I pivoted on my heel to walk away when a car barreled down the one-lane street. It sped so fast I waited for it to pass. When it was only a few feet away, it veered toward me. I froze. Time crawled at an absurdly slow pace. If I didn’t move, the oncoming vehicle would crush me into the side of Paul’s car. My mind registered the intense horror of what was happening, but couldn’t seem to command my limbs to react.
When it was right on me, it swerved ever so slightly. I caught one glimpse of the driver. He stared straight ahead as if he didn’t see me, but the sardonic grin on his face made me believe he knew exactly what he was doing. My body curved in the middle in response to the air pressure from the passing vehicle. After it passed, I bent back the other way and slammed into the side of Paul’s car. My head bounced as it met metal.
Paul’s warning shout was too late, pelting my ears seconds after the rush of air from the speeding vehicle had already flattened me against his car. His frantic gesturing and pushing on the door to dislodge me was fruitless. I stayed plastered to the car frame, fearful of moving lest I collapse onto the pavement. A quick mental inventory assured me nothing was broken. At least, I thought nothing was broken. Every part of me seemed to be numb as if my neurological system had simply shut down in anticipation of bodily harm. Had the car made contact with me? Was I injured? It didn’t seem so.
Somehow, Paul was at my side. How had he managed to get out of the car? I was still leaning on the side as if my life depended on never losing contact with it. His fingers clutched my upper arms as he unglued me from the doorframe and pulled me into a tight embrace. His arms, strong as steel, wrapped around me. I was grateful for his support. Without it, I would have crumpled, unlikely to get up on my own. The trembling started in my extremities and moved up and down my body.
After a few minutes, he whispered into my hair, his mouth close to my ear. “Are you all right?”
I gulped down the horror that had lodged in my throat. “I think so.”
He pushed back and tilted my head until I looked him in the eye. His mouth was so close his breath warmed my nose. “I’m not leaving you alone tonight. I’m coming with you.”
I jerked my head right and then left to clear the fuzziness. “I’m all right. Really.”
He laughed, a tense, uneasy little chuckle. “No, you aren’t. That was close.”
I nodded my agreement. My throat was too tight to utter excess words.
“Too close.” This time his words held a harder edge.
I blinked. The alarm bells pealed raucously. “What are you saying?” I wiggled out of his embrace. “Don’t be—”
“Don’t be what? We were just talking about—”
“The guy was drunk. That’s all. Don’t be so paranoid, Paul. That wasn’t about Tab or Presley or me. That was about some guy being an idiot.” I took a step back from him. “I don’t need a bodyguard.” I wagged my head at him for emphasis. “I’m going upstairs to get some sleep. Alone.” I swiveled and rushed toward the opposite curb.
Then, I thought better of my hasty retreat and turned to capture one last glimpse of him. He stood next to his car, his arms dangling at his sides as if he didn’t know what to do with them once they weren’t wrapped around me. He had a lost little boy look on his face. A stab of conscience assaulted me. Was I being fair? Moving closer to him and then backing off? I needed to offer him something. A truce, maybe. Give him some hope I wasn’t blowing him off entirely. “You are going to call me tomorrow, right?”
He nodded. The grim expression on his face nearly caused me to falter and reassess my stance. I couldn’t allow him to come inside my apartment. My emotions were a swirling whirlpool of mixed feelings. He’d stirred me up with one heady almost kiss. What would happen if… Was I ready for the thing that was happening between us?
Sometimes the end is only the beginning.
Almost a year after her husband dies, Ellie Marston opens the file for Tab’s last manuscript, a thriller so compelling it reads like a true story. His manuscript needs an ending, so Ellie writes the obvious conclusion. The same morning she types The End, her career as an assistant district attorney falls apart. Accused of throwing the high profile Patterson case, she resigns in disgrace. The only friend she has left in the criminal justice system is Det. Paul Santiago, a man she has worked closely with on numerous cases. While she was married to Tab, she squashed her growing feelings for Paul, determined to make her deteriorating marriage work, but circumstances after Tab’s death bring Ellie and Paul together.
Ellie’s paranoia increases as she becomes convinced Patterson is harassing her, certain that someone is searching her belongings for any hidden evidence she might have that would reopen his case. It becomes clear there was a conspiracy to release Patterson. She seeks help from her former co-worker, Presley Sinclair, but soon discovers Presley is deeply involved in the subsequent cover up. Worse yet, Tab’s affair with Presley drew him into the twisted conspiracy as well.
Together Paul and Ellie attempt to uncover the conspiracy in the District Attorney’s office, the set up that forced her to resign. The key to the mystery is hidden in the pages of Tab’s manuscript. Once Paul and Ellie come to the correct conclusion—Tab’s manuscript is a true story and Ellie’s added ending is the only logical outcome—Ellie attempts to reveal Patterson’s hidden partner in the District Attorney’s office, but the co-conspirator she uncovers is not whom she suspects. Danger swirls around her as she steps further and further into the conspirator’s trap.
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Genre – Romantic Suspense
Rating – PG
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