Good morning (or evening, depending on where you are in this world). Just a quick note to let you know that Guarding Alesha is now available on Amazon. This is Fred Bursey’s story. If you’ve read it, you’ll recognize him from book 1, Guarding Flint.
Alesha Jennings would do anything to protect her son from his ex-cop, drug-running father…even kill if she had to. A leak in the Witness Protection Program had her on the run. Brent Malcolm had served his time. Now he was out and revenge would be at the top of his agenda. She’d prepared for this day, but hadn’t counted on her next-door neighbor becoming involved in her troubles.
Fred Bursey is undercover posing as the local handyman and he’s determined not to let Alesha out of his sight. He’s vowed to keep Alesha and her son safe, but a leak in the WPP is proving hard to find. Would the raven-haired temptress ever trust him? Especially once she learns he’s a cop?
Juan DeCarlo would not live to see tomorrow.
Plans were already in place for his cellmate of the past two months to have a deadly accident—shortly after Brent’s release. He’d suspected from day one that Juan was working undercover to gain information. Last night he’d been informed that Juan was a Deputy Sheriff, and as Brent often talked in his sleep, he didn’t want his plans thwarted at this point.
Damn! He wished he could break that habit…the one thing he had no control over had led to his arrest. His wife, the traitorous bitch, had heard him making plans, going over shipments and such, while he was asleep. She’d even had the nerve to follow him and gain more information before going to his boss with her knowledge. A hush-hush sting operation had taken care of the rest and he’d ended up serving time. She’d ruined his reputation and that of six friends who’d been with him.
Alesha Jennings…had a nice ring to it. She thought her and the brat were safe within the boundaries of the Witness Protection Program. He smiled as he anticipated the fear on her face when he showed up to confront her.
He uncurled his fists, relying on the calm he’d perfected during the past ten years. Patience, Malcolm. You’ve waited ten years. You can wait a little longer.
In a few minutes, he’d walk out of prison a free man…a model citizen…a man who had learned his lesson. He’d served his time and played his part. He’d keep a low profile, report to his parole officer and, when the time was right, he’d make his move.
I’m coming for you, Babe. I’ll be seeing you real soon.
His guards arrived and led him from the holding cell where he’d waited for his release. They walked him straight to the gate where his brother, Warren, waited. As they pulled away, Brent Malcolm settled in his seat and never once looked back.
The early morning phone call jolted Alesha Jennings from a sound sleep. This couldn’t be good. Dread caused her hand to shake as she lifted the receiver. “Hello.”
“Hello, Alesha. This is Marshall Keton. Brent’s being released today.”
She jerked upright, threw back the covers, and touched her bare feet to the cold floor. This had to be a dream…a very bad one of nightmare proportions. “Today?” She raised her free hand to cover her rapidly beating heart.
“They say he’s been a model prisoner. The parole board felt he’d learned his lesson.”
“And the others?”
“Also released. As long as you stay in the Witness Protection program, you and your son will remain safe.”
“Yes, I understand.” But she didn’t—not really. “Thanks for calling.”
She weighed her options as she replaced the receiver on its base, effectively putting an end to her conversation with Marshall Keton, her liaison with the Witness Protection Program. A swift glance at the clock had her on her feet and crossing the hall. She knocked on her son’s bedroom door. “Colby, time to get up.”
Alesha continued down the hall and into the bathroom. Once finished with her morning ablutions, she opened the door to find Colby leaning against the opposite wall, patiently waiting his turn. “Good morning, sweetie,” she said as she ruffled his already tousled hair. “Grab your shower. I’ll be in the kitchen.”
He snagged a towel out of the linen closet and disappeared behind the bathroom door. Colby had his father’s chestnut curls, but that’s where any resemblance ended. His eyes were a shade darker blue than hers were and his slight build, long and lean for an almost ten-year-old, made him a favorite on his school’s sports teams. He was a natural athlete and she was proud of his accomplishments.
She entered the kitchen and put some eggs on to boil, started a pot of coffee for herself, and set the table. When she heard the bathroom door open, she put bread in the toaster, poured Colby a glass of orange juice, and set everything on the table as he appeared, fully dressed and shiny clean, to take a seat at the table.
