Sunday, February 8, 2015

'Last Chance to Run (A Slye Temp Book)' by Dianna Love


LAST CHANCE TO RUN by New York Times bestseller Dianna Love takes romance readers on an emotional roller coaster ride that has them clinging to the edge of their seats … right to the unexpected ending. Carrying a fortune in rare coins that can prove her innocence in the coin heist, Angel Farentino is on the run from an international felon who’s determined to kill her. With prior undeserved conviction on her record, she has to avoid all law enforcement until she can secure her freedom, but she stows away on a cargo charter plane being flown by Zane Jackson who is working covertly for the DEA and on the look out for a criminal operation. One look at Angel confirms she’s a Person of Interest … and Zane’s interested, but a primal need to protect her forces him to risk everything, starting with his heart.

Read an excerpt:

Zane peered through the dull glass office door into the pristine hangar where Hack’s man loaded the last box into Zane’s Cessna 404 Titan. He moved over to the pot of strong coffee always ready for pilots and filled his thermos.

“You ain’t listenin’, son.”

“I have to make this run,” Zane answered Hack absently, then shifted around to face the terminal manager.

“You cain’t be serious ‘bout flyin’ in this mess.” Hack laid a dog-eared queen of spades down, completing another game of solitaire.

Oh, yeah, dead serious. He had five days left to prove he deserved the charter contract High Vision Enterprises had up for grabs. The other two charter groups had enough equipment and personnel to cover deliveries anywhere in the continental US. Zane was already at a disadvantage in that he only wanted the southeastern region, but he’d impressed High Vision last week by delivering a shipment the other two carriers had turned down. This was another opportunity Zane wouldn’t pass up.

Couldn’t pass up.

Zane’s skills as a pilot had given him a reputation across the business for doing what couldn’t be done. His roster of clients had grown steadily since he’d opened for his first cargo flight. But he had other reasons for going after High Vision’s business. He had a deal on the side nobody knew about. That deal hinged on getting contracts with companies like High Vision--companies of interest to the DEA.

The money he made on the side as an undercover informant would save his baby sister’s life. He’d almost lost her to her demons once.

He’d unintentionally abandoned her when he went into the military. Not again.

“I’ll be fine,” Zane said. Genetically engineered white mice, packed in the six cases being loaded on his plane, had to arrive alive and on time. He didn’t give a rat’s ass about the mice. No pun intended. But he also didn’t plan to blow the best chance he had at cinching the deal with High Vision.

“H-o-o-wee!” Hack raised one gray eyebrow at the weather radar on the huge, outdated CRT computer monitor to his left. The dial-up connection was deadly slow, and the animated radar loop crept across the screen. “Nobody oughta fly in a front like this. Don’t be fooled none by that little break out there. It’s a comin’ in hard.”

Zane grunted just to give the old guy a response.

Hack shifted his bulk to lean forward, and the vinyl office chair squeaked in protest. “You hear ‘bout that fella down in Montgomery? Told his wife he had ta fly in that bad squall come off the Gulf. Said he’d lose his contract with Shoreline Delivery if he didn’t. They used a bag to pick up parts of that man. He was scattered plumb across Alabama.”

Zane shrugged. Life was a gamble.

Odds were no worse now than when he’d put everything on the line for his brothers in arms, which he’d do again in a minute.

It would take more than lousy weather to make him pass up a chance to get one step closer to security for him and his sister. Everyone vied for High Vision’s business. If he didn’t meet the delivery deadline, somebody else would the next time.

“Don’t you git it?” Hack continued. “That pilot didn’t keep the contract noways. He shoulda just stayed home. If he had, he’d be alive an’ flyin’ today.”

Sure, bad weather upped the potential for a problem, but compared to Zane’s combat flight experience, making Jacksonville tonight would warrant only a little more attention than usual. Of course, his military record, training, and background appeared nowhere on the credentials for Black Jack Charters.

And neither did his real last name, Jackson.

