A psychic who connects with crime victims and a jaded FBI agent are unlikely partners as they team up to take down a serial kidnapper . . . After narrowly avoiding a head-on collision the first time they meet, Julie Hatfield and Robert McCoy pray they never have to lay eyes on each other again. Not going to happen. The psychic and the FBI agent have just been named official partners in finding a missing child—the third in a string of abductions that cross state lines. Haunted by a shattering crime in his past, McCoy is skeptical of Hatfield’s special gifts—until she starts reliving the crime through the eyes of the eight-year-old girl. But it’s only the beginning. Because someone is targeting Hatfield . . . someone who knows everything about her, and not even McCoy will be able to protect the strangely compelling woman who is making him believe in love again.This ebook features an illustrated biography of Heather Graham, including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.
|Publisher:||Open Road Integrated Media LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Heather Graham (b. 1953) is a bestselling author of more than 150 romance, suspense, and historical novels that have sold seventy-five million copies worldwide. Raised in Florida, Graham went to college for theater arts, and spent several years acting, singing, and bartending before she devoted herself to writing. Her first novel, When Next We Love, was published in 1982. Although she became famous as an author of romance novels, Graham has since branched out into supernatural horror, historical fiction, and suspense, with titles such as Tall, Dark, and Deadly (1999), Long, Lean, and Lethal (2000), and Dying to Have Her (2001). In 2003 the Romance Writers of America, whose Florida chapter Graham founded, granted her a lifetime achievement award. She lives, writes, and scuba dives in Florida with her husband and five children.
Read an Excerpt
Hatfield and McCoy
By Heather Graham
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1992 Heather Graham Pozzessere
All rights reserved.
They were destined to come together and to clash.
But that first time Julie saw the man—for all her intuitive powers—she had no idea that she would ever see him again.
Nor did she want to!
She was in a hurry. Admittedly, she was very much in a hurry. But when she rounded the corner in her little Mazda, she was certain that she had the right of way. She hadn't even seen the Lincoln that came around from the opposite side at exactly the same time.
And so they rammed, head first, right into one another.
Luckily, they were both going five miles an hour, and both cars had huge, brand- new bumpers.
They collided and bounced.
Shaken, Julie realized that they had been really lucky. They had struck one another just as if they had been playing bumper cars. There was no damage to her car, and she was certain that there was no damage to the heavier Lincoln.
She could drive away. Thank God. She couldn't afford the time to exchange insurance information or wait around to make a police report.
The other car started to back away. She sighed with relief. She revved her car and backed away from the Lincoln. Then she paused politely.
But the other driver was pausing, too.
They both paused.
Julie squinted, trying to see the driver. It was a man, she discerned. And he was letting her go first.
He gave a short bump to his horn.
She started at the sound, then jerked forward.
He eased forward, too.
Once again, they slammed together.
They were playing bumper cars. Julie smiled.
She started to wave at the driver in the Lincoln. But watching him, she felt her smile begin to freeze.
He wasn't smiling. Nor was he going to drive away this time.
He was getting out of his car and coming her way.
He was wearing black jeans, a black leather jacket and dark sunglasses. He was somewhere between thirty and forty—big, tall, broad-shouldered, but lean and graceful in his movements.
And he reached her window quickly. Damned quickly.
"Are you hurt?" he demanded.
"No," she said quickly. "No, I'm not hurt."
"Are you sure? Absolutely sure?"
Her smile came to life again. He seemed concerned, honestly concerned. And he had such a deep, rich, masculine voice. She didn't just hear his voice; she felt it. With all of her body. It left a pleasant, shivery warmth inside her.
He had a nice, clean-shaven jawline—a strong one. And a nice mouth. Full, broad. Warm and sensual.
He might have been the man in her dreams, she thought. Before the darkness had descended. The darkness that even now threatened an uneasy feeling.
"I'm not hurt at all," she assured him quickly.
And then his tone changed. Boy, did it change.
"What the hell did you think you were doing!" he grated out. Now his voice was full of authority and command.
