Congratulations to "Kim H.", the winner in Margo's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
BROTHERS IN BLUE. Brad, Vince, Adam and Luke, four heroes who met at the police academy to become lifelong friends. The Dropout, the Straight Arrow, the Movie Star and the Maverick. All share a passion to serve and protect, each in their own unique way.
Some of you have met these heroes here before. Just for fun, I’d like to share the scenes in which these four met the loves of their lives.
ON THE SURFACE — Brad Collins, The Dropout
Wrongly convicted ex-con and recent parolee Jenny Reynolds wants to forget her tarnished past and focus on a brighter future. One that begins with a return to the small tourist town where she grew up. The restoration of her family’s once proud Rest Easy Bed and Breakfast is the only thing on her mind. Fleeing an ex who refuses to let her go, what she doesn’t need to complicate her already problematic life is another man. Enter handsome handyman Brad, a man who seems to care as much about restoring the B and B as she does. A man who soon becomes ready, willing and able to steal her heart. A man, as it turns out, with more than a few secrets of his own. A dropout from law enforcement, the real Brad Collins will use anyone and anything to fulfill a personal vendetta. When two pasts collide and danger threatens, their budding love for each other may be the first casualty.
He advanced a few steps forward then cleared his throat. “I’m looking for the owner.”
“What?” She jerked upright then stood so fast her chair hit the opposite wall with a clang. “What for?”
Flexing her knees and curling her hands into fists, she put her body into a distinct fight or flight stance.
On instinct, he scanned for a weapon. Instead, he discovered a simple sundress hugged a slim waist. The flowered material covered what looked to be some darned nice breasts. Judging by the cleavage peeking out. Her shoulders were bare. Knockout legs led to trim ankles and bare toes tipped in pink polish. His hasty assessment rose to her face where he locked gazes with none other than Jenny Reynolds. Who, according to sources he trusted, wasn’t supposed to be on site for a couple of weeks. Where the heck is Grandma?
His breathing accelerated. Forget that this Reynolds was one whole hell of a lot better looking in the flesh than in a mug shot he’d seen. Something else hadn’t appeared in the grainy picture. Raw fear lurked in those wide green eyes. He’d witnessed that kind of deep panic before.
Regret stabbed his gut. “Hey! I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“Who are you?” A slight tremor betrayed an otherwise tough voice as she retrieved the chair to position between them.
“Brad Collins.” Edging into the room, he turned slightly so his field of vision included both ends of the hallway. Just in case Donahue happened to be on premises too. He spread his hands up and open. “Look, if it’ll make you more comfortable, I’ll go back outside and knock.”
ON THE FORCE — Vince Miller, The Straight Arrow
Top notch CFO Sydney Raines is devastated when her coveted job working for a high profile conglomerate is yanked out from under her. Determined to restore her mangled reputation, she finds her second chance when the owner of an upscale art gallery hires her as his personal assistant. Straight arrow cop Vince Miller is assigned to crack an international art theft ring. Working undercover, he never counted on meeting Sydney Raines, let alone falling in love with her. Then an unexpected twist in the case reveals the identity of a serial killer, along with the shattering realization that Sydney could be the psycho's next victim.
“Excuse me. Are you done with this?”
“What?” He glanced up.
The silky red blouse was at eye level. He forced his fingers not to touch, and his field of vision upward to settle on full lips. Taking in a quick breath, he lifted his gaze further to connect with the prettiest brown eyes he’d seen in quite a while.
The neat brows above them rose in questions. “The paper. Are you finished reading it?”
“Sure.” He added a smile to the eye contact as he handed it over. “Be my guest.”
“Thank you.” The smile she offered in return was gracious. Period.
With the daily in hand, she quickly reversed direction to return to her seat. Vince concentrated hard to keep his gaze forward and not follow her movements. Paper rustled as she leafed through the pages.
“Anything?” Teri stopped between the two tables, a full bus pan balanced on one hip.
“Not in here.” After a short sigh, she collapsed the tabloid into her lap.
“Don’t get discouraged.” Her tone grew light. “You’ll find a job soon.”
“I’ll try to absorb some of your enthusiasm.”
“Do that. It’s on the house.”
“Thanks.” Any semblance of a pleasant expression vanished the second Teri left. Her gaze lowered, she pressed her lips into a narrow line. Smoothing then refolding the newspaper back together, she set it on the table. As resignation seeped in to settle in her eyes, she rested her chin in one palm.
