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Marked for death, Desta finds a guardian angel in Gard Gardner, who may save her life but seems determined to break her heart as well.
No one can be trusted as they flee murder attempts, and someone is betraying their locations to the hired killers after them.
He circled the apartment and peeped through cracks in windows. “I don’t see anyone, but they could be hiding. Stay behind me until we reach the beach.”
Pulling out his gun, he jerked open the door, peeked out in both directions, then sidled outside, reconnoitering the hallway in both directions, then motioned her toward him.
She closed the door behind her and followed him into the stairwell. His body humming with a hunter’s intensity as he listened, he paused, then crept down the steel steps. She mimicked his quiet placement of feet, but hers thudded with each step.
Stopping at the stairwell’s door, he listened and concentrated again as if his senses were radar, then he stepped into the open.
He jolted to a halt, grabbed her in his left arm, and melted into the tiny alcove of the caretaker’s supply room.
Plastered against Gard’s side, she couldn’t see anyone, but she could hear men’s leather-soled shoes where only tennis shoes and bare feet normally trod. They walked from the street parking lot toward them.
Her heart lurched with terror, and she pushed harder against Gard to take up less space. This alcove didn’t really shield one person, let alone two.
His lips touched her forehead in a message of comfort and reassurance, then he seemed to forget her, his radar tuned to the approaching feet. Lifting his gun, he waited.
A man chuckled, the soft amused sound of a cat who’d trapped a mouse and was ready to kill.
Her hackles rose as she recognized the cold essence of the ax-faced man.
Gard’s pulse fluttered wildly in his throat, but he remained still. She was supernally aware of him, his woodsy cologne and sweat, the way their bodies meshed perfectly, her breasts against his chest. The distant ocean whispered and surged with Gard’s pulse, the salt air tasted of his skin.
She prayed urgently, “Don’t let us die,” then concentrated on the approaching feet.
Miraculously, the gunmen paused before reaching the alcove and turned into the stairwell. They stomped upward, unconcerned about noise.
Her breath caught and trembled, and she fought her desire to bolt.
Gard waited thirty seconds then peeked outside. “Now.”
He ushered her out of the alcove, his hand clamped on her shoulder as if aware of her panic. They walked swiftly out of the building. Gard glanced up at the empty balconies, then at the empty walkway to the beach, and urged her forward.
Needing no urging, she kept fast pace with him, her back warm with imagined bullets heading toward it. Her legs shook going down the steps to the beach.
His gaze examining every family, teenager, and dune for an enemy, he sauntered casually toward the edge of the water. “We’re going to jog now back to our car. Slow and easy. We’d be too obvious even from a distance if we run.” He started to jog.
Matching his easy stride by concentrating on not running like a scared bunny and not staring about wildly for enemies, she even managed a smile at a five year old in pigtails who was demolishing the sand castle she’d just finished.
Gard ran four sets of steps past the house where their car was hidden, but she’d learned enough of his methods not to point out his mistake. Slowing to a walk, he trudged in the softer sand to the fifth set of steps, and climbed. Almost at the top, he leaned forward and crawled up onto the walkway. Belly down, he peered toward the house where they’d stashed their car. He whispered, “There,” and pointed at a dune just beyond the house.
She crept up beside him and studied where he’d pointed. Finally, she saw a man in a white shirt and dark pants hunkered down in the dune, his gaze on their car. She whispered, “One?”
Marilynn Byerly’s writing passion is romantic adventure stories. “Romantic Times” called her an author to watch. “Affaire de Coeur” named her an outstanding achiever in romance. Her books have won major awards including a Sapphire Award, the National Reader’s Choice Award, the Affaire de Coeur Award, and a Write Touch Award.
Marilynn is happily single and, when she is not writing, spends her time with her extended family, her garden, and her cat.
Guardian Angel -- “Marilynn Byerly’s descriptive phrasing, creative plot lines, and powerful characterizations make reading her stories an absolute addiction.” -- Jaycee/Romance Reviews Today:
Guardian Angel -- “Ms. Byerly is a wonderful writer, as capable of portraying a tender moment as a brutal encounter, a lingering love scene or a compelling battle, and making the reader feel and believe every word.” Norah-Jean Perkin/Word Museum
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 342
Paper Weight (lb): 13.4
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