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       The Love You Crave (A Donovan Creed Novel), p.1

           John Locke
 
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The Love You Crave (A Donovan Creed Novel)


  The Love You Crave

  (a Donovan Creed Novel - Volume 8)

  by

  John Locke

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.

  THE LOVE YOU CRAVE

  This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the author.

  Copyright © 2011 John Locke. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical without the express written permission of the author. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.

  The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

  Cover Designed by: Telemachus Press, LLC

  Cover Art :

  Copyright © istockphoto/12949399/Stas Perov

  Published by: Telemachus Press, LLC

  http://www.telemachuspress.com

  Visit the author website:

  http://www.donovancreed.com

  ISBN: 978-1-935670-99-5

  Version 2011.07.06

  John Locke

  The New York Times Best Selling Author

  #1 Best Selling Author on Amazon Kindle

  Donovan Creed Series:

  Lethal People

  Lethal Experiment

  Saving Rachel

  Now & Then

  Wish List

  A Girl Like You

  Vegas Moon

  Emmett Love Series:

  Follow the Stone

  Don’t Poke the Bear

  And:

  How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!

  What the Critics are Saying About the Donovan Creed Series:

  Author John Locke only improves, like an aged wine. John Locke's writing draws you in. You fall in love again on every page, and it is never predictable. Except that I am always left satisfied.”

  “I have devoured everything John Locke has written, and I’m having the time of my life! He is funny and creative and I can't think of anyone else I'd rather read to get away from it all!”

  (Saving Rachel) “If Dean Koontz collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock at the circus, this would be their brain child!”

  “Saving Rachel transcends ordinary storytelling into a class of genius!”

  (Wish List) “Hooked is what you will be after reading this novel! Hooked for life is what you will be if you read the Donovan Creed series! Hooked so badly I check the store every day just waiting for the next book in this series!”

  (Wish List) “An excellent vehicle for John Locke's technicolorful characters and manically paced plot lines. Another great read for folks who love to read for fun.”

  (A Girl Like You) "When I heard Locke had a new book I hit that link to Amazon and bought that sucker as fast as I could. I walked a block to the nearest WiFi hotspot and it was on my Kindle! I read the first third of this book during lunch and devoured the rest that evening. Talk about getting your money's worth!”

  (A Girl Like You) “I just wish I hadn't plowed through it all in one afternoon. I couldn't find a good stopping place so I could set the book down—I just kept reading because I was dying to know what would happen next!”

  "Vegas Moon" gave me blisters on my page-turning thumb!”

  “VEGAS MOON is a tightly plotted story that, as in all of John Locke's books, keeps the pages flipping rapid-fire. There's a superb twist at the end. However, it's not the plotting that keeps readers flocking to the Creed series. It's the imagination and humor of John Locke.”

  (Vegas Moon) “This was my 7th Locke book and I am still in love with his writing as much as I was when I read the first page of the first one. Just amazing. It left me on the edge of my seat, I couldn’t read fast enough. Put it down?? I don’t think so!”

  “Lethal People stands out as a brazenly smart thriller that’s hip and quick. Locke’s descriptions pop with a wit and flair that keep the pages turning. It’s a fun read that knows when to take itself seriously.”

  “Lethal People is flooded with twists, unexpected characters and action…A page-turner.”

  (Lethal Experiment) “I give 5 stars to all John Locke books, but would give 6 stars to this one if I could. Not only is it a page-turning thriller, it's the kind of book that forces the reader to have an opinion. I read the whole thing on the beach in an afternoon—couldn't put it down!”

  (Lethal Experiment) “I have never been so thrilled by a mystery crime novel! Donovan Creed grips the reader’s attention and the plot is a delight to an action fan! Conflicted characters, twists and turns—I just loved this book! Just could not stop turning the pages!”

  (Now & Then) “This book had me truly stunned from beginning to end. What starts off as a modern mystery story ends up being the story of a rare gift passed down through generations. To describe this book as unusual is an understatement: it is by far the wildest mystery novel I have encountered!”

  (Now & Then) “I just finished ‘Wish List', also by John Locke, and jumped right into this on a plane ride for business. (Upon landing) I was throbbing with adrenaline and actually sat in the boarding area to finish a section. Great fun!”

  The Emmett Love Series is

  #1 in Westerns on Amazon Kindle!

  What the Critics are Saying:

  (Follow the Stone) “Butch Cassidy Meets City Slickers! Uproariously funny! Not since Lonesome Dove have I had so much fun reading a Western. Highly recommended!”