As Zane Black, he kept his personal life separate from work, and from the sometimes-rough characters he encountered. People who wanted him to fly cargo that was illegal at best, a danger to American citizens at worst. His alter-identity had been part of the deal he’d cut with the DEA when they’d become his partner in the charter business.

They bought the plane and set him up. He busted ass to get contracts of his own--and contracts that interested them.

Damned lucrative work that was filling up a bank account for his sister’s business scary fast.

Beyond that, doing this for his country was work he believed in. Something that made hauling around smelly vermin a little easier.

He’d flown more than his share of dangerous missions in his career as a pilot. On the last one, he’d barely walked away. In the Air Force, he’d been a respected fighter pilot instead of humping commercial cargo for a living.

Hack’s police scanner crackled with a short conversation in law enforcement code.

“Slow night for the boys in blue,” Hack declared.

“What happened now?” Zane asked with feigned confusion over the cryptic announcements. He’d spoken 10-codes like a native language in his former life. Police agency codes were different than military, but since he’d been doing the side work for his friends in the DEA, he’d learned the police agency usage. He knew exactly what the codes squawking on that radio meant, and what had transpired.

“Got a couple hotheads havin’ at it in a beer joint parkin’ lot down the road.”

Hack’s man loading the Titan shoved the office door open and announced, “All fueled and loaded. Ready to go. You got to feed those critters if you’re late?”

Zane lifted a shoulder. “Beats me. Vision doesn’t make allowances for late. Thanks, Tyler. I’ll close it up.” He preferred to shut the cargo hatch himself and know for sure everything was buttoned up tight.

With a nod, Tyler pulled the door closed, strolled across the hangar, and disappeared into the maintenance shop.

Rain drummed against the metal roof.

“H-o-o-wee. Listen to it come down out there. You hang around and we’ll have us a couple hands o’ poker.”

Zane ignored Hack. A blur of yellow in the hangar caught his attention.

He couldn’t believe his eyes.

Had a woman just slipped into his airplane?

Was she nuts?

And where in the hell had she come from?

Zane snatched up the thermos. “Thanks for the coffee.” He left before Hack could offer one more warning about aeronautic suicide. The last thing he needed tonight was trouble, even if it came in a long-legged package.

When he stepped outside, an odd sound carried on the swirling wind. Misting rain drifted through the haze of light beyond the hangar.

He stopped to listen.

Dogs bayed in the distance. Bobbing lights flashed near the woods at the far side of the runway. It didn’t take a detective to figure out they were hunting something--or someone.

His stowaway was sadly mistaken if she thought he’d help a fugitive.

Zane paused.

A fugitive on the run from the law would be all over Hack’s police scanner, but the only alert sent out in the last thirty minutes had been the parking lot bar brawl.

Concern tapped along his spine.

He stuck his head inside the cargo door of the Titan and scanned the secured load. The tie-down straps were cinched tight, as they should be. Hundreds of tiny toenails scratched frantically against the aerated crates. A faint putrid smell accompanied the chattering racket.

In the shadows at the rear, he spotted a bruised leg. Blood trickled from deep scratches. His vision adjusted. Two enormous, terrified, whiskey-dark eyes came into focus between a break in the crates.

Who was she and why were they after her? And if the police weren’t the ones chasing her, who had turned dogs loose to track her?

Amplified barks and howls echoed louder across the airfield. The bleeding leg disappeared and the two eyes ducked away. A memory crashed into him of his younger sister, battered and bleeding, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No one had lifted a finger to help her.

Three years of buried guilt roared to the surface. He’d cursed the spineless men who’d turned deaf ears to his sister’s screams.

He’d cursed himself worse for not being there to save her.

Zane climbed inside, slammed the cargo door behind him, then tossed the thermos into a bag on the floor. He moved forward into the left seat, cranked the engines, and jerked on his headset.

As he pulled out to taxi, he passed two black Land Rovers screaming into the airport, sliding to a stop on the taxiway to his left. Out jumped five men in dark suits with bodies the size of refrigerators.

