Born in Blood Book Cover





























Born in Blood


The airport had grown quiet, nighttime had fallen, and the only noise I could hear was the blasts of the video game’s helicopter laser guns. Nelson had cranked up the sound. I watched him maneuver the joystick he’d plugged into my PC, his dark eyes intent on the screen.

The 3-D imagery of the game looked so darn real it seemed like I was flying down the Nile and between pyramids, using them for cover, then firing on green alien invaders. Feeling uneasy, I found myself wishing that the problems in my life, since Nelson’s arrival on my doorstep, could be as easily resolved. I’d returned to Sacramento to get away from that hallucination or memory or whatever it was, away from the near crash, and away from Nick’s marriage proposal. It seemed I couldn’t escape them here either.

When I heard the phone ring, the blocked Caller ID, I figured it was MacCaffrey and let it go to voice mail. I didn’t want to talk to him with Nelson listening. Better to wait until tomorrow, after the charter.

“You’re not going to answer that?” Nelson asked, his gaze fixed on the screen.


I could tell he was going to ask why, so I gestured at the screen. “How does Neal get a message from this?”

Nelson shut off the game, dropping us into silence. He straightened, his gaze on the door.

My gut screamed a warning, then the hangar door burst open, banging against the wall.

Three men in loose black clothing, carrying pistols surged inside, spreading out. I flattened myself between the end of the credenza and the wall.

Nelson leaped over the counter at the white-haired thug nearest the door.

Gun shots!

White Hair went down, Nelson on top. I couldn’t see if he’d been hit, couldn’t see who was shooting, couldn’t see shit.

The middle thug, black guy with a ski cap, dashed around the counter toward me, then saw Nelson on top of White Hair, and made the mistake of turning his gun on Nelson.

I grabbed the hot coffee carafe, still three-quarters full, and threw it.

It hit Ski Cap’s shoulder, coffee splattering his neck and clothes. He yelped, then cursed, his shot going wild.

The third thug, guy with a buzzcut, had bee-lined toward the bathroom as though he suspected someone could be hiding in there. Next thing I knew he was shooting at me.

The hangar exploded with noise, gunfire echoing within the metal walls like canon blasts. I dove behind my desk.

Nelson yelled something, but my ears were ringing and I couldn’t make out the words.

I lifted my head to take a peek over the top of my desk. Couldn’t see Nelson or anything on the other side of the counter. But glimpsed Buzzcut peering from behind my five-foot Craftsman tool chest which he’d managed to drag away from the wall. And he saw me.

Bullets plowed into my computer and peppered the wall behind me. I covered my ears and hunkered down, but I knew I couldn’t stay there—a sitting duck.

I heard Nelson yell, “Jane!” heard more gunshots, popped my head out in time to see Buzzcut shoving the tool chest toward the middle of the hangar, using it as a shield. It weighed over four-hundred pounds and moved awkwardly, but it was effective as a tank.

Nelson had clasped White Hair’s bullet-riddled body in front of him for protection, blood everywhere. But what made my stomach curl was White Hair’s slashed neck, the glimmer of Nelson’s hunting knife and furious satisfaction on my brother’s face.

It was one of those moments where everything froze, and then everything started up again with renewed frenzy.

Nelson, gun in his other hand, shouted at me and fired repeatedly. At his cue to move, I crab-crawled to the side of my desk nearest the hangar wall.

It got quiet.

Then I heard the scrape of the tool chest’s wheels. Buzzcut was on the move.

I shoved upward to get a look over the counter.

Ski Cap was pressed behind the counter in the space between it and the guest chairs in front of my desk.

His gaze narrowed on me.

I ducked. “Nelson!” I needed another volley of gunfire.

No answer.

I heard a whump and realized Ski Cap had thrown one of the chairs over the counter. I didn’t stop to think, just scuttled around my desk chair and along the front of the credenza, then grabbed my phone and my keys.

From the direction of the big Craftsman, bullets plowed into the credenza. The coffeemaker shattered, along with my answering machine.

I squeezed down under my desk. Either I was damn lucky, or they wanted me alive.

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