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Locked Up With A Lawman
By Laura Wright
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneClint Andover sat bolt upright in bed, his eyes wide, wild, his nude body dripping with sweat.
He swiped at his face, shook the sleep, the nightmare, from his muddled brain.
Three years of this. Had to be enough.
He glanced around. In the glass and steel bedroom of his five-story condo no fire blazed, no smoke hung. As usual, it had been a nightmare. Although, the massive burn scar on his chest would always serve as a reminder that it had not always been so.
Clint dragged a hand through his dark hair, listening to the sound of his heart pounding with fear - and sadly with life.
As it was every night, after the dream had come and gone, he didn't fall back against the mattress, didn't try to find sleep once again. He knew it was a lost cause. Instead, he ripped back his soaked sheets, stalked out of his room and down the hallway into his second-floor office, where the promise of solace awaited him.
The amber crystal liquid in the decanter on the bar winked at him.
The pale light from the predawn sky illuminated the large room, but Clint didn't need its guide. This was a nightly ritual.
He took a healthy swallow of whiskey, then walked over to his desk and dropped into a chair. Taking a look around, he snorted with derisive amusement. He was CEO of the largest security company in West Texas, had a room full of defense equipment at his fingertips - but ironically he couldn't use any of it to keep his mind from conjuring images of that night.
The night he'd lived.
The night he'd died.
Jaw tight, Clint drained the remaining liquid in his glass, then contemplated pouring another.
Wasn't it right that he be plagued with these nightmares? he mused petulantly. Wasn't it wise? Wouldn't these memories keep his soul locked away for good? Wasn't that what he deserved?
He gripped his chest, felt the bumpy, hideous flesh - felt the pain as his fingers dug a little too deeply.
No more whiskey. He needed coffee.
He had work to do. The work that kept him from just this, from thinking too much. He had the work of his friends to see to. The work of the Texas Cattleman's Club.
There was a woman with no name, no memory and a madman trying to get to her and her infant daughter. And Clint had vowed to guard and protect them both.
He stood up and faced the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Outside, the fiery dawn moved upward from the horizon at a steady pace. Just as it did every morning at this time....
He was on the hospital floor.
And earlier than usual, Tara Roberts noted as she watched the new dark-haired OB/GYN stride into the elevator with the solemn frown he usually reserved for anyone who hadn't gone to medical school.
But this morning there was no one around to return Dr. Belden's curt appraisal with an apprehensive glance or a forced smile.
This morning the elevator was empty, and Tara felt the irresistible urge to take advantage of the situation, put aside her morning report and join him on his journey to the fourth floor. Whether it was improper or not, she had a few questions for the new doctor. Two questions that had been churning restively on her brain from the moment she'd been introduced to the man.
She wanted to know why she got a shiver up her spine whenever she caught his eye. But most important, she wanted to know just who he thought he was treating the nurses with such blatant disregard. After all, the nursing staff at Royal Hospital were some of the most caring and hardworking people she'd ever known, and it made her furious that she and her peers weren't given the respect they deserved.
But today she didn't get the chance to confront Dr. Belden. The door to the elevator closed too quickly on her silent queries.
Excerpted from Locked Up With A Lawman by Laura Wright Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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