Posted in Excerpts, SAFE security

Thoughtful Heroes

When I was a teenager, I had a subscription to Sassy magazine. As a 13 yo, I loved it. By the time I was 14, I’d outgrown it. I decided to let the subscription run out, but it didn’t. It just kept coming. Finally one day, I remarked on this puzzling event to my dad, and he laughed. “I keep finding those subscription cards on the kitchen table, so I send them in. I thought you were leaving them for me because you wanted to renew the subscription.”

Thoughtful, right? I think about things like this sometimes when I’m creating my heroes.

David and Brea have been through a lot in their three books, and part of what he had learned is to be mindful of how her perspective is different from his (and vice versa) due to their previous experiences. He know that she has a ton of baggage, too much to tell him in a few months. He could literally spend a lifetime finding out about everything she’s said and done. At the end of the day, he has to trust that he knows her well enough to respond appropriately to anything that might come up. Here’s an excerpt where he finds out some pretty damning things about her, and he responds like a true hero.

Excerpt from Switching It Up:

I sat in my chair and opened the file. It contained eight-by-ten glossies. The top one showed a much younger Brea deep in conversation with an older man wearing wire-rimmed glasses. He looked familiar, but his name didn’t come to me. The next one was a satellite image that showed her in some kind of compound, a rifle slung over her shoulder. The third featured a swarthy man kissing her cheek, and the last two showed her speaking with groups of people. I picked out a known gun runner, two high-level drug dealers, and Eugene Bowen, the kidnapper she’d known as Brian Sullivan.

I closed the file folder. “What’s all this?”

“This is the woman you’re planning to marry. Are you aware of her background?”

While I knew a lot about her background, there was a ton that was still a mystery. For the most part, Brea didn’t like to talk about her past. She had secrets and things she just didn’t want to talk about, and I’d promised to respect her wishes. I lifted my shoulder in a noncommittal move. It was the ultimate passive-aggressive evasive maneuver.

Grayson chuckled. “I have to be honest, David. I never thought you’d be blinded by love. It’s kind of sweet.” He perched on the arm of the chair on the other side of my desk. “I looked into how the two of you met. The FBI agents with whom you worked filed reports, and I followed up with phone calls. Liam Adair and Keith Rossetti were quick to come to Brea’s defense, and that’s when I realized that she was a master con artist.”

Verbal games and intrigue weren’t funny when they involved my fiancée. “I’m aware of her past, as are you. Cut the bullshit and tell me why you came. I’m not changing my mind about the mission.”

“Fair enough.” He got to his feet, opened the file folder, and tapped his thumb on the older, bespectacled man speaking to a teenaged Brea. “That’s Luis Ramirez, wanted for smuggling drugs and arms in sixteen countries. He’s involved with human trafficking and efforts to arm home-grown insurgents in the US.” He flipped to the next picture. “This is a training facility for a Columbian drug cartel.”

I dismissed them both. “She’s never been to Columbia.” Of course I had no way of knowing if she had or not. In her secret box that she kept hidden from even me, I knew she had a stack of fake driver’s licenses and passports.

This time, Gray did the shrugging. “Associating with many of these people is treason. I don’t even have to arrest her or charge her with anything. There won’t be a trial. She has sensitive information that we need for purposes of national security. I can lock her in a cell in a black site and throw away the key.”

Cold fingers of rage wrapped around my vital organs. I rose slowly, facing my former CO, and it took every ounce of self-control not to kill him. Even if the photos weren’t real, I had no doubt that Gray would follow through on his threat because he believed in violence and retribution.


iTunes, KOBO, BN, and others:

Word Count: 57,400


I’m Michele Zurlo, author of over 20 romance novels. During the day, I teach English, and in the evenings, romantic tales flow from my fingertips.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.