USA Today Bestselling Author
Due a few days of R&R, Hudson heads to visit his best friend in Vail, Colorado. The first day, an explosion in his hotel sends the city into chaos. He’s doing what he can to keep Avery safe, as this was no accident. He’s not allowed to join the investigation, but being on the spot and having the training he has are huge benefits. No way will he sit by and do nothing. Especially if Avery is in trouble.
Avery has been looking forward to Hudson’s visit. They are best friends, and she’d love to spend more time with him. Hell, she’d loved him since forever but didn’t want to risk their special friendship by taking the relationship further. Now she regrets it, as the explosion in town is only the tip of the problem—for the terrorist realizes that Hudson caught a glimpse of him.
Now the game of cat and mouse is on, with Avery caught in the middle …
On R&R Hudson goes to Vail to meet up with Avery. Their friendship is a long one, her sister Delilah had been his high school sweetheart and when she died, she took a part of Hudson’s heart. Avery remained close to him throughout the years but they never looked further than friendship. This time he’s going to take Mason’s advice and re-evaluate the relationship.
Avery is thrilled Hudson is coming to Vale. It’s been a long time since she’s seen him although they communicate often. She’s anticipated his call and is actually waiting for him to come meet her for coffee.
Then things go BOOM!
This is a favorite scene.
He sighted two men getting on one of the elevators beside him, as he stepped into an empty one, and moved up to the fourth floor, where his hotel room was located. He pondered the two men dressed all in black military-style clothing but not in actual US-grade uniforms. It was casual gear, but they carried themselves differently— like on the job. Not the bulky gym-buff type but more of a heavily trained military look, including the short-cut hair. One had a faint tattoo on the back of his hand, and Hudson could barely see a ring on the same hand.
With his mind consumed with what was going on with those two, Hudson stepped out of the elevator and noted they were just ahead of him, heading down the same hallway in the opposite direction. He checked his room number, walked to it, and, with one last look at the two men, Hudson stepped inside. He had no sooner dropped his bag on the bed, when his phone rang. He smiled when he saw it was Avery. “I’m here,” he said. “I just got to my room.”
“I’m downstairs, just waiting for you to get some coffee,” she said, her bright laughter shining through the phone.
He grinned and said, “I’ll be there in two.”
He quickly used the facilities, then washed up, gave his face a good scrub, and, after looking at the mirror for a long moment, dried off and headed out. He saw no sign of the two men, but he’d noted which direction they’d gone, and only a few hotel rooms were down there. So, as choices went, not too many rooms to consider. Still, depending on what they were up to, Hudson had a hell of a lot of options.
Trying to put them out of his mind, Hudson headed to the reception area. The moment he stepped into the main lobby, he was almost tackled by a five-foot-two redhead. He laughed out loud in joy, as he picked her up and swung her around. She squealed in delight. “Good Lord,” he said, “it’s like you’ve shrunk.”
“I have not.” She glared at him in delight.
“Are you sure?” He pressed his hand on the top of her head and said, “I am absolutely certain you are way shorter now.”
“I am not,” she said and lightly punched him in the belly.
“Ooph,” he said in mock distress.
“Ha!” she said. “Damn, Hudson, it’s good to see you.”
“It’s good to see you too,” he said, studying her intently. It was even better to see her than he had expected. Reaching out an arm, he pulled her against him and just held her close. “It’s been a long time.”
She smiled. “Too long.” She looked around and asked, “Do you want to stay here? We can go into the hotel’s coffee shop, or we can head out to the strip.”
“Is Enzo’s open?”
“Sure,” she said. “Are you ready for some of the best pizza in Colorado?”
“And he has those divine coffees,” he said.
“Still one of my favorite places,” she said, with a nod. “Come on. Let’s go.”
As they turned and walked through the lobby toward the front door, they heard a shout. Hudson turned to look, and one of the hotel staff was trying to stop somebody in the hallway, yelling at him. Then a huge explosion rocked the building.
Hudson grabbed Avery in his arms and slammed up tight against one of the great big columns just feet away from the front door. He turned, looked around, and, with her still in his arms, dashed out the front door and across the street. She cried out as he made his move. When he put her down on the far side of the street, sections of the hotel exterior crashed down. Not where his room was, but still, the whole place would be off-limits by the time the building settled. He swore. “I knew I shouldn’t have left my bag in there.”
