In the new Tidewater novel by the author of Guarded, a kiss between strangers draws both into unexpected danger and unforgettable desire . . .
She’s searching for a sign . . .
Hannah Halloran has always believed in her gift. The things she sees through her psychic touch have never led her wrong before. Not when they led her to an unforgettable night with a sexy marine at a bar. Not when she felt a need to leave her home and find the sisters she barely knows. And not now, when she is an unwilling witness to a brutal murder . . .
He’s ready to show her . . .
All Niall Graham wants is some peace. He’s recovering from the horrors of war, struggling to save his family’s restaurant, and desperate to forget Hannah, the beautiful woman who left him with memories of a mind-blowing night together and a bogus phone number. But a quiet life is hard to manage—especially when Hannah strides back into his restaurant with the news that a serial killer is on the loose and lurking closer than anyone could have guessed . . .
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
“LOVER, FRIEND, OR family?”
Niall Graham looked from the glass of tepid beer he wasn’t drinking and into the golden-hazel eyes of the pretty, young bartender. Her long hair, the same color as her eyes, hung in ringlets to her breasts, except for one long pink braid that trailed from behind her left ear. In jeans and a black T-shirt, she looked young and fresh and hopeful. Everything he wasn’t.
Pulling a stained white towel off the black apron tied at her tiny waist, she wiped down the bar. Her voluptuous breasts bounced jauntily in front of him, jiggling the white letters on her shirt.
Keep calm and carry . . .
He couldn’t make out the rest of the words on her there-IS-a-God tight shirt. The letters disappeared beneath her curves. He must have stared at her chest too long because she folded her arms on the bar blocking his view. He whipped his gaze to hers.
“That wasn’t an invitation.” She winked and settled her chin on her hand, giving him a sympathetic smile. “I was asking if it was a lover, friend, or family member on your mind. It’s gotta be one of the three. Only they can make someone sit unmoving on a stool for four hours straight in a bar and not drink. You’ve been nursing that same beer since I served it to you at ten. Either you like your barley and hops the temperature and flavor of lukewarm bathwater or something else drove you to sit silently at my bar until past closing.”
Niall glanced around. Cheap tinsel and garish colored lights were strewn over every available space of the dark, wood interior until the bar looked like some warped version of a Tim Burton Christmas special. Dreary with a touch of hopeless wistfulness. It suited Niall’s mood perfectly.
Another bar, the one attached to the hotel where he was lodged for the night, had been noisy and crowded. For hours, he’d sat trying to drown out the noise of the patrons at Molloy’s Pub next door. The locals were throwing an old-fashioned Irish wake. When the noise shifted to depressing songs about fallen heroes, Niall had escaped.
After walking for fifteen minutes on the deserted street, he found himself outside a bar called Heaven’s Gate. The door swung open. A stringy man wearing a baggy Santa suit stumbled out and fell into the bushes on the side of the building. He popped back up as if on a spring, puked noisily, then sauntered up the street in the careful way drunks do when trying desperately to prove they’re sober.
Despite the inebriated Santa, or maybe because of him, Niall stared at the bar in wonder. It gleamed under a single light post at the town’s main intersection. Someone had recently painted a logo on the door. With its tilted golden halo dangling from the tip of a red and black pitchfork, it seemed to beckon him.
Perhaps, this gate will let me in.
Heaven’s Gate had been mostly empty. Plenty of room to move. Not that he’d done anything except sit. And sit. And sit more. Around him patrons drank, laughed, paired off, and stumbled out. He was only twenty-eight, but Niall didn’t have the energy to talk, to move, to drink.
Christ, he was so fucking tired. Tired of traveling. Tired of the Marines. Tired of life.
“Hey there, where’d you go?” The bartender touched his hand. Her cool fingers whispered across his skin. Something warm and gentle tugged deep in his chest. Her touch, though brief, was a balm to his battered soul. He looked into her eyes and they fucking twinkled. And he felt ancient.
But he didn’t want to look away from the first smiling face he’d seen in months that reminded him of home.
“Hiya, I’m Hannah. What’s your name, soldier?”
“I’m a Marine, not a soldier,” he retorted out of habit, but couldn’t stop his grin at her spritely chatter.
“Pardon the insult, Marine.” She saluted him quickly, then leaned against the bar again.
Normally, civilians who gave mock salutes annoyed him. He wasn’t annoyed by this woman. He was . . . charmed. A surprised chuckle escaped him. “None taken. And it’s Niall.”
“Niall.” She rolled the word on her tongue like she was tasting it. Tasting him.
An odd sexual dip hit him low in the belly. He’d been empty for so long, he’d practically forgotten what arousal felt like. He glanced at her smiling face again. She wasn’t classically beautiful. Her eyes were almost too big for her face. Her nose was slightly off center. Her mouth appeared to be smiling, even when she spoke. Certainly not the smoldering, pouty look of a model, yet it all added up to make her remarkably pretty.
“Tell you what, Niall,” she said, patting his hand and straightening. “Since you seem to want quiet, I’ll give it to you. I’m going to clean up because I’d like to close the bar. You go right on sitting there. Not drinking your beer.”
She winked again and went to work. He watched her move around the room, stacking chairs on tables.
The place was completely empty, save the two of them. He should go back to his hotel. But then she’d be here all alone. No doubt she’d closed the bar at night before, but did she often have strange men in there alone with her? Her lack of concern for her own safety had him sliding off the stool and crossing to her.
“So you do want to talk.” She met his gaze, a grin widening her mouth. She flipped over the armless wooden chair and slid it onto the cracked table. “The doctor is in. That’ll be five cents, please.”
“Five cents?” He froze midstep. With another chair in her hands, she laughed. “Haven’t you ever seen Charlie Brown?”
It took him a moment. “So does that make you Lucy?”
“I seem to be tonight. Did you know that Santa has a drinking problem and he’s a bit of a horndog too?” She slid the chair onto the tabletop. Her laughter rang through the empty bar like wind chimes. Low and musical.
“Yes. I witnessed his little alcohol issue when I arrived. He stumbled outside and planted face-first into the bushes.”
Her smile vanished. “Is Mr. Landsdowne still out there?”
She started for the door, but Niall caught her elbow. Her breasts brushed against his arm, making the hair on his arm stand on end. He had to clear his throat once to make his voice work. “No, he recovered quickly and headed north on the street. No doubt to find his bag and deliver toys.”
Hannah blew out a relieved breath, her breasts connecting with Niall’s arm again. Christ, it had been a long time since he’d been with a woman if this innocent touch had his balls aching. Releasing her, he stepped back and tucked his hands at the small of his back.
She patted him on the arm. “At ease, Marine.”
