[Sourtoe] [Delivered from Evil] [The Darkest Night]
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New York Times' best-selling author of TREASURE HUNT and THE FIRST LAW
New York Times' best-selling author of THE LAST SURGEON and FATAL
Best-selling author of MONSTER and NOT LOST FOREVER
ExcerptThe bleeding sky drained to corpse blue, then decomposed to black while Morgan slept.
When he awoke sometime near midnight, disoriented and bleary, it was as moonless and silent as a grave. The only light shone from the Milky Way. Sleep had made him groggier, uncertain for a moment where he was.
The absence of wind left him cold. He'd grown so accustomed to the soughing of the trees and the tinkle of wind bells at night that the quiet made him uncomfortable.
No lights shone in the house, either. Through the veil of waking, he could make out a glittering swath of stars above the silhouette of forest to the west, away from the lights of town.
Then a star, tiny and blue, jiggled below the ragged shadows of the pine forest. Less than a hundred yards away, just this side of the woods, it quivered for a second, changed direction, then disappeared again.
Morgan rubbed the fog of sleep from his eyes, but the light — too low, too blue and too erratic to be a star — had vanished.
He watched the spot for a minute, maybe two, never blinking. His skin prickled as he leaned forward across the porch's whitewashed baluster, bracing his chin against his forearm, trying to peer inside the bowels of night. The dry air stung his wide eyes, but he dared not miss the ghostly light if it appeared again.
Instead, the light found him.
Not the blue light, but a pinpoint of laser-red that flitted like a neon mosquito across the back of his hand and seemed to disappear beneath his chin.
Morgan lurched sideways along the rail, spilling out of his chair as the garden window behind him disintegrated, a split second before he heard the muffled fup of a high-powered rifle. He scrambled on his belly along the porch, desperately seeking cover, but redwood chaise lounges and clay flower pots hadn't been placed there to save his life. He dove off the decking and crouched behind a rain barrel, his hands and knees bloodied by slivers of broken glass.
The second and third shots thumped close together into the water-logged oak staves, and Morgan heard water trickling fast from the other side of his hiding place. When he saw the deadly speck of the laser sight dart across the dark opposite wall, he knew the shooter must have a night-vision scope with laser targeting, mounted on a semi-automatic sniper rifle.
Whatever it was, and whoever was shooting at him, it was no deer rifle, no midnight plinker spotlighting skunks.
Then he heard the screech of the screen door at the far end of the porch. It was too dark to see anything, too quiet to know if there was anything to be seen.
An anxious moment passed and then Morgan froze.
It was Colter's voice.
"Go back, baby!" Morgan shouted.
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