Criminal Intent [NOOK Book]



The police said it was an accident—a late-night crash on a fog-drenched Mississippi highway that took the life of Robin Spinney's deputy sheriff husband, Mac.

Two years later Robin stumbles across his journal—and the frantic final entry—and she is certain Mac's death was no accident. Terrified, she goes to the only person she can trust with the damning evidence. In less than twenty-four hours he, too, is dead. Convinced she is in ...

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Criminal Intent

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The police said it was an accident—a late-night crash on a fog-drenched Mississippi highway that took the life of Robin Spinney's deputy sheriff husband, Mac.

Two years later Robin stumbles across his journal—and the frantic final entry—and she is certain Mac's death was no accident. Terrified, she goes to the only person she can trust with the damning evidence. In less than twenty-four hours he, too, is dead. Convinced she is in grave danger, Robin flees to Serenity, Maine, and attempts to build a new life for herself as Annie Kendall.


Davy Hunter is Serenity's reluctant temporary police chief. All he wants is to get through the next two months as quietly as possible, but Annie Kendall's arrival puts that idea on the shelf. Davy can see through the careful facade that Annie has constructed and knows that this woman is hiding something.

With a past that won't disappear, Annie must decide if she can trust Davy enough to tell him the truth, or whether to take justice into her own hands.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460363249
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 7/15/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 70,933
  • File size: 2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Criminal Intent

By Laurie Breton


Copyright © 2006 Laurie Breton
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0778322807

Serenity, Maine

This was just a temporary gig.

Davy Hunter reminded himself of that fact for the umpteenth time as he met the cool blue eyes that gazed back at him from the rearview mirror of the police cruiser. It wasn't as though he'd made a lifetime commitment. This was just two months out of his life. Eight weeks. Sixty days. Not so very different from working as an office temp, the law enforcement world's equivalent of a Kelly Girl. If he got lucky, he'd coast through the entire two months. This was, after all, Serenity. His biggest challenge would be to avoid dying of boredom.

Fumbling for his travel mug, Davy raised it to his mouth and took a slug of black coffee. These early mornings would take some getting used to. He suspected they'd probably also curtail his customary late-night activities. A man approaching forty couldn't afford to burn the candle at both ends, not when he held the kind of responsibility that Ty Savage had just handed over to him.

He studied his mirrored reflection, still amazed by the stranger who looked back at him. He barely recognized himself. His eyes were clear, his hair neatly trimmed, his beard gone. He cleaned up pretty good for a guy who'd spent most of the last fourteen months buried in a bottle. If it hadn't been for Ty Savage, he'd probably still be there.

He'd tried to turn down this job, had tried to argue that his law enforcement days were over, that there were other people better suited to the position, that he preferred to work with wood instead of people. Wood was straightforward. It never lied to you, never played head games with you, never pretended to be anything but what it was. Wood never let you down. You could mold it to suit your own needs, and it wouldn't complain. If it broke, it was no big deal. You could just toss it out and start over again with another piece.

Fat lot of good arguing had done him. Ty had simply bulldozed over his every objection. If you were good enough for the Feds, you're good enough for Serenity. Davy'd expected the Board of Selectmen to roll on the floor in hysterical laughter when Ty presented him as his number-one choice for a temporary replacement. But damned if they hadn't been impressed by his credentials. It was amazing, the respect the word Quantico seemed to command among those who'd actually heard of the place. The board had approved him by unanimous vote. So here he sat in the parking lot of the police station, contemplating the clean-cut stranger in his mirror, dressed in a starchy blue uniform that scratched in the damnedest places, and scared shitless because he didn't know squat about running a police department.

Interim Police Chief. Cute title. One they'd strip him of quickly enough, once they discovered the unparalleled depths of his incompetence.

There was no sense in putting it off any longer. Feeling like a man about to face a firing squad, Davy drained his coffee mug, opened his door and stepped out of the cruiser. Two months, he reminded himself again as he climbed the steps to the police station. Two months, and he could go back to being invisible.

