In the next few months, WHISTLER HOUSE PUBLISHING will be releasing Novel 2 in my TRILOGY OF TREASON. For my readers who have been waiting far too long to see this book, I am beginning a series of weekly excerpts to start you reading this story that is very close to my heart. Not only does it follow up to THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR with a plot related to those original characters, it deals with a heartless drug scandal that has already affected too many lives, both military and civilian.
CHAPTER FOUR begins . . .
Somewhere Over the Atlantic Ocean, April 5
Five hours later, the smell of smoke and the click-click of cards snapping down on a metal surface jolted Kendra awake. She sat up. Ahead, Cpl. Jelnic played Solitaire on a utility table latched to the deck. Stripped to his khaki sleeveless undershirt, he looked like a military poster boy. His skin glistened and his muscles rippled. Frowning, he ran the fingers of his left hand through his cropped red hair while flicking the card in his other hand with his thumb. He moved it back and forth across the rows, as if he couldn’t make up his mind where to place it. His eyes widened. He blinked and stared.
Another whiff of smoke startled her. Kendra whirled around. In the tail section, the Russians were grouped around . . . she stared . . . transfixed. It wasn’t possible! She shook Ben across the aisle.
“Wake up!” she hissed.
He stirred. “What gives?”
“The Russians are grilling steaks on a campfire gas stove. They could blow us up!”
Ben blinked. And then he sniffed. He sat up, more alert.
“Do something,” Kendra implored him.
Jelnic stopped playing cards. “There’s nothin’ you can do, ma’am. It’s their plane. The Russkies go into town and pick up the thickest steaks they can find at the supermarket every time they land at Trenton. They’re havin’ the time of their lives.”
“We could blow up!”
“A lot worse could happen to ya, ma’am. Believe me.”
He resumed laying his cards down. Kendra noticed his skin seemed paler against his freckles and his forehead glistened with sweat.
A sense of helplessness seized her. Chilly prickles spread between her shoulder blades and crawled up from her spine to the base of her neck. Kendra stiffened. She couldn’t black out now. She fumbled inside her vest pocket for the vial Dr. Sheppard had prescribed for her. He had sent her off with the anti-anxiety agent, Ativan, hoping it would calm her nerves during the trip.
“Kendra?” Ben’s questioning voice drew her attention. He was looking at the bottle in her hand. She gave him a lopsided smile.
“Dr. Sheppard’s idea. To try and stop the blackouts until they can get me in for the MRI, and get some real answers,” She wrapped her fingers tightly around the bottle and sighed as she looked around the cabin. “I just… I don’t like being cooped up in this windowless plane for hours on end.”
“Do you think I do?” He studied her face. “Are you getting one of your spells?”
She nodded and reached for the bottle of water beside her seat. “I think so. I feel the creepy-crawly up my spine. But the Dr. said no more than three of these a day.”
“Here.” He moved to the seat next to her and gripping her shoulders turned her away from him. “Sit with your back to me.”
He began massaging her shoulders and back, and then up her spine to her neck. “How does that feel?”
“Don’t stop,” she begged, leaning into the rhythm and strength of his fingers.
“Do I get the same treatment?” The young corporal paused, while dealing himself another game of Solitaire. “Only I want the lady rubbing my back.”
Chapter Four continues . . .