Excerpt from forthcoming Love on Guard
DAVID SILVERS AWOKE with a start. The noise of glass breaking brought him out of his post-coitus reverie, putting him instantly on alert. He reached for the Glock on the bedside chair.
“What are you doing?” Loree whispered, groggy with sleep, one eye open looking at the clock that said 4:37 AM. She calculated they had only been truly asleep for three hours.
“Shh. Noise. Stay here.” His voice was barely audible, but she understood. Loree had lived in this house for more than 20 years, most of that alone. She had learned to be unconcerned about most creaks and groans made by the old early 20th century Edwardian structure.
“I’m sure it’s nothing. Just the house settling. Or neighbors throwing bottles in the trash. They party at all hours lately. Come back to bed.”
“No. Stay here,” he repeated, pulling on his jeans just before the sound of gunfire pierced Loree’s certainty. Silently he tiptoed down the stairs, his pistol aiming into the darkness, his broad bare chest chilled by the winter air undisturbed by the low overnight furnace setting. The noises had come from the back of the house, he thought. He crossed through the living room where the evening’s Solstice fire had burned to ash.
Shielded by the wall separating living from dining rooms, he leaned his head around to check into the kitchen. Hearing only stillness, he crossed into the kitchen and checked the backdoor. Still locked. He flipped on the back porch light and strained to peer into the night beyond. No movement. He should install a movement sensor flood light for the yard before leaving on his trip, he thought.
Loree had been right. There was no disturbance in the house. All the doors and windows were as secure as when they had gone upstairs on Solstice night for an invigorating and lengthy bit of love-making. It had been their first real night of sex since David had returned to St. Louis on a fall semester teaching assignment for Washington University. He had wandered into the Flower Power florist shop last September to order something for a friend’s funeral, where he had the surprise of his life. His high school sweetheart Loree Cooke ran the place.
The accidental reunion found the pair as attracted to each other as they had been 45 years before. Now they were feeling their way towards figuring out how to finally have a life together in their later years, especially given they both had quite different views on some important political and cultural issues. One thing hadn’t changed – their attraction to each was still as strong as ever, even if more matured. But would that be enough?
Loree constantly wondered if his charm would ever become manipulative and tiresome.
“I couldn’t see where the shots had gone, or come from, but you’ll be glad to know there are no bullet holes in your new thermopanes,” he called before reaching the bedroom so as not to startle her with his stealthy return. He found her standing at one of those new windows, curtain held close against her naked body.
“There’s activity in the street behind mine. Pretty sure that’s where those sounds of gunshots came from,” she said. “Several people over there have been a problem for a while. I know one of their other neighbors called the cops on someone a couple months ago, but I’m not sure at which house.”
David made a mental note of that. He would provide the address to his contacts in the intelligence community to have the occupants checked out. It could be one of the underground militia armories the FBI and DIA had been looking for. Those damn groups were proliferating across the Midwest, and causing trouble without any redeeming purpose. Because of his military experience and continued connections, David was more aware than the average citizen of the dangers these groups and renegades posed, especially after the capitol insurrection. It was another reason he wanted Loree to be armed so he wouldn’t have to worry about her so much when she was home alone. It frustrated him that she resisted his urgings about that.
“Did you call it in this time?” he asked.
“No, but looks like someone did.” Blue lights were swirling down the block from the neighboring house. “I’m seeing a cop car. C’mon, let’s go back to bed,” she pulled one of the belt loops of his jeans.
They cuddled up and Loree was deep into a dream again in five minutes. David laid still, his front to her back, his arm over her, hand lightly stroking her smooth skin. His mind working. Loree’s neighbor situation concerned him greatly. Her lack of concern about it worried him even more.
Love on Guard is my current romantic suspense work in progress.