He heard the music the instant he opened the door, Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson revving up a live audience with the musical reminder that it was five o'clock somewhere. At a corner desk, Officer Pete Morin was engrossed in conversation, one beefy hand clamping the telephone receiver to his ear, the other hand scribbling furiously as he took notes. Behind the dispatch desk, Dixie Lessard sat filing her nails with an emery board and humming along with Alan and Jimmy. She glanced up, saw him standing there, and her eyes widened at the sight of him in his newly-pressed uniform. "Woohoo," she said. "You're looking good, Hunter."

Dixie was a friend, probably the only friend he'd have here in the hallowed halls of justice. There were people in this town who blamed him for what had happened to Chelsea, but Dixie Lessard wasn't one of them. "That's Interim Chief Hunter to you," he said with mock gruffness.

She grinned. "Hope that doesn't mean I have to kiss your ass every morning, Interim Chief Hunter."

He considered her suggestion. "I dunno. Did you kiss Ty's ass every morning?"

She rested her chin on her palm and said wistfully, "If only I'd been asked."

"Uh-uh, Dix. He's a married man these days."

"That doesn't mean I can't enjoy the scenery. Ready for your first scintillating day in law enforcement?"

He managed, just barely, to fend off a yawn. "I showed up, didn't I?"

"And just brimming with enthusiasm, I see."

"What are you talking about? This is enthusiasm. Not my fault if you don't recognize it."

Dixie's grin was wry. "Fine, then, have it your way. Make yourself at home. Coffee's in the corner behind my desk. Be forewarned, it'll grow hair on your chest if you don't already have it there. You empty the pot, you're expected to make the next one. Directions are taped to the wall. If you need secretarial assistance, come to me. I'm the department's jack-ofall-trades, so don't be shy about asking. I assume Ty already covered the important stuff in your meeting Friday, so —" She paused and dimpled. "Anything else you need to know?"

"Yeah." He crossed to the coffeepot, lifted the lid of his empty travel mug, and poured himself a refill. "I'd like to know why the hell I agreed to this insanity."

"That, my friend, is a secret known only to you." The phone rang, and Dixie swiveled in her chair and pushed a button, abruptly cutting off the offending object midring. Her voice dripping sweetness, she said, "Serenity Police Department. How may I direct your call?"

Pete was still tied up so, coffee in hand, Davy ambled off to Ty's office — his office, for the time being — and dropped into the chair behind the desk. He'd been in here a number of times, but he'd never really paid attention. It was simply a cop's office, with the standard ugly walls and third-rate equipment. From Alberta to Zimbabwe, police stations all looked pretty much the same.

But now that the office was his, at least temporarily, he took a good look around. Dust motes danced in a ray of sunshine in front of the single tall window. The shelves were loaded with books, all of them somehow relating to the criminal justice field. On the putty-colored wall above the bookcase, Ty's neatly framed college degree shared space with a bulletin board that held an assortment of memos. Everything was obnoxiously tidy. Even the walls, ugly as they were, looked as though they'd been recently painted.

On the corner of the desk sat a framed photo of Faith. Davy picked it up and studied it. With her wild mop of dark curls and her vivid blue eyes, Ty's wife looked a decade younger than her thirty-seven years. She was laughing into the camera lens, those blue eyes devilish, as though she held a marvelous secret but didn't intend to tell a soul. A vast change from the somber, recently-widowed Faith who'd come here last year after her cousin died. Love appeared to agree with her. Or maybe it was pregnancy that had brought that dewy flush to her cheeks.

Either way, it was none of his business. His jaw clenched, Davy replaced the photo and slid open the desk drawer to inventory its contents. Ty Savage was relentlessly neat. There wasn't an item here that didn't belong. Pens and pencils, paper clips and staples, all arranged with obsessive orderliness.