He laughed at himself. Technically, he was standing at ease and let his arms fall to his sides.
Hannah had already stacked another set of chairs before he remembered his concern. He followed her to one of the dozen small, square laminate tables, spread out in a semicircle around the twin pool tables. “Isn’t this dangerous?”
She upended the chair in her hands and slid onto the tabletop. “Not the way I do it.”
Niall copied her move with the next chair. Side by side, he towered over her. He was bigger than the average American man, but not by much. He’d bulked up in the Marines. Still, Hannah was a tiny thing that barely reached his shoulder.
“No, ma’am, I can see you can handle a bar chair with the best of ’em.”
“That’s me all over. Champion bar stool flipper.” She lifted the chair in her hands and deftly slid it onto the table. “And seriously, lighten up with the ma’am thing. This is Fincastle. You only say ma’am if you’re talking to the minister’s wife, bagging groceries, or doing it with a domme.”
Niall dropped the chair in his hands. It hit the floor with a clatter.
Hannah laughed. Her body shook and her cheeks were scarlet. “Just seeing if you were listening.”
“Yes, ma— Hannah.”
She sidled past him to the next table and Niall caught a whiff of her hair. Despite working in a bar that stank of stale beer and old smoke, Hannah smelled like honeysuckles. It reminded him of Tidewater, Virginia, in the spring. A pang of homesickness struck him.
“Isn’t it dangerous for you to be alone in the bar with a stranger?” he asked, shoving aside thoughts of home and continuing to help her stack chairs.
“There’s always one person left in the bar when I close. Usually, it’s a friend or neighbor.” She shrugged, finished another table, and moved on. “Besides, you’re harmless.”
That stopped him. “I’m a Marine. We’re not known for being pussies.” His cheeks burned. “Excuse my language, ma’am.”
“No more ma’am. I’m not the minister’s wife and you’re not bagging my groceries.”
His heart tripped in his chest at what she didn’t say. Too stunned to do more than stare at the brazen fairylike woman, Niall held the chair aloft.
“I’m not a domme either.” She winked and slid the chair from his hands. Setting it aside, she closed the distance between them, and patted his bicep. “Okay, Marine. You’re not exactly harmless. But I’m safe with you.”
“What makes you so sure of that?” Fuck, this was a small town, when a woman would not worry about being alone with a strange man at two in the morning. “You don’t know anything about me. I could be a serial killer or something.”
She arched a single brow at him and folded her arms. “Are you a serial killer?”
“No, but that’s not the point.” Why did he care? Why was he even having this conversation? He should go back to his hotel or just haul ass out of this pissant town. He’d done his duty by attending the funeral of a fellow Marine, now he should just leave. But she was looking at him with such amused defiance on her face he heard himself say, “You seem like a sweet girl and just the type a sick bastard would seek out so he could destroy her innocence.”
Her smile faded, but didn’t quite vanish. “First, I’m not a girl nor innocent. Hello! Bartender, here. Second, you’ve got a pretty jaded view of life, even for a Marine.” He opened his mouth to reply but she held up her hand and continued talking. “And third, I’m not afraid of you because you dropped your keys a couple hours ago.”
She nodded, her tawny curls bobbing. “Yeah. I handed them back to you right after you didn’t drink the beer I set down in front of you.”
She grinned again and this time her whole face lit with delight.
Niall tugged his keys out of his pocket. They looked average. His mother’s house key, the key to the restaurant his family owned, and a key to the car he’d rented when he’d driven in from Columbus yesterday.
She held out her hand. “Give me your keys.”
“I’m not drunk.”
“Again, bartender! I know you haven’t had a drink all night. It’s my job to pay attention to the clientele. I also know you aren’t an alcoholic because while you didn’t drink, you also didn’t stare at the beer with lust or hatred. You wanted to be alone and weren’t waiting for anyone because you never once looked at the door tonight. And you aren’t married, or if you are, you never wear a ring. No tan line on your ring finger.”
“You’re very observant. I’m not married. Not dating.” Was she digging for information? A little unnerved and a lot flattered by her accurate assessment, he decided to turn the tables on her. “What about you? Boyfriend? Husband? Pet dog?”
“Nope. Single city for me. Not even a Fido to call my own.” She wriggled her fingers. “You gonna hand me those keys?”
Intrigued, he surrendered them. She closed her fist around the metal key ring and shut her eyes. Her brows knit as if in concentration. The room went unearthly quiet.
She shivered, then she shoved the keys back at him. He had to grab them quickly or they’d have hit the ground.
For a moment, her tawny-colored eyes were a bit unfocused and her lips moved but no sound came out. Then her eyes cleared and she stepped back.
“Whoa, you’ve got a lot going on in that noggin of yours, Marine.” Tossing her hair back over her shoulders, she tugged at the front of her shirt, holding it out so he could read it. “But to answer your question, it says, Keep Calm and Carry Condoms.”
Heat pulsed from his heart to his dick and back again. But a sliver of foreboding cooled his lust.
Ah, Christ, she thinks she’s a psychic.
And here he’d assumed he’d left that behind in Tidewater. His hometown seemed full to bursting with people claiming to have some sort of gift or curse or crift or what-the-fuck-ever.
“You trying to tell me you read my mind? I think it’s more you saw me trying to read your shirt.”
“I don’t read minds.” Sighing, she moved past him and continued setting chairs on the last two tables. “I figured you were staring at my breasts. It happens a lot in the bar. I mostly ignore ogling, unless some yahoo tries to find out if they’re real.”
Niall double-timed it after her, his jaw slack. “Are you saying guys ask if you have . . . you know?”
“Implants?” She snorted. “You know, for a Marine who says pussy, you probably shouldn’t shy away from an innocuous non–curse word like implants.
“Yeah, every time some lost tourist looking for Columbus stumbles into the bar, I get asked if my breasts are real. And more. One guy said he needed proof . . . after he shoved a twenty down my top and copped a feel along the way.”
“I hope you punched the holy shit—um, excuse me. Knocked the holy heck out of him.” Again, Niall was struck by her size. She was barely five-foot. Eccentric or not, what was she doing working in a bar by herself at night?
“No, I didn’t hit him. However, I did tell him the twenty lodged in my bra was my tip and he still owed me for his beer. He didn’t really argue. Granted, he’d sort of tripped over my knee in his crotch at the time.” She turned and cast a sly glance over her shoulder. “Then I had my friend the sheriff escort him to jail for assault.”
“Outstanding.” Niall returned her grin.
“Thanks, I thought so.” She shrugged. “My parents, they’re totally into nonviolence, weren’t too pleased that I’d tried to emasculate the mayor’s son.”
