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Death is preferable to what awaits in her forgotten past…

Coffee is the only thing standing between Grace Debry and a straight-jacket since she gave up swearing in honor of her foster mom. A rash of break-ins make her wonder if caffeine is enough. Especially when the notes left behind make it personal. Her brand-spanking new life is more nightmare than dream-come-true.

All Matthew Duncan has wanted since hiring Grace is to have her in his passenger seat, his arms, and his bed. As they grow closer, the feisty brunette proves to be a handful—one Matt is happy to hold. He’s determined to give her the happily ever after she stopped believing in years ago. Unfortunately for Grace, it will take more than Matt’s considerable resolve to keep her safe.

Three’s a crowd—not that he cares. Every move she makes, every breath she takes … he’s watching. Waiting to reclaim what he lost.

Angel Nicholas pens another wildly passionate romantic suspense with Dying for Love.

Excerpt:

Her phone rang before she made her escape. She cocked a hip on the desk and answered.

“Grace?” a soft female voice enquired. “Grace Debry?”

“This is she.”

“The same Grace Debry who used to live with the Wells in Indiana?”

Straightening, Grace frowned. “Who is this?”

“You probably don’t remember me, dear. This is Mrs. Growsky from next door. You used to come over and help with my flower beds.”

“Of course I remember! How are you? Is everything okay? How did you find me? Oh, Mr. Wells has my information. How are you?”

She had fond memories of Mrs. Growsky. Hot summer days and warm fragrant dirt between her fingers. She had relaxed and shared thoughts she never would have dared otherwise. Mrs. Growsky had been a wonderful confidante and encouraging mentor during her high-school years. “Oh, I’m fine. How are you?”

“Great. My job here is great, I love my place and I have wonderful neighbors.” She had wanted to keep in touch, but knew better. When Laura died, she’d severed ties.

Mrs. Growsky calling out of the blue tightened her stomach.

“I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m calling. To tell you the truth, I debated long and hard about this. I’ve had your new phone number and address for ages, you know. I knew you were uncomfortable with me asking to stay in contact, but I wanted to know you were doing okay after you left.”
Grace furiously blinked back tears. Of course, Matt chose that moment to walk through her door. One look at her face and he shut the door behind him, frowning. He reached for the phone. Unable to speak over the emotion clogging her throat, she shook her head. He sat on the edge of a chair. All this time, Laura’s neighbor had watched over her.

Mrs. Growsky sighed. “Some strange things have been going on. Since they seem to involve you, I had to warn you.”

Warm fuzzies banished to Neverland, Grace’s nerves tightened again. “Warn me?”

“Yes, dear. I’m sorry to alarm you, but… Well…”

“Please. Just tell me.”

“Darrell Wells was murdered last week.”

“What?” Her gaze flew to Matt. He was by her side in an instant. He tried to take the phone from her, but she jerked free and very carefully lowered herself into her chair.

“Well, he was actually murdered about a week earlier, but no one discovered the poor man until that nice sheriff came along.” She hmm’d softly. “Where did he say he was from?”

“Why would anyone want to hurt Mr. Wells? He kept to himself to such an extent he was practically a hermit. Without Laura around, he probably became exactly that. What happened?”

“I don’t know, dear. Several people have been asking about you, though.”

She dropped her head to the desk, vaguely aware of Matt rubbing her back and murmuring…something. Oh, he still wanted the phone.

“What?” Her brain felt fuzzy.

“A man came by two weeks ago. Last I saw, he was headed to the Wells’ house.”

“Looking for me?” she repeated faintly.

“Yes. Then, a little over a week later, that nice sheriff stopped by. He asked about you too. He showed me a picture of your mother. My goodness, you’re her spitting image. I knew right away he was talking about you.”

Goosebumps chased one another across her skin. “He had a picture of my mother?”

She’d never seen a picture of her mother. The foster-system workers had explained there’d been nothing with her when she was brought to them. Yet some stranger had a photo. Of her mother. She couldn’t seem to wrap her mind around that.

“She was beautiful. What a shame she died so young. You really are her mirror image, dear. I could have been looking at a photo of you. Of course, I knew it wasn’t you because the photo was old and worn. The clothing styles weren’t right either. And her hair, my goodness. No, I can’t imagine you doing that to your beautiful hair. All those glorious curls, and your mother chopped them so short.” She tsked. “A crime, that’s what it is. You’re still wearing yours long, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

Mrs. Growsky had always rambled. Not that she was going to complain when she was rambling about a mother Grace had never laid eyes on. At least, not that she could recall. Obviously, she’d seen her as an infant. Now she was rambling. In her thoughts. Which seemed worse, somehow. She shook off some of the numbness.

“Do the police have any leads on Mr. Wells’ murder?”

“I couldn’t say. They wouldn’t talk about that with me. They interviewed me about the man who’d been by a few weeks ago. I cooperated, I assure you. Told them everything I could remember about him and what we talked about.”

“I’m sure you were very helpful. Would you mind telling me?”

“Of course, dear. I rather thought you’d like to know, seeing as how he asked about you. I even wrote down all the details. Let’s see. Where did I put it?” Paper rustled. “He was a tall man, taller than my Lawrence was, making him over six feet, I would guess. Shaggy dark-blonde hair, which I know for a fact he colors. He was in his fifties. No man his age would still have blonde hair.” Her little sniff of disapproval brought an unwitting smile. “Blue eyes and a strong nose. Had an athletic build too. One of those men who played some sport when he was younger and kept active as he aged. My Lawrence was like that, you know.”

Grace was peripherally aware of Matt staring at her. She wrapped the phone cord around her finger. “I do remember you telling me that. What else do you remember? What did he want to know?”

“Well, I can tell you, I didn’t like him. Despite his movie-star good looks, something was off, if you know what I mean. I’d say he has a mean streak. So I played dumb. Said I remembered seeing a black-haired, green-eyed little girl staying with my neighbors for a while, but you hadn’t been around in a long time. He wanted to know where you are now. Far as I knew, you hadn’t stayed in touch after you left. Told him about Laura dying too and how Darrell hadn’t been involved with you children. I assured him Darrell wouldn’t know anything about any of you, but he insisted on talking to him anyway.” She sighed. “I do wish I’d done something. I knew nothing good could come of it. I feel so bad about Darrell dying all alone like that.”

“It is not your fault. I doubt you could have done anything for Mr. Wells, but you’ve been very helpful to me. And the police too, I’m sure. Thank you so much for calling. I’m sorry I didn’t stay in touch with you. I just… I didn’t…” She bit the tender underside of her thumb. Nobody cared about her issues.

“Oh, you don’t have to explain, dear. Growing up in foster care is difficult. You don’t expect things to last, especially relationships. I’m always here if you need an ear, though. You remember that.”

“I will. And I promise…” Grace hesitated. Promises weren’t her forte. She avoided them like the plague. Still, Mrs. Growsky deserved that much. She forced the words past the constriction in her throat. “I promise to stay in touch. As a matter of fact, why don’t you give me your address and phone number. I’ve moved a few times and I’m afraid I don’t remember it.”

She flicked a glance at the man hovering protectively when she finally hung up. Approval softened the hard lines of Matt’s face. Why that mattered, she didn’t know. Or didn’t want to know. Same difference.

“Well?”

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One Response
  1. Thank you so much for featuring my new release on your blog, Mac! You’re the best! <3

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