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The Warrior Mass Market Paperback – March 31, 2009
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Despite the hundreds of years that John Nightwalker had been on this earth, he had yet to feel completely comfortable wearing clothes. And from the look the female bank teller was giving him as he stood in line at the First Savannah Savings and Loan to cash a check, she would have been perfectly happy to help him strip.
John felt her gaze but was ignoring all the signals. Not only was he not in the mood for dallying with a stranger, she was wearing a wedding ringa big no-no for him. He shifted from one foot to the other, then looked down at the two little boys clinging to the legs of the woman in front of him and grinned. The oldest one smiled back, while the younger one continued the exploration of his right nostril with his index finger.
"Hi," the older one said. "My name is Brandon Dog-gett." He pointed toward the little guy. "That's Trevor Doggett. He's my little brother." Then he pointed at his mother's backside, which John had already noticed was quite shapely. "That's my mama. Her name is Doggett, too."
When Mama Doggett realized her name was being bandied about, she glanced over her shoulder to see who her son was talking to. Her eyes widened slightly as she saw John Nightwalker's face. The smooth coffee skin, high cheekbones, strong chin and nose were telling of his Native American heritage, but it was the sexy smile and glint in his eyes that stopped her breath. She might be married, but she wasn't dead and the man was stunning.
"I hope the boys aren't bothering you," she said.
John grinned. "No, ma'am."
"Daddy calls her Lisa," Brandon offered.
Lisa Doggett rolled her eyes as John chuckled.
The low, husky rumble of his laugh made the female teller lose count of the cash she'd been dispensing. With pink cheeks and a muttered apology to her customer, she began again.
Lisa Doggett, being next in line, finally reached the teller and proceeded with her business. When they were done, the teller handed each little boy a lollipop, which they promptly peeled and popped into their mouths. Lisa flashed John a shy goodbye smile and started toward the front door with her sons in tow.
Being next in line, John moved up to the window, patiently waiting as the teller keyed in some data from her previous customer. There was a moment of silencea soft, peaceful sound of shuffling feet and the distant murmurs between loan officers and their clientsthen John felt the atmosphere change. To him, the room was suddenly stifling and charged with an anger he didn't understand.
"Sir. How can I help you?" the teller asked, but John didn't respond.
His gaze went from Lisa Doggett and her boys, who were on their way toward the exit, to the surrounding customers waiting in line. Suddenly one of the two boys cried out, then turned around and ran. John noticed a toy car in the middle of the lobby and figured it had fallen out of a pocket. He saw the mother's irked expression turn to one of quiet patience as she waited for her son's return.
His attention moved from them to the rest of the crowd. At first glance, no one stood out, and then his gaze fell on a tall, heavyset man standing in line on the other side of the lobby. He was wearing a pair of faded Levi's and a heavy denim jacket. The jacket seemed out of place, considering the outside temperature was in the high eighties. That alone immediately set him apart. The man's lower jaw jutted from his face like a bulldog'sa strong protruding lower jaw that extended beyond the tip of a nose that had obviously been broken more than once. His skin was ruddy, his hair a brittle yellow color. John could feel the tension emanating from him. He didn't know what was going to happen but sensed it wouldn't be good.
As he continued to watch, the big man headed toward a teller, walked up to the window and slid what appeared to be a white cotton bag across the counter. It looked like an ordinary deposit bag, but when the teller's face turned pale and her eyes widened in shock, John tensed.
He could see the man's lips moving, but he was too far away to hear what was being said. All of a sudden the teller's eyes rolled back in her head as she dropped to the floor in a faint. Everyone heard the thud as her head collided with the hard marble floor. The teller next to her screamed out for help as everything ground to a halt.
Wallace Deeds cursed beneath his breath, unable to believe what had just happened. In all the years he'd been doing this, he'd never had anyone faint on him before. He was a criminal, but he wasn't stupid. At this point, his best bet was to retrieve the note he'd handed to the teller and calmly walk out of the building. To his dismay, the note was no longer on the counter. It was on the floor beside the unconscious woman.
"Crap," Wallace muttered, and slid his hand in his pocket, taking comfort from the gun he could feel inside. He glanced up and around, quickly sizing up the number of people inside the bank against his need for dough. He opted for a hasty exit.