“I thought he was a tourist.”
“Yeah, he was.” She stopped Niall from setting the chairs on the next table by whipping out her bar towel and waving it. Wiping the laminate clean, she said, “Turns out, he was from the mayor’s first marriage to a stripper from Columbus. Mayor Hobbs didn’t even know he had a kid until the sheriff called to tell him I’d racked the guy in self-defense.” She tucked the towel back into her apron and shrugged.
“But your parents were angry?”
“Only until I pulled the twenty out of my bra.” Her fairylike face took on a mischievous glint. “Then Daddy had a little chat with him.”
“No one hurts Daddy’s little girl?”
“Something like that.” She flipped another chair, then started wiping down the bar.
They worked in silence for a few minutes. He’d stopped asking himself why he followed her around the bar and simply enjoyed being with her.
“I’m sorry about your friends.” Her words were soft, gentle. And startling.
“Pardon?” That sliver of discomfort arrowed up his spine. And the mind-numbing void he’d lived in since their deaths last month in Kandahar threatened to return.
“You asked me why I wasn’t afraid to be alone with you, it’s because you were thinking about them when you first sat down.” She tossed the towel into a receptacle, then returned to her spot behind the bar. While she spoke, she set out two shot glasses and grabbed a bottle of Patron Silver. Pouring the tequila she said, “I knew one of them. Danny Molloy. He was two years ahead of me in high school. I didn’t know him well, but when news of his death hit town, we all felt it.”
Niall wanted to wrap himself in the nothingness that he’d worn like a shield since the explosion at the barracks. Drift back into the void of emotionless existence. Instead, he dropped onto a seat across from the quirky attractive bartender. “I’m sorry about Danny-boy.”
She slid the shot toward him and lifted her own glass, her eyes somber. “I’m sorry for you too. I barely knew him. But you were friends. And you lost another friend too. Iggy, right?”
“How did you know that?” Niall’s fingers tightened so fast on the little glass, tequila sloshed over the top and onto the counter.
“I told you, already. Your keys.” Without missing a beat, she ripped off a paper towel from a roll standing next to the cash register and blotted up the mess. “I didn’t mean to pry. When I picked up the keys the first time, the memory kind of smacked into my brain.”
“You some sort of gypsy bartender?” he asked trying to add levity back into their discussion. And hoping the pretty bartender wasn’t a nut job. Or worse, that she wasn’t really psychic. He already knew one. According to his old friend, being crifted absolutely sucked most of the time. But if Hannah did have some sort of cursed gift, he hoped it wasn’t mind reading. Inside his head was the dead last place he’d wish anyone.
“No, I’m really an artist, but I fill in as a bartender during college breaks to help out my parents. They own Heaven’s Gate.”
“Yep, it’s my parents’ place.” She smiled at him, then shook her head. “No, full truth, I’m not really an artist. No money in it. I’m studying to be a journeyman electrician. So I guess you could call me a psychic electrician.”
Niall wasn’t sure how to respond. Was she joking about the psychic thing? She seemed pretty legitimate when holding his keys. And no one here could have known about Iggy. He’d only arrived in Kandahar the day before the explosion.
Was it worth the stress of wondering if she was crazy or not? She didn’t seem like the phonies he’d met over the years. But she also seemed far more comfortable with her gift than his friend back in Tidewater. Then there was the Iggy thing. Hannah had been spot-on about him.
Maybe Niall should just leave the bar and this confusing but fucking attractive woman. He stared into her guileless golden eyes and didn’t move.
Hannah lifted her glass and clinked against his. “To the friends that had you sitting in my bar all night.”
* * *
HANNAH SWALLOWED THE tequila and waited. For a heartbeat, it appeared the hot Marine wouldn’t drink. Then he lifted the glass to his lips and swallowed. She’d have to cover the cost of the top-rail alcohol but it would be totally worth it. For him.
She’d sensed more than seen that Niall needed comfort. He’d lost friends in a vicious attack. When she’d held his keys both times, she’d slid into a moment in his memory. Every detail she experienced had been through his senses. The attack had been horrific. The choking stench of sand and blood and death drove her to pouring them each a drink.
She also remembered hearing him talk to someone named Iggy as he lay dying and pinned on top of Niall in the rubble. Niall’s gut-wrenching hopelessness at being unable to help his friend had been almost more than she could bear. It was why she’d given him back the keys so quickly. Why she’d immediately sought out the strongest drink in the bar to wash away the vision.
“It’s my turn to ask,” Niall said, drawing her gaze. “Where’d you go?”
Into your past. But she didn’t want to say that. They’d been having a lovely chat before she’d stupidly brought up his friends. She’d only wanted to play a little. Dip into his head and get a reading on him that would make them both laugh. Learn some fun secret, like a Firefly or Buffy obsession, the kind of energies she tended to pick up in the bar from other patrons.
She hadn’t anticipated slipping into the Marine’s painful past twice. Certainly not when he’d been showing her what she’d hoped was lustful attention.
Hannah glanced into the Marine’s vivid green eyes and saw attraction there. And something more. Something sensual. And strangely peaceful. The sight made her whole body tingle.
“I’m trying to decide if I want to get you drunk and take advantage of you,” she said, hoping to throw him off guard.
He rewarded her when his black brows winged up. She didn’t miss the way his eyes darkened to the color of summer grass. He poured himself another shot. “Maybe I’m the one who’s in danger in this bar.”
Interestingly, he didn’t immediately pour her one. He lifted the bottle in the air in question and waited for her to nod. Such a gentleman. And so handsome. His blue-black hair was cut high and tight in typical Marine fashion. His jaw was sharp and strong.
Most of the night, he’d nursed his beer, his mouth drawn in a grim line. He hadn’t been rude to the few patrons who had braved Heaven’s Gate. Instead, he’d been quiet. Reserved. Seated at the end of the bar as if unaware of the world around him.
Most of Fincastle had gone to Molloy’s for the wake. No surprise, since Danny’s family owned it. Normally, Heaven’s Gate and Molloy’s competed for business, but tonight Hannah had been relieved to see her parents’ bar mostly empty.
“So are you going to get me drunk and stay sober?” Niall asked, sliding her glass closer to her. “Doesn’t exactly seem honest.”
Could she do something like this? She’d been half-joking when she suggested getting him drunk. She’d only ever had one lover. If she couldn’t keep the dull and frankly boring Bryan happy, what did she have to offer the Marine? Then again, Bryan had been dull and boring in bed so perhaps it wasn’t her fault. And this man, this wonderfully complex man in front of her, was anything but dull.
She needed a sign that her sudden and unexpected impulse to take the Marine home was the right one. Just one little teensy sign.
