I'm giving away another FOUR ebook copies of SANCTUARY LOST to the first four people to comment.
Leave me your email in this format: lisaphillipsbks at gmail dot com (because we all hate that phishing spam) and whether you need Kindle or Nook...
U.S. Marshal John Mason gains full custody of his son and is transferred to Sanctuary, a witness protection town that isn't on any map. When the town's first ever murder occurs, John's plans to reconnect with his boy are derailed by the investigation. Andra Caleri gave up her old life a long time ago, but someone wants her out of Sanctuary--to pay. As accusations fly and John uncovers a conspiracy that stretches all the way to Washington, Andra's past comes back in a true test of the mercy she received. Can John give up what he wants the most to bring the truth to light?
John Mason looked beyond
the gun to the eyes of the man about to kill him. Only a coward shot someone
unarmed and duct-taped to a chair. John couldn’t even twitch the tape was so
tight around his chest, pinning his arms to his sides so he could grasp only
air in his fists.
puffed out like smoke and the sweat on his forehead was a layer of permafrost.
How long until he sank into hypothermia? Probably not faster than it would take
to be on his back in a pool of his own brain matter…still tied to this chair.
heavies stood behind him, one at seven o’clock and one at four. The
mouth-breather was starting to get on his nerves and John had more important
things to think about. Like last requests, and not crapping his pants.
being aimed at his front shifted with the gunman’s movement. John bit the
inside of his lip in a concerted effort not to flinch.
“Think you’re a big man, don’t you? Mr. U.S.
Marshal John Mason.” The gunman’s lip curled. “That’s right. I know all about
you, the big shot who takes all the hard cases. Trackin’ down guys like me who
just want to get on with their lives. I took the trouble to escape from
Allenwood. You’d think that might tell ya’ll somethin’. You think you gonna
take me back?”
dropped the blank mask and lifted his chin. “At this juncture, I’m thinking
that option might be off the table.”
raised the weapon and slammed it against John’s temple. Pain struck with the
strength of a three-hundred-pound enforcer. John kept his eyes closed,
swallowing the nausea.
The words he said next washed over John. He’d been living in this world too
long if the double-barreled insult didn’t even make him blink. He was going to
die here, drowned in the ocean of filth that had penetrated his pores for the
last twelve months and become part of him.
wasn’t he dead yet?
shifted his stance. John dipped his head to the side and wiped the blood from
his cheek onto the shoulder of his formerly white t-shirt.
ceiling was two stories high with bird nests where the metal beams crossed each
other. Pallets were strewn on the floor, like someone just tossed them and
walked out…fifteen years ago. The air was thick with dust and a cat had
possibly died in the corner to his left, sometime in the past decade.
mouth-breather was at it again, until a car pulled up outside. “Boss is here.”
gunman’s spine snapped straight. “Good. I’m done dealin’ with this guy.”
done enough to warrant an extended sentence and didn’t want the wrap for
murdering a federal agent. Apparently, the gunman was happy to pass the
privilege on up the chain.
his eyes on the door while two car doors slammed… a third.
strode in. Tailored suits, the two at the back had automatic weapons. How many
bullets were they planning on putting in him?
man of the pack was more myth than bona fide human. He never came out in
daylight, never met with anyone. Did all his business through his lieutenants
and had never in his life been convicted of anything. Why he needed an army of
federal fugitives on his payroll was open for estimation, but no one had a
clue. Least of all John.
hair was dark and slicked with grease, his forehead completely smooth, which
meant he either got Botox or he’d had a stress-free life. John wasn’t convinced
enough to put money down on either. His suit was brown and he had an
honest-to-goodness gold tooth to brighten his smile.
your hand, but…” John shrugged with his head as much as was possible.
that. It’s unfortunate, I’m not a fan of killing a man when he’s restrained.”
say I wouldn’t do it. I just said I’m not a fan.” He motioned to the gunman
with his fingertips and the gun was placed in his hand.
It was now
“So, you’re the great Alphonz. Honestly, you look more like a Charlie.”
“Is any of
us really what we seem? Take you for example. On paper John Mason is a
two-strike car thief with no assets and poor taste in shoes.”
wrong with his sneakers?
when one digs beyond the smoke screen, John Mason is in fact the fourth son of
a deceased Kansas plumber whose widow currently resides in Richmond, Virginia.
