Countdown to Stillness: Excerpt

Enjoy this except from The Stillness in the Air:

I didn’t turn around right away. I just stood, facing the door, staring down at the gun in my hand. I thought about turning quickly, before he had a chance to see what I was doing, and squeezing the trigger three times in succession. My aim wouldn’t be good the first time, because I was turning, so I might miss. He’d have a chance to get free of the ropes. He’d go for the window, maybe, or the door. But he didn’t have cover, and he wasn’t armed. I could get him in the chest, I was sure. Maybe the head. And he deserved to die. He did. But…

I flashed on his arms around me while I was screaming, awakening from a nightmare. I thought of his deep voice, his gentle hands. I thought of how much he seemed to care about me then. I couldn’t do it. Not all of him deserved to die. There was a part of Jason that was worth keeping alive. I just wasn’t sure how deep he’d buried that part.

“You look beautiful.” His voice was husky. “I had forgotten how beautiful you are.”

I turned around, bringing up the gun. “Shut up,” I growled.

He laughed. “Damn. You were always so sexy with a firearm. I’m getting all hot and bothered.”

I reholstered the gun. “What gives, Jason? We both know you could be out of here in five minutes. Why the charade? Why stay tied up here?”

Jason laughed again. He slid his hands out of the ropes, easy as pie. Standing, he massaged his wrists. “I wanted to see you. You always hang up on me when I try to call.”

He hadn’t called in over a year. Part of that time, he couldn’t, because no one really had phones anymore. Not on the east coast, anyway. For a few days after the blackout, the landlines had worked, until the generators in the stations went down or the people manning the phone companies had run screaming for home. Very few people even had landline phones anymore, though, anyway. At least half the cell phone service went out the instant the solar flare hit. It must have knocked out some satellites in space. Everyone else’s cell phones stopped working as soon as they couldn’t recharge them.

But before the lights went out, he did call me. Usually once every few months. It didn’t matter if I changed my number. He always found me. “Well, I’m here now. What did you want to talk to me about?”

Jason crossed the distance between us in three steps. I started to take a step back from him, but before I could move, I was in his arms. He pulled me tight against him, one hand on the small of my back and the other tangling itself in my hair. I had forgotten what it felt like when he touched me. His caresses were white hot, searing into me. I didn’t fight it. I was consumed by the sensation. His lips pressed against mine, and I opened my mouth to him, letting his tongue probe me. Fireworks exploded at the end of all my nerves. I melded my body against his, my arms going around him, exploring the sculpted perfection of his back, his shoulders. Ah, God. Jason.

And then I pushed him away.

He was startled, so I threw him off balance. He tried to step backwards to correct his loss of center, but he stumbled and thumped to the floor on his backside. I had my gun out again, trained on him.

He held up his hands in surrender.

“Don’t ever do that again,” I said.

“Right. Because I could tell how much you hated it.”

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