A NIGHT TO REMEMBER?
One night was all they'd had or had they? Hayley Templeton prides herself on keeping a level head in life and love. But her recent passionate encounter with Seth Banyon turned her world upside down. Hayley knows she planted a kiss on the sexy security expert, but she can't even remember how much further that lip-lock went. This is one dilemma the psychologist can't analyze her way out of
Seth has plenty of secrets that he doesn't need Hayley prying intoleast of all, what he's really doing in tiny Weaver, Wyoming. So he's got to get the irresistible woman out of his system before he is tempted to make himself at home right there in her arms
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His jaw going so tight that it actually ached, Seth stared at the other man. "You have got to be kidding me."
Tristan Clay's calm expression didn't change; his light blue eyes looked glacial. "Do I look like I'm joking?"
Seth clenched his teeth to keep from spitting out an oath. There was a time and a place for that, and here in his boss's home while Tristan and his wife hosted a joint wedding shower for their nephew and his fiancée was definitely not it.
Fortunately, the honorees, Casey Clay and Jane Cohen, were on the far side of the room and were the focus of everyone else's attention. But Seth still kept his voice down. "I don't believe you've fallen for this" he hesitated, revising the words he wanted to say "story that Jason McGregor has amnesia."
"That'll be up to Dr. Templeton to determine," Tristan said smoothly. "She'll be the one treating him. But the condition does occur. My own brother dealt with it once upon a time." He smiled suddenly and lifted his beer mug in salute when he overheard Casey say something about him hosting the party. "Thank my wife, Hope," Tristan announced loudly to the assembled guests. "Everyone knows she's the brains behind this gig."
Laughter and smiles followed as Hope Clay, easily as beautiful as women half her age, rolled her eyes and continued nudging wrapped gifts toward Casey and Jane.
Seth's contribution to the effort had been a case of microbrew from some dinky little startup out in Arizona that Casey had a liking for. The fact that his coworker was marrying the owner of a bar and could get all the beer he wanted had already been laughed about.
"Whatever happened with your brother is one thing. But McGregor should be facing murder charges," Seth told Tristan, not for the first time. "Not your hired shrink's couch."
His boss didn't blink. On the surface, Tristan Clay was the brilliant mind that had started Cee-Vid as a little video gaming company several decades ago and built it into a hugely successful player in the world of consumer electronics and gaming. But more important, behind the company's front, he was the number-two guy at Hollins-Winword, a secret organization with an even longer history of black ops and international security.
Cee-Vid, where Seth and Casey ostensibly worked, was pretty much a household name.
Hollins-Winword, though, was a closely guarded secret that not even the real employees of Cee-Vid knew about.
"Dr. Templeton isn't my shrink," Tristan said in a low voice. "She's an impartial professional whose expertise and discretion were good enough to get this whole operation approved in the first place. She knows only what she needs to know about HW in order to do her job well."
Seth's fists curled, frustration ticking like a bomb inside his gut. "And how's that supposed to help Jon and Manny?" They'd been McGregor's partners up until the point when their bodies had been discovered in a Hon-duran hut six months ago. McGregor had been nowhere to be found until a few months later, and only then because he'd been picked up in Mississippi on some traffic stop. The Hollins-Winword agent had been using one of his known aliases.
It was the one kernel that kept sticking in Seth's teeth. If McGregor hadn't been using the alias, he would likely still be in the wind. And the field agent had never been a stupid man, even if Seth did consider him guilty of murdering his partners. "You think that's going to help their grieving families? Knowing the person responsible is getting counseling??"
Tristan's lips thinned. He took his responsibilitiesboth public and privatevery seriously. "Their families will never know the entire truth about their deaths, whether or not Jason was responsible," he said flatly. "And you know it. That's a price everyone who signs on with us pays. Whether someone dies as a hero or not, the complete truth stays unsung. If it didn't, we would've been out of business before you were a spark in your daddy's eyes."
Seth's jaw went even tighter because he did know that. "When I signed on with the agency, there weren't any people in my life to worry about me. Any people to lie to." So that decision had been easy.
Jon, Manny and Jason, though, all had family.
Parents. Siblings. And all of them believed the cover story. That their sons and brothers had been ex-pats cranking out a meager living as farmers in a tiny corner of Central America. They didn't know they'd really been there to feed intel to the authorities about a local drug king who'd branched out into human trafficking. Not even Hollins-Winword's considerable resources had been able to prove that their covers had been blown, a circumstance that would have laid their murders squarely on the drug king's doorstep.
Instead, the entire situation was still surrounded with question marks even all these months later. The recent discovery that the drug king had also been funding suspected terrorists had only upped the stakes where McGregor was concerned.
"If your father hadn't been killed when you were a pup, you wouldn't have signed on with us?" Tristan's gaze was steady. "You honestly believe that?"
