Dave Ducharme is a Man of Mystery
Dave's heart is captured from the moment he lays eyes on Ashley Kruger. Too bad it's while he's saving her from a bank robbery! When Ashley is injured, Dave promises to stay close. He's determined to take care of her–and to win her trust.
“The truth will set you free."–John 8:32
Ashley can't believe she was rescued by such a gentle and handsome man. As she gets to know her dashing hero, hope grows that he may be the one for her. But when dangerous secrets from his past come to light, Ashley will have to choose between safety…and love.
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Dave checked his watch as he pulled into the bank's last remaining parking spot. He didn't have the time to stop, but all he had was pocket change. He would never be caught unprepared without cash.
He didn't want to draw attention to himself, which he was about to do by walking into the bank wearing a tuxedo, but it couldn't be helped.
Giving himself a mental kick for his lack of planning, Dave sucked in a deep breath and slid out of the car. He hit the button twice to make sure the beep he heard was his own car, and jogged across the lot to the bank's main door.
As he reached forward to grasp the door handle, the clicking of heels echoed behind him. A blonde woman stepped through the door he pulled open, ahead of him. "Thanks," she muttered. "I'm kind of in a hurry."
"Yeah, I know the feeling. I'm kind of in a hurry, too."
Her cheeks turned an adorable shade of pink. "Sorry," she said, then she froze and scanned him from head to toe, taking in every inch of him, including the bow tie that suddenly seemed tighter and more uncomfortable. "Please, go ahead of me."
He couldn't help but tug at the bow tie, but it still felt like a noose around his neck. "Don't worry about it." One more person in front of him wasn't going to make any difference.
In unison, they both looked at the number of people waiting to use the ATM, then the lineup to the tellers.
"I think there are fewer people for the tellers," the woman said. "What do you think?"
"I agree. Only one ATM is working, and there are three tellers, so that line will probably go faster."
Side by side they hurried to the end of the line, which was only three people. His mother had always raised him to be a gentleman, so even though the clock was ticking he stepped aside and motioned for the woman to go ahead of him.
As if he had to justify to himself that he'd made the right decision, Dave turned to count the people at the ATM.
As he made eye contact with an elderly woman who was first in line there, she grinned from ear to ear, winked, then whistled at him. A number of women in the building turned their heads and stared at him.
Feeling the heat in his ears, he knew he was blushing. Worse than being embarrassed, though, he couldn't be the center of attention. To quickly put an end to it, he smiled widely at the elderly lady, and winked. She giggled, blew him a kiss, then stepped forward to use the ATM. When she continued her business, everyone else turned their attention back to what they were originally doing.
The line moved forward. The woman ahead of him took the step, then turned around to face him. "You look like you're on your way to either a wedding or a fancy party."
Dave struggled not to check his watch. "A wedding."
"No. I'm the best man." A wedding for himself was never going to happen. On days like today, that reality hit poignantly close to home.
Since he didn't elaborate, the woman once again turned to the front and stepped forward as the person at the front of the line moved to go to one of the tellers.
Within seconds two people at other tellers left at the same time, so the next person went to a teller, as well as the woman ahead of him, leaving him now first in line.
Automatically, Dave watched the man at the other teller, because that man would be done next, giving him his turn. The man slid a piece of paper to the teller, but instead of reaching into his back pocket for his wallet, the man's hand disappeared into his jacket pocket. The woman gasped and grasped the edge of the counter. Just like in the movies, metal flashed in the bright lights before Dave's brain registered what it was.
"Back up!" the man shouted, waving the gun at the three tellers as he pressed what was obviously a phoney beard closer to his face with his free hand. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he then tossed a few bags onto the counter. The second his hand was free, he stepped sideways and grabbed the woman at the counter beside himthe woman Dave had entered with. The man yanked her arm, causing her to stumble. When she thumped against him he wrapped his hand around her neck and pointed the gun at her head. "Put everything from the tills into the bags, or she's dead! Everyone lay on the floor face down, hands above your heads. Everyone in the offices, get out here now, and get on the floor! Anyone makes one move for a cell phone, she's dead, and you'll be dead too."
