Sighs Matter

Sighs Matter

4.4 20
by Marianne Stillings

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It was a night of slow dances, heated looks, and for detective Taylor McKennitt, the Earth moved.

Unfortunately, so did the lovely Claire . . .

. . . right on out the door. Not that it wasn't the hottest night of her life. In fact, the memory of Taylor's kisses, his touch, his . . . everything makes Claire want to leap right back into the sexy detective

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It was a night of slow dances, heated looks, and for detective Taylor McKennitt, the Earth moved.

Unfortunately, so did the lovely Claire . . .

. . . right on out the door. Not that it wasn't the hottest night of her life. In fact, the memory of Taylor's kisses, his touch, his . . . everything makes Claire want to leap right back into the sexy detective's bed. But the last thing she needs is to fall in love with a man in blue, even if he is irresistible. And determined.

Then just when Taylor thinks he's close to getting her back into his life, a deranged killer targets Claire. Now it's Taylor's duty to protect her. And in the process, he'll win her resisting heart or die trying -- which is suddenly a very distinct possibility.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Port Henry Trilogy , #1
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Sighs Matter

By Marianne Stillings

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Marianne Stillings
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060734833

Chapter One

Sir Lancelot's secret lookout.

Port Henry, Washington

Blue sky . . . treetops . . . straw hat . . . breasts.

With a touch of his index finger, he caressed the knob as though it were the soft curve of her shoulder. After a brief mental tussle between his half angel, half devil conscience, both sides concluded it wouldn't harm the taxpayers any if he allowed himself a moment or two of reverent reflection on the wonders of . . . nature.

Detective Taylor McKennitt popped his gum, then fine-tuned the focus on his binoculars. Under his breath, he murmured, "Claire Hunter, you are still one very fine-looking woman." He grinned and blew out a short breath.

Thank God he'd gotten over her. A lesser man would have been captivated at the sight of her in those blue jeans and white knit top. But Taylor had moved on. She was no longer his almost girlfriend but simply an assignment, and he was free to appreciate her attributes from afar without getting his knickers in a twist.

Good thing, too, since he hadn't anticipated seeing her here. Originally, his intent had been simply to check out the farm, see if all the ducks were in order, so to speak. He'd expected to catch a glimpse of Sadie Lancaster,Claire's aunt, but not Claire herself; not today, anyway.

He sharpened the image, and his grin widened. Damn, he loved this job.

Shifting position, Taylor jammed his hand under his jacket, into his shirt pocket, and withdrew his cell phone, punching the autodial with his thumb. As he waited for the call to ring through to his brother, Claire turned, bent, and lifted a cardboard box.

Taylor's gaze followed her every move as his mind drifted to the night they'd spent together eight months ago. He felt his chest warm remembering what had happened between the two of them, and the sultry, sensuous things she'd whispered to him in the dark . . .

". . . hit by a bus, or just plain stupid?" His brother's impatient voice jolted Taylor out of the land of ancient history.

"Sorry," he growled in response. "I'm working. Got a little . . . distracted."

"So, what's the haps? Where are you?"

"Doing a little recon." Since the recon had morphed into ogling his brother's wife's best friend, Taylor felt it best to keep the details and the locale to himself. "Where are you?"

"On the road," Soldier said. "Spent the day at the precinct in Seattle gathering all the data I could on our new case. Heading north on 101 now. ETA in Port Henry's about fifteen-thirty."

Taylor checked his watch. "That's in an hour. You stopping by the PHPD, or going straight home?"

"Straight home into the arms of my beautiful wife."

"Gag me."

"If only," Soldier said dryly. "Mostly I need to mow the lawn before it gets dark. Hey, you staying with us tonight? We can start going over these files. Betsy's getting your usual room ready."

"Can't do it until tomorrow night," he said, his eyes locked on Claire. "Today, uh, threw me a few curves. I'm hip-deep in forms and figures, and looking a little behind." He adjusted the focus as she turned around.

"Sounds like you're looking at a righteous bust," Soldier quipped.

Taylor snapped his gum and smiled. Yeah, I'd like to stay on top of this one, he thought but did not say. Banter and innuendo with his brother were one thing, but this was Claire . . .

"Listen, Jackson," he said instead. "I've got to hand my cases off to Atherton and Stewart and meet with the lieutenant, so I won't see you until around noon tomorrow."

Detective J. Soldier McKennitt -- Jackson, to his brother -- gave a grunt of acknowledgment.