Static crackled in his ear. He keyed the radio to activate the automatic runway lights then spoke into his headset microphone. “November Zero Niner Niner Five Papa preparing for takeoff.”

Two trackers with dogs appeared in his headlights, further down the runway. The ensemble raced toward him. Both men struggled to keep up with hounds charging against their leashes, amped up on the scent of the hunt.

Zane gunned the engine, taxied straight ahead.

Hack’s excited voice burst inside his headset. “Zane, come on back. Got some men here want to see you.”

What if the brutes were with law enforcement? He’d have to hand her over. No woman was worth getting arrested and having people digging around into his background.

A hundred yards ahead, men dove away from the churning props, dragging the bloodhounds with them.

He clicked on his mike. “Are they Feds?”

“No. Private security, but they really want to talk. Says there’s big money in it for you.”

Big money had a suspicious ring to it. Zane continued to flip levers. “What type of security?”

He swung around the far end of the taxiway, barely slowing. A squeak sounded in the rear, but he couldn’t decide if it had four legs or two.

Two sets of high beams shot around the opposite end of the runway thirty-five hundred feet away to face him. What was the chance those headlights belonged to the two sport utilities full of muscle? Pretty fucking good.

He eased the throttles forward.

What kind of trouble was this woman in?

To keep an eye on his cargo, he’d installed a rear view mirror. He shot a quick look at the cargo hold. A pair of wide eyes stared back, more panicked than before.

He understood that look.

She was running for her life.

After a long silence, Hack finally answered his question. “Private security, uh, like ... Big Joe Levetti.”

Hair stood up across Zane’s neck. Hack had always joked that Big Joe had D-E-A-T-H tattooed across his knuckles. No way would Zane turn that haunted, frightened woman over to a bunch of hired guns.

He barked one last message into the radio. “You’re breaking up. I’ve got IFR clearance from center. I’m gone.” As the aircraft picked up speed, the four headlights racing toward him grew larger. Zane gripped the controls tighter. His pilot’s manual didn’t cover playing chicken in a loaded Titan on a rainy night. But his military experience made this an easy call.

Besides, he’d never been one to play by the rules.

Buffeted by the wind, the plane rocked and careened closer to the Land Rovers, the distance between them shortening with every second. He mentally calculated the added weight of the stowaway in the back.

He’d never get this aircraft up before reaching the vehicles if they held their ground. He’d never be able to stop in time either.

Rave reviews!
"LAST CHANCE TO RUN...reminded me of Cinderella. Well, if Cinderella was on the run from a maniac killer and Prince Charming wielded a gun and flew a plane. Great read. Check it out!"~~Bryonna Nobles, The Paperback Cafe 
"Engrossing, thrilling and wonderfully steamy...a pitch-perfect suspense that will keep readers breathless from the first nerve-racking scene to the last shocking revelation."~~Bridget, The Romance Reviews 
"I could not put this book down...Once again Dianna has thrilled my suspense taste buds with an extra dash of spicy romance."~~Trina727, After Hours Rendezvous

Buy links
 Sale-priced through the month of February!

Author Bio – 

New York Times bestseller Dianna Love once dangled over a hundred feet in the air to create unusual marketing projects for Fortune 500 companies. She now writes high-octane romantic thrillers, young adult (writing as USA Today bestseller Micah Caida) and urban fantasy. Fans of the bestselling Belador urban fantasy series are loving DEMON STORM, book 5 released October 2014 and are anxiously awaiting WITCHLOCK (June 2015). Dianna's Slye Temp romantic thriller series launched to rave reviews for the five books available and STOLEN VENGEANCE is coming in March 2015. Look for her books in print, e-book and audio. On the rare occasions Dianna is out of her writing cave, she tours the country on her BMW motorcycle searching for new story locations. Dianna lives in the Atlanta, GA area with her husband who is a motorcycle instructor and with a tank full of unruly saltwater critters. or Join her Dianna Love Street Team on Facebook and get in on the fun! 

Social Links – 

Twitter - (@diannalove)

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