Below is an excerpt from my newest release from Samhain Publishing called A Killer's Agenda. Enjoy!
“A Killer's Agenda” by Anita Whiting
Read An Excerpt Online
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: May 8, 2007
Cover art by Anne Cain
Can a psychic investigator disprove an accidental death before she and her lover are next to die?
Brad Norton doesn’t believe his aunt’s death is the accidental shooting the police claim it to be. His instincts tell him there’s a more sinister explanation. In order to get to the bottom of it, he’s going to need professional help.
Pairing up with Alex Leahy, a clairvoyant private investigator, wasn’t exactly in his plans. He didn’t expect the fiery redhead to take over the case and get under his skin so quickly, but things happen fast when Alex is around.
Still, they can’t plan a future together with a killer on the loose. When their investigation intensifies they bring him out of hiding. The danger grows to an entirely new level, however, when attempts are made on their lives.
With six deaths already confirmed, it’s a race to stop their man before Alex and Brad are next on the list.
EXCERPT OF A KILLER'S AGENDA
The day dawned gloomy and dark with torrential rain that sometimes plagued the area. No open windows this morning, Brad thought. The windshield wipers were barely keeping up with the blast of water. Why he had agreed to help a woman he barely knew move was beyond him. No, he knew why. She intrigued him. Maybe it was this clairvoyance she professed to or maybe it was the fact that she had an answer to his every question. Either way, he wasn’t at all sure he liked it. Not one bit.
He welcomed the chill of the rain as he walked swiftly up the porch steps. It served to clear his brain if nothing else. Before he could knock, the door opened and Alicia rushed out, a cap pulled low over her dark curls and a back pack slung over her shoulder.
“I’ll be home about one or two,” she tossed back as she barreled directly into Brad. He caught her before she lost her balance. Startled, she looked up and then grinned, reminding him of her sister. “Sorry about that, Mr. Norton. Alex said you were coming this morning.” She took a few steps backward, closing the door against the rain. “Nice body,” she remarked, gazing at the damp black tee shirt that molded his chest and shoulders.
He raised a brow in surprise, his lips twitching. In her own way, Alicia threw him off balance just as easily as her sister did.
“Don’t move,” she commanded, closing her eyes for a brief second. She stood perfectly still for a few moments and then flung her arms out dramatically, her expression suddenly intense. “I see the scene. Pouring rain. She doesn’t know he’s returned from the war. She rushes out the door, late for work and he’s standing there. She doesn’t see him and before she knows it, she’s in his arms. Tears mingle with the rain as their lips lock and he pulls her close. Scene fades with fog swirling around both of them.” She sighed, leaning against the doorjamb, her dreamy blue eyes opening and finding his. “We’d be a natural. Care to wait for five or six years and then take Hollywood by storm?”
Suppressing laughter, he shook his head. “I don’t think so,” he said dryly. “Although thanks for the compliment.”
“Darn! I guess it’s just as well. By then I’d be in my prime and you’d be getting old.”
Brad’s gaze snapped to hers. When she grinned impishly, he couldn’t help laughing.
“I figured that would get a reaction,” she said mischievously. “Go on in. Alex is somewhere in there, cleaning like mad.” She skipped down the stairs. “By the way, I meant it about the nice bod. See you later.”
He watched her drive away, amused, and then turned and rang the doorbell. It was flung open almost immediately. Alan stood there, dressed in sweats, a sandwich in one hand and a large glass of milk in the other.
“Hey, man, come on in. Thanks for helping Alex this morning,” he said, swallowing a mouthful of food. “We don’t normally practice on Sunday but it’s a really big game next weekend. I can’t miss it or the coach’ll have my head. Alex told me to tell you coffee’s on in the kitchen if you want some. Gotta go.”
He reached behind Brad and grabbed a helmet sitting on the foyer table, then grimaced at the rain. “Lousy morning to practice in.” He glanced back at Brad. “Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m young. I can take it.” He began to whistle as he slammed the door behind him.
Brad found himself grinning as he saw him pull a hood over his head and jump into a car that pulled to the curb minutes later.
For some reason, he found himself wondering how his father would have reacted to the last ten minutes. Yeah, right. No child of Andrew Norton’s would have been as spontaneous, as sure of themselves. It was then it struck him like a lightning bolt. Hell! He was becoming his father without even realizing it. He liked order, predictability. That was the reason Alex Leahy mesmerized him. She was impetuous, mysterious, and contradictory. Everything he wasn’t and yet he was drawn to her like a moth to a flame. Like a forbidden fruit that he desperately wanted to savor.