  (Follow the Stone) “Entirely original and intriguing. Fast, funny, furious—but also charming, interesting, and 100% unputdownable!”

  (Don’t Poke the Bear!) “The characters and dialogue sparkle, and the story unfolds a mile a minute. It's a tremendously amusing tale.”

  (Don’t Poke the Bear!) “You won't want this story to ever end...unique characters, heartwarming moments, suspense, humor, this book has it all.”

  (Don’t Poke the Bear!) “Picture if you can...Jason Bourne and Monty Python do Dodge. I give it 5 hearty pokes!”

  Acknowledgements

  Special thanks to loyal Donovan Creed fan Rick Kocan, a great guy, fellow Penn State fan, and neuroradiologist, who told me about a special MRI machine that could possibly benefit one of the characters in my book. Thanks also to my brother, Ricky, who devoted an entire day of his valuable time to help me make this book that much better, and to Claudia Jackson, of Telemachus Press, who works tirelessly for me, and goes into her "above and beyond" mode almost daily!

  The Love You Crave

  Prologue

  WHEN CALLIE CARPENTER'S cell phone vibrated on her nightstand a single time she leaped out of bed and threw on some clothes.

  “What’re you doing?” said Gwen, her bedmate.

  “I’m on alert
.”

  “What’s that mean?”

  Callie raced to the bathroom, relieved herself, brushed her teeth, grabbed her car keys.

  “It means Creed might need me. If he does, he’ll call back. If he does, he’s in trouble. If he is, I could be in trouble.”

  “I’m coming with you.”

  “Not on your life.”

  “You can’t stop me!”

  “Get real,” Callie said.

  “What about me?” Gwen said, pouting.

  “What about you?”

  “I want to feel useful.”

  Callie sighed. “Go to the guest bedroom. Set out a scarf, a vibrator, and five random items. Doesn’t matter what they are, as long as they fit on the counter.”

  “Why?”

  “I’ll tell you later.”

  “Where are you going?”

  “To the car. I need to be on the street, engine running, ready to roll.”

  “Sounds like that man has you wrapped around his little finger.”

  “Don’t start with me.”

  1.

  Donovan Creed.

  HERE’S SOMETHING YOU don’t see every day.

  I’m jogging south on Las Vegas Boulevard, four miles south of the Strip, when a lady walks right smack into a lamp post.

  She’s on Trace Street, forty yards to my right. I stop in the middle of the intersection to look and see if she’s okay. It’s 5:00 a.m., and from my angle and distance I could be wrong about what I thought I saw. She backs up a few steps and falls to a seated position on the sidewalk.

  I wonder if she’s drunk.

  I scan the area to see if anyone else is watching this unfold, but see no one. We’re in an industrial area, no bars nearby, and no businesses are open on Trace. I want to finish my run, but can’t leave her sitting there if she’s hurt. On the other hand, I don’t want to get shot. It was just last week a Vegas woman staggered out of a bar in the wee hours of the morning when some local thug took her for an easy mark and got killed for his miscalculation.

  She’s sitting with her back to me, so all I get is the shadow view. Her handbag is lying beside her. If it contains a gun, it won’t take her long to reach it.

  Thirty yards beyond the seated lady, a van slowly comes into view at the next intersection and pulls to a stop. So it’s me at this intersection, the van at the next, and a lady sitting between us, on the sidewalk. The van is white, with the passenger side facing the lady, but it’s dark and too far away for me to make out any details.

  I don’t know how many people are in the van, but I’m guessing just the driver. I mean, a passenger would roll the window down and ask if she needs help, right?

  The van driver seems to be doing what I’m doing, staring at the woman. But he’s got a better view, the illuminated front side of her. We’re probably both waiting to see if she’s going to stand, and we’re probably both leery about getting shot. In my case, I’m unarmed.

  Well, that’s not completely true. I have my cell phone in my hand. In an emergency, I can press a button, fling it, and two seconds later it blows up.

  But I don’t press that button. Instead, I press a number that rings Callie’s phone a single time. She’s now on alert.

  I start walking toward the lady.

  “Miss!” I yell, loud enough for her to hear. “Are you okay?”

  I wonder why people always ask that. Of course she’s not okay. She just walked into a friggin’ lamp post! But that’s what people always ask. A little kid falls into a well and gets stuck twenty feet below the surface. “Are you okay?” people shout.

  She’s not okay.

  Before I cover ten yards, her head explodes.

