It’s only two days until Deliberate Deceptions releases. It was two years ago today that Personal Protection released. Keeping with the theme of two, I thought I’d introduce you to two of the main secondary characters from Deliberate Deceptions — Cooper Davis and Troy McPherson.

You got to meet Cooper very briefly in Personal Protection:

Copyright © 2009 Leah Braemel
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

They were spared a long search when a barrel-chested man a couple inches shorter than Sam headed toward them, a martini glass in hand. “Sam! It’s about time you made it. I was starting to worry we’d have to send out the troops to fetch you.”

“Coop, happy birthday! How’s it feel to hit the big four oh?”

As Sam exchanged handshakes and insults with their host, Rosie stood back and assessed him. In a few years, the man’s hair would be completely grey, but for now there was still a fair portion of pepper in the salt.

From what she could dig up in their files, Cooper Davis was the head of a computer networking company and had been a friend of Sam’s for eight years. But she’d not been able to discover how they’d met and become friends. When she’d asked, Sam just murmured something about like tastes and kissed her senseless.

Her lips tingled at the memory as Sam introduced her to the birthday boy. When she shook his hand, his grip was firm, but held no sign of calluses, and from the peek she’d taken at his fingers, it looked like he’d recently had a manicure. Yet despite his deceptively mild appearance, Cooper Davis reminded her of a wolf sunning himself on a rock. Languid and laid back, but ready to strike at a moment’s notice.

I’d always had plans that even though Cooper wasn’t a part of Hauberk his character would return in future books, eventually possibly leading to his own book. Then a couple weeks before Personal Protection officially released, well after all the edits had been finalized and the book formatted, I noticed a book called The Boys of Summer on Samhain’s Coming Soon page by an author named…Cooper Davis. How weird is that? Well, my editor put me in touch with the “real” Cooper Davis and we exchanged emails where I admitted I was concerned that perhaps they’d be upset that I was using their name for a character who…well, MY Cooper Davis was going to be quite the character. (Not that I could do much about it at that point, the book had already been formatted after all.) Cooper Davis the author was completely supportive and reassured me they had no qualms about my character having the same name, so I felt confident that I could write MY Cooper Davis the way I wanted in Deliberate Deceptions and future Hauberk stories such as Hidden Heat.

Copyright © 2011 Leah Braemel
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

A sleek, black stretch Humvee limo sat with its engine running less than thirty feet away. The driver got out, his windbreaker unbuttoned to allow easy access to the weapon he always wore. After a quick check of the area, he opened the back door, allowing the devil himself to step out.

Cooper Davis straightened his French cuffs and smoothed his perfectly pressed Armani suit before nodding to his driver. Anyone meeting him for the first time might buy his cover as an unassuming businessman, intent only on making a killing on Wall Street; she knew better. He strolled across the pavement with confidence and nonchalance, as if he were about to greet an old lover. Something he’d once suggested. To this day she hadn’t decided if it had been a test or a sincere proposition.

She turned her face when he bent down to kiss her so his lips brushed her cheek. One dark eyebrow quirked up at her evasion.“Welcome back, Lauren.”

“I’m done, Cooper. I want out.” Saying the words both soothed the jumbled thoughts in her brain while setting free the butterflies in her stomach.

“I figured you’d say that.” He gestured toward the Humvee. “Let’s sit inside while we discuss your future, shall we?”

She followed him to the Humvee, taking a seat facing him so she could read his facial expressions. As soon as the door closed behind them, sealing them into Cooper’s bulletproof, soundproof world, he leaned forward. “There’s a problem you should know about before you start planning on retiring.”

Problem to Cooper could mean anything from a paperwork snafu to the start of the next world war.

Another secondary character who figures even more prominently in Deliberate Deceptions is Troy McPherson, the head of Hauberk’s International group. When I wrote Personal Protection, Troy was out of the office most of the time trying to free some hostages in Colombia. Troy is an interesting character to write. Like Cooper Davis, he’s got a lot of secrets that I got to explore and play with. 😉 Meet Troy…

Copyright © 2011 Leah Braemel
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

McPherson said something to one of the men before he and Andy headed their way. His scowl deepened with each step. Troy’s gaze flickered between her and Ed, then dropped to her suitcase. His eyes narrowed when he realized she was the only one with luggage.

“You?” He faced Weir. “This is not a good idea.”

Ed pulled out his cell phone. “Shall I phone your boss and tell him you’re refusing the assignment?”

“So call him. Tell him.” His Irish accent was thick today, where last time they’d spoken she’d not heard a trace. Did he affect it for show or did it only slip out when he was upset? “Sam won’t agree to this either. Standard procedure is the lead op, or anyone else on the detail for that matter, has no personal involvement with the subject. She’s his ex-wife for Christ’s sake.”

Ed tucked his cell phone in his pocket, letting Troy get a look at the Sig Sauer under his jacket. He took off his glasses, pulled off his beard. Without the props, the hardness of his personality was reflected in the sharp planes of his face. “You do it our way or…our way. You don’t have a choice.”

“Yeah. I do. We put Walters in charge of the op the way Chad originally suggested.”

“We can’t accept that, Troy.” Lauren exchanged a look with her partner. They’d worked together long enough that he knew what she intended. After a moment, Weir nodded his agreement. “Whoever is after me may try to get to me through Chad. That’s the reason we manipulated things the way we did today. We had to keep Chad safe as well.”

“Chad’s an effin’ target?” Troy tossed in a few more epithets, though they weren’t in any language she understood. “Might have been nice if you’d let me in on that beforehand. Or Sam.”

“We were afraid you’d tell Miller.”

Lauren jumped in. “If Chad realized he was the target, you know he’d demand to stay in Washington and fight the threat head on. This way we can both keep him safe.”

“By putting you both in the same place? Don’t you think that’s making it a little too easy for Harris? It would be better if you’re kept in separate safe houses.” He was right of course. She’d made the same point to Cooper.

Ed must have realized she was about to relent. He folded his arms and glared at Troy. “You don’t do things the way we ask, we’ll take Miller into protective custody and hold him where you can’t reach him. We can also arrest you for interfering with government agents. That wouldn’t look so good for Hauberk now, would it Mr. McPherson?”

He’d do it too. Ed would call in the cavalry, who would hustle Troy away and convince him to play ball—by fair means or foul—but if it came down to it, they couldn’t press charges. After all, the Brigade didn’t officially exist, according to the government.

Maybe it was the way Ed emphasized his name, telling him they knew he wasn’t who he claimed that had Troy giving a short nod.

Oh, and yes, Sam and Rosie will be back, as will Andy, and Chad’s sister Thalia…

Just two days to go — I’m getting psyched.  By the way, if you order Deliberate Deceptions from Samhain’s store, it’s on sale for $3.15 for the next week, after that it goes up to $4.50.

Read Excerpt

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Countdown: 2 days
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