Dropped dead in his truck, didn’t he?”
Alphonz know this?
brother of the Dolphins newest quarterback.”
currently unemployed, former U.S. Army logistics specialist.”
appear unemployed on paper but he did have a job. It was just none of them knew
what it was and he wouldn’t talk about it when they asked.
but not least, the oldest son. Grant Mason, the director of the U.S. Marshals.”
John bit down
on his lip.
addition to this salt-of-the-earth pedigree, John Mason also has an ex-wife who
has since remarried and an eight year old son who barely knows he exists.”
be a shame for any of them to meet an untimely demise. No?”
lifted the gun. “It appears I already have it. But I’m not a bad man. Do you
have any last words? Some pithy sentiment I can personally pass to your boy?”
struggled against the tape but he was bound too tight to move. “You don’t touch
you care? It’s not like you ever see the boy. He’s perfectly happy with his
mother and step-father. I should know, since I personally looked into it.”
noise emerged from his throat. John tried to swallow it down but he couldn’t.
His eyes filled with tears.
squeezed his eyes shut. His last breath was a shuddered inhale.
fired, followed by another—a rat-tat.
nothing. The rear right leg of the chair gave out and he crashed to the floor.
Lights flashed on and a wave of booted federal agents ran into the room.
gunfire rang out and someone returned fire. The gunman hit the floor in front
of him. John tried to shift with the chair but only got an inch. The blood from
his temple shifted to run into his eyes. John jerked harder against the tape but
he was still bound.
that voice and the others who yelled, “Freeze! Federal Marshals, you’re under
chest got tight. Someone knelt by his face and he was being jostled. He moaned
at the pain in his shoulder. The tape loosened and he was pulled to his back. A
sleeve closed in, wiping off his forehead and then he saw who it was.
man. Your brother couldn’t make it. He was tied up in something but he said
he’d call you later.” Marshal Banks’ bushy gray eyebrows folded together. He
flashed a tiny light in one of John’s eyes and then the other. “Anything hurt
other than your head?”
you checked out.” Banks leaned back to sit on his heels. “It’s been a long
year. How are you doing?”
turned his head. Alphonz was on his face with a knee in his back as the marshal
cuffed him. Alphonz’s dark gaze settled on John. “You’re a dead man.”
sure I’m alive, actually.”
Banks squeezed the wrong shoulder. John blacked out for a second. Dislocated. “Don’t worry about him.”
blinked a few times and found the older man’s face. “How’s Pat?”
you a phone. You can find out for yourself.”
be in bed.”
off if you get a shower and a good night’s rest and go see him in the morning.”
Banks’ eyes shifted. “Medics are here.”
John took a shower at the hospital. After they
admitted him and did an MRI to check for cranial bleeding. Good for him, his
luck wasn’t that bad. They kept him for observation and he barely slept since
every marshal on the east coast traipsed through his room to shake his hand and
congratulate him on their largest take down in years.
man. Well done.”
one else was hurt. You did good.”
Mason. Your brother must be proud.”
all the glory in the family, eh?”
John had been sent in to find out why Alphonz was recruiting federal fugitives,
something he still didn’t have an answer to.
awake in the hospital room, the light in the bathroom on and the door cracked
like the nurse thought he needed a nightlight so he could sleep. John stared at
the ceiling tiles.
Why had the
team breached tonight of all nights?
point of going undercover was being out of contact. So how did they know Alphonz
was going to show up and try to kill John? There must have been someone else in
Alphonz’s operation. Or they’d gotten a tip from a fugitive with an attack of
morals who knew John’s real identity and didn’t want to see him killed.
thing was beyond bizarre. Not that he wasn’t thankful to be alive. Even if his
shoulder being put back into place hurt more than any other injury in his life.
Pain meant you were still breathing.
to know where he was, so why hadn’t his brother called? What could be more
important to the director of the marshals tonight than their biggest take-down
have asked him, but Grant never called and John didn’t remember the number.
