Hello and welcome to this week’s Midweek Tease. Thanks to Angelica Dawson and all the fine authors who make this blog hop possible each week.
Thank you to all those who supported my Kindle Scout nomination for Sworn to Protect. The book was not selected for publication by Amazon, but I have published it and it’s available for pre-order now, to be released on June 10.
Four years ago, a car accident robbed Nancy Frost of her child and her mother, taking what was left of her marriage with it in the process. A forensic accountant, she agrees to look at a company’s books in a divorce case, trying to find hidden assets, but her meeting with the lawyer goes terribly wrong when the restaurant is attacked.
The moment US Marshal Neil Copeland discovers his wife has been shot in a Baltimore restaurant, he rushes to her side, determined not to let her down again. As the police investigate, evidence suggests the attack was a ploy to hide a specific hit. When a professional assassin tries to kill Nancy a second time, it’s clear that she was the target and whatever’s going on is a lot more complicated than they think.
When Nancy awakes after a month in an induced coma, not only does she not remember the attack on the restaurant, she doesn’t remember marrying Neil.
Faced with the challenge of protecting his wife from a powerful, faceless enemy, Neil must bring her up to date, dredging up all the sorrow that tore them apart in the first place, hoping something will jar her memory.
As he races against time, can he save her from an unknown assassin and convince her to give the love they once had a second chance?
Here’s your tease: As you’ll recall, Neil has just learned that Nancy was shot. Enjoy!
Neil nodded and followed Todd out to the SUV.
“You know, you don’t have to do this.”
Todd glanced at him quickly, before moving around the vehicle, but it was long enough for Neil to read the compassion on his face.
“Try to stop me, tough guy. I’m your partner. I’ve got your back in all things. If Anderson doesn’t like it, he can take this job and shove it where the sun don’t shine. Like I told you. I’m ready for a change.”
Neil nodded, knowing instinctively Todd would understand how much he appreciated this. He couldn’t drive at this moment even if he wanted to, and since he wasn’t familiar with Baltimore, he needed his partner now more than ever.
“Fasten your seatbelt,” Todd said, putting the key into the ignition. “Where we going?”
“Johns Hopkins,” Neil answered, his heart pounding in his ears.
The tires squealed as Todd pulled away from the curb. The SUV moved swiftly down the residential streets barely stopping for stop signs and roaring away as soon as the lights turned green. Todd’s badge got them through the four roadblocks quickly. Neil had never truly understood how long time could seem, but even the seconds were crawling now. He watched the blur of houses and stores pass, unaware of where he was or in which direction he was traveling. He wouldn’t be able to retrace their route if his life depended on it.
Johns Hopkins was one of the nation’s premiere medical centers. Its trauma unit would be second to none. He knew all too well the dangers associated with gunshot wounds. The victim could die from blood loss, infection, or trauma to the internal organs. Time was of the essence. Nancy was in critical condition. Where she’d been shot and how many times would impact her prognosis.
In his mind, he pictured her the way she’d been when he’d shown up at the hospital four years ago. She’d been pale, but she’d been awake, and when she’d seen him, she’d dissolved into tears. The possibility of finding her sitting up this time was slim to none. The fear he’d be too late clawed at him making him weak.
Todd screeched to a stop outside the ER entrance. “Go. I’ll park the car. Don’t worry. I’ll find you.”
Johns Hopkins’s emergency area was crawling with hearses, police cars, and the ever present paparazzi. Neil muscled his way through the crowd of curious citizens and ambulance chasers, only to be brought up cold by two tactical squad officers in Kevlar, assault rifles at the ready, guarding the door.
“Sorry, sir. No one goes in without authorization.”
Pulling out his badge, Neil shoved it into the officer’s face. “Is this authorization enough?” he growled, his frustration and fear guiding his actions. “I got a call from Detective Sanders. My wife’s in there, and I’m going in.” The unspoken ‘and don’t try to stop me’ was loud and clear.
The young officer didn’t hesitate. “Sorry, marshal. Just doing our job. Until we know who the target was, anyone could still be at risk.”
Neil nodded, ashamed of his sudden outburst of temper, but unable to control any of his emotions.
“I know, and on any other day, I’d be the one in your shoes. Have they got anything more to go on? Do they know who’s responsible?”
The officer shook his head. “Not as far as we’ve been told. Forensics are on site. They may have more information later.”
“Where will I find Detective Sanders?” Neil ran his hand through his hair.
“She’s manning the information desk inside.”
“Thanks. My partner’s parking. Let him through when he gets here, will you?”
“Yes, sir. I hope your wife is okay.”
Neil didn’t answer, afraid doing so might acknowledge the possibility she wouldn’t be.
The doors slid open. He’d been in a lot of ER’s over the years, but never one with such a strong police presence. His marshal’s instinct kicked in and even as he moved forward quickly, he was taking in the details of the room. Who had shot up that restaurant? More importantly, who had been shot there that had everybody on pins and needles? This place was locked down tighter than Fort Knox.
Hurrying over to the desk, he pulled out his badge, ready to flash it at the frazzled woman sitting there. Some of those present were bandaged, others looked shell-shocked. They had to be the rest of the restaurant patrons and employees who’d survived the massacre.
“Hey! Wait your turn,” a man yelled as Neil walked past him right to the front of the line. “I want to get out of here too, but we can’t go until she interviews us all.”
Neil turned around and glared at the man, every bit of his fury and frustration aimed at the guy who immediately backed down and looked away. If looks could kill, that guy would be pushing up daisies. Neil pivoted and shoved his badge in the detective’s face.
“Where’s my wife?”
“Inspector Copeland,” she said, using the correct form of address for a U.S. marshal. “I’ve been expecting you. Director Anderson sent a message.” She handed him a slip of paper. He thrust it into his pocket without looking at it. He didn’t care what Anderson wanted right now. Nancy needed him, and nothing short of his own death was going to pull him away from her side.
The detective looked at him, her eyes filled with sympathy, and turned toward the sound of a door opening.
“Willis,” she called to the nurse who’d just stepped out of a room.
The young brunette hurried over. The dark circles under her eyes testified to her exhaustion.
“Yes, detective?” she asked, moving toward the desk.
“Can you take Inspector Copeland upstairs? His wife’s in surgery.”
A look of compassion mixed with dismay crossed the young nurse’s face.
Neil’s hopes plummeted.
The man who’d yelled at him touched his arm. “Hey, man, I’m sorry. I hope she makes it.”
Neil swallowed awkwardly, nodded, and turned to the young nurse.
“This way, sir.” She led him to the elevator and pushed the button for the surgical floor.
“What can you tell me?” he asked, his voice low and begging.
“About your wife? Nothing, I’m sorry, but this place has some of the best surgeons in the country. They’ll do everything they can for her. This is your floor. The waiting room’s at that end. Someone there will be able to help you.”
The elevator doors closed, and he was left alone in the cold, sterile hallway. He shivered. He hated hospitals. Never once in his life had he ever been in one where the news was good.
If you would like to read more, Sworn to Protect is available from all Amazon sites worldwide. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072MHFQJF
Now, please check out the rest of this week’s teasers.