The Marriage Profile

The Marriage Profile

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by Metsy Hingle

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LSCC Member:
Embittered lawman Justin Wainwright
Divorced -- and plans to stay that way

A late-night tryst could be his ultimate undoing

Mayhem was at an all-time high in Mission Creek when Justin Wainwright joined forces with his ex-wife to track down an abducted baby. The by-the-book sheriff scoffed


LSCC Member:
Embittered lawman Justin Wainwright
Divorced -- and plans to stay that way

A late-night tryst could be his ultimate undoing

Mayhem was at an all-time high in Mission Creek when Justin Wainwright joined forces with his ex-wife to track down an abducted baby. The by-the-book sheriff scoffed at the psychic mumbo jumbo that had turned Angela Mason into a star profiler, but he'd do anything to crack this case. However, that didn't mean Justin was going to be blinded by his bewitching former bride -- especially when he had reason to believe she had ties to the mob. Nevertheless, Angela's dangerous pursuits were making her a target for murder . . . and this Wainwright would walk through a spray of bullets in the name of love!

Product Details

Publication date:
Lone Star Country Club Series
Product dimensions:
4.28(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.73(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Marriage Profile

By Metsy Hingle

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0373613628


Chapter One

"They aren't going to show." Ignoring his deputy's remark, Sheriff Justin Wainwright kept his eyes trained on the entrance of the Mission Creek Memorial Hospital and watched as one by one the movers and shakers of Lone Star County, Texas, strolled indoors. It seemed no one wanted to miss the dedication ceremony of the hospital's new state-of-the-art maternity ward, Justin mused as he noted members of his own family and an equal number of the Carsons file through the doors. "We're wasting our time here, Sheriff. Mercado and Del Brio aren't going to show for this shindig." Justin cut a glance to Bobby Hunter, the strapping young man he'd hired as his deputy less than two months ago. "They'll show," Justin assured his impatient deputy. His voice held the same conviction now that it had when he'd promised Dylan Bridges that he would bring to justice the person responsible for the death of Dylan's father. He intended to make good on that promise. The fact that he had in custody the hit man who'd offed Judge Bridges fulfilled only part of that promise. He still had to find the person who had contracted Alex Black to kill the judge. According to the story Black had given him, the not-too-bright gunman hadn't known who had hired him. He'd been contacted by phone, then given instructions via a tape recording. Payment for the job had been in cash and placed in a trash can in the park for Black to retrieve later. As far-fetched as it had sounded, Justin had believed the man. Maybe Black hadn't known who was behind the order to kill the judge, but Justin had a pretty good idea who was responsible. His every instinct as a lawman told him that the hit had been ordered by someone inside the Texas mafia - someone who was using the Mercado Brothers Paving and Contracting business as a shield for their illegal activities. And he'd wager a month's salary that that person was either Ricky Mercado or Frank Del Brio. Both men had axes to grind with the judge. The trick was linking one of them to the triggerman. Since conventional methods had failed, he saw no option but to try a less conventional route - namely, he intended to take advantage of tonight's social event to rattle both men's cages without their lawyers dancing interference. "They'll show," Justin said again, determined to keep his word to Dylan Bridges. And once this case was closed he could redouble his efforts and find the baby whose kidnapping had rocked his county. "You sound pretty sure about that, Sheriff." "I am sure," Justin replied. "Don't see why," Bobby said as he plucked a chicken wing from a passing tray and all but inhaled the thing. "From what I hear, Mercado and Del Brio aren't exactly what you'd call civic-minded members of the community." "You heard right. They're not." Far from it, Justin thought as he declined a glass of wine with a shake of his head and continued to survey the guests' arrival. "So what makes you think they'll come to this dedication shindig?" "Because neither one of them will be able to stay away." Bobby scratched his head. "Come again?" "The whole purpose of tonight is to acknowledge Carmine Mercado for his generous bequest to the hospital in his will. Ricky will come out of respect for his late uncle and for the Mercado family name." "And Del Brio?" Justin smiled as he thought of the beady-eyed thug with the vicious temper. "Del Brio will come because he's paranoid. He may have beat out Ricky as Carmine's successor, but he doesn't trust Ricky. So he'll show up here tonight and flex his muscles just to make sure that Ricky and anyone else who thinks that a Mercado should be running the family business thinks twice before challenging him. He wants everyone in the family to see that he's the boss now and that he isn't going to tolerate any disloyalty." "Well, if they're going to show, I for one wish they'd do it soon. I haven't eaten dinner yet." "There's plenty of food here," Justin pointed out, noting the half-dozen finger sandwiches and appetizers the deputy had piled onto his plate. He didn't bother pointing out that the younger man had already consumed enough to feed several people. "This stuff?" Bobby countered as he devoured one sandwich and then another whole. "Barely enough to put a dent in a two-year-old's belly. I need something that will stick to my ribs." Since the guy was built like a running back for the Dallas Cowboys and had a good three inches and twenty pounds on his own five-foot-eleven frame, Justin reminded himself to be grateful that he wasn't responsible for feeding his deputy. "Try eating some of the cheese or fruit," Justin suggested. Bobby obliged by scooping several chunks of cheese from the buffet spread, along with a handful of crackers, then followed Justin away from the table. "Any chance I can talk you into taking me over to the Lone Star Country Club for a meal when this thing is over?" Justin snorted. "You'd have better luck winning the lottery," he told the younger man. "I haven't forgotten that you conned me into buying you a lunch there last week that nearly bankrupted me." "Hey, you were the one who offered to buy." "Yeah. Before I realized you had a hollow leg that needed filling," Justin teased. "Sorry, cowboy. When we're finished here, you might want to try Coyote Harry's or the Mission Creek Cafe. There's no charge for seconds on the specials." "Yeah, but the food at the club's better." Justin cocked his brow and studied his deputy. "You sure it's the food at the club that's caught your interest?" "What do you mean?" "I mean is it the Lone Star Country Club's food you find so attractive, or is it that little blond waitress I saw you talking to?" "What waitress?" "You know, that one they call Daisy." For the space of a heartbeat Justin could have sworn he saw a flicker of alarm in the other man's eyes. Then Bobby scratched his head and gave him a perplexed look. "Daisy? She the one with those sexy dimples?" "No, that's Marilee, and she's a brunette," Justin informed him. Bobby's lips spread into what Justin considered a college boy's grin. "Whoever she is, she's a real looker." "She's also real married to a fellow who rides bulls for a living. You might want to steer clear of her." "No harm in looking, is there?" "Not as long as all you do is look," Justin advised the younger man. "Whatever you say, boss." Justin nodded, taking a sip of the plain soda he'd been nursing since his arrival before discarding it on the tray of a passing waiter. When several moments ticked by with no newcomers arriving, he found himself growing impatient. "I'm going to move around a bit, see if I can pick up on anything. You might want to do the same." "Will do," Bobby told him. "Want me to start over there where Johnny Mercado's holding court?" Justin followed the direction of his deputy's gaze, frowning as he noted that Bobby was right. Surrounded by several members of the crime family and speaking emphatically about something, Johnny did seem to be holding court - which didn't fit with the older man's normal fade-into-the-background demeanor. Justin had concluded long ago that Johnny Mercado hadn't been cut out for the business of crime he'd been born into. He was too weak willed and lacked the ruthlessness of his late brother, Carmine. Unfortunately, that criminal gene hadn't bypassed Johnny's son, Ricky. As he studied Johnny, Justin couldn't help feeling sympathy for him. Never a man to stand out in a crowd, Johnny was an easy man to overlook. And since the death of his wife, it was as though he'd disappeared within himself. He seemed to have aged overnight and had lost what little spark he'd once had. Or at least that had been the case until recently, Justin amended. Staring at Johnny now, he couldn't help but notice the difference in the man's demeanor. He was more intense, almost angry, Justin thought. (Continues...)

