My general sickness still has me down and coughing like a mad thing, but I’m always happy to talk romance novels. This week’s topic is sweethearts. I thought maybe an early look at FEARLESS, my next romantic suspense from Harlequin Intrigue, was in order. The hero and heroine used to be engaged. Now they’re apart…but do you think that’s going to continue?
He started to stretch his arms over his head and winced from the pull. Glancing around for a clean T-shirt, his gaze fell on the unmade bed. The blinking green light on his phone caught his attention next. With his job at the Corcoran Team he was on call all the time, and that habit gave him some comfort, but he had forgotten to bring the cell with him when he went outside earlier. He’d been unavailable for two hours, which was a record.
He swore under his breath as he reached over. A few buttons later and a voice he hadn’t heard in months buzzed in his ear. Eleven months and twelve days, but who was counting?
Davis, it’s me. I’m in huge trouble. I…need you. Please be home.
Lara Bart, his former fiancé and the sole reason he went off the grid on a job that ended with busted ribs and a bruised jaw. The passing of days didn’t matter. He knew that voice, could hear it every time he closed his eyes.
He also knew something was very wrong. The slight tremor. The stammer. None of that was normal for her. Husky voice, yes. Scared? Never.
The swearing this time included a few extra words and a lot of grumbling. Jamming his finger on the button, he called her back and nearly threw the phone when it went directly to voicemail.
He’d just pivoted and started stalking to his closet when the doorbell rang. He took off down the stairs with his bare feet thumping against each step.
As he hit the foyer, the rapid-fire knocking started. Breaking from protocol and his usual common sense, he entered the code on the alarm as he opened the door. Lara shoved her way inside and pressed up against him. Her arms wrapped around him as her cheek landed against his bare chest.
“You’re home.” She was out of breath and trembling as she mumbled the words against his skin.
The touch had his brain cells misfiring. It took a second for all the pieces to register. Her hair was lighter, with touches of blond through the rich brown waves, but still so soft. And his need for her still kicked hard enough to knock him over.
Ignoring the feel of her in his arms, he set her away from him and scanned her body, trying to remain as detached as possible as he checked for obvious injuries. “Are you hurt?”
She shook her head. “Well, except for my knee.”
Looking down, he noticed the ripped hem of her skirt and red knee. That, along with the untucked and torn silk blouse, signaled trouble.
“What happened to you?” He almost dropped to the floor and checked her leg, but her next comment stopped him.
“I was attacked.”
She conducted security clearance interviews, but there was nothing inherently dangerous about her job. He knew because he checked out her company and its independent contractor ties with the Department of Defense when she took the position. Not that she knew that.
And it didn’t matter that they’d broken up. He watched over her and always would.
“I should have called the police, but all I could think about was getting to you.” Her hands were a blur of constant motion. Her gaze bounced all over the room, and she pushed her shoulder-length hair out of her eyes.
“Okay.” Good, even. Being her first thought certainly didn’t suck, but he needed her to calm down. “Take a deep breath.”
Her chest rose and fell as she took his advice, but her hands kept shaking. “There was blood everywhere.”
Dread ripped through him. Didn’t sound like this, whatever “this” was, happened at the office. It took all his considerable control to focus the energy pinging around inside of him.
He wanted the information fast and clean, but she wasn’t a field agent with the sort of delivery skills for that. Then there was the problem where her words kept jumbling together.
He cupped a hand over her cheek and lifted her head until her almond-colored eyes met his. Even terrified and twisted up, she was still the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Tall and trim with high cheekbones and a face that you could slap on a magazine cover without makeup.
But none of that mattered now. He needed information. Without it, he couldn’t step in and fix whatever this was.
Skipping over the blood comment because he’d probably be hearing that one in his sleep, he went for the broader picture. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“My jacket is in the car.” She looked around as panic moved into her eyes and turned her movements into uncontrolled jerks. “My briefcase.” She turned to head back outside.
The last thing he wanted was her out in public until he ferreted this out. “Wait…”
A shadow moved in the open doorway behind her and the facts clicked together in Davis’s head. The adrenaline started pumping through him a second later.
Copyright 2013, HelenKay Dimon
All Rights Reserved, Harlequin Enterprises
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