Confessions (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1545)

Confessions (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1545)

by Cynthia Eden

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Overview

Meet the first of The Battling McGuire Boys from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden!

Desperate to prove she's being framed for murder, Scarlett Stone entrusts her reputation—and her life—to the man who once broke her heart. Grant McGuire, a sexy former army ranger turned detective, has never been the same since military action. But behind his cold demeanor, he still burns for Scarlett.

Taking her case is an easy but dangerous decision for Grant. Together they must race against the clock to find the real killer, who now wants them both dead. More dangerous, however, is their sudden, reignited passion. Grant will do anything for a second chance with Scarlett…while she'll do everything to keep the secret she never wants him to know…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373698127
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 01/20/2015
Series: Harlequin Intrigue Series , #1545
Edition description: Original
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Cynthia Eden is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She writes dark tales of romantic suspense and paranormal romance. Her books have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and was named a 2013 RITA® finalist for best romantic suspense. Cynthia lives in the Deep South, loves horror movies, and has an addiction to chocolate. More information about Cynthia may be found at www.cynthiaeden.com.

Read an Excerpt

His building should have been empty. It was after 7:00 p.m. and McGuire Securities should have been shut down for the night.

Grant McGuire was heading out of the place, more than ready to go meet his brothers at a local bar in Austin, Texas. It had been one hell of a week, and he needed to let off some steam.

So when he opened his office door and stepped into the lobby, he thought the place would be deserted.

It wasn't.

A woman was there. She stood just two feet away, as if she'd just entered the lobby and had been making her way directly to see him. Her blond hair was pulled away from her face, secured in a little twist at her nape. Her eyes—dark, wide, deep—flared when she saw him.

And the world seemed to stop for Grant.

Scarlett? Scarlett Stone?

Without speaking, he drank her in. His gaze swept over her face. The soft curve of her cheeks, the delicate jaw, the light sprinkling of freckles across her nose. Scarlett had always hated those freckles, but he'd loved them. Had wanted to kiss every single—

"Grant? Um, do you…do you remember me?" Her voice was halting.

As if he could ever forget her. The woman starred in pretty much every fantasy he'd ever had.

She'd changed over the years. She wasn't wearing dusty jeans and a loose T-shirt like she'd favored back in her high school days. She was dressed in black—expensively cut pants and a close-fitting turtleneck. Her feet were encased in high heels—red heels that made him think of sex.

Sex with Scarlett.

"Uh…" Pink flashed across her cheeks as she seemed to decide that no, he didn't remember her. "I'm Scarlett… Scarlett Stone."

A growl built in his throat. "I damn well know who you are." Had he really just been staring at her like a lovesick fool? But… Scarlett shouldn't be here. She should be far away from him. Safely away.

He'd made the sacrifice before. Done the right thing by her. So why was she back? In his office?

He glanced over her shoulder, his focus shifting to the McGuire Securities entrance. "How did you get in here?" He'd thought the place was locked up.

"Your assistant met me. She was leaving when I was arriving. She told me that you were still here." Scarlett's hands clenched around the small black bag that she carried. "Can we…can we go inside your office to talk?"

The tremble in her voice pierced right through him. Scarlett's voice had shaken like that before. When she was scared, it was a dead giveaway to her emotions. Grant backed into his office, holding the door open for her. When she passed by him, he caught her scent—vanilla.

Did she know that he couldn't smell vanilla without thinking of her?

No. Don't let her see…

He pulled in a deep breath, took in more of her delectable scent, and made sure his mask was in place. The mask he'd always tried to wear around her.

Ten years… He should have gotten over her by now.

"Have a seat," he told her as he turned on more lights and then shut the door.

Scarlett slowly settled into a chair across from his desk. She looked so polished and perfect. Not like the young girl who'd always had her hair streaming over her shoulders and a smile on her face. A smile for him, anyway. A smile that had lit her dark eyes and made—

"Do you recall what you told me? The last time we were—were together?" She fumbled a bit over those words.

He didn't sit behind the desk. He leaned in front of it, positioning his body a few feet from Scarlett. "I'm afraid you're going to have to be more specific for me." He kept his voice controlled. "It's been ten years." Ten years, and wasn't she supposed to be married? His gaze darted to her left hand. No ring.

But she'd been scheduled to get married two months ago. He knew she had. To a lawyer named Eric Turner.

Grant might not be in Scarlett's life, but he kept tabs on her.

Like that doesn't sound crazy.

But he'd been out of town for the past few weeks working on a case. He'd just gotten back to Austin last night, and he didn't know if he was staring at a married woman…or a single one.