The key stuck in the lock. John muscled open the front door of his
apartment and dumped his duffel bag on the entryway floor. The place smelled
like bleach bathroom cleaner and the surfaces were free of dust. John found the
patio door key and opened it, trying to air out the place. His mom must have
come by or hired someone to clean.
was just as he’d left it twelve months and three days ago—when his son had been
seven. Now Pat was eight but it wasn’t long enough he’d have forgotten who his
father was. Given time, they could reconnect. If Ellen let him.
onto the couch and kicked away his boots. He gritted his teeth and stripped off
the scrubs top the hospital had given him after they cut his shirt away.
across the dining area between the vertical blinds, but he didn’t sleep.
Alphonz might be in custody but John didn’t feel any of the satisfaction which
should’ve been there.
satisfaction he’d felt with other undercover assignments.
By the TV
he hadn’t watched in a year was a framed picture of him and Pat when his son
was about four. Pat was on his hip and they were smiling at each other, his
tiny hands touching John’s face.
John fell asleep
with the feel of Pat’s hands on his cheeks.
Pounding on the door woke
him. It was dark and his watch said six-thirty p.m., same day. He yanked the
door open, still blinking away the blur of sleep. “What?”
as always, Jonathan.” Ellen cocked the hip of her tiny skirt, not an ounce of
fat on her. If he hugged her she’d probably feel like a tree branch. But that would
mean she let him touch her, which hadn’t happened for a lot longer than the
four years they’d been divorced.
a long week.”
mother told me you were home and I didn’t want to wait any longer to speak with
was using her city-girl lawyer voice. That was never good.
shifted and looked around her. “Where’s Pat?”
what I wanted to speak with you about.”
heavy settled in John’s stomach. “Come inside.”
you could put a shirt on.”
a question. John turned and flipped on the light switch. Ellen gasped. He
ignored her and trailed to his bedroom closet where he grabbed the first
t-shirt he laid eyes on. A bruise stretched across the back of his shoulder. He
could see it in the mirror even with the dim light of his bedroom.
back out. “You want some coffee?”
no need. This won’t take long.” She set her purse down on the couch—if she put
it on the floor the bottom would get dirty—and opened the latches of her
lawyer-bag to pull out a manila envelope, which she set on the breakfast bar.
already got a divorce.”
smile. “Those are custody papers. I had them drawn up.”
fatigue in him dissipated. “If you think for one second I’m going to give up my
you could make that claim if you ever actually saw your son.” Ellen’s already
tiny lips thinned into a pressed line. “But be that as it may, you’re home now.
I’m not waiting any longer. Stefan was offered a position in Boston and he has
taken it. I’m to join him as soon as possible and I’m afraid this move is not
conducive to bringing a small child.”
“Our boy is
cramping your high-falutin’ lifestyle?”
for one second, not be the hick-town boy so we can have a civilized
discussion?” Her body tightened so much she looked like a popsicle stick. “I
have been the lone parent of our child for long enough, John Mason. It’s time
for you to quit being so selfish and be the parent now.”
John folded his arms across his chest. “Where is Pat?”
Patrickat your mother’s this
“If I take
him, I want full custody for good. No changing your mind.”
pulled back to reveal unnaturally white teeth. “I am not the bad guy here.
You’re the one who hasn’t seen his son in a year.”
“I was on
didn’t have a phone?”
it doesn’t work like that. You of all people know what this job entails.”
of being a marshal, or the job of doing everything possible to make your
brother proud of you?”
them needed to go there. “Ellen—”
the papers. All I need now is your signature and I will file them with my
attorney. I want two weeks in the summer and alternating Christmases.”
have his son with him permanently? He had no idea what position he’d be in next.
Surely Grant would make sure John got home for dinner regularly.
said, “Whatever you want” but that was never a good idea with Ellen. He’d worry
about how this was going to work with his job later. She was right, even if he
didn’t like the fact she was essentially dumping Pat on him.
It was his
turn to be the parent.
strode to the counter, signed the forms and then handed them to her. “If we’re
done here, I’d like to get to Pat.”
the papers and collected up her purse and leather briefcase. “I almost feel as
if I should say something. Mark this occasion somehow. After all, it’s been a
whole fifteen minutes and we’ve managed to not shout at each other.”
his lips twitch. “Let’s not get carried away.”
of him, John.” Sadness edged into her gaze, darkening her face despite the
light blond shade of her hair and the peach color that flashed every time she
blinked. “I knew Stefan didn’t want children of his own. I thought that meant
he was content to be a step-father to Patrick. But this move will be good for
us. The time alone means we can…re-connect.”
going to stop talking sometime soon? John wanted to know if his son was okay.
