~ excerpt ~
by Cindy Davis

A loud pop. Something screeched past her ear. Paige was suddenly heaved sideways. Her elbow jolted into her shoulder as she slammed to the sidewalk. More gunshots. Something heavy landed on top of her, punching the air from her lungs.

Paige's first breath inhaled Chris' aftershave. Her second was a gasp of elation. Her third didn't happen for quite some time as she felt herself being yanked her to her feet and dragged into a nearby store. She was hauled down a long aisle. She was shoved inside a curtained cubicle.

Chris showered kisses. Her knees buckled; she would've slid down the warm wood panel if he didn't hold her erect.

"I looked everywhere for you."

She gazed up at that well-trimmed mustache, the brilliant blue eyes, the lips—and wanted to melt into him, but had to ask the question burning her tongue. "Is that Stefano's men out there?"

His expression turned grim. "Yeah. I thought I got away from them in Des Moines."

"What are we going to do?"

There was a thump and a scuffle. A woman shouted, "Get out of my store!"

Someone screamed. Chris threw open the curtain and peered out.

More screams. Things being overturned.

He released the curtain, bent and kissed her on the right temple. "If I don't make it back," he pulled the curtain aside, "meet me in—" The curtain dropped. And he was gone.