About ten years ago I started writing about two characters Samantha Locke, an assassin with a dark past that lives for revenge, and Matthew Burke, an all-American ex-Navy S.E.A.L. that believes he’s working for the greater good. I’ve always thought of it as my take on Mr. and Mrs. Smith if it were directed by Tarantino.
It goes beyond motorcycle chases that rival the excitement of a sex scene in a beat-up pick up, although ‘Gone’ does have both when you see where Matt and Sam come from and what made them into the killers that they have become.
‘Unseen’, the first book in The Greater Good Series follows their story as they fight Erebus and fall in love and decide to take on the world together. They meet while they are both working for a malevolent agency Erebus, and have a similar agenda in that they both have loved ones that were murdered, and their employer holds the key to their deaths.
‘Gone’ the second novel in the series brings readers to both Sam’s hometown of San Diego, and the biker gang Los Psychos that raised her, as well as the ranch in Charlestown, West Virginia from which Matthew hales.
While their trip to California holds danger in every corner, they expect to find solace in West Virginia, yet before long Matthew is kidnapped, and while Samantha isn’t sure if he went willingly she’ll go beyond her previous boundaries of self-sacrifice in order to find him.
And if that’s not enough to whet your appetite for danger or steamy sex, then maybe this excerpt from ‘Gone’ will. Did I mention that The Greater Good Series is available on Kindle and paperback when you’re ready to get your blood pumping for action that will keep you turning the page?
Until then here’s a taste of the badass that Samantha Locke is:
When she opened her eyes, everything was still black.
Samantha turned her head, staring into the darkness. Her neck creaked; she bit her lip rather than cry out in pain. Her hands and ankles were bound. She reached out. Her fingers brushed against felted walls, legs bent under her, leaving her unable to stretch them. Her bag wasn’t around her shoulders, nor her machete strapped to her shin, but she could still feel her butterfly knife between her boot and skin.
“Matt?” she whispered.
Futile, she knew, since she didn’t feel him next to her — another damn trunk. Whoever ran them off the road hadn’t come for her. They had come for him. Also, if they were stupid enough not to search her, then they didn’t know who she was. In San Diego, she was someone. Maya Diaz, adopted daughter of the President of Los Psychos motorcycle gang. No one outside of the club could touch her without paying with their life.
Samantha twisted to the side, unzipped her boot, and gripped the knife. She flipped it open, slid the blade between the rope and her wrists. A few minutes later, the line around her ankles loosened. She turned to her left and released her legs from underneath her. She ran her hand along the side of the trunk she faced until she found the latch in the middle. The tips of her fingers gingerly searched for the trunk release latch in pitch dark. Her breathing quickened when she grasped it but realized whoever threw her in the trunk pried off the handle on the latch before locking her inside.
Not as dumb as I thought.
The car wasn’t moving, and she couldn’t hear anything from outside. She turned on her right side and felt around on the floor of the trunk, but couldn’t find anything to hit against the latch. That left only one option. She kicked the wall between the passenger seats and the back of the car. After two attempts with full strength, her left ankle began to burn. It didn’t matter though, as she was full of determination, but crashing into a van going fifty miles an hour had messed Samantha up.
I must find Matt.
Fifteen kicks later the passenger seat was down far enough for her to crawl through the opening. The sun had begun to set, so she’d been inside the trunk for at least an hour. The gray fabric seats were stained with blood; some of it had-half dried, and she assumed it was Matthew’s. The car was empty and, other than the blood, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. However, there wasn’t enough blood to make her worry. The fact that he’d been alone with whomever the hell chased them off the road did.
If she had an endless amount of time, she’d have searched it longer, rather than throwing all the papers inside the glove compartment onto the floorboard. She found a revolver, but it only had two bullets. One for Matt, one for me? After taking the keys out of the ignition, she took a deep breath and peeked out the driver’s side window.
He had his back to her. He was skinny, with brown hair, a bulletproof vest, and a Colt .45 that glistened in the setting sun. With the flick of a lever, Skinny walked to the back of the car, gun drawn, ebbing closer to the trunk that miraculously popped up. He didn’t hear the driver’s door open, or Samantha’s sneakers crunch against the gravel. Maybe it was because the harbor tide was high, and the sound muffled her steps. She was thankful that an empty warehouse flanked her left, and no one was walking to their boat on her right. She came up behind Skinny and slit his throat. He fell face-first into the open trunk. She half shut it before she thought better of it, took the vest off Skinny, and put it on herself. When she searched him, she found her machete on him, which she took, but left the .45 behind. Too loud, she decided as she gently shut the trunk.
Salty air-filled Samantha’s lungs as she held her hand over her eyes and gazed upon the San Diego Harbor. She was alone. On the verge of screaming out his name, she heard a groan and followed that instead. All the warehouse doors pulled closed, but one had a bloody handprint on the door handle. She slowly moved the two hundred feet to the door. Yelling grew louder as she did. Her fingers brushed the sticky door handle, pushing it down. The door creaked open, she held to the side and counted to twenty. No one shot at her, so she went inside.
Sweat dripped down her back and although her jacket had ripped on one side, along her right arm, she couldn’t leave it behind. Now, she was paying the price as perspiration ran into her eyes and stuck loose tendrils of hair to her face. The darkened hallway didn’t quell the heat, and she dared not search for a light switch. She hugged the wall and walked closer to the voices. The wall was cement and cold. She held the machete in her hand, the switchblade in her boot. She moved slowly, letting her eyes adjust to the darkness, just as she gave herself time to adjust to the light as she snaked through the car after escaping the trunk.
A left, then a right, until she came to the center of the warehouse maze. Samantha clung to the wall as she slid to the floor and looked over the edge of the hall through the opening. A dozen wooden crates lined the main room. Five men stood in a circle around her beloved Matthew, who was tied in a chair. His head faced the floor, but she knew it was him. He was wearing the blue flannel button-up shirt she’d watched him put on. Only now it was spotted with blood.
“Just tell us where the fucking money is!” A man screamed, inches from Matthew’s face. His attire, like the other kidnappers, was head-to-toe solid black. Not cool like Johnny Cash, but as if they’d watched too many Mission Impossible movies, with turtlenecks, cargo pants, knit caps, and bulletproof vests. However, the screaming man was the only one wearing sunglasses.
“I don’t have it,” Matthew said.
Sunglasses punched him.
Matthew spat blood on the floor.
There was a finite amount of beating he could take. When Sunglasses grabbed Matthew’s face, and Samantha saw how much blood coated it, she knew he was about to reach his limit. Alternatively, she had reached hers.
“Get the girl from out of the trunk,” Sunglasses nodded at one of his clones. These guys were more significant than the one who’d been guarding her outside, but she still had the element of surprise.
The Crew Cut clone walked directly toward her. She tucked herself back behind the wall but stayed crouched on the ground.
Matthew called out, “That bitch doesn’t know anything. She’s worthless.”
Sunglasses scoffed, “Then I guess you don’t mind if we bring her in here?”
Matthew chuckled. “You’re going to need more than one guy to bring her in.”
The footsteps were right next to her; she waited until he’d fully turned down the hallway before she tripped him.
“Oomph,” Crew Cut exhaled as Samantha got on top of the fallen figure, and shoved the machete into his skull. Vest can’t protect you from that, she thought as she dragged him a few more feet down the hall. On his belt, she found the gun that he’d planned on using on her and she took it for herself to use on his cohorts. She pressed her boot to Crew Cut’s skull, yanked out the blade, wiped it on her jeans, and slid it back into her boot. With the gun in her hand, she returned to her position.
She didn’t have long enough to think about her next step before Sunglasses broke through her train of thought, “What the hell was that?” He asked from inside the main room. “Go check it out,” he added.
Footsteps again. This time Samantha still clung to the wall, only she stood up, and had the gun ready. Someone with more patience might take them on one by one, but she was far from patient. When the second clone turned into the hallway, she raised the gun to his face and said, “Turn around.” He did. She pushed the barrel of the gun against his bald head. “Walk.”
She guided him out into the open, toward Matthew, and their kidnappers. Once she reached the wooden crates, she internally screamed. She’d miscounted the men, there were still five left, excluding Sunglasses, and she had no idea how many bullets she had.
“What the…” Sunglasses started.
“Get on your knees,” Samantha said to Bald Head in front of her. She held the barrel of the gun to his ear.
“Well, look what we have here,” Sunglasses chuckled. His head moved up and down slowly, and she could only assume that he was checking her out.