It instantly struck a chord within her.
"Me! What the hell did you think you were doing?"
"You little pea brain, I had the clear cut right-of-way. I even tried to let you go first. Given the fact that you're driving with your head in the clouds, your talent for accidents makes sense."
Pea brain? No, this was not the man in her dream. Definitely not!
"Excuse me, sir," she purred sweetly, her lashes lowering over her eyes. Fight fire with oil, that's what she'd always heard. "But you did not have any right-of-way, and I'm afraid that you do seem to be in a black-leathered mental wasteland. There's no reason—"
"I was clearly—"
"You most certainly were not—" Julie interrupted. But she didn't faze him. And she didn't have a chance to explain to him that the right-of-way had been entirely hers.
"Not the one required to yield." He finished his sentence, then looked at her, the slightest curve touching his lip. "Black-leathered mental wasteland?" he repeated, astounded that she should say such a thing.
"I am not a pea brain," she said with incredible dignity.
He might have almost smiled then, but he didn't. That jaw of his squared right away.
"Never mind!" He waved a hand dismissively in the air. "I don't have the time for a petty argument. Be glad." He waged a warning finger at her. "You'd get points on your license for a moving violation."
Of all the incredible effrontery. She stared at him for a moment, then she wanted to scream. No, she wanted to jump out of the car and wag a finger at him—all the way back to that big Lincoln of his. What she really wanted was to give him a sound slap on his arrogant cheekbone. She gritted her teeth. Foolish. She couldn't see his eyes, she couldn't really see his face. She could see that he stood well over six feet tall. The better part of valor warned her to stay seated. And to smile.
"I'm quite sure you would receive points on your license, sir, for this violation. Fortunately for you, I'm in far too much of a hurry to squander time on the petty pursuit of proving a point. Now, if you'll excuse me ..."
She didn't wait for a reply. She backed smoothly, then gunned the gas pedal as she hadn't done since she'd been a sophomore in high school, just learning to drive.
And then she couldn't help but smile with pure, sweet satisfaction.
Hmm. Spiteful, Julie, she warned herself. But she just couldn't help the feeling of victory and pleasure. He'd been so rude. So arrogant. He'd barely managed to keep his mouth shut about the fact that she was a woman driver.
It would have been one of his next lines, she was certain.
Still, she chided herself, you almost ran over his toes.
"Almost. But I didn't," she said aloud. "Well, he did have to step back rather quickly. But that's what he gets for being such an orangutan."
She maneuvered her small car around another curve and then saw the police station not far before her. Her smile faded. She remembered why she had been in such a hurry.
Time was so very important.
She pulled in and parked her car. She had barely opened the front door to the station, walked in and started to close the door before it was nearly ripped out of her hands. She let go of the door and stepped back.
A gasp of amazement escaped her.
It was the man. The tall blond man in the black leather who had been driving the big Lincoln.
Lord! He'd come after her, she thought in a moment of panic. She almost jumped back. He'd come after her to do her some harm for nearly running over his toes.
She was in a police station, for God's sake! she reminded herself. She couldn't possibly be in any danger here.
"Where's Petty?" he demanded of the two officers on duty, one man and one young woman.
Petty was the chief. Chief Pettigrew. Only people who knew him well called him Petty.
The man was quick to take in the office. All of the office. And his gaze, beneath the dark glasses, came down hard upon Julie.
He pulled off the sunglasses and glared at her. He wasn't smiling. There wasn't the faintest trace of amusement about him. One brow shot up, then his face creased into a deep frown. He turned to the two officers at the front desk.
"Where's Petty?" he said again.
The male officer jumped to his feet. "Right this way, sir. He's expecting you. If you'll follow me—"
But the man shot Julie another hard look. One that seemed to sizzle and burn her from head to toe. Then he burst into the chief's office—with the officer following behind. A door slammed in his wake.
Staring after him, Julie lifted her chin. She took a few steps forward and sat in the plain brown chair before the desk of the remaining officer, Patty Barnes.
