is an ex-cop who returns home to Freeland, Maryland, to deal with the
pain of his own tragic loss: the death of his wife and daughter in a
fiery explosion intended for him.
leads then to explore the possibility of finding love again. But
vengeful enemies and jealous rivals are determined to destroy the
peace and happiness that Elice and Cabot have found in each other’s
arms. Why are their rivals so intent on keeping Elice and Cabot
apart? Loree Lough’s latest suspenseful romance is a page-turner!
He woke to the trilling of the phone, and spoke a groggy “Hello” into the mouthpiece.
Her husky voice said, “I hate to bother you, Cabot, but since you were a policeman, I thought …”
He’d never heard fear like that in her voice. Not when she told him about the phone calls. Not when she mentioned the doorbell business. Not even when her tires had been slashed. The fact that she’d lost her usual composure scared him. “I’ll be right there,” he promised.
During the drive between his place and hers, Cabot remembered how, after the crick in his neck roused him, it had taken a second or two to realize where he was. She’d covered him with a sweet-smelling white sheet and turned out all but one small lamp, to light his way in case he got thirsty or needed to use the bathroom. To protect her from neighboring busybodies who’d talk behind her back after seeing his Jeep in her driveway all night long, he’d scribbled a short note. “You’re something else,” he wrote with orange crayon. “See you tomorrow.” Then he’d drawn a heart and left it on the kitchen table.
Now, he pictured the note he’d found on his own kitchen table.
Her hands trembled when she handed him the note, and he noticed right away that it had been typed on the same blue paper, using the same machine. Keep away from the cop, it said, or you’ll all be sorry.
“Where did you find this?”
“It was on the kitchen table when I got up this morning, right beside your note.”
He’d hoped Elice found it taped to the door. This wasn’t good. Not good at all. If he hadn’t been so concerned about what people might think, seeing his Jeep in her driveway until all hours, his presence might have prevented this.
“You locked the door before you went to bed?” he asked, suddenly.
“Of course I did. Didn’t you have to unlock it to get out?”
Yes, and he’d made sure to lock it behind him, too.
“What about the window?” Cabot walked toward the sink to inspect the lock.
“Everything was fine. Normal. Until I found that.” It may as well have been a rattlesnake, coiled for attack, the way she looked at the slip of paper in his hand.
“Well, whoever wrote it got in through here,” he said, pointing at a black scuffmark on the kitchen counter. “He pried open the window and stepped right on in.”
She hid behind her hands. But almost immediately, she squared her shoulders and got hold of herself. “I’m going to put on a pot of coffee.”
“Good. I could use a cup.” One hand on the back doorknob, he stuffed her note into his shirt pocket. “I’m going outside to have a look around.”
Nodding, she sent him a trembly smile.
He couldn’t stand to see her this way. Cabot gave her a little hug. “Aw, honey. You okay?”
Again she nodded. But this time, she made an effort to look brave and strong. He hesitated, not wanting to leave her alone, not even for the few minutes it would take to inspect the perimeter of the house.
“Go,” she said, giving him a gentle shove. “I’m fine.”
And so he went.
Cabot was under the kitchen window when he heard the kids’ voices. Emily and Danny, debating between scrambled eggs and Cocoa Puffs, Annie asking for her usual, Sugar Pops. He found several large footprints and one handprint pressed into the red clay dirt. There were smudges on the white window frame, and a few more on the pane itself.
The voice that lived inside him, offering warnings and advice, began to speak. It whispered three names, and Deitrich would have headed the list, except it wasn’t like the ex-con to pull dumb pranks. Pull a trigger, yes, but taunt a widow with notes and phone calls? Too juvenile for his taste. Besides, Freeland was too small a town for a “strike now, pay later” guy like that.
Or was it? Maybe that’s precisely what Deitrich wanted him to think.
He needed to make some calls, find out if one of his cop friends could verify Deitrich whereabouts. Man, how he hated the idea of leaving here. When this was behind them, he’d get a cell phone, finally. If he had one now, he could go out back, make those calls from here, instead of having to leave her again to do it at Foggy Bottom.
books (nearly 9,000,000 copies in circulation and 7 titles that
earned book-to-movie options), 68 short stories, and 2,500+ articles
universities, corporate and government agencies in the U.S. and
abroad, Loree loves sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the
craft and the industry.
and “opening” for the likes of Tom Jones, Dottie West, The
Gatlin Brothers, and more. Though she refuses to share the actual
year when she traded her Yamaha 6-string for a wedding ring, she IS
willing to admit that, every now and then, she blows the dust off her
six-string to croon a tune or two. But mostly, she just writes (and
suburbs and a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, where she continues
to hone her “identify the critter tracks” skills. Her
favorite pastime? Spending long, leisurely hours with her
grandchildren…all seven of them!
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