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Excerpt of Shadow Watch by Linda Conrad

Purchase


Night Guardians
Silhouette Intimate Moments
May 2006
On Sale: April 5, 2007
Featuring: Victoria Sommer; Ben Wauneka
256 pages
ISBN: 0373274882
EAN: 9780373274888
Paperback
Add to Wish List

Romance Suspense, Romance Series

Also by Linda Conrad:

Last Chance Reunion, August 2013
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Christmas Confidential, November 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Texas Manhunt, May 2012
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Texas Baby Sanctuary, April 2012
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Rancher's Perfect Baby Rescue, February 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Desert Knights, June 2011
Paperback
Secret Agent Sheik, April 2011
Paperback
The Sheik's Lost Princess, January 2011
Paperback
Covert Christmas, October 2010
Paperback
Covert Agent's Virgin Affair, August 2010
Paperback
Her Sheik Protector, July 2010
Paperback
In Safe Hands, April 2009
Mass Market Paperback
Safe By His Side, March 2009
Mass Market Paperback
The Sheriff's Amnesiac Bride, November 2008
Mass Market Paperback
Safe With A Stranger, June 2008
Paperback
Shadow Whispers, September 2007
Mass Market Paperback
Shadow Warrior, May 2007
Paperback
Shadow Surrender, March 2007
Paperback
Shadow Hunter, January 2007
Paperback
Shadow Watch, May 2006
Paperback
Shadow Force, April 2006
Paperback
The Cowboy's Baby Surprise (Silhouette Desire), June 2002
Mass Market Paperback

Excerpt of Shadow Watch by Linda Conrad

"That Raven Wash kid must be drunk," someone in the crowd yelled. "He's acting crazy. Watch out!"

Dr. Victoria Sommer jumped to her feet but couldn't see a thing over the two old men with the tall black felt hats who were standing in the row below hers. They were doing the same thing she was — the same thing everyone in the auditorium was doing — trying to see to the gym floor below.

Confused by the sudden chaos, Tory shoved her way into the aisle, hoping to see what was going on. She'd been living and working on the Navajo Big Reservation for only three months, but already a few truths about her patients and colleagues had become perfectly clear.

She'd learned that traditional Navajos were conditioned to take all things in moderation — making them the most patient, the most quiet and sometimes the most infuriatingly late people she had ever encountered.

Save for a few medical emergency exceptions, no one rushed and no one shouted. So when a long-haired younger man knocked into her shoulder as he dashed down the aisle and disappeared into the disturbed crowd, Tory was shocked.

First shouting and now running? Something was very wrong.

Thinking this sudden excitement might be one of those rare medical exceptions, Tory decided she had better see for herself if this was a situation where a doctor could be of help. She wove her way through milling spectators, excusing herself as she headed down the bleacher steps toward the high school's gym floor.

Only a few moments ago the Raven Wash senior wrestling team had been about to win their quarterfinal match against the Owl Springs Boarding School team. Then something had stopped the meet.

She picked up speed as the skin on the back of her neck began to prickle, giving her goose bumps and a case of the jitters. Whatever this was had to be way out of the ordinary, and quite possibly dangerous, as well.

The real reason she'd come tonight was that there were no team doctors available for most of the high schools on the reservation. Tory had thought she would check it out, and then maybe find a way to organize a volunteer group from her clinic to fill in the gaps.

It was a rather presumptuous idea for a non-Navajo newcomer, but she'd decided to give it a shot anyway. In her professional opinion, medical practitioners and the proper medical equipment needed to be standing by at all sports meets, regardless of how far out in a poor rural area they might be.

The wrestlers at tonight's meet seemed fit enough for competition, but she hadn't spotted any safety measures or special equipment. There should have been a portable defib machine and precautionary oxygen.

Another surge of foreboding tingled its way down to her gut. Dr. Hardeen, the chief of medical staff and founder of the Raven Wash Clinic, would not be happy if he knew she'd even attended tonight's match. When she'd first arrived to fulfill her obligation to the National Health Service, he'd warned her in the strongest terms that it was dangerous to travel alone on the reservation at night. But the high school gym was located less than a mile from the house she was renting, and she hadn't thought there would be any trouble.

Tory reached the gym floor just as a human ring began forming along the outer edges of the wrestling mat. As she pushed through the crowd, she saw a ranting Raven Wash senior wrestler pacing around the regulation twenty-eight- foot-diameter mat, while his opponent lay sprawled and unmoving in the middle. The crowd was keeping a discreet and quiet distance from the two teens.

The circling wrestler shouted something in Navajo and shook his fists in the direction of several other athletes. As far away from the disturbed kid as Tory was, it didn't take a medical degree to guess that he was high on some kind of drug. She'd seen this same violent reaction plenty of times when she'd done her E.R. rotation at Cook County Hospital.

Alcohol seemed unlikely in this case, despite what had been shouted out earlier. Liquor was outlawed on the reservation, and of course, none was allowed in the gym. This particular young man had been alert and wrestling according to the rules just moments ago, so a hallucinogenic was more likely the cause. "What's he saying?" she asked the gray-haired woman standing on her right.

Dressed in a long-sleeved magenta blouse and a floor- length, multicolored skirt, the woman turned a sharp eye in her direction but said nothing. Tory wondered if the lady spoke any English. Another thing she'd learned since first coming to the clinic was that most people on the reservation spoke some English, but many of the elder Navajos refused to do so.

"He says he has a knife," said a male voice on her left. Tory turned and came face to bicep with the same long- haired man who had knocked into her in the aisle. She recognized his black long-sleeved shirt and the twin bands of silver and turquoise on his wrists.

