Double Take [NOOK Book]



Cameron McKenzie had traded places with her celebrity boss as a favor—and it just might have saved her own life. But the last thing she wanted was to be back in the Witness Protection Program, back under U.S. Marshal J. C. Ransom's watchful gaze.

When he looked at her it was all heat and anger. And stark, raw desire. Talk about danger! But without J.C.'s protection ...

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Double Take

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Cameron McKenzie had traded places with her celebrity boss as a favor—and it just might have saved her own life. But the last thing she wanted was to be back in the Witness Protection Program, back under U.S. Marshal J. C. Ransom's watchful gaze.

When he looked at her it was all heat and anger. And stark, raw desire. Talk about danger! But without J.C.'s protection Cameron knew it would only be a matter of time until the killer caught up with her. And she'd rather lose her heart to a U.S. Marshal than her life to a dangerous predator.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459237643
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 3/15/2012
  • Series: Harlequin Intrigue Series
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 912,708
  • File size: 943 KB

Read an Excerpt

Double Take

By Leigh Riker

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-373-22772-8

Chapter One

Denver, Colorado

The man was almost dead.

J.C. watched the life slip out of him, but no matter how he tried, J.C. couldn't stop the slow, inexorable march of death.

My fault.

Jordan Christopher Ransom, Deputy U.S. Marshal. It was his mission, for God's sake, to protect ... to safeguard his charge.

J.C.'s mouth twisted at the thought. Sitting on the cold ground in January with James McKenzie in his arms, he cursed himself for not figuring things out in time, not getting here faster, not being able to prevent what had finally come down in this grim, dark alley. And instead of hearing the whistle of the wind all around, he heard the utter silence that follows violence. After the gunshots, the running feet. The shouts.

Some of them had been his own.

No matter.

James was still lying here, his eyes on J.C., pleading as he slowly bled to death. His stomach knotting, J.C. worked his fingers deeper into the hole in McKenzie's neck, but he knew his efforts to stanch the blood flow from a major vessel, no matter how hard he pressed, would do no good.

It was a killer wound.

From the cold-blooded bastard who had vowed revenge.

And achieved his goal after all.

Or so it seemed.

J.C.'s jaw tightened. In the darkness he heard the wailing of sirens coming closer. He'd called for help on his cell phone moments before.

"They're on the way," he told McKenzie, sounding desperate with relief, but the other man's eyes didn't change.

"We'll get you somewhere safe."

His job. But he had failed.

McKenzie's mouth opened then closed, as if the attempt to speak was simply too much. And of course it would be.

"Hang in there," J.C. muttered.

The advice proved futile. His own heart thumped against the inside of his coat, against the blue steel semiautomatic in his shoulder holster. No reason to have it out now. They were alone. The coward had gone. He tightened his grip around McKenzie in cold comfort. It was the last the man would feel in this lifetime, and whether or not J.C. had ever believed McKenzie was innocent, he tried to provide solace.

It was the least he could do.

Because of me you're lying here in a pool of your own blood.

McKenzie clutched at his coat sleeve, his voice weaker now.

"Cameron ..." Then in a final gasp, another name. "Ven."

Her name went through J.C. not like a sweet reprieve but like the bullets James had taken for J.C.'s brutal error, and he wondered for a moment if his own blood had spilled on the ground. The place smelled of rotting garbage, but of stale whiskey, too, and now of death.

He didn't trust McKenzie, not one bit more than he'd trusted his own father. Even McKenzie's name, his real name before the many aliases he'd used, was only a point of reference now for J.C.

But that didn't mean he wanted him dead either.

A chill raced along J.C.'s veins, like guilt. His fingers clenched around McKenzie's shoulders, then moved up to his throat.

And he realized he felt nothing. Nothing.

That last faint beat of blood was gone, like the assassin who had struck Cameron's father. All that remained was the ever-closer scream of the sirens that shattered silence. The sirens, and now his own fear.

The body slumped against him. J.C. looked down into blank, staring eyes. James McKenzie was dead. All he'd left behind was a daughter and those last few words.

The cops and the ambulance shrieked to a halt at the entrance to the alley. But J.C. didn't move.

This isn't over yet, he kept thinking, and the words kept echoing inside.

New York City

Her father had been dead for nearly a year. Venuto Destina had been out of prison for a week. And Cameron McKenzie was still looking over her shoulder.

Now she felt the back of her neck prickle, and the too-familiar thought shot through her brain. I'm being followed. Unable to fight the lifelong urge, she glanced behind her again along the dark Manhattan street but the footsteps she imagined hearing had died.

She saw no one.

Relief swept through her, canceling the swift rush of adrenaline, and for a moment she felt her heartbeat begin to slow. She often worked late - how else could The Unlimited Chef, Cameron's cooking business for celebrities, show more than a small profit? - but she never liked walking home by herself.

It was necessary, of course, for her own peace of mind. Yet on this cold December night - the week after Thanksgiving - with light snow falling, she liked it even less. As if to acknowledge a threat, fewer people seemed to be out. Only a handful dotted the normally crowded sidewalks and several restaurants had closed early tonight. On this side street in the Seventies off Third Avenue, where Christmas lights already twinkled in almost every window, she felt utterly alone.

She strode briskly toward her apartment, arms wrapped around her too-thin coat trying to keep warm, but the chill seemed to penetrate her very bones. Just a few more blocks, she told herself. Then she'd feel safe.

Suddenly, her pulse hitched again. Her heart took up a noisy pounding.

Was that another footstep behind her? The sound of a man's shoes muffled by the lightly falling snow? She would not look.

Then the blare of a passing taxi's horn sent a shock blast through her body, and she struggled against panic. Now she heard nothing. The danger she had lived with for most of her life was gone, like those imagined footsteps. Safe, she tried to think.

Only the past lurked behind her now, not some assailant or unseen threat that seemed to hover in the cold air like a hand about to snuff out her breath.

Cameron silently scolded herself. This unfounded paranoia was why she forced herself to walk home each night rather than hail a cab or hop a city bus and bathe herself in its harsh interior light. She wouldn't take the easy way out.

"I am going to lead a normal life," she said aloud.

Even without Dad.

At the thought of James McKenzie, she pressed her lips tight.

She missed him. Oh God, how she missed him.

But he, of all people, wouldn't want her cowering behind closed doors. Wouldn't want her shivering in terror because Destina was free.

With one ear still tuned to any sound behind her, she picked up her pace.


Excerpted from Double Take by Leigh Riker Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014



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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    Chey to boys

    I wanted riker to talk to u guy to guy. So ill leave u two to talk

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    Posted May 30, 2014



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