Read an Excerpt
By Lisa Childs
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. All right reserved. ISBN: 0-373-22720-5
Chapter OneDeath hung in the air. The medicinal smell of it pervaded the hospital's Intensive Care Unit. The
bright lights in the hall illuminated the dread on the pinched faces of those who waited for word
Royce Graham shrugged out of his rain-darkened overcoat, ran an unsteady hand over his wet
hair and stepped close to a man who leaned against the corridor wall. "Father."
The older man turned. He'd aged since Royce had seen him last. Lines rimmed the thin,
compressed lips. His hair had slipped from silver to white. "You came." Surprise lit the faded
"He wants you."
A breath hitched in Royce's chest. His father didn't want him, wouldn't have called for him
unless he'd been asked. The rejection wasn't new, but that didn't make it hurt any less. "Why?"
"He's dying, Royce." A grimace twisted the man's stern face.
Royce curled his fingers into his palm, so he wouldn't reach out. He had no comfort to offer his
father while Donald Graham watched his best friend die, at least, none the old man would
"I'm sorry. What happened?" He figured a heart attack. These men lived on power and thrived
on high-stress business dealings.
"He was shot." Donald Graham's voice cracked, and impotent rage surged intohis eyes.
"Someone shot him."
A ragged sigh slipped through those thin lips. "He surprised someone breaking into his den. He
never saw who, but the bastard shot him and cleaned out his safe - money, will, everything."
Donald ran a trembling hand through his white hair. "I told him again and again to get a security
system, especially after the break-ins at the company. He could probably have worked a deal
when we upped security there. The cheap fool."
Despite the brevity of the situation, Royce's mouth tipped up with wry amusement. His father
expected people to do as he told them. "So, he can speak?"
Annoyance narrowed Donald's eyes. "I told you he asked for you. I don't know why. He'll tell
only you what he wants. Get in there. The doctors say he doesn't have much time."
Royce's heart beat slow and heavy with dread. Bart McCarthy had always been a strong
presence in his life. His godfather. "Where?" He gestured toward the door beside his father. "In
Donald nodded and took the overcoat from Royce's arm. "He wants to talk to you alone."
Bitterness laced his father's words.
Royce stepped around him and pushed open the door. Machines beeped and made wheezing
noises as Bart McCarthy gasped for each breath. Tubes connected to his frail body: IVs,
Royce had once feared this man, until he'd learned his loud bark concealed his generous, loving
nature. Now pity softened Royce's heart. And something else. He blinked hard. "Bart."
Misted green eyes peered up at him. A voice rasped out. "You came."
Royce approached the bed, his wet rubber soles squeaking against the pristine tiles of the ICU
floor. "What's with the surprise?" He forced his mouth into a grin. "You had the old man call. I
didn't dare disobey."
And he'd wanted to come. He'd wanted to see this man again. But he didn't want it to be for the
"Smart a ..."
"Hey, don't waste your breath on insults. You need to save it. You need to fight." He curled his
fingers around the steel railing on the side of the bed.
Pride lit the green eyes. "Fight ..."
Royce nodded. "You fight this. I want to know what happened last night."
When Bart opened his mouth, Royce held up a hand. "But you shouldn't get worked up."
The pride burned brighter. "I got shot ... but I ... shouldn't ... get worked ... up?"
Royce's laugh didn't rise above the cacophony of the life-saving machines. "There's some of that
McCarthy spirit. Now, are you going to tell me what happened last night, so I can track down
the SOB who shot you?"
A wiry gray brow rose above those lively eyes. This man wasn't gone yet. "Tracking ..."
Royce's pulse quickened. "That's what I do. Tell me everything you saw, Bart."
"Too dark. Didn't see anything ..."
Frustration burned in Royce's throat. He wanted whoever had done this to the old dragon.
"I have to ... ask you ..."
A cough wheezed out of his godfather's frail chest, rattling the skeletal body and the tubes and
wires connected to it.
Royce winced and tightened his hands around the railing till his fingertips tingled. "Whatever you
want, it's your's. Ask me."
The lids fluttered over the pale eyes, consciousness slipping away from him.
Thin fingers closed over his hand, biting with a fierce grasp. "Find Sarah ..."
Royce turned his hand over to clasp Bart's, but his godfather's fingers slid
A murmur rose from the bed. "Sarah Mars ..."
Excerpted from Sarah's Secrets by Lisa Childs
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.