She’d built a good life for them here in Thayne, Wyoming, but had never once stopped looking over her shoulder. Her testimony had been instrumental in busting a drug ring in Chicago. A drug ring headed by her, now ex, cop husband and a band of his cronies. All seven were convicted and had served ten years. Now they were out.
Marshall Keton assured her she wasn’t in any danger, but she knew different. Those men still had connections in law enforcement. If she stayed with the program, Brent would find her. The question uppermost in her mind—the one that had her worried for their safety—being when?
“Mom, can I have more juice?”
“May I, and yes, I’ll get it for you.” She grabbed the pitcher of juice from the fridge and refilled his glass, then filled her coffee mug and took a sip of the hot brew as she joined him for breakfast.
“We’ve got tests this morning, but we get to watch a movie this afternoon,” Colby said.
“Oh, which one?”
“I don’t know. Teach said it was a surprise.” He smiled and downed the rest of his juice. “I need to leave early. Some of the guys asked me to play baseball with them before school.”
“Will the teachers be there this early?” Alesha asked, concerned.
He nodded his head. “Miss Bryant said she’d open up the ball locker for us.”
“Well, I guess it’s all right then.”
“Great! I’m outta here.” He grabbed his lunch box and stuffed it in his book bag, then headed for the front of the house. She followed him onto the deck where he gave her a quick hug, then raced down the stairs, hopped on his bicycle, and was out of sight in no time.
He was growing up much too fast. It seemed like only yesterday she’d been changing his diapers and cuddling him close. Now he was up and going without her. But that would have to change. With Brent out of jail, she’d be keeping a closer eye on her son…a much closer eye.
Alesha went back inside, poured a fresh cup of coffee and stood looking out the window, thinking and seeing nothing, as she sipped the hot brew. She’d had ten years to prepare for this day. Everything was in place, ready to move at a moment’s notice. She only had to grab Colby, drive to the next town, ditch her car, and pick up the Jeep she’d purchased last month under an alias. Her prized photos were already in the Jeep, not one of which had identifiable landscape markers. Witness Protection had taught her well.
Yet she hesitated. What would it hurt to allow Colby to finish out the last two weeks of school with his friends? Alesha chewed her lower lip in concentration as she worriedly paced from room to room.
If Brent had already found out where they were living, he could hop a plane and be there in a matter of hours. Would he dare come straight here? Surely, he knew he would be watched, at least until the Sheriff’s office was satisfied that he wasn’t in contact with his former affiliates in crime.
Yes, she and Colby would be safe enough here for the time being, although she’d start driving him back and forth to school. She’d also have to pay the Principal a visit, tell her their story, and inform her that Colby’s father was free…just in case.
She picked up the phone and dialed the school’s number.
* * *
Fred Bursey studied the bungalow next door. He saw Alesha through the kitchen window with the help of high-powered binoculars. He’d been trying to get close to her for months now, but she always fobbed him off. Her aversion to cops was legendary, but as far as she knew, he was the local handyman. What could she possibly have against him?
Or was it men in general? He’d studied her file in detail before accepting this assignment and, after what she’d been through, he really couldn’t blame her for being wary.
Alesha was friendly enough, as long as their conversations remained impersonal, but her clear, sapphire gaze always seemed to bore right through him, suspicion evident in their depths. He’d enjoyed the time spent with her and her son, often joining them in a game of soccer, or playing basketball with Colby in front of her garage. The kid had the makings of a star athlete and he had his mother to thank for it.
They were always together, except when Colby was in school. Fred looked at her now and almost drooled. He couldn’t help but wish he could inspire that kind of devotion to him, but she just didn’t appear interested.
Marshall Keton with the Witness Protection Program had approached his boss, Captain Shane Gillespie, and asked for help. He had discovered a leak in the program and rented this bungalow for Fred just after Christmas. He’d wanted someone close by who could provide immediate protection for Alesha and her son if needed. But Fred hadn’t counted on being attracted to the raven-haired beauty.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this teaser.
Warning: Some foul language but no heat. 🙂
Guarding Alesha is available here.
And, in case you missed it, Book 1, Guarding Flint is available here.
These books are only $2.99 each. Download and enjoy! 🙂
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