Thursday, 27 January 2011

No Fear Blogfest!

This blogfest is kindly hosted by Dominic at Writes of Passage  and,
I'm in this purely for the fun of blogfesting (addicted to the damn things) not in hope of a prize.

Brief: the following snippet is taken from one of my Romantic Thrillers!

‘You shouldn’t have worn Chanel No 5, Sweetheart.’

The game was at end, Mac’s tone less than friendly. She steeled herself to face him, stepped forward CD in hand. ‘You wanted it,’ she snarled, ‘now you’ve got it.’

He snatched it from her hand, grabbed her other hand and hauled her back toward the house. ‘You and I are going to play this goddamned game right through to the bitter end, even if I have to tie you to a fucking chair.’ He bundled her through the kitchen door, flung the CD on the kitchen table; let go of her hand. ‘OK, you’ve had your laugh, given McKinley a right run-a-round, emotionally and otherwise. But this . . . Sweetheart, is the end of the love affair. Just you and me and no one to see, hear, or stop me from doing what I should have done when I first arrived here.’

Cassie backed away, his tone aggressive. She feared Chay, Phil, Rhian, and DI Pratt had all been duped by his suave charming manner, that her welfare was now no longer of importance. She glanced toward a row of kitchen knives hanging in a rack; close enough to grab one.

Mac followed her line of vision and reached inside his jacket.

This was not good.

As expected he slipped his firearm from its holster. He released the safety catch, and much to her surprise placed it on the table and pushed it toward her.

Cassie looked at the weapon in disbelief, at the same time assessed it as being closer to him than to her. She looked to his face, his eyes searching hers and all manner of emotions etched within.

His tone as good as iced ether. ‘If it makes you feel any safer, pick it up. It’s cocked ready to fire.’

Was he thinking counter strike, if she reached for it? Of course he was.

She reached for it faster than she’d ever reached for anything in her life before. He made no move to snatch it back. She picked it up, pointed the hateful device in his direction, yet he remained casually leaning against the washing machine, the loaded gun pointed at his chest.

Was he scared, was his mouth dry like hers, was his heart pounding like hers, or was the gun empty? She mustn’t look, mustn’t take her eyes off him.

‘You had no reason to run, Cassie. The fact the CD could so easily get me killed is less important to me than what and who you think I might be.’

‘I suppose you’re about to deny your code name is Hasan?’ she said, conscious of his blue eyes not leaving hers for a second. ‘And of course, you’re going to tell me you’re not a sadistic bastard who kills for financial gain.’

‘I’m none of those things. If I were don’t you think you’d be history by now?’ He slowly stood upright, locked the kitchen door and removed the key, which he slid into his pocket. ‘Your hands are shaking, Sweetheart, and I’m overly sensitive to the fact that you’ve got a loaded gun in your hand. He moved cautious as a cat toward the hall doorway. ‘I love you Cassie, have from the moment I saw you in the flesh.’

Cassie viewed his words as tactical ploy. ‘I know how to use this, and will if I have to,’ she stressed, eager to regain sense of power. ‘You made a grave mistake, Mac, in letting me have it.’

‘I trust you, but for Christ’s sake do not sneeze.’

His implication that she couldn’t fail to hit him if she squeezed the trigger inspired a sense of confidence. ‘Move away from the door, Mac.’

He half laughed, moved round the table. ‘You won’t get past Rasp, so why not put the weapon down, and listen to what I have to say.’

She ignored his suggestion, her finger toying the trigger as she moved toward the door.

‘For fuck’s sake, Cassie, set the safety catch, and believe me when I say I set this trap purely for personal reasons. Rasp ain’t out there, and Easton’s a thousand miles away by now.’

‘You really think I’m going to swallow that, when they’ve been shadowing you every minute of every day?’ Her hands started shaking again, and she sensed unease for Mac’s part. ‘Not easy to face a gun, is it Mac?’

Sense of power terrified her, the power of holding the life of another in one’s hands, but she held the commanding position. She could back along the hall and go out through the front door in the knowledge that they were very definitely alone.

She glanced at the kitchen clock: Where had the time gone? Five minutes and the taxi driver would be waiting in Tatton Terrace.

‘You misinterpreted the game Cassie, the Jammy Dodgers game.’

‘Game,’ she exclaimed, ‘it’s no game. You killed a girl, and you killed a Dutch financier.’

‘You’re wrong, Cassie. Oh so goddamned wrong. Yes, I was there, but I didn’t kill Carlos’ daughter. Jamie did, and if you’d played the game to the end you’d know by now that I’m Vizier, not Hasan. Believe this, Cassie, Jamie was Hasan.’