The sound of the vacuum cleaner interrupted his thoughts. Instead of climbing the stairs, however, he wandered into the kitchen, helping himself to the coffee Alan had mentioned. He liked this room, liked the way it made him feel with its warm oak cabinets and table. A pang of memory shot through him. Besides Maggie’s cozy domain, the kitchen had often been his favorite place at his aunt’s as well. She had given him her unbiased and complete love when he had so desperately needed it. There had been long talks around the kitchen table, dinner conversation that skillfully guided a lost teenager out of his shell. The sting of unexpected tears surprised him. Guess it would be a long time before the pain disappeared entirely. His memory of her deserved as much.
He took a deep, steady breath, inhaling the fragrance of the coffee. As he took another sip, the noise upstairs stopped. No point in reliving the past. His job now was to find this creep and make him pay.
Moments later, Alex appeared, her curls tamed in a casual pony tail. She wore scruffy jeans and a Panthers tee shirt that was about two sizes too big for her. The pull was there again the minute he set eyes on her. Not one of the women he had dated would have been caught dead in the outfit she was wearing, at least not in front of him. Her lack of artifice was immensely appealing, not to mention the fact that those scruffy jeans hugged her curves admirably.
“Morning, Brad. Thanks again for coming over.” She sighed, lips curving as she helped herself to a cup of coffee. “I’m almost done. My idea of a clean room and my siblings’ differ markedly, but I promise I won’t keep you long.” She tucked one leg underneath her as she curled into a kitchen chair, taking a sip of coffee with obvious enjoyment. “I gather Alan and Alicia have already welcomed you? I heard your car drive in before my sister left.”
“Welcomed is a mild way of putting it,” he responded wryly.
She laughed. “I know exactly what you mean. Alicia doesn’t just live life, she embraces it. Things are never dull when she’s around.”
He leaned back in his chair, wrapping his big hands around the mug of coffee. “Do any of you ever stop for a breather?”
“Sure. If we have to. This is minor. Just imagine my mother and father and my twin brothers here as well.”
“I’d rather not.”
“Chicken,” she teased, setting her cup down. “Have you contacted the attorney in Charlotte?”
“Last night. He’s agreed to meet with us Monday afternoon if that works for you.”
“It does only because I purposely kept my schedule light due to my parents being away. As a matter of fact, I’ve got a few weeks relatively free.”
“Good. Then we’ll leave tomorrow about eight. It’ll take half a day to drive there without rushing.”
“Sounds fine.” She warmed both their cups with fresh coffee. “If you don’t mind a suggestion, instead of wasting time going back and forth, why don’t we continue north after tomorrow? We’ll compile notes as we go.”
He arched a brow. “You okay with that?”
She gave him an impatient look. “I wouldn’t have suggested it if I wasn’t.”
“Okay. Are your parents okay with you traveling with a strange man for over a week then?”
“You’re not serious?”
Her eyes narrowed. “You going to ravish me?”
“The thought has crossed my mind once or twice.”
“Odd. You’re not alone in that then.”
He laughed. “Are you always so frank?”
“I try to be.” She leaned forward. “Brad, I’m getting the distinct feeling that this whole thing is going to get a lot more complicated than either of us first thought.”
“Emotionally or investigative wise?”
“You backing down?”
“Absolutely not. I’m just warning you.”
“Lady, you’re way too late for that.” He captured one of her hands, pulling her up as he stood. “Way too late.”
Just before he leaned down to capture her lips, he told himself he was acting totally out of character. It wasn’t in his nature to move so quickly or act so spontaneously. Yet she stood there, lips slightly parted, her green eyes deep and dark and he had to kiss her. Wasn’t sure he should but that made no difference.
Sensations rocketed through him as his lips crushed hers. When he trailed them along her neck, she melted against him, winding her fingers in his thick hair.
He was the one who finally pulled away enough to look down at her, shaking his head ruefully. “I’m beginning to think the only way to get you out of my system is to sleep with you.”
She arched a delicate brow. “Sleep or have sex?”
“One doesn’t have to include the other.”
He ran a finger along her lower lip. “With us it would.”
“Don’t be too sure.”
“About the sex?”