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>For the love of Xanax…FEVER excerpt

>In discussing stress yesterday on Twitter, I promised a friend this fun passage from FEVER…for Xanax lovers everywhere…

Setting: An all-hell-breaks-loose kinda thing; gunfight in house that catches fire… (I mean, why just send in a man with a gun when you can set the house on fire too?)

Alyssa: heroine, Teague: hero, Mitch: Alyssa’s brother, Luke: Teague’s former best friend/antagonist-turned-ally, Vasser and Burton: Villains.

       Luke grabbed her arms and pushed her back. “I said get out of here.”

         Then he turned and disappeared into the smoke and flames.

         The first hint of sirens perked Alyssa’s ears. She turned toward the sound with a new fear filling her heart. Firefighters were coming. Cops wouldn’t be far behind.

         “Teague!” she called into the house. “Mitch! Luke!”

         Grunts sounded in the murky din, amongst the angry roar of fire and pop and crack of old wood. Something flew past the door where Alyssa stood, and she jumped. It hit a wall, bounced off, darted across the floor and stopped at her feet. A gun.

         She reached for it. Teague appeared, skidding across the floor. He grabbed the weapon and looked up at her. “Get out of here, goddammit! Don’t you ever listen?”

         Vasser walked out of the mist, gun pointed down at Teague’s chest, blood dripping from his forehead. “Didn’t I ask you that once, you stupid sonofabitch?”

         Teague tilted his chin to his chest, lifted his foot and kicked at Vasser. The other man dodged, but not completely and went down with a scream.

         Teague disappeared once again into the swampy darkness.

         “No, Teague! Cops are coming.” Alyssa peered through the smoke and stepped further into the house with the tail of her shirt pulled up over her mouth. “Luke!” Smoke invaded her eyes like thousands of tiny needles. Tears poured down her cheeks as she pushed further into the gloom. “Mitch!”

         Scuffling sounds came from somewhere to her left. She started that direction, but Teague caught her arm from behind. “You’re not going in there.”

         She yanked her arm from his grip and turned on him. “Stop pulling at me and help me get them out.”

         Someone rammed into her and she pitched sideways, her breath locked in her chest. Teague caught her as the other person hit the floor. Mitch. Alyssa registered the blood covering his face in the second before Burton pointed a gun at Mitch’s chest.

         “No!” Alyssa heard her voice, but didn’t register the sensations of speaking.

         Everything beyond that whirled into a successive blur of motion. Teague struck out. The gun flew from Burton’s hand. A scavenge then a struggle for the weapon. A shot.

         Alyssa screamed—a rip in her throat and a stab in her heart.

         Burton collapsed on top of Mitch.

         “Mitch!” She kept screaming his name, coughing, wheezing, screaming. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. Couldn’t live without him. “Mitch!”

         “Goddamned fucking fat bastard.” Mitch pushed Burton off him and hefted him to the side using his whole body.

         A shaking whoosh of air left Alyssa’s chest. She swallowed back the urge to throw up in relief. “Oh, my God.”

         Mitch slowly got to his feet, rested his elbows on his knees and met Alyssa’s eyes. “I’m fine, Lys.”

         “Fine?” she wheezed. If this was an anxiety attack felt like, she was going to be far more liberal handing out Xanax prescriptions in the future. “I almost watch you get killed and that’s all you have to say to me? I’m fine?”