"Oh, no!" Julie breathed. Her abilities had certainly been failing her so far this morning. She was only now coming to see the absolutely obvious, and it was not good at all. "Oh, no ..."
"What?" Patty whispered.
"Please tell me that that man isn't ..."
Patty stared at her.
"Patty, he can't be!"
"But he is," Patty said.
"He's the G-man?"
"That's him," Patty replied. "The G-man."
Julie didn't get a chance to speak again. Sound suddenly seemed to burst upon them.
Hearing the single word explode in the FBI agent's decidedly masculine voice, Julie winced.
Apparently, he wasn't very happy, either. He'd already heard about her, she realized. And he must have put two and two together and realized that she was the woman with whom he would be working.
"What?" Again he said the word. It wasn't a question. She was tempted to leap up and go striding into the chief's office.
Curiously, she was able to grant that he was an attractive man, despite his awful arrogance.
It had only been seconds that she had really seen him with those dark glasses removed. And in that little bit of time before he had crossed into the inner offices, his eyes had touched upon her.
They went well with his jaw.
They were steel-gray eyes. Eyes as hard and rigid as the structure beams for a skyscraper, eyes that were truly gray, without a hint of blue. He had sandy blond close-cropped hair, a bronzed face with rugged, well-defined features, and curiously dark lashes and brows for the blondness of his hair.
All in all, the combinations and contrasts created a very interesting face. And the face went well with the tall, taut, well-muscled body that could move with such startling ease and grace for its size. She'd barely heard his footsteps, but then she'd really only been aware of his eyes, those steel-gray eyes with their dark, probing ability.
Suddenly his voice exploded again. "I don't believe this! You want me to work with a witch of some sort? Me? Of all people. A voodoo priestess? That—that child out there!"
Smile tiger, smile! she ordered herself. And she did so, grinning to Patty. "I really don't think he's pleased," Julie murmured.
Thirty-year-old Patty had a pleasantly pretty freckled face and light red hair that was swept up in a ponytail. She arched a brow at Julie's words.
"No, I don't think so, either," she murmured.
Julie gritted her teeth. She'd come across the attitude often enough, and it barely disturbed her anymore. She'd controlled her temper, and she'd made herself credible by being entirely calm and dignified. It had been a long time since anyone had managed to make her feel quite so angry.
"Arrogant bastard," she said softly to Patty.
"Oh, he's really not that bad," Patty said quickly.
It was Julie's turn to arch a brow.
"Well, all right," Patty responded. "He is a toughie. I really had no idea who the bureau was sending, but, yes, he is going to be tough. But the man is good, Julie. And he can be a real heartthrob when he wants. He sometimes has a smile that could melt rock, I swear it. And he's good, Julie, so good. Thorough. So he growls a bit. When he isn't growling—"
"He's probably trying to bite," Julie interrupted.
Patty laughed. "Okay, so he's hardheaded and—"
"Ruthless?" Julie suggested.
"Well, there's sort of a deep, dark mystery about the man, too. He's originally from this area, but apparently he spent about ten years out in California. Something happened out there. I don't know what it was. No one does. He doesn't talk about himself."
"No," Julie said. "He doesn't talk at all. He just barks."
"But still," Patty said with a sigh, "there's something about him ... I admit, my ticker has gone pitter-patter often enough over Robert—"
"No! It's absolutely out of the question!" Good old heartthrob Robert was spewing again.
A quieter voice of reason must have spoken in the inner offices against the man's tirade, but that voice of reason was apparently getting nowhere. The man's argument was rising again, and Patty's cheeks grew red as she stared at Julie. The man must know that he was being heard very clearly—by everyone.
"It's not out of the question!" Julie said firmly, her unsolicited reply in the outer office just as quiet as the man's statement in the inner office had been forceful.
"Not out of the question at all," Julie continued, flashing a smile at Patty. "I was asked in. I'm staying. Even if it upsets Mr. Robert—" She broke off, looking at Patty with a frown. "What's his name?"
