Death Queen – Excerpt
For your weekend reading pleasure, Lindsay Downs shares this excerpt from his Jessica Sales novel, Death Queen. Enjoy!
EXCERPT – Death Queen
With an approving smile, Jessica looked over the gowns Martina and Sammi had on. Keeping with her way of doing things, she’d let them pick out their dresses, even Collette, who was her maid of honor. For herself she’d chosen a simple regency style evening gown in pale yellow which had caused some consternation with the others.
“Girls, white wedding gowns didn’t come into fashion until Queen Victoria to symbolize purity, and trust me I’m far from that. During the regency period the bride usually selected something she liked from her armoire, thus my choice in this gown,” she’d explained to them.
Right now her biggest problem was Ronny and his ushers, as none of them were thrilled with having to wear tuxedos, or monkey suits as they called them. At least her dad, or more correctly her foster father, had given in and promised he’d be wearing what she wanted.
“Martina, have you laid down the law with your oaf, or is he still giving you a hard time about what he has to wear for the wedding?”
“Jessica, laid is the operative word here. He doesn’t get any until I see his tuxedo,” she answered back with a grin.
“Ah, hit him where it hurts the most,” Jessica teased to a nod and pout from her friend.
She then glanced to the newest member of her team, Sammi, who’d fallen in love with John when they were recently in Texas. Or, she wondered, had he fallen in lust with her. This was one question she didn’t want to ask, but from the looks they shared, it was probably both.
“I know John’s not giving you a problem.”
“Well, sort of. He wanted a male stripper one but finally I convinced him to get a normal one and save the other for the after party, in our room.”
Jessica couldn’t help herself and laughed on hearing what John, her computer and weapons specialist, wanted to initially wear.
“And I know Paschal is going traditional for fear of pissing his wife off,” Jessica said, shrugging into her leather motorcycle jacket.
The other two had come over in the van as she’d told them she had a side trip to make on the way home.
“When’s your dad getting in, Jessica?”
“Two hours at Nice International. I should be home in plenty of time. If I get held up for some reason I’ll call and Ronny will pick him up,” she told them as she swung her leg over her custom motorcycle.
After weaving in and out of traffic, Jessica was happy when she finally cleared Antibes and followed the road to Valbonne, where a special very young man lived. She’d met Edmé a year ago when Martina and Toby had been kidnapped by a psycho diamond smuggler. If it hadn’t been for his invaluable help, she and Ronny might never have found them.
Right after Ronny proposed, Jessica called on the small boy and his grandparents to ask if he wanted to be her ring bearer. Now, over a year later, she and Ronny had made several trips to see them with today being the last visit before the wedding.
First Jessica wanted to make sure Edmé had his suit, since he was too young for a tuxedo, and she wanted to let them know of her surprise, a limousine for the entire day.
As the countryside whipped by, Jessica slowed from one hundred-twenty to fifty kilometers per hour so she could look out at the beautiful scenery. To her right, a field thick with wild flowers reminded her of the mission to Wyoming. Even though the plants were different, they were lovely just the same. To her left was a steep cliff and beyond a beautiful view of rolling hills and more vineyards.
Jessica was concentrating on the beauty which surrounded her so she never saw or heard the car speeding up behind her until it was too late. Before she could slow or swerve, the driver’s side window came down and the business end of an automatic rifle came out.
Time seemed to slow as she looked at the man holding the weapon. His face was burned almost to not being recognizable but she did recognize him—it was Justin Grey, the international arms dealer she’d taken down but as a phoenix rising showed up in Texas and now here.
As she watched his lips, such as they were, curl into a leer, flame spat out from the barrel, raking not only her body but her motorcycle. Darkness quickly enveloped her then she felt herself falling before the blackness of death cradled her.