First off, thanks to Mel for letting me take over her blog for the day!
It’s ironic that in order to write this blog, I had to face the topic I chose…a blank page.I’ve been a writer for over a decade, and back in the day, the words flowed effortlessly (or at least that’s what I tell myself now).Like with anything we do repetitiously, I developed a habit, and once that habit was removed from the equation, the words stopped coming.
For me it was smoking… The day I let my last cigar go dark, after twenty-plus years of smoking, the words became almost painful to get out.And when they’d come so easily before, it was like losing a part of myself. Because you see, even though I’ve been published for over a decade, I’ve been writing since I was a child.Finished my first book (horrible though it was) when I was sixteen. So losing the words was heartbreaking for me, something I didn’t know how to deal with, except to try and try again, no matter how painful it was when the words stopped coming–again.
For almost three years I started and stopped stories, thinking that this one would be it, that I’d get through my block with thisstory.And finally, finally I think I’m there… I should be finished with the sequel to Behind Blue Eyes within the next two weeks, and as I re-read what I’d written so far, I was jazzed by the fact I loved it.Loved the characters, loved the plot, even though I found ways to tweak it for the better.And now the end is in sight, for the first time in a long time.
So that’s my story about writing, but doesn’t it equate to what many of us go through when we lose anything we love, even if only for a short time?If there’s a moral to this story, it’s to never stop trying if you love what you’ve lost!!
With that in mind, here’s an unedited bit of Shoot to Thrill…hope you like it!
Shoot to Thrill
Copyright TL Schaefer (2012)
I stepped out of my SUV and straightened the pencil skirt and trim jacket I’d donned in deference to my cover. In nine years with the Bureau, I’d never worn such a ridiculous get-up. My duties as an agent tended more toward slacks and flats or Rockports, not the pastel pink nightmare I sported nor the ridiculous stilts I teetered on. I looked like a freakin’ brunette Barbie Doll. I’d even straightened my hair.
It was humiliating. Then again, this wasn’t an assignment. It was personal.
Special Agent Arin Thomas was now, for all intents and purposes, Arin Thomas, Investigative Reporter. My skin crawled at the thought.
I took a moment for a quick recon of my surroundings.I’d driven through one hell of a set of gates to get here—reminded me of a prison, almost.And now I stood on a high hill, the June sun warming my head, looking down over a beautiful landscape of trees, meadows and valleys.It was gorgeous.God’s country.It was like coming home.
Except for the beast at my back.
I spun on one mile-high spike and looked up at the massive building looming over me and barely shook off a case of the heebie jeebies.
Coming home indeed.Now it felt as if spiders were crawling across my neck.I resisted the urge to swipe the phantoms away and concentrated on surveillance.
The Colorado Academy for Superior Intellect looked as imposing as its name suggested. Hell, more so. What the hell did Wes Burke tangle himself up in before he took his swan dive?
I tried and failed to pawn off the feeling I was still in someone’s crosshairs as nerves. Even as secretive as this school was, I couldn’t imagine they were protected by long guns. No, it was just twitchiness, brought on by the fact I wasn’t totally comfortable with what I was doing. Wes had been an acquaintance, but one I’d come to like, even respect. Truth be told, in the few times we’d worked together, he’d felt like family. I owed him a bit of my time, if nothing else. Or so I kept telling myself.It had a hollow ring, because would I really have been this invested if I hadn’t received an anonymous call?Probably not. And didn’t that speak wonders for my character?
I had to wonder, as a trickle of sweat crept down my spine, if I wasn’t on a fool’s errand—or worse. I just hoped my habit of trying to run everything and everyone’s lives around me—even the dead ones—wasn’t going to bite me in the butt. It wouldn’t be the first time it had, but an agent was dead, and I really wasn’t in the mood to fuck around with niceties, or the people yanking my chain.So here I was.
I took a long, steadying breath and began to climb the stairs. No matter how much I might want to flash my shield and demand answers, Wes’ death had been ruled a suicide, and if I wanted anything more detailed than that, I was going to have to employ some finesse. Or just outright lie. Both chafed at me, but were necessary.
At the top of the stairs, heavy double doors opened slowly, as if the sunny summer day was too much to take all at once.
The man who stepped out made the breath clog in my lungs even as he raised my shields.
Tall, with a runner’s build, he wore his blond hair too long for conventional business purposes, the slightly curling ends brushing the collar of a pristine white polo shirt. Tailored dun-colored slacks completed the academic ensemble, framing the rest of him perfectly. His face was classically handsome, marred only by a scar that slashed beneath his left eye, arcing into his hairline. He was still too far away for me to see the color of his eyes, but I’d bet my next paycheck they were as striking as the rest of him.
I shook off a quick shot of pure lust. I wasn’t here to ogle the handsome professor. I was here for information, closure. And when I got it, I might just consider taking a longer look at the man standing in front of me. Maybe. Probably not.
I hitched the stupid girly purse barely big enough to hold my Glock up on one shoulder and climbed the marble steps, holding out my hand when I reached the top. In my heels I was an inch taller than him. So much for appearing harmless.
“Arin Thomas, News Today,” I pasted a too-bright, toothpaste-ad smile on my face. “I’d like to speak to the honcho in charge.”
He regarded my outstretched hand like it was a poisonous snake, then lifted his gaze. “Miz Thomas,” he said, and it was easy to hear the curl of distaste in his words, even through the slight down-home drawl. “I have nothing to say to the media.”
His eyes were a deep, rich chocolate brown. The contrast between his fair complexion and those eyes was arresting. But not enough to make me forget why I was here.
I assumed the persona of every newsperson I’d ever met and rolled right over his objection. “So you’re Jonah Summers. Outstanding. I have a few questions for you.”
He looked past me, as if expecting to see a newsvan complete with cameraman lurking behind my SUV. His gaze was hard, calculating and a lot more tactical than I would have expected, given his profession. A trace of surprise ghosted across his face, before quickly changing to pure disdain. The change from academic to predator back to banal was flicker quick and downright disconcerting. His strategic assessment of his surroundings shouldn’t have been something that put me on alert myself, but it did.
Who the hell is this guy?
He stepped back into the cool darkness of what looked like a foyer, pulling the door shut behind him as he spoke. “I have a standard answer. No comment. This is private property, and you’re trespassing. I suggest you leave before the police arrive.”
I did what any self-respecting reporter would do and jammed the pointed toe of my stiletto into the rapidly diminishing crack.
“Just a few questions, really,” I wheedled in my best little-girl voice, hating myself even as I did it. Flashing my shield and getting in their face had worked damned well for me in the past and was definitely more in line with my MO.
The heavy door closed on my scantily-protected foot, making me yelp and jerk back less than gracefully. And from behind the door I heard a distinctly amused, distinctly male chuckle. Bastard.
Fine, he wanted to play that way? Let the games begin.
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