Pulse Pointsby Mary Lynn Baxter
THE MORE SHE TRIES TO FORGET
Kasey Ellis's life is shattered after she witnesses the murder of her friend and business partner at their Tyler, Texas, advertising agency. Though Kasey can't identify the killer, she believes the killer saw herand that her life is now in danger. And, as if trying to salvage her company and her sanity/p>/strong>
THE MORE SHE TRIES TO FORGET
Kasey Ellis's life is shattered after she witnesses the murder of her friend and business partner at their Tyler, Texas, advertising agency. Though Kasey can't identify the killer, she believes the killer saw herand that her life is now in danger. And, as if trying to salvage her company and her sanity isn't trouble enough, Tanner Hart has walked back into her life.
THE EASIER IT IS TO REMEMBERA former bad boy who's made good, Tanner is now running for the Senate and needs Kasey's media savvy for his campaign. Accepting his offer means she can only try to forget that, twenty years ago, a night of passion in Tanner's arms left her with a son whom another man raised as his own. Tanner's return awakens emotions that never died. But as the media circus surrounding his campaign grows, so do Kasey's fears about the killer's identity and about her own devastating secret. Soon there's nowhere to hide from the danger, from the truthor from her deepest desires.
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By Mary Lynn Baxter
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe parking garage seemed eerier than usual that evening. Kasey Ellis paused and unbuttoned her jacket, hoping to ward off the smothering heat of the July day. Normally she was gone long before the premises was filled with eerie shadows. But the disturbing situation at the office had kept her there, though she had nothing to show for her efforts except a burgeoning headache.
Thinking it was her less-than-rosy mood that was responsible for her paranoia, Kasey shrugged her uneasiness aside and upped her steps to her Toyota Camry. She had inserted her key in the lock when she heard the noise.
Pop. Like a gunshot.
Surely not, Kasey told herself, positive her paranoia was messing with her mind. Nonetheless, she stood motionless and listened while her heart lurched in her chest and her breathing turned labored. Only after she heard the sound again did she spin around.
Even then, she couldn't immediately absorb the scene playing out in front of her.
A man was standing in the shadows with a gun pointed at a woman. Kasey froze and watched in manifested horror as another squeeze of gunfire assaulted her ears. This time the woman sank to the cement like a rag doll whose stuffings had been removed.
Kasey knew she had to do something. Anything, other than stand like she was encased in a huge block of ice. Then she heard another strange sound. Finally she realized it was coming from her. A whimpering erupted from her throat. She felt helpless and vulnerable in the midst of an oncoming bout of hysteria.
She shut her eyes, clinging to the remnant of hope that this was nothing but a contorted, macabre nightmare from which she would soon awaken. But when she opened her eyes, the woman remained crumpled and lifeless.
And the man had disappeared.
Do something, Kasey mouthed silently, making an effort to fight through the fog that dulled her mind, but it was impossible.
She had no idea where she found the courage to move her paralyzed limbs. Later, she credited the force of adrenaline that kicked in, giving her the strength to run to the victim and drop to her knees.
"Oh, my God," she cried when she recognized the ashen-faced woman with the blood-splattered chest.
Her stomach churning and her vision blurring, Kasey lifted her head and took several deep, shuddering breaths, praying again that this was indeed a dream. But when she peered down once more, nothing had changed.
Her business partner, Shirley Parker, remained splayed on the pavement. Dead. Kasey lifted her head high again as the stench of fresh, oozing blood filled her nostrils making her dizzy.
Her stomach pitched and heaved, and for a moment, she feared she might faint. Instead she sucked in her breath, and without touching her partner, fumbled for her cell phone, then dialed 911.
"Please, hurry." She didn't even recognize her own voice. It was squeaky and faint. "There's ... there's been a murder."
The police station was frigid, though Kasey suspected it was her fractured nerves rather than the temperature that made her teeth clack together. Despite a valiant effort to get her emotions under control, she couldn't seem to do so. She continued to reel from the fact that her world had just splintered into a million jagged pieces.