"Do you think he does?" she asked as she raised her chin to study the tall man's hawklike profile.

As far as she'd seen, the aggressive teenager who was making all the trouble couldn't possibly have a weapon on him. Not secreted in his skintight uniform, and obviously not in his empty, waving fists.

The man to her left answered the question by shaking his head, causing the ends of his long, loose hair to sway and spread across his shoulders. But he kept his eyes trained ahead on the disturbing scene.

"Not likely," he said in a low murmur. "But that doesn't mean the kid won't be dangerous. He's incoherent. And so far he's broken at least one bone in his opponent's leg with his bare hands."

That got Tory's attention. She stood up on her tiptoes and peered around the woman beside her. When the crowd shifted, she got her first clear view of the whole scene and the prone body of the other wrestler. He lay facedown and still, but one of his legs was turned askew in a most unnatural position. She'd bet even money that more than two bones were fractured in that leg.

Tory needed to get a better look. "Why doesn't someone do something?" she asked of no one in particular. "We need to get to the injured boy. I'm a doctor. I can help." She took an unthinking step toward both teens.

A hand snaked out and gripped her by the arm, keeping her firmly in place. "I am also a doctor," the same stranger to her left told her in a stilted but firm voice. "But it won't help if a bystander comes to harm while trying to intervene. The tribal police have been notified and will bring the paramedics. Wait."

"But..." She swung left, glaring up into the man's face — and immediately forgot how to talk.

It wasn't his obviously splendid physique, though it did seem perfect at a little over six feet with broad shoulders and muscles in all the right places. It wasn't his chiseled cinnamon features, either, though the strong chin and prominent cheekbones were masculinity personified in Tory's opinion.

And it wasn't even the startling and penetrating deep brown eyes that at the moment were staring into hers. It was none of those things and all of them put together that had rendered her speechless.

With implicit strength and a megawatt sensuality that probably knocked most women off their feet, the guy was not at all what Tory had expected. Her body's heightened awareness at the sight of him was also confusing.

Her palms were suddenly damp, and her brain turned to mush. She felt electrified and itchy, quite unlike anything in her experience. Which was ridiculous.

She'd grown up with four brothers. She'd been married and divorced. She'd gone to med school and interned in classes made up of fifty percent males. Nearly all her professors had been men.

She was thirty-three years old and a physician, for pity's sake. Tory simply did not grow weak and trembling at the mere sight of an...admittedly...virile man.

Just then she experienced an adrenaline rush that came hard and fast and right on the heels of the more erotic hormones already racing through her veins. She had to move. Get away. Do something.

Twisting her whole body with a sudden, jerky movement that she'd learned in martial arts class, Tory broke free of the good-looking guy's grip and stumbled onto the wrestling mat. A collective gasp ran through the crowd. Everyone seemed to be holding their breath, waiting to see what would happen next. Everyone including the bugeyed high school senior, who stopped screaming and stood perfectly still. He stared menacingly at the strange white woman.

"It's okay," Tory told the agitated athlete in her most soothing voice. "Really. I'm a doctor." She reached out toward the drugged kid with both hands, trying a quietly pleading gesture. "Please. Let me help."

The young man took a hesitant step back. Tory figured he must be shocked by her incomprehensible movements. She was slightly taken aback by them herself.

But she couldn't afford to be afraid. Now that she was this close, she could hear the moans of the athlete who lay facedown on the mat. He was alive, but she had to stop him from trying to move.

Focusing on the semiconscious kid and trying to assess the extent of his injuries, Tory disregarded her own safety and turned her back on the crazed wrestler. With no thought to the consequences, she knelt down on the mat beside the downed teen and began checking his pupils and respiration.

Dr. Ben Wauneka didn't stop to think. If he had, he would've done a lot of things differently.

But he'd been having a major problem with his reactions to the spectacular blond stranger who'd claimed to be a doctor. He'd been doing just fine, right up until the moment she'd turned those soft, blue-gray eyes in his direction. Then all his thoughts had centered on them and on the full lips located tantalizingly below that perky little turned-up nose.

She looked like a white man's version of an angel. And he'd never wanted to kiss an angel before.

Kiss? Was he totally insane? There were so many reasons why he couldn't...shouldn't let himself feel...

A loud grunt finally tore his attention away from the angel on her knees. The drugged-out wrestler, standing about ten feet from her, seemed to have quickly gotten over the shock of the bilagáana woman's strange behavior. Or maybe the drugs in the teen's system simply wouldn't let him remain inert for any longer.

Whatever the reason, the wrestler roared with blind anger, fisted his hands over his head and took a few steps in her direction.

Ben's body moved without his full consent. Before he realized what he'd done, he was standing between the crazed teen and the blonde.

Using surprise in the hopes of putting the kid off balance, Ben tried a distinctly non-Navajo move and rudely stared straight into the wrestler's eyes. But instead of seeing the blank stare of a teenager strung out on drugs like he'd imagined, Ben caught a brief glimpse of something he hadn't expected to see at all.

The evil ones. Right there in this young man's eyes. Ben was the one who'd been surprised. A second later, with momentum in his favor, the wrestler's fists came down against Ben's chest and knocked the wind out of him. Gasping for breath, Ben made a desperate move, trying to keep the kid from getting past him. He swung his arms out.

Catching the teenager by the shoulders, Ben took them both down. As he heard the sharp crack of his own forehead connecting with the hardwood floor, Ben was vaguely aware of being tangled up with a hellcat.

Before he blacked out, his thoughts went in a strange direction. Suddenly he was surrounded by warm sensations and secret sensual invitations — and all were emanating from soft blue-gray eyes.

Excerpt from Shadow Watch by Linda Conrad
All rights reserved by publisher and author

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