Out of the Blue (Stewart Sisters Trilogy)

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9781416580799: Out of the Blue (Stewart Sisters Trilogy)

Book 2 in The Stewart Sisters Trilogy

A New York Times Bestseller

Lark Stewart is on the run from a singing career that skyrocketed out of control . . . and from someone who's bent on murder. When a member of her band is killed in New Orleans, Lucas McCloud - her first love and a former FBI agent - takes Lark home. But the remote Stewart family resort offers no protection from the madman who's working his way across the mountains.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

JoAnn Ross has published 90 novels, has been published in 26 countries, and is a member of the Romance Writers of America?s Honor Roll of bestselling authors. She has won several writing awards, including being named Storyteller of the Year by Romantic Times. Her work has been excerpted in Cosmopolitan and featured by the Doubleday and Literary Guild book clubs.

With her husband and two fuzzy little dogs, she divides her time between the mountains of East Tennessee and the coastal lowlands of South Carolina.

Visit JoAnn on the Web to subscribe to her electronic newsletter, at www.joannross.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Prologue

The moon over New Orleans was a thin silver sickle, the dense night air scented with salt and the musk from the surrounding swamps as Lucas McCloud lay prone on the roof of the building, the familiar weight of a Remington rifle pressed hard against the hollow of his shoulder. His cheek rested against the wooden stock. Lucas didn't know how long he'd been in the same spot, in the same pose. He'd learned to be silent, still, and patient. And disinterested in anything but the target that kept moving in and out of the night scope's crosshairs.

The French Quarter had glowed in a red twilight when the hostage team had arrived at the small shotgun house. Now the only light came from the neon flash of the strip joint across the street. There should have been streetlights, but he supposed they'd been shot out by criminals who preferred not to have an audience for all those indecencies human beings could perpetrate against one another.

Lucas didn't mind the dark; the night scope didn't need much light. He didn't mind the waiting. Nor did he have any interest in the conversation taking place between the team negotiator and Lucas's target, who, on a murderous spree across the country, had already killed four people, including a Louisiana state trooper, and had now taken a nineteen-year-old college student from Baton Rouge hostage.

If Lucas heard the conversation, he might make the mistake of getting emotionally involved, which would only complicate what he was paid to do. It was important to keep his work in the abstract, to not allow the slightest tinge of doubt to creep into his mind. And brooding about the results afterwards was only asking for trouble.

The rifle was an old friend. When he'd first arrived on the roof, he'd loaded a total of five rounds to satisfy the Bureau's desk jockeys: four in the magazine, one in the chamber. He had no intention of using the four in the magazine.

One shot, one kill. It was the marine sniper motto; one Lucas had lived by during the Desert Storm war.

Focused as he was, he was only aware, on the most distant level, of the others involved in this Code Red situation. The Containment Team had taken up the outer perimeter, restricting the target area. The Rescue Team, whose specialties were firing on the move, room entries, and evacuating hostages, waited inside the perimeter along with the Arrest Team.

As members of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, Lucas and his spotter provided observation and intelligence at the crime scene, along with their more obvious duty of precision suspect neutralization. A damn stupid euphemism for taking the life of another human being, he'd always thought.

His spotter, Jack Barnes, a fellow former marine scout, sat in a folding chair nearby, calmly drinking from a foam cup of steaming coffee. Lucas never drank caffeine; it jangled the nerves, something a guy in his business couldn't allow. Barnes's job was to listen to the on-going conversation on the earphones. When he got the green light from the team on the ground, he'd pass the order on to Jack, who'd bring the Remington's hammer down and bring an end to the stand-off.

Moody blues floated seductively on the night air; Lucas didn't notice.

A rat scurried through the shadows, his eyes shining in the thin slash of moonlight. Lucas didn't care.

He watched the target pacing back and forth in front of the window, phone to his ear, a shotgun in his hand. Even without sound, Lucas could sense that the tension level was cranking up inside the house. It wouldn't be long now.

He squinted and ordered his mind to stay cool and collected. The New Orleans humidity could affect bullet trajectory, but he'd adjusted for that. His finger caressed the trigger as he steadied his lungs and slowed his heart, seeking the stillness deep within himself as he waited.

One shot. One kill.

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