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19 October 2011

Tournament of Champions: Week Two, Clash #4

**Your hostess this week: Delia Latham

Rosslyn Elliot, author of Fairer Than Morning, is sponsoring today's game with a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com. Thank you, Rosslyn!

The game is on, hosted by April Gardner at www.aprilwgardner.com. Here's your mission: April's blog lists three books releasing in November, but only two are authored by April. Name those two. Hop on over to April's place, find your answer and bring it back here. Post it in the comments section below, and you're entered!

Are you having as much fun as I am? These excerpts have been gripping! What an amazing display of talent this Tournament is showcasing!

And here are the next two great excerpts:

Excerpt A:

The story of Oliver unfolded slowly at first, like a small crack in a huge dam. But once the pressure of the distress had become too much for the edifice to bear, the tale poured out like a raging flood.

“Oliver was just seventeen when my father bought him a commission in the King’s Army,” Daniel said. “I was one of the lieutenants, and my brother and several other ensigns were a part of the Twenty-first Regiment under Burgoyne. On the voyage across the Atlantic, Oliver became friends with a cocky ensign called Gray. I knew this blaggart was trouble from the start…

“The real trouble began when we were running low on victuals in the countryside of New York. Our regiment split into companies and I was officer in charge at one farmhouse. We were told to obtain supplies of food from the barns—nothing more.

“Gray … Gray decided that he wanted more than victuals when he observed a young woman at the farmhouse. He started for the home where he had seen her run inside…

“I yelled for him to halt and return to the orders at hand. I loaded my Brown Bess with powder and ball. Gray ignored my demand, and I ordered him again. I shouted, ‘Halt or be shot.’ Oliver could see that I was serious and yelled for Gray to stop as well. When Gray kept proceeding to the farmhouse, unbuttoning his shirt as he went … I … I shot him. As he lay on the ground bleeding to death, all the others stood stock still. The look on their faces was utter disbelief. No one said a word. And Oliver … Oliver looked at me with such hatred in his eyes. I shall never forget his anger.”

Mary’s eyes were wide with terror. She was trembling now, but not from the cold…

“After that day, Oliver never spoke to me again. Until the battle at Freeman’s farm, that is. Our unit was holding the right flank in battle but we were standing in the woods where we were open to surprise attack. I was getting ready to order another line of fire when I glanced over to my right and saw an insurgent rushing straight at Oliver with his bayonet. I yelled at my brother to take cover, but in so doing he turned to face a barrage of enemy balls. He was hit several times in the chest.

“I ran to him immediately. That’s when a lead ball hit my own leg and I fell next to him on the field. I pulled him to me and held him as he was dying. ‘I am sorry,’ he kept saying. ‘You were right, I am so sorry.’ And then he was gone. He died with his eyes still open, and I had to close them for the last time.”

Daniel was sobbing now. Mary’s cheeks were also moist with tears, and she took Daniel’s hand.

“I am so sorry,” she said.

Excerpt B:

Sam followed her into the kitchen where she grabbed a soda from the refrigerator. "Are we going to talk about what happened earlier?"

"There's nothing to talk about. I'm just tired is all." She walked past him to the table and slid a piece of pizza onto a paper plate.

He didn't believe her. He'd worked crime scenes with her before. Nothing ever shook her. "Come on, Jordan. We used to be partners. I've never seen you react to a scene like you did today."

"I'm under a lot of stress here, Sam. I'm low on manpower, with a budget that won't allow me to do anything about it. Then this creep shows up." She took a bite of her pizza and stared at the floor.

"You've been like this for a long time, Jordan."

"Don't bring our past into this."

"It's already there." He had a hunch that leaving the bureau, her coming back here, of all places, and her deception about the sawmill were all somehow connected.

She looked over at him, "I'm warning you, Sam."

"Tell me why you came back here."

"I already did," she answered, avoiding his gaze.

"I want the truth this time."

She turned and walked away.

He hurried after her, grabbed her arm, and made her turn around. "Something happened here when you were a kid, didn't it? And don‘t bother lying to me; because if I have to I'll search every record going back to before you were born."

"All right, fine." She tossed her plate with the half-eaten piece of pizza onto the counter. "There are similarities to an abduction that took place here several years ago, and the case we're working now."

His gut wrenched. Suddenly her behavior was starting to make sense. The reason she had come back here—that hidden vulnerability he'd caught glimpses of through the years—the anxiety she expressed at the dumpsite—and her meltdown today.
He prayed he was wrong. "Tell me about the case."

She refused to look at him.

He tightened his grip on her forearm, felt her body tremble underneath his touch. "Tell me about it, Jordan."

"Twenty years ago, a twelve-year-old girl was abducted and taken to that sawmill and held hostage for three days," she spoke in a methodical voice. "The guy was never caught."

Please don‘t let her be that girl. "What makes you think there's a connection to that and the serial murder case we're working?"

She wrestled out of his grip and looked him in the eyes. "Because of the marks on the victim's hands and feet. The killer used small-linked chains to secure the victims. Same as the guy did twenty years ago."

"Go on," he pressed as his stomach muscles continued to tighten.

Jordan moved further into the living room. It was several seconds before she turned and looked at him. "That twelve-year old girl was me, Sam. And I know it's the same guy. I can feel it with every fiber of my being."

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Item Reviewed: Tournament of Champions: Week Two, Clash #4 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anonymous