Kari Pearce lives the life of a lone werewolf. No one knows of her affliction, not even her sister. When she hears of a missing child up in the Sequoias, Kari goes on the hunt to find the child and her abductor before tragedy can occur. Saving the child is easy, avoiding the FBI agent associated with the case, is not.
Agent Nick Murdock knows he's seen Kari before but damn if he can remember where. There's one thing he knows for sure. Kari Pearce with her blonde hair and piercing blue eyes is hiding something. And Nick is going to find out what.
“I know how this sounds,” he paused, took a breath, “but do I know you?”
She shifted and swallowed her mouthful of food while her eyes raked his form. Tilting her head back, she replied, “No, I don’t think so.”
“Are you sure? I never forget a face.”
“Now that sounds like a line.”
He put out his hand. “Nick Murdock.”
After wiping a hand on her napkin, she reached over. “Kari.”
Small, soft, and confident, again, not the combination he expected. By his estimates, she couldn’t be more than one hundred and twenty pounds yet she shook hands like a politician. She let go all too quickly, but not before he felt her pulse quicken. “Just Kari?”
“A girl can never be too careful, even to seemingly innocent men who wear FBI jackets in a Podunk diner.” Raising her fork she pointed to the paper with the dark headline, “You must be here because of that missing girl.”
Small, soft, confident, and he needed to add smart. Nick was impressed. “Found girl,” he corrected.
“Oh, I didn’t hear she’d been found. She’s all right I hope.”
“Safe with her parents as we speak.”
Kari nodded and finished the last of her pancakes, which meant she’d be leaving soon. He hadn’t placed her yet and didn’t want her to leave. “So, you must be here on vacation.”
She put down her fork and stared across the counter at the wall. “Maybe I live here.”
Nick shook his head. “You called this a Podunk diner. Your shoes are meant for walking on
Rodeo Driveand not the trails of the forest.” He leaned forward and sniffed. “And you smell like expensive perfume, not bug spray. No, Kari, I don’t think you live here.” Odd though, she wasn’t wearing a ring and didn’t have any trailing boyfriend or children at her side. Vacationing alone in the Sequoias struck him as odd.
“This is a nice place to visit,” she clipped out as she reached inside her purse. Removing a ten-dollar bill and placing it by her plate, she stood up. “It was nice talking to you, Mr. Murdock. I’m glad the girl came back to you safe and sound.”
Her smile was lethal, her laugh seductive. “I need to get back to Rodeo; Gucci is calling out to me.”
His chest rumbled in laughter.
As she walked away, his eyes followed the gentle sway of her hips. Damn, she was something to watch.
Once out of sight, he turned in his seat and brought the coffee cup to his lips. As he swallowed, his eyes landed on the car keys sitting next to Kari’s empty plate.
With a wicked smile, he covered them with his hand and headed toward the door.
Outside he watched her fumbling through her purse while standing in front of a four-wheel drive rental car. A strand of blonde hair slid over her face; she tossed it back in frustration and mumbled a curse.
“Looking for these?” He held up the keys and shook them with a jingle.
Her head shot up, eyes narrowed.
“You left them on the counter,” he found himself explaining.
Taking a step in his direction, she reached out to capture them from his fingers. Nick playfully pulled them out of reach. She cocked her head to the side and dropped her hand.
“Have dinner with me,” he spoke before she could say anything.
“What?” She looked at him as if he was crazy.
“You know, dinner. Kind of like breakfast, only later and with wine.”
“Are you always so forward, Mr. Murdock?”
“Are you always so forward, Nick?” she emphasized his name to express her annoyance.
“I believe in being direct.”
She took another step in his direction and smoothed her hair back. Her tongue shot out and moistened her lips. The action shot heat to his groin. “I’m glad to hear that, Nick. I believe in being direct, too.” Stepping closer, she brought one hand up between them, tilted her head back to gaze into his eyes. Low lashes fluttered in a way that proved she knew her affect on him.
A small shock registered when she trailed a finger down his arm. “I think you are very attractive.”
“That’s a start.” His voice grew husky. “But...”
“But,” she sighed and walked her fingers down his arm. “I don’t like being held hostage for a date.” With that, she grabbed her keys from his hand and turned to walk away.
"...a definite winner..." ~ Dakota, Dark Diva Reviews
- "...an enjoyable read." ~ Destiny Booze, Romance Junkies
- "...an enjoyable short story with a few twists and turns to keep you on your toes. The characters and plot are well written and flow from the first word to the last." ~ Victoria Lyn, Manic Readers
- "...a wonderful sense of timing... scenes and characters come alive ...This is an enjoyable read." ~ Fennel, The Long and the Short of It Reviews
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