Friday, February 6, 2015

Bring Me Back (Evans Trilogy Book 3) by Jennifer Collin Excerpt



Andy Evans is on the move. For six long, lonely years, he’s been running from his past, leaving his family and his life as a drug-addicted rock star far behind. His latest move takes him to the sleepy seaside town of Oamaru, New Zealand, to sell cigar-box guitars to tourists. The only running he’ll need to do will be training for half-marathon in nearby Dunedin. But when Andy sets eyes on Steampunk HQ, Oamaru's main tourist attraction, he realises his days of running might not be over, especially if a certain Steampunk fan from his past catches up with him.

Annie Martin is on the cusp of great success. Her career as a Steampunk academic is about to take off, as long as she can convince one disagreeable, New Zealand-based Professor to sign up to the anthology she’s putting together. Thankfully, Annie is a master at maintaining her poise and few people, no matter how nasty, can rattle her. Not any more. In fact, it’d been a good six years since anyone had gotten under her skin, after her best friend’s brother had vanished into thin air.

When Annie finds her future career on a collision course with her secret past, Andy Evans is the last person she expects to find tangled up in the mess. With a vengeful drug-dealer or two hot on his heels, and a vindictive academic determined to ruin her credibility, can Annie bring Andy back to his family before it’s too late? Annie and Andy are used to being alone, but if they don’t work together, there’ll be much more at stake than her livelihood and his sobriety.


Annie charged down the park, running parallel to the competitors and dodging the spectators. As the finish line came into view, the crowd thickened. She slowed and pushed her way through, determined this time. When she reached the recovery area, where the runners who’d finished were pacing, an official held up a hand to stop her.
Not that way, miss,’ he said. Behind him a temporary fence separated the competitors from the crowd.
Annie followed his direction, scanning for a way to slip past. The second the official was distracted by another punter, she jumped the fence and dashed into the gathering group of runners. She didn’t have much time. Even in regular clothes she would’ve been conspicuous, but in her Victorian skirts and corset, she stood out like, well, like someone from Victorian England had been dropped at the finish line of a twenty-first-century marathon. Most of the runners were walking in circles, shaking their legs, breathing heavily. Some were lying on their backs, chests rising and falling, eyes closed. One was bent over, hands on his knees, head down. The only runner with a beard.
Annie looked around to make sure she was still unseen by the officials. In the clear, she inched closer, careful to stay behind him so he couldn’t see her.
When she was close enough to reach out and touch him, she clasped her skirts with her shaking hands. ‘Andy?’ she said.
Yeah?’ He looked up and saw her.
Andy Evans watched Annie’s eyes widen and her face whiten. Then he straightened, cursed, and bolted.
Behind him, Annie cursed as well and started chasing him.
He dodged through the crowd, leading her to the end of the park and down the beach. He was running on pure adrenalin – there was no strength left in his legs. He glanced over his shoulder to see he was getting away as Annie stumbled in the sand in her boots.
You’re such a jerk, Andy Evans!’ she called after him. ‘Don’t you run away from me!’
Andy was doing his best, but it was looking more and more like he’d have to obey her command. His legs weren’t promising to carry his weight any further, and at any moment they would give out beneath him. Still, he pushed on and somehow managed to increase the distance between them.
Something slammed into his back and he broke stride to see what had hit him. A leather ankle boot fell to the sand behind him. She must’ve taken off her boots and decided to throw them at him. He spared her a glance and tried to recover his pace. A knock to the back of the head told him she’d thrown the second boot. He stumbled and crashed face first into the sand. Annie reached him in seconds, jumping onto his back and pinning him with her knees.
You bloody shit,’ she gasped. She grabbed his wrists in each of her hands and pushed them into the sand. ‘You bloody shit.’
Andy couldn’t breathe. She was crushing his already spent lungs. He tried to tell her as much.
I don’t care,’ she said, and ground her knees into his back.
Desperate, Andy mustered his remaining strength and lifted himself, with Annie on top. He flipped over onto his back and she landed on his chest for a split second, before rocketing to her feet and stepping away.
She searched around for her boot, picked it up and threw it at him again. It hit him in the chest.

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