Davy shoved the drawer closed. What the hell did he think he was doing, coming in here, trying to fill Ty's shoes? Even if he did know most of the town's criminal element on a first-name basis, his years as a federal agent hardly qualified him for this. He might know where all the local bodies were buried — both literally and figuratively — but what he knew about procedure in a small-town cop shop was laughable. Until he conquered that ignorance, he was doomed to stumble like a blind man.

He glared at the red-and-black DARE poster tacked to the wall. He should probably gather his people together, call a staff meeting. Make some kind of bullshit speech about how, in Ty's absence, they had to pull together and work as a team. But bullshit had never been his forte, and he'd never been much of a team player himself. It was probably wiser anyway, for the first few days at least, to tread lightly and observe heavily.

He wasn't a people person. Sure, he understood what made people tick. Understood humanity's baser motives — revenge, greed, the desire for power. Knew them intimately, understood how to work them to his advantage. Manipulation 101. It was one of the primary weapons in a federal agent's arsenal. But the people he'd associated with on a daily basis during the years he worked undercover weren't exactly the type a man was expected to make nice with. Hell, he wasn't sure he was even capable of making nice. How long would it take for the citizens of Serenity to figure it out? How long before they started complaining loudly to the town fathers about the surliness of their interim chief of police?

Back in the days when he wore a tie to work and rode a desk, his fellow agents had razzed him endlessly about his aloofness. He'd just shrugged it off, knowing it was all meant in fun. But during his undercover stint, he'd deliberately emphasized his taciturnity, made it an integral part of the persona he displayed to the world. Davy Hunter, silent and dangerous, a man who hung out with thieves and junkies and wouldn't hesitate to slit a man's throat if the guy was stupid enough to cross him.

He'd somehow managed to pull it off. Even people who'd known him all his life had bought his act. It was so over-thetop it was laughable. Sure, he was tough. You didn't get to be a federal agent without a solid core of toughness in there somewhere. But the image he'd portrayed had been little more than an exercise in thespian skill. Now that he'd left the DEA behind, he was finding the adjustment difficult. How was he supposed to make a smooth transition from rugged Neanderthal to a man who related to the world in a normal fashion?

The intercom on his desk buzzed. He stared at it for a moment, then fumbled with the button to answer it. "Yeah, Dix?"

"Got a call for you. I could've given it to Pete, but I thought maybe you'd want to get your feet wet right away."

He felt a little stir of adrenaline, the first he'd felt in a while.

Maybe playing rent-a-cop wouldn't be as painful as he'd anticipated. "What you got?"

"Shoplifter down at Grondin's Superette. He's giving them a hard time."

A shoplifter. Hell, it didn't get much more exciting than that. "Got it," he said. "Hey, is Pete still tied up?"


"Ask him if he wants to tag along."

Gilles Letourneau was royally pissed.

The wiry little drywall contractor charged toward him like a rampaging bull the instant Davy walked through the door of the office where Letourneau was being held. "Finally!" the contractor said. "Somebody who'll listen to my side of the story!"

Davy exchanged glances with Buzz Lathrop, the nineteen-year-old assistant store manager. The kid's relief at seeing two members of Serenity's finest walk through his door was palpable. Lathrop gulped and rolled his eyes in a gesture of helplessness and exasperation.

"I saw that!" Letourneau snapped. "Smart-ass young punk!"

"Mr. Letourneau," the kid said, not quite able to contain the quiver in his voice, "you have no reason to be calling me names. I'm just doing my job."

"Oh? So now it's your job to intimidate customers, eh? I'd like to see where that's written in your job description. I'll have you know, I'm calling my cousin Richard. He's a lawyer, and I'm gonna sue your scrawny ass off!"

From where Davy was standing, the only one who seemed to be doing any intimidating was Letourneau. The kid, who'd been a mere grocery clerk six months ago, was shaking in his shoes.

Davy braced his feet stiffly apart. "Gentlemen," he said, "I'm sure we can discuss this like civilized human beings."

