- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
A RISKY REUNION
When her doorbell rang, a pregnant Liz Chase's heart raced at the sight of her handsome—and until now incarcerated—husband, Alex, standing on the porch. For six months Liz had tried to understand why Alex had murdered her uncle, and why he refused to discuss that fateful night. Then she learned that he'd confessed because he thought she was the guilty party—and Liz didn't know whether to be flattered or furious. But with a killer still on the loose and Alex's ...
A RISKY REUNION
When her doorbell rang, a pregnant Liz Chase's heart raced at the sight of her handsome—and until now incarcerated—husband, Alex, standing on the porch. For six months Liz had tried to understand why Alex had murdered her uncle, and why he refused to discuss that fateful night. Then she learned that he'd confessed because he thought she was the guilty party—and Liz didn't know whether to be flattered or furious. But with a killer still on the loose and Alex's freedom on the line, Liz had to help clear her husband's name all for the sake of their baby.
Devon Hiller lit a hand-rolled Cuban cigar and leaned back in his chair. Under strict doctor's orders not to smoke, drink or become unduly stressed, he amused himself by blithely indulging in all three. Hell, he wasn't dead yet.
It was good to have the house to himself again. A cleaning crew would come in the morning and pick up after the party, but for now he was just glad to be rid of that crowd of brown-nosers. And that included his niece, Elizabeth, though he had to admit issuing ultimatums to her had been the high point of his evening. Never mind her husband, a ticking bomb if there ever was one. What could he do about anything? Nothing, that's what!
As Devon took a generous sip of cognac, he thought he heard a noise in the foyer and straightened in his chair. Parking the cigar in a heavy crystal ashtray, he peered into the gloom as the door to his study silently drifted open.
"Who's there?" he barked.
A figure moved in the shadows.
"That you, Elizabeth?" he chuckled as he set aside the snifter. "Back again, are you? Changed your mind? Good, good. I knew you'd see it my way."
The figure stepped into the light. Not Elizabeth.
"How did you get in here?" Devon demanded. The look on the intruder's face caused an alarm to go off in Devon's brandy soaked brain. His gun was in the wall safe. Palming the antique letter opener he always kept on his desk, he slowly got to his feet.
"I thought I made it clear I wasn't going to do business with you," he growled as he rounded his desk. A show of strength, that's what was called for. Just as he decided to throw in a few words of warning, he finally noticed a long green cord stretched between the two gloved hands.
The intruder's lips curled into a smile that sent Devon stumbling back, groping for the phone. His attacker moved swiftly, pulling Devon away from the desk, slamming him onto the Persian carpet. The impact caused the letter opener to tumble free.
Still Devon struggled, gratified as he felt his fingers wrap around the green fiber, then gasping as a sharp pain drove all other thoughts from his brain. He was conscious just long enough to glimpse the hilt of the letter opener erupting from his chest.
He died knowing that, in the strictest sense, his bad habits had finally caught up with him.
Seven Months Later
The jarring ring of the doorbell startled Liz Chase awake. She sat very still for a moment, trying to remember what she'd been dreaming, but the images dissolved without ever taking form.
The bell rang again. Setting aside the paperback novel that had lulled her to sleep in the first place, she heaved her very pregnant body from an aging rocker and mumbled, "I'm coming." Curled up by the cold fireplace, Sinbad, her Siamese cat, opened one blue eye and yowled.
Through the parted drapes she saw a light-colored truck pull away from the house and a jolt of uneasiness rocked her. It had to be close to ten o'clock. Who would plan an unannounced visit at this hour? Who would apparently send his or her ride away before making sure Liz was home?
Wishing she'd gotten around to installing a chain on the door, she cautiously pulled it open as she switched on the outside light.
For a moment, she couldn't believe her eyes. Was this one of those dreams within a dream where you thought you were awake but you weren't? She whispered, "Alex?"
He blinked at the sudden influx of light just as she shivered from the gust of cold wind that blew a handful of fallen leaves around her feet. He was dressed in jeans and a heavy jacket and looked far better than he had a right to look.
"Liz," he said at last, running a hand through his thick, dark hair. "My God, if you aren't a sight for sore eyes."
She managed to mumble, "I thought ... how ..."
"In a minute, sweetheart. Just give me a minute."
Heart racing, she glanced over his shoulder. Across the narrow country road, she caught a glimpse of her only neighbor's lights. She searched her own heavily shadowed yard for -
For what? Sheriff Kapp and a posse of deputies?
She found nothing but the forbidding shapes of denuded fruit trees twisting in the wind, dancing to the mournful sound of ocean breakers hitting the base of the cliff below.
Alex cleared his throat. "May I come in?"
A death grip on the door kept her on her feet while she considered his question. Her instinct was to say no.
"Dave Sullivan gave me a ride," he explained as though giving her time to gather her wits. "I didn't want you running around at night," he continued. "Not with the baby coming."
As her free hand flew to her midsection, her indecision fled. "I think you should leave," she said, pushing on the door.
He blocked it with his hand. "Honey, wait. I need to talk to you. It's important."
Except for a few glimpses of him in the courtroom when she'd testified at his trial, she hadn't seen him since the night he killed her uncle. She'd thought she'd never see him again. Wasn't that what he'd wanted?
"Liz, please." He had somehow moved across the threshold. Letting go of the door, she pushed against his chest, but he caught her hands and held onto them. "Liz!"
For the first time, she met his gaze straight on. His stormy eyes and gaunt cheeks hinted he wasn't sleeping or eating well. His skin was pale, unnaturally so for a man who had spent most of his life outdoors, whose passion was fighting infernos and saving lives, who camped and hiked year-round. Jail time can do that to a man, she figured, trying to imagine what he'd look like after ten years behind bars, twenty.
"I'm home," he said gently.
Excerpted from For The Sake Of Their Baby by Alice Sharpe Copyright © 2003 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.