Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kat Attalla Excerpt Week: Murphy's Law

Fear and intimidation work.  Ask Customs Agent Jack Murphy.  He uses both to hunt felons.  But instinct and experience fail when he sets out to retrieve Lilly McGrath-- a blonde bombshell who is either a willing participant or an innocent pawn in her boss's smuggling scam.  Until Jack knows which, she's just another suspect. . Now he just needs to get his hormones in sync with his head.  

While working as an export clerk Lilly, stumbled upon her boss's illegal activities. After an attempt on her life, she flees to Europe to hide. Living on credit cards and her wits, she is constantly on the move—but no matter where she runs, she can’t lose the dangerously handsome stranger following her across the continent. In Genoa, Italy , her credit limit and luck finally run out.  
Once Jack grabs Lilly, Murphy’s Law dogs them at every turn.  Someone is determined to see that Lilly never makes it back to the States to testify. The distrustful couple must learn to rely on each other if they are to survive. And for Lilly that means surrendering to a man who both infuriates and excites her.

"I really enjoyed MURPHY'S LAW.  Kat Attalla has penned an exciting, fast-paced read that I couldn't put down.  Brilliant!" ~ Cocktail Reviews  

"MURPHY’S LAW was wonderful. Ms. Attalla proves to be a spectacular romantic suspense author. MURPHY’S LAW is so full of twists and turns, you end up wondering just who can be trusted and who can’t." ~ Dark Angel Reviews 

"Kat Attalla has written a fast-paced suspense thriller that will hold the reader's attention throughout this enticing tale. Her characters have a strong chemistry that brings depth to their story, and the underlying humor adds a pleasant ingredient to the mix. The surprising twist at the end increases the overall enjoyment of this wonderful thriller. I highly recommend Murphy’s Law. It is well worth the read." ~ Night Owl Reviews

Chapter One

Lilly McGrath refused to surrender. She ran down the narrow pathway and rounded the corner. She slipped on a small rock, and only her hand gripping the edge of the stucco building stopped her from tumbling head first onto the road. Her ankle throbbed, but she kept going.

Her mind raced as fast as her heart and faster than her feet. Who was he? In the past month she’d crossed paths with him a dozen times in almost as many towns. He’d nearly grabbed her in Lisbon. If not for that besotted Portuguese fisherman who wanted to make her his wife, she’d probably be dead.

The man was good; she’d grant him that. When she calmed down, she’d take pride in the fact that her ex-boss sent the best.

She darted into an old church and hid in the empty confessional. The stale air in the tiny cubicle and feelings of claustrophobia left her gasping for a normal breath. Why did she think Europe would be safe? No matter where she ran, he always turned up. She never got a chance to find work. The ten dollars in her pocket wouldn’t get her a bus ticket, assuming she could lose him again. And just this morning she’d discovered all her credit cards had mysteriously been canceled.

She finally caught her breath and cursed her own folly. When would she learn?

To keep her mouth shut? Mr. Santana hadn’t hired her for her brilliant mind. He hadn’t wanted her to notice the inconsistencies. When her apartment had been blown up, she realized that she should have kept her opinion to herself.

Her father had warned her she would end up in trouble if she moved east to work in New York. “Farm girls from Iowa have no business going off to work in the big city. They should marry and raise a crop of babies,” he’d told her. Wouldn’t he just gloat if he saw her now?

The thud of heavy footsteps heading in her direction came to an abrupt halt. She sucked in a deep breath as her body broke out in a nervous sweat. Someone yanked at the curtain.

“An dio. Mi dispiace,” the flustered, white-haired woman sputtered and pulled the curtain shut again.

Lilly stared at the black sheet of fabric, paralyzed in fear. After a few terrifying seconds, she realized that the local woman making her weekly visit to the parish priest posed no threat. Lilly must have lost her pursuer, but not for long if she didn’t get moving. She couldn’t risk going back to the hostel for her clothes. He apparently knew where to find her again.

If she were prone to flights of fancy, she would believe Mr. Santana had sent a psychic. That man seemed to know exactly where she’d turn up when half the time she didn’t know herself. How did he always find her? She’d made no calls and only used her credit cards just before leaving a country.

Lilly pulled a bandanna from her neck and wrapped it tightly around her ankle for added support. She couldn’t remain in the church unless she planned to make a confession to the Roman Catholic priest. Now that would be a story to tell. If she lived long enough, she might do just that.

She stepped out the door and glanced down the narrow street. Only the tourists braved the blistering Italian sun. Wary, but less nervous, she made her way along the maze of streets into the town center of Genoa. Eager bargain hunters filled the shopping market, allowing her to blend in with the crowd.

A pain to her backside initiated her into that fine Italian custom of rear-end pinching. She whirled around. Two strong hands gripped her shoulders and pushed her back into the wall. She opened her mouth to scream but nothing came out.

Numbness washed over her. She slumped into the man’s arms. He’d drugged her. “Help me,” her mind shrieked to the people who stopped to look, but they only stared.

“Lilly, honey,” the man muttered lovingly. He wiped his hand tenderly across her damp forehead. “I told you to be careful of the Italian wine. It’s far too strong for you, baby.” He glanced up at the crowd of onlookers and shrugged. “She’s not used to drinking.” He made a gesture with his hand and repeated his words in fluent Italian. The bastard had them laughing at her. No one would help her. “Come on. The car is just around the corner. What? You can’t walk?”

He swept her up in his arms as everything went black. 

Copyright (C) 2012 Kat Attalla


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