Within seconds, everyone in the building was flat on the floor, including Dave. With his hands above his head, he turned his head sideways to watch and memorize details.
The teller's face paled. "We don't have a lot of money in the tills. All the big bills are in the vault."
"Shut up! Do as I say!" As the man yelled, he pressed the nozzle of the gun directly into his hostage's temple. "Fast! And don't be hitting no switches to call the cops."
Dave's heart pounded as he stared at the woman. He hadn't said more than a few words to her, but it was enough to have made a small connection. The gunman could never have planned in advance whom he would use as his prisoner, but he probably couldn't have picked anyone better, at least from a robber's perspective. The woman was small, both in stature and build. She looked on the thin side and below average height. To add to the image of fragility, she was blonde and fine-featured and wore shoes he didn't know how a human could walk in, much less run. Not that she could run, even if she were wearing track shoes. Her skirt narrowed at her knees, and would not only prevent her from running, he doubted if she could even take large steps. Her only defense would be to whack the gunman unconscious with her large purse. Except as the man pressed the gun to her head, she whimpered and dropped it, which left her empty-handed.
"Move it!" the man yelled, while at the same time he shook the woman, pressing the gun harder to her head. She gagged from the pressure of the hand around her neck, then winced as she gasped for air.
Dave knew what it was like to be on the wrong end of a loaded gun. His heart pounded for the poor woman, who was, like he'd once been, simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Dave cleared his throat and raised his head, looking straight at the gunman, making sure his arms remained over his head with his palms flat on the floor. "Please. There isn't going to be enough money to make this worth the risk. Let her go. If you run out the door right now, you won't get caught."
The gunman glared at Dave, still pointing the gun at the terrified teller. "I won't get caught." He turned back to the teller. "Give me the bags. Now." He pressed the barrel of the gun against his hostage's head, rotating it back and forth, causing her eyes to widen. His voice lowered to a menacing drawl. "Now take the bags. Slowly."
Dave felt his own throat tighten. He prayed that nothing would go horribly wrong. That everyone would get out, no harm done, except for a little missing money.
The woman's face paled. With shaking arms, she reached forward and took the bags from the teller.
"If anyone moves, she gets it!" The robber lowered his voice. "We're going to walk to the door, you're going to kick the handicapped button with your foot, and"
A flash of red and blue lights halted the gunman's words. He muttered a curse. By the way the woman stiffened, Dave could tell the man had tightened his grip around her neck. "You! Behind the counter! Turn out the lights! Fast!" don't know where the switch is " the teller choked out. "I'm I'm new."
"Find it! Fast!"
"I know where the switches are. I'm the manager," a trembling voice drifted from behind a desk. "You have ten seconds to kill the lights."
It took more than ten seconds for all the lights to go off, but nothing happened except it got darker in the building. With the lower level of light, the flash of the red and blue lights outside became more vivid, and more a reminder that the police were outside, no doubt with guns drawn.
From somewhere in the middle of the building came the sounds of a few women crying.
The blare of a man's voice from a bullhorn echoed through the plate glass windows. "We have your partner. The building is surrounded. Come out with your hands up and no one will get hurt."
"You! Pretty boy, stand up. Slowly, and keep your hands above your head."
For a few tense seconds silence hung in the air, until Dave realized that the gunman was speaking to him. As Dave stood, the man pulled a roll of duct tape out of his pocket and tossed in on the floor at Dave's feet, all the while keeping the gun on the woman's temple. "One at a time, tape everyone's hands together, and sit them over there, against the wall."
Dave knew better than to attempt to reason with the nervous man. At this critical time, the gunman would be scrambling for ideas for escape, which meant taking full control with no possibility that something unpredictable would happen. For now, Dave had no choice.
