Lipstick & Danger

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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….

     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
     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. 
     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
     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. 
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
     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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