Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tessa Still in Trouble

I thought it was time that I post another sample of my first novel. I've trimmed down for this entry.  You can find more in the book An Unlikely Hero by Tierney James


Chapter 10....

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     Never had Tessa imagined that a helicopter could be so loud when she’d boarded at the airport. Taking the Black Hawk would enable them to land at the lab.  She covered her ears at first until Zoric gently placed a set of headphones on her head.  He’d smiled, almost fatherly at her, and then changed the mood when he buckled her into the seat.  His touch had been a little too personal.  Jerking back into the seat to avoid his long bony fingers only drew a satanic smile from his narrow lips. 
     Relieved at seeing the captain jump into the front seat, Tessa watched him turn his eyes back to her then to Zoric.  He patted the ghoul on the shoulder then mouthed Knock it off!  Zoric fastened himself in next to Tessa.  Reaching over he patted her hand in reassurance then withdrew.
     Tessa felt her stomach lurch as the helicopter lifted.  This time no blindfold was needed.  No threats to be quiet.  The urgency had escalated to where everyone focused on something other than herself. 
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     Tessa watched the lips of the three men moving.  They had her earpiece turned off.  Why? And why did they need her to come along on this clandestine folly?  It wasn’t like she had any special black ops training.  Oak Ridge National Laboratory was synonymous with brilliant men and women.  The mere thought of the periodic table gave Tessa a headache.  Afraid of heights, rodents, earthquakes and unwashed hands before dinner padded her profile as the most unlikely of heroes.  Yet here she was, strapped in a Black Hawk helicopter, surrounded by shadowy men carrying guns that looked like something from a science fiction movie.  Tessa wondered if learning how to trick a Middle Eastern terrorist who shot up her house and being forced into a secretive government agency in the middle of Sacramento could be included on her updated resume.  Inwardly she smiled at the thought.  The other soccer moms were going to love this story.
     Tessa caught her breath when she realized the captain was staring at her through his aviator sunglasses.  Her earpiece came to life.  “The reason you’re coming along…” Tessa squirmed. Could he read minds too?  “You once worked for a Dr. Carl Haskin when you attended U.T., am I correct?”
      Tessa tried not to look surprised that the captain knew that information.  After all, Enigma appeared to have made her life an open book for these nondescript men who had imprisoned her.  With a quick nod, Tessa squeezed her eyes shut feelings the helicopter descend suddenly.  Her hand went to her stomach before opening her eyes.  The captain still remained focused on her. 
     “Alright?”  Again she nodded.  “Other than being a nanny for his children, how did you assist Dr. Haskin?”
     “Is that why you dragged me here!” she sounded a little more contentious than intended.  Swallowing hard, Tessa licked her dry lips.  She thought she was going to be sick.  “Yes, I was a nanny for his children.  When I needed a graduate assistant position to continue with my masters, Dr. Haskin recommended me.”
     “But your masters was in cultural and environmental geography, why were you working with Dr. Haskin at Oak Ridge?
     “He needed an assistant.”  Tessa realized her involvement now had a deeper meaning.  “Dr. Haskin had me grade papers, assist with experiments he deemed too sensitive for the general population of students and faculty.  He trusted me, mostly because I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about most of the time.  There was never any hidden agenda with us.  He and his wife even took me with them on vacation.  Mrs. Haskin was a doctor of internal medicine.  I made their life a little easier. I wanted a free education and I got one.  My assistant job paid $1500 a month and my tuition was free.” 
     Wiping the perspiration from her forehead, Tessa watched the ground swim up to meet them.  When the door slid back, Tessa didn’t wait for assistance in unbuckling her restraints.  The rotor blades whipped her hair into her eyes as a hand pushed her head down and forced her forward.  
     Two men in military type uniforms waited in the shadows of the main building.  They motioned for the three to join them.  They carried the carbine Black Diamond Specter XLs. Tessa thought the weapons alone looked menacing enough to get the situation under control.  Bullet proof vests lay on the ground behind them and were immediately snatched up.  She watched how quickly the captain and Zoric slipped into them.  Abruptly Tessa found herself under the capable hands of Captain Hunter as he fastened her into the third vest. 
     Chase secured the vest and let his hands linger a little longer than intended on Tessa’s arms.  “You’ll be alright, Mrs. Scott.  However,” he drank in the wide pools of blue in her terrified eyes.  “I need your promise you’ll follow my orders.” The pilot joined them carrying gas masks. The captain handed her one as the others took theirs.  “We have reason to believe there’s been a breach here.  A mayday call went out at 0600.  Said they were under attack.  Enigma has secured the perimeter, but…”

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