He lowered the bottle, the light in his eyes dimmed a bit. And she knew. For tonight, she could give him comfort and give them something they both needed. An escape.
“What if I just offer to take you upstairs to my apartment? I bet if we think about it, we can come up with something to do that would make us both feel good.”
The pulse in his neck sped up, otherwise, he didn’t move. He eyed her speculatively. “You seem like a nice girl. And I’m not going to lie. Going to bed with you would be the best thing that’s happened to me in months. But I feel like I’m taking advantage. I’m a little old for you.”
Surprised laughter burst from her. God, she liked this guy. If his words had been a sign they would have been neon green. She was definitely making the right choice. “You’re what, twenty-nine?”
“Twenty-eight,” he replied almost defensively.
“Six years, Marine.” She waved to the space between them. “All that separates us is six years. And I told you. I’m a woman not a girl. But I am nice. Very nice. And I think you could use that tonight. Whadaya say?”
* * *
NIALL STOOD AT parade rest in her tidy bedroom waiting for Hannah to come out of the bathroom. The walls might have been white but there was color everywhere. Tie-dyed curtains. A hand-braided rug straight out of the 1970s covered the faded hardwood floor. Watercolor paintings of sunsets, beaches, and blue owls gave the space a rich personality. Hannah’s decorating style was eclectic and eccentric. Niall really liked it. It felt more homey than any place he’d stayed since he’d joined the Marines ten years ago.
The bathroom door opened. The light casting Hannah in silhouette didn’t disguise that now she wore only her tight black T-shirt and panties. Hands at her sides, her fingers playing with the hem of her shirt, she said, “So . . .”
Don’t change your mind. Oh, please, don’t. With his head buzzing from the two shots of tequila—he hadn’t had the heart to tell her he really didn’t drink—he might just get down on his knees and beg if she changed her mind.
“So,” he replied. He wanted to go to her. He hadn’t even kissed her before accepting her invitation. And tasting her ranked high on his list of things he’d most like to do.
“Hey, Marine?” She closed the short distance between them. In her bare feet, she had to tip her head way back to look at him. It made him feel too big. Her, too small. “You plan to get undressed anytime soon? Or do you just plan to drop trou and do it with your boots on. ’Cause hot as that sounds, I was kind of hoping for something that would last a little longer than fifteen seconds.”
Niall frowned and relaxed his arms, tucking his thumbs in the pockets of his cargo pants. But her words baffled him. “I don’t think I’ve ever had sex end in only fifteen seconds.”
“You’re so literal. No, I bet you haven’t.” She laughed while twisting her pink braid between her fingers. “But I bet if we get naked, you could go all night. Wanna find out?”
Her words were brazen but her cheeks glowed red. For all her bravado, she was obviously not in her comfort zone. Not that Niall was either, but damn, he wanted to be. He wanted her, but not if she was nervous to be with him.
Niall opened his mouth to suggest they slow down—goddamned moral code—when she grabbed her shirt by the hem. In one fluid motion, she whipped the shirt over her head, sending it and his resolve sailing to the floor.
Then she stood before him, wearing only panties. Her breasts were perky, lush, and tipped with dusky rose-colored nipples.
Niall’s mouth watered for a taste. Reining in his control, he slid his gaze up her body. Her skin had a healthy glow. Freckles dotted her naked shoulders and he wanted to kiss each one. There was a tiny scar on her chin that didn’t dim her beauty. If anything, it made her more attractive.
She licked her full lips. They shined in the lamplight.
Niall swallowed hard.
Hannah was a feast and he didn’t know where to begin. He wanted to taste her from the backs of her knees to her earlobes. Still, he didn’t move.
She shivered and raised her hands to cover her breasts.
“Changed your mind?” Of course she’d fucking changed her mind. She’d been naked and waiting for him to make a move. Instead, he’d turned into Forrest Gump and just stared.
“I’m standing naked in my apartment in the middle of one of the coldest Decembers in history.” She shook her head slowly. “I’m chilly and hoping a really sexy Marine will come and sweep me off my feet.”
Then she lifted onto her toes, wrapped her cool hands around his neck, and pulled his face to hers. He wasn’t sure what to expect. Given her size, he wouldn’t have been surprised had she given him the lightest of delicate kisses.
But there was nothing. Nothing. Not one damned thing delicate about what her lips and teeth and tongue did to his. And holy fucking God, he was rock hard for her. He’d had sex before with more women than he probably should have. Never had he felt the fervor in his blood that this woman stoked in him with a single kiss.
And he was just taking it.
Then as suddenly as she started, she stopped and stepped back. She was panting as hard as he. He imagined his eyes were as wild as hers. But there was something else. Some strange emotion flitted across her face, then disappeared. “Hey, Marine?”
“You gonna just stand at attention or are you going to get naked with me?” she asked, shoving up his shirt. Like before, her cheeks went apple red. This time her hands trembled, but she kept touching him.
He tugged off the shirt, confused at her words. “I’m not standing at attention.”
She cupped him right through his cargo pants. “Yeah, you definitely are.”
He hissed in pleasure. Without breaking contact, she sat down on her bed, leaned forward, and pressed a kiss to his belly, just below his navel. Her tongue flicked out and drew a wet trail south. He shuddered.
He wanted to rip off his pants and bury himself inside her. Lose himself in the pleasure of her body. Pound into her until the need she created in him was slaked. But she was so fucking tiny, he could hurt her if he rode her the way he wanted.
So he’d be gentle. At least that was his thought until she nipped his belly, and tugged him on top of her.
The moment they were horizontal, her hands were inside his pants, squeezing his ass. She rocked her hips against him. And damn if he didn’t grind himself against her. Then his mouth found hers again and there was nothing in the world but this moment. Tasting and touching.
Somehow, his pants were past his hips, bunched at his knees. He was hard as iron and holy fuck! What she was doing with her hands had him damn near ready to explode.
All the sweet hesitancy and blushes were gone. Her touch was out-fucking-standing! His brain clouded and he was awash in sensation. She was squeezing him. Measuring the length of him. Putting the condom on him.
He jerked his head up in surprise. “Where’d you get the condom?”
“From my bathroom. Keep Calm and Carry Condoms.” She laughed, then nipped his chin. “Mind if I finish rolling it on you? ’Cause I’m digging your response to my touch.”
She didn’t wait for him to reply but resumed rolling the rubber down his shaft. Hannah squeezed first his cock, then his balls with enough pressure to make Niall arch his back.
He flipped their positions, grabbed her wrists, and held her arms above her head. “You’re going to kill me if you keep touching me like that.”
She batted her lashes at him. “Guess it’s your turn to touch. Because my panties are still on.”
