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Chapter 1: A simple assignment
Provence, France, May 2010
The mansion seemed to Sydney the epitome of France: originally constructed of light grey stone probably hundreds of years ago, it had new, modern windows that showed polished wood floors, bright lamps and modern furniture inside. The light spilling out the windows added to that from modern fixtures that lit up the manicured gardens inside the wall. Two cars sat on the gravel, a black Peugeot and a bright red Lamborghini.
While she couldn’t see them from her vantage point in the tree, Sydney was certain there was also state-of-the-art security and surveillance technology that kept a better eye on the grounds than she had.
Sydney glanced down to the ground. She couldn’t see Blue in the shadows below her, but she could feel him there. Blue — her rock. Always there for her. He had saved Sydney’s life more than once, even took a bullet meant for her.
Blue was the size of a Great Dane with the long, thick fur of a wolf, the markings of a Husky and the elegant muzzle of a collie. He was better to her than she was to him, Sydney knew, but she also knew she could always rely on him.
She turned her attention to the manor house. Two men entered the front room. One was her target — no, make that subject, Sydney reminded herself — Nigel Willem, wearing a suit without a tie, one button of his white shirt open at the collar. The other was a short, broad man with dark hair, cropped short. He had a round, blunt face, heavy eyebrows and a short, thick neck. He wore a golf shirt and casual pants, and as he sat in an overstuffed leather sofa and crossed one ankle over the other knee, Sydney could see he wore deck shoes.
Okay, so Willem is meeting with someone from the Russian mob. Maybe. Or maybe it’s just a movie star.
But why? And why sneak here to do it?
Movement in the front yard caught her eye. A shadow slid down the wall. A tall man dressed all in black crouch-walked to the Lamborghini, keeping it between himself and the front door. The slim figure vanished into the car’s shadow, then re-emerged a few seconds later. It took a run at the wall, sprang up, gripped the top and swung over, vanishing into the night.
Sydney jumped off the branch, landing ten feet below beside Blue. “Hunt,” she said, pointing along the wall toward the front of the estate. Blue sprang ahead, disappearing into the darkness under the trees.
Sydney ran as fast as she could behind him. She rounded the corner of the wall, arriving in a small clearing, still invisible to anyone in the manor. She had expected to find Blue pinning the shadowy figure to the ground, standing on his chest and growling into his face.
Instead, the wan light showed Blue in classic play posture: butt high in the air, tail wagging furiously, front paws and head low to the ground, head tilted slightly to one side.
In front of him was a man in the same posture, or as close as a human being could get to doggie pose: on his hands and knees, butt high, head low. He and Blue looked at each other, sprang up simultaneously, collided, fell together on the ground, rolled over and over. Blue jumped away, giving a little, happy bark, turning to look back at the man lying on the ground. Blue’s tail was a blur in the dark.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Sydney stepped close, getting down on one knee to touch the barrel of her gun to his head and said “Freeze.”
The man did not freeze. Instead, he rolled over onto his back and smiled up at her. He had large, light-colored eyes under heavy eyebrows, high cheekbones, a perfectly straight nose, a full mouth and a slight dimple in his chin. The woolen cap on his head hid his hair.
Sydney leaned over to keep the gun in his face, and turned to Blue. “What is the matter with you?”
Blue’s ears drooped, his tail stopped and fell. He whined softly.
Sydney turned to the man in black. “Who the hell are you and what have you done to my dog?”
“Dogs like me,” he replied with an American accent. His deep voice stirred something inside Sydney’s chest. She swallowed. She could feel sweat on her upper lip.
He smiled broadly, his teeth shining in the wan light. That smell again, she thought. What is it? It was so faint, she wondered whether she was imagining it. Soft but irresistible. Her mouth suddenly felt too full of saliva.
About The Wife Line
Human traffickers are selling young women from eastern Europe as sex slaves and killing them when they become inconvenient. Sydney Rye’s job is only to protect her client, until a mysterious, aggravating and irresistible young crusader pulls her and Blue on a far more dangerous path: taking down the whole slaving ring.
If you like Emily Kimelman’s Sydney Rye series featuring a strong female character, her canine best friend, Blue, tons of action and a dash of sex, you won’t be able to put The Wife Line down.
Following Sydney, Blue and Van across the seamiest part of Europe.
Get is exclusively on Amazon.
How to WIN a free copy of this Sydney Rye Kindle World mystery
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About the author
Scott Bury cannot stay in one genre. As an award-winning journalist, he has published articles in Macworld, The Financial Post, Marketing, Graphic Arts Monthly, Applied Arts and other magazines in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. His first published fiction was a children’s story, Sam, the Strawb Part. His next was a paranormal/occult thriller, Dark Clouds, followed by the bestselling historical fantasy, The Bones of the Earth.
His other titles include a parody, One Shade of Red, and Army of Worn Soles, a memoir of World War 2 seen through the eyes of a man who fought on the Eastern Front.
Most recently, he has been writing mystery-thrillers in three Kindle Worlds:
- Torn Roots, a Lei Crime Kindle World mystery
- Jet: Stealth, a JET Kindle World thriller
- Palm Trees & Snowflakes, a Lei Crime Kindle World story
- The Wife Line, a Sydney Rye Kindle World thriller
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He holds a BA from Carleton University’s School of Journalism. He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot.
He is a recipient of Maclean Hunter’s Top 6 Award and a member of a team that won a Neal Award for business reporting.
Scott can be found: