Truly, Madly, Dangerously
Linda Winstead Jones
She'd left her small town and now could handle kidnappers and thieves as easy as pie. But going home? Well, that was risky indeed–especially as it led to serving pie while helping out in her aunt's motel/diner. And things grew even more intense once Sadie Harlow called Deputy Truman McCain about the body found in the bathtub….Soon Sadie realized someone was out to frame her for murder–or to get rid of her permanently. Still, Sadie couldn't allow Tru's seductive blue eyes to break down her defenses. Not even if it was the only way to keep her heart–and her life–safe….
Why was her heart beating too fast?
Why did her mouth taste like copper? In the past few years she’d been in much more dire circumstances than being locked in Aunt Lillian’s café with Truman.
“Are you happy in Garth?” Sadie asked.
“Most of the time.” Truman’s response was low and rumbling. A man’s voice, not the voice of the boy she’d loved a very long time ago. No, not loved. Lusted after. Drooled over. That wasn’t love. She just hadn’t known it at the age of fifteen. He shifted his feet, crossed his arms over his chest. “You don’t like it here.”
“I don’t know if I like it or not.”
“So why are you so anxious to get out of town?”
Because I might start to feel like this is home again. Because I might fall in love with something here that I can’t live without…. Maybe because I already have.
Truly, Madly, Dangerously
Linda Winstead Jones
LINDA WINSTEAD JONES
would rather write than do anything else. Since she cannot cook, gave up ironing many years ago and finds cleaning the house a complete waste of time, she has plenty of time to devote to her obsession for writing. Occasionally she’s tried to expand her horizons by taking classes. In the past she’s taken instruction on yoga, French (a dismal failure), Chinese cooking, cake decorating (food-related classes are always a good choice, even for someone who can’t cook), belly-dancing (trust me, this was a long time ago) and, of course, creative writing.
She lives in Huntsville, Alabama, with her husband of more years than she’s willing to admit and the youngest of their three sons.
She can be reached via www.eHarlequin.com or her own Web site www.lindawinsteadjones.com.
For my grandmother, Imogene Means, who served up more than her share of Gelatin Surprise in her ninety-nine years.
Sadie dipped and turned, rolling across the creaking porch as a bullet smacked into the wall of the rustic cabin with a splintering crack. Still on her back, she lifted her pistol and took aim, but Santana leapt across the railing, grabbed the kidnapper’s gun arm, and twisted it up and back until the weapon fell to the porch.
The first kidnapper they’d faced was already down—permanently—and Santana was handling the other just fine. Sadie scrambled up and carefully opened the front door of the isolated cabin on this Tennessee mountain-side. The door squeaked loudly as it opened, and she stepped to the side so she wouldn’t be a clear target for anyone waiting inside. The intelligence they’d collected told them there were only two kidnappers holed up in the cabin, but if she’d learned anything working for Benning it was that you could never take anything for granted.
The main room was empty; the entire cabin was eerily silent. Her heart crawled into her throat. “Danny?” she said softly.
The young boy had been kidnapped five days ago, and his father had hired the Benning Agency to find him. The client was prepared to pay the ransom, if that was what it took. All he cared about was getting his son back safe and sound. All Sadie wanted was to be able to take the kid home, alive and healthy.
She glanced into the kitchen. Late-morning light spilled through an uncovered window. Beyond that window all she could see was sky and evergreen trees and the gold and red leaves of a Tennessee October. The view was beautiful, but the room was a mess.
She walked down the hallway without making a sound. The first bedroom she passed was as messy as the kitchen. And as deserted. The bathroom further down the hallway was small and unoccupied. That left one other room at the back of the hallway. The door was closed and locked from the hallway side.
Sadie holstered her pistol as Santana entered the hallway. She unlocked the door and opened it slowly.
Danny sat in the center of a big bed, bound and gagged and wearing the jeans and T-shirt he’d been wearing when he’d been snatched from the sidewalk in front of his home. Tears filled his eyes and stained his cheeks. He was apparently unhurt…but terrified.
Sadie smiled as she walked to the bed, allowing her jacket to fall over her weapon. She had a feeling Danny had seen enough guns for one lifetime.
“Hi,” she said softly as she sat beside him and reached out to remove his gag. Duct tape. She pushed her anger deep.
“My name’s Sadie, and this is Lucky.” She nodded toward the man in the doorway. Santana was a couple of inches over six feet tall, and with his wide shoulders, big hands and killer stare he could be intimidating. Danny would respond best to a woman, they both knew that. “Your Dad hired us to come get you.”
When the gag was removed, Danny took a deep, ragged breath. “My daddy sent you?”
Sadie nodded. How much had the kid heard of the struggle that had just taken place outside this cabin? It had become clear within minutes that the kidnappers were not willing to make a clean exchange. They were going to take the money, kill the kid and kill the lackeys who’d delivered the ransom. They hadn’t counted on the lackeys being Sadie Harlow and Lucky Santana. Their bad luck.
At the very least, Danny must’ve heard the gunshots. “We scared away the men who kidnapped you,” Sadie said calmly, “and now we’re going to take you home.”
Danny nodded enthusiastically.