Gripping romantic suspense from USA Today bestseller Rebecca York
Does everyone have something to hide?
Olivia Winters and Max Lyon knew each other way back when, but she was one of the cool kids, and he was a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Olivia's a successful model now, and Max a PI much in demand.
When Olivia's old high school friend is murdered-and a raft of "accidental" deaths may be murders, too-Max is the only man Olivia can trust to help her investigate.
As they team up, Max is blown away by Olivia's courage under fire, and Olivia finds that the bad boy she remembers from the fringes of her social circle might just be the best man she's ever met...
Praise for Bad Nights:
"Bad Nights has everything...drama, suspense, action, and passion." -NIGHT OWL REVIEWS
"Tense and intriguing, the first of York's Rockfort Security books is an action-packed read that promises much for the series to come." -RT BOOK REVIEWS
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
A sudden jolt of unease made the hairs on the back of Angela's neck prickle. She might have stopped and looked around. Instead, she quickened her pace, hurrying toward the car. She'd parked behind her shop when she'd arrived early that morning. She put in long hours, but it was worth it because she was building her business and her reputation as a local fashion maven.
Her sedan had an automatic lock that opened when she reached for the door handle, and she breathed out a sigh of relief as she slipped behind the wheel and locked the doors. Usually she didn't mind walking to her vehicle after hours. It was only a few steps from the back door of her boutique, after all, and the area was well lit. Which was good, because lately she'd had the feeling that someone was lurking in the darkness, watching her. She glanced up at the car's dome light and tried to turn it on. But it seemed to be on the fritz. And did the car smell funny? She twisted around, looking in the backseat, but saw nothing.
Then she shook her head, trying to dispel her unease. Was she getting paranoid? Or was she tempting fate with her success in the fashion world?
Her shop was on Main Street in Ellicott City, a 250-year-old mill town built into a river valley. The old stone townhouses that lined the narrow thoroughfare were now full of antique shops, restaurants, boutiques, and other retail outlets that catered to tourists and affluent locals. As you drove down the hill toward the Patapsco River, the shops on the left backed right into a massive stone cliff. In fact, the living stone was sometimes part of the back wall. On the right side of the street, there was room in the rear for parking. Some shop owners lived above their stores or rented out the space. Angela preferred to get out of the crowded downtown area when she wasn't working.
Her boutique, called What She Wants, sold trendy women's clothing. It was doing so well that she was thinking about expanding. The store next door had been vacant for a few months, and she was probably going to ask the owner if she could expand into the extra space. That way she could have twice the display area and be able to add the line of slinky underwear she'd been thinking about. Plus, she could have a bigger lounge in the back where customers could relax with a cup of tea while they modeled clothing for each other. That was part of the charm of her shop-the unhurried atmosphere. Destination shopping.
She smiled to herself as she pictured doubling her domain. Maybe she wasn't as big a success as the former class star, Olivia Winters. Olivia was a big deal in the New York fashion scene. A jet-setter who was the envy of half the country's female population. And a sex object for the guys. Was that the bad part? Because there had to be a bad part, didn't there?
But Angela could deal with Olivia's fame and fortune. And she was sure the two of them would have a lot to talk about at the upcoming Donley High ten-year reunion. She was already working on plans for some of the events, and if she couldn't get Olivia onto the planning committee, she was at least hoping to get her best friend from high school down to Maryland for the reunion.
Her mind turned from her fears of being stalked to the reunion plans. She was on the committee, and she was going to make sure that this was the best ten-year reunion Donley had ever seen.
For just a moment, a painful memory from her high school days zinged into her mind. Quickly she pushed it away. All of that was over and done with. You couldn't dwell on the past. You had to keep moving forward if you wanted to be a success in life.
With a firm shake of her head, she nosed the car away from the downtown area into the subdivision where she'd bought a comfortable townhouse after her divorce from Chip. She'd met him at a young singles mixer a couple of years after she'd graduated from high school. He'd seemed like a good guy-ambitious and personable, with a college degree in hospitality and a good job at a national hotel chain. But he'd turned out to be one of the few major mistakes she'd made. She'd gotten rid of him as soon as she'd realized he wasn't about to let his wife have a career that might eclipse his importance as the man of the house.
She'd bought her end unit at a good price after the housing bubble crash. In the driveway, she clicked the remote, waited for the garage door to open, then drove in and closed the door behind her.
She was hungry. Maybe she should have stopped at that new French carryout on the way home instead of having to fix something. Well, it would have to be something quick, like a can of the low-cal soup she had in the pantry.
Before she could get out of the car, someone grabbed her from behind-someone who must have been in the car all the way home from the shop.
She cried out in shock and disbelief, but the cry turned into a gasp as the person behind her grabbed her shoulder to anchor her in place while they slipped something around her neck.
In desperation, she kicked out her legs and bucked her body, writhing in her seat as she tried to free herself from the stranglehold. But the hand held her fast as the cord tightened and tightened.
Did she hear words whispered in her ear? Hateful words about what a slut she'd been in high school-and how she'd broken her word.
No, she wanted to scream. It wasn't true. She'd kept her vow of silence. But the person with the rope around her neck kept whispering, telling her she wasn't going to get the chance to blab about her past at the reunion-or anyone else's past.
The awful voice kept talking, filling her mind like boiling syrup in a pot bubbling on the stove, and she knew who it was. Someone dangerous. Someone she'd avoided for years.
"You little slut. You thought you were a big deal. You thought you could hide your true colors, didn't you?"
Again she tried to scream that it wasn't true. It had never been true. And no matter what she had been in high school, she was a different person now. Then she'd been unsure of herself. Eager to fit in. Now she knew she didn't have to conform to anyone's standards but her own. She was put together. Successful, and on her way to bigger and better things.
But there was no breath in her lungs for those protests, or for anything else. She was slipping from consciousness. She tried to focus on her shop. On her big plans. But black dots danced in front of her eyes. Then the blackness overwhelmed her.