Tennessee Takedown - February 2014
Destiny SWAT Series (Book#1)
Publisher –Harlequin Intrigue
A SWAT officer in small-town Tennessee will do anything to protect the innocent beauty whose life has been put on the line in Lena Diaz's Tennessee Takedown
It can't be a coincidence that in the past twenty-four hours, three different thugs have tried to kill or abduct Ashley Parrish. Sexy SWAT team leader Dillon Gray saved her, but now he wonders why someone would want to murder the beautiful accountant…and why he finds her so infuriatingly attractive.
Then the FBI comes after Ashley for embezzlement, and Dillon knows he must protect her from a killer and prove she's being framed. Taking her on a hair-raising run through dangerous terrain barely fazes him. But wanting her for more than just one night scares the hell out of him.
Read Reviews | Read Excerpt
"Diaz keeps the tension taut, the clues slim and the attraction strong to keep readers on the edge of their seats to the startling climax.” ~ Pat Cooper, RT Book Reviews
Ashley edged farther under the desktop in the cubicle, her fingers clutching the phone to her ear, her knees scraping against the coarse commercial carpet. Breathe…in, out, in, out. Focus, listen. Where is he?
Her breaths wheezed between her teeth, making a sharp whistling sound.
Calm down. He’ll hear you if you don’t calm down.
“Why don’t I hear any sirens yet?” she whispered to the 911 operator.
“They’re on the way, ma’am. Is the shooter still in the building?”
“I’m not sure. I think so.”
“Stay where you are. Stay on the line. The police will be there soon.”
Her fingers tightened around the phone. That’s the same thing the operator had told her ten minutes ago—after the shooter killed Stanley Gibson.
They’d both been standing by the copier, chatting about nothing in particular while the machine spit out reports for their next meeting. A soft pfft sound whooshed through the air. A bright red circle bloomed on Stanley’s forehead. His eyes rolled up and he crumpled to the floor.
Ashley had stood frozen, too horrified to acknowledge what her subconscious already knew—someone had just shot one of her coworkers.
That’s when the screams began.
She’d whirled around. The shooter stood in the main aisle, his silver hair forming spikes across his head like porcupine quills. His dark gaze locked on her.
And then he smiled.
Ashley’s fight-or-flight instincts had kicked in. She ran. Around the corner, past the glass-enclosed offices the managers used. Empty. Thank God. At least half the company was out to lunch. But the rest were here, like her, trapped between the shooter and the only exit.
She kept running, to the other side of the building, to another maze of cubicles. She dove into the nearest one and grabbed the phone from the top of the desk. That was when she’d called 911.
A terrified scream echoed through the room.
Ashley’s pulse sputtered. “He’s still here,” she whispered.
“Help is on the way.”
The operator’s calm, matter-of-fact tone had Ashley clenching her teeth so hard her jaw ached. Didn’t the operator realize people were dying? Had the woman even called the police?
Leaning as far out of the cubicle as she dared, she risked a glance down the main aisle. The shooter’s progress through the offices of Gibson and Gibson Financial Services was marked by screams and shouts coming from the other side of the building.
The mournful wail of police sirens erupted outside the windows.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
“I hear sirens,” she whispered. “They’re close.”
“Yes, ma’am. Are you still in the same location?”
“I haven’t moved.”
“I’ve notified the police where you are. They’ll be there soon.”
Ashley was really starting to hate the word soon. And she also sorely regretted taking the auditing contract in Destiny, Tennessee. If she was in her home office in Nashville right now, she wouldn’t be cowering in a cubicle with a crazed shooter on the loose.
One of the young temps stuck her head out of another cubicle several aisles away. What was her name? Karen? Kristen? Ashley had only met her once and couldn’t remember. The girl’s face was ghostly pale, her eyes wide with terror as she silently begged Ashley for help.
Ashley’s stomach jumped as if she’d plunged down a steep drop on a roller coaster. The girl couldn’t be more than nineteen. Ashley had to help her. But how? Which cubicle was safer? Should she run to the girl, or have the girl to run to her?
She sucked in a breath. Oh, no. Spiky gray hair showed above a row of cubicles down a side aisle. The shooter. And he was heading straight toward the temp.
Ashley franticly motioned for the girl to hide.
The girl’s brow furrowed and she raised her hands in the air, not understanding what Ashley was trying to tell her.
In a few more steps, the gunman would be able to see them both.
“Go back,” Ashley mouthed, desperately pointing at the approaching shooter.
He rounded the corner. Ashley ducked back behind the partitioned wall.
A high-pitched scream echoed through the room, then abruptly stopped.
She clamped her hand over her mouth. No, no, no.
A shoe scraped across the carpet. Ashley froze. A swishing sound whispered through the air, as if someone had brushed up against one of the fabric-covered cubicle walls. Close.
“Ma’am, the police are evaluating the situation,” the operator said through the phone in her monotone voice.
Ashley quickly covered the receiver. Her pulse slammed in her ears as she waited, listened. Was the shooter the one who’d made that swishing noise? Had he heard the operator? Her hand shook as she gingerly hung up the phone. She couldn’t wait for the police anymore. If she didn’t do something, right now, she’d be as dead as Stanley Gibson.