Keeping one hand around both of her wrists, he slid the other between her breasts, down her belly, and dipped inside the waistband of her lace panties. She emitted a small noise of pleasure.
Her eyes were hot gold. Her cheeks flushed as he slid two fingers into her. Just short strokes, until he was coated in her moisture, then he rubbed his thumb against the part of her guaranteed to have her hips moving. She spread her legs wider and rocked harder against his hand.
She was beautiful and open and all Niall wanted to do was bury himself inside her. So when she came against his fingers and yelled, “Inside me, Marine!” He didn’t hesitate.
Her panties were off and he drove himself into her in one long, hard stroke. They both shuddered and clung to each other. Her short, unpolished nails pricked his back, even as her slender legs wrapped around his hips.
Then her lips found his. Where their first kiss was all excitement and lust, this kiss was passion and more. His breath mingled with hers and Niall felt something shift inside his chest. Unwilling to examine it, he moved his hips and let the excitement wash through them both again. Hotter and harder, but not too hard, he drove into her. She panted, she arched, and when she finally came, he thought his chest might burst.
She reached beneath him and squeezed his balls until he had no choice but to let go and empty himself in a blinding roar of passion. Panting, slick with sweat, he shifted on top of her and did what he hadn’t thought possible only hours before. He relaxed.
* * *
IN THE MORNING light, Hannah stood over Niall. Her big, tough Marine had needed something last night. If things had been different, she might have thought he could be the one. But he was just passing through town and her final semester started in a couple weeks. All signs definitely said he couldn’t be anything but a night of comfort.
Dang it. She should have seen the sign last night. Hadn’t she met him at Heaven’s Gate after all? But she refused to regret. It had been the most incredible night of her life. And holy schmoley! She hadn’t known sex could be like that. Hadn’t known the power that came from being the initiator. Why on earth had she ever wasted her time on her ex and his nice-girls-don’t-ask-for-sex rules?
Her Marine had been very responsive. And he definitely didn’t have a problem with her being the one to get them started. She smiled at the sunlight glinting off his short black hair.
Even in sleep, he seemed rigid and formal. She’d worried the night before that he wouldn’t let go of his pain long enough to enjoy himself. And that had been a big reason why she suggested sex in the first place. He was so sad, so buried in the pain of his past that he’d been little more than a vessel of hopelessness when he’d sat down at her bar.
Her phone beeped in reminder. She’d promised her mother she’d meet her for breakfast. Mom and Daddy had something important they wanted to discuss. Probably going to try to talk her into going to grad school again. Not that she would. She had two passions, painting and being an electrician. And grad school wouldn’t help with becoming an electrician and she couldn’t afford to pay for a master’s degree in art.
She cleared the reminder and gave herself one more minute with her Marine. Just a little more time to soak in his quiet, masculine beauty. He lay facedown tangled in her tie-dyed sheets. One leg jutted off the side of the bed, as if he were ready to jump at a moment’s notice. She’d have to paint this scene. Later.
Forcing herself away from the bed, she grabbed a sticky note from her desk. Scribbling her phone number and name on a sheet, she stuck it on top of his folded clothes.
She wanted to kiss him good-bye, but then thought better of it. Instead, she ran a hand through his silky short hair and yelped in surprise when he clamped a hand, none too gently, on her wrist.
Niall lifted his head and blinked the hazy look of sleep from his eyes. When his gaze fell on his hand shackling hers, he immediately released her. “Sorry.”
“It’s all good.” She surreptitiously rubbed at the ache. “I gotta go. Feel free to use my shower. Lock up when you leave.”
He blinked at her. Confusion in those lovely green eyes. “You’re leaving? What time is it?”
“It’s six in the morning. And yeah, I’m headed out. I promised my folks I’d help set up breakfast at the church this morning. Maybe I’ll see you later?”
Okay, that had been slightly pathetic because she already knew he was leaving. But a girl had to try. And seeing him again would be a great excuse to put off that conversation with her parents.
Niall twisted and sat up. The sheet fell to his waist, affording her another glimpse of his incredible body. And suddenly helping at the church or talking to her parents didn’t seem all that important. No. Wait. Those things were important. Darn it.
“It sounds cliché and gauche to say thank you for last night,” he said, his voice still raspy from sleep. “But thank you.”
He lifted her left hand and kissed the inside of her wrist, sending her pulse dancing. And sending messages to nerve endings nowhere near her wrist but much farther south.
Could you orgasm from a guy tonguing your wrist?
Before she could find out, he let go.
With the morning sunlight streaming in through her thin curtains, Niall appeared bathed in a lovely red light. It made her feel warm and safe. It also made her want to crawl back into bed with him. So she backed to the doorway. “I left my number on the sticky note on top of your clothes. If you make it back to Fincastle, give me a call.”
Niall rose from the bed sporting a healthy morning erection that had her seriously rethinking her exit strategy. Then she stopped thinking altogether when he crossed to her. Cupping her face in his hands he pressed a light kiss to her lips. It was gentle and soft and reminiscent of the closeness they’d shared last night.
All too soon, he released her and stepped back. The sadness that had been in his eyes when he had come into the bar last night returned.
Not a good sign.
Despite the knot in her belly, she kept her tone light when she said, “See you around, Marine.”
She wasn’t surprised when he replied, “Good-bye, Hannah.”
THE FOLLOWING JUNE
YOU SHOULDN’T DO this . . . Sinner. Freak. Whore!
But she wasn’t a freak. She wasn’t. She was Mercy. And she had to silence the voices in her head that screamed at her. Voices that sounded remarkably like her mother’s.
She grabbed her head and sank to the floor. The handle of the chef’s knife she clutched in her left hand banged against her temple but did nothing to quiet the storm raging in her mind.
“Be quiet, you bitch. Be quiet, you bitch.” She chanted and rocked against the plywood framing of the house under construction. Crickets and spring peepers competed with ocean waves in the distance but even they didn’t silence the fucking bitch’s words ringing in Mercy’s head. The voices, always so full of condemnation and ridicule, like her mother’s. God, how she hated that woman.
Even dead and buried beneath the rosebushes she’d adored, the bitch came back to taunt her just when Mercy had found her calling.
“Mercy.” Her lover moaned. “What happened?”
His slurred words startled her. And the taunting voices fell blissfully silent.
Mercy smiled her relief. She lowered her hands, tucking the blade behind her back.
Her lover blinked his drug-hazed eyes. Their startling aquamarine color had entranced her when they’d met. Lured her in. But in the moonlight filtering through the open window they appeared bland, less than ordinary. And he looked so much younger than his twenty-six years. The bottle-blond hair that had been roguishly styled at the beginning of their romantic weekend was plastered to the side of his head. His naked chest, ripped and tanned, peeked from the opening of his black button-down shirt.
