Exit Wounds Excerpt

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00040] Her back was to him and what registered to Ian first was her long, brown hair styled into a conservative ponytail. She hadn’t turned to look at them, yet something about her seemed familiar.

Matt stood up from behind his desk and prepared to make introductions. She turned and smiled at Shawn before training her gaze on him. Her eyes widened in surprise.

Ian froze and his jaw tightened. It was all that he could do to not throttle Shawn for not warning him as to what he was walking into. Ian swallowed. “Hello, Jillian. Long time no see.”

The surprise in her golden-brown eyes quickly banked, to be replaced with a calm, reserved expression. But there was something else, another emotion, he couldn’t quite get a fix on. Caution?

Whatever it was, the fun, easy-going girl he’d taken to prom and homecoming in high school was long gone. Before him stood a woman who looked stressed. From the faded lipstick to the tight grip she had on her handbag that rested in her lap, Jillian appeared years older than her actual age of twenty-nine years.

Her demure hair style complimented a tasteful, yet expensive business suit. The skirt was a modest length, followed by sensible, low-heeled dress shoes, and a spectacular set of legs. Well, at least that hadn’t changed. He swallowed and his thoughts lingered of times long ago and of places his eyes couldn’t–scratch that–shouldn’t check out. As he looked back at her face, a soft blush bloomed on her cheeks, almost as if she’d read his thoughts. Jillian glanced back at Matt, put her hand up to her face, and wiped her nose with a tissue.

Great, she’s been crying. Shawn should have warned me she was an emotional basket case.

“Jillian, I believe you know Shawn and Ian Randall,” Matt then added.

“Yes.” She extended her free hand and shook Shawn’s first without comment, and then Ian’s. Jillian said softly, “Hi, Ian.”

As their fingers touched, Ian could swear that electricity literally crackled up his arm. Ian swallowed and shook her hand, squeezing it gently before releasing it. Avoiding his gaze, she yanked her hand back as if he’d pinched her fingers.

Matt cleared his throat. “Ms. Connors came home two nights ago and found her condo robbed and her brother missing. She filed a burglary and missing person’s report with the authorities, but feels that a greater effort needs to be made to find her brother.”

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