"Yeah, right," Letourneau said. "What the hell are you doing here? Where the hell is Ty Savage? He'll put an end to this right now."

"He's taken a leave of absence, so you're stuck with me. I'd like to hear from each of you, one at a time, what happened here. Mr. Lathrop?"

The kid swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing up and down. "This morning, Mr. Letourneau was observed removing a copy of the River City Gazette from the stand near the front door and exiting the store without paying for it. He was apprehended —" Lathrop paused to clear his throat " — he was apprehended in the vestibule by the front end manager and one of the baggers."

"Right there in front of everybody I know, these bastards strip me of my dignity. Right in the frigging vestibule!"

"Mr. Letourneau," Davy said, "you'll get your turn."

"This is ridiculous! It's a frigging newspaper, for Christ's sake!"

"Gilles." Davy fixed him with a hard, cool stare. "Shut up." The little man abruptly clamped his mouth shut. "Thank you," Davy said, and turned back to Lathrop. "He was observed by whom?"

"By Natalie Fortin," Lathrop said. "One of our cashiers."

"And how much was this newspaper worth?" It was a question to which they all knew the answer. Lathrop colored slightly. "Fifty cents. I know it's not much money, but the thing is —" He glanced at Letourneau and threw back his shoulders. "It's not the first time. He does it every morning."


Excerpted from Criminal Intent by Laurie Breton Copyright © 2006 by Laurie Breton. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Criminal Intent

    I felt this was a very good read - alot of suspense - highly recommend this writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2006

    Criminal Intent

    After two good men die under mysterious circumstances, Robin knows that she and her daughter could well be next. Her husband and his best friend both had learned the same secret implicating powerful men in criminal activities that she also knew about. With no one to turn to, Robin takes her daughter and enters her own make-shift witness protection program. Months later, rechristened as Annie Kendall, she and Sophie are well on their way to building new lives, then someone begins getting closer to her trail. Interim sheriff Davy Hunter is attracted to the young widow, and admires her spunk and grit, but feels he does not deserve her. Then, he begins to learn the truth, almost too late. ................. Subtle suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat as the characters spring to life from the pages of this book. You will really care what happens to them, even the one of questionable character. Humor, romance, mystery, and action, this book has it all. Ms. Breton can always be relied on for a good read.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Exciting romantic suspense thriller

    In Atchawalla, Mississippi, widow Robin Spinny finds documents her late spouse Deputy Sheriff Mac left behind that incriminates his boss Sheriff Luke Brogan of doing illegal activities. She took the evidence to Mac¿s best friend Deputy Boyd Northrup, father of two with a third on the way, who officially commits suicide. Robin believes otherwise and feels that Luke and his brother murdered Boyd and her husband, who two years ago allegedly died in a car accident. With her daughter Sophie, Robin flees with intent to hide in plain sight elsewhere in the country.------ Robin changes her name to Annie Kendall and two years later with teenage Sophie she opens up the Twilight Motel & Video Store in Serenity, Maine. As acting police chief for two months, disgraced former DEA Agent Davy Hunter finds Annie quite attractive, but believes she is hiding something. At the same time Luke is closing in on the woman who could expose him. Only Davy and a deputy not happy with his appointment stand in their way, but Luke has killed two law enforcement officials and has no problem with adding one more to his list.----- CRIMINAL INTENT is an exhilarating suspense thriller with a romantic subplot that takes a back seat to the action. The story line centers on the woman (and her daughter) in peril from lethal law enforcement officials who want to insure her silence even two years after she vanished. The hired gun though he makes limited appearances is an intriguing character while the Brogan siblings don¿t appear enough to make them as dangerous as they apparently are. Davy sees the Kendall females as his redemption, but has doubts he can do the job. Fans will enjoy this solid romantic suspense thriller with the emphasis on the paths leading to a High Noon confrontation.----- Harriet Klausner

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