Mercy wanted to touch him. Again. To taste him one more time, but she couldn’t allow herself to be distracted by his deceptive beauty. She loved him too much to go on like this. They’d had two days together, but that was all they could ever have.
“Mercy, darlin’?” He shifted on the plastic sheeting, clearly not quite awake yet. The plastic crinkled beneath him. The drug-hazed expression in his eyes receded and was quickly replaced with fear.
He struggled to move, but Mercy had tied him up while he slept. Panic washed the color from his face. Frantically, he waved his zip-tied wrists and kicked his bound ankles. In his struggle for freedom, he resembled more of a landed fish flopping around than the lover who’d promised her the fuck of a lifetime.
“What the fuck are you up to?” His fear morphed into rage, reddening his cheeks. “I told you. I’m not into that bondage shit. Get these fucking things off me!”
Still she didn’t move from her spot. She didn’t want to approach him yet. He needed to know. To understand. “I am Mercy. I love you too much—”
“Love me! It was just sex. That’s all.” His voice rose with fear and fury. “We got drunk, high, and fucked. That’s it. You stupid, crazy bitch.”
“Don’t call me crazy.” She pushed to her feet and stomped over to him. The knife in her hand slapped against her thigh as she towered over him.
“Oh, man! Oh, man! Oh, man. Please. Don’t! I didn’t mean it.” His widened eyes focused on the knife. He struggled more. Blood seeped from beneath the plastic binding his wrists. Then the tears started. He sobbed like a child. “I-I do love you. You’re right. It’s love. Put down the goddamned knife. Oh, man. Don’t kill me.”
Poor, pathetic bastard.
“Shhh . . . I know you don’t love me. You can’t. You don’t even love yourself. You’ve got to be stoned or drunk to feel anything. That’s not living. Don’t cry. I’ll take care of you. I love you too much to let you hurt yourself anymore. Shhh . . . Mercy’s here.”
She lifted the knife and plunged it into his chest. The blade clipped one of his ribs. Pain radiated from her fingertips to her shoulder. Undaunted, Mercy tilted and thrust harder. The knife resisted momentarily before it slid neatly to the hilt. Death flowed warm and crimson over her hands.
She stared into his eyes until the fear and the life faded from them.
He stared blankly.
It infuriated her. Embarrassed her. It was the same vapid expression she’d seen too many times before.
Rage burned in her chest and her jarred arm ached more. After all she’d done for him, he had no right to stare at her with condemnation in his eyes.
Stretching out a hand, she closed his lids. Then she pressed a kiss to his forehead. She pulled back and examined the crimson lipstick stain with satisfaction.
There. Much better now.
He looked as he should after being granted her mercy. Peaceful.
Except for the knife protruding from his heart.
She jerked the handle and the body released the knife with a sucking noise. More blood gurgled up and spilled from the hole in the center of his once perfectly chiseled chest.
Shame to have to destroy such a beautiful body. A strange emotion crawled through her as she stared at his handsome face. It poked at her with sharp claws, ripping her apart from the inside. It almost tasted like regret.
Did she have to kill him? Was it truly mercy she granted? Or had she made a mistake? Again.
The questions stole her self-confidence until the urge to plunge the knife into her own chest was almost too powerful to stop.
Mercy turned the bloody knife until the ice-cold tip pricked the bare skin of her exposed chest. She could join him in eternal peace. End her suffering. Grant herself the mercy she gave him.
But what about all the others who needed her? Who would grant them mercy and release them from the evils of this harsh world if she were gone? No one. They’d be all alone and suffering. Like she’d been. So many still needed her.
Mercy should not be denied.
NIALL GRAHAM FISTED his hands at his throbbing temples. The numbers on the ancient computer screen mocked him. They fucking laughed at him. Or they would have, if spreadsheets could laugh.
Unbelievable. He’d nearly died in Afghanistan to come home to a disaster guaranteed to do what the insurgents hadn’t. Kill him. Only this death would be painfully slower and it involved his family’s money.
His grandmother’s restaurant was so far into the red, he wasn’t sure he could afford to keep the doors open another month. Sure, the money coming in should have had his business in the black, but the cost of the lease on the new building on the prime piece of Tidewater real estate drained the account faster than it could be replenished. A building his brother had rented at an exorbitant cost without consulting Niall. Now they were locked into a two-year contract in one of the most expensive parts of Tidewater that wasn’t even on the beach. Only the luxurious Oceanfront area went for more money.
Niall cleared the cell on the spreadsheet, reentered the figures, then hit sum. The figures were right and seriously jacked up. How in the hell was he going to get the business out of this mess and profitable again?
“Hiya, Niall.” His younger brother Ross sauntered into the room. Calm and carefree, as fucking usual. “How’re the numbers? Did I tell ya or did I tell ya? This place has been booming since we opened the doors. Location, man. It’s all about location. Since we moved, we’ve been able to double our prices. I admit, it was hard at first because we did it in the off-season, but now, the money’s coming. Just like I said it would.”
“And we’ve lost the atmosphere of the old Boxing Cat,” Niall couldn’t help but point out.
Ross waved a hand dismissively. “You’re worried because the Boxing Cat’s clientele went from surfers to bankers? That’s called progress, my brother.”
“Progress? You still dress like a surfer.”
Ross tossed a careless glance over his attire and shrugged, a happy expression on his face.
The boy’s long blond hair hung in a ponytail trailing over one shoulder of his imported, green Hawaiian shirt. A shirt he left unbuttoned to reveal a white tank top that barely met the board shorts at his bony hips. And he didn’t even bother to wear real shoes to work. Instead, he sported his open-toed Birkenstocks that begged for a major toe-amputating accident. He definitely did not fit in with the clientele he claimed improved the business.
Niall’s thoughts must have shown on his face because Ross said, “Bro, lighten up. I may dress like a beach bum, but my business mind is sound. The changes we’re making are going to rocket the Boxing Cat into being the best in town. Speaking of changes, Virgil’s loving this. He’s been able to try out some of his more exotic dishes. And it doesn’t hurt that we’re the only restaurant in town that serves gluten free on a daily basis. I tell ya, once we do a few weddings and the word spreads, we’ll be so far into the black we’ll need a flashlight to find our way home at night.”
Weddings. Yeah, that’s just what they needed to do with their business, cater weddings for the rich and entitled. Which meant spending more money on more expensive products and hiring more people. The thought made Niall’s headache ratchet up twelve notches.
