Love, Lies & Murder

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This book contains the ebook novellas, His Every Desire and Telling Tales

Telling Tales

Sheriff Kellan Grant has been dreaming of Darci Law for a very long time. Wild, sexy dreams. But he was badly burned once, and is interested in only one thing when it comes to women. Kellan knows that Darci will make him want more than one night in her arms, so he keeps his distance.
Darci’s dreams about Kellan are so intense that they leave her shaking and feeling obsessed. She can’t stop thinking about the sexy sheriff—the way he walks, the way he talks, the way he…

But he never so much as looks in her direction.

So when Kellan shows up at her front door, she is understandably a little confused, but ready to take advantage of any opportunity to finally get close to the man who haunts her dreams. Hot, liquid excitement swamps her system as midnight images rush through her head. He is finally within reach…

Then Kellan tells her why he has come.

There has been a murder. And she is his number one suspect.

His Every Desire

“I want your wife.”

In the past twenty years, Joel Lockhart had crossed a lot of lines on his quest for vengeance. But this was a new one. He was demanding exclusive sexual access to another man’s wife.

One look at Tracy Grainger though, and he couldn’t stop himself. She was battered, beaten, but not quite broken—not yet. He made the demand of the crime lord with every intention of seeing it through. Anything to get her away from her vicious husband.

He never expected to fall in love. When he looked into Tracy’s eyes, he felt something stir in the emptiness of his heart. An emotion that was unknown to him. It didn’t take long for Joel to realize that he is willing to give up everything to have her, to hold her, to keep her safe.

But the price to stay with her will be high. Staying with her might require letting go of his quest for vengeance. Giving up his need to put his sister’s killers in the ground. Joel has to decide what is stronger—his need for vengeance or his need to have Tracy with him always.

Author’s note: This wasn’t a book I wrote lightly. Romances involving one married person and one unmarried are not things that have ever appealed to me. Adultery is something I don’t find at all titillating or romantic. However, Joel and Tracy had a story.

excerpt

 

The blood was every where. The thick metallic scent of it in the air, the darkening stains of it as it dried in puddles on the floor.

He was trapped in the dream again, a dream more than twenty years old, and he knew it. Knew that if he could just wake up, the dream would fall apart…until the next time. But he couldn’t wake up. Walking through the hall of the condo, he felt trapped. Everything seemed smaller now—he was just a kid when he found her, and then everything had seemed so much larger—so large he felt lost.

Now he felt trapped, the walls closing in on him as he moved down the hallway.

She lay there, her pretty, dark blue eyes, just like his own, staring sightlessly up at the ceiling, her face a mask of blood and bruises. She was naked.

Twenty years ago, he’d stood there, staring at the battered, nude body of his sister, the scream forming in his throat as his young mind tried to make sense of what he was seeing. With age, he could now make sense of it, although it didn’t lessen the fury or the pain any, not in the dream. Not when he was awake.

There had been blood on her thighs. Lots of it. Dried blood on her arms, her belly, her legs, and numerous little cuts. Bruises on her legs, her arms, from where she’d been held down.  Twenty years ago, he had turned away, run away, as though maybe he could outrun it and maybe it wouldn’t be real.

She had whispered to him. He had heard her voice—it had terrified him and comforted him at the same time as she had murmured to him. Run. Run away, baby. Hide and don’t look back. He had run. Fast and hard, furiously. There had been nights when her voice had come to him, waking him from a fitful sleep and he had started to run again. Time to go, baby. He’s looking for you again…

Finally, that had stopped. And he had stopped running and started planning.

In the dream though, he hadn’t run away. In the dream…He moved to kneel at her side, took the blanket from the couch and covered her before he reached up and gently closed the sightless eyes.

And he whispered, “They will pay, Carly. Every last one of them. I won’t stop until I see it happen.”

It was the sound of his own voice, a hoarse whisper, as he murmured those words that woke him up. Joel lay in bed, his gut churning from the aftereffects of the dream.

Twenty years later, three of the men who had raped his sister were dead. They had paid, just as he had promised Carly.

The temperature in the room dropped and Joel tugged the tangled sheet so that it covered him better. “Carly, some rest?”

She laughed. The laughter had sound, and he glanced around the room, wondering if she would appear this time. He saw just the faintest white glow hovering in the corner. “You were awake before I showed up, baby.”

A cool breeze seemed to drift toward him and the white glow came closer. “Let it go—Grainger doesn’t matter. Not to me. I’m past caring about him.”