"Would you care for a cup of hot coffee?"
How else would coffee be? That unasked, but inane, question made Kasey realize that hysteria was once more bubbling close to the surface. Clasping her hands together in her lap and squeezing them seemed to temper that hysteria. But for how long was anyone's guess.
Nothing was able to remove the imprint of Shirley's bullet-riddled, blood-splattered body from her mind.
Kasey shivered again. While waiting for the police to arrive on the scene, she had stayed with Shirley. Her initial reaction, however, had been to jump in her car and drive straight home, lock her doors and crawl into bed. And pretend the nightmare never happened.
She couldn't say what had kept her at the grisly scene. Perhaps she hadn't been able to leave her friend alone even in death. Better yet, remaining had been the right thing to do. The police had been on their way, and she was the only witness to the crime.
Through it all, she had kept waiting for the killer to return and deliver her the same fate, though she didn't think he'd seen her.
But what if he had?
"Here, drink this. Maybe it'll help."
Kasey flinched, then nodded her thanks at the man who handed her the cup. His name was Detective Richard Gallain. Even though a shroud of fog still swirled around her brain, she couldn't help but take note of him. Physically, Gallain reminded her of a bulldog with his slightly bugged eyes, wide full mouth, and heavy jowls. Not a handsome man by any stretch of the imagination, but then he didn't need to be. Putting murderers behind bars didn't require good looks, just a skilled mind.
When he had arrived on the scene, Gallain had asked her if she was all right and what had happened. Somehow she'd managed to make enough sense to tell him what she'd witnessed.
Once the crime lab boys had arrived, Gallain suggested she accompany him to the police department for further questioning.
Now, as she waited for that to happen, Kasey sipped on the dark liquid, but it did nothing to soothe her shattered nerves. The coffee barely hit her stomach before it pitched in rejection. Shaking noticeably, she placed the cup on the desk and folded her hands in her lap.
"Relax, Mrs. Ellis. You're safe here. We're here to help you not hurt you."
Gallain's voice was as strong as his features. And confident. But not abrasive. Impatient was the word. She suspected he was ready to hit her with a barrage of questions, yet he seemed to sense how emotionally fragile she was and was trying to take it easy, something that apparently wasn't easy for him.
"Are you up to talking?" Gallain paused, sweeping a hand though his crew cut. "I don't want to rush you." He let the rest of his sentence trail off but she got the message.
His impatience was no longer veiled, though his voice remained even. Of course, he wanted to rush her. Who was he kidding? She expected him to bark at her any minute, a thought that at one time might have drawn a smile. Not today. Not after she'd just witnessed a murder. And not just a random murder, either but that of her friend and partner.
Kasey took a deep, shuddering breath in hopes of blotting out that painful image, at least for the moment. It didn't work. When she stared into Gallain's sharp green eyes, it was Shirley's white face and lifeless body that she saw.
She blinked when another detective entered the cubicle. A tall man with a kind face, he folded his arms, leaned against the door, then merely nodded at her.
Excerpted from Pulse Points by Mary Lynn Baxter Copyright ©2003 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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First time read of this author and will not read her again. She jumps around the story leaving you wondering what happened then when she gets back to the issue, you don't care and wasn't worth the wait. The whole book revolves about how hot these characters are for each other then when they actually get down to it, it's anything but HOT. Not too believable storyline and not real good background on politics.
Twenty years ago, Kasey Ellis indulged in a brief fling with handsome Tanner Hart, only to find herself pregnant and having to face telling the man who loves her that her child is not his. Somehow, he is able to forgive her and raise the child as his own son. She never thought she would see Tanner again, but here he is now, needing her help as a PR person to get elected as a Senator. ........... This is not a good time for Kasey. She is not only Tanner's only hope, but the only witness to a brutal murder. Now, her life is in an uproar between the circus of campaigning, relit fires of love, secrets, and the possibility that the killer is someone too close to home. ............... ***** This heady mix of passion and danger zips along to an exciting and thrilling conclusion that will leave the reader breathless.