One at a time, counting everyone as he secured their hands then helped them to their feet to guide them to the inside wall, Dave did as he was told. When all were done, seventeen people sat against the wall with their hands taped together, in their laps. If he had to think of anything encouraging, the gunman hadn't said anything when he taped everyone's hands together in front of them rather than behind their backs. If this situation continued for very long, they wouldn't be as uncomfortable that way.
The man pushed his hostage forward. "Tape up his hands, then sit beside him. Don't try anything. If you do, I'll shoot someone. I have a lot of easy targets." He made a single sweep, pointing the gun in a wave at all the hostages now sitting lined up against the wall.
With the gun pointing to the back of her head, the woman took the roll of tape from Dave. When he held his hands forward toward her, he carefully bunched the fabric of the sleeves of the tux jacket between his wrists, and prayed that the man wouldn't notice that his wrists were not pressed tightly together. While he'd done his best to wrap everyone's wrists together loosely, he was the only hostage wearing a jacket on a summer day.
The woman's hands trembled as she carefully wound the tape around his wrists. As she did so, without moving her head, she looked into his eyes, as if apologizing for having to secure him. Even though she was probably terrified she held herself together, strong in the face of danger. It was a trait he admired, and something he'd tried to do himself with not as much success.
If his life were different, he would probably welcome the chance to get to know her better when this was over.
When she'd finished taping Dave's wrists together, the gunman wrapped her wrists with one hand, still holding the gun in his other. The second he was done, he pushed her roughly, causing her back to thump against the wall. "You get down, too," he barked.
The woman's eyes widened. "But."
She stiffened, leaned back against the wall, pressed her bound hands to her skirt at her knees to hold it in place, pushed her knees together tightly, and started to sink. Just as her bottom hit the floor, the phone on the reception desk near the door rang.
Once again, he pointed the gun at her head. "What good timing." He looked up at the ceiling, obviously searching for the lenses of the hidden cameras. "Nobody move." Not taking his aim from the woman, he walked to the desk and picked up the phone. "No bargaining. I have hostages. I want a car and a plane going to Mexico. You have thirty minutes or I start shooting, one hostage at a time." Without waiting for a response, he hung up and walked back to the woman, holding the gun six inches from her forehead.
"You'd better hope they do it, because you're first." The gun wavered, then pointed at Dave's forehead. "Then, pretty boy, you're second."
Ashley stared at the gun, now pointing at the handsome man wearing the tuxedo. She should have felt relieved the gun was no longer aimed at her, but she didn't. Telling herself to breathe normally, she turned her head and looked at the man seated on the floor beside her.
It was like being on a movie set. A crazed gunman pointing a really big gun into the calm face of the handsome, brave, and impeccably dressed hero, staring the lunatic down with no fear in his deep brown eyes. In a split second, the handsome hero would lunge up, and in a feat of incredible strength and bravery, would disarm the evildoer. He'd turn him face down, step on his neck, and tie his hands behind his back. When the police stormed in with guns raised, there would be nothing to do except read the gunman his rights.
Except this hero's hands were tied, and he wasn't moving. Unlike James Bond, the man didn't appear to be ready to brandish a secret weapon to save the day. In fact, he couldn't reach into his pockets, even if he had a state-of-the-art stungun. With his hands secured together, he wouldn't even be able to bring himself to a standing position unless he was a martial arts expert. Somehow Ashley could imagine him being a martial arts expert.
In fact, dressed in the tux, he looked like James Bond. Sort of. Except younger. And more handsome. And his hair was medium brown and longer than the last James Bond she'd seen. And this man's tuxedo was probably rented. And he would probably lose his deposit.
All Ashley's thoughts dissolved back to reality as the gun turned back toward her.