Joel scowled. “If you didn’t care about him, you wouldn’t be here, would you?”

The glow solidified into an actual form and he felt a fist wrap around his heart as he saw her face. She was so damned pretty. So determined to get him away from the hell hole they had lived in with Mom.

“It’s not Vincent Grainger that’s keeping me here,” she murmured. “It’s you. Once I know you’re going to be okay—I’ll be fine.”

Joel smiled tightly. “I am okay.”

Carly just sighed. “Baby, you haven’t been okay a day in your life.”

He sighed, shoving a hand through his hair. “Look, I have to do this. You don’t understand that, but I have to. Once I deal with him, I’ll…I’ll do…” His voice trailed off because he didn’t know what he was going to do.

Carly smiled at him. Reaching up, she touched her hand to his face. The ghostly touch felt cool against his cheek. He met her gaze as she said, “That’s just the problem, though. You don’t know what you’re going to do. You have to look for a life beyond this. I didn’t get a chance to live mine. Don’t waste yours on hatred, brother.”

Then she faded away.

Joel closed his eyes. Hatred had eaten away at him for so long—it was just a part of his life. He lived with it. Breathed it.  He couldn’t just shove this aside—not until it was all done. The men who had killed his sister would die. Three of them were already dead in the ground, but there was at least one more—Vincent Grainger.

The bastard who had given the order. The bastard who had stood over her while his men raped her. Had them hold her down while he took his turn. He’d made a mistake. Two of the men he’d killed early on, without learning if there were others. They’d been bragging about it, the dumb shits, talking about Carly and other men and women they’d killed, just because Grainger had decided he wanted it done. The third one, though, Robert Ellingsworth, that one, Joel had questioned before he’d killed him. Not that it had done much good. Ellingsworth had been certain, to the very last second that Joel wouldn’t kill him, and he was more afraid of Grainger than he was of Joel, and he hadn’t talked.

Not when Joel had beat him bloody, not when he’d damn near twisted the bastard’s balls off. Ellingsworth had been dead a little less than a year now, and Joel had run out of resources. It was time. Time to move in on Grainger. Time to ruin him. And when the bastard understood how it was to feel helpless, caught, trapped, then Joel would kill him.

But first…first…there was something else.

____________________________________________

Telling Tales

Darci heard his voice and sobbed in relief, rising from the floor and stumbling out into the hallway. She swallowed a scream as she came against a hard, hot body. Big hands came up to cup her arms as she slammed her foot down on his, hearing a muffled grunt, followed by…

“Damn it, Darci, why in the hell do you need the police? You’re dangerous.”

“Kellan!”

“Is there anybody still here?” he asked, moving up against the wall and pulling her with him.

“The lights are out,” she whispered, stuttering, her body starting to tremble. “I woke up…saw somebody…”

“Okay…okay. Take a deep breath. Calm down, listen to me. We have to check out the house. I want you to go back in your room and stay there,” he said, his voice changing to a firm, no-nonsense tone as he guided her back into her room. The broad band of light from his flashlight moved over the room and he checked the entire area out before he urged her down on a chair, snagging the blanket from her bed and wrapping it around her shoulders. “Stay here, sweetie. Okay?”

And then he was gone. She muffled the sob that rose in her throat as the door clicked shut, then the doorknob shifted a little as he checked the lock.

She couldn’t take her eyes off that door. The brass glinted ever so slightly in the dim light of the room and she stared at it, fascinated.

If it moved…was the person still here? What if he killed Kellan? What if he was waiting…a frustrated, frightened sound escaped and she pressed her hands to her eyes. “Damn it, stop! He’s a fucking cop, he knows what he is doing.”

But an odd little whisper in her head kept repeating, So does the killer…

Darci jumped as the lights flashed back on. A few minutes later, outside her door, Kellan said, “Darci, it’s me.” She watched as the doorknob started to turn. “Unlock the door.”

Swallowing, she forced herself to stand up and walk over to the door. Her hands shook uncontrollably as she turned the little latch, unlocking it and stepping back from the door.

As he came inside, she rubbed her arms, violently cold.

“Somebody tripped the power in the garage, and came in through the front door,” he said, lowering himself to sit on her bed, his eyes watchful. “No signs of forced entry. But we can see signs that somebody stood outside your window, where you said you saw someone as you woke up. A few other things… And the perp left a note.”

Darci read the script through the clear plastic he had tucked the note inside. Her heart tripped as the words started to make sense.

Don’t worry, Darci.

I’m not coming after you—even though he gave me a good reason to kill you tonight.

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