TITLE: Freedom and Magnolias
CIA Agent Reese Trenton's life was simple—dodge bullets, make reports, stay alive—until almost being run down by Maggie Donovan, a woman who makes him consider a life without secrets. When a vengeful perp from Reese's past targets Maggie, he realizes the only way to keep her safe is to leave, but first, he must fight to keep her alive.
The gas pump icon on the instrument panel of Maggie Donovan's SUV flashed a bright red warning. Now what? She flicked the display panel with her finger. No change. How long did she have before she blocked a Chicago thoroughfare? Got arrested for creating a disturbance?
A small panic stirred her insides, churning into light pain. She didn't like cars, didn't like to drive, and didn't like traffic. The past few years, planes, taxis and the occasional rental car served her travel needs. Early this morning life had changed when she bought a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee. Now, less than five hours later, she couldn't remember ever seeing one solitary gas station in her neighborhood.
For being mid-afternoon, the traffic on Michigan Avenue moved at a good clip. A gaggle of pedestrians packed the sidewalk with an occasional power walker pushing their way through the mass. Out of nowhere, a man catapulted from between cars parked at the curb. He grabbed over his shoulder for empty air, his legs stumbling over each other as he fell in front of her.
"Noooooooo!" She crushed the brake pedal to the floor bed. Her breath hitched inward with each jerky pump of the anti-lock brakes. Fingers vice-gripped the steering wheel as the screech of tires against pavement wrapped around her brain. She shut her eyes. Braced. Stopped. Exhaled.
Had she hit the man?
No thud. No scream. No dead body on top of her hood. Had to be a good sign. Right?