But his plan was screwed by a secretary who'd come to the unconscious teller's aid. She was on her knees beside the woman and feeling for a pulse when she discovered the note.
I have a gun. Put all your money in the bag and keep quiet or you're a dead woman.
Unaware that he'd been made, Deeds was already heading toward the door when the secretary stood up and screamed.
"Stop him! He has a gun!"
Wallace cursed and turned. The bank guard was pulling out his pistol and coming toward him on the run. Without thinking, Wallace grabbed the nearest customer by the arm and put her in a choke hold as he pulled out his own gun and fired a shot into the ceiling.
"Everyone on the floor! Now!" he screamed.
The bank guard stood his ground, still aiming his weapon and shouting, "Drop the gun! Drop it! Drop it and let her go!"
John groaned. The hostage was none other than Lisa Doggett, the young woman with the two little boys who'd been in line in front of him.
Bad move. Bad, bad move.
The young mother's panic was evident as she cast a frantic, wild-eyed gaze at her little boys. Trevor, the youngest, began to cry and started toward her.
"Don't anybody move!" Wallace roared, waving the gun at the guard, then at the kids and back again.
John knew the man was a hair's breadth away from shooting someone, whether he meant to or not, and Trevor Doggett's determination to get to his mother was putting him in harm's way. There was no time for John to think about the wisdom of his actions.
In one swift move, he pulled a knife from his boot and leaped forward, desperate to draw the gunman's attention away from the boys, his hostage and the guard with the gun, knowing full well that he was going to get shot. Knowing full well it was going to hurt like hell but it wasn't going to kill him.
That was the edge he had over everyone else in the room. He'd faced death and cheated it countless times over the last five hundred years and had every confidence in the world that he was going to cheat it again.
When Wallace Deeds saw the movement from the corner of his eye, he swung his pistol. A man was coming at him on the run.
"Son of a bitch!" he screamed, then fired.
The shot went straight into John's chest. He felt the impact and a sharp, searing pain, but he didn't go down.
When Deeds' hostage fainted and went limp, she became a liability instead of a shield. Disgusted, he shoved her aside and squeezed off another shot. But it was the knife suddenly protruding from his chest that sent his second shot into the ceiling next to the first.
A collective gasp rose from inside the bank, followed by a silence so stark that everyone froze.
Lisa Doggett had come to and was on her knees, shielding her children with her body.
The tellers had ducked behind the counter.
The people who'd dropped to their bellies when the shooting started were staring but not moving.
No one ran.
No one spoke.
But the ones who could see were staring in disbelief at the two giants standing in the middle of the lobbyboth bleeding profuselywaiting to see who dropped first.
The pistol slipped out of Deeds' hand as he reached toward the bone handle of the knife stuck in his chest. But the moment he touched it, he shuddered. Had someone poured hot oil into his chest? He looked up. People's faces were blurring.
"How " He sighed, then staggered backward.
John groaned as he put a hand to his own chest. The warm gush of his blood was already slowing as he watched the gunman fall. Wallace's head hit the tile with a sickening crack, but he never felt it. He was already dead.
The bank guard holstered his weapon and started toward John.
Lisa Doggett was shaking, but she was alive and her children were safe.
People were getting up and yanking out their cell phones, anxious to tell their loved ones what had just happened. While on his belly, one customer had videoed the whole thing with his cell phone, and now he was in the act of forwarding it to his brother. The image of what had transpired would be all over the Internet before nightfall.
Horace Miles, the bank president, was moving through the crowd, making sure everyone was okay. When he saw the blood on the front and back of John's shirt, he gasped and yelled for someone to call 911.
John was anxious to be gone before he had to explain why the bullet hole in his chest was already nearly closed. He pulled his knife out of the robber's chest, then wiped the blood off the blade onto the man's jacket before slipping it back into the sheath inside his boot.
The bank guard reached John and took him by the elbow.
"You need to sit down, son," he said. "You've been shot."
"I'm okay," John said.
"The police are coming!" someone said.
