When SAVAGE ANGEL released last February, I wasn’t sure how readers would react to a heroine who played the role of kickass warrior. Of all the Nephilim in The Earth Angels, Sara is the only one directly descended from a specialized group of warrior angels called the Seraphim (angels created to guard the Throne of God—think angelic Secret Service and you'll be in the ballpark). That means of the four Nephilim, she’s the no-nonsense soldier who doesn’t have a lot of experience when it comes to relationships. I had a lot of fun showing how this expert in combat could also be utterly inept when it came to handling personal matters, and I wanted to illustrate that aspect of Sara from the very first scene…
If Sara didn’t know better, she’d swear she was having a heart attack.
Swallowing the last of the piece of chocolate she’d been nursing along, she glanced at the GPS to make sure she was on the right track. With less than two miles to go through the sun-baked, oak-shrouded hills outside of Dallas, the readout told her she would reach the Mandeville estate in five minutes.
Oh, man. Five minutes?
Her palms became slick against the steering wheel of the armor-plated, custom-made luxury sedan, the standard ride for Lynchpin Security International’s executive agents. Perspiration prickled along her brow despite the whisper of the car’s air conditioning. Her lungs malfunctioned until they were incapable of pulling in an adequate supply of oxygen, and her pulse went from normal to hot-box of crazy in less than a second.
Damn. Maybe she really was having a heart attack.
Before Sara could decide whether or not she should hit the abort button on her mission and check into the nearest clinic, the no-nonsense blip of her ringtone sounded, loud enough to make her jump. Cursing her uncharacteristic edginess, she thumbed the appropriate button embedded in the steering wheel to activate the hands-free system.
“Go for Sara.”
“I was hoping to catch you before you made it to Noah’s,” came the voice of her father and current head of Lynchpin Security International, S. William Savitch. “How close are you?”
Too close for any amount of comfort. “I’m almost there. For the record, I’m still hazy as to why I’m the one meeting with Noah Mandeville. He’s always been your client, not mine. I barely know the man.”
“LSI doesn’t individualize its clientele. When one of us is on the job to protect and defend, we’re all on the job to protect and defend.”
Sara knew that, in the same way she knew the sky was up and water was wet. It didn’t make her any happier. “Usually I have background information regarding security problems when I meet with a client, but Macbeth swore on his bag of CheeZee Puffs that there was none to give. He only said Noah wanted to meet with me, face to face. Has he given you any hint as to what’s going on?”
“No, though that’s not surprising. Noah’s always had a flair for the dramatic.”
“A flair for the dramatic is the one thing a bodyguard doesn’t need.” Out of sorts and wishing she could give into the childish desire to tell her father she didn’t want to be a part of Lynchpin anymore, she glanced again at the GPS.
She sucked in a breath and held it before she could hyperventilate. “Maybe he’s planning another trip down to Mexico, and he’d like to make it out without being kidnapped this time around.”
“Noah swore he’d never again cross the border after that fiasco. Since he’s kept that promise for fifteen long years, I don’t see him getting itchy feet to do it now.”
“Someplace else, then?”
“Could be, but again that would surprise me. Even if he wasn’t getting on in years, he’s only six months out from major heart surgery. I wouldn’t expect for him to suddenly get the yen for a young man’s adventure.”
“Then I’m at a loss what this meeting could be about.” Visions that had nothing to do with personal security bubbled to the surface, visions that had haunted her for a year and had her heart trying to pound a hole through her chest. Perhaps this visit with Noah Mandeville wasn’t related to personal security at all. Maybe it had to do with his son.
“Just be on your toes from here on in,” her father advised. “As soon as you’re done at the Mandeville place, call in with a report. I’m on my way to the airport now, but I’ll keep my phone on for as long as I can. I’ll admit I’m as curious as you to find out what Noah’s got cooking, especially at this point in his life.”
Sara didn’t have to ask what William meant as she hung up. Six months earlier, her father’s friend had been at death’s door with congestive heart failure, saved at the last second by a heart transplant that had been nothing short of a miracle. With both her father and Noah’s son out of the country, Sara had stepped in to sit by Noah’s bedside until he was out of the woods.
Thankfully no one had considered it odd that she, a virtual stranger to Noah, chose to be there for him in his hour of need. The plain truth was she’d done it because she could do nothing else. It was the only thing she could think of to keep his son from worrying himself to death. As an Army doctor stationed in one of the worst hellholes Afghanistan had to offer, the one thing Gideon Mandeville hadn’t needed at that time was a distraction.
“You have reached your destination.”
“Shut up.” Sara punched a finger at the touch screen to turn the system off before guiding the car onto a well-maintained cement drive leading to a high wrought-iron gate.
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