Yes! I’m back on the Snippet Saturday rotation. (All the travelling I did this year meant I missed the sign up dates the past few months.)

As soon as I saw today’s “Secondary Character” topic, I knew I wanted to post an excerpt including Troy McPherson. Although Troy is a secondary character in Deliberate Deceptions, he is the hero in Hidden Heat. (And although he’s mentioned in Personal Protection, you never got to meet him in person.)

Deliberate Deceptions

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

He stopped in the middle of the room. That’s where he had to look. Would Sam tell him who had given him the scoop? Once he found out that he’d been manipulated, damned straight he would. Sam would be as pissed as he was right now. Then Sam would ensure that birdie would sing soprano for the rest of his fucking life. He grabbed a shirt out of the closet and replaced the hanger. The routine of dressing, doing up each button one by one helped him focus. His shirt properly buttoned, he grabbed a pair of underwear from the dresser, smoothing the pile he’d disturbed. A clean pair of freshly pressed dress pants were shaken out, and jerked on. Socks. Black. Calf-length so no ankle showed.

By the time he was completely dressed, his movements were smooth, his thoughts focused. Only then did he pick up his BlackBerry and punch in Sam’s number.

No answer.

After leaving a voice message, he booted up his laptop and logged onto Hauberk’s VPN.
Dear Sam, I respectfully request to be transferred….” No, that wasn’t right. “Sam, I need a favor…

Not once had he asked to be taken off a case. Not with the FBI and not with Hauberk. So, damn it, he wasn’t taking no for an answer.

A half hour—and numerous deletions—later he finally hit send.

An hour later, he was checking his email for…well, he’d given up counting how many times he’d hit “check mail”, when there was a knock at the hallway door. Before he could respond, it opened and Troy walked in.

“Thought you’d like to know the extra men just arrived.” Troy closed the door behind him and rested against it. “I’ve handed out the rotation you drew up. Everything should be good to go.”

“Thanks, but I could have handled it.”

“I know but I was there checking out the cameras and everything else, so I took care of it.” Instead of leaving the way Chad had expected, Troy stayed in place. He tilted his head to one side as he considered Chad. “You okay, mate?”

Ah. So that was the purpose of visiting in person. Chad nodded. “I admit I was surprised to see her.”

His answer didn’t satisfy Troy. “Sorry I couldn’t give you any more warning than I did, but—”

So he hadn’t known it would be Lauren he was escorting either. “It’s okay. You were following protocol. You couldn’t call me. I understand.”

Troy pushed away from the door and wandered into the room. “Helluva a shock for me too when I recognized her.”

He’d recognized her? “How did you know her? You’ve never met her before.”

There was a long pause. When Troy responded he didn’t look at Chad, and he kept his voice low. “I know about the picture you keep in your desk.” He finally looked up. “I wasn’t trying to snoop but you were off somewhere—at some meeting with a client or something and we needed a file. Sandy wasn’t there so I went through your desk.”

Ah. Here he’d been thinking…who knows what he’d been thinking. “Don’t worry about it.”

There was another pause. “Are you leaving in the morning?”

In other words, was Troy to take over?

Would Troy keep Lauren safe? Of course. So why the hesitation in telling Troy he’d already asked to be transferred? “It’s under consideration. I tried to get a hold of Sam earlier, but I haven’t heard back from him yet.”

“Maybe he’s trying to smooth things over with Rosie for cancelling their vacation.”
Which meant they were probably jumping each other’s bones on the desk. Or in that fucking huge shower.

Maybe he was just jealous that Sam’s love life had finally come together. Damned stubborn bastard had been closing himself off since Jill’s death; it was good to see him finally find someone to love again. Which brought Chad right back around to his original hunch—he’d been set up. Pinching the bridge of his nose, Chad closed his eyes. “Fuck.”

He opened his eyes and shot Troy a hard glare. “Is this some way he’s come up with to try to force me to get over her? Or get her out of my system or something?”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, mate.” Troy met his gaze evenly, his voice unaffected. If he’d been anyone else Chad would swear he was telling the truth, but Troy was a consummate liar.

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Snippet Saturday: Secondary Character