The Missing…Random Snippet

Okay, so you know what’s coming up?

The Missing releases in mass market.

Now it’s already out in trade, still available in a few places, although if you wait until it releases in paperback on 7/6/10, it would mean lots and lots to me.

I’m going to be posting some excerpts between now and the end of the month. If you haven’t read it yet, maybe you’ll decide to check it out when the book hits the shelves in July.


As a teenager, Taige Branch was able to do things with her psychic gift that others couldn’t understand—except for Cullen Morgan, the boy her stole her heart. He did his best to accept her abilities, until his mother was brutally murdered—and he couldn’t forgive Taige for not preventing her death.


Now a widowed father, Cullen Morgan has never forgotten Taige. But what brings her back into his life is another tragic event. His beloved little girl has been kidnapped, and Taige is his only hope of finding her.

Working together against the clock, Cullen and Taige can’t help but wonder whether—if they find his daughter in time—it isn’t too late for the overpowering love that still burns between them…

“Aren’t you going to ask me why I’m here?”

Aren’t you going to speak to me at all? Cullen wanted to ask.

Instead, he waited until she finally turned around and faced him. In the brightly lit room, he noticed two things. The first was that she had her arm, her right arm, in a cast that went halfway up to her elbow. A chill raced down his spine. The second was that her left eye was puffy and nearly swollen shut, a dark, ugly bruise that Cullen suspected was every bit as painful as it looked.

Those dreams—shit.

She spoke, and her voice sounded just as it had in all those dreams. “I already know why you’re here. You need my help.” A bitter smile curved her lips as she stared at him. “Why would else would you be here?” She glanced at the file in his hand and held out her hand.

Cullen swallowed and lifted it, staring at it with the metallic taste of fear thick in his mouth. “You don’t owe me a damn thing, Taige. I know that. I’ve got no right being here, and I know that, too.”

She sighed and dropped her head, covering her eyes with her uninjured hand. “Cullen, stop. You want something. Out with it. I’ve got better things to do than stand here and have you brooding all over me. So just spill it.”

“I . . . look, if I didn’t have to have your help, I wouldn’t be here. But it’s not me that needs you—just . . . just don’t—”

Taige cocked a brow. “You don’t have much of an opinion of me, do you, Cullen? Whatever brought you here in the middle of the night twelve years after kicking me out of your life has to be pretty damn important, and considering the kind of help you probably need, I’m going to assume there’s somebody else involved.” She stared at him, her gaze shuttered. “You think so little of me that I’d refuse to help whoever this is just to make you suffer because you and me got some history?”

History . . . Is that what we had? That seemed such a simplified statement. Still, said like that, Cullen felt very much the fool. He looked back down at the file and then at her, watching as she once more held out her hand. Careful not to touch her, he held it out.

She took it and moved to sit behind the big iron and glass coffee table before she opened it. She settled down on the overstuffed black couch. If he hadn’t been watching her so closely, he never would have seen it as she took a deep breath and set her shoulders, almost like she was bracing herself.

Her eyes, her expression, they were carefully blank as she opened the file. But as she stared down at Jilly’s picture, something changed. Her smooth, caramel-colored skin went pale. She looked up at him, and he watched as her eyes darkened to the color of thunderheads. The tension in the room mounted until it seemed too thick to even breathe.

Taige tore her eyes away from the picture and stared up at him. “Who is she?” Taige demanded, her voice harsh and shaking.

“My daughter.”

My daughter. My daughter.

The words seemed to echo through her, but instead of getting fainter, they got louder and louder, until the words seemed to shriek inside her skull. Blood pounded in her head, and her vision narrowed down until all she could see was that little face with the pretty smile and solemn eyes. Taige had lost count of how many times she’d seen that face. It had haunted her dreams for years.

“Her name is Jillian. She was kidnapped earlier today, well, technically yesterday . . .”

“I know.” Taige looked back down at the picture and traced it with the tip of her finger. “I know her face, Cullen.”

Cullen went still. “How is that possible?”

Carefully, she closed the file. She pushed it away. Cullen looked back down at it and then back at her, agony screaming in his eyes.

Denial. He thought she was going to refuse him, refuse that little girl. Softly, she told him, “I don’t need to see the file, Cullen. And don’t look at me like that. I’ll find her.”


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