Sirens could be heard in the distance. John sighed. He needed to leavenow. He started toward the door, but Horace Miles cut him off. Like the guard, he took John by the elbow and tried to usher him to a chair.
"Please," Miles said. "You're bleeding. Let us help you."
"I'm all right really."
But the bank president would have none of it.
Lisa Doggett came toward him, hugging her little boys to her legs as she stared at him in disbelief.
"You saved my life. You saved all of us," she whispered. "Thank you. Thank you."
"Yeah sure," he said, then gave in to the inevitable. He was caught now, and there was no way out of it.
The two little boys stared at himsilent now in the face of what they'd witnessed.
"Mama's okay, boys," John said softly.
Brandon nodded. "You stopped the bad man," he said.
John just winked and nodded. The pain in his chest was fading swiftly, but the sirens were also getting closer. Moments later, a half-dozen police cars were on the scene, followed by two ambulances. A paramedic team followed the police inside, then, at the guard's direction, headed for John.
He sighed. How the hell was he going to explain his way out of this?
"I'm okay," he said as the paramedics dropped their bags and began to cut off his shirt. "I said I'm okay," he repeated, and to prove he was right, he pulled up his shirt, revealing the wound that was almost closed.
Both paramedics rocked back on their heels, staring at John and then at each other.
"Mister how in"
"Er uh I studied with the Dalai Lama," John said.
"Learned how to control bleeding and heal myself with my mind. Ever hear of it?"
They looked at each other, shrugged, and then began packing up their gear while sneaking curious looks at him.
But they weren't the only ones staring. The bank president was in shock. He'd seen the bullet pierce John's chest, seen the blood spurting, yet now the wound was nearly closed. He'd seen the other scars on John's chest, too, and was staggered by what this man had suffered and lived through.
Just when John was getting ready to leave, a skinny man in a suit followed several uniformed officers into the bank, paused long enough to question the guard, then headed straight for John, who recognized the type, as well as the badge clipped to the man's belt.
Great. A detective. Naturally nosy, disinclined to believe anything he was told. This ought to be good.
John saw him pause to look at the dead man; then he looked straight at John, who stared back without flinching.
Horace Miles stepped into the silent breach by introducing himself as the cop approached.
"I'm Horace Miles, president of the bank. I saw everything."
"Detective Robert Lee," the newcomer said, then put his hands on his hips and gave John the once-over, eyeing the bloody shirt as well as the blood on John's jeans. "So, hero, what's your name?"
Sarcasm was the last thing John expected. It made him angry. He stood abruptly, well aware that he was now towering over the skinny man's head.
"Considering the fact that right now, my chest hurts like hell, I don't appreciate your sarcasm," he drawled. "My name is John Nightwalker, and I'm not a hero. I was just in the wrong place at the right time."
Lee wanted to be pissed, but the man was right. "Sorry," he said. "That came out wrong. Let's back up and do this all over again. So, Mr. Nightwalker, could you tell me what happened?"
John pointed to the walls where a half-dozen cameras were mounted. "I could but it appears that Mr. Miles here will be able to provide several different angles on the incident for your viewing pleasure. Suffice it to say, the man tried to rob the bank, took a woman hostage and was pointing his gun at one of her kids. I distracted him. He shot me instead of the kid. I put a knife in his chest."
Believing John had already been tended by paramedics, Lee's next thought was the weapon in question. "May I see that knife?"
John winced as he leaned over, pulled up the leg of his jeans, then pulled the knife back out of its scabbard.
The detective's eyes widened and his mouth dropped as he eyed the wicked blade. It was almost ten inches in length, with its widest point no less than three inches across. The handle appeared to be some kind of bone maybe ivory. He frowned.
"Hell, mister, that thing's big enough to fight bears with."
Startled by the easy answer, Lee gave John a cool look. "Don't tell me you fight bears, too?"
More About the Author
Sharon Sala is a long-time member of RWA, as well as a member of OKRWA. She has 100 plus books in print under her name and her pen name, Dinah McCall. She is published in five different genres - Romance, Young Adult, Western, Fiction, and Women's Fiction. First published in 1991, she's an eight-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, four-time Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine, five time winner of the National Reader's Choice Award, and five time winner of the Colorado Romance Writer's Award of Excellence, winner of the Heart of Excellence Award, as well as winner of the Booksellers Best Award. In 2011 she was named RWA's recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Her books are New York Times , USA Today, Publisher's Weekly best-sellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.
