Today is an “author choice” day, so I thought I’d give you a peek at FEARLESS, the first book in a new Harlequin Intrigue miniseries. The book officially comes out Tuesday but I think it’s been in bookstores and Target and Walmart and others for a few weeks. The hero, Davis Weeks, made an appearance in COPY THAT last year.
By way of set-up: Davis and Lara used to be engaged but are estranged. When an attack lands Lara in trouble, she goes to Davis for help. After a brief run-in with his elderly neighbor, they are about to look for a safe spot for Lara. And here we go…
“She thinks she’s my top-secret assistant, but really she’s a nice old lady who never gets even a phone call from her deadbeat kids in Delaware. Her husband died more than a decade ago and she’s alone. I mow the back lawn, talk to her and, yes, play along with her active imagination, including installing a security system that rivals most high-tech office buildings.”
Lara listened but the questions remained. “I still don’t get it.”
Nothing in his explanation sounded like the Davis she knew. With his messed-up background he hadn’t learned much in the way of family coping skills. His bond with his brother Pax was unbreakable, but coddling elderly women seemed outside of Davis’s skillset.
He smiled. “From the time I moved in she tried to wander into the house. More than once she set off my alarm by accident. Almost got shot another time when she snuck in the back while I was out front. It was a problem until she decided I was a spy.”
The word clunked in Lara’s brain. “Spy?”
“International James Bond type.”
They used to laugh about televisions shows and how they portrayed law enforcement officials, especially those who worked undercover like he did. Expensive drinks and cars were so out of the realm of reality for Davis that he often swore his way through a program.
“You hate that term.”
He shrugged. “I tolerate the whole spy thing for Mrs. W because it makes her happy.”
The idea of Davis playing into that sort of nonsense to make an old lady happy made Lara’s stomach do a little dance. “That’s kind of adorable.”
“It was necessary. But, yeah, Pax also thought it was hysterical.”
The game came together in her head. “So, naturally, you told her Pax was a spy, too.”
Davis flashed her that sexy smile that had sent more than one woman into an eye-fluttering swoon. “I wasn’t about to go down alone. Point is, she loves it and the wandering-around thing stopped. Now she watches the house for me and is much more careful because she’s helping me.”
“And she lets you keep a car here.” Lara ran her hand over the roof, marveling at how clean it looked for being held outside of a garage.
“I actually bought the spot. Money was tight for her and it worked well with the spy story. Also gave me a place to store the car that I prefer to keep for emergencies.”
The little dance turned into a full-fledged stomach jig. He presented this tough guy tarnished image but underneath he was about helping people. Maybe it came from being abandoned by his mother that he never let anyone else get stuck out there all alone. Whatever the origin, it was one of those things that made her fall in love with him in the first place.
“You rescued her,” Lara said.
“Uh, no. I came up with a way to neutralize her.” He walked around to the passenger side door and opened it. “Get in.”
It was just like him to duck a compliment. He saw admitting to the existence of his bone-decent good side as some sort of weakness. She’d never been able to make him see that the size of his heart was much more impressive than the size of those biceps.
Rather than fight because, really, there was nothing for her to win on this one, she slid into the seat. She waited until he climbed in before asking the obvious question. “Where are we going?”
“Pax’s boat.” Davis slid the key in and turned. The engine roared to life.
“Is being surrounded by water really the safest choice?’ Then there was the problem that she got queasy if a boat rocked too much.
She’d never been on this one, but they’d gone boating with friends before. She’d tried that focus-on-a-spot-in-the-distance thing and ended up losing her lunch over the side of boat. Not the best impression on his then-work friends.
“It’s not registered to Pax. Only a few people know about it and all of them have brutally high security clearances. Whoever is behind this shouldn’t have a clue.”
She waited until he pulled out of the spot and relocked the gate to talk about the point nagging at her. “I notice you didn’t ask if I had a boyfriend before you added me to your spy story.”
The car grew deadly quiet as she traced a pattern on the inside of the window. When the silence stretched, she glanced over. The rigid jaw and tick in his cheeks told her what she needed to know. This was not his favorite topic. Understandable, but she thought she knew his response, so she was prepared to wait all day. And she let him know that when she glanced over and lifted her eyebrows but didn’t say a word.
He exhaled in that women-are-so-annoying way men often did when they were cornered. “Do you?”
He didn’t even try to make it sound like an honest inquiry. “Oh, please. I know you know exactly what’s going on in my life. Or at least you think you do.”
A smile broke over his mouth. “Yeah, I’m single, too.”
Copyright 2013, HelenKay Dimon
All Rights Reserved, Harlequin Books
Don’t forget to check out the other snippets: