psycho nutjob. For someone no longer working for the government, she continued to end up in dangerous situations. Except this time, she didn’t have a team backing her up or psychic voices guiding her through the danger.
Apparently, Chloe had no one but herself to rely upon. Terrific.
She squelched a groan, held on to her side, and lowered to a crouch. If she could just make it past the shot of moonlight now pushing through a broken window, she could rush for the dark gap in the wall. After a bit of study, she’d determined it was an exit, and thank God for that. She’d arrived tonight hoping to get information on her client’s missing pocket watch, an antique worth a lot of money. She knew the watch existed, but the informant? She didn’t think so. The watch and the other items she and her team had been hired to find weren’t well-known. A confidential client and a secret list, yet this psycho had known about the case.
He had to be psychic — the only explanation that made sense.
Yet shouldn’t Jack have known?
Her boss employed psychics to man a discreet investigation and security service. Chloe worked with people who could see the future, move things with their minds, create fire from a thought, sense emotions… The list went on. Yet not one of her buddies had sensed that they might have interference on this case. She put the facts together and froze.
The likelihood this stalker had nothing to do with the case and everything to do with Chloe couldn’t be ignored. And she was all by herself, because she hadn’t thought to bring a friend with her, so sure of her ability to defend herself, that she belonged on the team like all the others. Shit.
Suddenly a hand pulled her to her feet and shoved her against the wall at her back. She couldn’t breathe. The shock from being slammed against the wall robbed her of breath. The large palm covering her mouth didn’t help. The pressure on her ribs made her light-headed with pain before it eased.
“Shh. Not a word.” Warm breath whispered against her ear. Not her stalker, unless he had a friend. And wouldn’t that just be her luck.
The stalker’s singsong voice snapped with irritation. “Damn it, Chloe. I’m getting tired of this.” The lights flickered. A few bulbs came to life overhead just as the moonlight ebbed.
She sensed Psycho Stan had something to do with the lights. Psychic energy flooded the space, crawling over her like the scuttling feet of tiny insects. She felt itchy all over. Shuffling footsteps drew closer.
The man holding her ran a hand gently over her shoulder. A comforting caress. It startled her because he felt so solid and safe against her. Who the hell was this guy? She opened her mouth to whisper the question when he stole her breath again.
He leaned down and…inhaled?
Odd tingles of excitement lit her from within, taking some of her pain. Though much smaller than her captor, she didn’t feel the least bit frightened of him. Instead, she felt aroused, fascinated, and attracted.
What the hell is wrong with me?
The guy holding her tensed just as someone else knocked the stalker on his ass. The two on the floor grappled as the lights flickered above.
She caught nothing more than two large men rolling around, their hair hidden under knit caps, their bodies encased in dark clothing. She saw the sudden flash of a large knife. But then the lights blacked out and took away any chance to identify the men around her.
The guy at her side nuzzled her hair aside to position his lips at her ear. She moaned. Not in pain but because her entire body felt like one giant nerve ending. Sexually excited and in the worst danger of her life. Even Chloe had to admit she made no sense.
“Don’t worry,” he whispered. “He won’t harm you.”
She felt his lips caress her earlobe and shivered, unable to help her response.
With that note of confidence, he darted away and joined the others scrapping on the floor. At least she thought he did. She could barely see her hand in front of her face. Never a fool, she didn’t stand around and wait. Taking her chance to escape, Chloe moved as fast as she could. She grabbed her gun off the floor and swung around to level it at the sounds of grunts and groans coming from the floor.
Moonlight returned, and she found herself alone, no hint that she’d ever been around anyone other than herself and her imagination. The moonlight fluttered and died as the clouds scurried to engulf the world once more in darkness.
Copyright © 2011 Marie Harte
All rights reserved — Loose Id, LLC publication