Here's a little unedited excerpt:
McCabes2 (c) Anne Douglas 2007
Striding down the steps he turned toward the side lot, shoving his hands in his jacket pockets as he went, trying to ward off the chill. Half way to the corner he heard an out of place noise coming from the direction of the car parked away from every one else.
Well, hell -- warm bed or investigate? Curiosity won out. Walking over to the car, he wondered just what he was getting himself in for. After all, this is what all those internet scam spams were all about -- strange sounds in parking lots just before you get smashed round the head with a two-by-four, or chloroformed and kidnapped by Zimbabwean billionaires wanting to give you 25% if you will only pretty please give them your bank account details.
“Huh, must have been a cat.” Hi voice sounded eerie in the nearly empty parking lot and sent a shiver down his spine. Satisfied that he must have heard a stray animal he turned to leave, but heard the noise again -- a voice, definitely not an animal yowling.
“Please… help me…my baby girl.” The voice faded, becoming faint and hard to hear.
Shit. Had a woman been trying to get to the house but collapsed? Coming around the front of the car his question was answered -- rather unpleasantly.
“Holy shit!” A woman lay crumpled on the ground. A he rushed over he could see she had been badly beaten. Her face was a mass of cuts, her arm was at an odd angle -- she was doing her best to cradled it with her torso.
Kneeling down beside her broken body David reached out to her, pulling back when she drew back in fear.
“I’m not going to hurt you. But I'm going to have to... Oh Hell!” She had slumped into a faint. Pulling out his cell phone, he dialed 911 while trying to find a pulse in the woman’s neck. It beat strongly despite her weak condition.
Feeling sleazy for having to touch her so intimately after all that she had already been through, he ran his hands over her stomach. She had talked about a baby, but with her bulky clothes and generous shape he couldn’t see any obvious signs of pregnancy. David hoped that if she was only in the first few months the beating was not going to cause a miscarriage.
“I’m sorry to do this to you, lady, but while you’re out I'm going to take you inside until the paramedics get here.” David wondered why he was talking to himself -- the woman was out of it, it wasn’t like she could hear him.
The woman seemed average in height from what he could tell with her crumpled on the ground, and she looked like she might be of mixed blood, Hispanic at a guess. Her clothing was bulky, but even though she looked to carry more weight than she should she wore it well. Still, she would look small beside his bulk. Alarm bells were ringing, as he felt strangely protective of the beaten woman -- since he didn’t even know her name, let alone anything else, the sentiment was confusing.
Running an arm under her shoulders and another under her knees, leaving her damaged arm cradled to her chest, he lifted her into his arms. Her head fit just nicely under his chin, and somehow despite the sickening reality of the situation, felt like it was a perfect fit. A wayward part of his anatomy stirred that shouldn’t considering the situation. Jesus you are a sick bastard McCabe, your Jonesing over a woman half beaten to death -- you really need to get out more and get laid.
Trying not to jostle her too much, David strode to the house and banged on the door, ringing the bell, trying to get someone’s attention.
“Josie!” Anxiety tinted his voice and it annoyed him. He was always the calm and collected one. “Josie! It’s David. I need you to open up, I found a woman in the parking lot, and she’s been beaten.”
Josie pulled the door open with a crash, horror on her face as she saw the broken body in his arms. “Damn! Bring her in here, David. There’s a bed in the first room on the right.” Josie relocked the door so quickly it sounded like the sharp staccato of gunshots. She followed him into the room, watching him as he gently laid the woman on the bed.
“I called the paramedics from the parking lot, they should be here soon. Her arm’s definitely broken. She was awake for a few moments but blacked out again just after I found her.” He didn’t want to say how close he’d come to walking away and not finding her. David knew he had to let Josie look at the woman’s injuries, but couldn’t bring himself to step aside. Despite the damage, a gentle beauty shone through. She looked so fragile, like she had been broken and thrown away like a useless toy. Something inside ached at the thought of someone treating anyone so callously.
Elbowing David out of the way Josie got her first real glimpse of the woman.
“Sweet Jesus!” Josie’s cry and gasp of breath brought his head up. “Oh my God, it’s Kate.” Josie turned to David, face blanched white with fear. “Where’s Ginny?”
Friday, March 23, 2007
Here's a little unedited excerpt: