Dylan Scott vowed never to return to the dreary town of Dawson's Clough. But one visit from a beautiful ex-lover and he's back in Lancashire, investigating a possible murder. The police think Prue Murphy died during a burglary gone wrong, but her sister isn't so sureand neither is Dylan. After all, the killer overlooked the only valuable thing in Prue's flat.
So who could have wanted the quirky young woman dead, and why? Dylan's search for answers takes him to France, where he discovers Prue's family didn't know her as well as they thought they did. And the more he digs, the more secrets he unearthssecrets someone would kill to keep buried
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Dylan was a lot of things but, unfortunately, in demand wasn't one of them. So when his office phone trilled out for the first time in three days, his list of possible callers was topped by salesman. Client didn't even make the top ten.
He picked it up. "Hello?"
"You've got a customer." Tracy's words were punctuated by the clack of the gum she was constantly chewing. She always looked and sounded bored out of her skull. Magazines crammed with lies about celebrities littered the reception desk on the ground floor where she worked and, occasionally, she'd flick through them. One afternoon, Dylan had seen her polishing her nails. Usually, though, she was like a corpse. "She's on her way up."
"Does she have a name?"
"I didn't ask."
"Okay. Thanks, Tracy."
"You're welcome." Another clack of gum and the phone was dead.
A client would be more than welcome, but he wasn't raising his hopes. Even if this woman was here on business, she'd probably want him to snoop on her two-timing spouse. He wasn't desperate enough to sink to surveillance work. Yet.
The click of heels on the stairs alerted him to her imminent arrival. He took a couple of files from his desk drawer to give the impression he was busy, left his desk and walked to the door.
He had it open when she reached it. There was something familiar about the short blond hair, the tall willowy figure dressed in a clinging black skirt and jacket
"Dylan!" She lunged forward, threw her arms around his neck, nuzzled her face against his and croaked something he didn't catch.
He let go of the door and it crashed against his elbow. Shit! That hurt.
He leaned back to look at her, so far back that he was in danger of losing his balance. "Maddie?"
Madeleine Murphy. The girl with the crazy name and the legs that went on forever. The most stunningly beautiful woman he'd ever had the pleasure of sleeping with. The euphemism mocked him. Sleep was about the only thing they hadn't done together.
"I'm so glad I found you, Dylan."
"Madeleine" He guessed the last person to call her Madeleine had been the vicar who christened her. It sounded forced. Foolish. He cleared his throat and tried to inject a brisk businesslike tone to his voice. Why he needed to sound businesslike, he had no idea. He just did. "Well, Maddie, it's good to see you."
"You too. It's been far too long." She clung even tighter. Her perfume smelled of fruitapple or lemon. Or maybe flowers. "I wondered if you'd remember me."
No one who'd enjoyed a relationship with Maddie would forget her in a hurry. She'd changed, but who hadn't? She'd always been reed-thin, probably too thin, but her face hadn't been this pale. There was no sign of the vibrancy he remembered.
"Of course I remember you." He pushed the memories away and tried to move out of her embrace.
"You look well," she said, holding both his hands and running her appraising gaze from the top of his head to the tips of his shoes. Before he could comment, she put a hand against his midriff. "And you've still got the six-pack."
A smile curved his lips and he was pleased he'd sucked in a breath. Even though her touch had been brief, he could still feel the warm imprint of her hand through his shirt.
He was a practising atheist but, that morning, he'd asked any superior beings who might be listening if he could, just for once, have a good day. Perhaps someone had been paying attention after all.