Top Customer Reviews
John Nightwalker is old. He has been searching for one man or soul for all his long life and he will not be able to stop or become human again until his vow is fulfilled. When he meets Alicia he immediately thinks he has found that soul for his heart beats heavily and he senses that his enemy is near. But when he looks into her eyes he sees only an innocent soul, but he knows she is close to the enemy. After 500 years maybe she is the way to his revenge.
John's enemy has reincarnated many times but he has never been able to find him during each lifetime, but he knows that the soul returned about 60 years ago. He will stay by Alicia until he finds her father, or her father finds her.
It was an interesting story and the romance was nice. Setting the story in today's world gave it another interesting twist. Good read for the beach, or spring holidays.
However, that's not to say that I wasn't, at first, sceptical about purchasing the book. I'm not big on 'time travel' types of books. So I kinda first though this was one of those books...until I got to chapter 2.
Boy oh boy. Sharon Sala is a master craftswoman when it comes to her writing. Her characters are always extremely well developed, well thought out and always enjoyable to read. I think, of all of Sharon Sala's heroes, John definitely stands out in the top 2. He's strong, bold, daring, focused, determined...and overall, a man bent on revenge. Yet he doesn't let that desire for revenge over rule his morality, his decency or his attitude to Alicia. I mean, he could have treated Alicia completely differently to the way he did. Sharon Sala could have written such an unlikeable hero with a nasty desire for revenge - but she didn't. She created John Nightwalker.
And then there's Alicia, who has just found out that her father isn't the man she thinks he is. She could have been written as some defenseless, airhead socialite with more interest in spending daddy's money that trying to stop him, but again Sharon Sala stepped up to the plate and created a character who is strong, ethical and who I really loved.
There is nothing bad about this book, truly. I'm so glad that I took the risk and bought the book - well worth every cent! I truly reccommend it as a 'more than once' reading pleasure. I wish more authors were as consistant as Sharon Sala, thats for certain!
This story blends a typical romantic suspense plot with Native American spirituality, and that's the main reason I picked this book up. I'm always on the lookout for stories about people from unique cultures, and the beginning was particularly strong when it flashed back to Nightwalker's life before he became immortal. His heritage was an integral part of his character throughout the book, and it was my favorite part of the story.
Alicia was supposed to be a silver spoon heiress who didn't know how to fix herself a bowl of cereal, literally. Compared to Nightwalker her character felt flat and superficial, and she failed to impress me. Even Nightwalker seemed like he was ready to throw in the towel a few times, and I couldn't blame him. It was actually the villain, Alicia's father, who grabbed my attention. The reader gets glimpses into Richard Ponte's past lives, and in each one he's a power-hungry fiend who claws his way to the top, and then dies some horrible death. He was arrogant and full of self-pity, and never once was he sorry for what he'd done, he was only that he'd been caught. He was a worthy opponent for our hero.
I thought the story was fast-paced and interesting, although it didn't have any big surprises in store. There were a few flaws from the romance angle that are holding me back on the rating, but I'd like to read another Sala novel based on what I saw here.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have never been disappointed by a Sharon Salsa book. I had only been able to find current books until I discovered Amazon book dept. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
Sometimes I like to re-read books I already have so I started reading but didn't remember it -wow what a fantastic story even the paranormal was probably as real as it could get. Read morePublished 6 months ago by diamondgirl
Ms. Sala is one of the greatest story tellers I've ever read. Her writing inspires us to keep on believing in finding our own hapi was.Published 9 months ago by Swam99
This book would have been really good if she had not tried to push paranormall. She did not do this well at all, it wasn't cohesive.Published 11 months ago by Natalie Mann
I found it difficult to put down. I have read several books by Sala and have enjoyed each one equally. Highly recommend this one.Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
great book. i loved how the charecters interacted with each other. i loved the supernatural part of it to. i kind of think they got together to easy as a couple. Read morePublished 18 months ago by shelly