"Now we wait," the gunman muttered, waving the gun in her face. "All of you sit still. I'm going to go over there, but my gun is pointed in the right direction." Before he'd even finished speaking, he backed up to the reception counter, the barrel of the weapon always pointed at someone in the row of hostages, dragged the chair out in front of it, and sat. He lowered his hand to his lap, but the gun remained firmly in his grip, ready to shoot, as threatened.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“The Best Man's Secret” by Gail Sattler is an interesting book that kept me on the edge of my seat. I am a curious person and like to know things about people especially when there are little breads crumbs to follow and dropped on a regular basis. I have to say that I haven't read about a more mysterious hero than Dave Ducharme. I couldn't figure out what this guy was hiding. Was he some kind of billionaire who was just trying to live life as a normal person for he didn't want the money anymore? Maybe Dave was some kind of undercover cop who was deep undercover. Then there is possibility that he had been injured in the past in another bank robbery. Maybe for some reason he is in the witness protection program. Then there is the off chance that he is on the run from some crazy ex-girlfriend who is dangerous. Maybe he was on the run from his past that was dangerous. These are all thoughts that I had about Dave as I read the story for it is easy to see he is hiding something but man even within the pages of the book, he is stingy as all get out in revealing his secret. I can safely say that one of my guesses is correct for Dave reveals all that happened in his past. I wont say what was revealed for man that would ruin the book for those who read it, and part of the fun of the book was the guessing what he did. For as frustrating as I found the bread crumbs into who Dave is, I just couldn't put the book down for I had to know what happened. Honestly I enjoy 'Heartsong Presents' for they are really light reading books that are great for killing time and fairly easy to put the book down to do something else, but not this book. I couldn't put it down in the slightest for I just had to know what was going on. Ashley is a pretty easy woman to figure out, and she is pretty tough. For all that this woman goes through she doesn't loose her faith or her smile. She isn't perfect for she gets cranky and upset about what happened and what is the result now to her. I was disappointed though for there is a piece of vital information missing. The information missing is how Ashley discovered something pretty important about Dave. He didn't mention this fact, and yet somehow she knows this information, but how did she find out. Maybe somehow I missed it but somehow I doubt it. Over all I did enjoy this story a great deal and think it is a wonderful book that all will hopefully enjoy as much as I did. Though I may not like how something was learned without it making sense, but everything else was great. I couldn't help but follow all the bread crumbs and I hope others enjoy those bread crumbs too. This is only my second book that I have read by Ms. Sattler, and enjoyed both of them a great deal. I think Ms. Sattle is a wonderful author and I will look forward to reading more
They meet during a bank robbery. She is injured when he attacks the bank robber. He feels guilty that she was injured because of something he did. So he takes care of her after she returns home from the hospital. As they get to know one another, they come to love each other. But he is hiding something from her. And she has been hurt by secrets before and can't abide people lying to her. She feels that his keeping secrets from her s the same as lying. Can they ever learn to trust each other? Can they ever move past this and love each other? This is a really good book.
I love a good romantic suspense, don't you? This one is romantic suspense at its best, and it is clean and inspirational to boot. Dave Ducharme is in a hurry--he needs to keep a minimum amount of cash on him, but somehow he's let that cache get depleted. Against his better judgment and wishes, he finds he must stop at a bank on his way to his best friend's wedding. There he holds the door for an attractive blonde woman. Ashley Kruger is also in a hurry, but she can't help but notice the handsome guy who opens the door for her. He's dressed in a tux--must be on his way to a wedding. Dave's thoughts are interrupted by the man who robs the bank. The way he's waving that gun around, someone's going to get hurt. Dave feels the familiar surge of adrenalyn which only escalates when the robber decides to hold the pretty blonde lady as his hostage and decides Dave will drive the getaway car. When the thief shoots Ashley in the leg, he knows he has to help the young woman. He knows the agony she will go through. Dave fears his hope for anonymity is shot down, but he feels it is his fault she is injured. He must help, even if his secret is revealed.