“Oh my God,” she said. “What just happened?”
“I’m not sure.” He frowned. “But my bag is in there.”
“I don’t think you’ll be allowed to go in and get it,” she said.
“Unless I don’t tell anybody, and I just go. Besides, people up there could need help.”
She looked up at him in surprise, then shrugged and said, “I don’t think you can go up the stairs.”
He studied the building. “Yeah, I think I can on the opposite side,” he said. “You stay put here. I’ll be right back.”
“Hudson, don’t,” she cried out. “It’s not safe.”
But he could barely hear her because he was already inside the hotel, just as everybody came screaming out. He would also check for any casualties and not just for his bag while he was there. Easier to do it all. By the time he raced up the stairs on the far side of the building, a message came over the PA, asking everybody to exit the building in an orderly fashion.
He raced into his room, grabbed his bag, then turned around, checked all the rooms on that floor. Done with these rooms, he turned to go downstairs, checking each floor as he went. He hadn’t gone very far on the second floor when he caught sight of an older woman, struggling to make her way. He stepped around and gave her a hand. She looked up at him gratefully.
“Thank you,” she said. “My heart is pounding. I’m afraid I’ll have a heart attack. I’m so frightened over all this.”
“The building’s in rough shape, after that explosion,” he said.
“Oh dear,” she said. “What about all those people?”
He nodded grimly. “Well, let’s just hope the hotel wasn’t fully booked.”
“I know they had a convention planned, maybe a lot of people coming in this afternoon,” she said. “I was trying to get out beforehand, so I didn’t have to deal with all the people.”
“Well, nobody’ll be dealing with the people now,” he said quietly. He got her to the main floor and brought her slowly out to the front steps. The fire department and cops were everywhere at this point. As soon as they were seen, they were quickly rushed outside and told to stay out. He just nodded, waved the older woman to one of the EMTs, and Hudson searched the shadows for Avery. He found her standing off to the side, looking for him. He walked over and grabbed her in his arms again.
She threw her arms around his neck and just held him close. “My God,” she said, “that was so scary.”
He looked up at the building, noting it wasn’t quite as bad as he had thought. It looked like several floors on the right-hand side had taken a blast of some kind.
“Do you know what happened?” she asked in a low whisper.
He shook his head. “I have no clue.” But inside he did. That was far too much like a bomb blast, and he wouldn’t be at all surprised if this had been some sort of terrorist attack. “Some convention is scheduled for this afternoon too,” he said. “There could be a lot of people looking for new housing.”
“Oh my,” she said. “Well, nothing we can do here. Let’s go.”
Instinctively he wanted to stay and help, but he didn’t know anybody here in local law enforcement, and nobody knew him. He hadn’t been called in to help, and, at the moment, he would just be in the way. With a last look to make sure the older woman he had helped out would be okay, he quickly retreated with Avery at his side, with his duffel over one shoulder, and they walked down the street.
With so many cops and fire engines, Hudson knew it would just be chaos for the next several hours. They would probably put the call out for anybody who had seen or heard anything. He just didn’t know if he’d seen or heard anything important.
Immediately the two men came to mind.
Dale Mayer. Hudson (Kindle Locations 115-174). Valley Publishing.
Before the chaos of official vehicles Hudson runs back into the hotel and grabs his bag. On his way back down he runs into a very shaken older woman. He escorts her down and to EMTs before rejoining Avery and heading to Enzo’s for coffee. Mason contacts him to be sure he’s safe and starts him thinking about what just happened. Mason also tells him that the convention coming in is law enforcement computer security experts. Which makes the event even more suspicious.
They get seats by a window to observe the hotel scene while they have coffee and pizza. Still talking about what happened they are interrupted by an old friend Dennis. Dennis is now a detective and tells Hudson officials would listen if he had any information to give them.
Needless to say, this isn’t quite what Avery and Hudson planned for their time together but danger is going to follow them.
Lots of suspense, action, romance and just the right amount of sizzle in this latest adventure of Mason’s Team.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.