Grace pushed the activation button on the alarm as they
wondered out the back door. Rikki leaned against the nose of
her truck then looked around for something out of the ordinary.
Both giggled at the stupid conversation their stalker had to hear
for their entertainment.
    A flicker from a reflection and a thunderous crash made
Rikki leap towards Grace the truck window shattered as she
snatched her up and flung her to the ground. Rikki landed on top
of a scared-stiff Grace. Grace laid in fetal position in front of the
truck. On her belly Rikki crawled swiftly around to the driver’s
side of the truck, expecting Grace to be behind her.
    “Stay down!” Rikki yelled above the ringing in her ears.
She pulled a 9mm from the back of her jeans and hid behind
the truck searching desperately for the culprit. The Apache
Indian blood in her boiled—this was war.
    Grace covered her head, her ears rang, her guts churned and
tears filled her eyes. Rikki lay under the truck and searched for
the shooter’s feet. Through narrow eyes she scanned down to the back of the truck then back up again.
    “Nnnnn…nnnnn…ooooo!” Rikki blinked. It all happened so
fast.
    Grace’s red cowboy boots that matched her red bandana
shirt were sandwiched between a pair of black work boots.
Sweet Jesus, he’s got Grace. Breathe. Think. Tsi-sa (Jesus) give
me strength.
    “Rikki Rankin! If you’re such a bad ass…show your face!”
Greg Hayes yelled. “Now or Grace gets a bullet in the head!”
    Rikki gradually stood to her feet. She looked through the
windows to see Greg Hayes holding Grace with one arm and his
hand over her mouth. He held a .357 revolver to her head with
the other hand. Rikki’s wits were on overload – how could she
get Grace away from him?
    Grace was milky white with fear bulging from her tear-filled
eyes.
    Rikki coolly walked around to the front of the truck where
Hayes held Grace hostage. Her finger caressed the trigger of the 9 mm pistol at her side. Backing down wasn’t an option.
Dead a-s-ga-ya (man), Rikki’s eyes were narrow and black,
lips taut and she was focused. Lord I need a straight shot, just one good shot. She was aware the only way out was to kill him. He wasn’t going to allow them to walk away.
    “Rikki drop your gun! You are not in control now. Tell me
how it feels! Do you wanna see Grace get a bullet through the
head?” Hayes rattled on aimlessly.
He’s nervous, can’t follow through with a thought. Be careful
and confident. Rikki coached herself as she analyzed his erratic
actions. Hayes continued to ramble. She turned a deaf ear to
him.
    Come on Grace, look at me. Trust me. Get it together. Grace’s
terrified eyes darted in every direction, trying to figure out who
had a death grip on her.
    Grace finally got trapped in Rikki’s stare. She was determined
to focus on Rikki. There you are…come on, Grace, follow my
eyes. Rikki shot her eyes to the ground and straight back up to
Grace’s eyes. She hoped Grace’s attention wasn’t lost breaking
eye contact like that.
    Grace knew Rikki was her lifeline and she wasn’t about to
break contact. What Rikki? What do I do? Get me out of this!
    Rikki perceived the questions and terror in her eyes as the tears
vanished and she scrutinized Rikki’s actions.
    Atta girl Grace…watch me. I’m not leavin’ here without you…
tla a-s-ka-hi-yi (no fear). Rikki scarcely nodded her head to let
Grace know it was going to be all right. Once again she shot her
black eyes to the ground. She knew Grace was getting it from
the look in her eyes. They’ve had the capability to communicate
without words for years. They knew each other that well.
    “I said drop your gun or I will pump lead into Grace’s head!”
Hayes screamed, his anger magnifying at Rikki’s calm demeanor. He wanted so badly to see her sweat, to see fear in her eyes before he killed her. Rikki would never give him that satisfaction.
    It’s time, Grace. We only get one shot at this. Please don’t let the fear stop you. Rikki nodded slightly at Grace again.
    I’m ready Rikki. Grace blinked hard.
   Rikki raised her gun. Lord, I gotta have perfect timing, guide
this bullet.
    “Tell ya what…I’ll shoot her myself…if that’s what I have to
do to kill you. It will be my pleasure, really. Think you can beat
me?” Rikki still locked into Grace’s eyes as she challenged Hayes.
    He wouldn’t expect that from her. She raised her gun further and aimed it at Grace’s head.
    “What the…? There’s no way you’d pull that trigger…you are
a wild Indian!” Hayes was shocked that Rikki pointed her gun
at Grace’s head.
    Grace went limp and pushed her weight against Hayes then
dropped to the ground with the weight of the world on her
shoulders. Rikki drew in a deep breath and squeezed the trigger
as she exhaled. Her eyes were big as she watched the bullet that seemed to be moving in slow motion.
    Not yet please don’t get there yet…Oh God...don’t let it hit her. Get down Grace!
    Hayes, dumbfounded, realized he lost his grip on Grace and
Rikki had fired a shot. He pointed his gun at Rikki, his blood was
scorching, and he so badly wanted to see her die.
    Now! Now! Hit him now! Nu-la (hurry)! The bullet struck
Hayes in the heart, where only milliseconds ago Grace’s head
was resting. Hayes staggered backwards and hovered in the air
before bouncing off the concrete to his death. Grace landed on
the ground at his feet.
    Did that really just happen? Rikki was stunned trying to
comprehend what had just transpired. Blood splattered on
Grace’s head. Please let Grace be all right. I know I didn’t miss.
Breathe. She was scared to take a closer look. A moment of self doubt had her breaths short and shallow.
    Rikki approached Hayes’ body and booted his gun out of reach. She reached for Grace; she lay on the cement unresponsive.
    “Grace! It’s over get up! Get up!” She panicked, but managed
to grab her cell phone with shaking hands and dial 911.
    “It’s Rikki Rankin, I need assistance at 91st and Memorial…
my office is behind the strip mall.”
    “What is your emergency?”
    Rikki paused she didn’t want to say it out loud. The truth of
just killing someone was unsettling. “I shot someone.”
    “Could you speak up I couldn’t hear you.”
    “I shot someone,” Rikki said louder. “I shot Greg Hayes. Please send an ambulance.” Rikki shut the cell phone and dropped it to the ground then squatted down beside Grace. For a brief moment Rikki rested her whirling head in her hands, the pit of her stomach was heavy in her throat.  
Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Blood Hold...