Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mystik Guardians: Foxfire by Heather Kundert

Mystik Guardians: Foxfire by Heather Kundert

Travis stopped at a red light, threw the car into park and turned around to peer at her through the cage. He'd be the first one to admit that when he decided to answer the call from Vanessa, the last person he expected to find standing in her house was her daughter. Shock had hit him in the gut like a fist, but it had slowly melded into anger. Did she have any idea the kind of torment she put him through by just leaving town without as much as a goodbye?

The majority of his early years had been spent fending off the taunts and teasing of the other kids. Hell, it had been a lot worse than she was aware of. He had done his best to protect her from all that since he knew how badly it would have hurt her. And how did she repay that friendship? By running out on him without as much as a single word.

"How do you know the short term for breaking and entering?" he finally asked, shaking himself out of the memories from the past.

To his disbelief, Eliza rolled her eyes at him. Her small arms crossed over her chest. She turned her head and then proceeded to ignore him. That made him angry-very angry. He should have handcuffed her. Serve him right for letting shock overrule his common sense. Never put an uncuffed perp in the car.

The car behind them honked, jarring him from his thoughts. Travis jerked back around in his seat to see that the light was now green. He put it in drive and continued on his way toward the station. He had no idea what he'd do when he got there because she certainly didn't look like the cooperative type. Hell, he didn't know what he was doing at that moment. He knew Vanessa hated her daughter, though he still didn't know why. Then again, no one knew why Vanessa did any of the things she did.

Eliza was right. He didn't really have grounds to take her in, but damn it, her leaving had hurt. She hadn't just walked out of town without looking back; she had walked out on him. Never in his wildest dreams did he think she'd do something like that. They had been so close as kids-so, so close. But now she was back and it was long past time she paid for causing him so much pain. He pulled into his reserved parking space in the lot. Cutting the ignition, he climbed from the car and slowly closed his door. God give me the strength and patience to get through this.

Opening the backdoor, he stood there with one hand resting on the door, waiting for her to get out. She continued to ignore him with her head diverted. His anger boiled until he had trouble containing himself. His temper flared. "Get out of the car, Eliza."

"No." She still refused to look at him.

"Get out or I'll be forced to cuff you." He didn't really know how that would help get her out of the car, but it was the best he could do. His emotions were in turmoil by her sudden appearance in town. He ran on pure adrenaline.

She turned a glare on him he was sure would have made a lesser man back down. "I'd like to see you try."

Damn the woman. Her word choice and tone reeked of a challenge and he really liked challenges. She was stubborn as hell and just as incorrigible as she was when little-if not more so. He reached in, grabbed her arm and pulled. She fell back, grabbing the door handle on the other side of the car before he could drag her out.

"Let go, Eliza!"

"No!" She refused to loosen her grip on the door. "When my lawyer gets
through with you, Travis Fitzgerald Monroe, I will own this town. This is false arrest and I will not be party to it. Now turn me loose or else."

He ignored her tirade and pulled harder. A commotion behind him caught his attention, distracting him as Eliza jerked back and nearly knocked him off his feet. Travis glared at his officer, Craig White.

"Well, don't just stand there, Craig. Go open the other door."

Eliza glared at them both over her shoulder, causing Craig to throw his hands up and step back while shaking his head. "Sorry, sir, but I value my life entirely too much to tangle with that little wildcat."

"You'd better worry more about your job than your hide," Travis growled.

"I can always go to work for my father-in-law," Craig replied before making a hasty retreat.

"Coward!" Travis turned his attention back to Eliza. "Let go already,

He pulled as hard as he dared. Even angry, he knew better than to hurt a woman, though she probably deserved it. To his surprise, she suddenly released her death grip on the door handle. He fell backward with Eliza landing on top of him in a heap on the sun-warmed pavement.

Travis scrambled up and quickly snapped a cuff around her small wrist to keep her from running off. He wouldn't put it pass her to try. "There, that ought to hold you."

"Don't bet on it," she growled between gasps for breath. "Or have you already forgotten what it was like when we were kids?"

He ignored her question. The past was one of the last things he wanted to think about. In fact, the past ranked right up there with how soft her skin felt beneath his hand or the way it had felt to have her laying on top of him on the do not think about list.

Travis tried to lead her into the building, but she refused to cooperate. "I will pick you up and throw you over my shoulder if need be, Eliza."

She glared daggers at him. "You wouldn't dare."

He could see this was getting him nowhere. Without another word, Travis leaned forward, caught her around the knees and tossed her over his shoulder as he straightened. Eliza screeched. He winced but didn't let it deter him from his goal. She was going inside that building and into a holding cell as quickly as he could get her there.

She kicked and struggled and still he kept walking. One of his men spied him coming and opened the door to let him and his burden into the building. Travis ignored their stares as he walked down the hallway into the back where the cells were located. Carefully, he sat her down on the bench behind the bars and darted from the cell to quickly slam the door shut behind him.

Eliza was fuming. If he looked hard enough, he'd bet he would see steam rising from her ears. She stood and stalked toward him.

"Travis, you know I could get out of here if I really wanted to," she said in a low voice as she leaned against the bars. The handcuffs fell from her wrists and clanged against the concrete floor.

Travis pointed at her. "Now, I'll have none of that hocus pocus in my station."

The lights flickered and he narrowed his eyes at her. "Eliza. I'm warning you."

She crossed her arms over her chest and shrugged. "Wasn't me." Her foot tapped out a staccato on the tiled floor.

"Yeah, right. If it wasn't you then who was it?"

Eliza shook her head. "Beats me. Maybe your station is haunted." Sarcasm dripped from every word like acid.

Travis couldn't stop the involuntary shudder that ran through him. He didn't believe in ghosts and he'd never admit to believing in witchcraft. He only believed in the craft because he hadn't been left much choice lately. Dorie had him at wit's end by turning stuff on and off all the time without touching it.

"What's the matter? The big bad cop afraid of a little ole ghostie?"

"I am not afraid of anything, Eliza, not even you." And with that, he turned around and walked away.

"What about my phone call?" she shouted at his retreating back.

He shrugged his massive shoulders and just kept walking. The sound of the cell opening echoed in the corridor. Oh no, she didn't...

He turned to peer over his shoulder just in time to see her stalking toward him. Oh yes, she did.

"Travis Monroe, I do believe you are a bigger snot now than you were as a kid."

He spun around to face Eliza head on. Her dark brown eyes blazed with fire. He glared right back at her. "Have you no respect for the law?"

"Respect for the law or your law, Travis? Because there is a huge difference," she fired back

A crowd began to form around them, but Travis ignored them. He focused his attention solely on her. "What would you know about it? You've been in town for what? All of thirty minutes after a twenty year absence. Please, enlighten me as to how much you truly know about me anymore."

"Kiss her, Boss," someone in the small crowd that had gathered yelled.

Travis looked around them for the speaker. "Who said that?" he demanded before turning his gaze back to Eliza.

She raised both brows at him and placed her hands on her hips. "Well, don't look at me, because this"-she pointed at herself-"her definitely don't want your lips anywhere near her." Eliza headed for the door.

Travis grabbed her by the arm and pulled her up short. "And just where do you think you're going? You're under arrest, remember?" He didn't know why, but he felt an overwhelming urge to remind her of that.

She narrowed her dark chocolate eyes. Fire burned his palm and raced up his arm. Travis jerked his hand back and shook it.

"No, I'm not, and I'm tired of your he-man act." Eliza went to the door and pushed it open, then paused to look back at him. "As for my knowledge of the law, why don't you call the L.A.P.D. and ask them? You know, the Los Angeles Police Department. Ask for a Lieutenant Mike Underwood. I'm sure he'll be more than happy to enlighten you." She walked out the door without looking back, leaving him to fume over her blatant disregard for him and his authority.

He'd get her back for this. He just didn't know how-yet.

Available now at Triskelion Publishing. http://www.triskelionpublishing.net

Heather Kundert/Elektra Cross/Heather Holland http://mystikguardians.com

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