King of Paine: Sample Page 8

Frank watched the young woman step out, eyes cast down, now wearing a white nurse’s uniform, with Carlisle’s arm around her shoulders. He began to doubt his working theory. With her black hair tied back in a ponytail, no exposed tattoos or piercings, and little makeup, she no longer fit his image of a woman with an appetite for bondage or a thirst for revenge. But then again, who would guess his own tastes based on job and appearance? Everyone had a secret inner self; he couldn’t tell whether this chick had revealed hers by design or, like Jolynn Decker, by mishap.

The nurse’s expression transformed to shock as soon as she spotted Ralston by the window. Her left hand covered her slack jaw.

“Take me to my river,” she gasped.

Ralston did a double-take, as if checking to see if someone had slipped into the room behind him.

“You know him?” Carlisle asked.

As the nurse’s cheeks flushed with suppressed rage, Frank’s doubts intensified. Southern restraint might delay the blast for a few beats, but from his experienced view, the chick’s floodgates were about to blow in what seemed like real emotion. Five, four

“H-he knows my father.”

Three, two

Eyes ablaze amid a cloudburst of tears, she tore herself from Carlisle’s embrace before Frank could finish his countdown, bolting toward the shocked executive. Frank leapt to his feet to stop her, but not in time to prevent her open palm from exploding across Ralston’s face with a loud slap.

Groaning, Ralston clutched the gold, fleur-de-lis patterned curtains to maintain his balance. The girl clenched her fist for a second strike, but Frank grabbed her elbow to slow her, and Carlisle’s thick arms wrapped around her waist. Reyes and Woodbridge jumped between the combatants to keep them apart.

 Copyright © 2011 by Larry Kahn

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