It would have been better if she could have glanced at Matthew. Get a sense of what he thought she should do next, but she couldn’t risk it. She stood like a statue, legs spread shoulder-width apart, behind the Bald Clone. “Let him go, and he’ll live.”
“How much is he worth to you?” Sunglasses nodded at Matthew.
“You could have got away, left after you got out of the car.” Sunglasses moved closer, smirking at her. “But you didn’t, you came here to rescue this lying piece of shit. He’s worth more than one of my men. To you, at least.”
“He’s worth something to you, too. Otherwise, you would have killed him.”
Sunglasses turned around and pointed a Beretta at Matthew. “Still think he’s more important to you.”
That’s when she faltered and looked at Matthew’s face. At first, his eyes were wide and sad, but then they turned hollow because he knew that she’d screwed up.
Sunglasses laughed. “Man, oh man, I would have loved to play poker with you,” he lowered the gun and moved closer to Samantha. “Would’ve taken every penny you got.”
He turned the gun at Bald Clone and fired. The drone fell to the cement floor, blood pouring from his head. There was no space between Sunglasses and Samantha when she raised her gun and shot two of the men on her left. In the time it took for her to watch their bodies drop, Sunglasses had grabbed onto her left arm. He twisted her arm until the gun fell to the floor with a clatter. Sunglasses jerked her face back towards his, keeping her chin gripped in his palm.
“Got a mighty pretty face,” Sunglasses murmured.
Samantha tried to reach for her machete, but he’d pulled her so close she could feel his erection against her thigh. “I’m going to cut that hand off if you don’t let go of me.”
His right hand moved to her throat, thumb rubbing up against her windpipe. “I think I have a better chance of cutting off limbs today.” While his left arm traveled down her back.
Samantha laughed because madness is often what came over her while on the verge of death. “You don’t know who you’re fucking with.”
“And who would that be, sweetheart?” Both of his hands gripped her, one on Samantha’s throat, the other her ass.
She pushed away, kicked him in the shin, and pulled her machete out of her boot. The three clones that were still breathing closed in on Samantha. She spun around, slicing all three on the arms, forehead, or neck. It all stopped with a click. Sunglasses’ Beretta pivoted back at Matthew.
“Think you better calm down there, sweetheart,” Sunglasses drawled.
Fuck, she thought as she lowered her machete.
“Drop it,” he said.
“Take off her vest.”
Three clones enclosed on her again. They grabbed at her until she said, “Stop! I can take it off myself.”
“Then get on your knees,” Sunglasses snarled.
“Hell no,” she said.
“Do you want me to kill him?”
“You still don’t know who I am, do you? I’m not getting on my knees for anyone.” Although Sunglasses was right, she’d never played poker. She bet that Matthew staying alive was more important to him than her life. If he had no interest in her, then he’d have to fear her.
He turned the gun on her. “You keep saying that, you a daughter I don’t know about or something?”
“I’m Maya Diaz.”
Sunglasses chuckled. “That bitch is dead. Her spic boyfriend killed her years ago.”
“You’ve seen his scar?”
“That’s what I gave him. I’m gonna love cutting you up too.”
He laughed even harder and smacked his knee. Then he slowly walked toward Samantha, until his crotch was at her eye level. “If you tried to kill, Julio, the prodigal son, what makes you think he’s going to save you now?”
She smiled in return because she could hear the thrill of a motorcycle make its way toward them. “Because only we can kill each other.”
Sunglasses breathing quickened, and although she couldn’t see them, she assumed that his pupils had doubled in size as well. Its rhythm was in time with the rumble of the approaching Harleys. His fear brought a smile to Samantha’s face
“Hear that?” She asked.
“Yeah, so?” Sunglasses retorted. He tried to act tough, but she could hear the quiver in his voice as if his very soul had been enveloped in ice.
“That’s gonna be the last sound you ever hear.” Samantha’s lip curled.
Sunglasses punched her in the face spinning Samantha’s head.
“You punch like a girl,” Samantha said through gritted teeth.
He threw another punch, but she ducked. As he fell over, Samantha stood up and kicked him in the groin.
The other men jumped on top of Samantha and they all crashed to the ground. Sunglasses got up and said, “Kill her.”
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