“And it’s only the beginning of June.” Ross, oblivious to the ache burning in Niall’s skull, kept right on scheming. “I swear, next weekend’s wedding is just the beginning. It’s not high society but the bride runs April’s Flowers. We make her happy, she’ll spread the word, and business will explode so fast we’ll have to hire an accountant to come in every week to keep up with all the money we’ll be raking in.”
That boy always had a boatload of self-esteem and an arsenal of harebrained schemes.
“About that.” Niall blanked the screen and pushed to his feet. “Ross, don’t you think we might want to wait? Start the catering side of the business after we’re a little more settled here.”
Ross’s smile dimmed briefly, then he shrugged. “Nope, we need this, Bro. Besides, we can’t back out now. I’ve already signed the contract.”
Something else the boy had done before Niall had made it back to Tidewater.
Ross wasn’t actually a boy. Technically, he was old enough to legally drink. Even had a degree from culinary school. Still, Niall had a difficult time seeing him as a responsible adult and not just because Ross refused to get a decent haircut.
Perhaps it was because they’d spent the last ten years apart. Since Niall had joined the Marines at eighteen, he hadn’t seen much of his brother. Ross, who’d been twelve at the time Niall left, spent much of his life more or less like an only child. And acted the part of the stereotype. Impulsive, careless, and sometimes downright thoughtless.
“Relax, Bro. I got this.” Ross clapped Niall on the shoulder, then leaned across him to grab an apple from the basket next to the computer. He crowded too close to Niall in the cramped office.
The hair on Niall’s neck rose as if trying to widen his personal space. It didn’t work. His heart raced. The walls in the cluttered office shrank. The shelves were suddenly too large. The room dimmed. And God, it was fucking hot. An oven. The tiny space that had once been his office melted away.
Gone was the office and the apple and his brother.
The air grew redolent with the stench of blood and death. Niall was back in Kandahar. Trapped beneath Ignacio and Danny. The two bastards who’d only wanted waffles that morning. They’d stood between Niall and the wall when the insurgents had blown it apart.
Niall shoved to his feet so fast he knocked over his stool. He didn’t care.
Christ, he needed air.
Moving to the doorway, he hovered between the office and the kitchen. Not in either room but in both. Two exits, twice as much freedom. And no one buried and dying on top of him beneath the rubble.
Sweat trickled down his temples. He wiped it away, panting. He wouldn’t go back to Kandahar. Not in reality and certainly not in a memory. He fucking wouldn’t go back. He was home. Stateside. Permanently this time. And the attack had been months ago.
“Niall?” Ross’s voice was thin. Distant.
Niall swung his gaze to meet his brother’s wide-eyed, worried expression. Ross righted the stool but didn’t move closer.
With a calm Niall didn’t feel, he grinned and gestured to the computer. “I hate math.”
Ross glanced at the darkened screen and back, doubt digging grooves around his mouth. “If you want to talk about it.”
“Talk about what?” Niall feigned confusion. The last thing he wanted to do was to discuss his claustrophobia with his younger brother. Or the disaster that had caused it.
The only living person who’d even had a clue what Niall had been through was a bartender who hadn’t bothered to give him her correct phone number after a single night of mind-blowing sex.
He wasn’t going to think about her. Hadn’t he told himself that twice daily since he’d returned to Tidewater in May and discovered he had the wrong number?
A lesser man might have broken down and called Heaven’s Gate trying to find her after he returned stateside. Not that he had. Not that he’d heard she’d left her job shortly after graduation. And certainly not that he’d been told in aggravatingly clear terms that no personal information would be given out on Hannah, since Niall hadn’t bothered to learn her last name.
“Bro?” Ross laid a hand on Niall’s shoulder, concern in his light green eyes.
The haven in the doorway evaporated. The walls of the tiny room shrank two sizes again. Too many people . . . too small a space.
“Excuse me.” Niall sidled out of the room.
Unlike the little dark gray office, the kitchen was large and gleaming white. Granted, there were things both rooms shared, like wire racks lining every available wall space.
But his office shelves were loaded with books, extra bags of flour and sugar, reams of paper, and files. The racks in the oversized kitchen were loaded with dishes, canned goods, pots, pans, plates, and utensils. Two sets of everything. The previous owners had kept to the kashrut, the body of Jewish law dealing with food, when serving kosher meals. While the Boxing Cat didn’t need two sets of everything, it came in handy since Niall had added certified gluten-free options to the menu.
On the wall to his right hung a bulletin board littered with schedules, notices, various pictures, notes, and business cards. Next to that was the sink. Over it hung a magnetic knife rack covered in the best cutlery their business could afford.
In the center of the room, between three pillars, were two steel worktables. Two cooks ran the kitchen. The men were dressed in crisp white chef coats and chef pants covered in ugly dancing chili peppers. With the fluidity of dancers, they moved around the kitchen and each other as they prepared meals. The air was rife with the welcoming scents of oregano, caramelized onions, and freshly baked pizza. Niall’s stomach rumbled.
“Hey, Paulie,” Ross called out to the short, young chef. He spoke around a mouthful of apple. “Wanna hit the clubs tonight?”
That single question had Niall grinding his teeth to stem the flood of words burning his lips. Their business was barely hanging on and his brother wanted to go out drinking. Again. No doubt to get drunk enough to screw some random woman in another pointless attempt to prove to the world that he wasn’t gay.
Wish the damn kid would grow up and come out of the closet already.
Ross jabbed a friendly elbow in Niall’s side. “You should come too, big brother. You need a night out. Virgil can handle closing after the dinner rush. Right, Virg?”
Niall glanced at the taller chef who’d been on staff for more than thirty years. At sixty, Virgil looked eighty. Skin leathery and bronzed. Hands twisted by arthritis. But his mind was sharper than some recruits fresh out of boot camp. And he was still the best chef in Tidewater.
Virgil lazily shrugged his shoulders and said in a thick southern Tidewater drawl, “Sure can. Y’all go out and have some fun. You boys work too hard, especially you, Niall. Go on out and live a little while you’re still young enough to do it. Why, if I was forty years younger, I’d be right there with you.”
“Not tonight.” Niall shook his head, then noticed a yellow sticky tacked to the bulletin board. He’d put it there yesterday, before he’d left to help his father move his mother into the rehabilitation center. “Ross. You did deposit last night’s money at the bank, right?”
Ross screwed up his face in a pained expression. “Ah, crap, Niall. I forgot.”
A hot ball formed in Niall’s belly. Training warred with breeding. He wanted to give his brother a proper dressing down, but he couldn’t do it in front of the staff. Instead, he counted to ten silently.