Patty opened her mouth to speak, then quickly paused. A long, "Oh!" escaped her.
Julie stared at her blankly. "His name is Robert Oh?"
"Oh! No, I mean, no, of course not," Patty said quickly. "It's just that ..."
"Well, what?" Julie tapped her long nails against the leather of her handbag.
Patty suddenly smiled, then laughed. "His name is McCoy. Robert McCoy."
"Oh!" Julie said. And then her mouth curled into a smile, and she was laughing, too. "Well, maybe that just figures. Mr. Robert McCoy ..." Her voice trailed away, then she added, "If he's looking for a feud, Patty, he's going to get one. I'm needed on this case, I know it, I feel it. And I'm here to stay."
The deep, thundering burst of a bald expletive came from the inner office. The hostility and anger behind it were enough to make Patty feel as if her red hair were standing on end at the base of her neck.
But Julie Hatfield was undaunted. Small, delicate, with a fine, beautiful bone structure and the sweet face of an angel, she sat straight on her chair. She was almost regal with her sun-blond hair caught back from her face and swept into an elegant French braid. She appeared not to have heard Robert McCoy at all.
But then Julie's eyes touched Patty's. Hazel eyes, they had the ability to glisten like gold. And they were glistening now.
Patty smiled. Perhaps Mr. Robert McCoy did need to watch out this time around.
Miss Hatfield was ready to do battle.
Inside the chief's office, Robert McCoy was prepared to go to war.
He stared hard from Chief Pettigrew to his sergeant, Timothy Riker, still unable to believe what he had just heard.
Timothy Riker, obviously dazed that he was between the chief and McCoy, looked up as a dark red flush stained his features. Robert was sorry to see Riker so uncomfortable—he was a good man, young and dedicated, but he should have known that what was going on would touch off Robert's temper.
It was all entirely unacceptable.
Timothy cleared his throat. He was loyal to the death, trying to help out Petty.
"Lieutenant McCoy—" Riker broke off. Steel-gray eyes were fixed mercilessly on him. Thankfully, the chief broke in.
"Robert, these orders aren't from me, and they aren't from any of the local police stations involved. They came direct from your own office. Now, I do admit that we've worked with—"
"This quack!" Robert McCoy said flatly.
"She's not a quack, honest, sir!" Riker piped. Then he was flushing again.
Curious, Robert decided. It was obvious that Riker was fond of the woman, whoever she was. This Julie something. Ah, but that, my young man, Robert thought, is because of your very youth! A pretty face, a soft word ...
He fought to control his temper. If time wasn't entirely of the essence, he might even have been amused, intrigued.
No, he couldn't be amused. Or intrigued. He'd met others like this woman before.
He inhaled. Exhaled. That was the past. A closed door. He was going to be coolly amused. And more.
Determined, even, to unmask this so-called psychic.
And a child's life was involved.
He was good, a damned good investigative agent, and he knew it. His work was his life. He could find clues few other men would seek, and during the instances when he had been in direct contact with a kidnapper, he had been somewhat startled to realize that many of his long-ago psychology classes had paid off—he was capable of setting up a communication that could save a life.
Maybe it wasn't the psychology classes. Maybe it had just been life itself.
Life was often a wicked, wicked teacher.
None of that really mattered now. There were numerous local police stations involved in this region where the states of Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland came together in a grand cataclysm of nature. But he was the federal agent, and the man put in charge. Not that he was so much of a loner—he could work well with others. He had to. So many experts were needed, men who could comb woods, technicians who could magically read minute drops of blood and come up with incredible information. He needed others. Men and women who had some sense and could work with logic.
Not some kind of a mystic quack!
Chief Pettigrew, a man with bright blue eyes, graying hair, a salt and pepper beard and the look of a department-store Santa, sighed softly and tried once again. "Robert, give the girl a chance, eh? She's been a tremendous help in other cases."
Excerpted from Hatfield and McCoy by Heather Graham. Copyright © 1992 Heather Graham Pozzessere. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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