Blame it on his upbringing, sexist or not, Vince never could stand to witness a lady in distress. Without thinking much about it, he vacated his chair and slid into the one opposite her. “I don’t mean to intrude.”
ON THE MAKE — Adam Hollingsworth aka Pride, The Movie Star
When it comes to husbands, Madison Clark's track record is the thing of nightmares. Twice widowed, she's given up on happily ever after. Still, with two young boys to raise, a stable family life is all she really desires. Cop turned movie idol, Adam Pride longs for a family of his own, not the irresistible woman and her two sons who are quickly working their way into his heart. But when Madison unknowingly lands in a desperate killer's cross-hairs, Adam puts his career—and life—on the line to save her. Can he protect her from a deadly threat and win her heart? Or will a shocking revelation destroy their fragile love?
Damned if he couldn’t help staring. Good God she’s beautiful.
Dark, curly hair framed a face sent straight from heaven. Smooth skin. Huge, long-lashed, amazing eyes. Cute nose. Fascinating lips. How would they feel pressed up against his? He’d bet warm. Definitely soft.
Trained to read body language and interpret facial expressions, Adam picked up a similar vibe of interest coming from her. One he was more than willing to explore at the soonest opportunity. Once they got to know each other, of course.
But man, if she was this spectacular from the neck up, he could only iagine what visual delights awaited from there down. He shifted his stance as blood cells rushed to places they had no business going.
“Adam. This is my mom.”
All inappropriate thoughts, complete with unseemly ramifications, did an immediate nosedive. While his libido revved him up with some rather spectacular fantasies, his conscience stepped in to toss a bucket of cold water over where it hurt the most. This is my mom. Lest he forget, he was standing here talking to the woman and her son. Tempting as this was, he never approached married women in that way. Ever.
ON THE MOVE – Luke Simms, The Maverick
His story is yet to be totally written, but here’s a work in progress draft of their first meeting.
This disgraced cop will do anything to clear his name, short of murder.
She turned as he approached, her expression hard to read. Trained to read body language, he picked up subtle clues she remained relaxed. Barely fazed at all he’d followed her.
Several outdated pick up lines came to mind. Shuffling through them, he discarded all but one. The most sincere. “Nice night.”
“It is. I came out to take in the scenery.” Placing her arms on the railing, she glanced skyward.
So did I. Luke lifted his gaze briefly from her.
A few shafts of waning sunlight filtered across the expansive terrace. A spectacular sunset, blending waves of deep pink, lavender and blue graced the evening sky.
“What’s your connection to this elegant event?” She ducked her head slightly, moved her face more in line with his. Sought direct eye contact as she awaited his answer.
“After the last ten years spent traveling to find myself, it’s time to settle down and get a real job for a change. I’m here to make some contacts to that end.” He uttered the story he’d rehearsed when he first took on this latest undercover assignment. The explanation for his reentry into the greater Detroit high society scene after nearly a decade away.
“For some reason I don’t think you really mean that.” An intense green gaze held his.
“Sure I do.” When backed into a corner, turn the tables. “What’s your story for being here?”
Her eyes growing wide, she remained silent and drew a breath as she looked beyond him. Seeking an escape? From him? From this place?
His questions went unanswered as a bomb exploded in his back. Then another hit closer to his spine. A ball of fire billowed up to sear across his chest. His lungs quit on him as he fell forward, only to start up again with a jolt as he came down, hard, on unforgiving cement.
For a split second, everything stopped.
A woman’s scream ripped into the fog that coated his brain. Amid cries of alarm, the crash of toppled tables, pandemonium reined as those on the terrace scattered.
“Gunfire! Someone shot him!”
As if Luke needed the verbal. Fire still roiling in his shoulder was proof enough.
As my final Reader’s Choice Giveaway: I’m pleased to offer one commenter a format of choice, e-book or print copy, of a BROTHERS IN BLUE Book 1 ON THE SURFACE Book 2 ON THE FORCE or Book 3 ON THE MAKE (Print books available in the US only.)
Please visit me at these locations as well.
Thanks for listening.
In closing, I’d like to send a huge thank you to Maureen for providing this fabulous venue for all authors of romantic suspense. It’s been great to have been a small part of the fun.
Bio: Award winning author Margo Hoornstra writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense, always providing that happily ever after for her characters. A big city girl turned country woman, Margo enjoys hiking and walking around the wide-open spaces near her home, especially in the fall, hates to cook and loves to read.