"More specific?" Her fingers were white around that black bag. "Right." She cleared her throat. "Okay, you said that if I ever needed you, you'd be there for me." Her gaze held his, and was full of hope. "Now do you remember?"

He'd always been afraid that her eyes could see into his soul. See straight into the darkness that lurked there. "Yes, I remember." He remembered that he'd always been willing to do anything for her.

Scarlett's breath whispered out. "Good. Because, Grant, I'm going to have to call you on that promise."

He frowned at her.

"I need you," she told him as she wet her lips. "I'm desperate, and without your help…I don't know what's going to happen." She glanced over her shoulder, her nervous stare darting to the door.

"Scarlett?" Her fear was palpable, and it made his muscles tense.

"They'll be coming for me soon. I only have a few minutes, and please, please stick to your promise. No matter what they say."

He shot away from his desk, his relaxed pose forgotten as he realized that Scarlett wasn't just afraid. She was terrified. "Who's coming?"

"I didn't do it." She rose, too, and dropped her bag into her chair. "It will look like I did, all the evidence says so…but I didn't do it."

He stepped toward her, touched her and felt the jolt slide all the way through him. Ten years…ten years… and it was still there. The awareness. The need.

Did she feel it, too?

Focus. "Slow down," Grant told her, trying to keep his voice level and calm. "Just take it easy. You're safe here." With me.

But that wasn't exactly true. She was in the most danger when she was with him. Only Scarlett had never realized that fact.

"Say you'll help me," she pleaded. Her tone was desperate. She had a soft voice, one that was perfect for whispering in the dark. A voice that had tempted a boy…and sure as hell made the man he'd become think sinful thoughts.

"I'll help you," Grant heard himself say instantly. So he still had the same problem—he couldn't deny her anything.

Her shoulders sagged in apparent relief. "You've changed." Then her hand rose. Her fingers skimmed over his jaw, rasping against the five o'clock shadow that roughened his face. They were so close right then. And memories collided between them.

When she'd been eighteen, he'd always been so careful with her. He'd had to maintain his control at every moment. But that control had broken one summer night, weeks after her eighteenth birthday.

I can still feel her around me.

"Grant?"

She wasn't eighteen any longer. And his control—

He heard voices then, coming from the lobby. "Keep your promise," Scarlett said.

What the hell?

He pulled away from her and walked toward the door. Those voices were louder now. Because they were. shouting for Scarlett?

"Scarlett Stone…!"

"They were behind me." Her words rushed out. "I knew they were closing in, but I wanted to get to you."

He hated the fear in her voice. "You're safe."

"No, I'm not." She sounded so certain.

Grant opened his office door. Two men were in the lobby. One wore a suit—expensive, well cut. The other was wearing a faded leather jacket and had a badge clipped to his belt.

Why is a cop looking for Scarlett? And it wasn't just any cop. Grant recognized Shayne Townsend because he and the detective had worked a few cases in the past.

"What's happening here?" Grant demanded.

The guy in the suit narrowed his eyes on him. "Who are you?"

Grant's brows rose. He sure didn't like that arrogant, demanding tone. "Grant McGuire. This is my business you're in."

Shayne looked over Grant's shoulder. His eyes narrowed and Grant knew he had spied Scarlett. "Ms. Stone," the detective murmured, his face determined. "You need to come with us."

Us? Was the other guy a cop, too? Because Grant didn't recognize him.

But when the suit advanced, Grant braced his legs apart and gave the guy a go-to-hell stare. "She doesn't need to go anyplace. But you two…unless you have some sort of reason for being on my property, a warrant—"

"We're here for Scarlett," the suit said. His blue eyes were blazing with fury. "You can't run anymore, Scarlett."

She had been running.

Shayne pulled out a pair of handcuffs. "Scarlett Stone…" His voice was heavy, emotionless. Grant knew the detective tried to never let emotion influence him on the job. "You're under arrest."

"What?" Grant roared.

Scarlett walked past him then, heading right toward the cop. She'd known the officer was hunting her? That Shayne Townsend was tracking her to Grant's office?

A cuff snicked around one delicate wrist.

"Are those necessary?" Grant demanded. Sure, he'd seen plenty of criminals get cuffed, but Scarlett was no criminal. She was… Scarlett.

"You can bet they're necessary!" the suit all but shouted back at him.

The guy was getting on Grant's last nerve.

"You're under arrest for the murder of Eric Turner," Shayne told her, as the other cuff slid into place. "You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney—"

Grant shook his head. This wasn't happening. "Scarlett?"

"I didn't do it," she said, glancing over at him with tears in her eyes.

"Yes, you did," the suit snarled. "You killed my brother!"

Oh, hell.

Scarlett was still looking at Grant. "I need you," she said.

And he nodded.

I need you, too. When Shayne started to lead her from the lobby, Grant made damn sure he left with them.

She couldn't stop shaking. Scarlett had been fingerprinted, searched, caged…the nightmare wouldn't end.

She was in a cell, a small nine-by-ten-foot space that smelled of antiseptic and waste. She was afraid to move. Afraid to speak.

Terrified.

Grant has to keep his promise. Right then, he was her only hope.

She'd known that the cops were after her. She'd pulled into her condo's parking lot, seen Detective Shayne Townsend waiting…and she'd panicked. She'd driven away as fast as she could, and gone to the only man who could help her.

If he would help her.

She'd been back in Austin for only about a year. She'd deliberately stayed away from Grant during that time, but she'd known he was in the city. He and his brothers had all come home five years before.

When their parents had been murdered.

And now here I am…in a cell, accused of murder.

He was probably rethinking his promise to help her. Probably getting ready to turn his back on her and just walk away. If he hadn't already.

Her head sagged forward. This couldn't be happening to her. It was a nightmare.

A door opened, metal scraping over the floor. It was the door that led back to the holding area where she was currently secured. She heard footsteps approaching, but Scarlett didn't look up. She didn't want the guards to see her fear.

The fear that was consuming her.

"Did you do it?"

That wasn't a guard's voice. It was his voice. Grant's.

Her head shot up even as she surged to her feet and leaped toward the bars. Grant stood on the other side of them, looking grim, dangerous.

Strong.

Same old Grant. Time had sure been kind to him.

"I told you…I didn't." Her fingers curled around the bars. They were cold to the touch. "I'm being set up. I could never kill anyone!"

"I talked to Detective Townsend. Shayne and I…we know each other."

Because Shayne Townsend had worked on the murder case involving Grant's parents? Oh, this was not going well at all.

"Your fingerprints were on the knife that killed the victim, Scarlett."

"Because I'd used the knife before. Used it for making a meal…not to kill Eric. I would never do something like that. Never!"

Grant's jaw locked. "You were seen arguing with your…your fiancé."

Her hold tightened on the bars. "He wasn't my fiancé anymore. That's why we were arguing." She shook her head. "I know it looks bad—"

"His blood was on your clothes!"

She flinched. Grant had definitely had a long talk with the detective. "Because I found him. I thought he might still be alive, and I was trying to save Eric." But he'd already been gone and so cold. Blood had soaked his shirt and pooled beneath him. She closed her eyes, wishing she could shut out that sight, but it was burned into her memory. "I know the evidence is pointing to me, but I didn't do it."

Grant's fingers brushed over hers.

Scarlett's eyes flew open. He had aged so well over the years. The innocence of his youth was gone, replaced by an appearance of rugged power. His face was leaner, but still as handsome. Always handsome… Sculpted lips—lips that some thought held a cruel edge, but she'd always thought his mouth was sexy. Always thought he was sexy. A faint scar curved over his square jaw, a silent testimony to the battles he'd fought over the years.

His eyes…that green was harder now, too. He stared out at the world—at her—with suspicion.

The boy she'd loved was gone.

The man who'd taken his place was a stranger.

"I used to be able to tell when you were lying to me." His voice was low, measuring.

Her breath had stilled in her lungs. "I'm not lying," she forced herself to say. I'm just desperate. So afraid.

His fingers curled fully around hers as her right hand fisted around the bar. "Why weren't you engaged any longer?"

That was the question he asked her? Her gaze shifted to his throat. She didn't want to look him in the eyes then. She couldn't. "Because I couldn't marry a man I didn't love."

"Scarlett."

Stare into his eyes. Do it! She lifted her gaze. "You're a private detective now. You have your own agency, and I've—I've read stories about you and your brothers. How successful you are." Not just there in Austin, but all over Texas. Heck, all over the South and up the East Coast. They weren't just some local branch of PIs. They were a force to be reckoned with.

Once upon a time, folks in the area had whispered about the five McGuire boys…boys who'd been wild and reckless. Who'd had a reputation for trouble.

Then those boys had all joined the military.

Grant had been a ranger. Davis and Brodie, the twins, had become SEALs. Mac had been in Delta Force and the youngest brother, Sullivan, had morphed into a marine with a brutal edge.

They'd all been serving their country. They'd been steadfast in their duty. Until their parents had been murdered.

And now I've brought Grant into another murder investigation.

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Confessions 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
## Awesome! Jeez, how does Ms. Eden do it? How does she keep writing these fun, fast paced, intriguing stories? No clue, but boy am I glad she does. I feel like a broken record, but her books are positively captivating. She has such a unique writing style that simply works for me. I own 28 of her books and have read them over and over. Grant and Scarlett have terrific chemistry and I enjoyed them together. I've already pre-ordered Ava's story because I know Cynthia will rock the rest of this series!
lrhubble More than 1 year ago
An Amazing Book Contemporary, Romantic Suspense Austin, Texas Scarlett Stone is being framed for murder and she is desperate to prove it. Now she must entrust her life and reputation to the man that once broke her heart. Grant McGuire is now a detective but he was once a army ranger that hasn’t been the same since his military action. Though his demeanor is cold behind it he still burns for Scarlett. Grant takes her case knowing it is an easy decision that is also dangerous. Together they must find the real killer all the while racing against the clock. A killer that now wants them both dead. Their reignited passion proves to be even more dangerous. Grant wants a second chance with Scarlett and will do anything to get it. Scarlett is determined to keep a secret she never wanted Grant to know. This story starts off fast and the action never stops until the end. This is a book readers will not put down for anything. The plot and characters are amazing and complex enough to make this story seem a lot longer than it really is. The twists and turns in the book come at the reader fast and furious and will have readers guessing until the very end as to who the killer really is and why they are doing what they are doing. This starts a new series off is such a way that the reader will want all the books now. The central plot that weaves the books together makes for an even better story than what is in this story alone. Readers will want to read this series again and again. Receive a review copy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PollyBennett More than 1 year ago
Very exciting enjoyable read. Action packed. I loved it.
christalvp More than 1 year ago
Confessions made a great start to The Battling McGuire Boys series. The McGuire Boys are all wonderful characters, and I am really looking forward to the other books about them. I liked Grant McGuire, the main character in this one, and thought that Scarlett Stone was a great match for him. The storyline was interesting, and I am looking forward to learning more about the threads that were left hanging. Scarlett Stone is the main suspect in her ex-fiance's murder, and right before she her arrest, she turns to the one man who can possibly help her - Grant McGuire, her high school sweetheart. Grant broke up with Scarlett when he didn't believe himself to be a good enough man for her, and they have both suffered greatly from the loss of one another. He immediately agrees to help Scarlett, making good on a decade old promise to her that he'd always be there if she needed him. As Grant investigates, it soon becomes clear that it is going to take all of his efforts to keep himself and Scarlett alive. I really liked both of the main characters in this one. I understood why a young Grant ended his relationship with Scarlett. I didn't like that he broke up with her, but I felt he did it to try to protect her. His protective instinct seemed to come out in full force with her, and I never doubted the feelings he had for Scarlett. I felt very badly for all of the terrible things Scarlett had been through in her life, and I liked seeing she and Grant become close to one another again. I also enjoyed how the other McGuire brothers stepped up and protected Scarlett. This was a good book, and a super quick one to read.
nataschajaffa More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in The Battling McGuire series. I read it fairly quickly with the intrigue keeping me on my toes. I’ve read Cynthia Eden before, but really don’t enjoy her knack for stalkers hunting women. She does a great job of it and that’s why fans love her, but it’s not one of my favorite scenarios. Confessions, however, was a lot more believable than the last book by Eden I’d read with this scenario. First off, there was history between the hero and heroine, deep and powerful that really only complicated matters for the heroine. Fantastic spin. Love really isn’t the best thing for these two characters when the heroine has been suspected of murder. Second, with that history, I was more willing to believe the heroine could fall in love in the middle of a murder investigation (which she is the center of) and with a stalker coming after her.  As for the intrigue, I really kept guessing who might be the culprit and was pleasantly surprised the author was able to keep me in the dark. There are several characters who have the motivation for wanting Scarlett dead, but the last person I expected ended up being the culprit! Well done, Cynthia. Well done, indeed. And the hero? I do love a military man with a dark past. While that side of Grant didn’t come up often, when it did, the heroine accepted him for who he was, no questions and I really liked that about this couple. No matter how much tried to get between them, they fought suspicions against each other and came out on top. 4 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book this story line is awesome loved the story line between the Scarlet and Grant loved them also loved this book thanks for this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it all in a few hours
agnese-kohnSK More than 1 year ago
Just finished this story and its good much...I read it in one setting without putting it down,it kept me into it until the end..Had to know about it...Wow!!!!i was like who?how?why?when?i was like that until i finished it and Good good good read!!!!!!!!!Its well written and the characters too Scarlett & Grant included Shayne,Sulivan,Ava.....There is villain.plot murder,case to solve,investigation,determination,romance,suspense and more......Get the copy and you will know more ....Now as usual can't wait for the next of this series cause every time i read a book from Author Cynthia Eden,i want more..So keep them coming!!!!!!!!1Well Done!!!!!