‘I don’t believe you. You’re trying to destroy Jamie in my eyes, destroy everything we ever had.’ She moved a step closer to freedom. ‘Jamie was, I know, sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, but not to the extent of becoming an assassin.’

‘Sympathetic to freedom from oppression,’ stressed Mac. ‘He allied himself to Hamas and the terrorist cause, because he had to.’

‘It’s a lie, all lies.’

‘Damn it all, Cassie.’ Mac raked fingers through his hair in a gesture of utter frustration, leaned on the table head bowed as though unable to look at her. ‘Just remember you’re the one who forced this issue, forced me to tell you something you don’t want to hear. ‘Amy, remember?’

‘Your daughter,’ replied Cassie, unsure how Amy entered into the equation.

‘Only she wasn’t my daughter.’ His blue eyes levelled on hers, his expression unreadable. ‘She was Jamie’s.’

No,’ she heard herself wail, ‘it can’t be true.’ Tears inescapably flowed forth, and she lowered the gun. ‘Mac, please, tell me it isn’t true.’

He moved toward her, as though sure he’d convinced her that he was no threat. ‘Put the gun on the table, Sweetheart.’

She raised it again fearful aware that he’d almost disarmed her by subtle and devious means. ‘You don’t fool me Major McKinley. Not with your smart talking smarmy ways, or your sexually applied skills in bed. You are what you are.’

‘OK,’ he conceded, ‘take the fucking CD, wherever you want for twenty-four hours.’ He threw it on top of the refrigerator where she could easily reach it. ‘When you’ve finished the game, ring me on my cell phone and call me a liar then, if you can.’

She reached for the CD. Slipped it in the rucksack, but in that split second loss of concentration Mac robbed her superiority. She’d stupidly averted her eyes from his, and the vicelike grip on her wrist caused her to inadvertently squeeze the trigger. The sound of a shot echoed through the house. Mac instantly keeled over and slid to the floor. She looked down at him, witnessed blood trickling from his left temple.

Oh God.

She dropped the gun and fled.

The front door fought back, mad haste hampering flight. He’d lied, yet again. She sped past an astonished Rasp as he came rushing up the steps, and kept on running ‘til she reached the taxi waiting in Tatton Terrace: the driver there as promised.


To read other entries in this blogfest go here.


Summer Ross said...

Oh I am so curious now- did she kill him for sure- was he the good guy- oh man what if she killed the good guy! Great scene, very intriguing and kept my interest

Madeleine said...

OOh intense from the word go! :O)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

It was truly intense from the first word. Great riveting job, Roland

Alex Mullarky said...

That was INTENSE, I loved it. Especially when he told her not to sneeze. Their dialogue was excellent.

Tessa Conte said...

Great job! I don't think I've read anything so contemporary from you before, but you really nailed it here!

(the do-not-sneeze thing was great, too, lol)


Ellie said...

Another intense action-packed piece of writing! The dialogue was spot-on for me and really upped the tension. Loved it.

No Fear Blogfest

Myne Whitman said...

Wow, I started and just couldn't get to the end fast enough. Did she kill him? Did she?

Erin Kane Spock said...

Francine,I had only read your Civil War era excerpts before -- this was unexpected. I was on the edge of my seat right off the bat. Great entry and a fun theme for a blogfest.

Francine Howarth said...

Hi all,

Thanks for dropping by to comment. Yeah, I know, it's a first snippet post from one of my romantic thrillers. As for Mac, I have a real soft spot for this guy (US Secret Service) - he's hot!


Margo Benson said...

The sense of power would have terrified me too! I was so involved here. I also liked the realism of the washing machine and refridgerator, somehow that made the room so complete. Great!

Tony Benson said...

Very tense action and as reader I could almost smell the fear. Great writing.

Zan Marie said...

This is a tense standoff. Oh, now I want more. Did she kill him? Is is a good guy? Will she find out too late when others come for her? Darn it! It was too short.

Elaine AM Smith said...

An all-action piece of writing, it was intense. That was quite a stand-off: she killed him and I didn't see it coming. ! He was brave but where did that get him?!

L'Aussie said...

Hey Francine LOL you're not giving anything away are you? Did she kill him huh? Loved the action. I couldn't get Casablanca out of my mind 'Sweetheart'. Loved it. Great thriller!

Denise :)

Dominic de Mattos said...

Thriller indeed!

Great entry Francine. We could cut the tension with a knife! Who's good, who's bad? Look's like we will just have to read the book and find out!!

Well done and thanks for entering my blogfest :)