Excerpted from The Marriage Profile by Metsy Hingle 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.

Meet the Author

Award-winning, bestselling author Metsy Hingle says writing romance novels seemed a perfect career choice for her since she grew up in one of the world's most romantic cities--New Orleans.

"I'm a true romantic who believes there's nothing more powerful or empowering than the love between a man and a woman. That's why I enjoy writing about people who face life's challenges and triumph with laughter and love."

Dubbed by Romantic Times Magazine as "... destined to be a major voice in series romance," Metsy has gone on to make that prediction a reality, with her books frequently appearing on bestseller lists and garnering awards--among them the RWA's prestigious Golden Heart Award and a W.I.S.H. Award from Romantic Times Magazine.

She has also been nominated twice by Romantic Times for a Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Silhouette Desire--in 1997 for The Kidnapped Bride and in 1999 for Secret Agent Dad. In addition, she is also a 1999 nominee for a Career Achievement Award for Series Love and Laughter.

Known for creating powerful and passionate stories, Metsy's own life reads like the plot of a romance novel--from her early years in an orphanage and foster care to her long, happy marriage to her husband Jim and the rearing of their four children. Her books are always among readers' favorites, and with good reason, claims New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown who says, "Metsy Hingle delivers hot sex, humor, and heart... everything a reader could wish for!"

As much as Metsy loves being an author, it's her role as wife and mother that she holds most dear. Since turning in her business suits and fast-paced life in the hotel and public relations arena to pursue writing full-time, she admits to sneaking away to spend time in her rose garden or to slipping into the kitchen to cook up Creole dishes for her ever-expanding family--both the two-legged and four-legged variety.

Metsy resides across the lake from her native New Orleans with her husband Jim, two bossy toy poodles, a tortoiseshell cat and a 16-pound black cat. According to Metsy one of the greatest joys of being an author is hearing from readers. She would love to hear from you.

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The Marriage Profile 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fun book to read. Another great Harlequin release. I highly recommend.