Several people have asked if I intend to write a sequel to The Ninja Tattoo. When I wrote it, I intended for it to be a stand alone book. Then someone demanded a sequel. So, I got to thinking about where Teague would go next. What would he do? How would he best put his talents to use? I came up with this idea and started writing on it today — 1/ 6/ 13.
I don’t know if it’s a novel, but it’s sure going to be a short story or possibly a novella. We’ll see! Here’s a taste.
Late summer sunshine streaked through the drapes over his bedroom windows. A white hot beam lanced his eyes, making him tear up and flinch away.
“No more tequila,” he groaned, rolling away from the assault on his retinas.
A soft, warm body next to him grunted slightly and one hand rose to shove him away. Teague laughed, kissing the blankets over her head, before getting up. He closed the blinds all the way and went to the bathroom. The bedroom clock told him he’d slept far longer than he intended.
“Time is it?” the muffled female voice grumbled.
“No, baby. Afternoon.”
“Shit!” A tousled brunette head emerged suddenly from under the blankets. “Shit, shit, shit! I have an appointment with the caterer!”
“That’s tomorrow, babe. It’s Sunday.”
Groaning, Vivica flopped on the bed, holding her head with both hands. “I hate sunlight. I hate Jose Cuervo….” She pulled a pillow over her face.
“You hate me too?” Teague crawled on the bed, straddling her.
Vivica put the pillow aside. “You’re the only thing I don’t hate.”
“Good, cause I’d sure hate for you to hate me.” He took her hands, stretching them above her head as he kissed her.
“Someone woke up happy,” she giggled.
“Nope, woke up with a hell of a headache, but you woke up – so now I’m happy.” He kissed her again, letting his lips drift to her shoulder.
“I can tell,” Vivica remarked as his lean, hard muscled body covered hers. “I need to pee.” She shoved at his chest, rolling from beneath him.
“Go pee and come back naked,” he said as he let her up.
Vivica winked provocatively at him before going in the bathroom. Teague divested himself of his pajama pants and threw back the covers. He was primed and ready when Vivica returned. She wore his old Army T-shirt and boy cut panties. He had those off her before she’d fully settled on the bed.
“Someone’s hungry,” she remarked as he stroke her breasts with both hands.
“I’m always hungry when you’re around.”
It was obvious Teague didn’t want to talk at the moment. Truth be told, neither did Vivica. The months they’d been together had been the best of her life.
Teague was a good man, thoughtful and kind. He was handsome and well built and knew what he was doing in bed. Considering the men she’d had in her life up until she met him, she counted herself lucky in every way possible.
His cellphone rang. Groaning, Teague reached for it. He knew who it was before he answered. He had a special ringtone for that particular caller. Trouble was, he knew she’d call back until he picked up. Better to get it over with.
“Don’t you even say hello?”
“Not when it’s you. What do you need?” He flopped on his back, excitement replaced by anger.
“This is important, Sergeant.”
“I gave that rank back, ma’am.”
“Don’t be obtuse, McMurtry. I need your help.”
“I’m a civilian now, Lieutenant. If you’ll excuse me, I’m in the middle of something.” He moved to hang up.
“Teague, wait! Please.” Her voice broke.
His hand hovered over the off button. Sighing, he put the phone back to his ear. “I can’t do this again, Rachel. Last time we talked wasn’t pretty.”
“Last time we talked, you walked out on me. This isn’t about me. It’s about Nadeya.” Her best friend.
Teague pulled the blanket over his naked body, holding the phone tightly in his left hand. Vivica lay down on her side, leaning on her elbow. She pulled the blankets to her chin, waiting. Teague rubbed the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger.
“You’re the only person I can trust with this, Teague. She’s gone missing.”
“Rach, that’s what the police are for.”
“No! No. The police won’t do anything. They said she’s an adult and she can do what she wants. Far be it for me to explain she’s not in her right mind. She’s a danger to herself. They seem to think a suicidal woman isn’t a big deal.” Her voice caught in her throat and she burst into tears.
Teague closed his eyes, knowing he was going to regret his next words. “What do you need from me, Rachel?”
“I need you to find her. Bring her home.”
“What makes you think I can find her. Wouldn’t the local police be better equipped?”
“But she’s not local! She’s in Florida to find the men – the ones….”
“The ones who assaulted her.”
“Yes.” She sobbed. “She was in therapy, making good progress. She was happy for the first time in years. Why would she leave like this?”
“Something triggered it. Any idea what?”
“No. None. I can’t get much from her shrink. I’m not her contact person. I want you to talk to her.”
“Why? If she won’t talk to you….”
“Because, she’ll talk to you. It’s Isobel,” she blurted.
“Just because I slept with the woman a few years ago doesn’t mean she’ll talk to me about Nadeya now, Rachel. If anything, she’s gonna be less inclined to talk to me.”
“Nadeya put you down as her emergency contact. I told her to use me, but she refused. Isobel will talk to you – for that reason, if nothing else.”
“I’m gonna regret this,” Teague said. “I know that before I start. How the hell am I gonna track down Nadeya or Isobel? I don’t even know where to start.”
“That’s where I come in.”
The smugness in her voice was like fingernails on slate. Teague shuddered.
“Both Isobel and Nadeya were in Florida as of yesterday. Isobel is at the Daytona VA and Nadeya has been seeing her for the past year.”
Exhaling slowly, Teague nodded. “Okay. I make no promises, but I’ll see what I can find out. Happy now?”
Rachel sobbed again. “I won’t be happy until Nadeya is home safely.”
“I hate you, Rachel.”
“I hate you more.”
“Good bye – and thank you.”
Teague hung up, dropping his Android on the bed. Vivica traced circles on his chest and abdomen, letting her fingers drift lower. Frowning, she bit her lip and lifted the covers.
“There must be something seriously wrong with you.” She licked and nipped his ear, letting her fingers do the walking.
There was still no reaction from Teague. Slapping his chest, Vivica sat up.
“Okay. What’s up, Sergeant? Cause that sure isn’t the way your little soldier behaves!”
Teague laughed, pulling her back down. “Sorry. Former Army buddy. Her best friend, another Army officer, has gone missing. Well, Nadeya quit about the same time I did. Her time there even tougher than mine. Her first tour, her CO forced her to have sex with him.”
“Gets worse. He and some of the other guys all took turns with her a couple other girls. They tried to get action, but it got brushed under the rug and hushed up. The CO has some powerful friends.”
“She was traumatized. How could no one listen to that?” Vivica screeched. She’d had some harsh treatment in her life, because of her older brother, Randy. Atrocities to women made her furious.
Worried she would take out the fury on him, Teague held her hands, gazing into her eyes. “I agree. I’d like to string the bastards up by their balls. But that won’t help find Nadeya.”
“Does she know who did it? Can she find them and bring them to justice?”
“She’s never been able to remember them all – at least not when I last saw her. She’d found one and they even managed to arrest him. He met with an accident in prison.”
“She had him killed?”
Teague became evasive. “Maybe.” He wouldn’t meet her gaze.
Vivica knew better than to ask anymore. He’d never tell her details, nor would he lie to her. Therefore, he’d stay quiet. It was one of the things she found most annoying, yet endearing, about him.
“So, what’s your first move?”
Teague looked at the clock before rolling toward her. “First, I make love to the most beautiful woman in the world. Then I see if I can figure out where Nadeya’s gone.”