  I stop in my tracks and instinctively drop to the ground to make myself a smaller target. I’m so stunned I hardly notice the van slowly backing out of view. But the fact it’s backing up instead of racing forward tells me whoever’s in the van had something to do with the lady’s head exploding. And the way the street light hits the front of the van as it’s backing up shows me something I hadn’t seen before: a magnetic sign on the side, above the front wheel well. I can’t make out the wording from this distance, but it’s an orange logo of some sort, with black lettering. It’s a temporary sign, designed to cover the actual logo beneath it. I’ve seen few vans with small logos painted on the front passenger side. Ropic Industries has one. And their vans are white, also.

  I look around to see if anyone’s behind me. I want to check on the lady, but the little voice in my head says, Why? To ask if she’s okay?

  Then it adds, You’re alone, miles from your safe place. What if the van circles behind you?

  I look at the office and industrial buildings around me, and decide to go vertical.

  Running down the alley between two buildings, I spot a staircase, and take it up to the second floor landing. There’s a flat roof ten feet above me. I stand on the railing and carefully raise my arms over my head, grab the roof ledge and pull myself up to about chest height. I swing my right leg up and hook my foot over the ledge and work my way onto the roof. From there, I get a running start and jump to the next roof, then the next, and soon I’m on the rooftop of a building, looking down at the intersection where the white van had been moments earlier.

  I lay flat on the roof and wait to see if anyone comes to check on the body.

  While I’m doing that, the building beneath me explodes.

  2.

  AS I JUMP to my feet to survey the damage below, I quickly conclude the building beneath me is collateral damage. Based on my knowledge of where the woman had been sitting moments earlier, and seeing only the remnants of her ass there now, it’s clear she’d been wired with explosives.

  Which makes her a homeland terrorist.

  I press the button that speed-dials Callie.

  “Where are you?” she says.

  “Corner of Landmark and Trace. Heading north on Landmark, right side of the street. Make it fast!”

  “Give me two minutes.”

  I hang up, check the street below me, and notice several structures have been decimated.

  But why?

  I mean, why here? Why now? Nothing in the immediate area remotely resembles a terrorist target.

  I’d love to investigate the scene, try to work it out, but within minutes the cops will be swarming the area, and I need to be long gone by then. Whatever role the driver of the white van played in all this, I doubt he’s planning to hang around to deal with me. I carefully work my way down the back side of the building, thankful the blast hasn’t done too much damage.

  A couple minutes later I’m in the passenger side of Callie’s black Mercedes CL65 AMG.

  “Sweet car,” I say.

  “You’re not bleeding, right?” she says.

  “Not that I know of.”

  She turns right, makes the block, begins heading back to her place. Says, “If I knew you were this filthy, I’d have stolen a car.”

  “Sorry. I was lying on something nasty just now.”

  “You really need to upgrade your taste in women.”

  “I was talking about a nasty rooftop.”

  “Still.”

  I sigh. “There was a woman, though.”

  “Of course there was,” Callie says. Then adds, “What happened to her?”

  “You know how some people in Vegas lose their heads, and some lose their asses?”

  “Yeah?”

  “She lost both.”

  3.

  I’M IN CALLIE’S penthouse condo now. The lovely Gwen has changed her hair to platinum blond, and it’s working for her. She sees me and races toward me, as if she’s about to give me a big hug. But as she gets close, she stops short and wrinkles her nose.

  “You smell,” she says.

  “I know.” To Callie I say, “Can I shower in your guest bedroom?”

  “Of course,” she says.

  I enter the guest bedroom and pause to look at a group of items lined up on the dresser.

/>   “What’s all this?” I call to Callie.

  “Oops,” she says from the living room. Then adds, “When you called, Gwen and I were about to have a sex marathon. We set some things out we planned to use.”

  “Really?” I say.

  She and Gwen enter the room.

  The three of us look at the items on the dresser. There’s a scarf, a vibrator, lipstick, a deck of cards, a condom, three bullets, and a bird cage.

  Callie gives Gwen a look I can’t decipher.

  Gwen shrugs.

  I study the items another minute, then say. “It makes sense.”

  Callie says, “It does?”

  “Except for one item,” I say.

  Callie laughs. “The birdcage?”

  “Nope.”

  She looks surprised. “No? Then what?”

  “The condom.”

  Callie frowns at Gwen, then says, “But you understand the birdcage.”

  “I do.”

  “And the bullets?” she says.

  “What about them?”

  “They make sense to you?”

 
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