SECRET LOVER Harlequin Intrigue mystery romantic/suspense by Shawna Delacorte reissued by Harlequin in ebook
G-EXCERPT #1: (his fear)
She quickly withdrew from his touch. The potent jolt of reality caused her insides to tremble. She stepped back from him in an attempt to regain control of this unexpected turn of events. “You startled me. I certainly didn’t expect anyone to be knocking on my door, especially in the middle of this snowstorm. I was just about to bring in some firewood.”
“Let me do that for you.” He loaded his arms with several pieces of wood and carried them to the fireplace, adding a couple of logs to the fire. His gaze darted around the room, taking in everything, including the typewriter and the numerous crumbled sheets of paper strewn across the floor.
He returned his attention to her. “Are you a writer?”
His manner was open and easy. Her wariness of this stranger lessened, but the unnerving sensual pull of the man refused to go away. A nervousness jittered through her insides, caused not by any concern for her safety but rather the result of far more primal instincts. “Yes, I am. For the past four months I’ve been heavily involved in researching my next book and now I have to write it. I’m trying something different this time and I’m having trouble with it. I’m basing a fiction novel on a real-life case that happened five years ago. This is the first time I’ve tried doing that type of book, and I wasn’t making much progress at home….”
Her voice momentarily faded as she though of the reason for her concentration problem—the unwanted attentions of Nick. She quickly returned her attention to the problem at hand. Whoever Jim Richards was, he seemed to notice everything—every detail that surrounded him. For some inexplicable reason she felt a sudden need to let this stranger know that someone knew where she was. “My agent thought a change of scenery might be helpful in breaking the ol’ writer’s block, so he sent me here—lots of peace and quiet without any distractions.”
He indicated the mess on the floor surrounding the typewriter. “Do you have as many completed pages as you do discarded ones?”
“Not exactly…” Andi allowed a soft chuckle. “In fact, I don’t have any completed pages.” She stooped down and began picking up the mess.
“Here, let me help you.” Jim knelt down next to her. She smelled good. It was not a sweet perfume scent, rather a sort of crisp, clean fragrance—the type that fit in with a snowy day in the forest. He reluctantly acknowledged the little tremor of excitement that her nearness caused. He looked over at her, his gaze capturing hers and holding it for a long moment. The tightness in his chest returned. He forced his gaze elsewhere. “What kind of books do you write?” He smoothed out one of the crumpled pieces of paper, then quickly scanned the typed page.
“I write mysteries…”
Jim heard her voice trail off in midsentence, but he was far too occupied with what he had in his hand to respond. The words leapt off the page at him—Chicago…Buchanan Chemicals…dumping toxic waste…James Hollander…car bomb, wife killed…disappeared…government still searching for missing key witness.
A hard lump formed in his throat and his pulse raced almost out of control. It had been five years. He had changed his last name from Hollander to Richards and, four years ago, had finally settled into these isolated surroundings. And now this woman appeared out of nowhere, claiming to be a writer and in possession of notes about his past. Was this Andrea Sinclair who she pretended to be, and was all of this some strange, cruel quirk of fate, or was the truth a lot more sinister?
He regained his composure and tried to focus his attention on what she had been saying. “Mysteries, you say… Have you had any published? I read a lot, including mysteries, and I’m not familiar with your name.”
“I write under a pseudonym.” Something about his manner touched a note of discomfort and suspicion deep inside her. Maybe it was from having had twelve mysteries published. She paused in her thoughts as she realized that the James Hollander book would be her thirteenth. She dismissed the silly superstition and returned to her original thought. Perhaps it was from her degree in journalism and the year she spent as assistant to Steve Westerfall, a top investigative reporter, that caused her suspicions. Her mind jumped at the many possibilities, ticking off a list of five different plots in the space of about thirty seconds.
“Really? What’s your pen name?” He was only half listening to what she had said. “Maybe I’ve read some of your work.” A disturbing thought grew inside him. What if she was one of those investigative reporters? He tried to dismiss the idea. If the United States government had not been able to find him hiding out in the Canadian woods, how could some reporter track him down? Then an even more frightening thought occurred to him. What if she worked for Milo Buchanan? No one would ever suspect a woman of being…
SECRET LOVER, a Harlequin Intrigue mystery romantic/suspense by Shawna Delacorte, is an ebook reissue available at http://ebooks.eharlequin.com (do search for author name Shawna Delacorte). Also available at Barnes and Noble in NookBooks www.bn.com and Amazon for Kindle www.amazon.com Information is available on my website www.shawnadelacorte.com
Andrea Sinclair found herself inexplicably drawn to Jim Richards—mind and body—as if she already knew him. His hair and face were wrong, but there was something about the man… Was he the one she’d been searching for ever since he left the Witness Protection Program with a price on his head?
Jim had been alone for too long—alone and lonely. He couldn’t help fantasizing about Andi, though she represented life-threatening danger to him. She knew everything about him—everything he’d carefully tried to erase. Could he trust her to help him find the killer who pursued him…? He didn’t have a choice. His heart wouldn’t let him leave her.