Seth grimaced. His father's unavenged death when he was eighteen still haunted him, though after twenty years, he mostly managed not to think about it.
Thankfully, Tristan left the subject of Seth's dad alone. "We have bullets recovered from their bodies that we haven't been able to trace back to a specific weapon, much less Jason's. That's it. That leaves us with his memories. Locked up in his head or willfully hidden away. When that question is resolved, then we'll take our next step. In the meantime, we got him back from the Feds only by calling in a boatload of favors. I don't want anything screwing it up or he'll get yanked back under government detention for God knows how long while they figure out what to do with him, and we'll lose any chance we've ever had of learning the truth of what really happened in Central America."
"Maybe that's where he belongs," Seth said under his breath. "Whatever he ended up doing down there, he started out with two partners who were killed. And you're harboring him in a comfy little safe house right here in Weaver."
"You were friends with Jon and Manny"
"Were being the operative word."
Tristan set his mug on the chest-high fireplace mantel behind them, clamped his hand over Seth's shoulder and guided him out of the room and to the front door. "Go home," he advised quietly. "Get your head back on straight. The likelihood of there ever being a public court case about this situation is slim to none." The federal government would never allow some thingssuch as their off-the-books arrangement with Hollins-Winword to handle some of their dirty workto see the light of day.
"So he just walks," Seth said between his teeth.
Tristan's grip hardened. He was a good twenty-five years older than Seth, but there was little doubt the man could have taken Sethformer US Army Ranger or notright to the ground if he so chose. At least, he could have done a good job trying. "If he's innocent, yes." Tristan lowered his hand. "You've got the choice, Seth. You want to leave the organization, say the word."
"I could take everything I know to the media."
Tristan snorted, his eyes filling with honest-to-God mirth. "Honor runs thicker in your veins than blood does, kid. Why else do you think I recruited you out of the Rangers?"
"There's no honor in letting a man get away with murder."
"He hasn't gotten away with it yet, has he?" Tristan's voice was smooth. "Until I got him transferred here to my watch, he was wearing leg irons in a military prison. But that cozy safe house you're all pissed off about now still doesn't unlock from the inside." He pulled open the door.
The soft, feminine gasp that greeted them didn't stump the older man for even a second as his face creased into a wide, welcoming smile. "Dr. Templeton. My wife was just wondering when you'd be arriving." He stepped back, his arm wide in invitation. "Come in. Can't have the maid of honor standing out on the front porch."
Hayley Templeton stared back at them above the large gift-wrapped box she was holding, her dark brown eyes looking like melted chocolate in the dwindling sunset. But her gaze instantly flicked away from Seth's like a skittish firefly.
It had been that way ever since that night at Colbys several months ago.
Her soft lips stretched into a smile that wasn't entirely steady. "Mr. Clay," she greeted. "I'm so sorry I'm late." Her gaze flicked to Seth's again. "I, was, um, was tied up with a new patient."
"It's Tristan, Hayley. I've told you that before. And patients come first. We all certainly understand that." He looked over his shoulder for a moment when his wife called his name. He lifted his hand in acknowledgment before turning back to Hayley. His gaze took in Seth, as well. "Seth, before you head out, help the doctor here with that gift of hers and make sure she has a drink, would you?" Then he excused himself, his easy smile still in place.
Hayley's, though, turned even more ragged at the edges and her eyes still wouldn't meet Seth's for more than a nanosecond. "I'm a big girl," she said quickly. "I don't need help with the gift."
"Much less getting a drink."
Her cheeks turned pink. "A gentleman wouldn't remind me of that."
"I never said I was a gentleman." But his father hadn't raised him to be a complete cretin, either, despite their male-only household. "Don't worry so much, Doc. You had a few too many that night," he said with a shrug. "Plenty of us have done the same at one time or another." Without waiting for permission, he lifted the box out of her hands and turned to carry it inside.
"Well, I don't make a habit of it," she muttered as she closed the door and hurried to keep up with him. "Not drinking too much and certainly not going home with strange men."
"Never said you did." He glanced at her. "If you had bothered to return either of the messages I left you after that night, I might have had a chance to reassure you of that." He entered the crowded living room, set the box on the floor next to the other gifts that overflowed from the low table in front of the couch where Jane and Casey were seated and edged back out of the room.
Hayley was waiting where he'd left her on the perimeter of the room. Nobody else seemed to have noticed her arrival, but he was still more than a little surprised when she turned and trotted after him as he headed back to the foyer and the front door. "Seth, wait."
He stopped, turned and raised his brows.
She looked pained. "I should have." Her lips pressed together for a moment. "Returned your message." She quickly looked over her shoulder. "Could we take this outside, at least?"
"Don't want the masses to know you socialize with a lowly security guard?"
She gave him a look. "Don't be ridiculous."
"Then what's your problem, Doc? You hightailed it out of my place before the sun came up the next morning."