“Fine,” he said, hoping the venom didn’t leech into his voice. Two months. Ross had been in charge of the Boxing Cat for two months since their parents had decided to take an early retirement after Pop’s heart attack. Their retirement plans took a sharp turn two weeks ago when a drunken jet skier crashed into the kayak Niall’s mom had been paddling. Thank God, she hadn’t been killed. That could have given Pop a second heart attack.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for the Tidewater novels
“Great! A real page-turner. Once you pick it up, you won’t want to put it down until you’re done!”—Lynsay Sands, New York Times bestselling author of the Argeneau novels ”[A] sweet, funny, sexy debut!”—Lena Diaz, author of the Deadly Games series “No magic crystal ball is needed to foresee this writer is bursting with talent! I can’t wait for more from her!”—Shelby Reed, author of The Fifth Favor
“Suspense with a large dollop of romance . . . Done very well.”—USA Today
“Behre successfully balances the mystery with the love story.”—Publishers Weekly
“Lively, funny, and fresh . . . Just the thing for readers who want their mystery thrillers with a ghostly twist and an offbeat sense of humor.”—Library Journal
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I hope there are more Tidewater stories coming for the TSS men.
I had very mixed feelings about Energized. There are aspects of it I loved, and it is just as well-written as the other books in the series, but I found parts of it disturbing because of how much it goes into the head of a really sick serial killer. That’s very much a personal reaction; that sort of thing gives me nightmares (literally.) If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, it probably won’t bother you in the least. I really enjoyed the relationship between the hero and heroine once they met again, though I’m not generally a fan of one-night stands in romance novels (or anywhere else.) I loved Hannah, who has a warm and caring heart and a faith in the general benevolence of “the universe” that I found really appealing. Her psychometric talent fascinated me. Niall is also a compelling character, torn between his attraction to Hannah and his reluctance to let anyone get close to him. He’s clearly dealing with some form of PTSD after his stint in Afghanistan. His relationship with his brother is strained, and Behre explores their feelings and actions well. Speaking of sibling relationships, I loved that this book finally reunites the three Scott sisters, something the series has been working toward since book one. It was also fun to see the recurring characters again, including Karma and Zig from the novella Harmonized. Karma in particular has an important supporting role in this book. And it’s fun to speculate on who will figure in the next books; Ryan and Ian, two of the McKinnon cousins, are almost certain to get their own books at some point in the near future (and I can’t wait!) I salute the author for keeping me guessing – or rather, for some well-written misdirection and an intriguing mystery. At times, I was certain I knew who the serial killer was, and then I would start to wonder. There were several twists toward the end, most of which I didn’t see coming. And I definitely *didn’t* spot the murderer! As I’ve mentioned in a previous review, this series contain a fair amount of blunt language (in terms of swearing), so if that really puts you off, that might be a problem. I will say that it is completely realistic and fits the characters.. The characters are all well-drawn and the plot is exciting, suspenseful, and fast-paced, so it’s definitely worth looking past the language even if you’re a little uncomfortable with it. Due to my personal aversion to most serial-killer fiction, I’m not sure I’ll read this book again – or when I do, I plan to skip Hannah’s actual visions and rely on my memory for the gist of what they contain, and focus on the relationships, both romantic and familial. But I can’t wait for the next book in the series, and to finding out what’s next for the psychic and investigative denizens of Tidewater. Rating Note: I gave this a 3.5 on my blog, but B&N doesn't allow partial stars, so I rounded up to 4. My rating is based in part on my emotional reaction to the book. My personal difficulty with serial-killer stories pulled that number down for me a bit, but readers who don’t have the same issues will probably enjoy it more. I hope I’ve conveyed that in the review. REVIEW ORIGINALLY POSTED ON The Bookwyrm's Hoard blog, 8/06/15
Energized by Mary Behre is the 3rd book in her Tidewater series. I have been a fan of this series from the start, and Energized was the best one so far. It had a bit of everything…romance, suspense, mystery, fun, sexy hot couple & wonderful secondary characters. Hannah Halloran is our heroine, and we meet her early on when she is tending a bar in her home town in Ohio. She meets our hero, Niall Graham, who is passing by. Niall is a marine, coming off duty after serving a difficult time in Afghanistan. Hannah is physic, with the gift of going into the mind of anyone, if she touches an object belonging that person. When serving Niall a beer, Hannah is automatically in his memory of the difficult time he is having. She is attracted to him, and also feels his pain. They both end up in a one night stand, which neither can forget. Many months later, Hannah is on a quest to meet her long lost sisters in Tidewater. For the time she expects to be there, she applies for a job in a restaurant, and is hired by one of the owners. Later, Hannah is shocked to discover that Niall is one of the owners, and he too is shocked; enough so that he does not want to hire her. He tried to call in Ohio, since he couldn’t get her out of his mind, but she gave him a wrong number, with him assuming she wasn’t interested in him. Niall agrees to let her work there temporarily, and gives her a hard time. Karma, who also works at the restaurant, and was one of our heroines in the earlier books, befriends Hannah. While Karma helps her, she discovers Hannah’s psychic ability, while she is in throes of living in a vision. What follows is an exciting and suspenseful mystery of a serial killer, who Hannah only knows as Mercy. The police department doesn’t believe Hannah about her vision, and when a body is found, they arrest her. Fortunately, Niall and Karma come to her rescue, but the race is on to find the killer before the murderer picks her next victim. Niall realizes his feelings for Hannah are real, and he tries to protect her, as the danger escalates. During this adventure, the romance between Niall and Hannah becomes very hot, as their chemistry is off the wall. Hannah was a fun heroine, when she wasn’t in the midst of her violent visions. Friends we have met in previous books, we help Niall and Hannah in a wild and pulse pounding last third of the book, which will hit too close to home. Mary Behre has given us a wonderful, fun, exciting story in Energized. If you have not read the Tidewater series, I wholly recommend you do so. This is a fun series that has everything to enjoy.
Great Series! This is a great series; this is the third book in the Tidewater series by Mary Behre. Hannah Halloran has a gift, if she touches metal then she gets visions. This book can be read as a standalone, but once you read one you will want to go back and read the other books. She works in her parents bar and spends an unforgettable night with a sexy Marine after a vision she gets from touching his keys. She leaves him her number, but he never calls. She finds out that she is adopted and her real sisters are looking for her. So she takes a trip to Tidewater to meet her sisters. She ends up finding a job at a local restaurant and the owner happens to be her sexy Marine from her one night stand, Niall Graham. Niall and Hannah are trying to fight their attraction, and to make matters worse there is a serial killer on the loose and she keeps getting visions and feeling of the killer. It is up to Hannah, her new found sisters, and friends to find the real killer. This book has it all, romance, mystery, and suspense. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.