The sound of her voice saved a cop’s life…and put a target on her back.
Zoe White’s got a voice to die for and the full-figured body to match. Sad that it’s taken another officer’s near-tragedy to spur Detective Frank Ludwig into finally making his move. Now that he has, Frank’s determined to be Zoe’s hero when her unselfish act makes her a killer’s target. It doesn’t take him long to realize Zoe doesn’t need a hero. She’s a survivor, perfectly able to defend herself…and Frank, too, when the chips are down.
What’s a guy to do when his woman ‘mans up’ before he does?
Then Frank learns just how much Zoe has sacrificed to recover from past demons and how determined those same demons are to destroy her again. He realizes there’s more to being a hero than fighting bad guys. A true hero helps the woman he loves retrieve the final fragments of her shattered life. Yes, Zoe can clearly defend herself. Now he’s depending on her staying alive long enough that he can be the hero she needs.
|Publisher:||Totally Entwined Group|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
Blessed (or cursed) with a vivid imagination, Caitlyn Willows eventually learned to turn that talent inward. Readers will find deep emotions and sizzling sensuality seamlessly woven into her action-filled stories. Believing life is to be lived and felt, not merely watched, Caitlyn delivers real-to-life characters in unforgettable tales of love, adventure, and always steamy passion. No one is more surprised than she at the direction life has taken her. She is also a mosaic artist and an avid crafter with a passion for cross-stitch. Caitlyn lives in the beautiful desert of Southern California with her husband (a genealogist). She is always on the lookout for the next interesting tidbit that will help fill her writing well.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Caitlyn Willows 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
Fear clawed at Zoe’s gut, fighting its way to the surface. Prickles of the monster she’d buried zinged beneath her skin, searching for a way out.
People. She had to be around people. If she went home, another monster might be waiting. Zoe wouldn’t risk it—not until she had control firmly in her hands, not until she could face whatever hell awaited her with dignity and strength. Having her .38 in ready reach wouldn’t be bad either.
Gun trumped knife every time. Too bad she’d gotten out of the habit of carrying the weapon. Zoe would rectify that once she got home. Being without threat had made her careless. If she wasn’t diligent…
Dead. She’d be dead.
No. That was why she had the black belt—to protect herself.
Could she keep her wits about her and remember how to use those skills? Besides, all the martial arts moves in the world couldn’t win over a gun. She needed that weapon in her possession.
Zoe gasped for breath, fighting hyperventilation.
Burt’s Diner. That was where she could go. Open all night. Always someone there. A favorite place for cops. She’d grab a bite and order her thoughts—make a game plan.
Zoe scanned the jumble of signs, looking for that familiar red one. Have I passed it? She’d been so upset that she barely remembered leaving the station. Where the hell am I? Certainly not pointed toward home. She nearly wept with relief when she spied her beacon a block ahead. A Holiday Inn Express was across the street from it. That was an option she hadn’t considered. She’d check in for a night—maybe two—get a room on the top floor and hole up until this was over.
She snorted at her foolishness. This was never going to be over—not until one of them was dead. Zoe didn’t plan on that being her.
She eased into the parking lot and found a spot next to the restaurant. Maybe luck was on her side tonight. Pulling in slow breaths to calm her shattered nerves, she cut the engine. Xavier didn’t know where she lived. Chances were slim he’d recognize her on the street—as long as she kept her mouth shut. The encounter had been an isolated incident. Why would Xavier care? He was rattling her to show he was a big man, nothing more. Old fears ran deep, though. Too deep.
He knows where you work now.
True. Zoe wondered if her subconscious had steered her to take an alternate route home.
Silly. The shooting was across town. There’s no way he could—
She cut off the thought. There was always a way for a determined person, and he’d sounded damned determined. Thank goodness, her parents were vacationing in Maui and her sister visiting friends in New York. They were safe from him. Xavier couldn’t have picked a better time to make his move. For another panicked moment, Zoe wondered if he’d planned this. Just as quickly, she dismissed the idea. Xavier never planned anything. He was volatile, driven by rage and a very short temper.
Damn it all. She’d thought this was in the past. Now she’d inadvertently crossed paths with him. His threat wasn’t an idle one. Xavier would hunt her down. It was only a matter of time.
Not if the cops get him first.
Zoe was counting on that. Talk about determination. Xavier had killed a police officer tonight, seriously wounding another. He was a marked man. She prayed they got to him before he got to her.
A thorough look around the parking lot confirmed her safety. Still, she didn’t let her gaze or attention wander as she looped her purse strap over her shoulder, clutched the hobo bag against her side and stepped from her F-150 truck. Her rubber-soled ankle boots thunked on the sidewalk. Zoe wasted little time getting inside. Once the doors closed behind her, she let the hostess’s smile scatter the dark shadows lingering in her mind…at least for the moment. The woman’s nametag identified her as Jennifer.
“One?” she asked.
“Yes, just one,” Zoe said.
Jennifer plucked a menu from the box attached to the pedestal behind her. “Table or booth?”
Under normal circumstances, her answer would be ‘table,’ but Zoe didn’t want to be that exposed tonight. “Booth. Away from the window.” Her back against the wall with a clear view of the entrance.
“Right this way.” Jennifer led her down the aisle, nodding to other diners as she took Zoe into the bowels of the restaurant.
Zoe saw the men and women too late. Twelve police officers and detectives occupied a large section of tables in the back room where Jennifer intended to seat her. Zoe plucked at the woman’s long white sleeve in a vain effort to subtly catch her attention. Again, too late. One by one, the men and women stopped what they were doing, all gazes latching on to Zoe. Chairs slid over the carpet as they stood and applauded her.
She wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. The only thing that kept her feet rooted in place was the pride on Frank Ludwig’s face. Zoe’s heartbeat triple-timed.
“Come join us.” Officer Joanie Robertson yanked over a chair from a nearby table, while Frank’s partner, Theo Garcia, waved Zoe toward them.
Only that morning, Robertson had gone out of her way to avoid her. Zoe was their hero tonight. Tomorrow, things would go back to how they had been. Zoe didn’t want to muddy the waters by socializing.
She’d heard what some of her coworkers said behind her back. A few even said it to her face. Some of them meant well, but others didn’t. Zoe’d learned to live with scathing remarks, dirty looks and kindhearted suggestions. After all, she had only herself to blame for the way she looked. She wasn’t a small girl. But Frank—hot Frank who shared her bed in Zoe’s nightly fantasies—accepted her with no questions, no attempts to change her. Their friendship was unconditional.