"I was embarrassed!" Her voice had risen a bit and she looked annoyed again. She ran her hand over her head, smoothing back her ponytail even though it already looked perfectly smooth to him.
Irritatingly, his memory filled in just how silky it was.
Then she caught his sleeve and pulled him out the front door and onto the porch. She closed the door behind them and immediately let go to move several feet away, where she crossed her arms.
No point in remembering how silky her hair was when she wanted nothing to do with him.
Even though they were outside, she still lowered her voice. "I was embarrassed," she said again. "I've never found myself in in that position before, and I handled it poorly. And I, well, I apologize for that. I meant no offense."
He hadn't been offended.
Disappointed a little. Maybe more than a little.
But he was thirty-eight years old and he told himself he was too jaded to get upset over a woman. Particularly one as beautiful and out-of-reach as Dr. Hayley Templeton. He shrugged again. "No sweat. The only reason I left those messages in the first place was to make sure you were okay." That was true enough.
She blinked. Whatever she'd expected him to say, it was obviously not that. "Um okay, then. So, we can just forget it ever happened?"
"Yup." He started down the wide, shallow porch steps but looked back at her. She was wearing a pale gray pencil skirt that ended just below her knees and a white long-sleeved blouse that was buttoned to just below the hollow of her slender throat.
Aside from her tall, shocking-pink high heels, she looked prim and proper as if she'd just come from a session with a patient, even though it was eight o'clock on a Saturday evening. All he could think about was how fun it would be to get her all mussed up. To finish what they'd never gotten to start the night she'd gone home with him.
But she'd already made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with him. She was not interested. And now, according to Tristan, her latest patient was one Jason McGregor.
He ruthlessly uprooted the idea germinating in the back of his mind. She had a spotless reputation around town. And she had to be exceptionally good at what she did to earn Tristan Clay's confidence. She would never betray a patient's confidentiality to Seth, even if he could get into her confidence. Which, considering everything, was unlikely.
Not to mention the fact that Tristan would have his head if he tried. Few people earned Seth's respect, particularly ones with that much money. But his boss was one of them. He disagreed like hell with the man over McGregor, but that didn't change that one basic fact.
"Better get inside," he advised. "Maid of honor and all."
She put one hand on the door latch. "Are you working at Cee-Vid tonight or something?"
Or something. "No." He wondered why she bothered with small talk. Why she didn't go inside.
And he wondered why he wondered. "Not in the mood for a party." A breeze drifted over them, playing with her silky ponytail and making her blouse flutter against her body. He wasn't a cretin, but he was a man. And regardless of what had happened three months agoor had not happened, to be more precisehe'd have to be dead not to appreciate the here-and-gone-again whisper of lace and the gentle curve beneath that thin white fabric.
"Stay away from the cosmopolitans, Dr. Templeton," he advised, backing down the last of the porch steps. His lips twisted in a smile. "The next guy you're with might not be as much of a gentleman as I was."
Intent on escaping this unsettling man, Hayley was halfway inside the Clays' house again when Seth's words penetrated enough to make senseand annoyance swept through her.
Maybe she hadn't handled that night with him very well, but he hadn't exactly turned out to be Mr. Charming, either.
She looked back.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I want more of this series. There are a few story lines that I want to know what happens next. Lots of drama, with both of the main characters in their lives. A few love scenes but were easy to skip over for me. Dr. Hayley Templeton has a lot going on with her family. Her grandmother I liked. She has a busy profession and is working on one case that is very hush hush. Seth Banyon is a security guard. Or that is what he says to people anyway. He is very interested in Hayley's patient. He has some issues with him. He can't stay away from Hayley. The setting is Weaver, Wyoming a small town. Hayley's good friend Jane is getting married to Chase. There are a lot of secrets in Weaver and a lot of black ops being ran from there. Fast good read. Characters that I loved. Old characters from previous books back and new ones too. I was given this ebook to read from Harlequin and Net Galley and in return I agreed to give a honest review of One Night in Weaver.
I really liked the dark and a bit edgy mood and tone of the story. There are so many secrets in Weaver, family secrets, and dangerous ones, with possible murder and treason committed. Hayley is treating one of the federal prisoners, who is suffering from a memory loss. Seth, working for an agency holding the prisoner, is risking his job, to be close to Hayley. Or is he close to her to get information from Hayley's patient? The romance between them provides several sweet, swoon worthy scenes, that made me smile. The pull to each other, the attraction between Seth and Haley is evident. Despite the many warnings they get from Seth's boss, they can't stay away from each other. But not only are their jobs crossing, and causing problems, Seth's past have left some issues to be dealt with, that affect him today. And then there's the family of Hayley, that gives a new meaning to dysfunctional... Her grandmother, Vivian, is a one interesting lady! Lots of family drama, a little bit of danger, mixed with a desirous romance makes great entertainment! ~ Four Spoons