Friday, August 23, 2013

Excerpt: Fallen Angel – A Dark Love Story by John Ling

CHAPTER 1

Auckland isn’t Baghdad.

That’s what Kendra Shaw told herself as she sat in a café on Queen Street. Back pressed against the wall. Sipping on an ice-cold mocha.

All around her, the lunchtime crowd was buzzing.

The air smelled of sweat and perfume.

And Kendra tried to relax.

Tried to be normal.

But so far, it wasn’t working.

Outside, past the windows, cars were stopping at the intersection for the red light, gleaming under the summer sun. And… she just couldn’t help herself. Eyes darting, she scanned each individual vehicle. Studied their suspensions. Front and rear. Trying to decide if any of them are sinking under excessive weight.

She calculated the odds, felt her muscles coiling up, her heart thudding in her ears and…

No.

Kendra twitched, catching herself before the adrenalin dump washed over her.

Jaw pinched, face hot, she forced herself to breathe.

In through the nose.

One, two, three.

Out through the mouth.

One, two, three.

Slowly, surely, her pulse slowed, and the tension melted away into a tingle. Hunching over the table, she ran her hand through her hair. Stared down at her drink.

No, Auckland isn’t Baghdad, and you’re not going to find any car bombs here, no matter how hard you look.

Kendra curled her lip.

Her therapist had warned her about this. Warned her about the dangers of negative thinking. Sure, the pills would help, but their effectiveness only stretched so far. If she failed to get a grip, she would only aggravate her condition. Maybe descend into full-blown neurosis.

Only think happy, positive thoughts. You’re back home now. Stop obsessing about operational security. That’s in the past. That’s not your life anymore.

Kendra sucked up the rest of her drink, her straw screeching.

Auckland isn’t Baghdad.

She repeated it over and over. Like a mantra. Internalising it. And she decided that, yeah, she was going to go for walk around town. A simple, pleasant walk. Which meant no craning her neck to search for snipers. No dodging alleys to avoid choke points. And, of course, no agitating about passing vehicles.

What was it that her therapist had said?

Psychological reconditioning.

Hell, yeah. She needed to tweak her expectations. Erase her preconceptions. Untangle her doubts. And maybe—just maybe—if she rewired her brain enough, she’d stop being so afraid of shadows that weren’t there.

Damn straight.

Pushing back her chair, Kendra stood up, angling for the café’s exit.

And that’s when she saw him.

Fallen Angel

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Genre - Romantic Suspense

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Website http://johnlingblog.wordpress.com

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