Now. He swiped up his keys.
sighed. “I don’t expect you to understand.”
I don’t. You’re giving up your son for your marriage?”
down her nose, despite being two inches shorter than his five-foot-eleven. “You
gave him up for your job.”
arguing with you.” He clenched and unclenched the hold on his truck keys. Was
she going to leave already? Ellen stared back at him.
sighed. “Take care, darlin’.”
face melted. “We did have some good times, didn’t we?”
currently the good part of their marriage was at his mom’s house in who knew
what state. “I guess we did.”
until John started working undercover. It had been a step in the right direction
for his career, but ended up costing him his marriage when his wife of five
years decided she didn’t want to be a single parent. Then she divorced him so she
could become one anyway, with the added bonus of child support.
call me if Pat needs anything?”
But he wouldn’t.
done with undercover and he was going to make sure Pat didn’t need anything
He didn’t knock on his mom’s door. John grabbed the hide-a-key from the
crack in the siding and let himself in. “Mom, it’s me.”
Grant who strode from the living room, his hair still more brown than gray even
though he was pushing forty-seven. “She’s at bingo.”
left?” John ran a hand through his already disheveled hair. He needed to get it
promised her he was fine. He’s stubborn, like someone else I know.”
man stepped into the hall, which was lined with cardboard boxes. Pat’s stuff?
John zeroed in on his son’s face—a mini version of his own but with Ellen’s
nose before she had it fixed. Pat looked at his feet, rubbing one shoe against
the toe of the other.
his lip. “Hey, kid.”
John’s brother and his wife had three girls—now teenagers—so he might think he
was the expert on parenting, but Grant had never understood the bond between
father and son. At least, John hoped they still had one. Maybe he’d killed it.
his chest, right above his heart. Pat’s eyes were wide but he didn’t look angry
or upset. That was good, right? John sank to his knees in the foyer, ignoring
the pain in his shoulder. He rubbed his forehead, his fingers scratching at the
bandage. Right. His head. He’d forgotten about that.
Pat’s voice shook.
lowered his hand. “I’m okay.”
his head and motioned Pat over. Okay,
that hurt. Thankfully Pat didn’t hesitate, so John didn’t have to suffer
Grant watching him fail as a father for the seven-billionth time. It was bad
enough without an audience.
steps gathered speed as he crossed the foyer. John opened his arms and Pat hit
him at a full tackle, knocking John onto his backside. He wrapped his arms
around his eight-year-old son and held him for the first time in a year. The
assignment wasn’t supposed to have taken this much time, but he’d known going
in it would be as long as it took to complete the job.
jerked. “You don’t want me to live with you?”
stay here with Grandma. It’ll be fine.”
touched his cheeks, the same way Pat had done with him in the picture. “Listen
to me now. I’m not going anywhere, not anymore.”
Grant heard him, just as much as Pat. Because John didn’t want any more
And if his
brother didn’t like it, he was going to quit.
U.S. Marshal John Mason gains full custody of his son and is transferred to Sanctuary, a WITSEC town that isn't on any map.
When the town's first ever murder occurs, John's plans to reconnect with his boy are derailed by the investigation.
Andra Caleri gave up her old life a long time ago, but someone wants her out of Sanctuary--to pay.
As accusations fly and John uncovers a conspiracy that stretches all the way to Washington, Andra's past comes back in a true test of the mercy she received. Can John give up what he wants the most to bring the truth to light?
It's available now for pre-order on iTunes and Barnes and Noble for Nook customers, and goes on sale officially on June 30th!
Meet my September 2014 Love Inspired Suspense, STAR WITNESS!
I LOVE how the road is cracked, and the sky is gorgeous. I'm kinda geeking out right now!
SHE THOUGHT SHE WAS SAFE
Mackenzie Winters spent years building a life in Witness Protection, but when someone shoots at her, she fears her cover has been blown. Could the brother of the drug lord she put away be here for revenge? Mackenzie must rely on her handler's twin, world-weary Delta Force soldier Aaron Hanning, to protect her. Aaron doesn't want to be anyone's hero, but he can't let this brave woman die. Now, with danger stalking them, they'll have to make a daring choice that means life or death—for them both.