Thirty years ago, war claimed the only man Barbara Calvin ever loved. And for her family's honor, for the child Taggart McGee never knew she carried, she married his best friend and abandoned her dreams of a future with Tag.
Now, as the killer knew it would, the murder of Barbara's husband brought Tag out of hiding. To bury forever a secret only Tag and he shared, the villain struck once more. With Barbara and their daughter as the lure, Tag's warrior instincts came roaring back to life. Tag was determined to keep this second chance at love from slipping through his fingers....
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November 30, 2006
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Excerpt from Warrior's Second Chance by Nancy Gideon
Death hung suspended at arm's length. She stared with hypnotic horror down the barrel of the gun, seeing no light at the end of that long black tunnel. Only darkness and death. Hers and her daughter's. Lifting her gaze from the empty hole that held her demise, she looked into the eyes of her killer. What had she expected to find there? Sympathy? Regret? There was nothing, a flat void of expression as deadly and cold as the bore of the gun. Was this what her husband had seen, this empty, soulless stare, in the last seconds of his life? Would this be the last intimacy exchanged between man and wife, this shared precursor to their own end at the same indifferent, yet well-known, hand? Robert D'Angelo was dead already, his life taken in this same room some months before by this same man. By this man who'd been his friend, his betrayer. Her heart beat fast and frantically, pounding in her chest, hammering inside her head, the sound amplifying, intensifying like a desperate, unvoiced scream. Please! I don't want to die! Tessa sat beside her, calm, fierce, her father's daughter. Instead of begging for mercy, she argued with, even taunted, the man who held their futures in cruel hands. So brave, so confident. So precious. In the twenty-eight years they'd shared, had she told her how precious she was? An anguished plea burned in her throat, twisting, tearing for release. Don't take my daughter. If she jumped forward, if she grabbed the gun, using her body for a shield, perhaps Tessa could get away. There was a chance one of them might survive. Tessa. It should be Tessa, who had so much to live for. Her breathing caught as an awful realization slammed through her. These could be the last moments of her life. And then his words, with their terrible finality. "Sorry, Babs. Nothing personal." Something moved in his fixed stare. Something so dark and unbelievably terrifying, her plan to save her daughter by sacrificing herself froze in timeless terror. Pleasure. He was going to enjoy killing them. An explosion of movement coincided with a shrill of sound. Her dream shattered like that remembered glass as Barbara D'Angelo woke to the ringing of her phone. It took her a long moment to separate nightmare from reality. She sat up on the leather love seat, drenched in a sweat of panic. Afternoon sunlight slanted through the windows of the enclosed porch where, after another restless night, she'd fallen, exhausted, to sleep. She forced a constricted breath. Then another. The threat was gone, now behind bars awaiting justice. She was here, safe in her home, not at her husband's office at the mercy of his killer. The only thing that didn't change upon waking was the fact that her husband was dead. Vestiges of fear beaded coldly upon her skin. She scrubbed her hands over her face. Only then did she reach for the insistent phone. In another few weeks it would be turned off, the number disconnected as she removed herself forever from this place, from this life. She would be moving on, leaving the past and its ugly scars behind. None too soon. She lifted the receiver and spoke with what she hoped was coherent civility. "D'Angelo residence." An amiable greeting sounded on the other end of the line. It wasn't a solicitor trying to coerce her into opening her checkbook for some worthy cause. It wasn't a friend requesting a long overdue lunch. It wasn't her realtor wondering if the house was ready for the market. It was a voice from the past. One that still echoed, horribly, impossibly, from her nightmare of moments before. The voice of her husband's murderer. "Hello, Barbie. Did you think I'd forgotten you?" For a moment she couldn't respond. Her entire system shriveled into a tiny knot of disbelieving panic. How could it be? How could it be him? "Babs? You still there? Cat got your tongue?" His chuckle was warm and jovial, making i