Chase Vickers never knew a day of fear. From one secret mission to another he'd stared down danger...until the blackout hit Boston, and Chase's only love became the target of revenge. Lily Garrett, the woman he'd loved and walked away from eight months ago. Finding her wasn't difficult; finding her pregnant was.
Lily had always hated Chase's secret, dangerous life, but now, on the run in a dark city, Chase knew he was her only hope for survival. And their baby's. For the first time, the daredevil-turned-daddy knew bone-chilling, pulse-pounding fear. This was one mission where he couldn't fail. Not when his baby's life was at stake...
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July 10, 2007
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Excerpt from A Baby Before Dawn by Linda Castillo
It was going to be a long night.
Chase Vickers should have been accustomed to waiting. In his line of work he did enough of it. But he'd never developed much in the way of patience. He liked to move. More to the point, he liked speed. Lots of it. Tonight, however, parked in the looming shadow of Boston's Hancock Tower with the city in the midst of a blackout, he passed the minutes pacing as he waited for his passenger. Curbside, the sleek limo he drove part-time--and affectionately called Irma--purred like a big black cat.
Around him, plunged into darkness, the usually unflappable city of Boston was in a state of panic. Even at this hour the tower bustled with city police, Secret Service personnel and the occasional frightened civilian dressed to the nines. From the look of things, something big had gone down inside.
Chase had received the call for a client pickup just before 9:00 p.m. He was supposed to drive a foreign dignitary from Hancock Tower to Logan Airport. A simple enough assignment under most circumstances, anyway. Until the blackout hit en route. Traffic had crashed to a halt, and for the next three hours he'd maneuvered the big limo through spaces more suited to a Volkswagen. He'd dealt with an army of frightened motorists and angry cabbies, and dodged dozens of accidents caused by inoperative traffic lights.
Chase was comfortable in the dark and chaos. When he wasn't driving dignitaries and highranking government officials to various destinations--most requiring a driver with a high-security clearance--he spent his days on mercenary missions for Eclipse, a secret organization he and three other of his Special Forces buddies had formed years ago. For a price, the band of brothers took on assignments the CIA, FBI and other elite military forces couldn't get done. The kinds of covert operations that never made the newspapers.
Lately, those missions were the only time Chase felt truly alive.
He stood at the rear of the limo, taking in the chaos, wondering about its source. This was more than just a blackout situation. The arrival of additional Secret Service told him something significant had transpired. Was it related to the black-tie affair atop the tower? He'd read about the event. Something to do with a trade agreement...
Pulling out his cell phone, he was about to make some calls to see if he could get some answers when a chirp alerted him to an incoming text message. He hit Receive and watched the words scroll across the display.
Are you afraid of the dark?
The jagged scar above his left eye throbbed as the meaning of the words registered. Four years in the Special Forces and numerous missions for Eclipse had taught him to take every threat seriously, regardless of its source or how vague. The truth of the matter was, he'd made some enemies over the years. He'd ticked off some very dangerous people who would probably like nothing more than to pay him back in spades.
Chase knew whom to call. As much as Chase didn't want to turn to his older brother--half brother, he corrected with a sneer--Shane Peters did seem to have his finger on the pulse. He punched in Shane's number from memory. Five rings and his call went to voice mail. Another oddity--his half brother almost always answered his phone. What the hell was going on?
"Hey, it's Vic," he said, using the nickname known exclusively by his Special Forces and Eclipse counterparts. "Call me."
He was about to get back in the limo when a thin young man with dark hair exited the tower and approached. The tuxedo told Chase the man was part of the black-tie affair. More than likely the dignitary he'd been hired to drive to Logan Airport.