Taylor popped his gum and peered through the binoculars as Claire carried a cardboard box to the faded green Ford pickup parked in the barnyard. She set the box inside the bed of the old rattletrap, leaning in to adjust its position.

"Speaking of good-looking women," Soldier said. "How you doing in the girlfriend department? Been seeing anyone special?"

As he watched, Claire continued loading boxes into the truck, unaware that Taylor's eyes followed her every move.

"I'm seeing someone special right now," he muttered under his breath, his gaze held in thrall by the woman whose fawn brown eyes had mesmerized him the day they'd met, and whose fire had turned to ice the morning they'd parted.

"What was that?"


With a hard blink, Taylor filed away his memories of that night with Claire in the mental folder marked "Finished Business" -- in front of the time he'd paid back Ronnie Sherwood in the second grade for a black eye, and just behind the day he'd discovered Paula had been unfaithful . . . the first time.

With renewed enthusiasm, Taylor said, "You picked up all the case files?"


"Tell me a little about Mortimer. What exactly are we dealing with here? Any Feds looming on the event horizon?"

As Soldier began addressing the details of the case, Taylor listened while he carefully scanned the scene below.

The Lancaster farm was set in a deep and lush little valley that cupped Claire in its rustic hand. The centerpiece of the tableau was the century-old two-story farmhouse. Faded blue with peeling white trim, it matched the barn standing back against a cluster of towering firs. In the yard between the two buildings, a trio of brown chickens bobbed and pecked at the hardpan, while an enormous goose waddled about, beak in the air, honking orders to the indifferent clouds.

That was the extent of her protection? Three chicken dinners and a goose-down pillow on the wing? No other houses or farms close by. Not a good thing for two women alone.

". . . but no FBI," Soldier was saying. "After you and I go over the case files, we can talk to Mrs. Lancaster, see if she knows anything."


Excerpted from Sighs Matter by Marianne Stillings Copyright © 2006 by Marianne Stillings. 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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Meet the Author

Marianne Stillings has loved stories with happy endings since she was three years old and her mother read her The Little Golden Book of The Ugly Duckling. Originally from California, these days she lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she’s the single mom of two fantastic daughters, and where she takes shelter from the rain by writing happy endings of her own.

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Sighs Matter 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Totally love this book! Read "The Damsel In This Dress" first, the two books tie in well together, although they work as stand alones too. I really enjoyed the banter between the characters, especially as they rattled off the corny pick-up lines. I kept breaking into giggles when they'd come up, and absolutely ROFL when the aunt mentioned 'the weakest link'. The author obviously has a fun personality, and it comes through perfectly in her writing. Highly recommend both books. Be prepared to fall in love with the two hottest men ever. I would gladly take either one ;) .
TTCG More than 1 year ago
smooth reading, flowed nicely and the story was good.
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I found the humor is this book very enjoyable. The characters intertwined well and the mystery was good.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This series is wonderful. I have really enoyed the characters involved. They are light, funny, and loveable. How can you go wrong. I would recommend this series to anyone. The storylines are really creative. Good Job. Keep it alive.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Port Henry, Washington Dr. Claire Hunter is heading back to Seattle when someone forces her off the road. The next she knows a cop takes her in as she suffered a head injury and her purse with her license and other items were stolen a bottle of open alcohol is inside her vehicle. The cop takes her to the station though she is not drunk. She mentions knowing Detective McKennitt so the cops send for him. However, the wrong McKennitt shows up as she expected Soldier wed to her best friend, but instead got his brother Taylor, whom she made love with eight months ago before Claire ran back home fearing her feelings especially for a cop.----------- Taylor forces Claire to stay in his home over night to insure she is safe. He believes that her assault is tied to her beloved Aunt Sadie¿s fiancé Mortimer of Mortimer Mortuary, who he and his brother believe is involved in illegal activities. This time Taylor will not let her run away as he insures she is safe from everyone but his assault on her heart.----- Marianne Stillings returns to Port Henry for the third time (see MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL and Soldier¿s story THE DAMSEL IN THIS DRESS) with another wonderful police procedural romance. The delightful story line contains two people in love, but one of them refuses to acknowledge that veracity while lasso battling against a dangerous enemy. The return of characters from the previous tales add to the overall depth of this plot, but this tale stands alone. Readers will appreciate this fine romantic suspense.----- Harriet Klausner