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Pitch Black

Pitch Black

Passion lights the way for an ex-marine corrections officer rescuing a female CO trapped in a prison block during a blackout…

Note: This 5000-word short story was previously published as part of the HIGH OCTANE HEROES anthology. It may be short in length, but it’s not short in passion!

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High Octane HeroesPITCH BLACK is also part of the High Octane Heroes anthology.

Cleis Press
Edited by Delilah Devlin
Genre: Contemporary
ISBN-10: 1573449695
ISBN-13: 9781573449694
On Sale: August 13, 2013

Heroes inspire lustful fascination. Worthy of High Octane Hero status, kickass iconic heroes enter danger zones in the name of duty, honor, country, and even love. These rugged men conjure images of hard, chiselled bodies, laser-sharp gazes and stark, camouflaged features.

Get ready for high-octane, smoldering-hot adventures, featuring these “super alpha” heroes and the strong women who wage heated battles for their hearts. In “Beseiged,” a special forces soldier rescues his lover from an embassy takeover. In “The Star,” an American Air Force pilot and a grieving British woman find solace in each other’s arms. A sexy SWAT team leader saves a rookie during a bungled undercover assignment in “Renegade.” And get ready for an undercover cop who flexes more than his “Big Guns.” Set in war-torn regions of the world and in your own neighborhoods, High Octane Heroes delivers passion, danger and heart.

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Read an Excerpt

Given the right company and a soft bed, Danny Crispin would have welcomed the hot summer storm. He’d have opened his bedroom curtains, tossed up the window and let the wet wind howl right inside. Wouldn’t matter if his bed got saturated. The thought of a certain redhead covered in rain and sweat, green eyes glinting hotter than any flash of lightning, tightened his body.

However, a thunderstorm spelled trouble this night. He gazed up from behind the wheel of the prison pickup and watched yet another brilliant flash dance and pop across the strands of the concertina wire high atop the chain-link fence.

“Sarge, did you see that?” the radio squawked, all formal radio protocols forgotten by the new guard in the South Tower.

Danny understood Officer First Class Hughes’s concern. The towers were open metal cages, no glass in the windows to protect the guards from the elements. No doubt the young officer had parked his weapon in a corner, his metal chair beside it, and stood in his rain poncho with his rubber-soled boots on the iron grating while rain sliced sideways, soaking him. It’s what he’d done when he’d been a rookie corrections officer, before he’d been promoted to sergeant a year ago.

Another jagged bolt sparked on the wire, and he cursed, wishing he was back in his hub keeping watch on the restless prisoners. Jenna Hurly was scheduled to be in the barracks. If the power went out, she’d be trapped in the dark with eighty murderers. He hoped like hell the storm blew over soon, and he could head back to the Hub One cell block. Half an hour ago, the lieutenant had ordered him to assume his rover duties outside the fence so he could be inside the walls in case the power went out and generators had to be cranked to replace the feed from the electric company. Something that occurred with annoying frequency in this remote region of Arkansas.

Danny drove a slow circle around the dirt track surrounding the walls. The rain fell harder, the wiper blades useless against the deluge, his headlights barely piercing the darkness.

Moments later, another flash was followed by a loud explosion. Then the lights in the two towers in his line of sight went dark, confirming his worst fears. The transformer had been hit.

Danny pressed the gas and clicked the button on his radio. “Grayson, meet me at the North Tower!”

Moments later, he skidded to a halt in the mud. Because the automatic locks wouldn’t be working, he had his keys in hand, his flashlight held at his shoulder as he ran toward the gate. He opened it just as Grayson came running. “You take rover. I’m going inside.”

Corporal Grayson gave him a curt nod as they passed each other. Danny turned to lock the gate behind him then ran toward the entrance of the prison, the pitch darkness inside the glass doors ominous. Again he fought the lock then raced through the corridor toward his hub.

He ran to the North Control booth. They couldn’t pop the button, so again he was delayed opening the locks to first the outer door, then the inner door. Not slowing, he ran right, passing Central Control, then hit a quarter turn to the left and arrived at the Plexiglas corridor that usually gave a bird’s-eye view into Hubs One and Three.

Eerie darkness spread beneath him. At the end of the corridor he entered another door and another, then passed Hub One’s control booth where he spared a second to wave at Officer McGee, whose concern was etched in his wrinkled face.

As Danny raced through a rabbit’s warren of doors and stairs, his heart thudded dully against his chest. He hoped like hell Jenna had kept her head, followed their preset plan, and that she’d be waiting in the tiled shower area of the barracks. With the power out, the prisoners would be making the most of the unsupervised time. Images of vicious beatings and rapes flashed through his mind. A male officer faced horrific dangers, but a female caught on the floor…

He couldn’t think about that now and not go nuts. He had to keep calm. Had to get to her. As he at last entered the third tier of the barracks, he flicked off his flashlight and felt for the iron bars atop the stairs and followed them, jostling past prisoners moving in the darkness.

Two more flights down, she’d be there. Waiting in the darkness. If he was lucky the skinheads had gotten to her first. They’d stepped in a couple of times to prevent assaults, having decided Officer Hurly was “good people.”

Relying on a lifer wasn’t Danny’s idea of the optimal situation, but an officer caught in the midst of a melee didn’t have many choices. Hiding in the darkness, her back against a wall, hoping no one heard her breathe or noted where she was when the lights went out….

Danny drew a deep breath to calm his heart and barreled down the last of the iron stairs.

The moment the lights flickered out, Jenna darted to the left, through the last “hole” between prisoners where she’d been patrolling, keeping an eye on the restless bunch.

Her radio squawked. “Grayson, meet me at the North Tower!”

Thank god. Danny was on his way. She reached for her radio and turned it off. The sound would pinpoint her location to those around her. Then she slipped her cuffs from her back pocket, slid one manacle around her wrist and gripped the other like brass knuckles. Just in case she had to fight her way through.